The first post. I have this unreasonable expectation for myself that this post should be epic. You know, the post that makes you want to keep reading. I keep telling myself that if this post isn’t perfect, no one will ever read my blog. Ever.
Seriously. When I actually stop and think about it for longer than the two seconds it takes for doubt to creep in, I realize how unreasonable that is. Quite possibly, no one will ever read this post. Ever. And it doesn’t even matter if they do. But, knowing that still doesn’t stop the insanity. So, here it goes.
I took the first job I was offered out of college. It paid well and the benefits were decent. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I didn’t really know what that was anyway so it worked in the meantime. In the beginning it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t that great either – it was a high stress job with seemingly unending requirement changes, but like I said, I didn’t really know what I wanted and this job was paying the bills, so I stayed. Every year I got paid a little more and before I knew it I was making more than most people my age. And those benefits. You can’t forget that sparkly little dingleberry everybody worries about.
After several years I couldn’t ignore the fact that this job was not for me. It didn’t push me mentally or physically. It was high stress and low reward. That is, if you don’t count the monetary gains. I would come home every night dead ass tired. The problem with this is that I wasn’t tired from working so hard. I was tired because I spent all day doing something I didn’t like, while subsequently being forced to do things according to someone else’s process, even when a better way existed.
The type of exhaustion I faced each night is something you cannot understand unless you’ve been through it. It eats at you. You know you should do something, but you just can’t force yourself to get up off the couch. You’re not actually tired in the ‘I need to take a nap’ sense, but in the ‘please don’t talk to me because there is no way I will process a word you’re saying and there is a good chance I may throat punch you’ kind of way.
I needed the entire ride home each night to be totally silent. Most of the time that was at least a 45 minute trip. I would turn the radio off and just completely zone out. By the time I got home I usually had relaxed enough to get through dinner and into bedtime with the kids before I had what my husband lovingly refers to as a ‘freak out’. There are lots of symptoms of a freak out – yelling, crying, walking around all huffy, irritation for no apparent reason, the inability to go with the flow – the list goes on and on. Anything could set off a freak out.
You can imagine the tension. My loathing for my job wasn’t just affecting me, it was affecting my family. Still, I kept on. For a long time I just kept thinking it would get better. Eventually I realized that was a lost cause. So then I constantly searched for a different job, hoping I could find something that would better fit my needs. But nothing ever seemed better than what I was doing. So I kept at it some more. After a while I even started to question my own opinion about the job. That head conversation would go something like this: “Do I really not like this? Maybe I’m just being picky. No, why should I have to accept mediocre? Maybe there really isn’t something better. No, there has to be…..” And on and on. After a while, this cycle just starts to wear you out. You’re too tired to think about anything. You feel like you have no control so every tiny thing that doesn’t go exactly right pisses you off in a huge way.
It’s no good. But, I felt stuck. So, in order to cope I would zone out on the way home from work, and try my very best not to let anyone know when I got upset about something. But I was never very good at it. This went on for quite a while. And, it’s only now that I realize what was happening. At the time, I really didn’t know just how unhappy I was, or how much it was affecting other areas of my life. I never felt like I was depressed. It was more like ‘meh’. But, it was enough to put me in a total stand still for years.
Eventually, I got to a point where I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was sick of myself. I had become one of the people I always complain about – always whining, never fixing. I was mediocre. I think that’s worse than being less than mediocre. At least being less implies you made a move, even if it was the wrong one. Being mediocre implies you’re too chicken shit to do anything. Even now I shake my head in disgust.
So, I’ve spent the last several months actually considering what I want, what I don’t want, and what I think would make me happy. I have a few stipulations. 1) I have to like it. 2) I want to have fun. 3) I want to help people. I’m still working the dreaded day job, but at least now I have a vision to get out. This is the beginning.