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ought to I apologize for being a nasty worker? — Ask a Supervisor


A reader writes:

Do I have to apologize to my managers for being a less-than-stellar worker?

I’m a contract worker on my second 12 months of employment with a company that hires its staff on one-year contracts. Throughout my first 12 months, my efficiency was good — not excellent, however not less than adequate to have my contract renewed.

Ok efficiency apart, I do know my supervisor discovered me tough to handle (they instructed me so, in so many phrases), however consistent with the group’s robust deal with skilled improvement, we outlined some areas for me to enhance and I took these critically and made lots of adjustments that (I feel, not less than) helped me align extra intently with expectations.

Throughout my second 12 months, I handled a cascade of well being points: a critical sickness, a shock surgical procedure, and two miscarriages, plus a recurrence of some life-long psychological well being challenges; all of this culminated in my needing to go on FMLA go away to obtain psychological well being remedy. I additionally acquired a mid-life prognosis of ADHD. For apparent causes, my efficiency crashed throughout all of this, which I acknowledged to my managers (utilizing scripts you recommend). As soon as I got here again from medical go away, I dove into work with renewed focus and power, nevertheless it turned clear that my efficiency wasn’t measuring up; my supervisor put me on a PIP and finally determined to let me go.

As I’ve been reflecting on all of this — and reflecting on my efficiency on this job and former jobs in gentle of the ADHD prognosis — I’m recognizing simply how tough I’ve been for my managers during the last two years of employment. I at all times wish to be a famous person worker — or, failing that, to not less than be a diligent, dependable, and considerate worker who is ready to contribute to my workforce. In hindsight, nonetheless, I think that I haven’t even managed that: as an alternative, I get the sense that I’ve been a legal responsibility relatively than an asset. It’s fairly clear to me that the difficulties of managing undiagnosed ADHD actually contributed to the challenges my managers have had with me during the last two years; the Venn diagrams of “ADHD signs” and “my efficiency points” overlap fairly considerably. Besides: regardless of the trigger, the end result was that I used to be a reasonably poor worker.

Is there ever a scenario the place an worker ought to apologize to a supervisor for being a burden on this method? I’ve one other a number of months earlier than the top of my contract, and I preserve pondering I must apologize to my supervisor and acknowledge I’m not blind to how tough I’ve been. The urge is fairly overwhelming; I hate figuring out that my supervisor in all probability has a poor opinion of me. However I’m conscious this urge comes from the emotional a part of my mind, the half that hates being criticized and panics when persons are sad with me. The rational a part of my mind factors out that apologizing may make me really feel higher however gained’t really accomplish something.

As I wrap up my time with this group, I wish to behave as professionally and gracefully as doable. In that context, is there a spot for an apology? Or ought to I simply deal with wrapping up my tasks and finishing the work that should get carried out? My intuition is that apologizing on this method is an emotional overreaction, however — maybe as a result of the previous two years have carried out a quantity on my vanity — I’m undecided I belief my instincts, so I’d respect your recommendation.

I feel there’s a distinction between acknowledging the problems and apologizing for them.

You don’t have to apologize for having psychological or bodily well being points. You don’t even have to privately really feel apologetic. You’re a human who had some very regular and comprehensible human well being stuff occur.

However I perceive the need to acknowledge to your supervisor that you already know this has been difficult for them and your workforce. That type of acknowledgement can really feel like a type of reclaiming competence — “I see this, I’m not oblivious, and I notice that it’s had an impression.” There’s an underlying “I want it had been completely different,” nevertheless it’s not an apology.

I feel you’ll be able to strategy it that method, and there is perhaps worth to you by yourself in saying it (you clearly wish to!) and really seemingly worth to the connection too.

I’d body it this manner: “Clearly I’ve had a tough time this previous 12 months, and I do know that confirmed up at work in methods I didn’t need it to, regardless of my finest makes an attempt to maintain it from affecting issues right here. I want it had gone in a different way, however I actually respect the help and endurance you’ve given me, in addition to your candor when it was clear one thing wanted to alter.” You would even add, “I’m leaving with a clearer concept of the right way to navigate a few of these challenges going ahead, and I’ve appreciated your position in serving to me by that.”

So it’s “I see this” and “I respect the way you dealt with it,” nevertheless it’s not “I’m sorry.”

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