A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way

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Who Am I? What Year Is It? When Will I Get To Sleep?


I'm stopping in with a very informal post to say that

I. Am. Tired.

Not unhappy, but tired.

I haven't been sleeping well because I have job anxiety. This means that I get sleepy and go to bed by 10 PM...

...and then proceed to stare into the darkness for two or three hours before raiding pretzels from the pantry and knocking myself out with Benadryl.

Don't get me wrong: I don't dislike my new job. This gig is ten bajillion times better than the previous one. In fact, I rather enjoy the tasks assigned to me.

The problem is that there are so many of them. I don't know if I can keep up, and I'm not just saying that. I'm doing my best, but the work is still bleeding over into the evenings and the weekends.

I've always been pretty good at my jobs, even if I didn't like them. Even if I felt like I was completely half-assing the work.

This job?

I am triple-assing it, and I'm still not keeping up. I don't know how anyone in my position gets eight hours of sleep a night, eats three healthy meals, and takes Saturday and Sunday off. I assume nobody does.

At the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I'd drink 64 oz. of water a day and meditate and work out four days a week. Right now I'm managing to drink the water, but the workouts and the meditation keep getting put on the back burner. Are they important? Will they help me? Maybe so, but I get so overwhelmed by the thought of trying to do all the things. I can't let myself succumb to that feeling, and I need to put my time and energy into the thing that will pay me. So sometimes the meditation and/or working out get(s) put off.

My boss says that I'm doing well but that I need to pick up the pace. Otherwise, I'm going to be working 60 hours a week. At present, I'm working at least 50 hours a week. Regardless of how well I like what I'm doing, that's not sustainable for me.

And that's a really scary thing to say. I don't want to look for another job. I just don't. It took me months to find and interview for this position, and it was an exhausting, emotional, roller-coastery experience. As it is, I don't think anyone would want to hire me because my resume clearly shows that I am a shameless job-hopper who can't/won't stick with anything for more than a year.

In the meantime, I'm doing my best and hoping that I will figure it out. I'm also shoveling money into savings in case I need to pull the cord on the parachute. God, that's a terrifying thought. With our emergency fund and our tax refund, we'd be able to get through a few months without me bringing in a paycheck, but given that I have no idea what I'd do after that, it kind of feels like I shouldn't let my brain go there. Not working wouldn't be sustainable, either.

I just don't even know.

Is there anyone else who no longer knows what a normal and halfway enjoyable job looks like?

Are there any other 40-year-old women out there who have NO IDEA WHAT THE FUCK THEY'RE DOING?

Or is it just me?

Disclaimer, in the interest of my own sanity: I'm not looking for a pep talk. I'm not down on myself. This rant comes from a very practical place: this might work out, but it might not, because there are only so many hours in the day. I'm just taking it one step at a time, one day at a time, because that's all I can do. For once, I'm not frustrated with myself. This is the best I can do, and I'm satisfied with that.
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17 comments:

  1. If you figure out the answer to this question (the "How the fuck do I do it all???" question), please let me know. I currently have 20 letters to dictate, 15 letters to type, >100 dictations to sign off, and a shit ton of other work. My heart races when I wake up because there is just so much. I think about it while I'm meditating. I think about it in yoga. It's a shitty way to feel.

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    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SAYING THIS. I don't want you to feel like that, but it's comforting to know that someone understands. I'm committed to continue meditating, but lately my brain insists on using meditation as an opportunity to review a very long to-do list. So... How effective is that? Dunno. Any chance that things will lighten up in the near future?

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    2. Happy to share my suffering!

      I'm horribly behind because I got sick before going on vacation, so all the things I thought I'd get done before leaving were left undone. I went in to work today and finished up a presentation for the week, so that is making me feel better. Other than a bit of teaching at the end of the week, I have nothing major before my next trip at the beginning of April, so I'm hoping I'll have some time to catch up.

      Meditation and the to-do list...been there. I do still think it helps, but it feels frustrating at the time.

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  2. Sorry to hear that you're feeling that way. I am well-acquainted with the feeling of overwhelm in event management. I guess a benefit of that industry is that contracts are usually short, so there is an end-point in sight... albeit coming with the need to find another job.

    As a fun anecdote, I actually got an itchy body rash related to stress in one of my early event roles, where I was working long hours 6 days a week and felt overwhelmed. Yeah, that was great... I believe much of this came from being in the steep learning curve phase; once I got better at understanding the work and my co-workers, I felt better about reaching out for help, which aided in the situation - even if the long hours remained.

    Thinking of you through this! Yes, continue to commit to the meditation. I have a friend going through some personal life challenges right now; he has said that while much of his current meditation is taken up with ruminating on the situations, he wouldn't be getting through it as well without having had this as a regular practice for the last few years.

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    1. My SIL used to be an event planner and OMG... NO idea how you do it. Stress + people = how.

      Thank you for the words of encouragement. I appreciate it. There are a lot of things I like about the job (flexibility, benefits, overall company vibe), so I'm hoping I'll find a way to manage.

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  4. I don't have any helpful words. I wish I did. I just wanted to say I totally understand and I often feel this way too. Constantly overwhelmed and stressed out. I changed jobs frequently in the first 6 years of my career, but it never got any better. It just made me wonder how will I continue to do this for 20 to 30 more years. I think that's why I am attracted to the FIRE theory. I just haven't figured out how to get there yet.

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    1. Yes! Same. I've changed jobs four times in the last five years and every one of them sucked. I feel like it must be me... I'm the common denominator in all of these scenarios. But I just don't get it. I work hard, I'm a team player, and I'm intelligent, but I just can't seem to get with the program when it comes to the jobs I take on.

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  5. I'm a 41 year old woman who fells like I'm stuck being paid less than I could make out of fears of running into what you are in now, and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Similar to Michelle when I get stressed I break out in an itchy rash on the palms of my hands and soles of my feet (because when you're already stressed you need to look like your hands have some kind of disease.) I have found one trick that helps some when I have an endless list of things to do, just writing them down gets them out of my mind, I'm sure it doesn't work for everyone.

    Definitely try to fit in meditation any way you can, it may be more productive than it feels in the moment.

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    1. Thank you so much! I've been slacking off on meditation and most forms of self care. I just feel so crunched for time. I don't know how to do all of the things. But carving out time for meditating and working out is really important.

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  6. I'm lucky to work customer service, so I'm able to sign off completely when my day is done. I don't envy your position. It sounds tough as hell, and I'm sorry that you're going through it. (And yes, this sounds very rational, not panicking or depressive thinking.)

    I hope you're able to get into the groove so that you can stay at this job that you like so much. If you can't... Just realize that a few more months of this kind of stress would probably make you like the job a lot less (and therefore make leaving easier).

    As for job hopping, from what I understand it's a lot more common these days. So I don't think it's an auto-disqualifier. Then again, I don't know how much hopping you've done, so I guess I can't speak with authority there.

    Good luck!

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    1. Thank you! I'm trying to hang in there. It is a daily struggle. My current goal is to just make it to next Friday. My big goal is to make it to the end of April. Surely I can last six or seven more weeks...

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  7. When I was in school taking more than full time classload plus working full time, I found that walking on the treadmill while writing my paper helped me calm down, exercise and still get all my crap done. In the meantime, lots of ranting and a few breakdowns were definitely called for.

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    1. Oooooh, I need a treadmill!

      Thank you for the encouragement and empathy. I appreciate it.

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  8. Mid 50's here and I can relate lol!

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  9. Any possibility that you are doing too good a job on each project? Maybe they seek more production and less perfection? It would be hard for me to skim projects and not do my best work just to meet timelines though. Tough call.

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  10. I think you should know, you absolutely DO inspire many of us! I appreciate your genuine honesty and the fact that you are on your journey... not finished with it. You are NOT alone!!
    I spent 10 years at a high stress job that was literally killing me. I experienced all that you described and I cant believe I stayed so long. The only plus...it was in education so I had the same calendar schedule as my son for most of his school years. Two years ago, after a scary trip to the ER, I sought out and found a very low stress/slightly boring job I somewhat enjoy at a local community college. Downside is, its half the pay of my previous job. With my son being in college now, we are feeling this decrease in pay BIG TIME! I've been taking free classes through my college hoping to find a way to promote myself and make more money but I seriously don't have a damn clue what I want to do and at 50 years of age I'm doubting my ability to handle another possibly higher stress job. So, I research constantly, trying to find ways to lower our expenses, trying to embrace our financial limitations, and trying to feel satisfied with our current situation.
    But, the reality is... I'm not satisfied, I feel lost, and I too don't know what the FUCK I'm doing! The things I have ANY interest in reap zero to little monetary benefits. I'm so damn tired at the end of the day as it is, I struggle just to take care of myself. Throw in the onset of peri-menopause and I'm just trying to keep my head above water.
    So, I keep putting one foot in front of the other , keep reading wonderful blogs like yours for inspiration, and keep reaching for a better ways to help our financial situation, even if only in small ways.
    Thanks for listening. :0)

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