Things You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty For at Work

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt guilty at work. Now, this is an article, so I can’t actually see any hands, but I can bet that many of you have done just that. As Assistants, we often take on guilty feelings regarding our workload, setting a boundary or two or even when we say no to work that isn’t ours in the first place.

Getting caught up in a whirlwind of emotions, especially guilt, is easy.

But Assistants need to understand that guilt is a natural emotion and shouldn’t dictate how you operate in your role. In a recent Practically Perfect PA Virtual Summit, Transformative Leadership Coach Monique Jordan Cave discussed why you shouldn’t feel guilty at work and how to combat those guilt gremlins.

Success guilt

Achieving success is a testament to your hard work, dedication, and perseverance, especially in the Assistant role, where success can often be hard-fought. For those of you who have been successful in your role, you’ll know climbing the ladder often means encountering naysayers, including friends, colleagues, and sometimes even family. They might feel left behind or that they’ve not been seen for the value they bring, leading to them projecting their insecurities onto you, leaving you guilty about your success. How do you counter success guilt?

Combatting Success Guilt:

  • Define your success: Understand what success means to you. Is it a particular position, financial stability, or personal growth? Write it down and remind yourself of it.
  • Rise above the negativity: When faced with jealousy or sabotage, remember it’s their issue, not yours. Celebrate your achievements and be proud of your journey.
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The guilt of imperfection

Mistakes happen. Whether it’s a missed email or a logistical error, it’s essential to remember that you’re human. I know we often hear that making mistakes in the Assistant role is a big no-no, but I’m here to say that isn’t true. If you are not given the grace to make mistakes, you’re not being given the room to grow. But it doesn’t mean that when we make mistakes, we don’t feel guilty about it.

Dealing with Mistakes:

  • Acceptance: Allow yourself to feel disappointed, but don’t dwell on it.
  • Perspective: Understand the gravity of the mistake. Most errors aren’t life-altering.
  • Challenge the Worst-Case Scenario: Confront your fears about the consequences and rationalise them.
  • Apologise: If necessary, apologise. But don’t overdo it. Focus on the solution rather than the problem.
  • Learn: Use the mistake as a learning opportunity. Reflect on what went wrong and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The guilt of indifference

It might sound controversial, especially in our role, but it’s okay not to care about everything at work. Your primary focus should be your role, responsibilities, and career growth. If there is a big drama at work or emotions are high regarding a particular scenario, but you are indifferent to it, or you want to go home at the end of the day and forget about it, you can feel guilty.

Balancing Indifference:

  • End-of-Day Routine: Wind down effectively. Organise your desk, review tasks, and plan for the next day.
  • Set a Finish Time: Define your work hours. Having a set finish time can help you manage your tasks better.
  • Realistic Planning: Don’t overburden yourself. Understand your capacity and plan your tasks accordingly.
  • Reframe Your Mindset: Change how you perceive leaving work. Focus on the positive aspects of your life outside of work.

It’s essential to remember that while your job is a significant part of your life, it doesn’t define you, really even as an Assistant!

Your organisation might own the job, but you own your career.

So, the next time guilt tries to creep in, remind yourself of your worth, journey, and goals. And always remember, you’re doing just fine.

If you want to enhance your skills and mindset as an Assistant, consider enrolling in the Assistant Mindset online course. It’s designed to empower professionals like you to navigate the workplace with confidence and resilience. Don’t let guilt hold you back; take charge of your career today!