I'm trying to explain this feeling when you go and meet people who seem to think that you are ok, or maybe even bit above ok. 

I admit, I'm not used to it. With Tiitta we had this "keskinäisen kehumisen kerho" The club of mutual commendation. It was not about boasting or bragging but a bit more about approving what we did. I feel strongly that we were doing the right thing when we were giving compliments and praising what we had done. We used to say that no one should be compared with Jan Erola, (extreamly active jack of all trades) he was not human, he was over human. We pitied the students who only studied and had no time or interest to student life. How many amazing experiences we got being a bit more not on the wild side but being responsible for so many things. Tiitta took it a bit more organized way being involved in many committees as I was in charge of many happenings.

Now I'm doing it again. Underestimating myself. In fact I have been in charge of many clubs, for example my all time favourite Marttakerho. And on the business side I've sat on a board for four years and acted two years as a chairman of our student food company UniCafe with annual turnover over 10 million euros. And lately was asked to talk about the subject of my masters thesis in a workshop at the Parlament next spring. (And I was able to say NO) But it is so easy to forget those good moments when you have a tendency to belittle.

There is no need to glorify yourself, but some praising is needed in order to keep yourself focused.

Why am I writing this? I went to see this advisor in employment agency last week. We had met twice before as I attended this great two day workshop an year ago. The workshop was for those of us who were just getting our masters degrees and were not too sure what shall we do with our careers. We were 8-10 students and two ladies from Kamppi's employment office. We were to write biographical timeline about what we have done and experienced. It was nice and interactive group (unfortunately unusual in Finland). As we presented our lifelines we commented and made focusing questions to each other and shared ideas and different views from our different standpoints. It really broadened your view to yourself and to things you had done. We met with this advisor Mervi S. once after the workshop to discuss how to apply for jobs etc.

Soon I have worked for this consulting company for a year. Many things have happened and I have gathered and found out many new abilities. But the feeling of incompetence is sometimes so overwhelming. I made an appointment and I met w/ Mervi S. last week and told her about the past year. It is so nice when you have all the time needed and a willing listener. I was able to draw pretty relevant scene for her. She was so encouraging, pointing out my strengths and helping to understand the failings. By no means do I think that my mistakes were someone else's but the powerlessness I felt had quite a lot to do with my inability ask for help.

When you need help 1) you admit you do not know 2) you have to bother someone 3) you are afraid to be for nuisance. I know that these feelings and attitudes are stupid and wrong. How would one learn if not to ask? Specially in this information based field where the informants of expert knowledge sit in the same room with you (if they happen to be there, that's another story)

Yeah, I do have my soft spots. One of those is described above. But how to revise my work methods? In this single case I know there is no need to try to solve the problems alone. You are allowed to lean on and you are supposed to rely to your colleagues and specially to your superiors. It takes a long time to familiarise to your work even in the normal case and specially if you get a new position or there are organizational changes going on regularly.


So what else am I going to do to change in my behaviour at work?

*I'll go home after 8 hours and by no means do I work more than 40 hours in a week.

*I'll take breaks. I do not smoke, I do not drink coffee but I do take breaks.

*I'll try the napping (past week I red in two articles how good it is for you to take 10/15 minute nap in the afternoon. It is corresponding two hours of sleep at night)

*I'll get rid of hurry and hastiness. Things take their time and not everything can be made now in this minute.

*much more…


Now back to the topic 'People who believe in you'. The purpose of this mail was to tell how amazing, awesome and great is to meet people like Mervi S. who seem to think that you are pretty much ok. Even when they have seen and heard the lower moments of your life. And me being me, I do not step carefully around the puddles and try to cover the sludge. I'm pretty bald. And still.

Is it the attitude of life? The difference might be on that that you concentrate on things you have done and succeed (and what you are going to do) instead of pointing out the mistakes and misspellings of life. Maybe there is something to be learned in this one as well.

Thank you Mervi S.!