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Letters to Shrinking the Camel: “Help! I Feel Stupid At Work!”

December 15, 2009

Over the past year or so since starting up Shrinking the Camel, I have come across some interesting opportunities that I never would have expected from blogging.

Of course I have met many wonderful new friends and acquaintances from all over the world, and these people make it all worthwhile, interesting and fun. But there have been other, unexpected sidelines. For instance, I receive free books and magazines from people who want me to review them. I always say “Yes,” so that I can get the free material, but unfortunately I don’t always follow through with the Blog review part. Also, I have been invited to speak at a couple of events. One was in sunny Southern California, where the invitation came with a hopeful “if I am in the area” caveat (as if I frequently hop from Philly to San Diego for a little surfing. Wrong). And last Spring I was approached by a fine young and ambitious Christian man who worked for a brand-name high-tech company looking for some mentoring and career advice. I don’t know if I helped him very much, but we had several very meaningful exchanges, and that was very rewarding.

And now, there is this: I have an ongoing personal career advisory service for people who feel stupid at work.

It all started innocently enough last year when I posted an article entitled, “It’s Okay To Feel Stupid Sometimes.” This article simply acknowledged the normalcy of feeling stupid in challenging work situations.  After several months, this became the top post on my Blog. Apparently, a whole lot of people were desperately searching for help in this area. These poor souls were finding my Blog by typing “I feel stupid at work” into their google search bars. So I thought, “Well, why not go with the flow? Perhaps this an emerging market niche!” I posted another article, “Are You Feeling Stupid At Work? I’m Here to Help,” where I encouraged these under-appreciated workers to tell me what was going on, what kind of answers or support they were looking for. Perhaps I could help them somehow.

They decided to take me up on it. I started receiving emails telling me of dreadful office plights, presentation paranoia, bullying bosses, and teamwork trouble. Some stories were hopeful – just a matter of folks running into little blips in their careers. Others were truly sad cases.

For the next few days, I will post some of these Q & A’s, because I think the problems they present may benefit others who are going through similar situations. All emails have been edited and, of course, names changed to protect confidentiality of the writers.

Come back tomorrow for the first snippet of what goes on behind the scenes at the Shrinking the Camel Blog.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2009 4:53 pm

    Can’t wait to read these.

    You know, you could have a third career at SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), have your own column in HRMagazine, etc. Or be like that guy with the column in the NYT Sunday magazine, except that he writes on ethics. Come to think of it, he gets questions all the time from people who feel stupid or think they’ve done stupid things. (Most of the time, they have.)

    • December 18, 2009 6:21 am

      Yeah, I keep waiting for them to ask me about that…

      It’s amazing how many of us go through these experiences of feeling over our heads or intimidated by our circumstances. We’re all in the same boat, I guess.

  2. December 15, 2009 5:31 pm

    There could be something to the “shrink” part of shrinking camel.

    • December 18, 2009 6:22 am

      Oh, that’s a good one Glynn. “The camel shrink?” Maybe just get rid of camel altogether… But really, I don’t think I would make a good shrink. I’m not patient enough.

  3. December 15, 2009 8:55 pm

    I was drawn by the title and now I can’t wait to hear the answers:)

  4. December 16, 2009 7:19 am

    And I feel a little stupid adding here, that if you get to the bottom of my post today , you are my Day 5 mention.

    and I am looking forward to this as well.

  5. December 16, 2009 10:04 am

    I can’t wait to read them. I’ve had situations too, when I felt stupid at work.

  6. December 16, 2009 10:23 am

    Just learned about you on Deb’s site, Talk at the Table. I work from home, and still have moments where I “feel stupid.” Am planning to share your blog with my young son, who just started working in the corporate world less than two years ago. I am sure he would find this helpful! Thank you — Cindy

    • December 18, 2009 6:19 am

      Thanks for the visit, Cindy! I do hope your son stops by too. Maybe he can give us some of his own corporate war stories!

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