Can or should I be a professional phoenix?
December 12, 2012 5:15 AM Subscribe
I've been in my professional field for about a decade. For the first five years of that, I was a bit of an alcoholic. I shudder when I think back to some of the unprofessional ways I behaved. I'm worried that I now have a reputation of being flaky within my rather small professional community. Short of changing fields, is there anything I can do?
posted by silly me to Work & Money (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
What did I do, you wonder? Well, I was in my early twenties when I got hired here, and still mired in that early-twenties partying/drinking/who the hell am I?/work sucks mentality. Within a month of getting hired, I showed up at work so hungover that I had to go home sick (after moodily not talking to anyone in the car we were taking to a meeting). I spent entire days and weeks just surfing the internet and screwing up projects as a result. I've also always had this weird resentment towards my professional field, and towards work in general, that I now recognize is really immature and unhelpful given that one has to earn a living somehow (even if it's not rescuing baby pandas or something).
I'm still not the world's greatest in my particular field, but with all this experience I do now feel relatively competent from day to day. I've made strenuous efforts to stop idly screwing around all day and to be responsive to coworkers. It's an ok field to be in, in that my coworkers are genuinely good people for the most part. I've been thinking about changing careers, but my current employer offers many generous benefits that would be hard to find elsewhere. And hell, the economy sucks, I'm lucky to have held onto a job.
Part of the problem is that, due to family obligations, I'm stuck in the same city for the foreseeable future. I suppose if I were to move across the country and begin anew, none of this would matter. But given that everyone seems to know everyone else in the small pool of professionals in this field and geographic area, I worry that my reputation may be somewhat tarnished.
Is there anything I can do?? Put my nose down and get to work? I don't think telling people I used to be an alcoholic is very practical.