1.16.2009

Honesty

I am having a wallow in bed sort of moment. I just want to stay here, surrounded by pillows and blankets and self pity.

Talking to my dad on the phone about stress earlier today the tears streamed down my face and I just felt so small. Any accomplishment I make pales so much in comparison to the one thing I can't seem to do, and I am at a loss. Sometimes I think of my stress as a tangible object, a part of my system that I've come to rely on and that I sometimes misdiagnose as a personality trait.

So on Wednesday of this week I put in my resignation at work. I've always known my work environment was unhealthy, but when i wrote that letter and sent in in I actually felt a part of the sadness that I'd been carrying around with me start to leave. It made me consider how sad I must have really been. But it's the tricky kind of sadness - the sadness tied to circumstance. Fleeting sadness, here and then not, that you just kind of endure. I'd been enduring it for too long, but now I don't have to. There is a certain power in walking away from something that is toxic. I am walking away to find something else, and I can't begin to describe how good it feels.

A new job landed in my lap this week. It happens to be an assistant manager gig in retail, which is for all intents and purposes a giant step backward on the career ladder of life, but for me it is one little step closer to better, and for that I thank my guardian angels. But when we talk about it I'll still be completely embarrassed to admit it. I'm leaving a job as a graphic designer and technical editor at a research and development company to sell clothes. And I'm going to be completely honest with you, I feel like a failure. I failed at SEL, I failed at getting pregnant. Stamp me on the forehead: FAIL. I'm going to be working in the mall. FAIL, FAIL, FAIL.

On Wednesday I will have an exit interview with HR, where they'll ask me questions about my time at SEL, and then I will hand in my badge and go. Did I enjoy my work? Would I refer a friend? What were contributing factors to leaving? I completed two versions of the questionnaire - in one I am classy and dignified. I am grateful for the opportunities, perhaps I would refer a friend, I just feel my time here has ended and I am ready for something new. In the other, I am brutally honest. Working at SEL made me miserable. Working at SEL caused me to seek out a therapist last year. I would sooner refer a friend to prostitution than to employment at SEL. Is that too dramatic? When the president of the company said in front of me that "the good thing about old age is gravity makes it longer, but also harder to get up," that was a contributing factor. When I was transferred from Executive Secretary to Technical Document Specialist without my consent, that was a contributing factor. When the VP of HR called me into her office to tell me that no one liked me, and that to succeed at SEL I'd need to "try harder to fit in," that was a contributing factor. The burping manager by my desk all day? The fact that I have not had any work for months? Was never trained for my new position? All. Contributing. Factors. In the end I decided to be classy - (though that doesn't mean I have to be classy here).

So this is it: supporting a husband through graduate school is really, really hard. Living with monthly defeat and making compromises on the life you really want is really hard. And I am struggling to make it my own. I am struggling.

I know we all struggle with something, and this struggle isn't much in the grand scheme of things. I picked this blog back up because I needed to remember to celebrate the good stuff that's always here, sometimes hiding under the bad stuff but still always here, and I like to think that most of the time that is what I do. But I hope it's okay if I take a break for a bit and just say it: THIS IS HARD.

This is hard and it sucks.

20 comments :

  1. Congrats on the new job! I hope you like it better than your last gig - I find work in general to just be annoying most of the time. I often wonder if I'm alone in that thought, or if other people find working to be annoying, too.

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  2. "THIS IS HARD, MOTHER EFFERS! But we're doing it! We are going to make this work! WE ARE!"
    There...I say it with you!
    And hey, stress is not good for baby-making.
    You are strong...I hear you roar!

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  3. oh dear. you are having a hard time. leaving that job was obviously a good decision for you. no job is worth having it tear you down and making you miserable.
    maybe NOT having the stress of that job will make OTHER things easier.
    Go work your job at the mall. the only reason you feel like a failure is because you are wondering what OTHER PEOPLE will think and you know what? they aren't going to think a thing except, "hey that girl is a worker. she will do WHATEVER it takes to take care of her family"
    that, my friend, is what anyone worth knowing will think. so you go girl, just go do your thing.
    xoxox from VA. hang in please. we are all with you.

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  4. Serenia - yes. Oh yes oh yes oh yes.

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  5. Look on the MAJOR bright side..... working in a clothing store in the mall = EMPLOYEE DISCOUNT!!!!

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  6. those SEL pricks can burn. mother effers. it does makes one feel good to say that phase so just repeat it all day long.

    mother effers

    mother effers

    mother effers

    and that sort of thing

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  7. As long as you're doing what you need to for you, your family, and your happiness, you are never a failure. I can't believe they told you there were rampant rumors about you and you needed to try harder to fit in. I see so many people who are told that. What, pray tell, does one have to do to 'fit in' around there? I suppose I'm lucky in that, for the most part, people leave me alone at work. But where is the quality? Where is the fun? I know two of us who are happy for you, happy that you're going to be happy. Leave girl, tell them exactly why you left, and don't look back. That chapter is closed. I wish you so much luck with everything and I hope we can keep in touch!

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  8. Aw Natalie...you are not Mama Jumbo. I always cry when I watch that movie with my boys, too.

    "This is hard!"...there are phases in our lives that are just plain hard (maybe too hard), but that is what builds our character, huh? Most often, I am humbled by hard experiences and then...I'm happy.

    Your new job is just a new phase, not a step backwards. And besides your onsies are for sale in a store!!!!!! Little stegosaurus at Prune Orchard...here I come. :)

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  9. I so have been where you are. When my hubby was in Grad school were some very rough times but we made it through and laugh about it now. I also worked retail for many years- got out and was miserable working in a call center so when I was put on probation for not meeting call stats I told them they could keep the job and spent 8 months unemployed- it was again really hard but really helped me figure out what I wanted out of life- that was 8 years ago and even though I'm still not doing exactly what I want I'm way closer than I ever was. I do miss retail though-especially the discounts.
    Good Luck in your new adventure(Oh and Congrats on getting the onesie's in a store)!!!

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  10. 'Kay--sometime today when I have a moment I'm going to send you the mother of all emails explaining why you are not the only person in the world who feels like a failure. But until I can sit down and type for like an hour straight, I'll leave you with this thought: send that other exit interview sheet to your old job RIGHT AWAY. They need to know what complete $%#@heads they were tout de suite. And then tell me as soon as you can--what rumors were going around?!? What were they saying? I know it's dumb but now I'm dying of curiosity. And, okay, I'm married to an engineer and all, but really...who in their right mind would WANT to fit in with engineers? Does ANYBODY in this country read "Dilbert"?!?

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  11. I know your feelings all to well. Really! I was in a sales job where for 8 LONG years I felt like I drove all over God's creation (usually in horrible snow), I was constantly told "no, but thanks anyway!", I worked alone (and it was lonely!) and I hated everything else about it. During those 8 years I also got married and we tried to have a baby. The periods (& tears) just kept coming. Like you, a job fell into my lap (major decrease in pay) and I snatched it up. It wasn't until then that I realised just how insanely stressed I had been. Life was finally good and not much longer after I got that previously elusive BFP!
    You are young and I really believe it is going to happen for you, too.

    Congrats on the store picking up your onesies & hang in there!
    :)

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  12. Natalie, I almost cried when Megan told me about all the stress your work has put you through and how you are feeling. I am so sorry that you were put through such hell. How could anybody not like you? I can't understand it. I can understand, however, being completely unable to make friends or even carry on a friendly conversation with anyone at your office because no one likes you; I got fired from that job after five weeks of giving my all and trying so hard to get along with people. I was told that I "didn't have the personality to work there." I guess you have to be an @$$**** to get along with other @$$****$. I ended up having to quit my next job because of management that was totally whacked out and trying their bet to chase me and my boss from the company - all the way from Ohio! So now I work in customer service in a call center, SO not glamorous. But it's a job that pays me, gives me health benefits, and I guess I'm good at it. Keep your chin up - you are a great person overflowing with talents, creativity, and love. And sales managers can make bank!

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  13. Argh! I just noticed a typo in my last post! (Please ignore it.)

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  14. I think you should just print out this post and give it to them. It is well written. I'll also bet that you get pregnant soon. One chapter has to end before another can begin, and the reduction of stress might be exactly what your body needs.

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  15. This is Hard! Grad school was Hard! My life is Hard!

    But... in the strength of the Lord we can do Hard things!

    -Lana

    Ps. Do they have a Mrs Powells or Cinnabon? If they do this could be all worth it.

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  16. I only know you from your blog, but I dfinately know that you are not a loser. Those people at your job how could they not like you? Your reasons for leaving make perfect since. This new job sounds like it will fit you better. It's not a step down at all. It's a new obstacle. One less stressful. One where you can be creative. And you do have alot of responcibility you may work in the mall, but you are a manager. Besides maybe you will have more time now to work on your onsie line :) Don't let anyone get you down and hold your head up high! Remember this is your new year! Jess

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  17. Congrats on making a decision that is right for you! Pretty soon, there are going to be lots of layed off workers who would love to have your new job. When I left my job last year (without having another one waiting, btw) I felt horrible. But it was the right decision for me and I think is the reason why I was able to get pregnant so quickly (and most importantly, STAY pregnant). I never thought of myself as someone who could leave my job and spent months feeling like a failure.

    I could tell you many more ways how you and I are alike but I don't want to come off as "stalkerish" ;) Thanks for sharing your ups and downs - it feels good to know there are others out there going through similar circumstances!

    -Karen

    PS - I wonder how many Karens read your blog?!

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  18. there are no steps backwards- only steps forward to what YOU feel is best for you.
    i, too, supported a fiance while he was in grad school (and engineer/architect... trust me- i know the pain you endured day in and day out- lord engineers missed the social gene!) i wasn't even married to the boy yet and i was working two jobs to make sure we could all eat! it's hard. BUT IT GETS BETTER.
    the minute that stress leaves is when the baby makin will become much easier.
    GOOD LUCK AT YOUR NEW JOB and ENJOY IT! cheer up charlie. we all go thru this at one point (or 2 or 3...)

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  19. AnonymousJuly 06, 2011

    I stumbled across your website from Babble today and have been having fun poking through and reading your words. I too am a big Green Gables fan and never grow tired of You've Got Mail. I am visiting NYC this fall (my in laws live there) and seeing your reviews has me so excited and even day dreaming about living there. I just wanted to say that as I read through your blog it seemed like you're the girl who has always had 'everything together' and made life look easy... that is, until this post above. I'm in a soul sucking job right now and sometimes feel like I'm the only sucker out there sticking with it.... thanks for your inspiring and truly honest blog and for showing that it can work out... even if you end up working in a mall for a while.
    Tina
    PS: Please pleas please won't you share where you bought your awesome 4th of July hat. I love it.

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  20. @anonymous--you are too sweet. Just reading this post brought back all those feelings. That was a sucky, sucky time. But you're in luck, cause I bought that hat on the street around 66th and broadway and when you come here it will probably still be there! I think I paid $15!

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