The Thing About Growing Up That They Don’t Tell You in School

Somehow, I’m turning 31 in two months. Wasn’t I just turning 30? Wasn’t I just turning 21? And all that time I had the thought implanted in my head that I was so ahead of so many others because I had a career and didn’t have kids or a husband of my own to get in the way. Those come later – like, once you’re old enough to really have a kid and a husband. I don’t know when. Just later.

With the exception of a few women I grew up with and know who are my age, most have at least one child by now. Many have two. God help me when they start on their third and I’m still not married yet. I’m just in this mega rut. Why can’t I focus at my job? Why can’t I believe in myself enough to get another job? I just feel like I’m living all of this life for absolutely nothing. Of course one needs a job and money to have kids, so there is that. But I don’t know about how to go about a life where I both want to be a mother and be a working woman… when I don’t even really want to work… and I don’t even really want to not work.

I don’t enjoy sitting around on my ass all day doing nothing, despite being awfully talented at it. But I also don’t enjoy spending my life trapped in corporate hell tearing my body apart with stress to promote some product that often times isn’t very good in the first place, so someone else can likely get rich off of it. This is life I know, and a very privileged one at that, and I should stop complaining. But suddenly those stars on shows like Teen Moon and 16 & Pregnant seem to have it all figured out. Meanwhile I’m just wasting away with no purpose. Woe is me, I know. But it makes me so depressed. It makes it hard to do anything at all. And I can’t believe I lost a really good job because I spent too much time worrying about wasting away my life. Well, now I’m wasting away my life and I’m not making any money. That’s not really any better, is it?

I’ve done good work before, I have. But every interview I have is filled with little white lies. They often get called out. I lean on my improv training to bs this or that. I know that I shouldn’t be hired. I worry about not being able to fulfill the job responsibilities. I worry about starting work and then it going so well that I put off having a family for another few years until it’s too late. And no job is really going to be better than my last one… I had such a great opportunity and I blew it. The company wasn’t perfect but no company is. I am the one who blew it. And now I have to deal with the repercussions.

Yes, I’m getting interviews, or at least a couple of them. One this morning I wanted to just stop in the middle and excuse myself from the application process because I just don’t have work samples to support all those things I had to say I’ve done before to get the interview in the first place. ┬áThen the one company that really wants to hire me wants me for the most senior role of all, one I’m ill equipped to succeed in, one that I want but one that I want in about 10 years when I’m actually ready for it and by then god willing I’ll have two children and won’t want to spend all my time in upper management and never see my kids.

Part of me wants to just apply and hopefully get some basic administrative role. It won’t pay as well at all and I haven’t been that great at administrative work previously, but maybe now I’d at least appreciate it more. I just wish I had someone to talk to about all this, someone who could provide good advice but also who isn’t delusional about my actual abilities. I just feel like everything is falling apart, no more than normal except the slowly draining bank account, but I just can’t deal with it all. So I get further depressed. I start thinking about how lovely it would just be to disappear right now because no matter what I’m going to fail.

I understand from the outside that sounds dramatic but it’s reality. People want to hire people who can come up with things to do and get them done. I can’t do the first part. I have no confidence. My parents taught me to doubt myself every possible instant I could, and I still do. I wish I knew what it was like to feel confident, like I could be successful, like I deserved anything at all that I have. But all I feel is hopeless. Incompetent and hopeless and miserable. So what I wonder is, what is there that I can do where I can make some kind of money to survive and also consistently offer value to an organization? Is there anything I can do? Is there anything I won’t mess up?

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3 comments

  1. james says:

    Don’t compare yourself to others? As for job search, it’s not 100% in your control, but you’ll be fine. For marriage and kids, if you already have someone, why not just go ahead and do it if that’s what you want. No need to wait many years and pass time.

  2. Taylor Lee says:

    It sounds like you’re stressed right now about not having a job. Once you’re back to work, which will come, I’m sure many of these issues will seem less desperate than they do now.

    I don’t know if my advice is of any use, but I’ll share it anyway. I’ve learned three things over my short career:
    (1) All you can ever do is make the best decision you can based on the evidence you have at the time.
    (2) Nobody knows what the f*** they’re doing. We’re all faking it until we make it, some of us are just better at the faking part than others.
    (3) You’re not a doctor. No matter how terrible a mistake you make, no matter how poorly some client meeting or product launch or whatever goes, nobody is going to die. Your mistakes, really, in the big scheme of things, won’t make or break the universe.

    Remembering these things helps me shake off static inactivity and have the confidence to come up with new ideas and implement them on my terms.

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