I’m the weakest link on my team

A reader writes:

I work with a very talented team of individuals, and I feel like I can’t operate at their level. I consistently complete fewer tasks than the rest of the team, and I need guidance on things I’ve been working with for years. I’ve improved greatly from where I was when I started two years ago, but I am still frequently lost and unable to complete my work independently. I was never hired to this team; I was placed here as part of a corporate reshuffle. I could never have passed the interview process to land this job.

I’m not smart enough or dedicated enough to be on this team. This sounds like I’m being overly self-deprecating, but every two weeks we review metrics that show I am completing less work than anyone else. My work receives the most corrections and I’m generally given easier tasks. Last month, a new hire was assigned to redo my work.

There’s no training available outside of asking each other questions. I do ask questions sometimes, but not every time I’m confused. It’s humiliating to admit I don’t know something basic and it feels too late to be demanding that time from everyone else. I don’t think I can ever catch up enough to be a peer to my teammates.

My manager has been positive about my work and praises my progress. My teammates are all very kind and supportive and show no sign of being unhappy with me. But even if they are satisfied, I am not. I hate feeling like a dead weight. Every day I am reminded that I am the least competent and useful person around, and it really hurts my self-esteem.

I’m lucky to be where I am because I am well-compensated and have learned so much from being around smart people. It’s also a fully remote position which has been a godsend. For these reasons I think I should stay put and just do the best I can. But I question if I am in the right job, since I don’t have the talent for it, and I find it so difficult to cope emotionally with being the worst. I’m curious what you would recommend in this situation.

You can read my answer to this letter at New York Magazine today. Head over there to read it.

{ 172 comments… read them below }

  1. Pyjamas*

    I suspect being fully remote is a bug rather than a feature, because OP is missing many opportunities to ask questions on the fly and get feedback in person

    1. Czhorat*

      This is an excellent point. Even at a more senior point in my career I learn a ton from my coworkers just via proximity, and having them nearby to casually bounce ideas off of is a huge plus.

      1. ChattyDelle*

        yes! working in customer service, I stole so many phrases and explanations from overhearing my co workers

    2. Jake*

      Yes! Do you know how often my coworkers are chatting at the water cooler about some aspect of their job that they need help figuring out? It’s nearly daily for every single coworker, regardless of how high up the ladder they are, or how competent they are.

      Being fully remote turns those passing conversations into a formal reach out, which is a much higher hurdle to climb over.

      For the record, I’m 100% pro remote work, but it is easy to miss that this is the kind of thing that remote work doesn’t really do as well as in office work.

      1. Czhorat*

        All employees fully remote works very well.

        All employees onsite works well.

        All employees hybrid works well.

        Most employees onsite and one remote works very poorly.

        1. Olive*

          Depends a lot on the employee. My team had one fully remote worker but he was likeable, helpful, knowledgeable, and experienced. He fit in great despite the distance. It’s going to be a lot harder for someone who is new, inexperienced, or shy to be the one remote person.

        2. HappyPenguin*

          Our school district went fully remote in March 2020 and I hated it. I wasn’t motivated, felt I lost my connection with my coworkers and boss, and generally didn’t feel productive or satisfied. Some of my coworkers loved it. I think it really depends on the person.

      2. Person from the Resume*

        I 100% agree. I can’t imagine the learning curve for a new company, job, role fully remote where every time you need to reach out it feels like you might be interrupting someone.

        But I do love working remote. We just need to acknowledge it’s not perfect for everyone and there are certain things / tasks that are actually easier and more efficient in person. There are some things you must consciously do different when your remote and that includes how you train a new person.

    3. Bippity*

      Yes, there is research that suggests remote work is good for productivity for senior team members, but terrible for junior team members.

      1. Bruce*

        I am very senior and went fully remote during covid… I love that I don’t have 1 to 2 hours of driving each day, and I can take a nap in my attic office when I need to (I’m old!)… but it is a challenge to take part in group meetings, even when some of the other people are remote. I definitely have to push myself to feel engaged. I did hire a young, energetic engineer fully remote in 2022 and she only lasted 6 months or so. Ugh! I am grateful my employer let me do this, but I’m also glad they let me step back from being a front line manager and focus more on special projects…

      2. Clisby*

        I wouldn’t be at all surprised. I worked about 17-18 years remotely (computer programmer) but I had worked onsite almost 9 years. I knew a lot of my co-workers – and a lot about the different company departments – so I really didn’t have much of a learning curve. I loved it, and it was one of the best decisions for our family life that I’ve ever made, but I’m sure it would have been a lot harder if I hadn’t had that almost-9-years of institutional knowledge.

      3. Bast*

        I hated being forced every day all day into remote a la 2020, however, I have found that in specific offices, I am able to get a lot more “focus” tasks done at home because I was not plagued with interruptions. I faced constant interruptions thanks to the “open office” plan we had. We had some folks that were a lot louder than others without realizing it, drama between certain individuals that caused tension, constant questions because people had the resources to figure things out but wanted the easy answer, etc. Working from home cut back on that because I could listen to a podcast or music and do work without listening to someone’s loud rendition of the date they went on over the weekend/concert/whatever else was up for discussion that day, speculation as to why So and So is late again, etc. I could focus without having to stop, restart, stop, restart. People *made an effort* to find information on their own because they couldn’t just turn around in their seats and ask the room at large (most of this information was a couple of clicks away, so not hard to find) and reached out if they were truly stuck, not just because they didn’t feel like taking the 2 minutes to look for it. However, I did find that doing it 5 days a week, every week, was tiring, especially as we were sheltering in place and everything was closed, so there was absolutely NO social outlet. It’s probably better, but Covid kind of ruined permanent WFH for me, and even as a more senior team member I would not take a position that was fully remote.

        1. yadah*

          Honestly, I was doing WFH pre-covid and I thought I would love it but it was still really isolating, especially with part of the team being non-remote.
          Sure it made some focus tasks easier and no commute was lovely – but it was still really weirdly isolating and not having a “reason” to go outside and interact with people on a regular basis really did a number on my mental health. I’m more introverted and thought it would be a dream but it ended up just amplifying any social anxieties that I previously wouldn’t have been inhibited by so it made even fun socializing feel harder.

          When you realize it’s been a week since you’ve even had the opportunity to speak out loud to anyone other than your husband talking to people gets weird. I think if I’d been single I would have genuinely had a breakdown.

          IMO hybrid truly is the way to go, it benefits the widest range of people while still providing flexibility.

      4. GroovyChick*

        But also I think it’s worth bearing in mind that this has its own repercussions, because senior team members aren’t around to pass knowledge on, or model best practice. Also they may get a lot of their own work done, but are they holding up work (or preventing it happening so efficiently) by being less visible? Obviously this varies from place to place and job to job, but I think as a manager there’s often a careful balance that needs to be found.

    4. My Useless Two Cents*

      I got to the end of the letter and saw that nugget and thought “ding ding ding”. OP if there is any possibility to go into the office, even for a short time, it would be a huge help in your training/learning process. You may find out that you are making things much more complicated than they need to be.

      The only other thing I could suggest is to talk to your manager about where your strengths lie and what you enjoy doing. See if there is a way to transition your position to focus on those things. It could be that everyone else hates doing that one thing you enjoy about your job.

    5. Aeryn Sun*

      I work a hybrid schedule but being able to yell over my desk to ask my manager a specific question feels so much easier than writing a whole email about like “I have no idea what I’m doing help me.” Or running to people in the hallway, going “yeah, this thing is kicking my ass” and then they can assure you “oh that’s hard for me too” or “here’s what I was able to figure out.”

    6. Tisserande d'Encre*

      This was my first thought. I felt a lot like this at my old job (hired end of January 2020 so went abruptly remote after 6w) and even when we were back in the office after a year and a half I never felt like I could catch up to my teammates.

  2. Sara without an H*

    Letter Writer, do you have a pattern of underrating your own competence? If so, you should probably take a look at that, maybe with help from a therapist.

    But if you don’t usually sell yourself short, it might be more helpful to think of yourself as miscast in this job. Just as a good actor might find she’s accepted a role that’s wrong for her, you’re less likely to be incompetent than just wrong for this part. By all means, take Alison’s advice and press for some very detailed feedback from your boss, including recommendations for what you would need to do to grow in the role.

    But it sounds to me as though you’re just trying to suffer through a job that just doesn’t let you make use of your strengths. There’s no reason to do that. Check the AAM archives for job search advice, then start looking for something you would be good at and enjoy doing. Life is too short to suffer through an ill-fitting job if there are better alternatives available.

    1. OP*

      Yeah, you’ve seen through me. I have depression. It’s well managed, but it’s feedback like this that makes me see that it still does affect me. I sell myself short constantly. But I’m right this time! It’s useless to defend that point once people know I have depression, but there’s plenty of hard evidence to support it, which I mentioned in my letter.

      1. Nesprin*

        Well, as I see it you have a couple of options:
        1: figure out what you do do well, and focus on that. If your metrics for X are awful, but you are the best at getting someone to do a thing, or the best copy editor, or the best Y in general, ask if you can do more of Y and less of X.
        2: Get better at X. This may be easier if you’re in person as a few people have alluded to.
        3: Find a different job, especially if you can find one that focuses more on Y.
        4: Accept being the weakest link- sometimes someone who does things poorly is better than no one or hiring outside.

        1. MCMonkeybean*

          Yeah, for #4 I get why it would feel demoralizing but even if the objective metrics rank OP as less effective than her peers… well someone is always going to have to be at the bottom of any ranking! And just because you are doesn’t mean that you aren’t also a valued member of the team.

          It’s easier said than done, but I’d try to focus less on where you rank compared to your team members and just think about specific improvements you’d like to work on personally. And I wonder if you could potentially talk to your manager about feeling a bit behind and if there are any trainings you can do to broaden your knowledge?

          1. Cat lady*

            I agree with you completely — someone has to be the lowest rank and it doesn’t mean that someone isn’t still a valuable part of the team. Also, performance is not the only important thing, frankly. On my team, we have a highly competent high performer who is suuuuuuuch a dick to people that we all actually prefer working with our genial lowest performer. Sure, we may have to fix his mistakes occasionally, but at least he’s nice, unlike the perfectionist who is just plain rude to the rest of us all the time. haha

        2. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

          And, for #4, maybe it’s actually helpful for the team to have you taking certain pieces of work, that maybe others don’t want to do! And, is it possible that the work you take is slower, leading to your lower roles?

          There’s no need to stay in a role that doesn’t fit, but worth having a gut check conversation with your boss about if that’s the case as much as you think it is. Our brains are really good at fooling us!

      2. JSPA*

        It can still make you feel a lot worse about being the weakest on quantifiable tasks (which, as Alison points out, is always something that someone has to be).

        Sure, it could be that they like you so much that they’re bending over backwards to keep you, and everyone might be happier if you asked to try another role in the company (or left for something that made your heart sing).

        But if you’re doing some things solidly, and also have a few very predictable blind spots (that are therefore easily patched), it’s quite possible they honestly feel they’re getting their money’s worth from you, and are legitimately pleased with your trajectory.

        Life tends to get very narrow if you only let yourself do the few things that you do both excellently and effortlessly.

        So while there’s nothing wrong with looking for a more natural fit… you’re always allowed to do that…

        This is also a great moment to practice feeling good about “having done some useful work” (full stop). Regardless of what someone else might have done in your shoes. Or on the same day, on a similar task, two desks down.

        “I hate to consider leaving when I’m learning so much, and everyone is so kind, but I’m feeling that X and Y really don’t play to my strengths, and I don’t see a natural career progression here” is a reasonable talk to have.

      3. bamcheeks*

        I personally wouldn’t focus on “is my perception that I am incompetent accurate or not”, but on “this job is making me miserable”. It IS really rough on your self-esteem and self-image to do something you don’t feel competent at day in and day out! I couldn’t do it. And it isn’t necessarily “good for you” or “helping you grow”. Sometimes it’s just sapping your self-esteem and making you miserable.

        I would do some self-reflection on what good days feel like, or previous jobs that you felt much happier in, and identify your strengths. What’s the stuff that makes you feel competent and energised and excited? Can you get more of it in this role? Can you find another role doing it?

        You’re entitled to feel good about work— you don’t have to either proof by metrics that you’re bad at it or that you’re failing by your manager’s or team’s standard. You can just look and see whether there’s something better because it’s better.

        Of course, it’s possible that this job pays more than the stuff you love doing and you can’t afford to go to a lower salary. That’s a thing that happens. But you can at least make that trade off from a position of knowledge, not feeling like you’re not allowed to look.

      4. Owl-a-roo*

        As Alison has said a few times, there’s a lot more to being a great employee than just hard skills. You said yourself that your coworkers and manager all give you great feedback and are all very kind. This means you have a lot more value as an employee than you’re giving yourself credit for! Like Alison said, you don’t need to stay there if you’re absolutely miserable, but it might be worth trying to accept their feedback at face value and think about everything you bring to the job. It might be a sunny disposition, being willing to admit you’re wrong, helping out whenever somebody needs it, or any number of Nice Coworker Qualities.

        For what it’s worth: I am a high-performer with bipolar type 2. My depressed side has A LOT of self-loathing baked in. When I swing to depression, I start feeling like a complete failure at my job despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I’ve done a lot of work to ignore that little voice and keep marching on, but the instinct is still there. Please know that your depression might be sabotaging you more than you realize.

      5. Sara without an H*

        But I’m right this time! Right about what? That you’re not doing well in a role that doesn’t actually suit you? Or are you using this experience to confirm all your depression-generated worst suspicions of personal worthlessness?

        If it’s the second one, please, please see a therapist asap. If it’s the second, well, it’s high time to start looking for a job that you can actually excel at.

        I really feel for you — my schtick is anxiety, rather than depression, but the principle is the same: you have brain weasels and they are filling your head with thoughts that aren’t in your best interest.

        If you’re not currently in therapy, please make that priority one. Then start looking for another position that uses your strengths, rather than feeding your self doubts.

        Jedi hugs! And please keep us updated.

      6. No name*

        There’s plenty of hard evidence that you are doing an acceptable job. “My manager has been positive about my work and praises my progress. My teammates are all very kind and supportive and show no sign of being unhappy with me”.

        Can you sit down with your manager and get a frank understanding of where they think you are doing well and where they think you need improvement?

      7. Janna*

        I feel for you in your predicament. You’re plainly a thoughtful person who has come to what you feel are objective conclusions which make you feel worse about yourself, regardless of what your colleagues may say.

        I would, however, urge you, as other commenters have, to allow that your frame of mind at the moment means that you’re not putting sufficient weight on good news or feedback but on the bad instead and that, as hard as it may be to try to separate your feelings about your job from the facts (which are that your co-workers and manager are kind, happy with you and and your pay and conditions are satisfactory) these are true, regardless of whether they feel true.

        All that said and as Allison says, you don’t have to persevere in a job that makes you unhappy – if you can think of aspects of the job or roles in the past that you enjoyed more, then maybe it is time to hunt down something more compatible.

        Also, just because your present pay and conditions suit you, in the post-Covid world it shouldn’t be impossible to get something else that fits these criteria. If job hunting feels daunting, narrowing your focus as much as possible to positions where your particular desirable criteria are built-in, can make it easier. I’ve heard this described as burning down the haystack to find the needle.

        I see that you’re working from home and I get the impression as some of the other readers do that this means that difficulties you’re experiencing with your work could be easily addressed if you could just ask someone in the flesh as they arise. Plus, when you do seek help, it may be that due to remote working, it’s not being delivered in such a way as you will easily absorb (people absorb information differently and by e-mail or whatever, may not be optimum for you)

        You obviously have mental health issues that you’re aware of and, presumably, addressing, however, it may be worth considering the chemical factory aspects of our bodies – isolation produces stress hormones which prime a person to react to threats. Obviously, most of the commentariat of Ask a Manager don’t live in the same dangerous world our ancestors evolved into but, as they say, our brain’s primary purpose is not to make us happy but to make us survive.

        I may well be completely wrong here but if you are quite isolated then, in addition, to pre-existing mental health issues, you may also be reacting to over-production of stress hormones. If possible, could you try returning to the office for a few weeks as a sort of experiment to see if it helps? Perhaps you could say you have contractors in to deal with some sort of maintenance issues at home which makes it difficult to work?

        It might not change your feelings about your job not being right for you you, but it might ease some of the stress you’re under and make it easier for you to clear some head space and make some changes.

      8. Quill*

        Not knowing anything about your role, OP, but could it be that it depends on a lot of institutional knowledge / has historically assumed that everyone does it by memory? Because I too have depression (and anxiety) and roles where training is minimal because “everyone knows that” or “you just remember how to do that thing you do maybe once every other month” kick my ass. Depression is bad for working memory and it ALSO lies – so how bad you feel you did can be mismatched to reality even if you did a bad job. In both directions, honestly – typos in client reports can be the end of the world to you the first time they happened and the end of the world to your boss the fifth.

        I survive by becoming the documentation person, which is… variable, given that it takes some energy to be constantly writing things down like “if it’s a Jones report you must upload Y in triplicate but never for a Smith report,” and “You must ONLY take the left handed llamas tomorrow”

      9. hi there*

        I’m not sure what Alison suggested, but as a fellow depressive, I’d like to push back gently. Sure there are metrics you’ve provided that show you’re “the worst.” And yet your colleagues and supervisor like you. So maybe you can use this as a learning experience: you don’t have to be perfect or the best to be a valued team member. If you allow that it’s a learning experience, would you ask more questions? Could you journal about your work progress and create some new evidence of your value? You could still look for a job that you’d prefer. But you’re here for now and that’s one way to make it work for you rather than let it kill your self-esteem. I know it’s hard. You’re not alone. Good luck!

    1. Metoo*

      I have this problem with a lot of AAM columns that appear elsewhere. I know Alison needs to make a living, but I wish I could read everything!

    2. sarah*

      Given how strongly Alison advocates for us getting paid fairly for our work, I’m always surprised when people complain about her getting paid for hers.

      1. Don't You Call Me Lady*

        I didn’t see a complaint, just disappointment that they can’t read everything. Plus there are lots of ways to support the site besides subscribing to a publication (using her Amazon links, reading/commenting here, recommending it to others and so on)

      2. Virtual Light*


        Both Slate and Inc allow a few free articles a month, probably The Cut as well. Ad money ain’t what it used to be!

    3. Making Soup*

      Are you genuinely under the impression that Alison is unaware of this fact? How peculiar.

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          I guess my question is what is the point of the original comment? A complaint? A lament? Surprise that this is the way the internet works these days?

          It adds nothing to the discussion for any letter writer that Allison is responding to. That’s why I think such comments are completely unnecessary. Alison is well aware of how her business operates.

          1. Lana Kane*

            If the commenter is new to the site they won’t know the history of this question.

      1. ypsi*

        Well, I don’t think it matters. I, for one, do not want to pay for something that I do not need and do not read (and I cannot justify paying if I just read 2-3 articles a month.
        Second, some of us really are on a tight budget.
        Third, those of us who live outside of the US, e.g. Canada – the subscription will cost more.

        I understand that this is one way Alison makes money and I have no problem with it, I am only responding to how you dismiss the argument.

        1. Sunny*

          Agree with this. Also, you simply can’t subscribe to everything, even if it’s only a few dollars a month for each thing individually .

          Regardless, I don’t get this comment at all – Alison provides loads of free content through this site, so complaining about paywalls on 3rd-party sites feels just churlish. The staff on those sites – including writers like Alison – have to make a living like all of us.

      2. Don't You Call Me Lady*

        That may be true, but Alison herself would shoot down that reasoning if someone was collecting for the boss’s birthday cupcakes

        1. GythaOgden*

          The difference is we’re not Alison’s employees — we’re her customers. We normally pay for her content by seeing the ads, but occasionally are asked to chip in to other people so they can pay her more directly.

    4. H.C.*

      Hm, when I clicked through the full article opened for me (w the disclaimer that “this article is free for a limited time.”)

    5. MicroManagered*

      Usually these external publications are re-runs of previous posts. You can search the site for “I’m the weakest link on my team” and find it.

    6. QuinleyThorne*

      It is? It popped right up for me. Do you regularly read other articles on the site this is linked to? I know some outlets only allow a handful of free articles a month, so it could be that you’ve already reached the limit.

      (Used to be that simply clearing the cache on your browser would reset the limit back to zero on a lot of these paywalled sites, but I think they’ve gotten wise to that particular trick unfortunately.)

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, same for me. I had to accept some cookies, though. Haven’t tried refusing them, though. Many people block cookies for sites by default, some sites respond by refusing access.

  3. I Am On Email*

    Oh OP! Why are you staying in this role?! Your team may be lovely but it seems to be completely sapping your self esteem, which could end up impacting so many different areas of your life.

    Have you had previous jobs and did you like anything about them?

    Can you start looking for an internal transfer or job hunting for something else?

    I am rooting for you and hope we get a nice Christmas or summer update with you in a different job.

    1. Space Needlepoint*

      If OP was moved to this team as part of an organization reshuffle, it’s not likely there’s a place to transfer to.

      That said, I agree getting out of there is the solution, with some help from EAP or therapy if those are possible.

      1. I Am On Email*

        That’s so true, I assumed that the OP has been on the team for two years so things would have settled down enough in the company that internal transfers would be available.

  4. Low functioning employee*

    When I read this I wondered whether I had submitted this in my sleep, because I am in almost the exact same position. I’ve generally been a high performer in the past, but have gotten so burned out that I am without a doubt the least productive person on my team, although my manager never says anything about it. It has taken such a toll on my self esteem (on top of the burnout) that I am planning on making a significant change soon. (I’m planning to take a month or two off, followed by at least temporarily switching careers to a job that I know I can excel at in order to gain that self esteem back.) I couldn’t read Alison’s answer due to the paywall, but I hope things improve for the letter writer!

    1. INeedANap*

      I want to give you this anecdote.

      I used to work with a guy who was obviously the weakest member of the team. He was also quiet and reserved, but I suspect he was just uncomfortable around us. After two years of mediocre (at best) performance, the company moved him to another team in another site entirely, doing very different work. I went to his retirement party a couple of years later, and he was unrecognizable. He had totally blossomed in the new role, his whole team was loathe to see him go, and he looked much happier and more vibrant.

      Sometimes great people are in the wrong role. I hope you find the one that restores your vibrancy.

      1. Jellyfish Catcher*

        I agree. As my first few years of work went on, I realized that I was doing “fine,” but not enthused.
        There was a specific sub-niche, so I took that training. I found my place, blossomed into it and was so much happier.

  5. Reebee*

    LW, what do you really want to be doing? Because if there isn’t growth where you are now, either upwardly or unilaterally, you’re in a dead end. If that’s okay, okay then. If not, perhaps consider updating your resume’, as well as a cover letter in which you succinctly discuss how what you’re doing now translates into new-role-for-which-you’re-applying.

    I’m sorry you’re feeling down.

    1. wordswords*

      I don’t think this framing is quite fair.

      Yes, it’s reasonable for LW to ask herself what level of performance relative to the rest of the team would actually make her feel competent and contented. (Like: would she be fine being generally around the average, or would she not feel really competent unless she was a top star performer? If the latter, there might be some stuff to dig into about perfectionism, imposter syndrome, competitiveness, etc., for her future happiness.) But that’s a separate question. LW has laid out that she’s performing lower on qualitative metrics, that someone newly hired on the team has been correcting her work, etc. As Alison points out, it might be useful to check whether this is actually a problem in her manager’s view — maybe she brings other things to the table, like creative insight, that counterbalance the metrics and mean everyone else is totally satisfied with her work! maybe she’s doing just fine, and happens to be the perfectly competent person on a team of hypercompetent rock stars! — but “have you considered that actually you’re feeling superior because you’re supposed to be the best? are you being super competitive here?” seems a little out of step with the question LW actually asked.

      (Although in any case, I agree with Alison that even if LW’s manager thinks she’s doing fine, being desperately unhappy is a good reason to look for a position where she’ll feel more relaxed and successful!)

    2. Spencer Hastings*

      Did we read the same letter? This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I think it’s natural to expect that you will get better at your job over time — so when the LW mentions that her work was redone by a new hire, I don’t think that’s unhealthy competitiveness on her part, I think that’s a legitimate worry, that the level of knowledge or skill that’s expected as a baseline on this team is still above where she is.

      Anyway, the LW says they don’t have trainings, but I wonder if there are any external trainings she might be able to access? In my field, we do a certain amount of continuing professional education each year, and in situations where someone needs to get up to speed in an area that’s new to them, they start by taking CPE courses on it (e.g. webinars).

      1. I Am On Email*

        I completely agree with Spencer Hastings! I think Tina Turner has had a really strange interpretation of this letter. I don’t see anything about the LW feeling superior, I see someone who’s been in a role for two years, has made improvements but is still significantly underperforming compared to their peers – to the extent that a new hire corrected their work. That is stressful stuff and they deserve a bit of compassion not a telling off.

    3. Grapes are my Jam*

      The *LAST* thing I read in this letter is ego. My heart goes out to the OP.

    4. Dido*

      What on Earth is this comment? OP said a new hire had to redo her work, this isn’t in her head. The job isn’t a fit for her.

  6. Anonymous Demi ISFJ*

    Oh LW, I am so sorry. Were you better at whatever job you were doing before the reshufflement? Surely there’s another company out there hiring for that work.

  7. Person from the Resume*

    The last two paragraphs are the gist. LW needs to weigh pros and cons.

    The pros seem to be concrete: well-paid and remote (which is apparently very important to the LW). The cons are that the LW self-esteem is taking daily hits and they’re miserable. This can have long-term effect on their mental health and already is.

    I’d say that the LW needs to job hunt because this job is toxic to them (it’s not toxic to everyone), but it’s hurting them. Since they’re not in a precarious position about to be fired, they can take the time to search for another remote position that they’re a better fit for.

    1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      I think the word “toxic” applies better to workplaces or managers than to one’s specific job.

      I would absolutely agree that this job is BAD for the LW. We all have areas that are not our strength, and it can be miserable to have to spend 8 hours a day there.

  8. Kes*

    This really depends on the type of work, but it might be worth looking around and seeing if there is any training you could do on your own to help you learn.
    Another possibility is if you can develop documentation or checklists for the work, that could help you solidify your knowledge of the processes, give you a reason to ask questions and get input on what you should be doing and how, and give you something to work with as a basis from that point on that you can review as you go to check your work, as well as potentially being useful for the team in general and any newcomers.
    That said, it also just sounds like this work or at least this team is not entirely a good fit for you. It’s probably worth considering which is the case – is this team just particularly high achieving and demanding and you might be better in a lower pressure environment, or is the work really not your strength, in which case it’s worth thinking about what your strengths and weaknesses are and what kind of work might play more to them.
    It also sounds like you have some golden handcuffs. But if you’re miserable and feeling like a deadweight it’s worth at least exploring other options to see if there’s something better out there for you.

  9. anon for this*

    I’m not sure what to think or feel here.

    We are supposed to not diagnose and to not make up stories or explanations beyond what we are told in the letter. We are supposed to take everything at face value and believe what is written.

    And if we do all that then this is the age-old story of weak management being confrontation-averse when they should be firing someone manifestly incapable of doing the work. If we accept everything written as true and do not invent anything then this person should have been fired at least 1.5 years ago.

    Wow I feel awful writing that!

    I don’t mean the OP any wrong and I hope they found a role they were happier in and a better fit for. I don’t think less of them. I think less of their manager for keeping them way too long.

    I recently read the test should be “knowing what I now know about this employee, would I today hire them for this role?” (Again, if we accept everything in the letter as true) I cannot understand how any manager would answer that in the positive.

    I am aware of the many many reasons reality may not be as the OP writes… but we are specifically instructed to avoid any such speculation in our discussions here.

    1. jasmine*

      OP can be performing worse than the rest of their team while still meeting the expectations of the role.

      1. Czhorat*

        True. In any team, SOMEONE will be the lowest performer, by definition. Someone will be the highest performer.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I had the misfortune to be one of the lower performers on a team of absurd high performers at a past job. I wasn’t bad at my job. We were all crazy good at our jobs, actually. Our manager was just really good at hiring and keeping high performers, and my ADHD was at that point fully untreated so me working my hardest was not as effective as it is, say, now when it’s at least partially controlled.

          Unfortunately that was also my job at a company that stack-ranked, so the fact that my teammates were absurdly excellent and I was merely excellent meant I got mediocre performance reviews, shitty raises, and no opportunity to advance. We were graded on a curve and I was an A student on a team of A+ students.

          That team was dissolved and I was laid off, but if that hadn’t happened I probably would have moved on soon anyway because it was a dead end for me just due to the shitty nature of stack ranking.

      2. B*

        Yes, and my advice would actually be that OP works on accepting being the “worst” member of the team. Because the job sounds like it is a good fit in every other way, and the only real problem here is OP’s own feelings.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      That’s a pretty uncharitable read of the situation.

      It sounds like the LW is not performing to the level of their coworkers. That doesn’t mean they aren’t performing at an acceptable level.

    3. Kes*

      I don’t know if I agree that “knowing what I now know about this employee, would I today hire them for this role?” is always the test. There’s plenty of mediocre-to-okay employees who wouldn’t necessarily pass that test but are still sufficiently passable to be worth keeping in the role, vs not having someone or having to go through the hiring process to find someone who may or may not be better. I don’t think we have enough information here to say whether OP is one such and their manager is actually sufficiently okay with their work to feel it’s worth having them on the team or whether they should actually be let go but their manager is too passive.

    4. RVA Cat*

      My take is that they have been laid off with severance during the initial reorg, instead of transferred to this team where they can’t succeed.

    5. Olive*

      1.5 years ago, they were new to the role and the team, and it was a reasonable expectation to both the LW and their manager that they would try to learn the work.

    6. OP*

      Thanks, anon, for taking me at my word. I’m convinced my manager is simply too weak to admit that I shouldn’t be here.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        Then like Alison says, you should definitely be looking for a different job! I know it’s hard to sell yourself when you feel like a failure, but if you can really believe it’s a bad fit and not just you, you should be able to do better for yourself.

        Good luck!

      2. Peridot*

        Shouldn’t you be taking your manager at her word, though? If the manager secretly wants you gone but doesn’t do or say anything to make that happen, that’s her issue. I agree with other people that your issue is that you sound unhappy. And if that’s the case, why not start looking and see what else is available that meets your criteria (remote, well-compensated, a position that you enjoy).

        Also. since you mentioned depression in another comment, I think you should at least consider that some of the negative feelings you’re having about yourself come from that and aren’t necessarily reflective of reality. For me, when dealing with depression, it helps if I’m able to step back and recognize, “This is how I’m feeling but that doesn’t make it true, it’s the depression speaking.”

        1. OP*

          Yes, certainly. I usually try to be more self-aware about what’s real and what’s the depression but I’ve dropped that ball in this comment section quite a bit.

          I am worried that since the problem seems to be that I’m unhappy, that this entire issue is just the depression talking too much, and that a new job won’t change that at all. Which doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying, but it gives me pause.

          Anyway, thanks for commenting. It’s been really nice having everyone be so compassionate.

          1. Goldenrod*

            Hey OP –

            I lost the place in the comments where you said this, but I really think the key is that you are a single mom in a land of childless unmarried men…So you have internalized this idea that everyone likes to work all the time and be consumed by work, like that’s the norm.

            I’m here to tell you – that is NOT the norm. Get yourself to a different workplace! I work at a large public university (staff, not faculty). Believe me, pretty much EVERYONE here has a life outside of here and is not all that focused on work as the most important thing (again: staff, not faculty). Find a workplace more like this – with people more like you, and they are everywhere, believe me. You’ve gotten a skewed notion of how to feel about work. There are PLENTY of us who don’t center work in our lives. And plenty of us who don’t even like work, really. AND THAT’S OKAY.

            Moreover, you’d likely be considered a superstar at my workplace, just because you actually give a damn! ;p

            Good luck, you sound like a nice person and we are all rooting for you!! :)

      3. the same anon*

        I should have been more clear – I too felt the urge to find ways to help you feel better, and I noticed that a lot of people doing the same are breaking the rules of this site.

        That said: there are some sound points made above about relative performance not being the same as absolute performance. You may indeed be correct that you are the least good on your team. It can still be easily true that you are good enough at this job both to hire and retain.

        We can truthfully say that without breaking any of the rules of this site. I regret how harsh I was in you.

        I hope you find peace and joy in your work that you can trust and have faith in. You deserve it. Even if literally everything you said is true that does not mean you have done or are doing anything wrong.

        1. OP*

          You weren’t harsh at all! Our culture is so uncomfortable with saying things that may be difficult to hear. I appreciate someone prioritizing an honest appraisal of the situation over wanting to make the bad feelings go away. Thank you very much for your last sentence here; that is a remarkably reassurang thing to say.

  10. OP*

    Thank you so much, Alison, for taking the time to respond to my letter. I’m so used to being unhappy in my job that I didn’t realize quite how strongly that was coming through. Your response was a helpful wake-up call.

    I should have said so in my letter, but I strongly doubt I can get hired elsewhere, given how weak my skills are. I’ve been in the industry for five years but can’t interview at a level communsurate with that experience. Even if I got hired, I have no idea how to avoid finding myself in the same situation. I can hardly ask an employer if their team is all superstars and if so, to count me out! That’s a whole separate letter though. Maybe I’ll write to you again if I get up the courage to attempt a job search. :)

    1. An Australian in London*

      Even if you have evidence that you may have the least skills on your current team, you cannot assume that will be true in any other team… or that even if true you therefore shouldn’t be hired.

      I once gave a reference for someone where I said they weren’t a rock star and wouldn’t be the strongest on the team; they were a solid reliable 7 and I wished there were more of them. They later told me that reference was the deciding factor in them being hired for the job.

      Maybe you’re the only 9 on an improbable team of 10s. :)

    2. ThatGirl*

      This job may not be a good fit, this company may not be a good fit, but that does not mean you are useless or incapable of doing a good job elsewhere. There are certainly things you’re good at, or at the very least competent at, and you yourself say that you are doing better than you were 2 years ago. You may just need a different kind of job or a different kind of company.

      I will take you at your word that you’re not a high performer at THIS job, but I think the “I’ll never be good at anything” part is a combo of depression + being unhappy with this job.

    3. WantonSeedStitch*

      FWIW, OP, I used to have a job in an entry-level admin role, way back years ago. I was TERRIBLE at it. Part of that was due to the fact that my boss was a horrible manager (we had about 80% turnover in our roughly-ten-person company in the three years I was there, and some positions turned over multiple times). Some of it, though, was due to the fact that I was simply bad at working there. So bad. It was just a terrible match between my skills and the position. But I was new to the workforce, and I started to think that maybe my problem was that I was a really good student but a horrible employee who was destined to fail at having a job forever.

      I finally left there, and started temping for a while. This actually got my confidence up, as I realized I DID NOT SUCK AT ALL WORK. Soon, I got an admin role in a very, very different place (a university, non-academic department). I am now a middle manager who just got a rare “highly effective” rating in my annual review and who gets great feedback from reports, management, colleagues, and clients.

      While you might be absolutely right that you are not cut out for the job you’re in now, take heart that there are so many other kinds of jobs out there, and while you might need to take the plunge of going outside your industry and trying something completely new, there’s no reason to think you don’t have a good shot at finding something where you can really shine.

      1. Goldenrod*

        “Soon, I got an admin role in a very, very different place (a university, non-academic department).”

        THIS. Office jobs at universities are plentiful and FILLED with low-key people who value work/life balance.

    4. JelloStapler*

      Have you considered talking to a career counselor to a counselor to start finding things you are good at or re-framing your skills? I feel as though, at this point, you don’t see any positives in your talents and need to get to a place where you can discuss transferrable skills to other industries. It may just take an external eye,

    5. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Can you talk to your manager about this? It sounds like they like you in the team, and maybe it would be a sensible thing for the team to help you find a better fit. They know you well, and may have connections that would trust their judgement about how you’d perform in a different type of position.

      You said you’re already being given the easier tasks. Maybe do an analysis about which parts of the tasks you’re good at and partner with someone who doesn’t like doing those parts. Or maybe there’s a role like scheduling or something that you’d be good at that you can make a larger part of your job. It may be more palatable to stay where you are if you aren’t being measured exactly the same way.

    6. Someone Online*

      I think all of us have, at some point, been in a job where we objectively suck. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t good employees! It just means that we weren’t in the right job.

      Do you have access to a career counselor or that type of support? Or on your own sit down and right down the things you are objectively good at (whether they are in your current job or not) and the types of things you like to do. Then go find jobs that match those areas.

      As someone who manages others, if I had a really likable employee who was a mediocre performer, I would love to see them move on to a position where they really thrive. It’s really the best outcome for everyone.

    7. Gumby*

      Is there any reason that you have to stay in the same industry? Would the skills that you do have serve you well in a different role? It might be worth seeing what’s out there.

      Here’s a bit of my history that may be relevant to your situation both from a ‘mid-career industry change’ perspective and a spin on a ‘not everyone has to excel at the same metrics’ perspective:

      I was working in software quality assurance. And after about 8 years I started to *hate* it. Even though I worked with great teams on products I liked, the job itself was just not doing it for me at all anymore. So I took some courses and got a certificate in project management. The software world definitely has lots of PMs and it seemed like a decent way to pivot. And every time I applied for PM positions I’d get “you have all of this great QA experience; would you like to interview for our open QA position?” No. No I would not.

      Until eventually I interviewed for a sort of PM role (though they called it something else) at a company that does rocket surgery. Half of my co-workers would have PhDs in rocket surgery. These are some seriously smart people. So in my interview I was very clear that I’m really not great at surgery and the response I got was: we don’t need more rocket surgeons, we have plenty of them. But we don’t have anyone to do A, B, and C – which were PM-y type tasks which I absolutely could do. Thus endeth the story of how I am working at a company that does cutting-edge research in the area where I earned the single lowest grade that I have ever earned in my life.

      So if you ever do decide to attempt a job search – it’s a big wide world out there.

    8. Kella*

      OP, it kind of sounds like you are assuming because you are a poor fit for this particular role, that that means this will be the case at any other job. Looking for a new job would be about finding a role that suits the skills you *do* have. You wouldn’t want to interview for jobs that are similar to the one you have now because that’s what you’re trying to leave behind.

      What were you doing before the reshuffle? Is this your first job? Also, the fact that this job placed you in a role without offering training for that role does not mean all other jobs will be that way. If you are dedicated and eager to learn, even if your current skills are entry level, you’d be valuable in your potential for growth.

      I am also going to second other people’s suggestions of a therapist. You mentioned depression and because I am not there in your life, I can’t evaluate how evidence-based all your assessments of the situation are and by Alison’s commenting rules, it would be rude of me to dismiss that assessment. BUT I’m hearing a lot of things that sound like the cognitive distortions, which are symptoms of depression, and cognitive distortions can even disguise themselves as “logical” sometimes. A therapist might help you untangle which beliefs are evidence-based and which are not.

    9. Sean*

      The fact that your manager and fellow team members like you so much means that they truly value your contribution in a way that the cold, hard metrics completely fail to capture.

  11. jasmine*

    LW, I was in a really similar position to you in my last role. There were other problems and the reason I eventually left was work-life balance. So I don’t think this particular aspect made me as unhappy as it makes you. But it definitely weighs. Being the least competent was like taking a little -1 HP poison damage each day. And honestly, I didn’t want to be as dedicated as everyone else on my team. I wanted to spend my time and energy on other hobbies and dreams, and on managing my chronic issues. My health isn’t so bad all things considered, but operating on the level of that team as someone who isn’t able-bodied meant that I had to make my job my life if I wanted to keep up with my colleagues.

    I stayed in that role for longer than I should have, because all the good elements kept pulling me back. If you’re unhappy, start job hunting! It sounds like you have a ton of good new stuff to put on your resume. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something else remote.

    1. OP*

      You’ve hit on something I didn’t really want to admit, which is that I’m not a dedicated to this job as my colleagues. They are all young single men who go home and spend time on projects adjacent to our work. I’m a single parent with hobbies and (surprise) depression. I’m just never going to care about this work the way they do and that’s the real reason why I’m not improving enough.

      I’m glad that you were able to recognize that your job wasn’t serving you well and find something new.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I mean… I would actually make the argument that what you have isn’t a lack of dedication. You’re clearly dedicated because you care very much about how well you’re doing. What you don’t have is the time and energy to spend as much time on the job as a young single man with no work/life balance, and that is not a bad thing. (Honestly IMO it’s a bad thing because they’re setting an unreasonable standard that’s detrimental to anyone who wants to have a life outside of work and they should get a hobby, but I am a middle-aged woman working in tech and have become slightly radicalized on this topic.)

        That said it sounds like this team wants more from you than you’re willing/able to give. That doesn’t mean you should give more. TBH to me it sounds like maybe it’s just an unreasonable work environment that needs to slow its roll. But either way it’s not working for you, and you deserve not to feel bad, so it does sound like it’s time to look for something different.

        1. JelloStapler*

          This this this!

          If the metric is that dedication = your entire life is wrapped up in this job, IMO thats not realistic or fair to put on yourself. I would prefer a well-rounded person with other interests than people who only live for this role. I actually tell my college students that not every facet of themselves will be in their career and that this is GOOD.

        2. MsSolo (UK)*

          Big thumbs up for the idea that all young men (people) in tech really ought to go out and get at least one non-tech related hobby. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if Musk’s bird obsession had been as a twitcher instead of a twitterer? If Zuckerberg had spent his money on macrame instead of Meta?

      2. Anon (and on and on)*

        Oof. Bail, LW! This feels like an example of the sunk cost fallacy. Would you pursue this role knowing what you know now? It doesn’t sound like it. Given that, there’s no reason to make yourself stay when it’s not aligned with what you want.

      3. Pescadero*

        I long ago learned – that I’m not as dedicated to jobs as other people.

        For a while I thought it was my particular job… but then I just figured out it is *jobs* that I hate. The very act of having to have employment is the problem, doesn’t matter what the job is.

        Some are better, some are worse – but they are all soul sucking nightmares.

      4. An Australian in London*

        Hey OP. We can’t diagnose you but you absolutely can diagnose you.

        As a fellow depression sufferer I remind us both that depression lies and makes us unreliable self-narrators.

        I note that a lot of your self-assessment starts with a few objective facts about you compared to others and moves to subjective opinions about you in isolation. That is exactly the sort of sneaky lying trick I recognise in my own depression. I hope you will be open to the idea that it is for you also.

        1. OP*

          Thanks, I definitely let my depression take the pen when writing this letter. I described my job as I experience it, but that’s not necessarily how it is. Learning to view my performance in a more positive light might solve this problem all on its own. I do try to see good things that I’m doing but I haven’t been too successful.

      5. RVA Cat*

        OP, you are the normal person on a team of workaholics. You can’t keep up because you shouldn’t.
        The fact the whole team are young, single people also tells me thus job has much long-term stability as dating Leonardo DiCaprio. Get out before they push you out or it breaks you.

        1. jasmine*

          I LOL’ed

          And yeah, most people wouldn’t be able to keep up on a team where everyone spends their free time on professional development. I know some people who do, but I don’t think it’s the norm. YMMV based on industry but…

        2. amoeba*

          Eh, I mean, to be fair, it doesn’t say anywhere that their manager or their colleagues are actually unhappy with OP’s work! I mean, I get why it’s frustrating, but maybe… they’re actually aware that they’re workaholics and *don’t* expect everybody else to perform at the same level? In which case I’d say, they really should hire some more people with diverse backgrounds and lives outside of work so OP isn’t alone. Sure. But I don’t really see they’re trying to push anybody out…

      6. Sloanicota*

        It’s one factoid, anyway. I did notice in grad school that I was the only one in my cohort of friends who – wasn’t *that* excited about my research. I saw them eager to read the latest journals on their own time or travel to conferences and I didn’t have the same level of enthusiasm. I finished my degree with an MS and exited the program, while many of them stayed on in academia to get a PhD. It doesn’t mean more than telling me I wasn’t on the right track to happiness.

      7. Snoodence Pruter*

        But is it actually obligatory to perform to that level? Or is it perfectly OK to have some rockstars on the team without needing everyone to be a rockstar?

        I can fully understand why the job is getting you down, but I’m also hearing a lot of absolutes and black-and-white thinking here. A lot of stuff about how if you’re not performing to X standard, you’re objectively not good enough and shouldn’t be there. Maybe they don’t need X standard, it’s just nice to have. Maybe they have enough X standard already and don’t need it from everybody, but do still need someone doing your role and are perfectly happy for it to be you.

        Since you mentioned it below, I think you need to consider how much of this is depression talking.

  12. Allonge*

    So – I bet you thought of documenting the answers you are getting to your questions already. I am bringing this up because if those notes are not helping you, it’s very likely that what you are not getting is not ‘basic stuff’ – it sounds very complicated, actually.

    Second: I’m not smart enough or dedicated enough to be on this team. I doubt this: it seems you don’t understand the subject matter. If I were placed in, say, IT, and expected to manage development projects, I would be lost, and it’s unlikely I would ever catch up with actual IT people. I am reasonably smart and dedicated, just not trained in something that is very complex.

    OP, give yourself permission to seek another job in-house or leave and find another employer. You have been trying for two years; this is not your thing and it’s not getting better fast enough for you to be happy here. Go do what you can do well.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      Honestly I feel like if you’re having the thought “I am not dedicated enough to be on this team” you are, by definition, dedicated enough to be on that team. Someone who isn’t dedicated enough isn’t even having the thought. They’re not dedicated enough to care!

  13. Olive*

    We have a person like this on my team and I’ve sensed that the team managers are a little unsure about what to do. They never fully caught onto the work and like the LW, are given the easiest tasks and the most corrections. The team does spend group time with them to help with their tasks but they’re still noticeably behind everyone else. We don’t have the time and budget to pay them for months of training – they have an equivalent formal education to everyone else. They are unlikely to ever be fired – they don’t have a bad attitude and they are able to do some work. And in any group of people, someone has to be the slowest. If a team always got rid of their slowest employee, soon no one would be left.

    But the bad thing for them is that they aren’t on track to be promoted. I think the question for the LW is how long it makes sense for them to be at a dead end job. There are some legitimate reasons that people stay at jobs where they aren’t actively growing – stability at a time when they are focused on out-of-work caregiving, contentment with a undemanding position, etc. I’d advise the LW to decide how long they want to stay for salary and stability and organize a plan around that.

  14. Wendy Darling*

    Two contrasting responses to this situation:

    When I started at my current job I felt way over my head. It’s a really complicated job and it took me over a year to get comfortable with all of the systems I’m expected to use and support. Because of the complexity and sheer number of things my team is involved in, this is totally normal for my role and no one was concerned by how long it was taking me to get up to speed except me, but I spent that first year feeling incredibly insecure and struggling with my feelings in therapy (which I’m in anyway because I have chronic low self-confidence, among other things!). Now I am thriving. Staying was absolutely the right move for me.

    My husband switched teams and felt way over his head. He never really clicked with what his new team was doing and he was completely miserable for the entire year he was on that team. He never felt like he was doing well enough or learning enough. He basically sounded like you, LW, all the time at home for a year. I felt terrible for him. After a year he asked to switch back to his original team and he’s been much happier. Changing roles was absolutely the right move for him.

    Either way can be the right choice — it just depends what’s best for you, and making yourself miserable for a job is rarely if ever what is best for you. If you often feel like you’re not good enough, LW, I’d encourage you to interrogate that with or without a therapist (but a good therapist can definitely really help if that’s something you can access), but you don’t have to keep making yourself miserable at your job while you do it! It’s just something I think is worth doing because you deserve to be happy.

    1. OP*

      Thank you, Wendy, this reply really made me smile. I feel very seen by your illustration that this could go either way. I’m still not sure if I’m in case 1 or case 2. I don’t want to leave prematurely and cheat myself out of the positive outcome you had in your role. But I also don’t want to delay leaving if I’m just making myself suffer for no reason.

      I am in therapy and talk about this frequently. Since my problems at work are essentially just emotional, I have been hoping to get myself to a place where I’m at peace with my performance however I may stack up against my coworkers. I still feel like that would be the best outcome, but it’s been elusive. At some point I need to admit I can’t therapy my way out of this one.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I think the big takeaway I was trying to get at is that it can totally be fine either way (even for the same person!). This is not, short of some serious butterfly-effect nonsense wherein you get obliterated by a meteor on your way into the office in a year, gonna be a decision that makes or breaks the rest of your life.

        You seem like someone who values doing a good job at what you’re doing, so it seems likely you’ll keep learning and growing no matter what you do.

      2. allathian*

        You mentioned above that all of your coworkers are young, single men who spend their free time on professional development, while you have other things you care about in your life, and you’re also dealing with depression.

        Given that your manager and coworkers seem happy with your performance, maybe you should really consider that thought for a while.

        The metrics for a person who’s so dedicated to their job that they have no life outside of it are unrealistic for people who value work/life balance. You’re lucky in that your manager seems to accept that.

  15. Beth*

    OP, let’s assume for the sake of argument that you are right and your ability to do these concrete tasks is below par for your team. Does that actually make you a bad team member? Are you maybe doing well enough by objective standards, while your team just happens to have a lot of really high performers? Do you bring other things to the table that make you valuable – do you keep things organized and on track, are you a whiz at coordinating with other teams, are you willing to give presentations when everyone else would rather shrivel up and die than talk in front of people, are you the one who remembers the birthdays and anniversaries and everyone’s kids’ names? (Those kinds of things don’t get you hired into a role like this – it’s hard to demonstrate you’re a boost to team morale via a resume – but they’re valuable and can absolutely keep you around if you fall into a role.) Maybe you’re focusing on your weaknesses while the rest of your team has decided your strengths are more important.

    1. OP*

      None of the above, but I’m the only person who makes jokes, so maybe that’s what I’m really getting paid for at this point :)

      1. Goldenrod*

        OP, I would DEFINITELY value you as a co-worker if you were the only one making jokes! :p

        Conan O’Brien’s former assistant wrote a hilarious memoir called “The Worst Assistant In the World.” As an EA, I had to read it! But maybe it would make you feel better too.

        When she interviewed for the job, he told her to please relax, and she said, “Great – can I lie down on the couch?” which made him laugh. She’s convinced that’s why he hired her, and kept her around. Never underestimate the power of humor in the workplace! xoxo

      2. bamcheeks*

        I know you think you’re joking, but sometimes being the person who can break a tense moment or see the team through a difficult situation with a little humour is GOLDEN. Teams produce more than individual performers!

  16. what is a name*

    I wonder what sort of roll you are in, LW, and where your pay lands compared to your teammates.

    I’m thinking of several types of skilled jobs where it can be hard to find qualified candidates and salaries match that and where while there may be formalized education, a lot of learning happens on the job.

    If you were moved over with your old pay rate it could be that your manager and your team think of you as more of an trainee or apprentice with outside skills and experience that they believe they can train into the skills for this job, so you come in at a lower rate than the rest of the team, but at a higher rate then the trainee who is fixing your work because your other skills have value, too.

    You might be contributing in ways you aren’t considering like on a team of software developers who are better at coding but you can explain the process to other teams in the company. Or a group of machinist having someone with an admin, purchasing, or sales background who is catching on to their skill set but can help them navigate other parts of the job where they are lacking.

    And even if you feel like you are failing you might find if you leave that you have learned more than you think you have and that the skills and knowledge you are picking up might really help you in a future role.

    I was once asked to take a role for a departing coworker for which I was not qualified. My degree was in an unrelated field. I did not have the professional certification common for the role. My experience was related but on a much lower and less technical level. I took it on in addition to the full time job I was already doing. I worked so hard, but felt like I was constantly failing. It was incredibly stressful and disheartening and it was high stakes so I felt like any errors I made could have major financial consequences for the company. The company decided to make the role permanent and full time and they asked me to apply, but I chose to go back to only doing my previous roll. The guy they eventually hired was incredibly impressive with all the right education and certifications.

    I probably made the right decision, but when I moved on I found that 1.5 years doing the job I wasn’t qualified for and thought wasn’t good at got me my current job where at least 40% of my job is what I was doing before. It was incredibly beneficial to have done it and I was the only one who thought I was failing.

    Also for me it wasn’t even in the type of job where there aren’t enough qualified candidates and on the job training is common. This was in an industry with very robust training and tons of candidates and here I am doing it with all the wrong qualifications.

  17. Goldenrod*

    One thing I will mention is that I’ve often noticed that it’s the smartest people who tend to be the most painfully aware of their limitation. The dumbest people often THINK they are geniuses.

    Consider the possibility that you’re better than you think. You should still probably leave for a job you enjoy more. But maybe your co-workers see more value in you than you do.

  18. Sharon*

    Ask for more training, desktop procedures, etc. If there aren’t references other than informally asking others, that’s not a very good onboarding experience for new employees, especially if a couple senior team members leave at the same time. In fact, if it’s in your wheelhouse, consider volunteering to help put them together. Often the person who just learned something is the best one to document it. When somebody tells you how to do something, write down the steps, *confirm they are correct*, and save it to a shared drive or something. Before too long, you’ll have a manual that you AND future employees can use.

  19. El l*

    I was going to say that – barring a set of too-nice coworkers and boss – it’s most likely you just have a major self-perception problem.

    But has perception become reality? Repeat a message often enough and you act on it. It no longer matters whether its true or not. I fear you’re already there.

  20. ForestHag*

    This one really resonates with me, because I have been part of a team where I was the weakest developer on my team. It was a similar set up – wonderful people, but they just operated at a level much higher than me that I didn’t think I could attain without years of practice, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to put years into it. So I leaned into my strengths that filled gaps on the team – I did more of the project management, business analysis, functional-type work that the other developers didn’t have time for, or weren’t really interested in doing. It worked out great for us – I did work that I felt more confident with, and it helped the team, and they in turn were able to focus more on their work, while also educating me. I learned that I prefer being a more functional technology generalist vs a deep technical expert, and that’s really shaping my career.

    If possible, I would talk with your boss and team about gaps that you perceive in your services/processes where you might could position your strengths, or learn new things that you might find suit you better.

  21. Mermaid of the Lunacy*

    I’ve been around so many “weakest links” in my career. When things are going well otherwise, they last and don’t get fired. Everyone knows they aren’t at the same level as everyone else, but they are nice and maybe it’s tough to hire right now, etc. But – anytime there’s the slightest hint of the need to cut back or reorganize, they are let go. I’m not really “team jump ship” if things are otherwise good at this company and you have a chance of catching on. I’m just saying have your resume ready to go in case there is a change in the weather.

  22. Jellyfish Catcher*

    This sounds like a Semi-Mismatch. You can do the work well enough to be valued and employed – but it’s Just Isn’t You. Remote makes it tougher, as pointed out above.

    Evaluate which parts of that work make you feel competent and which parts are difficult or just disliked.
    This likely will show some niche strengths that you have and/or some areas that need a boost. Focus or ask for get some additional training online or otherwise, for your strengths.

    Also consider if you are getting enough personal social interaction after work. Try to not dwell on what maybe (or likely not) went sideways that day at work. Call and see your friends more, join a club or volunteer. Remote is sort of like a partial lockdown, imho.

    The goal is to be more aware and focused on your strengths, support your emotional needs and when you do a new job search, you’ll have new skills as well. You can do this.

  23. engie*

    LW, are these metrics you mention the only metrics that can possibly evaluate how good you are doing your job? Usually they aren’t. For example, in tech jobs, you often see that women are great at some things that are not as easily captured by metrics, and then it looks like they are less productive, but they are bringing a lot of value, just different.

    1. Whomst*

      Software dev here, and that’s what I was thinking. I’m sure there are some jobs where metrics are actually reflective of how well you’re doing the job, but all of my experience (teaching, coding) has been that metrics MAY reflect if you’re doing a good job, but it doesn’t capture a lot of the most important stuff.

      (I’m a woman, I’m not the most technically competent on my team, but I’m the best at herding cats and juggling multiple competing tasks and keeping meetings running smoothly, especially the technical ones where the business majors don’t realize we’ve gone off track. My boss is smart enough to know how valuable I am to the team, not every boss is.)

  24. Glenn*

    OP, you say the team doesn’t show signs of being unhappy with you. Do you not believe it in your heart, that the team actually does feel good about how you’re doing? Or do you believe it, but it’s not enough?

    For myself — obviously I wouldn’t have a great time working with someone who can only do, say, 10% of the speed/quality of what the rest of the team can do. But someone who could do, say, 80%, could frankly be a very strong teammate under the right circumstances, and someone I would be really upset to lose. And even someone who could only manage 50% could still be a really valuable asset, if they could do that consistently, were generally self-aware about it (which you certainly seem to be), and had a good attitude / were pleasant to work with. I would take that person as a trade for some of my past coworkers. (This is true even if I didn’t expect then to improve further… but see the next paragraph.)

    You say you’ve improved — is it possible that your manager / team have more realistic expectations than you do, about how fast to expect improvement? In some jobs, two years would be a pretty short time to learn, when starting out. When you say “a new hire” was assigned to correct your work, do you mean someone completely new to the field, or someone who effectively has more experience than you do? Even if they don’t have more work experience, if they have a degree in the field, and you don’t, that’s still several years of extra training.

    Is there someone on the team you have a really good rapport with, who you could ask some potentially-embarrassing questions about The Vibes? Who you would definitely believe was telling the truth, if the answer was “no, we really are happy to have you on the team?”

    1. OP*

      Man, the new hire who redid my work came to the team fresh out of her bachelors degree. I have a masters degree in the same field plus four years more experience than she has. That was a pretty humbling moment.

      I would really like to suss out the vibes but I really just think everyone is too nice. Which is a pretty good problem to have!

      Thanks for your comment. It’s good to be able to imagine that even people who are only half as competent as you can still be assets you enjoy having around.

      1. Goldenrod*

        “It’s good to be able to imagine that even people who are only half as competent as you can still be assets you enjoy having around.”

        I wish you could see my workplace. There are so many deadbeats and weirdos here, only halfway doing their jobs. (And I say that lovingly!) I mean, it’s like any episode of the Office. Creed was never fired, for example. And did Kevin (accountant) even know how to do basic math???

        Honestly, just work somewhere where the bar isn’t as high. ;D

  25. Elbe*

    I think that this really hinges on exactly how talented the LW’s colleagues are.

    If they’re all significantly above-average for the industry, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being the “weakest link” among that crew. Being the lowest performer on a team at Google, for example, is still better than being a rockstar at a small company that doesn’t know how to hire. As uncomfortable as it is, staying in this role and continuing to learn would be great for the LW’s future career. The opportunity to learn from very smart people is a HUGE perk in a job. Instead of using their coworkers for comparison, the LW should try to gauge their performance against the industry as a whole – it would be a much more flattering picture!

    If the LW’s colleagues are average for the industry, then the LW’s performance could be an indication that they are not a good fit for the role/industry/etc. In that case, it could be wise to find other work and not waste time going down a path that isn’t right for their skill set.

    Given the positive reactions of the LW’s coworkers, I would bet that the situation is the former, rather than the latter. It sounds like the LW is still doing a great job overall, even if it is not at the level of her colleagues. There’s nothing wrong with that at all!

    Additionally, there are a lot of things that can affect performance – it’s not just about competence or intelligence. If the LW’s colleagues are actively trying to move up the ladder and the LW is happy at their current level, the differences could just come down to dedication or time invested. And that’s okay, too. Not everyone is gunning for a CEO title, not everyone wants to win the rat race. I think the LW may be feeling bad just because they are comparing apples to oranges.

  26. Coffee*

    I swear I could have written this letter myself. I’m not the worst person on my team, but I’m not technically where most of my coworkers are. And being a software developer, I’m afraid that if I apply for another job, people will have expectations of a 5 year experience dev that I can’t meet and thus I won’t be able to find another developer job. Which is maybe over blowing my fears, but it makes me really scared to consider job hunting because what if I can’t get anything else and then I’m screwed?

    1. OP*

      Yup, this is exactly the position I’m in. Although someone pointed out to me that if you find out that you really can’t land any other job in the industry, well, that’s important information to have that can impact how you relate to your current job!

  27. Lisa*

    LW, these things can all be true at the same time:

    1. You are not performing at the level of the rest of your team
    2. You are performing as expected for someone of your level of experience
    3. You are miserable in the job

    I believe that you should take your manager and teammates at their word that your performance is perfectly fine, but that DOES NOT mean that you need to stay in this job. If to be happy you need to be in a job that you’re really excelling at, not just doing “well enough”, then by all means move on! It’s totally OK! I hope you find a better situation for you.

  28. Angelfoodcake4me*

    This got me thinking about the book Stop Being a Super Chicken by Lana Bavle. Research was done on chickens that had been bred to be super chickens, which were great producers, but they pecked each other to death … which translates in interesting ways to the workplace. The book explores a lot points which may help to reframe your thinking and be happier at work.

  29. Alan*

    I was once in this position. Tasks at work were in short supply so my supervisor handed me over to another manager. In theory I was qualified for the work, but I accomplished almost nothing, even though I tried. It was tremendously wearing working on a team where everyone else seemed to know what they were doing. After some months my old supervisor needed me again for a task in my specialty area and I was out of there so fast. I still remember telling the interim manager that I was leaving and she was extremely kind, said that I had done very well and she would be happy to have me back sometime. I still don’t know what she was thinking. I left and never ever looked back. You’re probably not doing as badly as you think you are, but seconding Alison’s comment, find something you can actually enjoy. Life is too short to be struggling like this unless you have to to put food on the table.

    1. OP*

      Haha, who doesn’t have to put food on the table! I’m not doing this for fun! But there could possibly be a way to both pay the bills and not be miserable.

  30. friendly local english teacher*

    Wow, this letter could’ve been written by me five years ago. My first office job out of college was an entry level fundraising assistant at a non-profit. I was hired to replace the absolute superstar predecessor who had just been promoted. I was by far the weakest member of our team, and my mental health has NEVER been worse than during the two years I suffered through that job. I dreaded going to work every day. I too felt that my boss was too weak to really discipline me. My second boss put me on a PIP and, in doing so, forced me to reconsider everything. I thought back on everything even vaguely work-adjacent that I’d ever done in my life and considered what had been the most fulfilling — and landed on the teaching-assistant volunteer program I’d done as a senior in high school. I decided to switch careers entirely, go to grad school, and become a teacher.

    I was fortunate to have the resources to make this leap, and I recognize that not everyone does. But oh my god you would not believe the difference it made in my mental health, physical health, EVERYTHING. I went from feeling utterly incompetent as an admin assistant to completely in control as a high school teacher. I regularly get amazing feedback from students, parents, colleagues, everyone. I look forward to work every single day. My life changed for the better, but it might never have happened had I not been in that miserable job situation for so long. I truly hope and believe that there is something out there for you that will change your life, too!

    1. Aggretsuko*

      Yeah, changing jobs has been a world/life changer for me to go from an environment where I can’t do anything right and being The Worst All The Time to somewhere where my traits are valued.

  31. OP*

    Oh my gosh, this is me in reverse. I was a rock star high school teacher, but the pay and the long hours weren’t sustainable for me, so I decided to switch to software engineering, and now here I am! As a teacher I was terrific and completely underappreciated, and as a developer I’m terrible and overappreciated. The former was much better for my mental health, but despite that, I wouldn’t go back.

    1. friendly local english teacher*

      def don’t go back to teaching if it’s not your thing! I hope you can find something different where you are terrific and appreciated!

    2. Goldenrod*

      High school teacher and software engineer are NOT the only two choices!

      You just haven’t found the right fit yet. But you will!

    3. Part time lab tech*

      I hope you don’t mind but I have a suggestion on where to go next. The combination of good teacher and below average software developer sounds like a great combination for either user interface or software training. I agree with some other people being fully remote might be part of the problem – very few good teachers are very introverted.
      It is also possible that the diversity you bring to the team is truly valued and you facilitate everyone else doing better, even if it doesn’t show up in your personal metrics.

    4. EA*

      You could be an excellent fit for ed tech roles, many of which are remote. I say definitely search! Don’t stay doing something you hate – there are lots of remote roles out there.

    5. The economist's apprentice*

      OP, this makes a lot of sense now. From your letter, it sounded like you’re very self-reflective and you work hard to see things objectively (and I’m guessing it’s harder for you to see your own contributions objectively than it is for most of us). You also seem to be a good communicator and a conscientious worker, so you might just be miscast as a software engineer, but I agree with Part time lab tech that it sounds like you could be really suited to software training.

      Speaking from experience here, I changed careers 3 years ago from one where I wasn’t bad, but probably didn’t show the skills I would need to get promoted, to my current job where I’m a very high performer. It’s been amazing for my mental health to be in a job where I can progress, instead of one that’s stagnant.

      I think at least looking at alternatives might be helpful for you to clarify where your skills lie (and as others have said, you might have enough skills to be useful at your current job even if they don’t show in the same way as the rest of your team).

  32. Similar Sailor*

    Hi OP, I feel like I’m in the exact same boat – similar time in my “new” position, similar feedback from my manager, similar quantifiable evidence that I’m underperforming compared to my team, similar frustration/humiliation about needing so much help still, and similar barriers to leaving this position and finding a new job.
    Two things are getting me through it – first, the realization that my hesitancy to ask questions last year means that I still don’t know some of those things this year, combined with the perspective to know that those things would have been perfectly normal and reasonable to ask last year. Yes, asking them this year is going to be embarrassing, but if I don’t admit ignorance then I can’t fix it. For me, this is also related to ego – I was a high performer on my last team and found the transition from Experienced Knowledgeable Person to Total Noob kind of depressing (in the casual sense of the word). I don’t read any ego in your letter though, so YMMV.
    Second, I’ve begun to consciously note and celebrate the ways that I am improving. There’s a task that took me weeks last year and only a day or two this year, and while it’s embarrassing to think of where I was then, I’m choosing to give myself credit for the improvement and take it as a positive sign.
    Generally I’m trying to focus on improvement and not think as much about where I’m actually at right now. Hope some of this helps and hope you find some happiness whether or not you stay in this position!

  33. DJ*

    I agree with Alison, have a chat with your manager to get some feedback. Find out your strengths and see where they could fit in the organisation so you can look around! Your manager may also be able to suggest or organise some training for you!

  34. Festively Dressed Earl*

    If you did feel competent at your job, would you be happy there? If the answer is “no”, then consider switching fields again. If the answer is “yes”, or “maybe”, read on.

    I hear what you’re saying about metrics and the tasks you’re getting. I believe you. What I don’t believe is that your company would keep you around out of pity, or that such a competent manager and team would wildly overestimate your value.* Businesses exist to exchange goods or services for money. Unless you’re related to/romantically tied to the CEO, the logical explanation for your continued employment is that your employer derives value from what you’re doing every day; the tasks you complete are one less thing on someone else’s plate.

    *Remember that the letters Alison gets about companies keeping bad employees are printed because those situations are abnormal. Additionally, I’ve never read a letter here about a missing stair who realizes they’re a missing stair and wants to know what to do about it.

  35. Jo5832*

    To the OP, if your manager is happy with you and coworkers are happy with you, you are doing a fine job. If you’d rather be somewhere you can be the best, you can. But it sounds like you are valued where you are.

    1. Jo5832*

      Also, if you’re in a place for under 3 years, it’s probably too short to decide you’re not doing well if everyone else seems happy with you.

  36. Claire*

    As a complement to a lot of good points made above, I’d like to point the following. There has been some talk about whether your self-assessment and global appreciation of the situation is “depresssion talking” or objective, non-depressed point of view.
    But what can happen (and I believe may be at play here) is that your “depressed” view of the situation seizes on a nugget of truth and then expands on it in the most negative manner. If you take the view that your depression cannot be summed up only as a functional anomaly but a legitimate defensive mechanism gone awry (doing the best it can with the tools it has), then all your feelings of self devaluation can have at their core some valuable truth about the situation, probably that the position you’re currently holding doesn’t play to your strengths. Or something else, but maybe take it as a signal which is worth exploring by your more rational and balanced parts.

  37. It’s fine*

    This could have been written by someone I work with. Let’s call him Chippy. And it’s fine. Everyone knows that Chippy does his best, and if we need to help Chippy finish a project or rewrite something Chippy wrote, no one minds. Chippy’s heart is in the right place and most of his work is adequate, so no one resents him.

  38. ChanniLP*

    OK I might be totally off-base here, but I get the sense from some details in your letter that you work in software development, and I want to give you a bit of a pep talk towards staying. If you read all the other advice and decide you’d be happier looking elsewhere, that’s totally valid, but you may have a pretty unique opportunity to break into a lucrative career path, and I’d hate to see you give that up because of self-consciousness. So here goes:

    1. Software has a long learning curve. I’m not at all surprised that someone without prior experience, working with poorly-documented systems, is still figuring things out two years in. This does not mean you’re dumb or inherently unsuited; it means this stuff is hard!
    2. I think you can figure this out, if you stick with it, and if you start asking more and deeper questions. You need to figure out how to swallow your pride or awkwardness or whatever and keep asking questions until you actually fully understand the answers. Even if it’s “basic”. Even if you have to ask for a second explanation. Even if your jerkbrain is telling you that someone smarter would already know this. Ask. All. Your. Questions. I see a clear link from “I don’t ask questions every time I’m confused” to “I still need guidance on things I’ve been working with for years”, but that’s a pattern you have the power to change!
    3. In particular, I suspect you’re trying to ask the narrowest and most specific questions possible just to unblock your immediate task, when you ought to be asking more broad “why” questions to help you understand the systems you’re working with and your coworkers’ techniques for approaching the work.
    4. I think you should find a mid-level coworker who you feel most comfortable with, and ask them to be your mentor (or ask your manager to help you find a mentor if that makes more sense). Keep in mind, mentoring junior colleagues is often a criteria for promotion or a resume builder, so this isn’t a one-way favor! And your team clearly likes you and wants to help you succeed. Set up a 30-45m meeting with them once a week and use that time to ask deeper questions. Like, if you often have to ask someone what file you’re supposed to edit for a particular change, maybe sit down with your mentor and ask “when you start a ticket, how do you figure out what file to edit?”, or ask them to walk you through the architecture of a specific area, or pair-program with them on a change they’re working on.
    5. If you don’t understand an answer or explanation, keep probing — you can ask follow-up questions, or ask to talk through an example, or restate what you think you heard in your own words and ask if that’s on the right track, or ask someone else, or even just say “I’m sorry, but I’m still not quite getting it — can you try explaining a different way”. I promise you, someone who’s engaged and working to understand is way less annoying to deal with than someone who smiles and nods and then goes off and does something that demonstrates that they really didn’t get what you were saying at all! Also, explanations are hard, and sometimes people will give you bad ones, so it might not be your fault for not getting it immediately.
    6. I also suspect that you’re so focused on getting your productivity numbers up, you don’t take the time to stop and reflect on your work, and that’s an important part of learning. Try taking 15m after each task you finish to write down one thing you learned about the code or workflow that you can apply to future tasks. Take time to really reflect on every correction you get and how you can avoid the same issue in the future. Make a checklist if it helps.
    7. Relatedly, try “duck debugging” — before you ask a person for help, try explaining your problem and what you’ve tried so far to an inanimate object (traditionally, a rubber duck), and then try to answer your own questions. Sometimes just talking through something can help you figure out the answer. If you still need help from a person after that, try asking a more open-ended question, like instead of “how do I fix X?” maybe say “I want to do Y, but I’m running into X error. I’ve tried A and B but I’m still stuck. What would you do next to figure this out?”
    9. It may also help if you can try and take on a lot of tasks in one area or module, so you can build out a strong mental model for a smaller piece and then build from there.

    I hope some of that helps! And I hope you’re getting treatment and support for your depression. I promise, even very skilled & experienced developers are always asking questions, misunderstanding stuff, and learning new things. I think if you can do some stuff to “level up” and also accept not being a rockstar, you could make it work at this job. But of course it’s up to you whether that’s worth it! Sending you good vibes either way <3

    1. OP*

      You guessed correctly and this is all good advice. I already do most of this, and that’s what’s been most helpful in getting me to make the progress that I have. Your comment reassures me that I’m doing the right things. I haven’t tried picking a specific mentor so maybe I could do that. Maybe I should just ask my teammates if I can peer program with them when they’re working on their stuff so I can get into their head. It’s really very valuable to have talented people to learn from.

  39. Itsalot*

    Oh God, OP please get a Chat GPT license, I have a similar story where I was grandfathered into a team completely outside my skill set and I was required to hit the ground running without any support or training. Chat GPT has so patiently taught me from 0 coding experience how to do detailed and complex coding in the software tools that I use and assists me with complex communication when I need it. Ive learned so much from having this lovely AI mentor that supports and communicates in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. Please do yourself a favour and get it onside for your journey.

  40. kupo*

    OP, I had a teammate who struggled like this, and as one of the team members who was supportive of him, allow me to show you the other side of that:

    If I felt this teammate was incompetent, lazy, or not able to do the job I would not have put in the effort to make him feel appreciated and supported. But the reason he ultimately failed and was moved to a different role was because he didn’t think he was good enough, and he was too embarrassed to keep asking questions, just like you. I *wanted* him to ask questions. I wanted him to accept the pairing sessions I was offering. I saw potential in him. I saw that he did good work with enough coaching after the fact, so I knew he could get to a point where he wouldn’t need the coaching anymore. But unfortunately he didn’t think he was good enough and he held himself back.

    It’s hard to admit when we don’t know things. But it sounds like you have a good team that wants you to succeed, and in order to do that, you have to admit you don’t know/understand things. They will help you!

    Best of luck; I know you can do this!

  41. Kaisa*

    i really like the first part of alison’s answer! it’s really reassuring to hear that it’s okay to be “bad” at your Job. most of us ARE average, by definiton. and it’s okay. and if you happen to end up in a team full of high performers, there you have it.

  42. Something Witty*

    OP – this is almost the exact story I have heard from one of my employees. Here’s the tbing: she is perfectly competent at her job. She may ask more questions or get confused, but part of my job is to help her find answers and help her feel confident.
    Her lack of confidence comes from comparing herself to the other members of the team, who just happen to all go far above and beyond. But for her role, she is meeting all of the requirements and getting her work done, and within the time frame it is needed.
    As her manager, I truly am happy with her work, because I can delegate things to her and know they will get done. She may not do it perfectly or the way I would have, but I truly am happy with her work!
    So there’s some outside, but also feels inside, perspective for you.
    At the same point, if YOU’RE unhappy, it never hurts to at least look around to see what else is out there that may make you feel more confident!

  43. Recovering the satellites*

    OP, this all just landed on you, it’s not your fault.

    Despite your self declared deficiencies it sounds like your team really loves having you there. Even hiring someone to help out. It definitely seems like you add real value in their eyes.

    Only you can know in your heart if it’s time to move on, but you do truly test your limits (in anything) when amongst people who can challenge you. Perhaps your team is so elite that when you start in a new place that’s less experienced you’ll be their Rockstar (if you end up doing anything similar again).

    Then again, maybe the shoe just didn’t fit and that’s totally OK too! No one is meant to be good at freakin’ everything. And life is way too damn short to spend it being miserable every day when you can do something about it.

    So if you end up searching for a new job, while you’re doing that I highly encourage you to focus on the things you *are* currently good at and be mindful of those, everyday, no matter how small you think they are. You need to build back your confidence!

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