Tendency to Shut Down…

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    Lora Mitchell


    This will be my first ever post to a forum of any sort, so bear with me please! I am 23, going on 24. After graduating from college I dived into a position as a Veterinary Assistant, in the hopes that it would lead me towards a career in Animal Behavior. I love working with animals of all kinds, specifically dogs, and have taken steps to gain knowledge and experience in this field (although not, I guess, in a formal education environment).

    Anyways, my problem does not lie with my field of study, but in the way I handle a working environment. My year as a Veterinary Assistant started off well, and I meshed quickly with most of my co-workers. I learned the rudimentary responsibilities of the job quickly, was positive and communicative, and saw a bright future ahead. Then, about 7 months in, something changed. I can’t really say what, but I began making mistakes. I had made mistakes before while on the job, and took them in stride, learning from them and bettering my job performance in the process. But these mistakes seemed to… hit me harder, I guess. I will say that most of them resulted from my keeping silent. If I had questions, I didn’t ask them. If something frustrated or upset me, I didn’t share it. My superiors would point these mistakes out, and I would literally break down in tears. The mistakes kept piling up, no matter what I tried to change about myself or my environment. Eventually, they resulted in my quitting my position and moving on to a Dog Boarding and Daycare facility in town.

    At B&B the story is similar. I performed above and beyond expectations, and received promotions very quickly. Then B&B bought out another kennel in the area, and I was asked to become a Kennel Manager there. I took on the challenge with confidence, and did my best to meet the demands of the new business. As the facility became busier, the demands of my position grew, and I started making mistakes again. When these were pointed out to me, I took them in stride. But because of my previous experience as a Vet Asst, I became fearful of being found lacking. As a result, communication with my superiors broke down as I tried to overcompensate for my shortcomings and “read the bosses’ minds” to avoid making more errors. Now, I have missed a crucial raise in pay and have lost the trust of the business owners.

    I recognize, at least in part, that my problem lies within my communication (or fear of communication). My question is this: how can I overcome this fear? B&B has been nothing but kind to me, and has taught me so much about the ins and outs of the doggy business. I have shared my goals and dreams with them, and they are nothing but supportive, even offering me new opportunities to learn. What has caused me to become so fearful of sharing my faults with them as well? And how can I resolve this insecurity?


    You have many great things going for yourself.
    I have learned to listen for my own insecurity, stop it, and use positive self-talk.
    It takes practice, and will result in more self confidence.
    I believe you can do it, and overcome your difficulty.
    I have been in my trade for nearly 30 years and still make plenty of mistakes.
    We all do, but you shouldn’t let it get you down.
    You seem to be a bright, aware individual with a bright future.
    Hope this helps!


    The best thing is that you know your mistakes. Now you need to do to overcome your mistakes. I believe everything can be achieved with hard work and determination. Believe in yourself you can do better than this. Try Yoga and meditation, It really helps to improve your confidence and improve your mental strength.

    Martina Weiss

    It seems like you are doubting your capabilities and yourself pretty much! From what I can see, you also feel very bad about yourself when you are making a mistake, you blame yourself for it for days. Quitting your job in your first position was your choice, because you were afraid you weren’t enough for this job anymore, were you? So, in order to not be confronted even more with failure and the feeling of being inadequate, you quit. Am I right or wrong? Tell me, what do you think about yourself? Would you like you, if you met yourself? What is it that you are rejecting and/or neglecting about yourself?

    It seems to me that your employer(s) really liked you and were happy with you and your work and only you are the one who thinks so bad about yourself… So tell me, what are you afraid of? Of exposing what a big failure you are in reality? Or something else?

    Making mistakes is normal. Without them we wouldn’t be able to learn and grow. They are necessary. So how come you punish yourself for making them? What makes you feeling so hostile toward yourself? You are awesome. You are capable. You are a winner. By understanding that and changing your view on mistakes and failure, you’ll learn how to deal with your fear.

    Let me know if I can help.

    Lora Mitchell

    Thanks everyone for the encouraging words. My time as a vet assistant, while somewhat rewarding, was not necessarily a positive experience. My co-workers were sweet, but our supervisor was a lonely woman who did not have the best teaching methods. I will be honest right now and say that it’s hard for me to leave it at that. She did not enjoy my company or my efforts to better myself in the position, and her history with the business prevented others from taking action against her rude, unprofessional ways. That was what really pushed me away from my first job. I lost all incentive to better my work around her, and resolved to move on.

    The career I am aiming for is one that requires a lot of personal drive, but really, what career doesn’t? But there are so many ways to go about training and behavior modification. Maybe what I am most afraid of is choosing the wrong path, or somehow screwing up the right path with my failures. B&B has become very promising, and because of that my “challenges” seem that much more serious. My lack of experience doesn’t help, either.

    I will try the positive self-talk, overlegen. You’re right, I tend to get stuck on a negative internal reel when something happens, and that needs to stop. It will be hard, but coming back to these friendly and positive replies has already helped me immensely. Thank you everyone!

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