I Fail.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s women. Maybe it’s everyone. A human thing. This feeling that no matter what we do, we are not quite cutting it. Not quite good enough.

At work, my performance evaluation took place on Friday and today , well, at least I managed to shower before forcing myself to go out tonight.

As has always been the case with me, I look past the few positive comments and go straight for the negatives. In this case, I felt there were many.

I looked at my evaluation paperwork with my supervisor and saw a string of performance ratings of 3, (“Successful”) standing in a row next to my list of required skills – Decision Making and Problem Solving, Work Quality/Productivity, Communications, Interpersonal Relationships. I received 4s (“Excellent”) in Leadership (which maybe just means I’m bossy), Job Knowledge, Dependability. I am reminded that a 3 is not a bad grade, but an indication that I am doing my job successfully. It does not feel successful. A 3 is a grade C in my mind, which is average.

I spent my entire academic career struggling to keep my head above water. I convinced myself that I didn’t try hard enough when in truth, I’m pretty sure I have a learning disability. I used to think I was a fraud. I would study and study and do poorly on exams and convince myself that I was just telling myself I was studying hard. That I had to have been doing it wrong. Something was wrong. I was wrong. But I’m not sure you can lie to yourself about studying hard when grades are actually important to you. When grades are important, you actually do study hard.

And then I found something that I might be able to make a living at that I was good at. Photography. Grades didn’t matter anymore. And yet here I am now, twenty years into it, feeling again like I am not studying enough. Feeling like I’m being told that I do 25% of my job just fine and the other 75% is lacking. Somehow I thought that at age 42 I would be considered good enough in my field. Alas I am not.

Is it that I used to be good at it and now I no longer am? Or that I was always just OK? Perhaps it doesn’t matter.

It’s left me feeling that I don’t belong. I am, again, a fraud.


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