A few months ago, I wrote about a situation at my job where a coworker called me out for having a bad attitude (you can read all about it here).
In a nutshell, I have often been called out for having a bad attitude, and as of January 2018, I decided it was really annoying and I should probably do something about it before I really started standing in my own way.
Since then, I’ve made an effort to smile when I’d rather have resting bitch face; made small talk when I’d rather listen to podcasts in the comfort of my office; and I’ve taken deep breaths instead of blurting out my initial reaction.
It sounds really small, but these are big changes in my world.
A few weeks ago, an opportunity was presented to me at work. It was an opportunity that would mean more responsibility, working with new people, being a part of strategic decisions, and making more money.
So, I threw my hat in the ring.
But I heard that not too many people were excited to see my name – how could she think she could manage people when she’s so rude?
I understood their thoughts, but I was crushed. Even after all the work – and effort – I’d been putting in, I was keeping myself from moving forward in my career.
Granted, these were opinions coming from people that have never worked with me, but still. I had an honest conversation with my boss and asked her if it was a lost cause.
And I wasn’t just talking about the recent opportunity; I was also talking about my job in general. If I’ve ruined my reputation so bad by just a few things (writing short emails, not saying thank you fast enough, etc.), then it was time for me to find a new job and start over.
She said it wasn’t a lost cause, but I still needed to do more self-reflection on my attitude.
So, I’m working on that, and I also volunteered to give extra training presentations (for which some people openly said they wouldn’t attend), I’ve sent cheery and informational emails, I’ve blindly agreed, and I’ve picked up extra tasks.
Most of these things have gone ignored; emails go unanswered, trainings will be unattended, and people will likely still think I’m rude.
Perhaps my attitude will always be my struggle.
And hey, if I never get a promotion, well, that’s another problem for another day. But in all honesty, it hurts my heart that people think I’m “fucking rude” (that’s the phrase that was said to me).
Yeah, I can be a smart ass. But fucking rude?
I certainly am not out to hurt people, and I’m always just trying to do my work as efficiently as possible, which I understand can come off as short. I also understand that perception is reality, and I have to be careful with how my coworkers perceive me.
But the people who’ve said these things about me work in another state – they didn’t see that I cooked and delivered dinner for my coworker and her family when they moved into a new home, when I helped someone in another department write a lengthy email because she couldn’t get her thoughts down, or anytime I make the morning coffee because our administrator is bogged down with phone duty.
I’m not asking to be praised for these team tasks – it’s what people do for each other, and I want people to see me as helpful, not hurtful.
I suppose time, and continuous effort, will tell.
I know that at most jobs, you can’t really be your full self – but I’ve never had to work somewhere where I have to watch every word, pay attention to my facial expressions, and my emails. Is this adulting?
I feel like I’m constantly going through, what John Mayer would call a “Quarter-life crisis”, when it comes to the state of my life. A few weeks ago, I talked to you guys about settling when it comes to our careers – what’s realistic and what’s… just the sad truth.
“Having it all” is not something I’ve ever thought of as an option; truthfully, it’s not something I think about often. But, remember that season of the “Real Housewives of New York” before Bethenny met Jason, and she was questioning whether or not having it all was actually possible.
Her argument was that, perhaps since she had such a successful career, she would never be able to fulfill the other parts of her dream: a husband and a child. Aaaaand then she met Jason and got pregnant, and they got married, and had this amazing (baller) New York apartment…
All of this had me convinced that YES, we can have it all!
…Until their marriage went down the shitter in flames; and is probably recorded as the longest, worst divorce in history. I was truly devastated when they broke up.
Of course, I’m not basing my life off the one situation I speak of; I don’t even know if there was a time that I’ve wanted it all. Sure, there’s been times I really wanted to get married. But, those were times I was not focusing on my career.
Yes, I have thought about having children; but only when I have a man in my life; and none of those men have ever been eligible fathers. I don’t know if I would have a child on my own; simply because of how difficult it would be. I am, however, contemplating freezing my eggs.
I’d say for most of my life, I’ve thought about my career the most. In my mind, I’ve wanted to be many different things or go down different paths, but I’ve always wanted to be successful.
Not to be the bearer of bad news, but I just don’t think it’s possible to have it ALL. And please don’t give me the Beyonce example – yes, she’s got the career, but I am 100% sure that her marriage is a sham. So, there.
Instead of trying to have it all in all categories though; what about having it all in ONE category.
It’s pretty obvious that I haven’t figured out how to have it all in a relationship. Is it possible to have it all…in dating? I’ve never really met someone that could offer it all – it’s either one thing or the other; the personality or the looks; the success or the kindness, etc.
So, can I have it all in a career? This is currently what I’m struggling with, MAJOR. I can cope with the fact that I may never meet someone; may never get married, and probably will not have children.
Whew, let’s mourn on that for a moment.
Okay, so, the career thing. Over the years, my career has taken an interesting turn. I started as a web editor at a pretty big university, and worked there for about 7 years. My interest in digital marketing and strategy grew, and after being let go from the university, I was job hunting and doing freelance for most of 2015.
While doing full-time freelance was cool in that I could work from my bed; it was unstable. I was constantly worried whether or not the bills would be paid; and I was always working – often taking low-paying gigs just to get SOMEthing in the bank. It was a wreck.
For the last 7 months, I’ve worked as an SEO Analyst full-time at a search engine marketing agency.
Let me tell you this: the work we do is legit. I never expected to do this much data pulling and research surrounding a general online marketing campaign. I have learned a CRAZY amount of information this year. And, in general, the people that run the company are really smart and awesome, and there’s lots of perks you’ll generally see with start-ups: unlimited PTO, free food and beer, flex scheduling, and yoga pants.
But with all that said; I still struggle to wake up every day feeling happy. And I don’t really know why that is. Part of it is that my job is a real challenge; like so challenging each day that it’s beyond being excited; it’s terrifying and stressful.
I worry that maybe I’m not the person I thought I was. I resented my last salaried job for being too safe; too boring. I jumped with excitement when I heard my current job was challenging; fast-paced; never-stagnant. But there are days I feel I don’t have time to breathe; let alone relax after work. Work, for many, is 24-hours. Am I the lazy one?
“There has to be a balance,” one of my girlfriends told me over the phone last week. She’s right; balance is good; but where do we find it, outside of that happy medium between the air conditioner and the ceiling fan on a spring night in Texas?
I feel like I’m good at a lot of things that don’t make money: I’m good at blogging about my thoughts and TV shows; cooking delicious meals on a budget; live-Tweeting; wine-tasting; and pretty much making an adventure out of anything.
But where does that leave me? Will I ever be able to have a job/career that makes me excited to wake up everyday; excited to check my email; to have that feeling that I’m actually not “working”, I just get paid to do this fun stuff; whatever that may be.
In truth, I feel pretty guilty for having these emotions. I know I should be thankful for my job and I am – I’d be homeless without it. But my main struggle is this: is it my field, my job, the people, or… is it me? Something about it isn’t jiving.
I also know we’re not supposed to compare; but how can I not notice that I’ve been working for almost 8 years now, and I’m essentially entry-level? I feel like I’m always going to be in the slow reading group.
You know in “Office Space”, when Peter and Michael are talking about the “Million Dollar Question” – if you had a million dollars, what would you do? And whatever you say, that’s what job you should have. The guys determine that it’s total bullshit, because no one would clean up shit for a million dollars, and there’d be no janitors.
If I had a million dollars, then I’d just do this blog. And sure, perhaps I could monetize it to make money, but there’s a chance it would change the dynamic of the content, and I could lose readers because of it; or attract the wrong ones.
I’m not saying I’m giving up on the idea, but you know what I mean. And I know this is a battle I’m probably going to be dealing with for a minute (or for a year); so this won’t be the last you’ll hear about it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it – do you have it all or know someone who does? Does your job offer it all? Your relationship? I’m dying to know!