This afternoon I picked up the letter of reference my boss has promised to write for me in support of the job application I am submitting to go work at a different school. I was absolutely floored when I read it. I fully expected that he would write something nice. You don't generally agree to write a reference letter unless you have something positive you can say. Still, I did not expect what I got. He wrote a very detailed two page letter giving specific examples of how my skills and experience are a direct match to the job description for the position I want and describing my work here in far more glowing terms than I ever would have dreamed.
You could have knocked me over with a feather.
Half the time I feel like a big faker, certain sure that any day now I will be exposed and everyone will see what a big fraud I really am. So when he went on and on describing me like some big shot expert, all I could think at first was: "Who is he kidding? Was he just being nice? Did he just write that stuff so some other poor sap will hire me and then he'd have me out of his hair?"
Nope. Apparently not. When we talked about it later he reaffirmed that I really have done all those things and that they show what a good match I would be for this other job I am shooting for.
Why is it sometimes so hard for me to hear, much less believe, positive things? When I get critical feedback I have no problem taking THAT to heart. Why is it I continue to be my own worst critic - seeing every flaw in BOLD FACE TYPE while my accomplishments I discount. I need to work on that. I don't want to get all prideful and arrogant or think I'm better than anyone else, but darn it all I AM good at a few things and wish I didn't struggle so with giving myself credit for that.
I don't know if I will even get an interview - much less get hired for this other job I am applying for. It is very, very common for many work sites to post jobs to meet legal requirements for being "equal opportunity employers" even when they know in advance exactly who they plan to hire. But I'll give it my best shot and see what happens.
But whether or not that door opens for me, it gave me a moment to consider my own self perception of my work performance and how that does or does not match what other people see. No one has ever thrown tomatoes yet. Maybe it is time to turn off (or at least reduce the volume) on that critic in my head.