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At a career crossroads…

Local time
Today, 04:04
Jul 12, 2018
First off, I’d like to say finding this forum has been great - I can totally see how I have the same attitudes behaviours as others here!

I used to have a great job understanding people and culture for big companies. While I loved the intellectual challenge and variety of the work, I always struggled to connect with management and clients.

I’ve since had a new job working at a tech startup that hasn’t really worked out (I find it boring), so I’m thinking of taking a job like my old one again.

But I have a hesitation - the more senior I get in a job like my old one (and probably a lot of jobs!) there is increasing client interaction, where I have to win new business and management of small teams of people.

I think I could do this but I don’ t think I’ll ever excel at it. And I remember well the nights where I didn’t sleep at all as I was worried about running a meeting. Or being told I wasn’t enthusiastic enough or didn’t say enough.

What’s funny is when a meeting would be planned and I could write my thoughts in advance I could navigate well, but unplanned questions or more of a making a personal connection I struggled with and get real anxiety.

I’ve got quite far down the interview process with a very cool sounding job but then they told me I’d probably be running workshops with lots of clients and it filled me with dread.

Has anyone had a similar client/colleague heavy job and mastered that? Or have any coping strategies that work for them in this scenario?

Or should I accept that I’m never going to be this type and rein in my ambitions? I want a challenge but I don’t want to feel stressed all the time.

Would CBT or something help?

Love to hear some thoughts!


Magos Biologis
Local time
Today, 11:04
Feb 3, 2012
Unfortunately, the higher you climb, the more leadership, networking, and trust become more important. There's also a time when one switches from student to mentor along the way.

Being on the autistic spectrum, I can only cope rather than master client/colleague heavy jobs. I think you're on the right track. Prep time makes meeting much more tolerable and predictable. I also find structuring the meeting with a handy whiteboard or PPT would be useful since you have the excuse to look at said board/presentation rather than the people's faces. Finally, you can use online meeting platforms such as Skype to talk with others, preferably one with the video off to save bandwidth and to also to only need to focus on audio rather than faces.


Prolific Member
Local time
Today, 04:04
Jun 7, 2017
My experience is that when you show that you have a strong sense of direction, that you have faith in your own competence, and that you respect your own opinions and are willing to share them, then people sort of automatically start looking to you to guide them. When that starts to happen, you automatically lose fear of being judged and all that stuff, which makes it even easier to express yourself, improvise in meeting scenarios, lead people, and so on.

I'm not going to claim to have any knowledge on how to be a manager, but if I were to guess, if you truly believe in yourself and your own skills as a manager, it's a matter of experience to acquire the necessary confidence to thrive in that position.
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