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

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Keeping It Real: Job Struggle

Dearest Blogosphere:

I am going to be very honest with you, despite the fact that this may come across as a load of privileged whiny whining.

I am struggling with my job.

Really struggling.

Like, I cried before work this morning. And two mornings ago. I also kind of cried in my cubicle around 10 AM today, but I mopped myself up before anyone saw me.

I feel so anxious that I can't sleep without taking a sleeping pill. I've never had to do that before.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with my work environment. My coworkers are categorically wonderful. My boss is understanding. I have a standing desk, a double monitor, an ergonomic chair, an office plant, and access to a decent coffee maker, all of which make my work life pretty comfortable. Nobody gives me a hard time when I take a sick day. Although the salary isn't great, the benefits are outstanding. People don't walk away from benefits like these. They just don't.

So this is not a complaint about my employer or the people I work with.

The problem is me. My job is essentially a customer service job in that the primary job function is to assist customers - via email, phone, and in person. At least half of my day is spent in back-to-back meetings with people. While my gregarious, extroverted coworkers thrive in this environment, my introverted self wilts within the first hour. I literally lose my words. I struggle to talk, or sometimes even breathe. Cue panic attacks. (Have I ever mentioned my mental health issues? Yeah... I'll get to that sometime.)

Also? As it turns out, cubicles make me feel claustrophobic.

I keep landing jobs like this because I genuinely do like people. I genuinely care about their well being. But... I've come to realize (it's only taken, like, 15 years) that I mostly like and care about people from a distance. I need my space. I don't want to be in a job that requires constant in-person human interaction. Or really any face-to-face communication. Can't we all just do our thing and check in via email? Maybe Skype in a pinch?

In this job, I am like a water buffalo trying to pass as a giraffe. I feel like I am the wrong person for this job, and it's exhausting. 

What keeps me going is a) the health insurance and b) our debt repayment plan, which relies heavily on my paycheck. I want this debt gone, and if this is what it will take, I'll do it. I'm trying to keep my eye on my "why".

Again, I don't mean to whine, but if only for my own records of this whole financial overhaul, I want to keep it real. Doing things I don't like is, I suppose, part of this whole debt repayment thing.

So tell me: have you ever struggled with a job? How did you handle it - especially if you're a fellow introvert? (Also, please be kind, because putting this out there isn't easy.)


  1. I definitely understand. I have struggled with a couple of jobs in the past. And I am also an introvert - until I am comfortable in my environment, then I have some extroverted tendencies as long as I have plenty of moments without too much interaction. Remember that the situation is temporary and there is an end in mind. I take walks at lunch everyday with my headphones in and a podcast on in order to kind of decompress. Also, put a little bit of time into searching for another job that is more conducive to your personality, or think of what positions on your company or organization would be a better fit. Are there any openings? I hope to all works out and I hope you find moments of solitude in your day to help you cope. Maybe make a list of what you need your life to look like to give you peace of mind and then work towards that. Keep that posted somewhere as a reminder of what your goals are. Sorry for the rambling! God bless you :)

    1. Thanks, Melissa! I appreciate all of this. Openings are very limited in my area, but I'm definitely looking around and letting people know that I'm on the hunt for a new position. I like the idea of making a list of what I need. Great idea.

  2. I have struggled with a job, and suffered at it for far longer than I should have. Once I left, I wondered why I had waited so long. For that matter, I have been at my current (really personally and professionally unsatisfying) job for twelve years simply because it is a good fit for my desired work/family life balance and has some benefits that I can't get easily elsewhere (free college tuition for my kids). However, if I were miserable in the job, I would look for something else. No benefits are worth personal misery, IMO.

    Sorry you are struggling...

    1. Thanks so much, DeeCee. I wish I could move on, but the combination of salary and especially benefits keeps me there. The difference between what I pay now for health insurance and what I'd pay in the marketplace is over $400 a month. I really do not want to jump ship if I don't have another job lined up. I am definitely looking around, though!

  3. Literally stumbled on your blog and this post. God is a great navigator.
    People exhaust me. I love them, I love to help them, but they drain me of every drop of energy I can muster. I so get what you are saying. My work is mostly accounting, so a good chunk of the day I can ignore folks. The balance of my work is HR, payroll, benefits manager, supervising assistants, going to bat for other employees to the boss, securing business insurance, etc.
    Some days, I cannot face the interpersonal stuff. There are lots of us out there. Don't be too hard on yourself.

    1. "I love them, I love to help them, but they drain me of every drop of energy I can muster." - EXACTLY this! I LOVE the people I work for and with... but I just run out of energy for interpersonal stuff!

  4. Arriving a bit late to this post party but... Fellow people-loving introvert here! It took me just under 15 years and the diagnosis of a chronic condition triggered by stress for me to realize that I can't stand supervising people, or being in charge of a department. I want to be in a collaborative relationship with my co-workers, not in charge of them or negotiating/hashing out issues between "my people" and "your people." I am incredibly fortunate to have a boss who - after 8 painful months - was able to "permanently loan" me to our database conversion team. A MUCH better fit for me and with stress levels down, I'm able to manage my health much better (both mentally and physically). I just found your blog recently, so I'm kind of working my way through some of the archives...

    1. Hi Buzz! Thanks for the comment; sorry for the delay in my reply. What a great boss! I imagine that was a big stress reliever for you. I am still in a very people-focused job, but now I communicate mostly via email and phone, which is much better for me than having to meet face-to-face with a dozen people a day. Changing jobs was a pain, but it was so worth it.

  5. "I've come to realize ... that I mostly like and care about people from a distance." GOLD!

    Yeah, I can relate to what you're going through. My job takes a lot out of me everyday because my career field is not a great match for my personality and work-style. But I can't just leave because I have a ton of debt to pay off and a future self to save money for.

    But, one step at time, right? Hang in there!