Need advice on my personal life affecting my career.
January 21, 2013 7:47 AM Subscribe
I am currently undergoing a career crisis and I need some wisdom, blunt feedback, and strategies for going forward.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I am in the U.S. and female. I have a doctorate in a biomedical science and left academia around a decade ago to join a private company that provides biomedical products to the healthcare industry. I was the first employee of the company and worked fairly tirelessly for my male CEO (married with kids) until I married about five years ago, at which time I gradually adopted a more family-friendly schedule of around 50 hours a week with “normal” hours, to no complaints. I was placed in the main leadership position in my company and did not flourish as such. I am not a natural leader and was uncomfortable to the point of being miserable. I do believe one needs to go beyond one’s comfort zone to grow, but this was beyond my ken completely and I had a very hard time of it. I do believe this was my boss’s version of a vote of confidence in me, but though our current corporate team is small, the politics absolutely derailed me and I had a very hard time of it. Nothing bad happened and we got work done, and I have the support of my team – it was more that I am just not a natural at captaining the ship and had a hard time managing the strong personalities on my team. I do know that they support me and care about me, however. I just don’t like to be center-stage.
Unfortunately, the man I married likely had narcissistic personality disorder. Beginning five years ago when we married, he slowly began eroding my self-esteem, refused intimacy with me, and I eventually found out he was seeing prostitutes – many, many prostitutes. It came to a head during the past summer and he was physically violent and my attorney and therapist told me to get out of the house immediately. My friends all helped me move within a single day while he was out. I moved into a gated community. It was extremely traumatic and though I have my wonderful pets and they are safe, I lost a lot of my “stuff” and had to start over with furniture, etc., at the age of 40.
I had been close-ish to my CEO and his wife for the past 10 years and scheduled a call with both of them and told them what happened and let them know what my plans were going forward. It happened during a week I had long-scheduled vacation time, so work was not an issue. However, the past six months have been VERY difficult for me, due to the lingering trauma of the abuse and the ongoing divorce process, wherein my ex has been not surprisingly very difficult, though I have not seen or spoken to him since he beat me and left the premises (after which I moved out). I have NOT been reliable at my job. There have been several days where I took PTO at the last minute and I have been less engaged than ever before. I have not been a stellar employee and I recognize that.
I just had my review and I feel that my boss was punishing me – though I am not sure if it is justified and would like some help unpacking it. He was extremely critical of my somewhat erratic behavior – though I accomplished a lot in the latter half of the year, it wasn’t acknowledged. He expressed his dismay at being personally hurt by my behavior – he felt that I had confided in others, but not him. I am very close to a female colleague who has helped me enormously through this time and he indicated hurt regarding that relationship. He cried and I cried. I ended up telling him I felt ashamed that I had married such a person and I never meant to perform poorly, and he expressed his disappointment that I “let the guy win” by sabotaging my job. It was truly awful. Overall, I felt it was very personal, not professional, and that his ego was at issue. N.B. He has never, ever made a pass at me or indicated interest in that way, though I have often felt there was an undercurrent of…something. I don’t know if he wants to be my father or my lover. He is a decade older, if that’s relevant.
He offered me another position – mutually agreed upon several months ago – but at a reduced salary I found unacceptable, and told him the compensation was not reasonable for me. He agreed to review it. I do believe that this new position would be a better fit, but I’m concerned that things are so crazy and off the rails here that I should find another job STAT. The rest of the team at HQ is miserable and unhappy and we all feel like we work in crazytown - before my insane review.
I do admit I have been an unsatisfactory, undependable employee the last six months. I do feel that building the company with my CEO for the last ten years should give me something…? My question is, what are your thoughts on this? My friends who work in Big Corporate experienced the similar productivity reductions after divorces or other life-altering events but were more “invisible” and not punished.
My other questions:
• Really any advice on how to perceive this situation and redeem myself. I am okay with tough love and need to see it objectively, if possible.
• I have no ties here and can sell my property easily. I have always wanted to live in Ireland or GB. How does an American get a job overseas when their company is not international? Any advice?
• What else am I not seeing or considering?
Thank you for reading. I have found that life is NEVER what you think it will be and planning is often quite futile. I want to make the best of this new opportunity in any way I can, despite the pain and fear involved.
You can contact me at destroyedmycareer at gmail dot com.