View Full Version : Do you overcompensate and set yourself up to fail?


Worriedoldie
09-20-17, 03:17 PM
I just wanna get som input on this overcompensating thing...

In work related situations, outside my regular employment (within the same field), I sometimes get caught in the "Yeah... I can do this, I should this, I'm gonna do this..." and arrange a job / project with a potential client only to wimp out completely and not returning answers via email, or simply just make up a reason I can't do the stuff anyways.

This has been a recurring thing for me and it's making me feel so bad about myself and shaming me. And of course it's incredibly bad for my work reputation..... "Oh that guy... yeah, said he wanted to do it, never returned the my call..."

In my regular employment it takes another form where I will be completely confident towards the client going "of course I can do this" although it might mean I have to use a tool I haven't used before and not taking the time to properly learn to use it, I'll end up with a bad result.... :(

My latest seriously stupid thing was first coming completely out of debt, I mean litterally.... only to 2 months ago, tie myself into a leasing contract of 35.000 dollars worth of production gear that I'm probably not gonna be producing that much with x(

I'll sign up to work related forums and feel bold enough to join in on technical discussions and taste discussions pretending to be "all that". I think the only reason I don't behave like that in real life completely is because the internet offers a safe zone where there's no real consequence, but the thing is... I still feel embarresed when I get caught.

Oh man.... just writing this makes me feel bad and be ashamed :(

ScatterBrainX
09-21-17, 02:10 AM
Ahh, a fellow people-pleaser, I see? :)
I struggled with that so much, particularly as a full-time freelance programmer.
It's gotten a lot better, but I still am working on some issues.

My main problems are:

I struggle to say "no", because I don't want to upset people.
I assume I will work 8h a day, when not even non-ADHDers work for more than 5h.
I forget to account for the unexpected. Having to figure out a bug, or realizing that to do task X, I also need to do Y and Z, which take time too.


Here's some solutions I came up with too:

Saying "no" is better than a "yes" that's not done. With clients, it's best to not do so directly, but give them choices. E.g. "I can most likely do this, but it will probably take a long time". "I don't have that much experience with X, I usually work with Y instead and I recommend it. However, I can use X if you prefer it, but it will likely take me longer to research and implement it".
No estimates given impulsively, particularly for small tasks. "I'll draft up an estimate and send it to you later today/tomorrow".
IMPORTANT: Set yourself a reminder to actually do the point above!
On the spreadsheet, double however much you think anything will take. It's better to say "oh hey, I finished early" than "sorry, it will take me another week".
If you have to give an estimate there and then, triple it.
If giving a time estimate, not a price estimate, assume you work 4h a day max. Even if you're at work 8h (coffee/bio breaks, chat with coworker, meeting with boss, etc.)
If you don't know how to do something, say so. "I'll research it today and get back to you on that". It's ok to say, certainly much better than "I'm the expertest pro out there" :)
Star with small projects, for better practice. Big ones can feel a bit overwhelming at times.

Worriedoldie
09-21-17, 03:17 AM
For all decency.. I have to say, that I'm still in the process of being worked out and finding the right diagnosis. My doc is screening me for both add and bipolar but I have a few more sessions before she wants to be specific.

All good suggestions... I would love to be able to say, "that's great I'll try to do that..."

But even if I did, I know I would fail at it :(

I look back and see myself sitting there in the classroom. I finally had the nerve to raise my hand or was forced to give an answer and I was wrong... and someone laughed at me.
I'm not sure that was the sole reason for me lack of self-esteem to this day, but the lack certainly gets in my way, and frankly I feel like I should work by schedules or spreadsheets, but I can't get myself to make one to follow, much less actually follow it. I very oppositional towards authority, and my brain keeps telling me that rigid forms are an authority, even a spreadsheet... I feel so bad.

But I think that my lack of self-esteem in the later years really kicked in my overcompensating skills. I had to find a way to make myself look "good" or "able"... the emperors new cloths syndrome. If I have an expensive camera, I must be a film maker / photographer (ironically by education I am... but for all the wrong reasons).

I've gotten better at the whole estimates thing... often letting myself sink in on it for a couple of days and deliberately not trying to look eager which in my book sometimes can come off as desperate (although I might be due to the limited amount of jobs coming in).

I still struggle with the whole pricing though. I always feel like when I throw a price at the client that we (as in my boss business) are priced too high, so I "forget" to add overheads on production handling etc.
Dammit!!

Sometimes I think I shouldn't have made the classic mistake of deliberately doing something opposite of my dad for work (who btw I think had ADD due to his mannerism), but instead have utilised my natural gift in that area to accomplish something there instead. Always trying to "make that thing...." Gotta make it, gotta prove myself to others.
I wanna scream right now!

ScatterBrainX
09-21-17, 04:33 AM
But even if I did, I know I would fail at it :(

I look back and see myself sitting there in the classroom. I finally had the nerve to raise my hand or was forced to give an answer and I was wrong... and someone laughed at me.
I'm not sure that was the sole reason for me lack of self-esteem to this day, but the lack certainly gets in my way, and frankly I feel like I should work by schedules or spreadsheets, but I can't get myself to make one to follow, much less actually follow it. I very oppositional towards authority, and my brain keeps telling me that rigid forms are an authority, even a spreadsheet... I feel so bad.

That sounds very familiar!
Fearing doing the wrong thing is one of my main reasons for procrastinating!
My brain keeps telling me "If you relax a bit more, you may get a better idea, or pay more attention to details and make fewer mistakes"...
But it never goes that way. Usually I wait until the last moment, do something in a panic, and have more bugs to fix later".

One thing that helped me change my mindset was thinking about video games.
I realize I enjoy them a lot, I don't find them stressful at all, and most people I play with seem to appreciate me.
Yet, I die a lot in games. More so when I first started, but even now, I make mistakes (sometimes stupid ones).
But mistakes happen in games, they're something you expect. You learn from them and try again.
Why is it different with work?

So here's the way I changed my views on work:
It's something I have to do, sooner or later, else I will not have money to pay rent.
If I start now, I have time to try out a few things and pick the best solution, even if it's not the "perfect one" (the client won't care as long as it works), as well as fix any bugs I find.
If I start later, I won't have time to experiment or bugfix at all, I have to go with the fastest solution, and the client will likely not be very happy.
Mistakes happen. Did you ever see any software without any bugs at all?
The only thing I am expected to do is to try my best, and fix as many of the issues that pop up as I can.

Regarding schedules and spreadsheets, try to see them as tools, as your "slaves", not your dictators.
You don't have to follow the spreadsheet. It's just a quick way to add up your estimate. After you send it to the client, you don't even have to look at it again.

A schedule like "do X from 9 to 11" never works for me either.
Instead, I think "in what order can I do everything I need to today so that I can minimize stress and effort, as well as get to do as many of the things I want to?"
It is subject to change and experimentation, if I at any moment feel something else will get my goals met better.

What helps the most is thinking "I'm doing this for me. To improve myself, to meet my goals, to feel great at the end of the day"
Instead of "I have to do this stupid project to earn money for rent, I just want to get to playing".

Worriedoldie
10-03-17, 02:13 AM
Just occured to me that Ive not only been doing it regarding work.... Ive also been doing it in general. Taking a mouthful that was too big to chew.

Back when I turned 18 my child savings was released in one big pile. About 7000 dollars.

I had big ideas.... the internet was raging and chat forums had emerged. I was telling everybody hlw I was gonna spend that money travelling the world from my home in Denmark, ending up with visiting my internet flirt in Australia.
I even went as far as buying hikinh shoes while gradiously telling the cashier about my plans.

I ended up spending the money on useless stuff. None of it I own today 20 years later.

My latest semi fail is telling myself that I wanted to run a marathon, only to here 3 months later blame my weak knee for not continuing the training.... aw man.

Im sure theres more... but yeah, people pleaser or "I cant seem to find out who I am so I copy what others have succes with..." :(

This last part is a bit haunting for me. When I think about it, none of my choices have been because I really truly wanted it... if you asked me, i wouldnt know what to do.