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Major career anxiety... too anxious for management

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I've been having major career-related anxiety lately.

Basically, I feel like a loser because I'm too anxious to ever go into management. I have never been a leader, thanks to my anxiety. The thought of being in charge of other people fills me with such anxiety. I don't think I could ever handle it, and I'm not sure that I even would want to.

But this makes me feel like my career growth will be extremely limited because I can't handle management. And, as a result, people in management positions have become a major anxiety/depression trigger for me. Whether it's a police captain on a TV show, or a news story about the new mayor of Boston, I feel like such a failure as a person because I know I could never have a leadership job with such responsibility.

wish I could handle it, and I wish that I had an interest in it, if for nothing else than the prestige and the higher pay. (I'm selfish.) But I know that if I ever tried, I would be a terrible manager and would probably fail spectacularly.

Anyone else feel this way? Do you think one can still have a rewarding career and stay out of management? Am I a weak, failure of a person because I can't handle going that route?

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I feel similar. All my bosses are going to be retiring in the next five years and I should be gunning for their positions, but I can't. I can't deal with the overwhelming emotions that I feel when I think about being in charge of anything. I was walking through the office just this week and I heard someone going on about how she would have to hire someone and I simultaneously felt envious that she had a management position and relieved that I didn't have to hire anyone. It was really the first time I realized that my career is as advanced as it will ever be.


I think the trick is to figure out what you want. I know that even if I could emotionally deal with being the boss, I don't want to. So for me, success in my career is doing what I do now as well as I can. Maybe you really want to be management. If you do, you can make that a goal to work towards. It sounds like it is really bothering you. Maybe a chat with a tdoc about your thoughts might help you sort it out.

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I think maybe when I was first starting a career in teaching high school, I wanted to become a college counselor, which is an administrative position. When I left teaching, I never had any particular urge to climb a ladder. I wanted my work to be interesting. I did not want to be an overseer of anyone else's work. This was true when I was a lawyer, too, so it isn't all about middle management.


If I had oversight of a lot of people, it would make me very unhappy. I am fine being unambitious. Right now, my greatest ambition is to have my head stop hurting for long enough to go back into doggie daycare. Not exactly a high power job. But the best job I've ever had.

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Agree with Titiana. With that kind of attitude you will never be successful at what you do. The first thing you need to tackle is your insecurity complex.

Why is your perception confined to ... I will never be successful because I can't handle being a manager. There are many careers you can do without being a so-called manager. Naturally if you're successful at what you do people will want to be mentored by you, so by default you will become a manager. For me I have found that thinking and trying to help others brings you out of your shell and makes you more fulfilled as a person. My advice to you is to think a bit beyond yourself.

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