I am a Mechanical Drafter (CAD Operator I), for a Mechanical Contractor by day. By night, I am a courier driver that has a specific route. I live in Minnesota.

I’m married and have three grown children, two of which still are struggling to be grown. I have three grandchildren, of which me and my wife help raise one them almost full time. My wife is a stay at home wife, she has some health problems. I am very patient with my wife, since she has been very patient with me and my outbursts at times and I have gone to therapy for this.

I have always been the socially awkward person. I fit in sometimes and most of the time I don’t. I have ADHD, more the ADD than the Hyperactive. Medication for ADHD doesn’t help me. I’m left handed and feel like I’m somewhere on the Autism spectrum but it’s not pronounced enough to ever have made a diagnosis. I have social anxiety, depression at times, and sometimes anger issues. I take Cymbalta, lowest dose possible to help with depression and anxiety. I recently got a membership at a local Anytime Fitness and started working out three times a week.

I wrote to you because I’m having issues at my job. I work with other drafters, designers, and engineers to draw and update plans. I have been with this specific company for a year now and have mixed emotions on how I feel I am doing at this job.

The problem is my attention to detail. I have had two sit downs with my boss, the lead mechanical engineer. The first conversation was last October and the second was in January. The conversation goes, you are making to many mistakes, why is this happening, what are you doing to not make mistakes.

The first conversation I had with him was not a shock to me, I knew I was making mistakes but felt it was beginner mistakes, since I had just started working there a couple of months before. This is when I learned that I cannot say “I’m doing my best”. This kind of threw me off guard a little but it made me really look at myself and ask am I really doing my best. So, I did my research and found a good process I thought would work for me.

A couple of more months pass, I’m trying to learn and implement this new process of doing work. I’m still making mistakes, not major, but mistakes a newbie would make. My boss has another sit down with me in January. I tell him the process of what i’m doing and so on. He is really frustrated with me and is ready to let me go and lay me off. See, this is where the not fitting in part I think goes into play. I’m not the best conversationalist and in meetings i really clam up. Obviously, i’m not doing this on purpose, its just my physical and emotional makeup of who I am. I have poor short term memory and giving input at meetings is a real struggle for me. I really do try, like keeping a notepad for notes at all times, sometimes recording learning/training sessions, and so on.

So, it’s been a year working here and I still feel like an outsider. I feel like they consider me incompetent at times. I really have learned a lot in my year here. There still is so much more to learn. But I feel like i am on a short leash. I feel like my next mistake will be my last and I will get laid off or I will be the first on the chopping block if that ever happens. I’ve told my boss i’m never intentionally trying to make mistakes and mess up. He knows I have a process. Who knows, maybe I’m over analyzing everything. I came this far to try and get some career advice.

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5 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    You have two different issues. One is that you have social awkwardness and two is you have poor attention to detail. They are not related.

    So if you were in a job where you were a good fit, your social awkwardness wouldn’t matter as much. But things feel really bad because you have to interact with people who think you’re doing a poor job.

    About half the people in the world have poor attention to detail. It’s how we are born. On the flip side, if you have poor attention to detail you are good at the big- picture.

    I can see you’re good at the big picture because you wrote an excellent email summarizing your life. It’s actually really hard to do and someone with good attention to detail would get mired in irrelevant data.

    So find a job that does not require so much attention to detail and you’ll do fine. We can’t be someone we aren’t. So we need to go with what we’re best at — it’s true for everyone. it’s not a shortcoming.


  2. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    Hi! You’re just like me except for the anger, marriage, and children. I hope you can find a job that is a good fit for you.

  3. Charlene
    Charlene says:

    Forget the social awkwardness and ADD for a minute. You have a spouse in ill health, essentially three children AND a second job. This would be enough to make anyone miss a thing or two. Find a job that requires as few details as possible for as much money and leave. Maybe you could get a driving job as you’ve been doing thatat night? Try and give yourself some space to think.

  4. Tony
    Tony says:

    First. “There are no bad people just bad fits.” As Penelope pointed out, it sounds like you are bad fit for this job. That is OK. There is no need to feel bad about it. I had one job where I lasted about 6 months. I stunk at it even though I put in a great deal of effort (nights weekends etc). I found a new job and have been here two years plus. The new job pays just as well but doesn’t stress me out near as much. Find a new job that fits you and you will wonder why you didn’t leave sooner.

  5. Brooke
    Brooke says:

    I agree with Penelope that it’s not at all related to social awkwardness because most of the people in my industry have social awkwardness.

    I’ve worked in a couple of positions where a few of the men I worked with were laid off for missing details. In each case they were in their 40s, having family problems, and not only missing details but detaching or disassociating and generally not getting the job done. Whereas women go through a different career challenge when they start to have families, I wonder if this is a common thing that happens with men in their 40s that we’re not really talking about.

    You can do this job, you’re just unfocused. My advice is to let your employer know what is happening at home, that you are getting help, and then remedy the situation by seeking professional help.

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