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

Why "Just Find Another Job!" Isn't As Simple As It Sounds (For Me)

This isn't even really a blog post, guys.

It's probably going to be more like two paragraphs. It's a mini reflection on anxiety and sleep.

I was thinking about something last night and then again today when I was out on my run. I was thinking about how last year, things at work got so bad that I basically stopped sleeping and fell into a vortex of insomnia that was really, really hard to escape, even after sent in my letter of resignation.

Then I remembered that the same thing had happened in my advising job and in my tenure-track teaching job. The only reason it didn't happen in my full-time online teaching job was because my boss let me come in late every day and change my schedule whenever I wanted to (and then she left and that perk ended).

I mean, I knew I'd had issues with insomnia in the past. I just hadn't connected the dots to see how prevalent this problem has been for me.

Some people can get by without sleep. I can't. Lack of sleep makes me angry, resentful, confused, and inarticulate, none of which are conducive to a positive performance at work (or a positive life in general). Sleeping pills have addressed part of the problem - namely, the falling asleep part - but leave me perpetually groggy. It is a sucky, scary, personality-altering condition.

Insomnia is a beast. Those of you who've experienced it know what I mean.

I look at/for jobs every day. I find about 2-3 jobs per week that pay a decent wage and that I'm at least somewhat qualified for. But I will admit that I'm picky even beyond those considerations because I just can't dive into yet another job that will destroy my health.

As a result, I routinely discard any job ad containing words such as "obsessed," "passionate," "driven," and "go-getter," because in my experience, those kinds of jobs are breeding grounds for my stress and anxiety. Management jobs? No. Jobs requiring frequent presentations? No. Jobs where I have to help other people through difficult situations? No, though I wish I could be effective in that sort of position.

So... I eliminate many possibilities simply because I know those gigs won't be good for my anxiety and will destroy the healthy habits I've developed over the past year. And I don't want to give up good sleep. These days, I go to bed by 10 and wake up around 6 without much issue. On the nights when something does keep me awake past midnight, I'm comforted by the knowledge that I'll have time to nap the next day.

I'm not saying this as a sob story or to make excuses. It just is what it is - a factor that requires a lot of consideration when I'm sifting through options.

It's the kind of boundary I need to set for myself, but it also feels somewhat limiting, and that can be frustrating. Because I do feel like I have more to give to meaningful work... and yes, I also really want to earn a higher income.

That's all.


  1. Good for you. There is no reason for anyone to sacrifice their health and well-being for a job.

  2. Thank you for this post, it is so relevant to me. I also have suffered increased anxiety and depression when work gets too crazy. And it seems I've never had a job that didn't require me to do the work of 2 people instead of 1 - therefore, consistent struggles. I did recently take a management job but unfortunately now starting to regret it. My boss keeps implying that I need to work more than 40 hours per week and I know her other direct report works 50+ consistently. What is an anxiety-ridden person to do? Go along with the expectation and make mental health increasingly worse? Or look like the slacker in comparison and miss out on the increased pay and bonuses I need to retire as early as possible? Corporate America is a very unfriendly place for anyone who isn't willing to sacrifice everything personal for the good of the company, particularly those of us who benefit from having an actual life. Sickening. Well anyway now that that's off my chest, hang in there. You are not alone I can fully empathize with you. Not much we can do except stick together in trying to get an actual balance and refuse to give in to the crazy societal expectations.

    1. I'm so glad it was relevant - and while I am really sorry to hear that you've had a similar experience, it is kind of nice to know that people get where I'm coming from. It's frustrating that with ALL of the research out there about the necessity of work/life balance and the pitfalls of overwork (not to mention the research showing that at a certain point, the extra hours don't result in much additional output), companies still expect people to go the extra mile (or ten miles) for the sake of the company.

      I hope it gets better, and thank you for commenting!

  3. Its not so easy to find a job that doesn't make you sacrifice some crucial things in your life. If it were, no one would be unemployed or underemployed!

  4. "So... I eliminate many possibilities simply because I know those gigs won't be good for my anxiety and will destroy the healthy habits I've developed over the past year."

    I think this is the right approach, for what it's worth. I totally empathize with the desire to earn more and give more to a career, too though. But if there were opportunity costs to suffer with a career, and I think there always are, then I suppose I'd pick the opportunity costs of earning more rather than bearing the cost in terms of stress, sleep, and the like.

    Best of luck for finding the right fit, friend.

    1. " But if there were opportunity costs to suffer with a career, and I think there always are, then I suppose I'd pick the opportunity costs of earning more rather than bearing the cost in terms of stress, sleep, and the like."

      Just keep telling me that! TBH I think I need to start my own business. That would solve the whole I-suck-at-working-for-other-people thing. Now... I just need a business idea. LOLOLOLOL.

    2. My last business idea was to start a coffee shop/cafe called "Disconnected" where they take away your phone, have no wifi, and people can come and actually get work done. If you need connectivity, you can connect via ethernet but you tell the barista which sites are problems for you, and they're blocked. Common culprits (twitter, facebook) are always blocked.

      We'd charge for the coffee & whatnot, and then another $2 per hour just to sit there and be the most productive badass you are without outside interference.

      Anyway, I will literally never do that so if you want the idea, it's yours!

  5. I love this vulnerable post. As bloggers, we often get caught up in the "you need a side hustle" philosophy or pushing people past their limits. Mental and physical health are just as important as financial health. Thank you for helping me refocus and think about the human side of things. Have a great day!

  6. This is why your voice is so needed in the blogosphere, friend. Keep sharing.

  7. While I agree that you don't want to pick a job that will give you anxiety, you also don't want to discard possibilities too soon, especially just based on the job posting (i.e., if it says obsessed, etc). Being in HR for over 20 years and specifically recruiting, I would estimate that the vast majority of job postings are hastily written, out of date or cut and paste descriptions from other jobs. You often don't get to know a job till you talk to someone in that group or even get further into the interview process. I only point that out so you don't say No to jobs prematurely and miss out on something that actually could be a good fit.

  8. For sure, you have to sleep. I've always been a great sleeper and have often referred to this as my super power or secret weapon. If I wasn't sleeping I would quit my job also. Life is too short to screw with your health.

  9. I am in a job that has become an increasingly poor fit for me. It pays my bills, and provides me with financial security. But it steals my soul, and my mental health has suffered for it. I applaud your courage and your will to be your own person. I aspire to that.