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    Dear Anita

    Thanks for your reply. I guess it takes mental effort for me to explain all these things as well. As you said I write in great length, and it is tiring for me to explain to you if you cannot understand what I mean. It is not to do with you personally, but I would rather talk to someone else that can see where I am coming from.

    With that I would like to take a break from this site as well.

    Thanks for your support and I wish you well. Merry Christmas to you.


    Dear Anita

    Thanks for your message. I hope you had some time to sleep during the day!

    Actually if it is too much for you, I am happy for both of us to take a break and come back to this later!

    I’m sure I’ll have some updates for you! Haha. Hopefully not too much to read.. I know it can be a pain!



    Dear Anita

    I’m starting work soon so I’ve got about half an hour now. Thanks for your response, and taking the time to read what I wrote in detail. It is not easy to find someone like you who have the patience to learn about what I m thinking, and giving me guidance on how to avoid reliving the childhood traumas.

    To respond to your posts,

    1) Yes I am keen to learn more about management, and I see how the issues that we’re facing now, can be resolved using a systematic approach. But I don’t think I’m there yet. For me, recognizing the issues, and thinking about what could be done to address the issues, provide an opportunity for me to learn something on the job. So even though it might never come into reality, the fact that I did consider different strategies to make things work, helps me to see what the problems are in our workplace, which I think will enable me to function better in this environment, as I know what we do well and areas that need to be improved. For me, having the chance to be promoted to a store manager is something that I am dreaming of, as I am really motivated by sales, and to see my visions come to life will be such an amazing thing to do. That being said, stepping into management will also mean that I have less chance to keep doing what I’m doing (i.e. actually selling things, and talking to customers, and learning more about them), and my partner is in middle management (and he is an excellent leader), so I see the skills that are required to manage a team effectively. To me, I don’t mind stepping up if I need to, but in reality, I think I would be more suited to a lower level sales position, where I can most fully utilize my strengths. It is a useful exercise to envisage what I think can be good for the team. So I see that there are still things to work on, and it makes me feel more positive about work.

    2) Thank you for pointing out what my traumas are, and I really appreciate you telling me what the “wolves” are, that I might not be able to recognize yet. I have always wanted someone to say straight to my face, even if it is a criticism as long as it is constructive, I can happily take it and work on it.

    I get what you mean. The comment that strikes me the most is that you have mentioned how I would see someone as good or bad depending on whether it has triggered my childhood experiences. (Isn’t it true for everyone?)

    I’m facing a dilemma here. So you know how some people appear to be happy, when deep down they’re really sad, so what we convey through our facial expressions is somehow opposite to how we’re feeling? I think it is true to some extent.

    So for me, I am often described as calm, intelligent, kind, and creative. I put calm first, it is what I hear the most especially with regard to dealing with stressful situations (even if I am scrambling inside).

    So if I feel calm inside then it it is more likely to project the feeling of stress towards others, if it makes any sense. Because if I internalize the things that I hold closest to me, often the things that I don’t want will be what I leave to the people on the outside. So the reason why I can appear cool and calm is that I can deal with the issues myself, that is what I’m proud of, but if I do the opposite, it doesn’t feel like me anymore, and even if I stress less, I think it is not who I want to be?

    Also I will try to recognize the patterns of bad thoughts, though I think it still takes the right time and place for the good seeds to grow. I cannot be stuck in a bad place and expect the good things to come. It has to do with my thought patterns, as you said, but realistically, if it is not the right place to use my skills, or it is not something that makes me feel good, I have every right to make decisions that I think are best for me.

    I think with more experience, it will be easier for me to move somewhere else, and there is a better chance that I will be able to find a company that I really like.

    I think sometimes to deal with negative patterns, it is a best to leave it, instead of delving into it and figuring out why it is or is not the case. I do that all the time, I try to see what is wrong, and I end up overthinking things. I think it is an important step to try to figure things out.

    But I am also thinking that it might be wise to not swallow the poisons, and spew it out once I know it is poisonous, so I can go and find something nutritious to eat.

    Not too sure if it makes sense. I will have to think about it during my break time or after work.

    Thank you, hope you have a wonderful day


    Dear Anita

    Just a quick thought: I know someone in our company about same age as me, who has worked here for about 3 years before she got promoted to one level higher, where she can have more “power” in implementing the strategies to increase sales.

    I think if I stay here for long enough, I will have a chance to do the same. Today an hour before we closed, the amount of sales I made were 3 times more than average.

    Lots of low value sales, so the overall result wasn’t as good as I expected. But it was alright.

    Sorry it is a bit too much to read.

    I have listed a few strategies that I think we definitely need at this point in time, which I don’t think will be adopted by the manager, but could be useful if someday I become a store manager myself:

    1) Right now, our duties are “task-based”, and inconsistent. What I mean is that one person is allocate to a task, and after a while once she has gone off to do something else, a similar task will be allocated by someone else to be completed. So it is a lot of swapping around. And the manager only tells one person at a time about what the instructions are. From my perspective, this is an efficient management style however, this has also contributed to some of the issues that we’re facing at the moment. So whenever there is a swap over, the second person can only guess what has been happening, and we have to spend a significant amount of time catching up with the othe person, who has no idea what was going on, and everyone basically has a different approach to how to do the same tasks.

    This is especially true when the second team has established a clear approach to most of the tasks (they were not making as much profit before, so our new policies have superceded whatever that happened before that wasn’t profitable). Now everyone has a different opinion, and when things happened, the easy way to go is to blame someone else, as often the last person who was on it was the one to blame, yet it could be that the person before was the one causing the problem. So I realize it is a common phenomenon where there is a lot of finger pointing with no realistic problem solving. And I seem to find myself in a rut, by using the same logic as everyone else to solve problems, which is not helpful. The inter-team and inter-personal conflicts, in my opinion, are due to a lack of cohesion, and a clear vision of what we’re trying to achieve as a team. The atmosphere promotes individualism, which is a good thing, but also it does not point out the things that need to be worked on, and how we should solve the problems consistently so that there is no confusion.

    It is only my opinion. I think it could be useful later on in my career.

    For me, I prefer having a team meeting at least once every 2-3 days, even it is only for 5-10 minutes. A good time will be in the morning before everyone starts. So we discuss the plans of what we’re going to do over the next few days, and instead of allocating one task to 4-5 people to be performed one after the next, so the message doesn’t get to the end, there should be a “project-based” approach where we are going to have a common goal, which is to, for example, work on a particular area of the shop, and the main focus will be XXX. Customer service is still our priority, however, whenever someone is available, they will be working on completion of those mini-projects that aim to be completed within the specified timeframe.

    The expectations have to be clear, for example, for me, visual merchandising is important, as it significantly contributes to sales (you would buy the same thing for more if it looks appealing, as opposed to certain areas in our store that I would describe as a **** hole basically that is all it is. The same stock that has been here for over 6 months has barely been touched and is looking disgusting.

    Now to do that, for example, at least we need a plan, which can be in the form of a simple map, which clearly states what goes into where. For me, it is pretty easy to understand, if the tops are classified into camis, tanks, t shirts, shirts (short and long sleeves), cardigans, jackets, and a separate work clothes section, also bikinis, and lounge wear in separate sections if we have enough space. I don’t know what the d is happening, and all I see is all of the above mixed up like “scrambled eggs”. This is how I describe it, when I try not to cuss in front of everyone.

    So if we have a “map”, and narrow down our objective to “cardigans” and “jackets”, all of which to be placed on one rack, and the rest stays where they are, it can be a common goal that can be clearly achieved by the team in 1-2 days considering all other trivial things that have to be done as well, mostly serving customers, and organizing the stock.

    We can have a few objectives like that, another one could be pricing the dinnerware (such as bowls, plates, cutlery, glasses) with a clear pricing plan. So at the moment, we’re pricing the stock using our own discretion, and I would say about half of the complaints that we get from the customers is inconsistent pricing. How come similar items are priced differently? Of course there will be customers that take advantage of the situation and ask for a lower price anyways. But then we have to do our job by ensuring that all of the NEW items coming in, for example, all of the dinner plates should be priced at about $XX each, or $XX for a set. Or we can feature one item that is to be priced differently, and who is responsible for that.

    There should be strict criteria as to how much leeway can be given to items depending on whether the items are slightly, moderately or severely damaged in terms of percentage, so that at least we have a guide to what is happening.

    Especially if we have the whole team working on the same objective over 2-3 days, so it is easy to cross check, instead of going by your intuition. The same thing that looks expensive to me might look much cheaper to you.

    We can keep the existing practice of one person doing one thing at a time, but then I believe we also need to work more cohesively by performing the same or at least comparable tasks at about the same time, which I suggest to be a few days up to a week, depending on what we’re trying to achieve, and we really need to have a catch up meeting in the morning and debrief before we close (if not possible, then we should still do it every other day), even for a 5 minute get together, which I think is good for team spirit as well.

    We also take feedback from each other, and identify things that need to be worked on.

    Right now, even how much time we have for lunch is controversial. I don’t even know why it could be a problem.

    Again, this issue can be easily resolved by all of us standing in a circle, and clearly stating what the policy is, so that we’re all on the same page.

    It is my opinion. I don’t think 1 on 1 chats have the same effectiveness as team discussions where we all know what is happening, with much less margin for error when it comes to communicating the messages to all of the team members.

    With regard to cash handling, I do not understand why there could possibly be so many issues as it is a simple procedure. For me, I would suggest using only 1 or 2 tills for cash, and all others will be credit cards only (where I am from, about 80% of the transactions are through debit or credit cards).

    So instead of checking all of the registers, which is really a pain, especially if something goes wrong and it takes forever to work out WHERE it went wrong (it is different from what I’ve said above. This has to be performed INDEPENDENTLY as you cannot have everyone standing here to count the cash together, we all count at different speeds, and it is impossible to see what the othe person is counting. You can try to do it with a friend. Unless you’re a synchronized swimmer and all of you are good at numbers and are literate (I will tell you now, some people will write a 2 when the other person says 5, so the amount will not match, and it is NOT a team effort. It is like if you do 12+56, you cannot solve this equation by team effort, you do it with your brain. It is not something to be discussed. Having some maths idiots to make suggestions on how to do this when it is completely wrong and insists that the answer is 87 is causing everyone to go OVERTIME), I will have one person with reasonable numeracy skills to do this task, or at most have one assistant to facilitate the process, which will greatly enhance the efficiency of this process, and also increase the accuracy of our cash ups.

    2) Not sure if it is relevant. I think I find it difficult to keep all of the opinions to myself. I think they are really good ideas which, if implemented, can be beneficial to the team as a whole. But also, I try to bite my tongue, as I do not want to be this “dibi daba” that always has an opinion about how things should work. But I also find it hard to not express myself.

    If I am completely honest with myself, I would rather go back to being self employed. So I don’t have to worry about what others think of me. I like what I do ow, it also works better for me and my partner, as we can now spend more time together.

    It is the tension that makes me feel really weird. I don’t know it is going to get better with time. Or it is the way it is.


    Sure, take your time. Look forward to hearing from you soon


    Dear Anita

    I’m on my lunch break now, so I’ll quickly reply to you. I would love to have Cinnamon knock on my door. It is almost like Winnie the Pooh from the woods!

    Thank you for using the meerkat as a metaphor, it makes perfect sense to me, and I believe you’re absolutely correct in your analysis. I guess you’re in saying that I’m self selected to protect the tribe, when it is not always what the group assigns me to do, also I’m dealing with people inside of the tribe, not someone else, so in this sense, it will be an awkward situation, even though it is my nature to look out for danger and offer protection to the ones around me.

    Yes, as a meerkat, I have sharp teeth, and I can digest poisonous animals too! It is a good thing for me think about. I guess you’re right, no matter what the situation is, ultimately, it is up to me, to deal with the issues that I’m facing.

    Also you’re right about that, I think I’ve carried the traumas with me, even though I’m physically and emotionally distanced from the ones who have hurt me.

    I think one of the solutions for the problems that you have listed in your response is that I will have to find my tribe.

    The reason why I have not been functioning well in the environment that I’m in is that I’m possibly the only meerkat in a pack of wolves, so we’re not the same.

    If I find the meerkats, who can function well together, and each person plays the role that they’re meant to me, I can make good use of my talents and skills.

    Also sometimes I will have to take a leap of faith. I do not trust most people, as the ones that were closest to me (i.e. family) were the ones that did the most damage to me. But as you said, not everyone is going to blame me for whatever that is going on, and it doesn’t mean that I will always be a failure. I guess it takes the right time, space and people to help me realize my potential.

    Just an update: (I do not want to talk too much about my situation, as I have already mentioned a lot of details, and I don’t want to reveal my identity.) One of my close relatives has recently passed, and I happened to share it with my coworkers (as I was talking about how stressful on the day when I was the only one on the second team, and there have been problems that I couldn’t solve all by myself). To my surprise, my coworkers on the main team are actually really supportive, and they mentioned how they would keep an eye on me so that I wouldn’t strain myself too much.

    Also I was really surprised the manager actually knew what was going on with the teams. The main team was the ones that she hand picked by herself, to support her operations. The second team consisted of mainly the ones that were managed by someone else before. So the atmosphere was completely different, and how things were done before were actually completely the opposite of what we’re doing now. I am beginning to trust my manager. The store that she has managed was the number one in our retail chain. So despite a little bit of inconsistencies, if I focus on the big picture, our main team has actually made a lot of contributions towards the overall performance of our store which has improved significantly since we joined the company.

    Also she has been negotiating with the big boss to see if it is possible at all for the two teams to not mix up in the roster, as it is hard for her to manage the old team (i.e. second team) as well. Even though most of them are casuals, (I believe it is to do with their age, in my opinion, I might have been the same. They’re only about 20 years old, maybe not even, and their egos are getting in the way of actually getting things done), they are able to argue with the big boss about why the new manager is not making sense.

    The fact that the manager addressed the issue openly with the new team, and told me that she values both Bear and me, and believes that we will work seamlessly as a team is something that I didn’t expect. She is a good manager. And I do believe that we can work cohesively. She has given us the new roster (still a few adjustments have to be made), that clearly shows the divide between the two teams with little to no overlapping, and the main team is there 6 out of 7 days a week.

    I’m so relieved that I’m not alone, and the fact that I might have the other meerkats now, makes me feel that I have not wasted my time. With that, I am happy to not delve into what happened with the money that is gone.

    With the new team dynamics I can start a completely new chapter (not only a page), and I believe together we can achieve success.

    I think the new team is going to be here for the long term. Or hopefully. Yes.



    Dear Anita

    Thank you for your sharp analysis. I have never met anyone who can provide such an in depth analysis that actually resonates with me deeply. I think you’re highly intelligent, observant, analytical and compassionate, the qualities that I admire so much personally.

    I have to get ready for work now, I’ll have to start in about 10 minutes. But I’ll bear in mind what you said, which I think will be useful for whatever challenges I will face today.

    I will reply to you as soon as I can. Thank you so much 🙂




    Dear Anita

    No worries. Have a wonderful day, enjoy your walk and I look forward to hearing from you.




    Dear Anita

    Thanks for your response and your careful analysis which has helped me to know more about myself.

    To answer your questions,

    1) I think I am more prone to crashing. Because I can go too fast, and I am too sensitive to what others’ emotions or what they might be thinking about, and there are often signs that I detect before it rings an alarm bell for everyone else. For example, I spotted that the amount in the cash register does not match what is on the software, and I actively look out for signs, and when the software says that there is an error, I immediately note down the amount of discrepancy and inform the manager, so that when we close, the amount should not be out by anything excess of that. I also notice carefully others’ behaviour, and I can easily absorb the negative energy if it happens that others are stressed too at work. I also tend to “overthink” about things, however, when I use this positively then I can easily find solutions to problems that can be difficult for others to solve.

    But when used negatively, I can go a million miles an hour, get lots of things done, and I am also like a smoke detector, constantly working to see what everyone else is doing. So in that sense I can be overworked and I am prone to stress.

    2) The frustration that I mentioned to another member is related to the cash ups. I do not want to think excessively about what has happened. Because I do think that out of all the problems at work, the one that troubles me the most is another THEFT, what might potentially happen again. And I have access to the safe now. So I am taking up more responsibilities as time goes on. I try to bring it up to the manager without mentioning the word “theft”, or blaming anyone specifically, as I don’t want to point fingers at anyone in case my suspicious are wrong.

    Because there could be more than one person involved, or someone might admit to it to cover for someone else, etc. It is increasingly frustrating for me, as the manager now has a policy to facilitate the cash ups, which again, are not followed by some of my coworkers when the manager is not present. This significantly slows down the cash up process, I have to go overtime.

    The person who is taking the lead (Well, I don’t want to go into further detail, it might sound even more confusing.. But I am on the main team, there are certain shifts when the manager is absent, as it is her day off, and she does not want me to do those shifts. She wants to be sure that everything is going well, before I work more independently, also she has not seen how I work with the second team. I think she is a good manager. She has worked in other places where she did not get along with her coworkers, so she wants to be sure that I can work well with the team, before putting me on those shifts. But she can’t change the big boss’s decisions. I have been allocated to the second team on certain shifts as per the big boss’s instructions, due to staff shortage. There are only two overlapping members between the two teams: Me and Giraffe), in this case, is Giraffe. I am going in circles now.

    But I tried to dodge the bullet by either me, doing all of the cash ups myself, or not participating in any misconduct or crimes by falsifying any of the claims on the forms that will have my signature on it. It has become frustrating to me, as the manager has explained carefully what the new policies are with regards to cash ups, however they have not been followed closely. Also in my efforts to collaborate with Giraffe, where I read out the numbers to her and she writes down the numbers, I do not know if it is intentional or not.. But the numbers she writes down clearly do not match what I said.

    I have had a long week, I had been sick (many coworkers have had the same thing, feeling a bit light headed, and coughing a little bit, though no one has tested positive for COVID), so at that point, I was really frustrated.


    Also I am really sensitive to others emotions and I can easily see through their facade so I can quite easily sense that there is a problem somewhere before everyone does.

    So I am also more prone to crashing as you said.

    Because I already know if things are going to work in my favour, and I see how things could potentially be done better (I bring my visions to life, I go an extra mile to make things happen that drive sales that is increasing the overall team performance in addition to fulfilling all of the basic duties, for example, I work with the volunteers at the charity organization and I am able to coordinate with them to redo the merchandise for almost a quarter of the shop floor, and as a result of that, the sales for that particular area have improved dramatically. It was hours and hours of hard work). But I also see who is not happy with that.


    Sorry for rambling on. I think I might have sounded a bit confusing, and I would like to explain if it didn’t .ake sense. Because I’m too sure if I have been understood correctly.

    So I believe that for most people,

    SOCIETY: You should do well in your studies, you should be promoted to higher ranks, and you should make a lot of money.

    SELF: I want to do well in my studies, I want to be promoted to higher ranks, and I want to make a lot of money.

    Because societal expectations are aligned with what they want to achieve for themselves, then if they meet the above criteria, then they have a sense of achievement, and they also feel that their efforts have been recognized.

    However, for me, and I believe some others who are also high performing and might fly under the radar,

    SOCIETY: You should do well in your studies, you should be promoted to higher ranks, and you should make a lot of money.

    SELF (In my case): I don’t think it matters if I study or not, I so not want to be promoted to higher ranks, I do not make a lot of money and I don’t need to. I want to be strong, happy and calm all the time. I love gardening.

    I do not think my goals have anything to do with competence, or whether I am performing well. I have been able to meet the societal expectations, and in this regard, I have been an “overachiever” as I possess the qualities that would make me do really well. However, I also feel that I have underachieved because I am only working towards my own goals (i.e. SELF). In terms of recognition, I do not want to be praised for what I have done to fulfill the societal expectations, I know I have done well enough in my studies and I have had many opportunities to advance in my career. I want others to recognize the fact that I am working towards my goals and not to always focus on the fact that I am being an “overachiever”. I feel that I have been poorly understood in this regard.

    For me, I think if someone gas the same expectations as the ones around them (i.e. what society thinks), it is kind of easy to make sense of what achievement means to them.

    However I do not think it is the same for me, and I have not been validated for pursuing my goals (which to most people is only climbing the corporate ladder and making more money, etc.) I am not sure how well I am doing, and I am still working towards my goal, for example, making sense of how to navigate the world of sales and finding happiness through it, it makes me feel that I have underachieved.


    Dear Anita

    Thanks for your comments.

    Regarding the last point: No you haven’t understood me correctly. Or I haven’t explained it clearly enough for you to understand. What I mean is not the get excessive praise from others, but I want others to recognise and acknowledge the fact that I am content with my position in sales, I do not need to go higher up to become a doctor, accountant, or teacher etc. I need this validation as I have always been told that I should have done something better. Because my goal is not to go further up to sit in the office, say for example, to become the retail operations manager or finance manager, then I don’t want people to misund stand that that is my goal given that I’m performing well. I feel underachieved, because I have not found others that share the same values with me, who also think that it is indeed a good idea to be sales compared to medicine, I have realized that it is a cycle of negative thoughts and I need to break this cycle as well. I do not need to be praised, I know what I have achieved and I am content with what I have done, however I don’t want my achievements to be used against me due to jealousy. To me “recognition” and “achievement” are related to my ultimate goal, which is to find happiness, and as selfish as it might be, I hope to find others who also recognize the fact that money is not the most important thing and it is indeed possible to do something “less worthy of money” and be happy with where we are (and not be jealous of anyone, I rarely feel jealous, but a lot of people are jealous and that leads to bitterness). I hope you get what I mean as I am aware that the same words might mean different things to different people.

    I guess for me, teamwork also means that we communicate and are able to work towards a common goal (or objective). Since Giraffe and I are equal in terms of our ranks then it makes sense for us to take directions from each other instead of that drama caused by them not following the manager’s instructions that would reflect poorly on me as I am only responsible for passing on the message and not doing the work for them. Again it could be something to do with my childhood experiences, but I do not want to take the fall for something that I haven’t done. I absolutely hate the fact that we have been unable to work well together. To me, teamwork is a collective effort and if someone is unable to understand that, and instead use excuses to put me down, then it is not my problem, I do not feel that I have misunderstood the word “teamwork”. I like to discuss things and I basically get along with most people at work. I simply cannot tolerate the fact that someone is blaming me, it could be due to their incompetence or them not taking responsibility for their actions. It does not mean that I have not taken the actions to examine what I have done as well, I learn from my mistakes and do better everyday. I do not like the fact that people use it as an excuse as I do value teamwork.



    Dear Serene Wolf

    Hope you don’t mind me adding a response here as I am aware that there is already a conversation going on.

    I get what you mean. Please correct me if I am wrong, bit I think you’re a kind of person that is cautious about not making any mistakes and apologies for me being quite blunt, you can be really guarded as well. That is what I think. So it can be quite hard to go through what is going on in your mind as you express little about yourself and even with journalling you’re concerned about if you’re doing what others are doing. This is not a criticism, but rather an observation that I made and I think if you let your guard down a little bit, and care less about what is the right way to do it that is the “status quo” then you might be able to more freely express yourself and it can be good for your healing process.

    Also for me I would try not to fit into the traditional mould of imposter syndrome, of what people tell me that entails that would limit my perceptions of what I am going through as everyone is different. I cannot speak of what imposter syndrome means for someone else. There is no syndrome or condition that strictly defines one thing without fluidity so it can only be relevant to yourself, what you are going through instead of accepting what you think is an acceptable explanation of who you are.

    Sorry if I have sounded a bit too critical. This is only the way I am and I would actually prefer someone say straight to my face what they think of me that could help me to sort things out (of course I wouldn’t like it if they have any ulterior motives that would put me in a disadvantaged position). But for me personally I can take serious constructive feedback so I hope you don’t mind.

    Also whether psychotherapy works for you depends on who you are seeing, and whether the strategies that they are using are good for you. It can be expensive. For me I don’t really rely too much on verbal feedback though it is valuable. I rely more on talking about things (I need a good listener), I think aloud, so once I can get everything out of my mouth then I can work out how to solve the problems. So in my case a counsellor is more beneficial. Don’t know about you, but you do what is best for you.



    Dear G

    I share similar experiences as you, I have moved overseas to study, and I eventually got my residence in the country where I am staying now. So the next step for me perhaps is to think about whether I want to give up my citizenship from my home country. But I don’t have to worry about it now.

    I hope you don’t mind me listing a few things here, as I find it easier for me to organise my thoughts:

    1) Could it be that the lack of motivation has little to do with pandemic, and more to do with what you feel about pursuing a master’s degree in general? I get that the pandemic has made things worse for you, as it made you feel lonely, however I see that there is motivation for you to meet your friends at school, and less motivation towards doing the actual work of completing your degree. Of course I could be wrong, this is to do with psychology, we can’t see what others see and it can only be an opinion. Or ask yourself this question – if it wasn’t for the pandemic, would you be motivated to study abroad?

    When I said “motivated”, what I mean is that you’re truly happy about your decisions and you will follow through. So it is less to do with extrinsic motivation, it is more like intrinsic motivation that I’m referring to. So whether you’re genuinely happy about doing it. If the answer is NO, it is more like something that you think you shoulddo (there is an expectation or you feel that you’re responsible for doing it, vs. it is really what you deisre), then I would say you’re not motivated to do it.

    For me, motivation is important. Everyone’s experiences are different. However, for me, I am quite capable of doing different things, so I have to be sure that what I do aligns with my skills, values and motivation so that I can be truly happy with what I do.

    2) You mentioned in the heading that you’re “lost and mentally, emotionally exhausted”, and you’re making connections between your logic and feelings i.e. you think that the reasons contributing to your emotional burnout are mainly to do with your studies. I mean, I can’t do the same for myself, I can’t see it from an outsider’s perspective, and it takes the right person that can vibrate you with the same wavelength and is receptive (and can communicate well with you verbally) to help you figure out what is really happening. If not it really depends on introspection. It is how well you understand yourself in comparison to what is really happening in reality. Of course, this is what I want to achieve in theory, that I might not be able to fully comprehend, as I have my own limitations as well, but this is what I try to do.

    I have my own issues as well, and it is kind of hard for me to explain to others how I really feel, and what I think is not the same as what others think about me, so it is not always accurate to rely on others’ opinions.

    But is what you’re feeling a direct consequence of the things that you’ve mentioned above? It could only be a tip of the iceberg that reflects something beyond the surface i.e. the bigger problems that you have to face to really find purpose in your career (or studies).

    3) Not sure what subjects you are studying, and what you want to do afterwards. One thing for sure is that what you do might not even be remotely related to what you’re studying now (it is sad but true). If you’re lucky then you can find something relevant. However, I have also noticed that you would prefer doing something that makes you happy. So for me it seems that studying is the second best option, not what you have in mind that you think would give you true happiness. Now you have to understand that you cannot balance the two, because it is impossible to not like what you’re doing and feel happy at the same time.

    For me I choose something that is best for me that I am happy with. So that even when there are challenges they are not impossible to overcome. Because I know for a fact that I love my job, even if I move to another company, this is still what I am going to do for my life. I have other options too.

    Going by what you said, I suppose it is entirely possible that your dream job does not require you to study abroad. I could be wrong. Because I can only gauge the situation going by what you said. Now if this is the case, then I guess the most logical decision is still to finish off what you have started, but if you think it is too much for you, and regardless of whether you have completed your master’s degree, you would still stick to what you think if the best option for you..

    Then I think you’ve answered your own question.

    4) This is something that I tell myself when I am not sure about whether my decisions are correct: If I am CERTAIN that I am going to like it, then it is a YES. If I have any doubts (it is a MAYBE, or I have to think about the reasons why I might be right or wrong, and I keep going in circles), then it is a NO.

    You should be at peace with yourself, any decisions that you make should make you feel comfortable (even if you decide to challenge yourself, then it should still make you feel good). For me, anything that makes you feel bad is a bad decision.


    P.S. For example, I don’t get along with certain coworkers, I have tried to find reasons why I might be wrong, that they could be doing well and there must be reasons why I must be wrong when there is a conflict (as they seem to be adamant that they are correct). I am not comfortable with that. I have been thinking hard about how to make things work, and how to increase the merchandising standards, as we’re not really doing well compared to other high end retail stores in the area. I was so exhausted that at one point I told the manager, could you please ask the others to just stop that one thing that is stopping me from finishing on time that can be done in 10 mins which is now taking 1 hour to do as I am REALLY GETTING FRUSTRATED. I have been thinking about tactics, like how I am now already in the main clique, and I have good connections (a big spider web) for similar positions that I can fill in the organisation so I can easily move horizontally to do the jobs that I like to do, I know half of the managers. So I can kick their a**, I will break up their clique, and I also worry about what if there are new additions to the team, the dynamics might change, so I will need to increase my spider web, get ready for any changes, and do some politicking if necessary.

    And I am not comfortable with that. I find myself in a rut. Of course talking about it makes me feel better. I like to make endless rants about everything. But after going through the things that I have mentioned above, I return to work and I can keep a cool head. I think about whether this is how the way things are connected, and whether I have been deceived by the stories that I tell myself or what I have been told by others.. I won’t go into the details, but then I will often find something that is a YES for me, and it is often a straightforward solution that shouldn’t make you too depressed.


    P.S. To me an “overchiever” is someone who tends to exceed societal expectations, for example, doing well in studies, and me smashing the sales targets (I am only at the tills about 1.5 hours a day, there are staff being there the whole time about 8+ hours a day, and I end up making even more sales than them, for example, roughly the same or even double the amount, depending on how far I push myself as I volunteer to take up other responsibilities as well, I want to make contributions to the team, and I truly value teamwork where everyone is on the same page and can discuss things). However I constantly feel that I am “underachieving” as I have my own goals that I would like to pursue, e.g. being happy with my job as a sales associate, I want the same validation that I would get if I decided to be a doctor instead, which I don’t (how come no one thinks that I should be in sales? Only because I can make more money elsewhere? To me happiness is priceless).

    I have to intentionally not to mention anything about my past when I am at work, I only say that I’ve done different things, and stick to my “story” (i.e. I have studied XX, I have done this job XX in the past), which is true, but I leave out a lot of significant things that would catch others’ attention that can be used against me (because they’re jealous, given that I pick up things super quickly and I already look like a “threat”).

    I feel that I have achieved something when I talk to people and close the sales. I am driven by targets. I can estimate what the operational costs are so I know how much we need to make to reach the break even point (regardless of what we have been told about the sales targets). So not only am I good at sales (and merchandising as well, I have an artistic flair) I have a good commercial acumen too, so I know what the strategies are if we have to do something that benefit the organisation financially, and I am crazy when it comes to driving sales. I exceed my personal target by about 3 times on an average day, and I spend significantly less time than others on sales due to other responsibilities.

    Though it is not the same, for me, achievement is related to recognition that I get from my significant others. If my partner does not recognise what I do, for example, he is an optimistic person and he does not see why I need to “complain” about everything (it is a release for me), so when I do not get recognition from him for what I do (including work) then I feel that I have “underachieved” socially although I am working towards achieving my personal goals.

    Sorry for the long post!

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