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New Job - Feeling Incompetent!


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Hi everyone

So I have a new job which I started back in March (last month). It's working in mental health but the Forensics side. This is a new side of mental health which I have little knowledge of the criminal justice side.

The first month of the job was induction. I am really happy with the pace of the role. I have been lucky to have been given the chance to train, shadow and get to know the role.

The major part of the role is based in the community supporting clients with MH issues. The service is voluntartly. So the client's have the right to decline support from our service.

I was given my first client last week. The client declined support. So I closed the case. I took this very bad as I felt quite hard on myself. Thinking did I explain the service right? A few colleagues have encouraged me to not to be hard on myself. It happens and a lot of the client's do decline support from our service.

However, I have been given a new client. Again this client answers the phone and asked me to phone back later on today. Which I did. I left a message on the client's voicemail with my name and contact details. As of yet, the client hasn't returned my call.

My TL encouraged me to text the client tomorrow as it's still a good sign the client is engaging by answering the phone. But this client has a history of non engaging with mental health services.

I am feeling incredibly anxious with taking on new clients as majority of their case is to do with the criminal justice. I have little knowledge. I feel quite anxious on keep phoning my Manager to explain certain things. I'm starting to feel they are getting annoyed with me by keeping asking basic things. I don't want to be seen as someone who is anxious and is not performing well. Someone who can't use their own initiuative. Gets scared and is constantly on the phone seeking for help.

I'm reading their reports and hearing a lot of different words and about the criminal justice which I am struggling to understand.

To top all that off, I am also feeling anxious in case another client doesn't engage. It may look bad on me as two client's are not engaging. I don't want this to affect my performance and they end up sacking me as so far, none of my clients are engaging.

I am feeling really negative, anxious and helpless.

Any advice?

Edited by BennieEddie
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I can understand your anxiety - but I would guess that this is not an issue with you, but rather something that is typical for your field. My instinct is that, in general, people seek mental health treatment and services when they choose to - and even then it can be difficult for some people to overcome their own blocks to do it. In the situation as you have described - these people are not seeking out mental health services - but rather being encouraged by a perceived agent of the state to take advantage of the available services. It is not surprising to me that you would be seeing a lot of avoidance behavior and ghosting behavior. Do not take it personally. I would guess that the percentage of clients who follow through and avail themselves of the service is something less than half. 

You have entered a new environment. Along with this come a new language. When I started the job I am currently in - there were a lot of things that I heard and read that I did not understand. But as time goes by you learn the termenology. For now pay attention to usage and make sure to ask questions if you are not sure what something means. That will decrease the time from now until you are fluent in the language of your new workplace. Give yourself a break - it is a new job and there is a learning curve. Your TL (team lead, I assume) will understand that it will take you some time to getup to speed.

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The feelings you are having are very normal for someone who just started a new job. You're new and have a lot to learn, so its easy to fall into that trap of feeling incompetent, anxious, and helpless. Please, please, please be kind to yourself and reset your expectations. You are new, learning and trying your best. Your boss and coworkers know this, and so should you. Just give yourself time.

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You are still new and learning.  Give yourself credit for having the courage to try. 

If you give up then you are less likely to take chances and just start turtling up (not making decisions).  Your coworkers seem supportive so I would keep asking them for advice.

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