Friday, October 27, 2006

The Heckler

My business meeting went OK. This is a tricky thing to figure out, it’s really a two-pronged business: one setup for private companies and another for public companies (I work with stock options and other related financial stuff). We have the private side pretty much covered as they are all small and manageable, but the public companies have much different needs, requiring someone with a lot of expertise. If I could clone myself my problem would be solved. The real issue is, I have no idea how much work we will get or when. I guess the best I can hope for is to find several people who are willing to be on call and hope that one of them will be available when we need them. If we don’t have anyone to do the work, we will have to turn it down, which happens more often than we’d like. It’s also become clear that if we want qualified people we are going to have to increase the rate we charge the clients, so we can increase the hourly rate for the consultants. They are billing me out at least $20/hr too low to match what the independent consultants are charging their clients, so why would they want to come and work with us? I've never been in charge like this before, it's a whole other level of stress.

Next week’s TV Guide horoscope (the trusted source for all things concerning my future) says that I’ve probably taken on too much at work and now I’m worried about my health. Also that I should cut back on my responsibilities or hire someone to help me. I’m trying, really I am!

I am probably boring the hell out of all three of you out there reading this, with all this professional crap. It’s good for me to write it out, sorry.

Oh, and I've been nominated by a colleague to run for a seat on the board of the local chapter of the national organization for people who do what I do. I am running against three lawyers -- I'm not sure if that increases my chances of winning or not. Does this make me a grown-up?

Going back to my last post about feeling like a fraud...this is something I’ve been battling my entire life. Once I get into a professional situation I do a good job, I even do things I didn’t think I could do, but the voices are not something I can just turn off. I’ve been giving a presentation, speaking intelligently and even being a little witty with my audience, and I can literally hear another voice in my head telling me I should sit down, I don’t know what I’m talking about, why did I think anyone would want to listen to me, etc. Like I am watching myself in a movie giving the presentation, heckling myself. This has happened at every interview I’ve ever had as well. This is called disassociation. My friend Helen over at Everyday Stranger was talking about this in a recent post. I don’t think I have a full-blown disorder, but I do think it’s something beyond what the normal person would encounter.

Many, many times in my life the voices have scared me out of trying something new. I’ve turned down chances to water ski, drive a fancy car and ride any amusement park ride that goes faster than Its A Small World. I was even too scared to follow the first love of my life back to England when I was 18. It's an inside joke between me and my husband that he will know that I am having a good time if I throw up.

For some odd reason, I was not afraid to start riding horses, an activity where this is actually some danger involved. My psyche is a strange place.

Speaking of horses, after my lesson this week I was leading Smoke back to his stall. We passed a gorgeous bay stallion named Oxbow and his owner at his stall. She was smiling at me in a way that called out for conversation, so I started rambling on about how I was letting Smoke eat grass in the sun so his coat would dry a little before I put him away but his coat was so thick now it wasn’t really working, blah blah. When I stopped talking she said quietly, “You should have your husband buy you a horse.” I instantly forgave her for insinuating that I couldn’t buy my own horse and said, “Oh, why is that?” “Because I can see that you love it,” she replied. I laughed and said, “Is it that obvious?” She smiled gently again and said that yes, it was pretty obvious. I told her I’d just started riding in the summer and felt like I was way behind the curve, starting at 42. She nodded and told me she was 49, had been riding for about a year and that Oxbow was her first horse. I’ve found a kindred spirit for sure.

This is Angel, one of my favorite horses at the farm.


  1. horsey stuff, that picture of Angel looks exactly like my gelding only his name was bucket short for "bucket brains" he'd break out of his paddock and always end up on the back patio at the molasses drum. I'd forgottten about that until I read your post today *thanks* it's a good memory to have brought up.

    business stuff, why is it we're never paid enough for what we do?, I can empathise our staff often earn more take home pay than we do, yet still we don't pay the big bucks but they keep returning. job satisfaction counts for something. oh and your not a grown up until you can win that election and not nerrrr to the your opponents.

    horrorscopes, mine says to find a way to express myself more openly can you see what my fingers are doing? :o) yeah I'm not a grownup yet.

  2. You and the horse match! What color number is that?

    You suffer from what is called Imposter Syndrome, as do I, as does a large measure of the world.

    Here's a great article written on it. You can generalize the artist part:

    Giving it a name really helped me, but it didn't cure me.

    You're probably like me - lots more readers than commenters. Believe me, I am listening even if I don't comment. Your posts throw me and I have to digest them. That's a good thing, but then I don't make it back to comment.

  3. I had that, but mostly I don't any more. What cured me was working with two amazing women, about 15 years ago. Over coffee one day, they told me that they were waiting for the people around them to figure out that they weren't really as smart as everyone had thought they were. I realised that if they - totally talented - were feeling that, then that meant that most of the great people I met were feeling that, which made it totally ridiculous. So now, while I know I am not great at lots of things, I am pretty good at feeling good about what I am good at. Most of the time.

    (sorry i know some of those sentences are crap. I hope it's understandable).

  4. Once you own your own horse you will have crossed over into another world, a happy one. You and that little mare make a nice-looking team. Is she for sale?
    I think all women ask too many questions about their own abilities. You must be proud of your accomplishments and, like Jen said, flip the bird at your "voices."

  5. Dear Donna, I've had that imposter syndrome myself, and it's a bitch. And I've recently had work stress similar to yours, and it's not fun either. I hope you manage to get some more people working for you, and to silence that voice in your head. (And then tell me how it's done.)

    I had the same thought as Cricket: in that light, your hair matches your horse's coat! And you're both just beautiful. It's so good to see you looking so happy.

  6. Clearly, by all the subscribers that I see when I read you through my bloglines feed, you have MANY, MANY more readers than you imagined. When people read through bloglines, it doesn't show up on your sitemeter or stats sites.

    I love the pictures that you place in your posts - you and the horse look devine.

    I don't know anyone who doesn't have issues with insecurities and I probably have the disassociative disorder times a million. Can't wait to read that link Cricket provided so I can become obsessed with my latest ailment.

    You are beautiful, you are brilliant, you are awesome so tell that heckler to shut the fuck up.

    Thinking of you,

  7. Oooh - a horse would be a wonderful gift from that awesome husband of yours!

    As for business - I feel the same way much of the time. I am in charge of a big group of people and I feel like I don't know what the hell I'm doing half the time. I have a hard time making decisions because I feel like I don't know enough to make a good choice. But I've sort of learned that there isn't anyone else MORE equipped to make those decisions so I guess I'm the right person for the job. Just as you are! We're really hardest on ourselves, aren't we? -Kym

  8. YES! You should get a horse. (Just think of a better name than most of the poor horses @ the farm) Oh...what a great christmas present a horsie would be!!!!!
    I will feed it for you if you go on vacation!'s all worked out, Donnas gettin' a horse!

  9. What a beautiful photo... truly...

  10. Unfortunately Angel isn't for sale (she's one of the few horses there that aren't, it seems). Her owner is a bit of a nutbar.

    Thanks for the info on Imposter Syndrome, I guess that bit of narcissist in me is thinking I'm sicker than I really am. [:o)

  11. The picture of you and Angel is beautiful. It made me smile to think someone else thinks you should get a horse too!