Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Feel Guilty, Oh So Guilty

A few posts ago I had mentioned that the recent atmosphere at my place of work was making me want to to make some changes in my life. And I've been making a sincere effort on that front. And oddly enough my new job search has made me left with a bad taste in my mouth. I actually feel guilty. All the sneaking and lying to my bosses, oh lordy, it gives me ulcers just thinking about it. Not exactly the reaction you were expecting, huh? Nope, me either.

I guess my guilty feelings are leaking out from my recent glory. Ever since I got back from our big exhibition in Aspen I have been getting a lot of compliments on my work ethic. But while being appreciated is always a perk, I can't hide from the fact that I have horrible health benefits (no dental, i mean seriously??), I don't get paid enough, and I work myself to the bone. My new roommate Natalie had suggested talking the problems out with The Boss. I agree, something needs to be said for things to get better. And I have no doubt in my mind that if I told The Boss that I was thinking about quitting that she would offer me more money and maybe a promotion. But is that really what I want?

This has been my problem of late. What do I really want? Well, if we go back to the basics (bare bone basics if you will), I know I want to be happy. And I know that right now I am not happy. What will make me happier? This question poses more problems and many pros and cons lists. For a while now I have been trying to determine what will make me happy. I thought for a while moving into New York City would solve my problems. Or a new job - any job really. And when WG1 and I were shacking up in our shithole of an apartment, I thought the cure to my bad mood was a clean apartment with beautiful amenities.

I guess my recent unhappiness is really a combination of a few of these things. I truly hated my old apartment, I don't like a lot of things about my job (but do have to admit not all of it is so horrible), and maybe, just maybe I would feel better if I moved to New York City.

But I think deep down the root of my problem is loneliness. I miss the passion I used to have. I miss having a purpose in life. I miss having something to dream of. I feel like somehow I have lost all of that and it all makes me feel lonely. My last solution of applying to graduate school was more of a non-solution. I found out recently that I got wait-listed at my number one choice. And when I didn't get in, sure I was disappointed. But I think what I found I was most disappointed about was the fact that I wouldn't be able to move back to Chicago. For the first time in a long time, I am homesick.

I miss my dad, my sister, my friends from high school, and I miss the city of Chicago. Most of all, I miss the person I used to be when I lived there. Sure, I was wide-eyed and had my head in the clouds. But I feel like that is what I need right now - back to that feeling and to be surrounded by my family who love and can take care of me. It's just what I need right now. I need to get back to my roots - quite literally.

So my new goal is to make myself happy. Part one of that goal is to find a new job and not just any job. In my new job search in the Windy City I have only applied to jobs that seem like they interest me and challenge me - jobs that involve more writing. Even if these jobs might mainly be in marketing, I'm trying to apply for ones that seem more writing based. Making the jump from marketing to editorial isn't the easiest thing in the world so I'm not expecting miracles.

Part two is to move back to Chicago (and get myself a studio apartment). It's hard to believe that I haven't lived at home since I was 18 years old. And it's not like I make frequent visits back to the motherland often. Truly, I maybe get home for two holidays a year. And it hit me that I don't really have that close of a relationship with my dad and sister. Because a phone relationship just isn't cutting it. Family used to be so important to me and I miss being near that unconditional love and support. And that studio apartment. Let's just say I think it's time for some serious "me" time.

Speaking of "me" time, I'm thinking I should get back on the creative writing bandwagon which is going to be part three. Maybe take some classes at night and make an effort to get back to the WG2 that had passion. I used to have passion. And I used to have family. I want those back and this is my big decision in an effort to make myself the happy person I used to be.

Of course all of this lies with the hope that I will be able to find a job in Chicago. I think it would be silly to leave my paying job right now to just pick up and move home with no prospects. I don't want to end up in a new city with no job living with my father. It would be a small nightmare.

I have begun my job search and even went on a very, very last minute trip to Chicago this past weekend for an interview. It went terribly. The company was a joke and the position itself was not something I would be interested in. But the trip itself wasn't a bust. Without a doubt, I realized that I was making the right decision. Being back made me feel different - more light-hearted I suppose. It was also great to be back with my dad and my friends from home. We had a great time catching up (and getting drunk and watching pianists duel).

But for some reason even though this is what I know I want to do (finally after many months of confusion), I still feel guilty lying to The Boss. She thought I was in Chicago to look at more grad schools so I felt even more guilty when she asked me about my search this morning. Even though I don't love my job and my company isn't the best in the world, if I do end up leaving (because really you never know what will happen - I could be here for many more months) I will miss all the friends that I have made.

And yes, I will probably miss The Boss even if she is off her rocker.


NewlywedCentral said...

Your honesty is so vulnerable and I want you to know I hear your heart -- Clearly you are in transition and those are the most difficult and heart wrenching times in our lives... oddly enough, they are the bridge to a stronger life, higher self esteem, more confidence and success beyond our wildest dreams, but only if you follow your heart -- I have no doubt you are headed in the direction of greatness... Look forward to hearing how it all pans out --

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize you were from Chicago!

There are definitely lots of opportunities so just keep looking and applying. It's such a long process but in the end, it'll help you get where you want to be, both physically and mentally.

Reckless Sarcasm said...

Bottom line, you need to take care of you.
And, you need to do what you want to do with your life. Yes, you're young and you have much life ahead of you and any experience you have will make you a better person...
However, if you want to do something different, do it. If you want to move, do it. If you have to live with your dad for a bit until you get your bearings, do you really think he would mind? Is a little lack of privacy enough for you to get back on your feet in Chicago? I understand the "don't quit until I have a new job" thought but, for you to really get down and dirty to find a new job in Chicago you might have to quit, move there and get down to business and not waste money on weekend flights when you could save that money and move home with dad and put that flight money into something better served. I think you might be a little scared to move home even though you are saying that's where you want to be. You took a chance and moved to NY area. Bank the pay, move home and really put the search to work. You could live with dad and go to school.... would he let you live there and go back to school? Lord, I don't even know you and I'm acting like your BFF.... Hell... sorry :)
Just my two cents...


Renée said...

When I read this it was just as if WG2 had taken a page from my journal. Just replace NYC with Santiago de Chile and Chicago with Los Angeles. I feel the same way.

"But I think deep down the root of my problem is loneliness. I miss the passion I used to have. I miss having a purpose in life. I miss having something to dream of. I feel like somehow I have lost all of that and it all makes me feel lonely." This whole paragraph rang so true and familiar in my heart that it was scary.

But it was also comforting to know that there are other strong, smart women who have similar feelings.

I thought leaving L.A. and coming to South America would make me happy and solve my problems, but after 7 months of living here, I realized that what needs to be fixed is internal.

Even though we're miles and hemispheres apart, this posting made me feel less alone.

Luvvie (aka Queen IG) said...

Yeah it sucks to be unhappy at your job. I've been there and I know how it makes the day slow to a crawl. Keep looking, chick. Something will pop up soon (in this economy though, it may take longer than you think). Just keep looking!!

Me! said...

Find your passion -- without it, life isn't worth the trouble. Remember those anti-depressant commercials where the lady is hiding behind the filing cabinet at work? That was me at my old job. Sad -- and funny -- but true. So take a chance, rely on your heart (and your faith) and just do it. Like me, I think you'll find that the adventure to true happiness is worth the risk of the security you leave behind.

Elizabeth Marie said...

The most important thing you can do is make sure that you are making yourself happy first and foremost. We can't be any use in our jobs, social circles, or families if we aren't content with our own lives. If Chicago is the place to be - then go. If writing is what you want to do - write. It took me ages to come to terms with that. I spent years being told that writing isnt a career and blogging is a waste of time but now I have a few dedicated readers and I'm trying my best to making writing/blogging a financially viable way of life. If you want it go for it working girl. Dont ever ever give up :-).

Best wishes.

Sunny said...

The purpose you've set is a worthy one.So I wish you fair winds and following seas on the way to it.

gine said...

hi wg1. i just quit my job. as far as people and benefits, it was almost the dreamable place to stay. but i was not happy anymore.

it took two years to fully realized that. so the first advice i would like to give you is 'take you time'. if you are not sure you wanna change, wait more. the day will come when you will know exactly if that is what suits you.

then, concerning the sense of guilt, 'kick it away', immediately. nobody is gonna say you are unfaithful, if you are just not happy anymore and you need to find something that better suits you. believe someone who was terrified at the idea she had to go to talk to boss about the new contract she just signed for another company. i said the truth, i said here it was not the job for me, i needed something different to be realized. it is not the end of the world. you'll be surprised by how much understanding will surround you. sure you will miss the people, if you have good relationships with them. but those last beyond the job itself.

good luck!

ShonaVixen said... ur blog!!
Finding happiness comes with you finding your passion, doing what you need to do with it and you'll find yourself in 'happy state'. So go on girl, do you!! xoxo

phoebe said...

good luck with everything!

i too have recently realized that something has to change. it's refreshing to hear someone else going through somewhat the same thing.

Mommy2lilgems said...

Good luck with your search. As I sit at my computer, I look out at my view of Chicago (I can see all the way to the water!) and I know I'm in the perfect place for me...the Windy City!! Can't wait to hear all about the exciting changes in your life, expecially since it involves a place, I know, is near and dear to both our hearts!!

Cal said...

I don't want to sound cheesey but I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! It takes a lot to admit to being lonely and even more to decide to do something about it. I recently went through a similar process myself and one thing that helped me in the interim before I got my new job and moved out by myself was volunteering. Like you I have a writing background and the urge to do creative writing so I channeled that into teaching English to immigrants at a local organization. It made me feel like I had purpose, ignited my passion, and was one of the most inspiring experiences I've ever had. You might want to check something like that out but in the meantime--chin up and congrats on taking steps toward happiness!!!

Green said...

This really resonated with me.

I too have been doing some job hunting.

I like my job, but there isn't a challenge there any more, there is no room to be promoted as the Marketing manager is not leaving any time soon and that is the only place to move, the pay is very low for what I do and there are no benefits whatsoever! But my job is very creative.

Like you I also am in marketing and would love to make the switch to more of a writing based job, maybe start by moving into copy writing. I get to do this quite a lot in my job, but it's still not quite enough, but it's a start!

I would love to be a journalist.

I also know how you feel about sneaking around behind your bosses back. It feels horrible, I am good friends with my boss and I really like working here but I just don't get paid enough! I am so torn between staying because I am happy but then going to get new experience and more pay.

I am sure that your move back to Chicago will be a great start and give you a fresh aspect on life.

Good luck

Emerald Green (UK)

A Dilettante's Perspective said...

So far, all the other comments are very positive encouragement. But you really should consider the negative aspects. You're never going to be a naive kid again. That passion, while not completely crushed by the realities of working life, is not going to be the same. Sure, it would be nice if we could have the jobs we want, doing what we love, but those jobs are rare and rent will go unpaid. You may have to mooch off dad while you pay your dues to the editorial world. Being willing to suffer a little now, for the long run, may not be a choice. Just keep an open mind, and be willing to fall a little while reaching for those stars.

themanhattantransfer said...

hi wg2,
just wanted to let you know that i COMPLETELY understand- living in nyc was a great experience (i used to work with wg1) but i love being back at home in texas. best of luck to you!
p.s. living with mom and dad isn't that bad, you have more "disposable income" aka shopping funds, that way.

Mary De Bastos said...

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

CC said...

WG2 I'm moving to Chicago too!!! I'm in Advertising/Marketing and I'm having a hard time with the job search. I'm not too familiar with the city so that is probably part of the problem...

Anyway, that's exciting that you're making such a big change. I hope it makes you happy! All of the sneaking around is definitely stressful, but it'll be worth it once you get back to Chi.

Good luck!!

A Country Wife said...

HHmmmm so many similarities, I echo the comments before me.I was once told and often have to remind myself.
"Sometimes it's just as good to shut doors than to open them".

I moved to London as most english actresses do in their life... I detested it! I was commuting & working in the day & I was too exhausted at night to do any of the creative things that I promised myself I would do. I gave the London thing a go, I moved back to the country and more doors have opened!! I am happier & back on a creative keel.
What I am trying to say is it's not a bad thing to say "that didn't work for me" and change direction. More opportunities & more doors open in places you wouldn't expect!!

Toomerdog said...

Good luck WG2! Keep the faith. Focus on self is the key. Want proof? Picture yourself on the airplane hearing the flight safety instructions.....they always say..."put a mask on yourself FIRST!.....before you help others."
You have to take care of self first, before helping others. You go girl!

Kerri Rae said...

I totally am right there with you and Renee. I too have been realizing the same thing!
After two years in a different state working my fingers to the bone I went into Grad school thinking that that was my next possible choice. I finished my Masters in 1 1/2 years and realized that during that time I was just postponing the inevitable; what I wanted to REALLY do and where I wanted to do it. I as you didn't want to move far away from where my new friends were so I picked a place about 90 miles away (not too far when you live where I do). Now 5 years from when I initially moved away from home I realized that although I stayed up here because I liked the area, my friends were here, and it was a good job, my family was a 13 hour drive away and all my good friends have since moved.
I as you only head home 2x/year and this last visit was EXCRUTIATINGLY hard on me. I then realized that there is NOTHING keeping me where I am other than my job; I have one good friend here, a bunch of acquantainces and haven't dated since I moved here 2 years ago! I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be happy like you and I also know that the minute I am closer to those that know and love me unconditionally I will be content.
I have made the decision to stick with this job for 1-2 more years while looking LIGHTLY for a new job closer to home to see what's out there. After that time is up I will reanalyze my life and will then decide if I wanna make that move.
It's good to hear I am not alone as I am sure it is for you. I think you have made a good decision in looking at jobs closer to home and remember if that doesn't work you can try something else. You should NEVER feel like you are stuck in something that makes you unhappy and someday when it's right, you will find that something that makes you happier than anything else and you will know... THIS IS IT!!! (This is what I keep telling myself and what my close friends have told me as well)

Anonymous said...

I think you're being very brave. It takes guts to realize what you need to do and to take the steps necessary to do them. Change is super hard.

I could have written 3/4 of your post myself and hopefully your actions will inspire me to get my own butt in gear!

J-Diggety said...

I second what so many gals said before me... I, too, was in an unhappy place about 2 years ago, unhappy with my job and where my life was going (not much of anywhere). I had a decent full-time job with good benefits, but it just wasn't where I was supposed to be. I started to realize that a job with benefits wasn't my key to happiness. So I began exploring and searching - most of that searching involved finding the courage within myself to go after what I really wanted... I found it and now I'm back in school pursuing a second degree and mapping out a career that I will love. Getting here was challenging and scary at times (and still is on certain days), but all along the way I chose to follow my heart, and despite my daily challenges, I can honestly say I'm truly happy.

Keep digging deep and you'll find that courage, too. You can do this! Trust yourself - you alone know what's best for you.

Anonymous said...

It was so nice to read that someone is going through the exact same situation as myself! I'm also from Chicago and went back home for my bridal shower last month. The trip made me realize how much I miss living there (and it really magnified my crappy job situation). Kudos to you for listening to yourself and taking the steps to make some changes.

As someone with an HR background, I could not post this without giving you a dental website that you should check out. It is not insurance but the plan will save you 10-60% off the normal walk-in prices. The site is

Also, if your employer has their Annual Enrollment coming up, be sure to ask if they have a Flexible Spending Account (typically referred to as an FSA). This allows you to set aside tax-free dollars for medical expenses like co-pays, prescriptions, etc. It's worth enrolling and will save you $$.

Good luck! Looking forward to your posts. :)

Shelby said...

Wow I love how you spilled your WG guts like that! You're a strong girl with a great sense of humor and I wouldn't be surprised if you got a job offer just from writing this post! I wish you the best of luck...and while work seems very important to you (more so than it does to me) It's just a job. And I've always felt that it's what you do OUTSIDE of your job that defines who you are as a person.
All the best

Anonymous said...

i totally feel ur "guilty feelings" as i said in a recent post of my own about handing in my notice since when did leaving a job feel like breaking up with someone?? Your so right to move closer to your family and it seems that you have come to some great conclusions recently GO YOU!! and the best of luck with the job search!

unwritten said...

I feel like this was written by me. Or better still, by the universe, to me, to make me realise that i am not alone in the decisions that i need to make. For the first time in my life, i am at a stage where i do not laugh everday and i can tell i hve become a different person.
I've lost friends coz im grumpy coz of my job..and the fact that i had a plan for this year, after i graduated from college, i was gonna make 2008 MY year. FOR ME to chill, and get my priorities straight and set my goals...and then i got emotionally blackmailed into taking a job i HATE...and i realised, i have got to stop pleasing people and live the life I WANT TO LIVE.
So, 2 weeks ago, with faith and a job offer in a completely different field in a country 6 hours away...i quit my job.

I gotta say, your honesty is really brave and i really truly hope that things work out for you, im genuinely glad you've realised YOU need to be a priority of yours for a while.

Reese-E said...

Love your blog! I've been reading for a while now since I saw it on Blogs of Note. I recently got a new job, and I know what you mean about feeling guilty! But honestly, just tell yourself everyone does it. It's really the only way to do it. You can't very well tell your boss you're looking. So, you have to do it this way, even if it sucks.

Also, when I start my new job in one week, I'll be making the switch from editorial to marketing, and even though it took me a little time to find something and convince someone I'm a good marketer even though I've only had editorial experience, I finally did it, and you will, too! Be confident and don't give up!! Good luck! :)

L.L. said...

Oh I completely understand where you're coming from. My long story is I worked in broadcasting for years for 10 bucks an hour, no benefits (or very limp ones) and I worked from 4am to 11am... seven hours, not eight, and therefore only PART TIME. But I had passion and I worked my ass off! Then one day I realized I was tired of being passionate and broke. I was literally tired from being up in the middle of the night and sleeping at lunch. So I packed it all in for a government job with a much better wage, great benefits, Monday to Friday, AND most importantly, I barely have to think and require no passion. My life is remarkably less complicated now, yet I feel like I'm selling myself short. Go figure.

readsalot said...

I have been looking for a job too, but mainly because I finally got my degree and am tired of serving coffee and not thinking. I have been upfront with my managers about looking for a job and they have been supportive, although I have mentioned that I will probably stay one night a week.

As a working girl, do you have any tips for this girl who is hoping for a professional job soon?

hearmyheart said...

You needn't feel guilty. I was feeling so too and was sailing in the same boat as you. But with time I realised that I am getting practical and adding a diplomatic feather to my cap.
And, if you are hesitant to discuss or argue with your boss, just drop a funny remark about your experiences which needn't be sarcastic but funny and touching that he/she starts giving a thought

Belowen said...

Wow, this is quite a big decision! I wish you the very best of luck with finding a job, a home, and happiness if/when you move back to Chigaco! xx

MRS. OPTIMUS said...

I'm going through the same thing but my good ole' grandpa always says, "ain't nothin' to it but to do it!" Keep your head in the game and things will go your way!

--Awesome blog by the way!!

High School Girl said...

I may be the young one saying that i know where your coming from. But, honestly i do. Im going through that time in my life where im finding myself and what makes me happy! Keep me updated on what goes on.

☆ Sandra C. said...

more and more when i come here it's like reading my thoughts written on your blog. well, i feel exactly this way, now i'm trying to find another job and trying to finish college to get back to my french classes that i had to quit because of the job. i hope u have a lot of luck in your search and i agree with everyone above who said the main thing we should worry is about ourselves (i have to learn it though).

Angie said...

Wow, that was wonderful to read. I never comment although I read all of your posts, but I had to on this one even though it has left me almost speechless. I think it's amazing that you can look deep enough to see the reasons why you are feeling the way you are. It's great that you realize you need more than just a new job or apartment. Recently, I went through some huge changes in my life (recovered from an addiction, got a new job, got a new apt, went back to school, and left my boyfriend) in the hopes of feeling happier. I'm not quite there yet but at least I know I'm on the right path - as are you. It's just a lot of work and time! Good luck!! I'll be following your journey...

Anonymous said...

I'm a newer reader, but I'll go ahead and post anyway. :)

Let me do a little time line to explain my last job. I worked for a really well-known hospital in Northeast Florida. I started as an intern doing case management on the floor and was hired for their ER working three 12-hour shifts a week. I loved my job. In April, this well-known hospital opened it's very own hospital on the campus of its outpatient services (for convenience for their patients, who were often there for liver, heart, and lung transplants or other wonky medical needs). I was left behind as I was the last person hired. There were about 5 of us. One of them quit (smart person) before the management shifted at the old hospital, and 3 others were laid off recently.

My new job was hell. I loved my coworkers fortunately, otherwise I would have probably gone off the deep end. It helped that we were all so close--I truly lucked out with my units, including the ICU, PCU, and a med-surg floor. They were the craziest units by far and the most challenging as well. For my three units, the other two social workers had one and a half! I worked long days, usually 10 hours in length, and never ate or drank or peed. I'm not joking! One day they physically walked me to the restroom (it had been 9 hours since I last peed or ate) and made me pee. Then they made me eat their remaining snacks from lunch. I was miserable. Because I couldn't eat or hydrate, I stopped running and exercising. I was emotionally and physically beaten down. I cried daily. I would come home most days and just fall apart from the misery.

By chance I was sought out (thank jeebus) for a job and wound up quitting. I worked REALLY, REALLY hard at my job, and when I left, the director of the program told me *I* wasn't a good fit. I WASN'T A GOOD FIT (hello?! I'm QUITTING). My other boss/manager was much more encouraging and thoughtful. My last day was hard and I miss my co-workers. My new job is a good job, but it's still developing and sometimes I wish I had thought more about my decision. But I'm happy I left, because I was getting to the point where I was ANGRY all the TIME. I was completely burned out!

I think if it feels like time to retreat, you should listen to your gut. I wish I had paid more attention when I found myself crying a week straight before the old management moved out and the new moved in. Not that my initial job wasn't without its faults, but I at least had time to eat most days and they encouraged hydration.

You can keep in touch with your work buddies, and I think it's sort of an adventure to pursue something that makes you feel worthwhile. My job is taxing right now emotionally and it's caused a LOT of self-doubt, but it's challenging me and I think it has the potential to grow into something meaningful. I work with people with cancer, and I'm really privileged to have this opportunity with so little job experience and no license! I'm going to make this a better opportunity, and I think it's good that you recognize the need for that. I'm not much older than you, and we are way too young to not feel excited and challenged. I'm way too young to be as cynical and jaded as I was when I left that job. I'm pretty sure it beat the social worker out of me.