Struggling and Scared. What’s New?

I have 70 days until I will feel good about leaving my current job. But that still leaves the big question – what job should I go to next?

Reading job postings is the most depressing thing ever. I don’t have any skills that would land me a new job. And the jobs I’m qualified for, well, they aren’t even clear fits, and they would pay A LOT less. My only hope for making the same income is to take a VP level role, which is possible since I think I can probably convince some company no one wants to work at to hire me to run a department… I’ve done it before… but that means I actually can’t suck at this time. And while I think I’d be better than I was in my early 30s, I don’t see myself really being able to do the job well.

I keep having this sinking feeling that I’m stuck. That isn’t worst case, of course. That means I continue to do a good enough job where I don’t get fired. For however long I need to do that. I’m just not getting any more relevant experience for leaving and the longer I stay the more stuck I become. Until I get so depressed that I can’t function and end up losing my job anyway.

But I feel like I need to dig into something meaningful as my next step. I’m scared because part of me likes not giving a shit about my job beyond just doing a good enough job. If I am doing something that actually betters the world then I will be extra angry at myself when I slip up. It feels good to not care, I guess, but then I can’t motivate myself to do good work, so I think I need to care overall.

I wonder if I took some time off would I have the energy to get back to things. But I’m still convinced I don’t have the ability to learn enough skills to be employable in any job that a sane person would want to have. My number one skill is managing to make crazy sociopaths happy by doing what they want even though I disagree with it entirely. It’s not the best life though, at least for the past few years, it has paid well. But this year it’s leaning into being asked to do things that I’m not ethically ok with plus I don’t believe in and I just hate it all.

I’m curious what I’ll get for my bonus and raise (if any) this year. If I don’t get a raise again that’s going to hurt because inflation is bonkers. But I’m, well, not putting any money on a potential raise. I know even 5% is going to be pretty standard this year and anything below that is just a kick in the face and a clear sign to GTFO. But where do I go? I really don’t know. I’m just so worn down. I’m taking it week by week. 10 weeks left. Just 10 weeks. I can at least get through the 10 weeks right?

Objectives Towards a Better Reality

My “work husband” jokes that I ought to just say “loop” every time I text him how frustrated I am and that I need to get a new job. He often texts me similar sentiments in return so we put up with each other’s recurrent complaints, and both share the same frustration with the many things that don’t make sense with constantly-changing goals and lack of opportunity to focus on doing anything meaningful beyond the creation of a quick shiny object before moving on to the next. So, here I am, loop.

But leaving this job is no longer a question of if, but when. It’s more — what do I do next? I recently retook a Myers Brigs type test and I tested clearly as an INTP (no longer an INFP.) That tells me I’m fed up with bullshit and more appreciative of fact and logic in my old age. What a curmudgeon I’ve become. And I like it that way.

I feel like I have two paths here — one where I continue on my “business side” road, where I’ll never be a fit. I’ll have a few wins here and there because I can use logic to come up with ideas that make sense — but they will frequently be sabotaged by people who communicate better than I do and who think they know better. So everything I do will be some watered down or altered or not at all what it was supposed to be version of what I wanted to do. Even though for the most part I don’t even like what I want to do because I can’t get to it in a rational manner. I keep asking — WHY THE FUCK ARE WE DOING THIS — and if I can’t solve for that then it’s hard for me to do anything at all.

And in all my queries over the years I keep looping back to that I need to KNOW things. Not just any things. But I need skills. I need to understand programming. Not that I would be a programmer. Maybe I would be. I doubt it. But I need to understand how things work. To better communicate with the people who make things. So I can also make things. Even if I’m not, well, making them myself. This opens up paths to product management, data science, UX in collaboration with developers, and other roles that I could see being fulfilling in allowing me to build things and doing things that make sense.

The only problem is my focus is non existent. I’ve tried to go down this path before, and I don’t get very far. It’s not even frustration as I just feel like I have no ability to commit to anything whatsoever. It’s a problem. But here in my old age I know I need to. And I have this luxury of time that I normally don’t have where I could, if I get my darned act together, set aside some hours in the day to take a self-paced course and learn some things. I have a lot to do for work, but given I have a goal to move on soon, I don’t have to do anything above and beyond for my current job. And there are definitely times when I have downtime so I might as well put those to learning something useful.

I really like the idea that to get anything done in life you have to make a list of the 25 (or in my case 200) things you want to do and then pick the top 3-5 and cross out all the others. I haven’t quite made the list, but I’d say at the top of it would be 1. learn the fundamentals of coding (probs python since that seems to pop up everywhere) 2. build something even if it sucks 3. clean my house (/get a kitchen table set.) 4. exercise 4x a week 30 minutes a day and don’t order takeout; 5. prioritize work to-dos by day over the next 12 weeks and get that shit done (and repeat as needed.)

I think this is a reasonable and healthful list where if I can accomplish these things by the end of 2022, ongoing, I’ll be in a MUCH better place going into 2023.

I imagine applying for jobs would look much differently if I can say I completed a certificate for programming and/or built something. Because there are two types of people in the world, people who build and the people who try to make everyone see the value in what has been built. Ok, then also people who don’t want anything to do with building things and just want to make sure everyone is doing ok in the process of building those things. So maybe three types. I’m 100% a builder. I need to figure out how to be where I’m meant to be. I have 20-30 years of work left, which isn’t much time, but it’s quite enough time to either go batshit crazy or to be part of building something meaningful that I can be proud of.  I prefer the latter.

Is a $3M 2022 Possible?

Anyone who follows my blog knows that my FIRE numbers are somewhat arbitrary. Yet I know that if we have $5M we can probably take out $200k in perpetuity and be able to live on our savings, give or take. $10M and $400k a year forever. Sounds nice. Sounds like FREEDOM. It also seems quite impossible. But less impossible after a few really solid years of net worth growth. I made a lot of dumb financial decisions which limited the growth, but still it’s crazy thinking we went from $600k to $2.5M in net worth in just 4 years. It makes that $5M and $10M goal seem – well, possible.

The year isn’t over yet — one more day of market ups and downs — but I think it’s fair to say we’re wrapping up around $2.5M:

  • $20k cash
  • $870k stocks
  • $35k bonds
  • $638k – IRA/401k
  • $152k – Roth
  • $445k – home equity
  • $293k – 529

===============

$2.4M, give or take

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So we have $600k to $3M.

While we increased our net worth by $600k this year, it’s highly unlikely that will happen again next year as I no longer have a lot of company stock to vest.

Here’s how it COULD happen…

planned addition…

  • $20k cash
  • $870k stocks + $50k = $920k
  • $35k bonds + $10k = $40k
  • $638k – IRA/401k + 4k +19.5k = $661
  • $152k – Roth + $60k = $212k
  • $445k – home equity
  • $293 – 529
    ================

    $2.59M
    +
    3% growth average
    = 2.65M

Well… that’s not $3M. Probably not going to get to $3M next year. Even average 10% growth would be “just” $2.8M.

So… never mind that $3M goal. I’m going to make goal for 2022 $2.75M net worth.

I’m probably going to change jobs next year anyway so who knows how much we’ll really be able to add. There are a lot of house projects we need to take on as well. AND my sister is getting married. I have another wedding to go to, a bit of travel back and forth across the country to help my mom prepare her house for sale, and a few late gifts I need to send out for weddings I didn’t attend this year.

$3M is a major stretch goal for next year. But you guys know me and how much I like my stretch goals! They keep me motivated anyway. And I’m going to try to stop spending so much on take out in 2022!

It Would Be Nice

The squirrels are the only creatures who seem to love the palm tree in my front yard, for my husband, myself, and my neighbors certainly don’t. To hire someone to clean the palm tree costs about $2000 and to remove it the same, so we’ve been pondering removing it for a good year but can’t make up our minds. There isn’t much mind being made up in this house about much of anything. It’s a problem. My only mind making happens in periods of mania where rash decisions are anything but wise and seem made without any manner of forecasting the future discomfort they will inflict. Thus, decisions either get made and regretted, or not made at all. I’m still unclear which is worse.

But the palm tree needs to go. I think.

There are so many weddings this year. Well, two. My cousin’s which is just a short flight away but an expense of perhaps $3000 after taking grandma to watch the kids and booking a hotel room that can fit all of us, which isn’t easy to find. Waiting to book the hotel room means prices go up which means I spend even more. Then there’s my sister’s wedding, which she is rushing to get done this year supposedly, though no date has been set yet. Her and her finance are off on a whirlwind adventure of seeking out wedding venues just like my husband and I did six years ago.

Six years ago was an entirely different time. Almost so ancient it merits its own series like Bridgerton although that isn’t actually based in any real time so this particular comparison doesn’t work and yet it feels like it does — because was that life six years ago any more real than the world created by Julia Quinn — because what was life actually six years ago? Was it real?

My father still alive, a bit of denial through the entire family about the situation at hand and falling for his lies about the fiscal health of his and my mother’s bank account. Six years ago before two children who are very much humans now. Six years ago before the worst manic period of my life where thank god I managed to only let words not actions inflict the innocent, even though I ruined a few of the things in life that were actually good because that’s what I do apparently — self sabotage so the things and friendships that actually are wonderful are poisoned by this mental health catastrophe that goes into hibernation in my brain and comes out every once in a blue moon and turns me into this over confident person I most certainly am not. So there’s that. And I live in fear of that person coming back though I tell myself I’m older now and wiser and I can control that part of me if she surfaces again and I’m too tired now anyway to have that kind of energy where even if I thought I might be charismatic I’d surely prefer to dream the reaction to that charisma over act upon it. It’s interesting, though, how certain I am that I’m bipolar and yet not being able to convince any practitioner of this because I’m too ashamed to explain exactly who I’ve become in the past or maybe I try but no one believes me when I seem like just a depressed person trying to exaggerate the past. Or maybe I don’t even believe it because I force myself to forget out of sheer embarrasment and regret that spins like a spiked pit in my stomach whenever I’m jolted back to a time when I wasn’t really me albeit I was still me, I wasn’t like, schizophrenic, I was just — some other me who was sad to the point of wanting to crater in but that isn’t even it. Just craving some kind of connection, I guess, in this delusion that maybe such connection might exist somewhere, but then in falling back to earth realizing no no no in fact there’s nothing to connect to and you are best lost on an island and not having this notion that someone will one day find you there and rescue you from yourself. Because that doesn’t actually happen. And that’s ok. What’s not ok is when you start getting confused about what’s real or what isn’t. When your mind plays tricks on itself. It’s scary and upsetting. So you want to keep yourself stable now. It’s all that matters.

Six years later, you have a house, you have two kids, you have managed to hold down a job for four years and see your bank account grow with stock that you don’t deserve but you got nonetheless. And you’re six years older which shows in the few strands of grays in your hair and the paleness of your skin and the aches in your joints which you realize are just beginning. You’ve experienced the beginning of a global pandemic, like everyone else, and the era of covid, which may not go away anytime soon. You have PTSD from it like everyone else, but perhaps it saved you, locking you in your house and not letting you escape into the world with your impractical imagination.

But it would be nice. To just find peace with it all. This world. It isn’t much longer that I have to experience it. Who knows how long. I’d think 40 years of health if I’m lucky. Half way there. If it was climbing up a mountain I’d feel good about making it to this point but it’s not, it’s life, and there is nothing else once you get to the top. And so here I am, living a depressed but more or so practical life, and trying to decide which kitchen table to buy because I ought to make decisions faster than once every two years, so maybe I can do other things in life, other than searching Wayfair and watching the sun hoping it will go down quickly so I can just go back to sleep.

The Roads You Didn’t Take

There’s a part of me that still believes I have a big career in me. I could return to school for an executive MBA and find my voice and confidence to move up quickly on a high-potential path from junior executive to C-suite.

With my astute decision making leading to unprecedented revenue growth I’d no longer have to apply to jobs — jobs would apply to me. And 10 years later I’d look back at the last decade not as a smorgasbord of fake-it-till-you-make-it and no substantial work meriting pride but a full narrative around doing a whole bunch of great things. Maybe I’d be in one of those lists… despite no longer being young enough to make it into a 40 under 40. Perhaps a 50 under 50 but over 40. A 6 shy of 60. The one to watch. The one whose career is worth at least a couple of articles in respected trade publications.

Or – I quit the workforce entirely to write full time. A novel. A memoir. A TV series. A film or play or interactive art piece titled “pretentious” because it obviously is.  I create a storyline and cast and direct and edit something that goes on the internet and goes viral. Because everyone goes viral these days so why not me? I do something unique enough to capture some audience that wants more.

Or… I hand in my resignation and live off savings, moving to some town no one has heard of to live a life that won’t ever be heard of either. As a mom. Driving my kids to practices and classes and field trips. Volunteering at the school because there’s so much free time and I ought to use it doing something useful. 10 years of that.

Or none of these, more likely, just a schmuck doing some job half-ass not because I want to but because that’s all I’m genuinely capable of. Working for sociopathic leaders who at best are fake kind when you serve their visions well and at worst make you feel like shit until you land in a mental institution or die, whichever comes first.

There are so many roads and yet most of them seem so far away. Their starting point is a huge death defying leap across a chasm of diamond-tipped spikes just waiting to gut me alive. So I stay safely on the other side despite this wall behind me speeding up from a distance, clearly ready to nudge me off the ledge with no more space for a respectable momentum-building leap. So I wait until I fall violently to the end or I run and jump and try to make it across with my legs swirling at full speed in the air, like some long jumper who actually knows what the hell she’s doing — or perhaps not as gracefully but somehow I make it across, ready to take on the other side.

I don’t know and I’ll never know which is why I seem to just be waiting to be pushed off. Most people are here with me. Who says the other side is any better?

Can’t Sleep When Things Are Going Well and Caving In

$2.5M. I guess that is our current net worth, give or take, if you don’t count taxes or fees on sale of our house. I usually do but tonight I felt like giving myself a little fiscal pep talk so I threw together another spreadsheet (when I should be sleeping) which has us over the $2.5M mark. Even though that’s not real because if we sold our home and sold all our stock holdings taxes would make that a lot less. 

Still, the fact that in some not completely bullshit calculation we are at $2.5M is a significant milestone.

My husband and I picked one of those impossible net worth numbers we have/had to hit in order to consider a third child. $2.5M! That’s not going to happen, right?

Well… depends who is counting. But tonight, I’m counting it.

I’m not going to have a baby tomorrow. But given the savings goals been hit for each child ($500k, $1M, and $2.5M… if baby 3 is a possibility we’re at least at goal.) So that’s nice. None of the money feels real. And I know because I’m still rather heavy in tech stocks I’m going to regret that and it will come crashing down. I’m probably 30% in higher-risk stuff but I’m bored and antsy and FOMOing my life away so here I am holding way too. much FAANG and laughing about it until I’m crying about it. Oh well. When the game is squarely rigged against us — go big or go home? Or, stop taking risks because I’m almost old now? Probably that.

Money is a funny thing. $2.5M is a lot of money. No argument there. Yet I’m perusing the tuition rates for these fancy private schools for gifted kids and my jaw is dropping to the floor smack bang and flipping right back up into a cartoon spiral in reading that school for one kid for ONE year costs $35k or even $50k+. I mean. I don’t care how gifted your kid is. If your kids is that gifted give your kid $35k and have them build a business. Or a spaceship. Or a TikTok empire. I mean, if you are making $1M a year consistently forever then maybe $35k is a drop in the bucket but my bucket, rich as it may be, is snapping its lid on any thought of sending my son(s) to any sort of fancy private school.

I do wonder with my son… I have no idea if he’s gifted or just advanced or even how being also autistic and behind in some areas will make him who he is over the long run. I’m worried for him. Mostly in what happens when he starts to realize he doesn’t fit into the world around him. Right now he doesn’t care. At all. But I think as he matures he’ll realize that he’s different. I certainly know that feeling. My husband blossomed as the alien he is with a small group of smart-as-fuck weirdo friends. Well, maybe blossomed is the wrong word… but he survived and seemed to have fun along the way. I didn’t fare quite as well in my childhood and especially adolescent and early adult years.

And I wonder how much of what we’re capable of is based on the environment we’re put in and what we’re told we’re capable of and how we’re treated when we fail. It’s fucking strange to me to think some kids are shipped off to “gifted” programs where they walk around thinking they’re better than everyone else just because they can recognize patterns and a holographic memory (not a thing I made it up but I’ve decided it’s a thing.) I had some equally fucked up concept of my own intellect as a child based on my father’s commentary of both my smarts and my failure to live up to potential because I was clearly lazy and not trying hard enough when no no no I just couldn’t think straight and the anxiety took over very young when from an early age I felt like I was a misfit and was sad about bothering everyone while also longing so desperately to fit in and connect… but who was there to connect with? It’s not exactly all that different now.

So my son is clearly different and I want to support him while also letting him figure things out on his own. I always thought I’d be the mom who cheers my son on when he takes risks and fails but already I feel like I’m failing him on the failure support despite trying. He is already so anxious, so aware, so thoughtful in a mind that doesn’t yet understand the world or what is really going on. But he’s starting to. And I can tell as the world starts to make sense it becomes more and more scary. After a solid block of sleeping alone in his room in his bed he has been venturing out to sleep in our bed. And it’s sweet to cuddle and all but I can tell that his mind is spinning and processing all of it.

I haven’t told him my father is dead and he doesn’t know what death is yet but he certainly understands that my dad is missing out there somewhere. I don’t know what he thinks of him in his head. I worry for when my husband and my living parent’s pass away. I didn’t have to deal with grandparent death as a child except my mom’s father died when I was 8 and I guess he was always old and distant and it didn’t phase me much though I was a little sad at the thought of not knowing him well. And my great grandmother who was so old in her wheelchair through my young years – I don’t remember her dying but I remember her at some point being gone…

But because we are older parents and the ages are getting further and further apart between birth and the next birth there’s more death early on and it’s just something that is but it’s so terrible to have to experience it and to have to experience it with young kids. How on earth will I ever explain to my son when his best friend, who happens to be 78, no longer will be available to play with him ever again? My husband will be distraught and likely forever disabled emotionally by the loss of either of his parents. There are plenty of books on the subject but that doesn’t make it any easier.

And then there’s my own mortality. How did I get here? Well, covid. And my fear of getting a booster shot after the first 2 Pfizer shots seriously messed me up. I don’t know what was worse — how bad the shots messed with my body or how little doctors believed me (or how the doctors who did believe me said there was nothing they could do!) You start wondering if you’re crazy and just stuck in a placebo effect anti-panacea. Maybe your eye didn’t go blind and come back with dark floaters. Maybe you didn’t have the most intense headache like a monster clenching on your scalp and squeezing you to a pulp then stabbing you with ice picks for weeks. Maybe your hear didn’t shake like a motor and turn on and off when you were lying still at night. Maybe you haven’t had a series of experiences where your left arm and lip goes numb and you feel as if you’re possibly dying or stroking out or something.

But then you know all of that is real and you’re terrified of getting a booster shot when your body seems to be finally almost back to normal. The floaters have almost faded. You can go outside in sunlight and not cry because of your vision.

At the same time you know if you don’t get a shot you very well might die. You’re not being a hypochondriac or overdramatic. It’s just fact. You’re overweight now and that’s super high risk plus your depression is also a risk factor and you’re the blood type that seems to get hid hardest and now you’re over six months out from your last shot. Covid is an assassin out there looking for you and you can run by you can’t hide. So. I should get the shot. But then…  I don’t know. Months of feeling horrible again. Will I recover faster this time, or slower? What if I lose my vision entirely? Unlikely, but after my experience I don’t know what to think is possible anymore. And I’m so not an anti-vaxxer. I got my flu shot and I get it every year. I’ve had every shot in the book. But this really took me out. I’m scared. Of getting the shot and not getting the shot.

Meanwhile… life is being life. There’s been sickness in my house recently, a whole lot of it, but not covid. While my 3 year old seems invincible and has never had a fever (he was coughing a bit this week) my almost 1 year old was taken out by a fever up to 103.7. Poor kiddo. He’s still getting better. Slowly. And I’m trying to do my job that I’m so behind on. I managed to fight a billion fires today (a number of my own ADHD making) and I think there’s a chance I’ve caught up if I really put my head down and push through the next 3 months with tight project management kung fu fighting pow pow pow exhibitions.

But then…

My house is a mess.

My 3 year old son who is reading and memorizing the periodic table and yelling bloody murder at me if I count out of order ever and grabbing his ears should any unpleasant sound roll in or by needs support and therapies and doctors appointments and playdates and experiences and for me to be there and I’m not, I’m not there enough because even when I’m not working I’m so fucking tired or I am working because I can’t focus during the day and well it’s 2:30 now and hey I’m awake writing writing all the thoughts in my head then maybe I can sleep I guess possibly I don’ know. I want to be there for him. I want to sign him up for a thing or two but everything is expensive and yea I “have the money” but do I? I don’t know. If only I could be one of those people who just knew I’d always have a job — outside of mass layoffs — who had skills that were just employable like being a programmer or something but no I’m not that my skillset is pretty much straight up bullshit and while it’s not my first rodeo I’m still being thrown into a pit of mud and spiked in front of a crowd feigning concern. So.

And my younger son. What a personality. What a personality who needs attention and care and love and support. He is so focused and driven and will NOT GIVE UP if he puts his mind to something. I admire that in him though it makes it hard to hide anything from him because he remembers where you put it and he keeps trying to get it. We’re going to be in big trouble when he learns how to climb… he’s already starting to figure it out. I can’t believe he’s already almost 18 months (well , in 7 months) which is the beginning of when covid started with my first son and when I had the time to retreat from the world and go for walks with him that were first him sleeping while I pushed and later on more social walks for us as he counted all the numbers on the houses and shouted out letters as we walked by at 2.5.

Life goes really fucking fast. I mean they tell you it does. But you don’t know what that means until you’re in the thick of it. Here I am. Wading in quicksand and staring dewy-eyed at the sun, blinking to bat off the razor-blades of time.

And my mother needs to sell her house, hoarder house, but that’s another story. Or is it. Well it’s all my story. But who cares. I went out there and tried to help and apparently made more of a mess so she can’t handle it and she’s spending a fortune getting it cleaned up even though I got rid of so much she’s probably still saving money in the end. I can’t believe my mother is 68. Even though we have a bit of a jagged relationship I still don’t know how I can be in this world without her. Many of my friends wonder why I still talk to her. But I see her somewhat as my child as well. Not that I’m the best mother to her either. Mother to my mother. But I love her like a child, not like a mother, if that makes any sense. And if/when she dies it will likely feel like losing a child, and I’m worried about that pain, I’m worried I can’t handle more loss despite knowing loss is a gift of life because it means I’ve managed to keep on living. I’m scared of it all. I wish I could go back to the days when I knew nothing about the inevitable. I look at my sons and envy them and pity them. They can’t be kept in the dark forever. Especially with how fucked up the world is. Speaking of dark, things can get dark even faster. So much horrible things out there. I want to hide them from all of it. But they also need to know. I feel guilty for having kids sometimes. Even though grateful. Like what did I bring these innocent creatures into? Maybe they can do great things but — that’s if they survive it all. And then they still die in the end so that makes me feel pretty sick to be honest. Even if in the best case I’ll be long gone when that happens and they’ll have lived long lives and maybe had children of their own I still feel nauseous thinking about it. So I ought to stop because going down that rabbit hole is never a pretty one.

Anyway. It’s 2:39 and I need to sleep. I was probably going to write more things like about my new virtual therapist who is 83 who told me he can tell I’m highly intelligent and that I ought to be a professor and a columnist he named some columnist I reminded him of and I was supposed to know the reference but I didn’t because I don’t know much of anything but I’ll take the compliment with me to my grave or at least my mattress for now.

Seven Recruiter Calls But I’m Not Interested

The recruiter calls all go the same. Some company has some technology and then need someone on the business side to do XYZ for it. It’s a numbers game and at some point someone would believe I can fill the role they need (aka making magic) and I’d be hired. I’m told comp ranges $200k-$250k+, base. Don’t let that scare me away, they’re open to more for the right candidate.

The numbers are meaningless if I get hired and fired three months later, so I’m wary. After 15 minutes with a recruiter grilling me about my experience so hard I almost said clearly I’m not right for this role and hung up, she a second later said ‘you seem like a really good fit for this role’ (what?) and maybe I’ll speak with the founders soon. Ok. I don’t feel like I’m a good fit for the role, but a conversation can’t hurt…. or can it? Isn’t that what got me here, as in to this point in my career, in the first place?

I’ve said for a long time that this specific field I’m in isn’t right for me but it’s just so freaking clear I can see through it without noticing its there. It’s soul draining and yes it pays well especially in certain levels and companies but I just can’t do this anymore. I daydream of waking up excited about building something helpful in some way. But then again do I even have the energy for that.

I have the energy for nothing. Not even my typical long blog posts. Just this. A running log of where I’ll never be which is where I guess it is I am. Here. Still here. Always here.

Where on earth do I go next?

A short post, not so sweet, but short nonetheless.

I’m really struggling in figuring out where I realistically go next.

It does feel the time has come to move on in the coming months here…

But I’m looking at a $250k income next year, if I stay give or take. That’s a big “if” — because with a new boss that’s unlikely anyway. Even if I do my absolute best and never make a mistake.

That said… other roles out there just won’t pay as much. And they’ll probably throw some stock at me just to make it worth staying. But I know I need to get out for my mental health. There’s just — no where to go? I’m too senior for junior roles and too junior for senior roles. I am feeling really down about my prospects right now. I know it’s a job seekers market but the job postings out there really sting. I don’t want to go to a small startup unless I’m taking on a very senior time-consuming role and I don’t have the energy or time for that right now. But I don’t have the foggiest how to get into a legit large company with my background.

Feeling pretty darned hopeless. Grateful to have my job but hate the feeling of being so stuck. Maybe I could find a job for like $120k but is that really what I want? Is that really better than what I have now?

Just Over 100 Days Until TBD Life

For everything there is a season. And life constantly changes even if you try by lack of effort or relentless force to keep it all standing still. My fears compel me both to action and inaction, but things are in constant motion around me. My children are growing up a little each day. Work, in the great resignation with a tinge of additional leadership sociopathy, is hemorrhaging talent. And I’m leaning more into leaning out while leaning sideways in still looking for what the hell it is that might make me feel like I have purpose again. In no particular order.

I recently found out, through probably the wrong channels, that a key person in my org is leaving the company. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I’m hurt by not finding out directly from this person. It just shows again how little I matter in this organization — and how others have managed to move up and gain prominence as I’ve fallen. I’m not jealous or even bitter anymore. Just questioning if I can ever function in a place like this. How can I go somewhere else and be them and move upwards instead of down? Is that even possible? I mean, after a series of wins and not rocking the boat I failed on some very basic task requiring follow through on booking a space with someone who told me they would do it and never did. So I’m ashamed about that and back to questioning my abilities and where I can actually be successful when my mind is extra mush as parent to two including one with ‘special needs’ and my own special needs and my own needs to be special.

I’ve updated my LinkedIn. Again. For like, the 90th time this year. My last updated was a mass deletion of all the details under each job description because reading it late one night it itched me with all its horrific bullshittery. I revisited it and inputed words that aren’t bothering me much now and turned on “open to new opportunities from recruiters” because right now I’m on that 100 day stretch and given I’m knee-deep in high-profile projects and the key lead in my department has decided to walk — and I was told by the head of my department I’m “definitely not a 2/5” this year (which I think was supposed to be a compliment as well as some sort of assurance that I’m valued still?) I’m less concerned about getting let go in the near future. I’m more concerned about jumping too soon to the wrong thing or just staying because I’m too scared to let go of my solid 3/5 lifestyle that’s stressful but a known evil vs walking into something totally new and that grass might be dry dirt but the time I get to it.

But seeing this person leave the company is a solid reminder that things are just upside down here and it’s not just me even though just me is an issue as well. The level of sexism and sociopathy is higher than I realized early on and those in executive roles feel it most. I don’t know what is said behind closed doors but if my limited interaction with said leaders is any sign of it then it’s real bad. Impossible expectations paired with questionable judgement means that even the most capable must resolve to lower themselves to be clearly submissive yet is paired with a lacking of respect for anyone who happens to be female especially in a non technical role. It’s pretty upsetting to the point that I see even if I never had my own challenges with project management and communication I still would be looking for an escape hatch.

The leaving of this member of the team is a lot process. I’ve been held back in many ways due to this person but I don’t blame them for the decisions they’ve made to not provide support. But I also don’t think they ever really understood or valued what I bring to the table and in some ways purposely kept me out of projects where I could have added value because they don’t like me personally. I feel like this person really had a clear set of objectives for what to accomplish in this role and I do hope they’ve accomplished everything they set out to do. I get a sense that leaving was not a given but the torture of being constantly berated despite barely sleeping and working constantly with pretty much no vacation for many years straight–and not being able to keep the best members on a team because they quickly see how dysfunctional this place is — finally was too much.

But I fucked up my relationship with this person time and again to the point that it is irreparable so if I do decide to stay at this org getting a clean slate with someone new also changes my own trajectory a bit. I’m mildly hurt that I’m in the dark on all this while my colleague who stepped into my former role is interviewing potential replacements for this person, but I’m trying to not take it personally. Only factually as another proof point that I really don’t matter here and I never will. The head of the department is clearly concerned about hemorrhaging people so suddenly he has told me that I’m a valued member of the team and will be considered for refresh etc, but to me it’s just too little too late, and knowing what I know now about what’s actually going down (I didn’t have the context when we met earlier this week) I just feel like my time at this org is worth nothing and I’m living in my box with no opportunity for growth. I asked about managing a team and was pretty clearly told that’s not going to happen so that’s that. Of course I can’t actually get a role where I lead a team without team lead experience so who knows if I’ll ever make that transition. And all the jobs that pay decently outside of this one still seem to require team leadership experience. So I’m still feeling stuck. But I’m starting to transition to applying elsewhere. I’ll start having some conversations. I’ll see if anyone is interested in me. Get a sense for what I’m worth since I still feel so worthless. And who knows what next year holds but I do feel ready for a change. I guess. Not rushing out the door but certainly all my toes on one entire foot are wiggling freely on the other side.

 

 

So Long 37.

37. You’ve been… a year. Saying goodbye to 37 seems like closing the doors on an era. An era of grasping on to the last remnants of my fleeting youth that in actuality was gone long ago. I don’t know what it is about “38” because it’s still squarely in one’s 30s, but it feels so close to 40 it might as well be. And my husband is turning 40 early next year, so I feel whoever gets there first ages both partners in a marriage to the next official decade of life.

The last few years of my 30s may or may not include one more child, but I’m really torn on that for so many reasons. More on that in a bit. It likely will include changing jobs, because this one is getting worse and worse by the day and the compensation next year no longer makes it worth while to stay. I just feel like no matter what I do I am not capable of doing a good job in this role. I’m not sure where I am capable of doing a good job but it’s certainly not here. I’m not getting fired so I’m clearly not doing the worst job possible. I try my best and it seems that my work ethic and positive attitude keeps me gainfully employed. But I’m fucking tired. Tired of the craziness that is my job where I can’t focus on any projects because I’m constantly thrown new things that take a lot of time and won’t actually help the business improve but are just pet projects from leadership. Did I mention I’m tired? Like, emotionally, mentally, physically drained.

And it’s not just because I have an almost-one-year-old and a 3 year old going on 13.

… So. I was gung ho about the 3rd kid thing with wanting a girl and then lately I’m just feeling like maybe that’s asking for things to go really bad. What if I die in childbirth? What if IVF gives me cancer? What if I have a girl and she hates me from the moment she slips out of my womb?

Possible.

But also, logistically, I’m not sure I can handle 3 kids. Now that my youngest is becoming a little human with his own needs and my oldest is his own growing mind person monster I want time to spend with both of them, together, and alone, as well as time to spend alone and alone and alone with my husband and so far I haven’t been good at any of these variables. I’m not thriving at work. I’m not thriving at home. I’m not thriving at anything. Except maybe gaining weight from binging on carbs to fill this pit of fear and confusion I feel at any given time.

Well at least I’m not fucking manic at the moment. So there’s that.

I sink deep into the sheets of the bed below me and wonder all sorts of things and don’t know the answer to any of them. I worry about my son who can’t handle noise and puts his hands over his ears when anything hums or buzzes and I wonder will he outgrow that or if not how does he handle living in a world that is made for people who are able to tune it all out? I worry about my younger child who is growing up with less attention than my first, who is being shoved by my 3 year old at times, and all the conflicting parenting advice on how to handle sibling conflict (while also being committed to ensuring he doesn’t get seriously hurt.)

I don’t know anymore. I feel old and like I’ve managed to do a lot in my life leading up to 38 and yet not enough at all. Like at 38 one should be VP or at least have some serious skills they are confident about and able to go into a job interview and be like “I’m the shit and if you don’t want to hire me I don’t care.” But what would I even say in a job interview? I babble. What do I know? I know how to serve the needs of sociopathic executives who are convinced they have the most brilliant ideas. I feel like this is not a worthwhile skill and even if it is, it’s not one I particularly want to be known for. I can’t. Do. This. For. Much. Longer.

I did one project the head of my department liked but he asked for some changes then the head of my team gave me feedback and I made changes and she really liked what I had written (even though I knew it wasn’t actually good so no hard feelings there) and then the head of the department was like WTF is this and clearly was not happy with the changes and so now I’m scrambling to put something together they both like at the last minute when I’m supposed to be on vacation. Luckily this vacation = sitting at my mom’s house and trying to pack up my childhood home so I have some flexibility but still — I really needed the mental break. My plan was to take 2 weeks off but I thought if I got 1 then that would be something. But here I am still working and I don’t know when it will stop. I’ll get Thurs and Friday off because everyone does but then I’m back.

Hey, at least when I’m back it’s December. I’m 38, ok, that sucks, but better than not making it to 38, and it’s also the final countdown to my final vest and final significant employe stock purchase plan purchase and bonus and 401k match and then I can leave whenever I have the energy to do so and find something better. It’s all finally here. It’s not a life-changing amount but it’s the end of what I committed in my brain to stay for and here I am and there… I have 117 days until I really have no significant reason to stay. They will go by fairly quickly I think. I have a lot to do. Even if I fail at the things I’m doing I don’t think anyone will realize it until well into those 117 days as long as I’m trying. Which I will be. I never stop trying. Trying isn’t exactly getting me anywhere though.

Curious what my performance review will say. In past years I wrote these long self reviews trying to highlight everything half decent I did over the year. This year I just threw together a few bullets. I have a different boss this year so maybe he won’t notice but I realize what I write doesn’t actually matter and I don’t deserve a great review. I’m either a 3/5 because I’m good enough to keep but not good enough to try to keep, or a 2/5 because I pissed a few people off over the year by missing deadlines or not communicating well or both (been there, done that, don’t think I did it this year but who knows.) I’m pretty sure a 4/5 is impossible for my role and abilities and a 1/5 I’d be fired already and a 5/5 isn’t real so… yea… I’ll be surprised if I don’t get the 3/5 but maybe I sucked more than I know over the year and I’ll hear all about it in January when reviews come out. I got a pretty sizable bonus when I got a 2/5 last year somehow so I’m thinking I’ll probably get a bonus again this year… and then… I don’t know. I really don’t know.

I wish my husband would be the type of guy who said “wow you’re clearly miserable and I want to do something that will make you happy — do you want to take some time off work? Maybe we should consider moving out of a HCOL area for a while and see how that goes so you don’t have to work so much? Or maybe we stay here but I apply to jobs that pay enough where you can work part time?”

He’d never say any of that. And I don’t know how I would react if he did. But wouldn’t it be lovely to have a husband who would be willing to put himself out there, do something that makes him a bit uncomfortable, to try to help his wife out a bit? Am I asking for too much? I mean, yea, I know who I married. And I don’t expect him to be CEO or anything but there are a few reasonable options at this point that would allow me to be maybe slightly less miserable and I don’t think he’d be willing to entertain any of them. So it’s up to me as always. I think a new job could help, but I don’t know how I can be successful in any job since I’m not actually good at anything. I just want to sleep and exercise and try to eat healthy and take some time to recover from the last four years of being beaten down so much (not to mention having two babies.)

Anyway, I guess this is what it’s like to be almost 38. And then to be 38 en route to 39 and then 40. And maybe one more baby. Or maybe no more babies. And hopefully enough money to pay the mortgage and the bills. At least. And watching my investments crash and being sad about how as a normal human the only way to get ahead and beat inflation is to invest yet that’s so risky even though it’s supposedly not that risky as long as you’re diversified and don’t need the money for years but who knows what the future holds so yea it’s all a gamble and it feels pretty shitty to have to gamble what you’ve earned in order to have a shot at a half decent future.

And that’s for someone who is privileged enough to even have that option… I’m aware so few are.

So here I am. Well. Hello 38. Nice to meet you, I guess.

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