Social anxiety may be root cause of letter writer’s job worries

Mostly we do grain hauls to various terminals.

The other day I made a mistake. I sent one of our trucks to a farm a couple of kilometres out of the way. The mistake was corrected easily, at no cost to either the driver or to our company, but my manager still finds it necessary to write me up and to put a note on my personnel file in his office.

This is really bugging me. I try so hard to please him, to keep the drivers on side and to cater to our customers. Sometimes all of this is hard.

The problem is that if I lose this job I have nothing. This is not the friendliest town in the world, it is very quiet, and most of the neighbours turn the other way when I am walking down the street. You would think after four years at least one or two of them might say hi to me.

I spend most of my time off in the city, visiting my parents and going to movies with my younger sister. I don’t go to church here. Walking into a strange sanctuary is not my idea of a good time. I don’t go out to the local yoga class. I am not fat but neither do I have the kind of body that most yoga enthusiasts would admire.

I don’t curl and I don’t quilt, at least in public.

My job is my only social outlet.

If I lost that, as I said, I have nothing.

I think that I will feel more secure if I can get that complaint taken off my personnel file but I don’t know how to approach my manger. What do you suggest I do?

Social anxiety is a condition characterized by a marked and persistent fear of being humiliated or scrutinized by others.

I of course cannot say whether you are struggling with social anxiety but by your notes I find myself wondering how much you are avoiding judgment calls from just about anyone in your community.

If you and your physician are also wondering why it is you are so busy avoiding contacts with other people, you might consider various treatment programs that will help you feel a little more grounded with yourself. The problem is not likely that you were written up by your manager.

Most of us have been written up somewhere along the way throughout our careers.

The problem is more that you are reacting so strongly to your manager’s observations.

You should not feel stuck in your job and you should not be stuck without companionship in your community.

If you and your physician figure out that you are indeed struggling with social anxiety, she can refer you to her mental-health team where you can explore some medications to help you, figure out some regular physical exercises to keep you active and enrol you in personal counselling to fortify your self-confidence.

Social anxiety is a fairly common condition, at least in the United States. Last year, 7.1 percent of adults were treated for social anxiety. Somewhere around 12.1 percent of all Americans have struggled with social anxiety at some point in their lives. I don’t have figures for the incidence of social anxiety in Canada, but given that we are such a pleasing culture, I would be surprised if our percentages were not a bit higher than they are in the U.S.

Jacklin Andrews is a family counsellor from Saskatchewan. Contact:

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