Figuring out careers and jobs while working out my gender issues
September 19, 2012 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Quarterlife crisis and being trans--how to optimally navigate a job/career quest while addressing gender identity issues?

Number of intersecting life questions equals brain exploshe. Gender, jobs, where to live, next steps. I'll try and untangle it for you.

Former creative person, never really flourished, burned out-sought life balance, switched to administration. Have been working in a dysfunctional small office environment at a "corporation" for over a year, receiving unpredictable and irregular negative feedback in a dead-end job in a field where I can't foresee spending the rest of my life. Currently, doing the detached professional thing because it's the only way I can maintain my emotional boundaries, and am, satellite-like, stationed far away from all the central action of the office, though my work is by no means peripheral. Because I've understood for months that this work environment is clearly personally unsustainable, I've been looking for other things and have had one interview prospect (currently still in progress). At this point, though, I may want to move cities, too; I moved cities for my current job and my negative experiences at work have largely colored my experiences here more generally as well. I feel like I really need to start fresh somewhere else. I'm young and pretty much unattached and I'm getting a major gut feeling that I need to move now.

Here's why I'm hesitating.

After I started the job last year, I came out to myself as transgender (ftm leaning nonbinary), after years of feeling "androgynous" and socially dysphoric but not understanding why or how that ought to be applied to my life besides simple aesthetic changes (i.e. dress and behavior). It wasn't an epiphany so much as a slow burn. I think my repression contributed to my having few friends and being largely self-isolated in my personal life, which persists to this day. I do wonder also whether it had any bearing on my wanting to get out of a creative field, since I could not stand being watched/in the spotlight. It took until my mid-20s to realize, I think, because things were largely complicated by my hetero (as a woman) orientation (i.e. I just didn't make the connection that one could be ftm and bi or gay). Also, I was trying to be "normal" and suffering from some denial. I think my current job brought my dysphoria to a head--it's an incredibly gendered environment as well, and because I'm expected to act "womanly" (quotes, because I know that I'm speaking in stereotypes) in this office, and somewhere in my subconscious, things finally gave and I realized that's not me at all. I'm seeing a gender therapist now, have been to some groups in the area, and I'm still unsure/afraid of going the hormones and/or surgeries route, but I haven't ruled it out yet. I know I'm going to be dealing with gender issues anywhere I go.

So yeah. Bottom line is I am having major gender identity issues combined with more general quarter-life crisis issues (career choices/where to live/finding taking or leaving a job). I think I know what I want in some ways, but I have no idea where to start. I don't want to fuck up.

Is there any way I can address these issues separately with some success?

Throwaway email:
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Would it be possible to arrange "remote" work, i.e. where you aren't in the office with other people? Then your transition could be handled more privately.
posted by Michele in California at 9:01 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Perhaps not exactly answering your question, but I certainly felt a need to move cities about the same time I was dealing the most with questions about my gender, something about wanting a new place to redefine myself. The important thing for me to realize was that I didn't have to have all the gender stuff figured out to move. I felt pressure to know what I wanted before moving so that I could present consistently in my new gender in my new home. Once I decided that no decision had to be final, and that moving wasn't the only way to change my gender, it got a bit less stressful. Good luck!
posted by lab.beetle at 11:24 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Mod note: From the OP:
thanks Michele in California and lab. beetle. i met with my therapist this morning after emailing them my question. They encouraged me to try and get more involved in my city's queer community first (i've been really isolated, as i mentioned) before making any big moves. so i am going to try and form some social connections. i think having some friends with similar/related histories is probably going to be my best bet in trying to anchor my life a little bit.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:41 AM on September 20, 2012

In addition to local support, you can seek out online support, which is portable if you do end up moving.

I previously posted a resource list here.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 10:12 AM on September 20, 2012

Your intuition (gut) knows a lot. Your rational mind (head) does, too. There are lots of decisions you can make and actions you can take at this stage of your life, at this stage of your self-discovery, that are not irreversible commitments.

I encourage you to grow mindful of areas where you have strong feelings, whether they be fear or compulsion or something else, and ask yourself -- without pressure to get the answer right, just ask because sometimes authority needs to be questioned -- what lies behind or within those walls.

Peace be in you.
posted by thatdawnperson at 6:37 PM on September 21, 2012

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