I suck at my job but am otherwise a delightful person

A reader writes:

Short version: I truly suck at, and therefore hate, my job, but I’m otherwise a delightful person and employee — so says pretty much anyone who works with me (they don’t say “delightful,” but they use complimentary terms!). But I love my company and want to stay. Is that just a pipe dream?

Long version: I started my job about a year and a half ago. It is in the same industry I’ve worked for the past 10 years, but doing something different – I spent 10+ years doing medical billing and the new job is processing medical insurance claims. I was burned out on the collections end of medical billing and was delighted to land this position, thinking that my billing experience would be beneficial, and as a bonus, I’d never have to speak to disgruntled patients about why their bill was so high! The company I work for is fantastic – I always loved working with them from the billing side, and they are doing their best to actually HELP people with their medical care – they are not an enormous medical insurance company who doesn’t care.

It takes about six months to be fully trained to process all types of claims, so it’s a pretty intense process. For quality control, processors must maintain 98% accuracy when processing – this is done by spot-audits from another department.

Turns out, this job is JUST processing claims. I can do it, and I can even do it well, but I can’t seem to do it well consistently. I’m not meeting the accuracy standard, and it’s stupid mistakes that I know better than to make! But I get so bored, I think I just zone out. I just can’t make myself care, and I can’t convince myself that it matters. I’m more than happy to fix mistakes, but it makes more work for everyone, which is why we have the 98% standard.

My supervisors have been great about this, offering to help, checking in with me, etc, but the reality is, I just suck at this. However, my supervisors have assured me more than once that I’m a great employee, have a great attitude, and am the type of person they enjoy having on their team. It’s just … that’s not enough! I’ve never had an experience where I’ve been so consistently bad at an aspect of my job – and this isn’t an aspect, it’s the actual job! It’s disappointing, and quite frankly, it’s embarrassing!

There are no current openings within the company that I am qualified for, or that I’m interested in, but I really love this company and would like to stay. But this job is boring! My supervisors and HR even had me do a strengths assessment, which confirmed that this sort of thing isn’t great for me, but the type of job they indicate I’d be good at (marketing) is nothing I’ve ever thought of or worked in. My self-assessment is that I like “consistent variety” – I like having structure and knowing what is expected of me, but I need a little variety in there to break up the day and keep me focused. I like to feel I’ve accomplished something, whereas processing claims is literally never-ending – not even in a way that I can finish a batch and start another one.

So do I cut my losses here and just see what else is out there? I hate starting over, and haven’t really been here that long, but I’ve been trying for months to do better and just can’t seem to get it together. Thoughts? Reassurances? Advice?

Ahhhh, I so badly want to be reassuring here because I do believe you are a delightful person! But …

I wouldn’t stay at a job you’re bad at, even if they think you’re lovely and are lovely back to you.

First, there might be a point where they become less patient with the mistakes. Right now, they might be in “give it time” mode, hoping/assuming that you’ll bring your accuracy up once you’ve been there longer. If that doesn’t happen, it might not be realistic for them to keep you in the job indefinitely.

But maybe more importantly, it’s not good for you to stay in a job you’re bad at. You won’t be building a reputation for doing strong work, and at whatever point you leave, it may be harder to find your next job if you have several years (or more) of not-great work. You’ll have fewer people excited to vouch for you or connect you with job leads, and your references won’t be strong (at least in regard to your work quality). And getting used to being Not Very Good can mess with your head in ways that might be hard to shake once you leave.

Normally I’d tell you to have an honest conversation with your boss to explore whether there might be ways to tweak your role or more you into a different role entirely, but it sounds like you’ve already done that and that your manager and HR are being pretty proactive in trying to work with you on this.

So yes, it does sound like it’s time to start looking outside your company. I get that you really like them and want to stay … but your day-to-day, hour-to-hour work is going to have a lot more influence on your overall quality of life than being at a great company will (as important as that can be too). Plus, if you leave on good terms soon-ish, you’re more likely to preserve the ability to come back there in the future if a job that’s better suited for you opens up … whereas if you stay for a couple of years with a mediocre performance, that may be harder to do (especially if your manager leaves and is replaced by someone with a different take on all this).

{ 162 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. JokeyJules

    I have coworkers I like as people, and other coworkers I like to work with. There’s a huge difference between the two.

    I’d continue with Alison’s advice of trying to find a way to be good at what you do. Try to be the coworker people like and like to work with.

    Reply
    1. BookishMiss

      This 100%. I have co-workers I love working with, but whom I’d never spend time with outside of work, and co-workers whom I wish I could love as people because they are truly lovely, but I can’t…because I’ve worked with them… There are a very precious few whom I love as co-workers and as humans outside of work. One of them was falling into group 2, realized the job wasn’t a good fit, left before I got past the “newbie benefit of the doubt” phase, and now that she’s in a job she loves and rocks, we’re nigh inseparable.
      Standard disclaimer that even when I wanted to break a lovely but not quite competent co-workers keyboard with her face, I was still patient and professional.

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    2. EddieSherbert

      +100 I have several good friends where the friendship blossomed wonderfully… once we no longer worked together.

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    3. Specialk9

      OP, you’re waiting for a job opening, but your managers have made it super clear that you’re failing and they want to help you succeed somewhere else. Really SUPER clear.

      So be clear back – “boss, can you help me get a job in marketing here? How can you help me transition to a role better suited for me?”

      Ask them clearly in a way that asks them to take action to help you move and succeed. (Though be aware it would be a great kindness of them.) But you don’t want advice or goodwill, you want them to meet with the head of marketing and figure out a way to get you on that team, or to get you on a project that’ll give you some experience.

      I’ve seen that happen successfully, with a nice co-worker who wasn’t cutting the mustard. She was worried that the managers were going to fire her or give her a bad review. Our other peers were “nice” and told her comfortable lies. I told her, ‘yeah, they’re going to give you a bad review unless you give them an easy out before they put anything on paper. Tell them you want to do HR (she said that was her preference but she had no experience) and they will do what they can to get you there – because they like you and are kind, and because they hate firing people, so this is a win-win.’ Sure enough, she told them, got a glowing review, and was transferred to HR where she did just fine for years.

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      1. CM

        I think this is an excellent point — it’s not clear from the letter whether the OP doesn’t see any openings and decided it’s not possible to move internally, or whether the OP’s managers have said there is no opportunity to move internally. If it’s the former, absolutely bring it up and ask if there is a possibility that they can help you transfer to a different group. Your upcoming review would be a great time to do this. That will also help you be transparent that you understand your performance issues are serious and want to do a good job, but need a different role to succeed.

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      2. Indoor Cat

        Dude, that is an excellent outcome! I think this point is spot on: “give them an easy out before they put anything on paper.”

        I think often in a conflict (in this case, the conflict is that the employee can’t do what needs to be done in this role, even though both employee and manager want her to, rather than a conflict of opposing wants / needs in different people) people can only immediately see two outcomes and try to push for one or the other, instead of being able to see a third possibility.

        I’ve recently been reading about negotiation as opposed to compromise, wherein negotiation involves trying to come up with as many different solutions as possible until one is found that meets everyone’s needs, whereas compromise is about finding a midpoint between two solutions. The work I’ve been reading is oriented towards couples / families, but after reading it I’ve been seeing how it could be applied to so many kinds of conflicts.

        Your story is a great example, because talking with the bosses about transferring to a different position where she can succeed is negotiation, rather than aiming for a “middle ground” where she consistently underperforms but isn’t fired, which only makes everyone unhappy.

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  2. Maybe irrelevant

    … but I wonder how far off 98% the writer is? I think AAM is right, but it’s worth noting that if by “not meeting the accuracy standard” the LW means that they’re hitting 95%… well, that isn’t necessarily worth having this degree of stress over. Long term, this doesn’t sound the like the right position, but changing your mindset to, “it’s not for me, but I’m okay at it and will do my best for another X months so that I have some breathing space to think about my next step” might actually help more in the long term. Maybe you could take a class in marketing, and who knows? A position might open up at your preferred company while you’re still there.

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    1. Secretary

      yeah I was wondering this too. Is 98% the standard or the goal? Is everyone else at a 98% standard? Is 98% the average and the OP is doing 90% average?

      I worked at a call center that dealt with insurance and medical items, and we were often given high standards to meet that very few people were actually hitting. The top performers were often reaching to hit the “standard”.

      I think it’s a great idea for the OP to keep their options open for a new role, but if they’re generally proficient at their job that could be good to pay the bills while looking for something they’d enjoy.

      Also, if I took that personality assessment my strength would be in marketing too, but I love boring paperwork, so the OP should look at what they think they’d enjoy not what the company thinks they’d enjoy.

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      1. Secretary

        Basically I’m questioning that the OP “sucks” at their job. Is it PIP sucks? Or not in the top 10% of performers “sucks”. I think there’s a difference.

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      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I suspect it’s the standard and that this is a big deal. Claims processing and other, similar data processing and entry jobs often rely heavily on consistently meeting accuracy standards.

        I was never in insurance, but I worked on a project where failure to achieve 98% accuracy resulted in massive costs to the organization (think $100–$200K per failure on a project with a total budget of $1m). It also jeopardized the reliability of funding, because our funders mandated that we achieve that level of accuracy or they would withhold disbursements. In light of those costs, it was often financially more prudent to terminate someone who consistently failed (after corrective action, coaching, and a PIP) than to jeopardize the jobs of the other 28 people on the team.

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        1. fposte

          Yes, there are fields where a small percentage difference is meaningless, and there are fields where it’s huge. I think it’s tempting because the OP is so likeable to consider that a small percentage doesn’t matter, but I don’t think that’s where we are. I also think it never hurts to look around and that delightful people are appreciated in lots of workplaces.

          Accuracy tendencies in humans fascinate me, because they’re so variable, and it’s really not something that will power and checklists can completely compensate for. I am super-accurate in some areas that capable colleagues just aren’t, and I know it’s not for want of diligence; it’s just the way my brain works. (I’m sure there are vice versas as well.) I don’t know if it’s inherent or not, but I do think that it’s a tendency that you can’t entirely workflow yourself into.

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          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Totally agreed re: accuracy tendencies. I’m someone who is not at all accurate with details, even with diligence and checklists. I can catch myself in some contexts, but for most contexts, I just can’t get there because of how my mind connects ideas. And as you note, that’s not a willpower problem—it’s an issue that simply can’t be overcome, sometimes, based on how someone’s brain is wired.

            And that may be the case for OP, as well, in which case I think the highest-priority task for OP is to seek a transfer or new job.

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            1. OP

              Thank you for saying this! No matter what I set up to double-check or whatever, my brain is just not wired that way! I feel terrible about it – I mean, how hard should this be, right?! – but this has been ongoing for a year now with no lasting change and it’s just stressing me out, not helping. So yes – transfer or new job is the way to go, but I really appreciate the support here in the comments!

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              1. Specialk9

                You can succeed, even be a rockstar, in something else. I tried 4 careers before I found my thing, and am now in #6.

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              2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                OP, totally don’t beat yourself up! Some skills or tendencies honestly are not a matter of how hard or strong you work. I know you said you zone out, which can probably be addressed a little bit, but your additional comments sound like this is something beyond concentration/focus.

                The important thing is not to internalize the problem and misattribute it as a comment on your character or ability. It’s not always about your diligence or work ethic or effort, and that sounds particularly true in this instance. Transferring/new job sounds like a great strategy. To a certain extent, many of us do just that. I think I went through 4-5 industries before I finally found a job that I liked where going into work didn’t feel like a massive mental lift. In other jobs, it would take me so much effort just to meet the standard, and I always felt stupid or incapable compared to peers who grokked the field.

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              3. Mad Baggins

                You remind me of myself a year ago! No amount of willpower could make me better at my job, and my willpower to keep throwing all my energy at improving slowly wore down. Eventually it affected my overall demeanor at work and my “delightfulness” and my self-esteem in general. Once I switched careers, I stopped wondering why I never seemed to “get” it or hit the targets I needed to–because now I do and it doesn’t take nearly as much effort! I think for this reason you should look at switching ASAP because if you continue to suck at your job, eventually you won’t have the delightfulness to save you.

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              4. Office Gumby

                I feel you, OP. I, too, suck at my job.

                My job evolved away from my skill set. When I was first hired, it was a free-for-all skunkworks where my innovation and research skills ruled and my work and results were stellar, as I could think outside the box. Then, over the course of several years, I got redunded into a position that’s very much in the box, where there’s One Preferred Method for solving problems, but it hasn’t been written down. I have no clear guidelines for problem-solving, or even what I should and shouldn’t be solving. My mistake rate has increased incredibly, and I don’t have a way of improving.

                Like you, I’m also looking for a new job. Only problem is, I don’t know what that should be. I need to move away from Teapot Support.

                I wish you well in your hunt.

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              5. selena81

                Whatever you do, don’t think this one failure is because you are inherently stupid or lazy. We all have different talents. And you really should start pursuing your talents before your manager’s goodwill wears off.
                Assuming that the 98% is a hard target that is met by pretty much everyone else consistently there is just no way they can justify keeping you on the team towards their own manger.

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          2. Sandman

            I love the phrase accuracy tendencies – it really nails the issue. I’m abysmal with calendaring, and have missed some pretty important things because I just cannot input things correctly and then keep track of them accurately. I can triple-check something and it doesn’t necessarily help, because I’ll overlook the same mistake three times running (I catch things sometimes, of course, just not every time). I usually manage my lack of natural detail-orientation with checklists, but you’re right – checklists can’t quite compensate for it.

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      3. Red Reader

        I manage a team of coders (so not quite the same, but still in medical billing), and our accuracy expectation is 95%. If they don’t hit it 3 times in a rolling 12 month period, consequences start coming in, and six times in the rolling 12 months is supposed to be termination.

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      4. Michaela Westen

        I drifted into data management because I love “investigative” figuring things out. I like, and am good at, understanding the interconnected aspects and troubleshooting them.
        I started in data entry and there was a lot of tedious entry work, at the time I didn’t mind it. It was a relief from dealing with people and my life.
        I agree OP should go for something they like and are good at. I never got a good job until I realized I should look for something that plays to my strengths. There are books that can help them figure out what they want and are good at. I read Heart’s Desire by Sonia Choquette and What Color is Your Parachute. The only aptitude test I ever took said I’d be good at photography and not much else. That’s not a great way to make a living!

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    2. I'm A Little Teapot

      In the insurance world, every percent of accuracy has an outsize importance. Literally a change in claim accuracy of .1% can have millions of dollars of impact. If LW isn’t up to the required accuracy once her probationary/training period is up, they will probably fire her. The impact is just too high.

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    3. KHB

      95% accuracy when you should be hitting 98% means you’re making two and a half times as many mistakes as you should. That’s a big deal, even if 95% accuracy is a high number in other contexts.

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    4. Ask a Manager Post author

      My read is that her accuracy is a problem, based on her managers trying so hard to help and doing strengths assessments and such. That reads to me like it’s A Thing that they’re trying to work on with her, especially in a field where accuracy is so key.

      Reply
    5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      I used to do data entry and management, and being close but below the accuracy threshold can actually be a big, termination-qualifying deal. When our numbers fell below the threshold (98%), you would be placed on a corrective action plan, and people were definitely fired for being at 95% accuracy. So I think this merits the amount of stress OP is currently experiencing.

      If OP truly cannot muster the concentration and focus to ensure accuracy or to double-check their work, then Alison is spot on. The short-term goal should be to search for other jobs (or be open to transitioning to marketing) while trying to keep the accuracy numbers up in the interim. That may help assuage some of the fear so that OP doesn’t become paralyzed by stress.

      This is a rough situation for OP. :(

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      1. 653-CXK

        Our company was a tad more generous: 94% minimum quality in an audit sample of 50 claims, 90% production; and we had two coaching sessions, a first warning, a second warning and a final warning within a 12 month period before termination.

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    6. Bea

      In accounting we accept mistakes happen but if you cannot regularly hit the goal, you can’t stay in the role long term. It must be the same for insurance given how costly inaccuracy is for something so vast.

      It sucks for those who want to squash any job they get their hands on but it’s important to be able to accept it’s not because standards are too high. It’s just that not everyone who is a good worker can do anything and everything. There’s not always flexibility available.

      Think about how horrible it is dealing with a claim being delayed or incorrect on the patient’s side as well. It’s a whole barrel of bad news.

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    7. OP

      I’m still in the mid-90s for accuracy, but it’s literally the job that I’m at least 98% accurate. I wasn’t stressing out for many months about this, but it’s review time, so…..that’s the catalyst, I think!

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      1. Cambridge Comma

        From what you write it’s boredom rather than ability that’s losing you the couple of per cent you’d need. As you would love to stay with the company, is there any way you can gameify or otherwise set yourself challenges to keep your focus up for a few months more until a different internal vacancy opens up?
        Or strategies like checklists?

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      2. Maybe irrelevant

        I see. For what it’s worth, I would probably be around that percentage myself, and I’m pretty good at my (dissimilar) position. Try to keep in mind how great you are at other things, because stressing out about why you aren’t good at a job that is unsuited to your strengths is just going to suck you into a whirlpool of doubt. You’ll achieve great things again as soon as you’re given the right tasks to do.

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    8. Engineer Girl

      I see this false logic all the time. Go OP processes 1000 claims per week with a 98% success rate they will have 20 failures. If they have a 95% success rate they will have 50 failures. That’s 30 EXTRA failures a week more than they’ve budgeted.

      It’s a huge deal.

      Standards are standards for a reason – someone decided that the system needed x failures or less.

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  3. Future Homesteader

    OP, this is a random piece of advice, and forgive me if it’s presumptuous – but just throwin’ this out there – if you have pretty good attention to detail and like consistent variety, office admin jobs are perfect for that. I never saw myself as an EA, but I love it for those reasons (also getting to help people/generally resolve their issues). I have no idea if it would meet your needs, but if you’re looking at changing careers, it’s a direction to explore!

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    1. SarahTheEntwife

      Agree! I spent a few months right out of college as a short-term office temp (the agency would send us out on 1-3 day jobs if they didn’t have a long-term placement) and it felt like being the world’s dorkiest superhero. If it paid well enough I would totally do it long term.

      Library science might also be up your alley, but the job market there is thin enough that it’s probably not your best option if you’re not in love with the idea.

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      1. Future Homesteader

        World’s dorkiest superhero = my new favorite description. I once got called the “Siri of the office,” which would annoy me coming from certain people, but definitely was a sincere compliment from this person.

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      2. Michaela Westen

        Hi-level admins/secretaries can make 50k or more. Depends on what you want, of course, but it’s decent.
        The thing about library science is, most towns that aren’t big cities only have one or a few libraries, which limits the job options. I knew a couple who were both librarians (they met in college) and were staying in their city even though they wanted to move because they felt it would be too hard to get jobs in other places.

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    2. Ama

      I worked as an office admin for a small therapy office and part of my duties included billing the insurance companies, because they were too small to have a separate billing department (I basically only needed to spend an hour or two a day on billing). A place like that would jump at the chance to hire someone with OP’s background.

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      1. Lindsay J

        +1. When I worked in a speech pathology office, me and the office manager dealt with all the insurance aspects including coding and billing.

        We both didn’t have any real training and were just feeling the process out as we went along. Having someone with OP’s background would have been great!

        And since we were a small office, the codes that we billed were pretty limited.

        Plus I did a ton of other stuff when I was there, from redoing the webpage to arranging furniture donations.

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    3. OP

      Yes, I actually think this is something I’d enjoy. One of my first “real” jobs was an admin asst, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, but had real issues with my boss, and it was only part-time. I’m checking out this type of job listing currently!

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      1. NewJobWendy

        I’m sorry your having this issue. Are you able to listen to music (with headphones)? I was recently struggling with boredom at work and found that music helped a lot. I have never been in the habit of listening to music at work so it’s not something I thought to try until some one here suggested it. I think a new job is still a better fit long-term but in the immediate future (next 30 to 60 days) it might help.

        I’ve been in your shoes and it’s an awful feeling (and I DID get fired!) so I wish you luck. If you have had good experience with EA jobs before, also check out Office Management. I don’t care for EA work, where I was responsible for supporting *people* but I liked office management, where I was focused on supporting the organization.

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      2. Specialk9

        I loved consulting for that reason. Enough time to dig into the meat of something, but enough variety to keep from getting bored.

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      3. Obelia

        Alison says “getting used to being Not Very Good can mess with your head in ways that might be hard to shake once you leave” and I couldn’t agree more. That’s what happened to me in my first proper job. And it was going to work as an office admin that rebuilt my confidence. I went into it as a temp, because my confidence was shaky and I wanted to be able to change jobs and explore my options, but I really enjoyed it and it became a fantastic stepping stone to my career (in HR, as it turned out).

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      4. Michaela Westen

        IME large companies pay admins more than average. I’ve seen investment banks and hospitals pay them well. :)

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    4. Serin

      I was just coming up to say this. I also love “consistent variety,” and I have loved the admin work I’ve done.

      The drawback is that, even more so than most work, admin work depends on the quality of the boss — you can be a valued professional who makes a large and noticeable contribution, or you can be a “girl” who picks up dry cleaning and makes coffee.

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    5. BookishMiss

      I also love admin work. Love love loooove it. When I had to hand off my office admin duties at an old job, I was super reluctant – I still have the supply ordering app on my phone!

      Reply
  4. Positive Reframer

    One thought, if you leave on good terms you can come back when a spot does open up, if you don’t leave on good terms then that is a lot less likely.

    It may take a year or a few years for a good match to open up but what is a couple years out of a career?

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  5. Manders

    Oof, OP, this sounds rough. I agree that the best thing you can do right now is look for a job you’d be better at.

    It sounds like you’re getting a little hung up on your results from the strengths assessment. In my opinion, those tests rarely do a good job of accurately pinpointing which field you should be in, because they’re written by people who haven’t worked in all of those potential fields and may not even be aware of how many sub-fields there are. I’m working in marketing now, and while I love it (and the variety is great!), in my specific niche accuracy is very important and a lot of the work is repetitive and never-ending.

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  6. Jenny

    I have had to let go someone I liked a lot, but was just failing in quality metrics despite lots of support and extra training. It sucked but it had to be done, we couldn’t keep someone who.couldn’t do the job. I think higher error rate is normal in the first year, but the zoning out is not good. OP should try to find coping and focus strategies, if possible. But if this is a square peg/round hole situation, it is okay to start job searching for a better fit. Since they like you, they may provide a good reference. Not everyone fits into every job and that is okay.

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    1. Another Day, Another Dollar

      This. If you want to stay, look for coping and other strategies to get to the standard. I had a problem once meeting a target to get off review but was able to get there with help from the reviewer and by looking at the specific errors I was making. Calculations (in the days of adding machines) were my weakness and I just always double-checked them. Certain codes gave me problems and I double-checked those, too and made a little chart of reminders to use. But, I really wanted to succeed in that job. If you really don’t care, your current job sounds like a bad fit for you.

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      1. Not So NewReader

        Yep. If you want to stay at the job you have to care. So one thing has to go in this story line, the lack of caring or the job. Your bosses can’t make you care. They can give you all the pointers in the world but caring has to come from within you.
        I tried a few repetitive jobs in the beginning. Standing was better than sitting, I paid attention longer if I moved around some. But in the end, I did myself no favors because the feelings of failure almost drowned me.
        I can’t do repetitive jobs, my ability focus goes for a nap. I threatened myself, I bribed myself, I babied myself, etc. Nothing worked. I have to have some variety in my day. Some people are really good at it, it’s a form of self-discipline, really. Some people don’t like a mix of work, they don’t understand how to handle a new-to-them task and it scares them such that they almost freeze in place.

        Liking the people you work with will carry you for a while, until it doesn’t. At some point things change, the nice people get stern. “You have to meet standards.” It’s not long but that nice job with nice people turns into a nightmare.
        It’s true you may never find another group of people like this again. BUT you will still meet nice people and you will still find people that you will remember for a long, long time. It’s not a day/night thing, it’s a range.

        OP, put yourself where you will succeed. Use your natural talents to keep yourself employed. It’s okay that laser focus is not one of your talents. Picture a security guard with a laser focus on one person day after day…. we have a term for that, we call it “weird”. There are many jobs that require an ability to keep a few balls moving in the air.

        From what you say here, you like people and they seem to like you back. Don’t take this for granted. Being personable is important in many jobs. Maybe you can leverage that some how. I had a friend whose kid was the class ham. I told my friend to think about ways to leverage that, drama club, debate team, student council. This was a kid who did not mind being the center of attention. I said to my friend, public speakers make good money. It might be something that kiddo can use through life. (After that I did not hear too much more about the kid hamming it up in the classroom.) My point is don’t take things about yourself for granted look at these traits with fresh eyes and think about how to use them best in a career.

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  7. Doug Judy

    OP, I was you. Left a job that I had been at 8 years, which coincidentally was accounts receivable and went to a processing role. I hated it too. I did enjoy at first not talking to anyone but the repetitiveness and monotony was so boring. I couldn’t bring myself to care either. Accuracy was also and issue of mine as well, especially when the standard is 99%. Typo’s happen and I am just not cut out for that kind of work. It took me a while to realize that one not being good at that job didn’t make me any less intelligent or employable for other jobs. It was a bad, bad fit.

    But the plus side is now you know that type of work is not for you and can eliminate similar positions from your job search going forward.

    Reply
    1. BF50

      I’ve worked in AR and I can 100% tell you that I would fail at any sort of data processing job. It’s not that I don’t have the attention to detail. It’s that I cannot maintain the attention to detail while doing repetitive work. It takes a special type of personality to maintain that accuracy and it’s not me.

      One thing I want to mention is that B2B collections are not the same as consumer collections (I’ve done a bit of both). Business collections are less personal. It’s frequently more about problem solving why the invoice is held up vs trying to get someone to fit your bill into their too tight budget over their other bills.

      OP if you are anything like me, this job will make you miserable. If you like the company, but hate your job, you will still be miserable. And the more miserable you are, the worse you will be at accuracy. I would work with your management on how to transition out of this job.

      One bonus is that in interviews you now know a really solid weakness and can use that to weed out some jobs that you are not suited for.

      Reply
    2. OP

      “And getting used to being Not Very Good can mess with your head in ways that might be hard to shake once you leave.”

      This part of Alison’s answer resonated with me – it is already messing with my head. This is why I have to keep reminding myself that I AM a delightful person and I DO have very positive qualities for work and I AM good at many things! In all my working years, this is a new experience for me and I was NOT equipped for it!

      Reply
      1. Specialk9

        I had a job once where I manually input into a database records of incidents. UGH. I wasn’t great at it. But here’s the thing – that’s a very specific kind of person who loves doing the same task over and over. I enjoy novelty, learning, and problem solving. Those are just diametrically opposed skillsets, and I’ve been really successful at other jobs.

        The other thing is that you don’t have to figure out the perfect career, just an interesting next step. Most people kind of fall into careers rather than plan them away age 18. Take away that pressure, be open, and find the next thing you’re good at for awhile.

        And you do sound delightful.

        Reply
  8. NicoleK

    It is possible to stay long term at a company even if you suck at your job. My coworker has been here 5 year and she sucks at 50% of her job. But she’s extraverted, gregarious, personable, and more importantly the Boss props her up. But since it sounds like you dislike your job, it would be better for you to move on. The good thing is that it seems your boss isn’t going to shove you out the door so you may have some time to look for a job.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Even in that context, it’s a risky spot to be in. Your coworker has an ineffective boss now, but if that boss leaves, the next one may actually manage her. And if they have to, say, make budget cuts and they’re looking at people’s output, she’d be the logical one to put on a layoff list.

      Reply
    2. TootsNYC

      also: Her coworkers absolutely know where her weaknesses are. and they’ll resent it, no matter how much they like her.

      And they WILL get asked about her–your boss is not your only audience when you are building up your reputation.

      We’ve seen it time and again on this site, and I’ve seen it in my real life. I do it, in fact.
      And I had a boss who, the moment she saw a resume, called anyone she knew in our industry who might have overlapped with someone who overlapped with the applicant.

      Reply
    3. Specialk9

      I actually think this boss has already started shoving her out the door, in the nicest way. They like her and are trying to find a better fit. This is incredibly rare! But the end is nigh for this job, based in the way there acting. OP needs to find a graceful transition, or they’ll find themselves fired. But the good news is the bosses want to help.

      Reply
    4. Lindsay J

      But it sounds like these bosses might be getting ready to shove her out the door.

      If my boss and HR had me doing strength assessments to determine what other jobs I would be good at, I would take it as a very clear hint that they expected me to be doing something other than my current job shortly.

      Reply
  9. DCompliance

    You said that your supervisors think your attitude is great, but at the same time you are admitting that you cannot make yourself care or convince yourself that it matters. Eventually, how you really feel may shine through and when your supervisors see that, they may not be singing your praises about your attitude. They may be giving you the benefit of the doubt for now because of your positive attitude. However, that can only take you so far if you are not matching it with some serious effort.

    Reply
  10. Serendipity

    It sounds like you have found a great work environment with lovely colleagues and a great boss, and you’re placing a higher priority on this than having a job that’s a good fit for your skills, and where you can build a reputation for good work.

    It’s the opposite situation to your-boss-suc ks-and-isn’t-going-to-change, but fundamentally it’s deciding if you’re willing to stay in a job that’s a bad fit for you, because the other trade-offs are worth it for you.

    It is possible to build a reputation for good work ethics and quality output even in dysfunctional workplaces – I’m in the same broad industry as you, now on the hiring side of the table, and word of mouth reputation from former colleagues and managers (going back years!) counts enormously in the decision process.

    I’m not trying to be pessimistic, and I’m not even going to recommend you leave, but if you do decide to stay then I urge you to take pride in the work that you do now, and do it to the best of your ability.

    Your bosses aren’t stupid, they would know that the work is a bad fit for you. But if you can suck it up and do what the job requires then you can build a reputation for integrity that will carry you far.

    Reply
  11. Myrin

    I don’t have any advice but really, big kudos to you, OP, for being so realistic and clear about this, that can’t be easy!

    Reply
  12. Wheeeee

    “especially if your manager leaves and is replaced by someone with a different take on all this”

    This was my first thought. A change of supervisor could make things dramatically worse for you overnight.

    Reply
    1. The Original K.

      We had one of those where I used to work. She was completely ineffectual in her role – like, she didn’t actually do anything, and she was awful to work with (so not quite the same as the OP) but her boss liked her. She caused a tremendous amount of resentment among everyone who worked with her because you’d have to scramble around to make up for her shortcomings. Because her boss covered for her, people thought she was better at her job than she actually was. Post-restructuring, she ended up in a role for which she was vastly under-qualified AND she got a new boss, who was basically like “WTF?” She was in an important role, too; one that really needed a capable, qualified person. She was first on the chopping block when the org restructured again. I think she does something totally different now.

      Reply
  13. anna green

    OMG this was me exactly at this time last year. I just wasn’t good at some of the main parts of my job, and it had started to make me question my ability to be successful in my industry and really do anything well at all. And it was definitely affecting my ability to move forward at my company. I ended up leaving and taking a different job which is still in the same industry/wheelhouse, but much less technical and more people oriented which is where I am better. And I am SO MUCH happier. I am progressing quickly at my new org and actually feel competent and valued and its wonderful. Like AAM said, it really messes with your head. It took me a while to get used to being confident in my abilities. Luckily me new boss was patient with me in the beginning. You really should find something else! I hope something opens up at your current company that you love so much, but if not, try somewhere new, it’ll be better for you and your career in the long run.

    Reply
    1. TootsNYC

      it had started to make me question my ability to be successful in my industry and really do anything well at all.

      This is an important point.

      Especially when YOU KNOW that the problem is your own personal attitude and your own basic contempt for the tasks and the skills needed.

      That will eat at you–no matter how human it is, it will eat at you.

      Start looking.

      Reply
  14. LQ

    If you really want to try to find a way to make it work there may be some things you could do.
    I’d suggest something like for every mistake you make you donate $10 (or $1, or $100, something that will hurt your pocketbook and your morals) to a cause you HATE at a visceral level.
    Or follow a checklist (if there isn’t one, create one) every single time you have to go through an item. You could laminate it and hang it on your monitor and use a dry erase marker.
    Find a song that is the length of time it takes and you don’t like so it will keep you more focused.
    (The problem with these tips is they kind of push you into grumpier territory which will be difficult to maintain the delightful person part along with the required success % part.)
    For feeling like you did something, what about getting a bunch of little lego people and everytime you process a claim you stack up another person and at the end of each day you’ll have a pyramid of lego people? (I don’t know how many you process in a day so ymmv on this one, but something to make it visible that each one is a person might help.)

    But mostly? Look for something else if possible.

    Reply
      1. LQ

        Totally a real suggestion. The goal is to make the inaccuracies painful. Which is why you’d want it to be a cause you hate. It is much more likely to be an effective tool to make you stop than donating to a cause you love. (I think it was from Dan Ariely, but I could be off on where I heard it from initially.) Making errors that could cause significant problems is not great either, but if the OP isn’t feeling the pain from that in a way that can help them get over the threshold of errors then finding a different way to do that might help.

        I still think finding a different job is the best thing here, I just wanted to offer some actual things that might help if the OP really wants to stick it out.

        Reply
      2. Jady

        The concept is real, although it doesn’t have to be that specific idea.

        I’ve heard other ideas like ‘listen to a song you hate’, ‘do X pushups’, etc. In general, just find a way to punish yourself. But the key is that it has to hurt.

        I can’t say how effective it is, or whether it’s a good idea. Maybe combined with rewarding yourself for doing well, it could be effective. But there’s the risk if you still continue to fail (and still do the punishments), you’d really come to resent things and develop a lot of bitterness.

        Probably works for certain types of people.

        Reply
        1. Les G

          Listen to a song you hate, sure. But donating to a cause you hate doesn’t hurt you, it hurts other folks. How is this ethical?

          Reply
          1. Natalie

            I don’t know that it necessarily has to mean donating to the Society for Promotion of Cruelty to Animals or whatever, it could be something like the food pantry (good cause) run by a religious congregation that’s the total opposite of your beliefs (org you disagree with). Or, I don’t know, a zoo that is perfectly safe and well run, but you don’t really believe in zoos as a concept.

            Reply
            1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

              This. It’s really old school advice, and comes up a lot in contexts like losing weight or sticking with exercise. I’m surprised that people are surprised by it! The idea is less that you, say, donate to the opposing political candidate and more that you donate to a cat rescue place if you hate cats.

              Reply
      3. Natalie

        This is a real technique recommended for changing habits, but I’ve only heard it suggested for problems that are more or less a matter of willpower, which I’m not sure is the issue here.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          Yes, as I said upthread I think accuracy is really complicated. I think that most people who flourish in a field like this have not just conscious attention to detail but very high pattern recognition–a deviation from what’s supposed to be there rings like an alarm bell. It’s like there’s a disturbance in the force. That bell is also weirdly a “found one!” reward, so that helps keep the focus up over time. (I suspect also that visual memory may be a factor here–for me Katherine and Katharine, say, look different and thus would ring that “conflict” bell, whereas somebody with auditory memory may not process the difference so clearly.)

          Reply
          1. BookishMiss

            Yes, thank you for giving me words for my braining! A disturbance in the force ping + Pavlovian bell is exactly what my brain does.
            OP, if you like numbers and precision, but need variety, maybe a job as a bank teller might be a good fit. Yes, the accuracy requirements are exceptionally stringent, but there’s enough variety to stay interested. I overall loved it.

            Reply
            1. Overeducated

              Oof. Bank telling is how I learned that I should stay away from jobs that are heavily oriented toward repetitive, quantitative detail. My error rate in balancing my drawer was not where it should have been and I couldn’t figure out a process improvement that helped. It may have more variety than OP’s current job since dealing with customers can be fun, but maybe not a great improvement.

              Reply
              1. BookishMiss

                Fair point. I was largely in branches where teller work was about a third of my overall responsibilities, but I also like making things match and figuring out why if they don’t.

                Reply
          2. Blue

            I’ve never heard it described this way, but that’s exactly what happens to me! Some aspects of my work are extremely detailed and rely on high levels of accuracy, and when something’s off, it’s like an alarm goes off in my brain before I’m even consciously aware that there’s a problem. I learned early on to always listen to that mental tug, and I will go over things as many times as I need to until I either identify the problem or (repeatedly) assure myself that it’s fine.

            Reply
          3. smoke tree

            That’s interesting–I think this is why I am good at proofreading, because of my pattern recognition abilities. This description rings pretty true to me (ha). I’ve often wondered if I’d be good at other high-accuracy jobs as well. The idea of just working with data all day, every day sounds kind of relaxing.

            Reply
          4. That Would be a Good Band Name

            This explains so well what happens for me. And I *love* finding variances. It’s rewarding. I’m not going to say that I never get bored, but music or a podcast keeps my brain occupied enough if I find myself starting to wander. I definitely think it takes the right kind of person to be able to sit and enter data for 40+ hours a week.

            Reply
  15. it's all about relationships

    “I just can’t make myself care, and I can’t convince myself that it matters.” <– This seems to be the central problem.

    But it does matter, OP, very much. There are real people behind these claims, people whose lives will be made better if you process the claim correctly and may be made very much worse if you do not. Any error might lead a person already struggling with the aftermath of illness to spend hours sorting out whatever mess has been caused by you entering an erroneous code or inaccurate amount.

    So… could you maybe visualize the person behind the paperwork each time you start processing a new claim? Imagine yourself helping them out? Do everything you can to avoid accidentally hurting them?

    It sounds like you care very much about your relationships with coworkers, so much so that they enjoy your company. So, it's just a matter of extending that caring to the people behind the claims.

    Reply
    1. Jessie the First (or second)

      I was thinking this too. I completely understand this is basically piles of piles of paperwork (or electronic “paperwork”) and feels like mindless data entry.

      But OP, I have a child who regularly sees 15 different specialists, and literally has at least one doctor appointment a month, and has extensive procedures and pharmacy claims, and I’m pretty sure we are keeping at least 2 claims processing people employed full-time just through our needs. :-) Those claims are *important* to us. It’s whether he gets to have critically important care that he very much super absolutely needs, and whenever things are denied it’s a crisis for us – and sometimes it’s a coding error or some other simple random mistake a person makes and it is fixed soon and he gets what he needs, but it causes stress and heartache in the meantime and with all my son’s medical issues, a little extra stress and heartache is a Big Deal.

      I don’t know if it would help at all to try to focus on this as you do your mind-numbing work on a day to day basis. But maybe? A little bit? Begin every work day with a little meditation where you imagine being on the patient end of things, before you start your slog through claims?

      Reply
      1. OP

        I’m so sorry about your son and his doctors/specialists! I know you need things to be accurate and I know that this is EXACTLY why my job DOES matter, but I have such a hard time connecting the “paperwork” to a person, and that’s totally on me. I KNOW it matters, but I can’t seem to make it connect, no matter how/what I try. This is one of the worst parts, too – I know each of these claims belongs to an actual person, and often there are pretty big medical problems going on. Maybe I’m numb to it now, I just don’t know.

        Reply
        1. Bea

          No. You’re human. Paperwork is not the same as a person on the phone or in front of you. It’s not easy to draw the connection and it’s really not typical. So please don’t beat yourself up on this.

          Reply
          1. Specialk9

            You’re human indeed. It feels like the last thing you need is more guilt. It sounds like you’re drowning in it, OP. This job isn’t right for you. It’s right for someone who isn’t you! And that’s ok – you can help people in other roles, in roles that actually fit you.

            Reply
        2. Jessie the First (or second)

          Yeah, I know you know this, and that you know intellectually it matters – but that in the daily grind of it, it’s just a grind, just piles of papers. While you are in this job (while you are searching for something else) I was just wondering if going out of your way to specifically have some kind of ritual every day where you make yourself think about it before you begin your day would have any kind of beneficial impact. Or something.

          I mean, I get that the job itself is a slog no matter what and who is behind the paperwork. But since you are stuck here until you find a new job, I’m just trying to think of something!

          Reply
        3. BF50

          I just want to say that being bad at something isn’t a moral failing.
          I also don’t think Jesse was saying that, but I want to make sure you don’t think it.

          It doesn’t make you a cold hearted person that you cannot do this job well even when you know that it affects other people negatively. Not caring that doing the job poorly affects others negatively wouldn’t be great, but that’s not what is happening here. It does affect others and you aren’t suited to this job, so I do think it’s best for you and the patients that you find something that suits you.

          Reply
        4. ..Kat..

          Well, OP. A delightful person like you would be the kind of person who would make a good front office person at a medical office. Greeting patients cheerfully, checking them in, helping them set up new appointments. Assisting coworkers by making sure consulting rooms are properly stocked, etc.

          Reply
      2. Cat Herder

        BTDT. I’m sorry you are having this experience Jessie! And are taking some time for yourself and have good personal (family, friend) support.

        Reply
    2. nonprofit fun

      This part stood out to me too. I’ve spend the past few years in a mindless data entry job, but I know it needs to be done (correctly) because it’s a key part of our organizational structure. If there were nobody to do this job the whole office would be a mess.

      I think for the time being it might help OP to imagine what would happen to the company if nobody did their job – it’ll definitely start to matter then. But in the long term this might be a situation where OP needs to do some soul searching and decide what does matter to them regarding the kind of work they do.

      Reply
    3. Elaine

      Yes, I came to the comments to say the same thing. I have processed claims and it is indeed monotonous. But it absolutely is not true that it doesn’t matter – it matters a LOT to the people behind the claims. I used to imagine that the claimant was actually sitting beside me and I explained everything I was doing and why. In the 7 years I did the job, auditors did not find a single mistake in my processed claims.

      If you don’t like the work and it isn’t a good fit for you, by all means make plans to move on. But addressing the issue of the work’s importance in the meantime might allow you to do a better job and move on in your own timing, rather than being fired.

      Reply
      1. Jady

        “I used to imagine that the claimant was actually sitting beside me and I explained everything I was doing and why.”

        This (in programming) is called Rubber Ducky debugging. I’m sure it has a more generic name or field-specific names, but the idea is pretty useful. When explaining things to “someone” – even if that someone doesn’t exist – errors and problems become more obvious.

        OP may want to give this a shot.

        Also: CHECKLISTS.

        Reply
      2. fposte

        I also think that “it doesn’t matter” is a common mental response to intellectual fatigue. You can understand perfectly well at heart that it does matter, but after six hours your brain just starts to spiral off in its own search for meaning.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          Agreed. It’s brain fade to the core. When caring goes away there is not much left to hang on to. I have had a couple dull jobs. I learned to set life goals to help keep me engaged in the job. I’d tell myself I cannot get the next life goal if I am not employed or if I go through a spell of unemployment that life goal will be delayed.

          Before it’s over OP you may end up looking at your self-care habits. A body that is not taken care of cannot support a brain that functions well. I tried showing up to work on a few hours sleep and I learned sleep was not optional and it got less optional with age. If I did not take care of myself, my ability to care about my job also declined.

          Reply
  16. Mbarr

    I’m in a vaguely similar situation. I’ve been at my company/job for a year and a half. During that time my role has COMPLETELY changed. I used to be involved in the IT/tech side of things which I enjoy. Now I’m doing Project Management for everything and anything. The constant fight to try to get people to do stuff is draining me.

    I’d love to look for another job, but I don’t want to appear to be job skipper (I was at my last company/job for a year and 3 months). For now I’m hoping a role opens up on a tech team that I’d qualify for.

    Reply
    1. Bea

      Look for a new job!! You had your role changed, it’s a totally reasonable reason to be looking.

      My anxiety spikes with this fear of “job hopping” that’s been put into the hearts of so many. There’s no secret time frame to go by here. You just want to be able to logically explain your moves.

      Being in a job you hate isn’t worth your health. It drains you of your power to be happy even outside of work. You don’t need to love a job but being miserable will take years off your life:(

      Reply
      1. AMPG

        Also, I keep beating this drum, but the unemployment rate is low and the labor market is tightening. People are going to start moving around more because they can, and having a couple of jobs in a row with terms of only a year or two isn’t going to be that big of a deal.

        Reply
        1. Bea

          Preach! Depending on the area, having a desirable skill is marketable AF these days.

          Looking around shouldn’t hurt unless you have that crazy boss who fires anyone thought to be trying to leave. Chances of trying hurting you are pretty low.

          Reply
    2. MG

      This is crazy because it’s almost exactly the opposite situation of a job I just left – I thought I was taking on an account management type role at a software company, but it turned out, what most of our account clients needed was IT help. And while we had a tech support team that ostensibly should handle those needs, it would fall to us in account management to be first-line help and only escalate to tech support if it was something we couldn’t solve. Not at all what I expected and I didn’t like it or feel that I was doing a good job.

      My explanation of “it turned out to be IT/tech support, and that wasn’t what I thought I was signing up for” seemed to go over just fine in interviews. I think an unexpected job mismatch is a much more understandable reason to leave quickly than if you’re just implying that you get bored quickly in each role. (And, tbh, I started looking just over a year in, but ended up not leaving until almost two years in, just because sometimes a job search can take a while! Your “too soon” might turn into “more reasonable” just through the process.)

      THAT SAID, you want to make sure you’re not applying for jobs that are too close to what you’re leaving. I think it would have seemed weirder if I said “I want out because I found out it was a tech support job,” and I was applying for new roles that also included tech support. I’m now working as an admin at a nonprofit. So, applying for this role, they knew I was telling the truth about wanting to get out of software/tech. :) Pay close attention to job descriptions or ask questions, and either don’t apply to roles that include project management, or if you do still want to apply because it seems like a good fit anyway, then don’t use “it turned out to be project management and I hate it” as your reason for leaving!

      Reply
  17. Bea

    We all fail at some point and it’s not because we’re bad people or bad workers. You’re talented and good at billing, you’ve proven that. You tried to move into claims and it’s not for you. That’s okay.

    You are a good person and a lovely employee with a good attitude, you’re clearly trying.

    Now it’s time to accept you didn’t click into the new role and move forward. This will only sit and hurt you if you keep struggling.

    It’s like when you date someone who’s nice. Nothing is wrong with them but you don’t click, it’s awkward and kind of annoying because “but they’re nice. With a good job and interesting background but…boring without a spark.” You don’t drag it out, it’s not fair to you or the company that you care for in this case.

    Reply
    1. London Calling

      Very much so. OP, you’ve found what sort of work doesn’t suit you, so you know at least one thing you want to avoid next time.

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        We all have substantial lists of work we will NEVER do. I will never repair cars, bake breads, or sew for a living. Never. And it’s okay. It’s especially okay with the people who CAN do these things and are very good at it. We all have our thing that we contribute to society.

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          I love this list. I’m trying to think of my own never-ever jobs:
          -On my feet & outdoors year round
          -Work in a warehouse
          -Retail
          -Finance or accounting
          -Customer Service

          Reply
        2. Bea

          I’ll never work in insurance or anything regarding the medical world. I did a stint in medical records early in my starting out. I refused to apply for the full time position despite their pushing for it, they thought I was great. I knew I’d crawl out of my head after dealing with just a few months of a temp assignment.

          Reply
  18. The Big Stinko

    If you really love your company – and their desire to help people – why would you jeopardize their reputation and disappoint their customers with your mistakes? I admire your honesty but think you’re not truly doing them any favors by staying on, especially if you’re creating more work for other (accurate) employees who might leave because of you. Please take AAM’s advice and go.

    Reply
  19. BRR

    I agree with others that you should look elsewhere. I have a coworker like this. They are one of the nicest people ever and also terrible at their job (I’m not saying you’re terrible, just that my coworker is far from meeting expectations). I think their personality has kept them but I don’t see a future with them at my employer. The ramifications of picking up their slack has eroded anything I like about them. The quality of their work has been addressed with them but nothing has changed. Nobody has any confidence in their work and because it has gone on so long, I really doubt they will be able to build their reputation back up.

    Reply
    1. Nom Nom

      I’ve been struggling with this as well for the last 6 months and the rest of our team are almost BEC now as we’ve had to pick up the workload of nearly a whole job. Even the niceness has become grating. People are openly speculating as to whether the niceness is a tactic to get out of doing the work. While I don’t believe it is, and the level of being crap at the job seems to be far worse than what OP is describing (If we could only get 40% accuracy it would be a big improvement), someone is having to fix OPs mistakes etc and eventually resentment builds. OP is obviously asking all the right questions (could I introduce you to my colleague???) but OP if you can’t get an internal transfer (and good luck with that!!) then have another look at that evaluation and see what else might be a better fit.

      Reply
  20. Bikirl

    Boredom and being a poor performer sound like they go hand in hand in OP’s case. I would set my sights on finding a job that is a better match for your skills, talents, and personality, that won’t bore you, and drives you to perform better. This might take some time, not to mention introspection, research, and career counselling. Knowing you have a career goal might stimulate you to do better in your current position.

    Reply
  21. Richie

    Hi OP, I had the same problem as you, data entry errors in an insurance job. I found that having a few sessions with an orthoptist really helped. I was also going too fast. I input as fast now but make sure to double check my number and emails.

    Reply
    1. Specialk9

      I looked up orthoptics, and the explanations didn’t help me understand.
      (Orthoptics is a profession allied to eye care profession whose primary emphasis is the diagnosis and non-surgical management of strabismus, amblyopia and eye movement disorders.)

      So what did that mean, in practical terms, for you?

      Reply
  22. AMPG

    I think this role has been a valuable learning experience for you, OP, in terms of understanding what you need in a job in order to be fulfilled. My brother loves “plug and play” jobs like this, where he shows up, does the same thing over and over, and goes home, but he struggles to find positions like this that will pay enough to support himself. I’m like you, on the other hand – I need to have variety and a sense of accomplishment in what I’m doing.

    Reply
    1. London Calling

      I’m in AP and I don’t mind the heavy duty data entry, but I know from a recent temp job that I can’t do that and nothing but that. Like you, I need the change of pace.

      Reply
  23. Nala

    I work for a TPA company currently so claims processing is a huge part of our business. Since you do have the billing knowledge and knowledge of claims processing it may be worthwhile to ask your manager about QA/claims testing. In our company at least when new plans are created we have to test the system to make sure claims are processing as expected. I use my knowledge of billing requirements to help write test cases and then do the actual testing. It’s nice because you get that variety in writing the cases and in the actual testing but you don’t have to hit accuracy benchmarks. My coworker basically created this role because previously they would have to pull processors away from their day job to test every system update or new plan so eventually it made sense to create a unique position for it so the daily work could continue uninterrupted.

    Reply
    1. Specialk9

      Yes. People who do data quality stuff can figure out big picture problems, and how to convey important information to decision-makers without boring them out of paying attention.

      Reply
  24. NW Mossy

    OP, your letter is fascinating because while you’ve focused the content on a strength you don’t have (processing accuracy), you’re also revealing strengths you do have. Let’s review:

    * Your storytelling is clear and your writing style is warm and relatable.
    * You’re clearly capable of building strong relationships and earning the support of others, given everything your boss and HR are doing to invest in your success.
    * Your extensive stint in collections further speaks to an ability to talk with people who aren’t necessarily wanting to talk to you but still finding a way to solve a problem.
    * You speak with passion about helping people, and that service-oriented mindset is one of the things you love about your current employer.

    Putting all that together, I can see why marketing popped up as a possibility – in a marketing role, telling a compelling story and building strong relationships are crucial. I don’t think you necessarily need to go that direction, but your experience in past and current jobs seems to be telling you that you need a significant people-and-stories component to your work to keep your engagement up. If you look for roles in the insurance industry or adjacent (financial services generally, for example) with this kind of focus in the daily duties, I bet you’ll land in a role where you can shine.

    Reply
    1. Escapee from Corporate Management

      “The type of job they indicate I’d be good at (marketing) is nothing I’ve ever thought of or worked in.”

      OP, please don’t be so quick to reject the aptitude analysis and your leadership’s suggestions. You may never have thought of marketing as a role, but before writing it off, learn more. Can you ask to do informational interviews with the marketing team? Sit in on a project? Take a course on the topic (and have the company pay)? With exposure to marketing, you may learn you like it. If you are told you could shine in a role, please look into it before dismissing it.

      Reply
      1. Escapee from Corporate Management

        My pleasure! I was in a rote jobs like yours and then went into marketing. It’s the opposite of what you are doing now. Every day was different.

        I also learned that when mentors made suggestions, they were right. Not 98% of the time right, but often enough to take their advice. You can ask them how they can help you get into a different role that better suits you.

        Reply
    2. EddieSherbert

      There’s also a lot more to marketing-type-jobs than people imagine – and a lot areas that people who with “marketing type skills” thrive. I’ve done event planning, fundraising, interviewing (staff, clients, etc), training, customer support, and working as an editor for marketing writers, along with traditional stuff like blog posts, social media, graphic design, and promotional campaigns.

      At my current job, I was brought in to do promotional videos, and slowly moved to mostly training videos, to now spending about 20% of my time running actual training session for our clients (onsite or remotely) which, to my surprise, I really enjoy doing!

      Whether or not you live in the region(s) they support, I’d recommend checking out BigShoesNetwork to get an idea of what kind of jobs are available in communications. I went to college in a US state they work in, and I found the website so helpful when figuring out what the heck I might want to do for a living!

      Reply
    3. OP

      NW Mossy, thanks for this. I don’t think I truly realized how much being not-good at my job has been messing with my head until I saw this list of things you said I’m good at and it made me tear up a little bit! :-)

      Reply
      1. drpuma

        I think this is the best reason yet for you to find a new job, stat. Good luck and please let us know how it goes!

        Reply
      2. NW Mossy

        Aww, you’re so welcome!

        Sometimes it can be hard to see your own strengths because they tend to be things that come so easily to you that it doesn’t even register that other people would find those things hard. Strengths aren’t necessarily the things you’ve invested tons of sweat and tears into – they can also be abilities and skills that you’ve had for so long that they’re just part of your identity. Don’t discount them just because it doesn’t feel like effort, because they’re still really valuable.

        Reply
  25. Kir Royale

    I was in a PhD program which was primarily based on laboratory work, and I was particularly bad at the specific type of lab work I was doing, which was long and tedious and I didn’t fully understand the theory behind it. I “mastered out” and got a job in the field. Fortunately, this first job had that consistent variety, where I was doing lab work, but zeroing in on optimizing certain steps, doing statistical analysis, working with different team members, and writing. I enjoyed it and was gaining confidence. So an opportunity came up to return to the original type of lab work that I had previously struggled with, and I took it because I wanted to try again and bring my newfound confidence to the bench.
    It was a disaster. I had moved to take on this job, so it was a whole new team, and I didn’t have a support network outside of work. I was put on a form of PIP and was assigned to someone who was supposed to manage me, but only trouble was …They didn’t tell me they had done this!! So I was performing poorly, then on top of that someone out of the blue started nitpicking what I was doing when he wasn’t my line manager, me not knowing he had been instructed to do this by my actual manager. It was awful, my performance got worse instead of better, it hurt my reputation and I left the industry altogether. It took about ten years to get over the shame.

    Reply
    1. Hey Karma, Over here.

      Well that is what we call adding insult to injury. I’m sorry you had such a horrid experience.

      Reply
  26. Former call centre worker

    I agree you should find another job, but as a short term measure, I wonder if there are steps you can take to increase your accuracy? Is there a pattern to your mistakes that you could learn to work around?

    This won’t be the case for every job I’m sure, but in a previous role I did a lot of training, and very often when people were making a lot of mistakes, it was the same mistake a lot of the time – not that everyone would make the same mistakes but that people would have their own particular mistakes that they would make every time. (Often I could tell who had done a piece of work by what the mistakes were!) I would bring it to their attention and encourage them then always to check for ‘their’ mistake before they finish the piece of work.

    How detailed is the feedback you get about your work? Is it possible that you have ‘your’ mistakes and by checking for those you can increase your accuracy without having to double check everything?

    Reply
    1. OP

      My supervisors and I have looked at this a LOT! A big frustration is that there isn’t a pattern to my inaccuracy. Like, at all! It’s just random stuff where I either zoned out, or it was a typo or something. Every so often it was some weird thing that I didn’t understand and have to ask about before I can fix it, but mostly it’s just dumb stuff.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        Other things to consider, if you have this data–is there a time of day or day of the week pattern? Are you okay for two hours, maybe, and then the wheels come off, or is this a constant rate of error?

        Reply
        1. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

          Oh this is a good point! In all honesty, I do think your best option is to seek a different type of role. However, in the meantime (and apologies if this is something you’ve already tried), but what about taking more frequent breaks or breaks at a specific time?

          I would struggle with this sort of very detailed-oriented work as my main responsibility, but I can be super-focused for shortish stretches of time. If you’re similar – what about taking a quick break every other hour (or even every hour!), like an actual get up from your desk and walk around, maybe even a walk outside of the office. It might feel excessive, but it might be what your brain needs to reset. Even if this is not something that’s typical in your office culture – maybe you could clear it with your boss, at least as trial run to see if it helps?

          Reply
          1. Natalie

            This is essentially the pomodoro technique, and you can find nice app timers for this if you decide to try it.

            Reply
      2. Nita

        That’s really hard. Unpredictable mistakes are the worst to figure out. Is it possible for you to trade proofreading with a co-worker? Everyone makes mistakes, so you may both benefit from a new set of eyes on your work.

        Also, if you want to stay at the same company but don’t have the quals for switching departments, would some part-time coursework help? My company has had a few people switch departments this way, and it worked out very well.

        Reply
      3. Hey Karma, Over here.

        Force breaks. Every 15 minutes, have your computer alarm beep. That will break your concentration/hypnotism and force you to refocus.
        And definitely, look into a new position at your company. They like you and want to help you. Let them.

        Reply
  27. OP

    Thanks, Alison! This is pretty much what I thought you’d say, but it’s nice to have it laid out so clearly!

    Reply
  28. Peanut Butter Snob

    I went thru claims training, also at a health insurance company. Literally, the only thing that got be thru the training was the mantra “I don’t have to do this when I grow up.” Longest 6 weeks of training, I had to understand how to process claims, but never had to actually do it. OP, processing claims is a mind numbingly boring job, especially if you’re not into it. A lot of the analysts would listen to audio books or music to get them thru their days. Find something that makes your job easier, or find something else before you crack.

    Reply
    1. Decima Dewey

      When I worked for the accounting firm, one of my jobs was to file updates to services the Tax Department used. My predecessor hated it and I inherited a bunch of envelopes full of unfiled updates. But for me it was relaxing. Get in early, file the latest updates for Tax and ease into the day. No need to track down someone who hadn’t filled out the timesheet or did the math wrong, just pulling the old page 567 and replacing it with the new page 567.

      I also knew it was important for Tax to have the latest information available. If the accuracy in OP’s job is supposed to be 98%, that means they want typos to be really, really rare. If OP can’t get the accuracy up there, better to find something OP is good at and enjoys.

      Reply
  29. Everard

    OP, I can relate! I’m a certified coder and did billing for several years before going to insurance to code charts. I don’t love it the way I loved billing, and I also struggle with motivation and feeling accomplished at the end of the day (something about getting accounts paid is highly addictive for me).
    Have you considered working in provider relations? Depending on how the role is structured you’d get to travel around a bit and meet with different offices and handle a variety of issues like policy updates, tough accounts, etc. and in most cases the reps I knew didn’t personally handle adjudication or patient complaints, they referred to a different department. Ours basically manage the insurance/provider relationship and communication and you sound like you have a very upbeat personality that could work well in this kind of role.
    I do agree with the others who say you should move on before you ruin your reputation at this company. If you are in an area with multiple options I would consider looking for a better fit and gaining experience there while keeping an eye on your current company for future openings that you could move into. You would be a known quantity and if you left on good terms you could probably come back. In my area it’s very common to see people move around to different healthcare providers/insurances like this so I wanted to throw that out there.

    Reply
  30. Mr. Bob Dobalina

    OP, I was wondering if the mistakes are objective or subjective in nature. Are these mistakes like math errors? And I was wondering if you proofread/check your own work–I assume not, since you say that these are stupid mistakes that you know better than to make.

    Reply
  31. Delta Delta

    I think I’m on Team Find A Different Position. (Admittedly, I haven’t read all the comments so I don’t know if others have said something similar.) If you’re a generally nice person and you hate your job, and the hate of your job is making you not do it as well as you’d like, then it doesn’t matter how nice you are – this will never be the right job for you. And it sounds like it’s making you feel blue that this job isn’t working out.

    I am a lawyer, and in my practice I have to interact with lots of other lawyers. I once was dealing with an opposing attorney on a case. He didn’t like the subject matter of the case. Doesn’t understand it. Doesn’t get it. Doesn’t want to go there. But, he took what sounded like a great job and it ended up that he had to do some of these cases he doesn’t like. It became very clear he didn’t like it or even much care about it. Things began to slide, which made it hard for me to do what I needed to do. When I expressed my frustration to others, their response always was, “but Wakeen is so nice!” Yes, Wakeen was nice. But at some point Wakeen’s niceness ran out. I was frustrated that I couldn’t do my job effectively for my client because Wakeen had basically shut down on his end of the case. Turns out the parties resolved the matter without us (as sometimes happens). I later heard Wakeen left the job after being there only about a year (maybe less) and is now working in insurance, which was more suited to what he enjoyed. I ran into him recently and he seems much happier.

    Reply
  32. Jady

    In the comments you mention that you’re pretty close to the required accuracy number. If you were 10%+ off, I’d say run. But if you’re only a few % away from it, and willing to try, you can probably salvage things – at least while you look for new work.

    Granted the job will still be boring, not much will change that.

    Write down the common mistakes you make and keep an ongoing list, and look for patterns. Are most of them related to math, or billing codes, or dates, or…? This gives you an area to focus on double-checking.

    Also Make checklists! All the checklists you need. There are lots of apps and programs that can help (OneNote, ToDoIst, Remember the Milk, Wunderlist, Microsoft To-Do, Trello, EverNote, are just a few!). You could ask coworkers as well if they use any. If you need a checklist per claim type (or whatever), so be it. It may take some upfront time, but it will pay off in the long run.

    Checklists made a big come-back, and they are not embarrassing to use. Pilots, doctors, etc all are recommended (or even required) to use checklists for their jobs. Studies have been done on their effectiveness to reduce errors!

    I use checklists like mad. However, after about 4 years at my current position, they are all second nature now. Speed and accuracy only follow years of experience.

    Reply
  33. Beatrice

    I had this experience at a banking job I held 15 years ago, OP. I’m just not good at jobs that require repetition and a high degree of numeric accuracy. I was the absolute best at customer service in my branch, and it rankled at me that my accuracy problems put my job at risk while I had highly accurate peers who weren’t held accountable for being pleasant to customers, but if you mess up someone’s deposit, they don’t care how nice you were while you were doing it.

    One thing I wanted to mention, that would have helped me back then. If you might be failing at accuracy because you’re trying to hit a speed requirement, talk to your boss about slowing down and focusing on accuracy for a while. It probably won’t salvage the situation completely, but it might buy you more job hunting time as an employed person, if you can switch the metric you’re failing at and show that you’re capable of being accurate if given more time. My branch was fast-paced and didn’t have a lot of staff, and our head teller haaated having to jump in to help clear lines, so she held my feet to the fire on speed and let my accuracy issues be my problem. Even at a slower pace, the job would have been a bad fit for me, but I could have performed better and felt better about myself if I didn’t rush as much, and it would have changed the conversation a little and eased frustrations with some people.

    Reply
  34. claims processing sucks!

    OP – my mom has been a claims manager for a big insurance company for ~10 years, at first doing transplant claims which apparently are totally insane and so demanding (she moved to general claims thankfully, but the company was blocking transplant managers from switching jobs internally for a while because they were so in demand!).

    She said it literally took her FIVE YEARS before she really felt like she knew what she was doing day to day. I think it’s just the nature of the job. That’s not to say this isn’t still a bad fit for you, but you certainly aren’t alone.

    Reply
  35. Jaybeetee

    I’ll go another way, just because you say you enjoy working there.

    I have been recently diagnosed with ADHD-I, and in the past I’ve had data entry-heavy jobs that…did not go so well. Oddly, I have been working for several years in assorted jobs that do require high attention to detail – I find with good training and QC, as well as time to do things, I’m fine. If there’s a lack in the training or QC, or if I’m expected to be fast AND accurate, that’s when the problems come in.

    A few things that have worked for me over the years:

    1) Is it possible for you to listen to music or similar while you work? Or is this a call centre position where you’re on the phone all the time too? Sometimes when you have something like that going on, conversely it helps you to focus better. I’d discourage anything spoken though, as that could just be more distracting.

    2) “Gamify” your data entry. Shoot for perfect entries, and shoot for a streak of perfect entries. Come up with some kind of small reward system if you get X many right in a row (maybe give yourself a 5 minute break or something). This may also help to keep you more engaged.

    3) You don’t mention this as an issue, but is it possible you’re trying to work too fast? This tends to be my own downfall – I’ve always had a tendency to rush my work, and the jobs where I’ve done the worst are ones that egged on that aspect of my personality (i.e. wanted fast and accurate). Especially when I was in a call centre-data entry job, I felt pressured to enter things quickly while I was talking to the client, which lead to more errors. It might be that if you slow down just slightly, and make sure to check each page when you’re done, that that might make a big difference.

    4) Are you able to take short breaks throughout the day? Is this something where you can get through X many files accurately, but then you fatigue and stop paying attention?

    I advise all this just because you say you like the place and would like to stay if possible. And you also say you’re *close* to the accuracy you need, just coming in a little too short. It might be possible for you to turn it around if you make a few tweaks to your working style. But of course, if you find yourself just miserable and bored in the job, you’re probably best to move onto something you find more interesting.

    Reply
  36. Bionerd

    OP, I agree with the many others upthread. Look for another job that aligns with your skill set. Right now you can leave your current job with your supervisor’s good will. But if you stay too long, that won’t be true.

    Go get a job doing something you’ll do well. Then maybe when a more suitable job opens up at your current company, you can come back because you’re the person who tried ABC but actually turned out to be better at XYZ rather than the person they struggled with for years, got fed up with, and ended up on a PIP.

    You can absolutely be a great employee, a good person, and a competent individual and still be really bad at something. Maybe you could improve marginally, but why not play to your strengths instead?

    Reply
  37. Tara R.

    OP, I have some ADD tendencies, and I went through a very similar experience when I was working in a museum doing cataloguing work. Some strategies I used:

    – Listening to music or podcasts
    – Every time I started on a new artifact: stop, stand, mentally “clear the cobwebs”, click around on my phone for a second if I was out of eyeshot of my boss. Clear my brain a bit. Mid-cataloguing: Stop and stretch, flex my feet, re-read what I’ve written so far with fresh eyes. Every 30ish minutes, walk around the room, get a drink, go to the bathroom if necessary, check in with myself– when I came back, I would review everything I’d done since my last break for misspellings or inaccuracies. Mid-morning I’d go for a 2-4 minute stroll outside, and again mid-afternoon (so my day was split up into in at 9:00, 11:00 quick walk, 12:30-1:00 lunch, 3:00 quick walk, done at 5:30).
    – There were a few mistakes that I would make fairly regularly– transposing the digits in the date, for example– so I just always, always double-checked those as a matter of course.
    – I was useless for about an hour before it was time to leave, so I just accepted that and slowed wayyyy down (I made up for it by being pretty speedy the rest of the time)
    – Mental monologuing focusing on what I was doing: “Okay, I’m describing this arrowhead. It’s the 263rd arrowhead I’ve described this week! Let’s take a second to think about what makes it different from the last arrowhead before we start measuring it. Huh, I wonder if it was used to shoot squirrels. It’s a bit longer and narrower than arrowhead 262!” It didn’t actually make things more interesting, but sometimes I could fool myself for a second…

    Reply
    1. CB in Germany

      The next time I notice my mind wandering when I’m cataloging a stack of books, I’m going to think about whether any of them could have been used to shoot squirrels.

      Reply
  38. PandorasHomeobox

    I’m wondering if you’re actually as happy at your job as you say you are. I had a job once similar to yours – close to my field but not in my field – at a company I loved with coworkers who were largely delightful. And I kept making silly, careless mistakes. I was sure I adored my job. But almost immediately after I left, I suddenly realized that I had been waking up miserable every morning and that a lot of my careless mistakes were due to being stressed out by my job. As soon as I was in a job with a more compatible boss, my silly mistakes decreased exponentially. So I think it’s worth considering if you would be happy in this job even if you were the best ever at it.

    Reply
  39. Anonymous for this

    I was in a similar position at a previous job doing what amounted to data entry. I really think it was a good job and I really tried hard but I could never quite hit their speed target or their accuracy rate. (I got close, under 3%, but their target was under 2%.) I started having panic attacks over it. I would wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing and during the weekend when I was out running errands I would have panic attacks. It was kind of a relief being let go, because I don’t think I could have taken too much more of that.

    During the orientation the head of HR told us that they originally had approximately 300 applications for the job. Pre-employment testing (basic typing tests and intelligence tests) and criminal background checks reduced that number to approximately 100 who were invited to an orientation. About 60 people showed up for the orientation, but only 19 accepted job offers. Then during the initial training one person quit (she may have been having problems meeting the target too, I don’t know) and two of us were let go because we didn’t meet the under 2% target after 2 weeks of paid training.

    Reply
  40. MissDisplaced

    Yeah… I think maybe you’re just not a good “fit” for this in spite of all your previous billing experience.
    At a over a year, can you look for other opportunities you’re qualified for with this company? That would be a best case scenario. If not, I also think you need to talk to your manager again and have a real and honest conversation about your lack of focus for this specific type of work for all the reasons Alison stated. Of course, that may not fly, but you can certainly confirm your desire to continue working with the company, and if not perhaps plan a smooth exit.

    My husband went through something similar a few years back, and it was just very demoralizing. Both he and company tried really hard to make it work and thought he could pick it up, but in the end both came to the conclusion he just couldn’t learn what they wanted (think chip design) quickly enough to be proficient and meet quotas. It kind of sucked, but it was better to end it before it got worse.

    Reply
  41. 653-CXK

    OP: I was in your position of angst not long ago, and right now I’m looking for a new job.

    I worked for 21 years at the same company, doing all sorts of medical claims processing. For 15 of those years, I was in a division all put into an incentive program where we had to maintain accuracy and production standards. If we met or exceeded those standards, we got monetary bonuses. If we didn’t, we had progressive discipline, which included PIP’s and written warnings before termination.

    There were times where I wanted to say, “no fair! they’re picking on me!” but a poster above summarized exactly what I felt – a toxic mix of boredom, monotony, inattention, and fear that the wrong charge, diagnosis code, procedure code, or unit would bring me one step closer out of the door.

    It also took me a long, long time and a termination to realize I was in a position for far too long, and I had to move on.

    On the flip side of that, I learned many skills that I’ll take on to a new career, whatever that may be. I’ve learned to write a whole lot better (we had to annotate everything we did when we changed a claim). I taught myself Excel, Word, and other programs that might help someone else. Unemployment insurance is helping me to pay bills, and I have enough saved up to help me out after that. I still have contact with good friends from the company. And the best thing? That constant anxiety, fear, panic and dread I had each day going to work (or working from home) has disappeared.

    I have also had interviews, and each time they ask the question, “Why did you leave your other job?” I tell them the truth, and add, “I’ve learned there are instances where accuracy is paramount, and I hope to bring it to this company.” Hopefully, you’ll find your happy place in a new company, as will I.

    Reply
  42. Kiwi

    OP, I’m good at my job. I get lots of positive feedback and people like working with me.

    My job doesn’t involve anything repetitive. If it did, I would be AWFUL at my job. Like, 90% accuracy max, if I had to do repetitive data entry all day, every day. And I’d be dog slow.

    I’m just saying this to point out that bad-at-this-job does not equal bad-at-every-job.

    Go find yourself a job you’ll be good at. You deserve to.

    Reply
  43. ArtsNerd

    I couldn’t keep up accuracy or focus on tedious work over any length of time even if the fate of the world were on the line. It is, in fact the way my brain is wired (ADHD for me, but it ABSOLUTELY doesn’t need to be a ‘disorder’ or anything neuro-atypical to be the case.) The brain is a beautifully plastic thing and I’m sure there’s a significant portion of the population who can retrain their focus to succeed in this situation. But it sounds very much like that’s not the best strategy for OP.

    So I want to talk about marketing.

    I work in marketing! It’s what I do in the arts! I love… parts of it. I think in terms of the skills assessment and the (true and excellent) strengths laid out by NW Mossy above, you can certainly excel in this department. I caution against making a blind jump into any vague “marketing project” that might help you build experience; especially if you experience social anxiety, but even if not. There are so many parts to marketing and how specialized you get depends on where you are in your career and/or size of the company. Some folks only do Google analytics data reports or event marketing (think sponsor booths at festivals); others are the only communications professional at their employer.

    My industry is almost exclusively small teams of generalists, which in many ways suits me (see: ADHD/love of variety.) In some ways, though, that breadth is a real struggle.

    For years I was responsible for PR (specifically pitching press on previewing and reviewing our events), social media, and grassroots outreach and I hate them. Loathe them even. I was also the only writer on the team, which I hate less but still find very hard in terms of focus. I’m actually pretty good at all of these tasks when I execute them!

    But even though I truly wanted to spread news of the events I was promoting, I dragged my feet and dreaded all them–which was no good for me, my employer, or my events. It made me bad at those parts of the job because if I’m not doing the work when I need to, I am inherently failing in those areas.

    Now at my most-of-the-time job, I get to focus on the parts I’m good at AND truly enjoy — design, email marketing (specialists can find this very lucrative if that’s a factor for you), community partnerships for longer term initiatives (co-producing events, disability accessibility and inclusion, etc.), et. al. Of course there are still tasks and work I dislike or find tedious, but I was able to VERY strategically structure the job posting for an assistant and engage in a hiring process that selected a team member who excels in exactly those broad areas I am weak in. (Thanks to AAM, it goes without saying.)

    tl;dr: there are many, many ways to work in marketing, whether it be in creative and/or technical/analytical aspects, how fine-tuned you specialize, how big your team is, what you are marketing, whether you’re B2B or C2B, how much direct interaction you have with the public, etc. You may love or hate some or all of these permutations! Knowing what you like and excel at will help you narrow your search as you consider next steps.

    I’m also happy to discuss more offline if you want more of my particular perspective–which is small-ish business, creative, and nonprofit communications. I’ve linked to my design ‘portfolio’ which has my contact info.

    Reply
  44. Chai

    OP, I think this past AAM post could be helpful to you: https://www.askamanager.org/2007/09/alternatives-to-firing.html

    As others have said, it’s not a moral failing to not enjoy or not excel at certain types of work. You’re clearly a conscientious and valuable employee who can do great work! I think your employer might be relieved if you proactively approach them and initiate the kind of conversation outlined in the link. It will save them from having to take any disciplinary actions against a person they clearly like and it will preserve your reputation.

    Reply
  45. LadyCop

    I might be wrong…but throwing this out there.

    I’m not sure the OP actually “sucks” at the job. Afterall, they made it clear that they -can- do the work to accuracy…they just lack the general, motivation? to do so. That doesn’t mean the solution changes necessarily, but just a thought that skill doesn’t seem to be the issue, attitude/motivation/mindset etc is.

    Reply

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