If there is one thing I miss about being a child, it is that feeling that everything you’re doing adds up to something. There is an irreplaceable sense of anticipation for the future, and that future keeps on coming. As an adult, now approaching my mid 30s, I’ve lost all excitement for what’s next. I don’t think that’s depression, it’s just life.
Perhaps a part of me is excited about this hypothetical “house and kids” future, but I can’t let myself get too excited about it because both variables of that equation are proving more and more unlikely. Kids? I need to lose a significant amount of weight before the doctor will give me medicine that will give me some tiny chance of getting pregnant without reducing my chances of miscarriage. House? Unless I win the lottery, or find a more sustainable-yet-equally-well-aid job, it just doesn’t make sense to commit to paying $6k+ a month for the next 30 years, not including taxes and repairs.
So what’s there to look forward to? I guess living for a while… experiencing moments of happiness, even if nothing turns out as I planned not so long ago when I was a kid. I just really want to get my career on track, but I feel so stuck. Well, I am stuck. Not in this job specifically – I very well may be unstuck from the specific job very soon and not by choice. But my experience, on paper anyway, lends me to a very specific type of role that I’ve never been particularly good at. The things that I think I might actually be good at are so far out of reach without significant additional education and even then I’d still be myself—I may very well find myself $200k poorer with nothing to show for it. Hence, stuck.
If I’m not having kids I’ll be devastated, but it does take a lot of the pressure off. With no kids I don’t really need a house… I don’t love apartment living but it’s not that bad, at least in my current apartment that feels a bit more like a condo. If I lose a job without kids I can cut my expenses down and just live extremely frugally until I pull myself back together again. But I can’t do this if I’m a mother. I need to be responsible and consistent in my career. That’s not happening in my current career because I can’t sustain quality output.
It doesn’t help that my boss hates me right now, and I get the sinking suspicion that the only reason I am still employed at all is that I could go to a competitor and it’s probably less risk to keep me employed at this point than to cut ties entirely, even if he really wants me gone. Little does he know I don’t want to do this at all—I just want to find a job that I can be good at. I have no idea if that exists in the business world or if I need to get out of for-profit companies and do something totally different. I’m creative, but not creative enough to be a full-time creative. I’m not analytical, which basically means that I don’t belong in business and especially not in Silicon Valley. I’m a decent writer, but my writing comes in bits and spurts when I feel inspired. I am horribly inconsistent at even the things I do fairly well—which means I’m not good at being employed.
Today I visited a woman who does electrolysis for a living to have hair removed from my face (yeay PCOS) and she seemed to really love her job – leaning over my face with a needle for an house and shocking my hairs so they fall out with a gentle tug of a tweezer, follicle and all. Perhaps a job like that would be a better fit – helping people by permanently removing their hair. A college degree isn’t a requirement to zap people’s hair for a living, only a minimal amount of training, and then there’s a job where you have a skill that is worth $60 an hour that doesn’t require promoting a new product and generating more leads than you as one person with only a limited number of hours in the day can manage.
The flaw in my mindset is one which I still look down upon jobs that do not require a college degree, despite that I very well may be happier in one of those positions—self-employed and with flexibility to set my own schedule and without any chance of becoming wealthy enough to afford a home but at least having a skill that pays for rent, basic needs for kids, and just an average life. That’s not to say having my own business will be easy but it would be completely different to come to work every day and repeat the same process over and over again versus never feeling accomplished or being accomplished.
Or I stay in the business world and figure out how to get good at it. I’ve been trying to do this for over 10 years now, though, and it’s not working. Maybe I’ve gotten a little better at faking it for longer, but eventually everything comes crashing down around me. I don’t see anywhere to go from my current role—moving up is only more responsibility, more organization skills and a time management that I am apparently incapable of. My new boss starts in a few weeks and I’m already convinced she will hate me just as much as my current boss does, probably even more because she is an expert in what I do and therefore will be much more critical when I’m not doing it right.
At best, at the current rate, I’ll lose my job sometime around June or July. It may happen sooner, but I’m usually pretty good at predicting these things… and I think I have five months left. This means I have five months to figure out how to position myself well for a role that I can actually hold on to through my child(rens) early years. I read job posting after job posting—many of which require less years of experience but slightly different experience (and will pay a lot less) and I know I’m not at all qualified for these roles. I probably can get a role similar to the one I have now, but that’s the problem. I don’t want to just keep jumping around from one role to another where my responsibilities are identical and my lack of success plays out like a broken record. I can’t live the rest of my life like this—especially when I have kids.
There is always a part of me that just wants to get in my car and drive far away, never to be heard from again. To take some cash out of the bank, hit the road, change my name, work as a waitress or front desk assistant in some small town where I live the rest of my life out on my own with no responsibilities, no family, no friends, and no one to judge me for failing to be something. Of course I can’t do that—I have a husband (and I wouldn’t do that to him), I have a family who would wonder where I am, and I have enough of a life where running away from it all clearly isn’t the answer.
If I can’t do that, then what is the next best option?