I am so overwhelmed and struggling right now that it feels like I have no options and I'm intractably stuck. I know logically that I do have options but I can't sort out what I could do from what I shouldn't, what might work from Just Don't Go There, and getting objective, realistic advice is difficult.
posted by noxetlux to Work & Money (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This will be long, I apologize.
I'm 39. I work as an assistant in financial development for a major non-profit. I've worked in similar office-type jobs since graduating college (excellent college, somewhat useless degree) in 1996, except for a 4-year stint as a nanny.
I'm tired of this kind of work. Not just tired...I feel defeated by it. Demeaned, even. I've never wanted to do it, though I am good at it. I just...fell into it. And now I want out. Most pressingly, I want out of this particular job. I've been here 5 years and for 4 of them I've been saying I need to find something else. There is no respect for the business operations personnel, the working conditions here have been rough for a few months and are only going to be getting worse, and I really do not want to try to drag myself through another holiday season feeling miserable and angry. I've managed in the past by telling myself that the pay and benefits are okay, that hey, for 6 months when we're less busy I only work 4 days a week (which ends in November, and then work is hell from then through February), and that I leave my work at work....mostly, except for when on my non-work day I have to put out fires from home. But the stress has been building to the point that I've had to start taking klonapin again to get through the week. I feel guilty for wanting to leave, as I know it will make things difficult for my direct supervisor but I'm afraid if I'm here much longer my mental health will suffer very badly.
I've been looking at other jobs. Jobs I'm qualified for...but I don't want to do. I try to cheer myself up by saying that "this one has a shorter commute" or "that one probably has better benefits" but the bottom line is that the prospect of doing another secretarial/data entry/clerical/reception type job just....I can't bear it. This has been the cycle in the past: hate job, look for job, get depressed, stay at job. I've been forcing myself to apply but it gets harder and harder to try to muster any feelings of enthusiasm and easier and easier to think bleak, bad thoughts. A few months ago I was actively hoping I'd get fired, though I hadn't done anything firing-worthy.
What do I want? I want to work on my own, doing things that give me at least contentment, if not joy. I have a few fledgling shops on Etsy selling supplies and vintage, and a backlog of crafts waiting to be listed so I can see if there's any interest in my work. I find getting this done on the side of my "real" job nearly impossible, as I'm just drained by the anxiety and stress.
I've tentatively considered having a part-time job, walking dogs or something, so I'd have more time to devote to the work I'd prefer to do. My mother, with whom I actively try to avoid discussing any of this as she naively (in my opinion) thinks that getting a new job is as easy as just sending in a resume and that I can do anything I set my mind to because "you went to Impressive College!". And then maddeningly she says that I ought to be doing work that challenges my brain...and then of course says that I'm neglecting my art when I am doing "brain" work.
I'm getting a small insurance settlement (under $5K) soon and have had wild thoughts of quitting, withdrawing my 401(a) (~$10,000, ~$8,000 after taxes) and trying to really make a go at my craft work, while working at something low-key part time. I don't actually think I'll have the luxury of retirement in my life so using that money now seems acceptable to me. Yeah, doing this would cause major strife with my mom but I imagine we'd work it out eventually.
I feel like I need permission to do this. Or for someone to smack me upside the head and tell me that this is foolish, wrong thinking, I'm too old for this kind of nonsense, etc. 15 years ago I would have just jumped without a second thought...thinking on it, nothing truly bad ever happened - when did I become afraid of taking risks?
My therapist has been supportive of my idea, but I am currently therapist-less as she abruptly disappeared over the summer - I knew she was going to have to give up her practice but what happened was sudden and surprising, I believe it just had to do with her changing circumstances and I don't feel like she abandoned me. I haven't had the heart to find anyone new since.
Is my idea completely silly? I have done some brainstorming about the potential pros and cons and it seems like worst case scenario outcome is that I end up back in this same kind of job.
Is this crazy thinking? Have any of you done this? What do you wish you'd done differently?