Every Monday at work we have a meeting first thing in the morning. Our company values everyone being on the same page and staying current on the issues in the industry, so we meet to discuss our work and the industry in general. For the record, I work for a company that owns and manages coal reserves.
I've been working there for about a year and a half - it was my first "big boy job" out of college. I was always so high strung in college and really put pressure on myself to succeed. After succeeding in college and landing this job, the pressure I put on myself never really went away. I have this constant feeling that my job is on the line. Even though I've established myself in the company and I don't think I'm being monitored, I always have this feeling that I need to perform to a certain level that is almost certainly above anyone's expectations. I have this fear in the back of my head telling me "What if I get fired? What if the company realizes they don't need me and would do fine without me?" I put this pressure on myself every day.
During the Monday morning meetings we talk about what we've done, in general, the past week - and what is on the agenda for the immediate future. It's hard to explain my position in the company, but let's just say I'm on the computer end and provide assistance to property managers who are actually out in the field all week managing our properties and staying in touch with lessees. Naturally, the land managers are the guys doing the bulk of the work, and they have the most to talk about during the Monday morning meeting. However, everyone is expected to talk during the meeting, land managers, geologists, computer guys like me, etc. The meeting is primarily a way for our boss to hear from all the managers at once and get everyone current on the happenings in the company, and what us geologists and computer guys have to say is really last priority.
So essentially, what I have to say I've been doing all week and what is on my agenda is really small beans to our boss, but we are expected to talk. We go around the table in the same order every week - and the whole time I sit there thinking of what all i need to say. I write myself a script in my head of what I'm going to say and I sit there rehearsing it in my head. As the people take their turns talking, it gets closer and closer to my turn. By the time it's the guys turn before me, my legs feel weak and begin to shake, I get pounding heart palpitations, and everything I had rehearsed in my head just meshes together. When I actually go to speak I am ridiculously nervous and just want all the attention off of me. I can feel and hear trembling in my voice. You know how there are those really good strong speakers, like politicians? I feel like the opposite of that. I want my voice to come out strong and confident, but instead I feel like that little voice in the room that people are just waiting to get through so they can hear the bigger issues. I mean, who really cares about what database I'm building right now or what kind of drafting I've been doing? But there's the conundrum - I am expected to talk, but I feel like no one cares about what I have to say.
I must admit, the longer I've worked here the better it's gotten. I guess getting more comfortable within the company and understanding what everyone's talking about as they go around the table has helped me to be a little less nervous, but on a scale of 1-10 I'd say I'm consistently at a stress level of 8-9 in those meetings. I've tried telling myself "Don't be nervous. I know I'm a good worker, and everyone probably sees that" But I feel like during the meeting is my chance to show them "Hey, I've been working hard - this is what's on my plate." instead, I seem weak - which puts fear in to me and makes me think "I've been working hard, but no one knows it because I make myself seem useless in the meetings."
I guess this is just a confidence issue interlaced with some social phobia. I hate Mondays.