Tradeoffs.August 23, 2012 at 11:26 am | Posted in Career angst, Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy) | 11 Comments
I’m miserable as an accountant.
There, I said it.
The commute into Boston absolutely fucking sucks. I spent anywhere from two and a half to three hours in my car every day I work. Which is four days a week. 12 hours – a week – of DEAD TIME. 42 hours – nearly TWO DAYS a month – sitting in traffic.
I thought I was supposed to GAIN more time by working part time. I’m actually losing it instead.
Then there’s the woman for whom I’m working. She’s smart, and driven, and a really nice person. But she’s kind of a nightmare to work for. Because she needs things done NOW; which isn’t how I operate. I need to step back, slow down, proof my changes if she wants me to get it right. What she has me doing is making stuff on the fly and hoping I don’t miss something big.
Not to mention that EVERY.TIME I send her something to look at, there’s always myriad things wrong with it. She’s a really, really good auditor, and she questions everything I do. Why did I do it that way? There’s a better way to make that calculation. We need to make sure that this all works this way all the time. Etc etc.
She exacerbates my own self-criticism, makes me feel like I’m failing nearly every time she looks at my stuff.
To be fair, she DID tell me that she’s not the kind of person who will point out what I do well. I know she’s happy with my work, because she thanks me and keeps finding me new jobs.
But I haven’t felt good at my job in a long time. And so working for her is torturous.
And then there’s the work itself. I’ve done three different things for her; an annual SEC filing, an IPO SEC document, and now internal controls work.
It’s not that I hate the work. I don’t, not really. I just don’t CARE. It’s changing words, running numbers, busy work that makes it seem like we’re doing important stuff.
On Monday, in therapy, I remarked to my therapist that even though I ate and drank my way through vacation and was up a few pounds, I was looking at myself in the mirror and thinking “I look GOOD” right now.
Which, honestly, is unusual for me. I RARELY see the skinny me in the mirror; always looking at the extra pounds or the flabby belly or whatever.
She said, Sounds to me like you’re in a place where you’re not beating yourself up.
Not more than 24 hours later – my first day back at work – I looked in the mirror as I was washing my hands, and thought, Good god, Serenity, you HAVE to take that vacation weight off.
And the lightbulb went off.
Holy shit, I thought. I beat myself up for feeling crappy at my job. How did I not see this before now?
So I came home, and told Charlie that I wanted to quit my job. (Not right now, mind you. At some point in the future.)
Really what I wanted to do was start a dialogue with him about how we’d manage if I was a SAHM. And so we talked about it for a while.
And you know what? We could make it work. Right now, even.
It would mean tradeoffs, though. The daily stuff we could manage. But the big stuff is the kicker. Our travel budget would pretty much go away. My race schedules would be more local, and spread out, and we’d have to be really focused on our budget and making sure we don’t go outside of it.
And the thing is this. Charlie and I sat on a beach in Fiji 8 years ago and talked about what we wanted out of our life.
We wanted a family; ideally two kids, a couple of years apart.
We wanted to travel.
And we never wanted to have to worry about money.
We have our family, but it’s not how we thought it would be.
We travel, and we don’t worry about money.
And if I quit my job, it means that we’re choosing not to live our life the way we wanted to on that beach so many years ago.
I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to let go of what we wanted back then. Maybe it’s because of infertility, which has taken away my power to have had the family I dreamed of most of my life. Or maybe it’s because I’ve spent 36 years hearing about how my future was wide open, I could be whatever I wanted to be, as long as I worked hard. I’ve worked my ass off over the years to get to where I am now, and I’m scared to walk away from it.
Even though it makes me miserable.
And I am fully aware that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, either. But I’ve spent some time looking for much more part time, lower stress, closer-to-my-house jobs, too. And every one I’ve looked at I just can’t muster up the enthusiasm for it.
What I do know is that I’m burned out, and unhappy, and stuck. I know that I can’t do 12 hours in the car per week much longer.
I also know that I am, right now, scared to walk away from the life we have now for something that’s completely unknown.
Because I’m aware, too, that being a SAHM has its own set of emotional challenges, a stillness within chaos which is hard to reconcile when you’ve spent so much time working so damn hard for something you thought you wanted. Or still DO want.
So many tradeoffs. I wish I knew how to navigate them to find a place of contentment.