These past few weeks, I started a new job at a doctor’s office doing training in medical billing work. It’s unpaid. I only made the effort to try this job because my mother’s friend referred me to the position, and apparently, the way they hire is to accept employees as volunteers first before hiring them for real and paying them for their time.
This job has pushed me to keep to a schedule, and given me a reason to wake up early in the morning instead of sleeping in. Currently I work three days a week. However, what’s been a challenge for me is to feel comfortable in the office. Outside of asking my trainer for help, I feel too anxious to talk to him. I greet people when I come in for work, but that’s it. And sometimes, even asking for help is hard. First, I’m paranoid about others around me hearing me speak. Then I get worked up having to reach out to my trainer because at times he is busy running around doing other things instead of sitting at his desk next to me. Thirdly, I start to doubt myself when I hear him talking so freely with other people about non-work related matters, yet he says nothing to me. I’ve come close to tears many, many times sitting at my desk as I go through a fit of anxiety over having to ask for help, and at the same time, trying to maintain a semblance of calm on the surface because I don’t want people to know how shitty I feel.
The only person that I’ve told about my social anxiety is my supervisor. I broke down in tears in her office during my first day there. I feel like I don’t fit in at the office. Everyone there speaks Cantonese mostly, and that’s a language I understand none of. I feel awkward sitting in the lunchroom as people chat in Cantonese and I have no idea what is going on.
What’s worse is I feel like I’m being unfairly critiqued because my trainer’s mother is my mom’s friend. And my trainer has told his mom how I’ve been on the job, and she, in turn, has told my mom. So then I get my mom telling me what I need to improve on at work. Excuse me, she is not my supervisor. Not to mention my trainer’s aunt is also an employee there, and she’s been the one calling me asking if I want to start coming in on Wednesdays.
I will say this experience has given me something to do in my spare time, but I do not necessarily feel I would be good as a paid employee. I’ve gained skills, yes, like being active in data entry and learning to make phone calls.
I have told my parents I am not really looking forward to working there for real. Which is also the reason why I’m resistant to adding another day to my work schedule. I’ve gotten pressure from the office doctor to start coming in on Wednesdays, in addition to Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, in order to allow more time for my training. However, my thought is, why am I going to add another work day if it’s not my intention to stay at this job long term? I am debating whether I will tell my supervisor why I don’t want to come in on Wednesdays. She told me on the first day that, for both herself and I, either she can ask me to leave after a time if things aren’t working out, or I can choose to leave if I don’t want to continue on. The thing is, because my mom was so heavily involved in getting me the job, if I quit now, it’ll look like I’m being very picky with my job choices.
I have started to look into other job opportunities. My plan is to find another job before I leave this one. I got a scheduled interview with Macy’s next Tuesday. This position requires no experience.
My father came down on me quite hard about my reluctance to stay at the billing job. He believes I am too inexperienced to have any other job, and that I will regret leaving this job because I won’t find another job where people are willing to take care of me. My opinion is that, realistically, of course I’m going to have to start from the bottom in terms of job choices if I don’t have prior experience in anything. I also have two other office job interviews scheduled.
I’m less afraid of interviews than I was in the past. I’m not going to be super anxious about the upcoming ones because I understand from experience that I tend to expect too much out of interviews, and being too nervous actually causes me to imagine problems that aren’t there.
I haven’t even gone on the interviews yet and already my father is telling me I will fail because I’m too quiet and I’ll end up bullied by my coworkers if I’m hired. Not to mention his derogatory remarks about my coworkers possibly being black and I’ll get shoved around by them. If it’s not this, he’s also trying to deter me by saying I won’t have a good salary working elsewhere.
I feel frustrated that he’s not acknowledging that I am trying to make an effort to communicate with people by going on interviews. I honestly feel he will never get the significance of what I am doing because he doesn’t know what social anxiety is. It’s not even about salary for me. I have anxiety, but that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of focusing during an interview and letting my personality and strengths shine through when I’m asked questions. It hurts me a little that I don’t have his support in this area, almost like he thinks I’m too timid to ever improve.
I have considered if I don’t want this billing job because I want to avoid my anxiety. That is not it. Yes, I have anxiety being there. But what I also feel is the job has responsibilities I am not fully equipped to handle at a fast pace if I were a paid employee. Plus, consider the fact I graduated from medical billing school 3 years ago. I’ve had to relearn everything billing related from scratch since taking on this job. I just want a job where I’m coming in already knowing what I have to do and how to do it, with the option of being trained. Yes, taking on a job like this may have a not so good salary, but that’s really not my main focus right now.