I've become a terrible employee after 2 years in my first real job. It is awesome on paper but I've never wanted to be there, and lately my boss can tell. He called me in for a Very Serious Talk before I left for the weekend, though it included assurances that he cared about me as a person... to the point that he mentioned helping me find a different job that might be a better fit. I feel crazy awkward and embarrassed about the situation, and I would love to take that offer at face value, but it reeks of Bad Idea. Is it? [LONG + arguably should be filed under human relations]
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I've been mentally revising this all day, and this is as short as it's going to get:
I am a Person Who Draws Kinda Well, in a graphic design position. I am trying to get past my gifted-child neuroses and possible mild depression, which have left me with some skills but almost no faith in them, deep insecurity about whether I belong in my field in the first place, no idea how to choose my priorities, and a downward spiral of "healthy rejection of perfectionism!," slacking, shame and retreat. I know I, like many others, have been raised with unrealistic expectations of how glamorous and pleasant my life should be, and I get that they need to be lowered, but how far? I'm always second-guessing myself, following up nice thoughts about what I want to do with my life with "reality checks" that those are probably chlidishly selfish or lazy or laughable overestimations of my ability. Yes, I know this is unhelpful thinking. Which is why I've ended up shutting down thinking about and subconsciously rebelling against anything to do with accomplishment at all, resulting in instinctive refusal to do just about anything and a black hole where my work ethic should be.
So. Two years ago I got a job offer from a defense company - probably the only category I'd ever sworn I'd never work for - who I'd never heard of. Even though no one else would have me, I was still debating turning it down, until my parents, who I was living with, informed me that no sane, grateful person in my position would do any such thing. So I went to work placing pictures of airplanes into PowerPoint presentations and things, among nice people but the wrong demographic to make friends, but trying to give it my best. That didn't last, even though I started to get assignments that were more interesting, even personally tailored to my skills at times. I got mediocre and slacky, then started dropping the ball harder and faster. When I finish things, they look good, but even when I care I'm still slow, and since the layout of the office has changed to allow me total screen privacy, I have honestly lost count of how many days I have surfed the internet and done literally no work.
So I've been confronted with all this by my boss. I should have been fired, probably with an actual fire, but he's the "...but I really don't wanna do that..." type, so I get a chance to shape up first. (I know, obscenely lucky, I know.) But I dread the thought of shaping up. I don't know how I would even get there, mentally, quickly enough. Sitting in one place, surrounded by beige, silently staring at rectangles for hours on end, every day, has turned out to be unexpectedly draining. Since I started working there I have stopped drawing for pleasure. It's not even the annoying-but-necessary career-launcher I was hoping it might be, except for moving further up in a company and industry I don't even like, since nothing I do can go into my protfolio for security reasons. I got the post college, wasn't supposed to be like this blues. Is that whiny? Is it as dumb as I'm afraid it is to let him show me the door, when it's an objectively good job, with health insurance and more money than I have imagination to spend it with? And then he says this stuff about finding me something else, and stresses that he's serious. How can he be? I believe his sympathy for my quarter-life-crisis-having noob self is genuine, but how is he going to recommend me to anyone? There is no reason anyone would want me as an employee.
I've already decided to leave once before, hoping to freelance, and the few people that I told convinced me to stay just a little longer and save a bit more first. I just ended up never leaving after all, and I'm a little ashamed of myself for it. I feel like I passed up an important chance to try doing what I wanted for a change, but I also feel like it might have been the smart thing, since I probably would have carried those same issues with me into whatever I did instead. I just want a summer vacation from life, or something. I need some time to not have to be on top of everything and have a flawless grownup plan. This paragraph is getting rambly and I'm sure it's obvious what I'm HOPING to hear, but I can tell just from proofreading this that I probably won't, and really, I just want some outside perspective. Thanks. Throwaway email, if anyone wants: AnonQuestion100410@gmail.com