Let’s just say I’ve accepted that I am not like the people who thrive in corporate America — or business, for that matter. I rub people the wrong way, I guess. I don’t make enemies, but I certainly don’t make friends. As others move up like they’re floating on political air, I fall down. Hard. On my face. And I look up and wonder where I went wrong. I know the answer. I went wrong everywhere.
Today, I was notified that I have a new boss via an all team email. I’m still not clear if my soon-to-be ex boss thinks she communicated this to me previously, or she just doesn’t give at shit that this list the way I found out. What hurts more is that I literally asked her last week, when she informed me my role was changing, if that means I’d be reporting to this other person. She told me (clearly lying) that she hadn’t even though about that yet. No, the truth is she had thought about that. She just wasn’t ready to discuss it. And then it got announced and she hadn’t told me officially or unofficially about the change.
Clearly, they don’t care if I stay or leave. There is a minimal amount of respect you provide employees that you want to keep. Because I’m pregnant, and I’ve done enough good work, they know it’s probably not work the liability to let me go 3 months before maternity leave. But that doesn’t mean they have to treat me like a human being. They know I can’t go anywhere between needing my maternity leave coverage and the remainder of my stock. They know that I’m a slave to them — and they can treat me like crap and I can’t do anything about it.
I’m trying so hard to be grateful because I know in any other situation I’d probably be done for. Instead, I have a chance to prove myself in a subset of what I’ve been doing all along. I can maybe do an ok job. They seem to like my work in this area. There is no potential for career growth there. I find it hard to be motivated when I’m bumping into a ceiling. I’m overpaid for the role (I guess a good problem to have) and that leaves me more stuck than ever.
My new boss and I also didn’t get off to a good start last year. I think we’ve made amends since, but he certainly isn’t a fan of mine. My “get off the train by July 2022” is still the game plan — the questions are–can I make it that long, and where the hell do I go next?
There are things I’d like to do. Things I think I might be better at. But how? I’m going to be 37. I’m a mom of 2 kids. I want another before I turn 39. I know people make career changes at forty, but those people do not have a 7000 a month mortgage and a husband who works part time. The reality is that I can keep doing what I’m doing… in another company… start over… get a job that pays 150k-200k and with my father-in-law and husband’s contributions we can afford the mortgage. And that’s the next 30 years of my life, I guess. That’s 15 more jobs if I last 2 years at each of them on average. If I’m lucky enough to keep getting the same level job as I get older. People don’t like to hire older people for these jobs. I may find eventually I can’t get a job. Then what?
I don’t think I was that horrible at the job I’ve been demoted from. I was horrible at pieces of it. I was horrible at figuring out exactly what to do. I was horrible about being able to take everyone’s ideas and make that into something that made sense. I was horrible at executing on anything because I couldn’t make senes of what I was doing. I missed deadlines because I have too much anxiety and want to make things that are perfect and know that I’m not actually smart enough to do the work so I get stuck and have no one to run my work by to get their feedback because my boss wasn’t interested I helping me in that way. She wanted someone who could run with things and lead. Get shit done. I wasn’t that person. I faked it decently for a bit this year. I thought it was going well. I was recognized by the head of our department as “MVP” of the quarter, which made me feel ill when it was announced because I knew everyone on the team, including my boss, was rolling their eyes. Two months later this MVP is being demoted–so, clearly that title wasn’t deserved. It all makes me feel sick.
I just have to get through the next 15 months at a minimum. The amount of stock on the table is life changing / pay for my kid’s college and build a better safety net so if I can’t get a job for a while ever in the next 30 years I might be ok. I’ve got a hard road ahead–maybe not in the next 3 months before maternity leave where I’m wrapping up projects and doing my best to be my best and hit all committed deadlines and communicate the best I can–but in those 6-18 months when I come back from leave and need to do incredible work while also not sleeping well due to having a baby. I did not fare well in my first year back after having my son, so I have no reason to think this will be any better.
The good news is my new boss–who certainly would fire me to protect himself–also has kids around the same age, and maybe has a smidgen of empathy for me as a new mom (vs my soon-to-be ex boss who is in her forties and does not have children.) I think between a small safety net of HR not wanting to fire a woman who just came back from maternity leave immediately and the fact that I can actually do a decent job was what my new job is (though I know I’ll never be great at it) I think I can hold on tooth and nail to at least make it until the end of the year, and then start looking for a new job. I have no idea what I’ll be looking for. I wish I had the ability to figure out what career I would be happy in and then actually make that happen.
But I’m super stuck. Stuck in the best place possible, and grateful for it, but also extremely sad. Sad because I’m turning 37 and I’m no better off than I was in my 20s when I didn’t know what I was doing in my life. It doesn’t look pretty on a woman in her late 30s. I’m sure my boss thinks I’m pathetic. I mean, my ex-boss. She is probably counting the days until they can get rid of me. That motivates me to do better. To try to change their narrative about me. But I’ve realized I can’t live a lie. I’m not polished. I’m awkward. I ramble and have a poor short term memory so it’s difficult to converse with others in a proper way. I’m known for putting out good work sometimes, but not for inspiring others to do great work. I’ll never be a leader. So what then can I aspire to be?