In this week's career-advice column, a newly hired employee fears shortcomings will lead to firing.

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Q: I have a terrific new job and a wonderful boss, but I feel that I’m letting him down. Although I complete my work quickly and efficiently, he always seems to find something I forgot to do or a detail I overlooked. We have a good relationship, but I worry constantly about being fired. How can I stop beating myself up for these errors and start doing a better job?

A: To solve this problem, you must first pinpoint the cause. Although I lack sufficient information to suggest an explanation, I can offer some possibilities.

If you have previously been successful in similar positions, you may simply be adjusting to new circumstances. In that case, you should be able to learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating them. But if this territory is unfamiliar, you may need to develop some different work habits, such as taking explicit notes or carefully proofreading documents.

It’s also possible that your wonderful boss is something of a perfectionist. While your previous managers may have valued speed and efficiency, this one apparently wants you to be thorough and precise. You must therefore clearly understand his expectations before tackling any unfamiliar task.

Regardless of the cause, however, heightened anxiety will only compound your difficulties. So instead of continuing to berate yourself, try to identify the reason for these errors and then implement some specific solutions.

Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at