So, I find I have this rather deeply rooted fear of getting in trouble. Goes way back. It would be a good idea to try to get to the bottom of that.
Unfortunately, this fear doesn't seem to be an effective deterrent to the kind of behavior that would actually get me in trouble.
Just now I'm feeling bad about the contribution I'm making in my work, for example. I'm doing some excellent work - as it happens - but the people who see one part don't see the others. The job description I wrote for myself never got a clear endorsement. I'm not sure what I'm doing is valued by others. I have my hands in a variety of projects - it's like having four or five teams of colleagues. That's exciting, but it means the people I work with on one thing are not the people I work with on another, and my supervisor is involved in very little of it. Dangerous. I've also said some things I shouldn't have, things that might be seen as making trouble.
So, when I get an email from the boss (who lives in another state) saying, "Would you have 45 minutes to talk sometime this week?" my mind goes right back to that valley: uh oh. I'm in trouble.
Am I? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know him enough to just shoot back an email saying, "Am I in trouble?" I wonder how he'd respond if I did? Might be worth it, just to know. I'm not very comfortable taking surprises over the phone. And he's a good man; even if he's got some harsh things to say that doesn't mean he will be harsh with me. And maybe he'll have some constructive solutions.
Oddly enough, when my conscience is not clear, the one thing I long for is to be found out - especially if that means having someone come alongside me, help me put the problem out on the table, and maybe walk with me toward a likely solution. So, even if I'm not in trouble, this could be an opportunity to open my uneasy conscience to him. Can I trust him with that? More than once I've been transparent about my fears and insecurities with people who had power over me and later come to regret it.
Can you relate?