Former Spoiled Woman Finally Gets Job, And Seeks Help Trying To Adjust
One day at a time.
Not having to earn a living through work is quite the luxury. You've only ever done small, non-demanding jobs and now yuo need a serious one. That can be quite the life shift. One Redditor Orbmave has had to face this experience and she needs help dealing. She wrote... Hey, Sorry if this is rambling and weird, Im having a rough time.
This all sounds so stupid and first worldly but I am seriously struggling. Im in my 30's and have been spoiled much of my life. I was the youngest of my family. While I was a child we were poor but then my dad made a career change and we were suddenly doing quite well. I had no obligations or expectations on me. I see as an adult that I was neglected a bit. I think my parents were done raising kids before I came along.
As I was a good kid as a teenager, didn't do great in school but I didn't cause my parents many headaches. I was never punished for anything though. Bad grades? Broke a window? Supposed to clean my room but didn't? Just "don't do it again." And I'd just get the same words next time it happened.
I had a few jobs as a young adult. Cashier at Target then later data entry at a mortgage loan firm. I only worked at Target for a month and the firm for three. So even that experience is small and kind of sad.
At 21 I left my job at the firm to marry my husband and move with him to Canada. He's in the Navy so for the next 12ish years we've moved around while I was a stay at home wife. We didn't want kids so it was easy to afford our lives without me working. I'm not blaming my husband for spoiling me in that way but I wish now that we had made different decisions.
Now my husband has retired after 20 years and we've moved back home near my family. His retirement pay is alright but extra would lessen the burden. He's been looking but hasn't found anything yet.
I got a job as cashier/stocker at a local small grocery and I hate it so much. I get this terrible tightness in my stomach/chest just thinking about having to work tomorrow. I feel like puking and crying all the time. I just flatten out and can barely have a conversation with my husband when i get home. The job is totally fine, everyone is nice and its pretty laid back but it's so difficult for me to handle. I feel like such an idiot and a child that I can't do what everyone else does almost every day of their lives. My husband tells me he's so proud that I got a job but it hurts so much just hearing that. How can anyone be proud of this? I don't want to disappoint him by quitting. I don't want to quit because I worry I'll never get another job if I do that. He tells me to talk to a therapist but when do I do that? There's no time for anything! I get home and have to recover for like 3 hours then I might have an hour or two where I feel normal but then I start worrying about having to go back the next day.
What do I do? Is this anxiety? Depression? Does everyone else feel this way? My whole body hurts with the stress. I haven't even worked there very long. He keeps saying itll get better. How is that even possible? Will this feeling just go away in a few weeks? I don't know what to do.
Thanks for listening. I have to go to work and writing this was a good distraction. I'll reply when I get home.
Well people... thoughts?
Doing what you gotta do...Giphy
Your experience sounds like something similar to what my wife has gone through recently. She worked to support herself for many years, but when she and I got married, it turned out that the money I was bringing in was able to cover our respective expenses comfortably, so she did not have to work if she did not want to. She decided to stop working at a job and instead focus on other things; that was nearly 15 years ago.
Recently, for reasons that are unimportant to the conversation, we have had some unexpected expenses come into our lives, and my paycheck was no longer enough to cover everything. So she went out looking, and found a job a couple of months ago. And she hates it. Just as you hate yours. She has the same dread each evening, thinking about the fact that she has to go to work tomorrow. She has the same frustration that there's no time (it seems) to do anything but work any more.
I don't believe that in her case it's anxiety or depression; I believe it's simply the stress that comes from adjusting from a lifestyle that one has lived for many years into a new one that is substantially different.
I can't say for certain that it will get better, though it has, somewhat, for my wife; you and she are different people. But once she got into the groove of going to bed earlier, and getting up earlier, and going to the office and doing whatever it is that she does, it at least became regular, instead of seeming like an intrusion every day on what her normal routine was. That may happen for you as well.
I don't know whether that will help you or not, but I wanted to post it so that you would know that at least you are not the only one who is having a similar experience.
In my wife's case, it helps her to focus, not on the job itself, but on the end goal that the job is helping her and us to work toward; carrying a heavy sack of concrete really sucks, and if you are focused on nothing but the weight of the concrete all day, it's nothing but drudgery. If instead, however, you focus on the temple you are building with that concrete, and how beautiful it is going to be when you are done, the weight (though not less) can be more fulfilling.
Do not think of each day as "I have to go to work"; try to think of it as "I am helping my husband and myself have a more secure financial future."
Depression is everywhere.
Situational depression is a thing and needs be taken seriously. You really should make time to see a doctor about how you are feeling. Make an appointment and let your job know not to schedule you for that time. They won't mind if you let them know before the make that week's schedule.
Thank you so much for writing this. My mom has gone through a similar situation, SAHM for 20 years then suddenly back working, and has stressed over it constantly. I had been attributing it to some undiagnosed anxiety, but you've made me consider that I may be being unfair to her. If I could ask, how long did it take for your wife to start feeling better about her job?
You are going through a massive crisis because of significant changes in your life. It is perfectly normal, and you will get used to it in time. Most people don't feel quite as bad about working because they have gotten used to it. But a lot of people feel like that e.g. on Sunday nights when the dreaded workweek is ahead again. Talking to a therapist would probably help. But developing skills will help too.
Your time used to be yours and you could do whatever you wanted with it. Now, with someone else dictating how to spend the most of your day, it has become a precious commodity, and you need to get much better in using it and organising it. You say you have no time for anything, but you have three hours to recover after work! That is loads of time. What did you use to do when you didn't work? What did you enjoy? Go back to those hobbies and schedule them in to your week. Make clear time slots for them so that after work you have something fun to look forward to and life isn't just about work. Even if you feel tired at first, make yourself do what used to be normal.
I would also recommend scheduling in something fun for first thing in the morning, e.g. exercise. That way when you wake up, it's not "oh no, I have to go to work," but you actually have an hour of something enjoyable to do before the 'getting ready for work' starts. Running is the easy one, because you can just get your kit ready in the evening, throw it on and be out the door in five minutes enjoying the sunshine - or the rain.
Building a weekly schedule for everything will help anyway and there are all sorts of cool organisers and youtube videos on how to do that. The benefits are: you will get stuff done, you have a record of what you've been doing and you can see it's not all work, and you have things to look forward to - and you can achieve things because you have a plan for them.
Talking of achieving, you have decades of work ahead, so it is probably best to start thinking about getting an education and an interesting job in something you actually like. If you have no idea what you're interested in, sample lots of different courses online, e.g. on coursera, go to the library and browse books, read blogs and watch videos. Take your time and keep your mind open. I guarantee you that eventually you will find something that makes you excited and wanting to learn more. Then build that learning into your weekly schedule. It doesn't have to be a degree, it might e.g. be a special skill that helps you set up your own business.
You are going through a massive life change, and possibly the first big challenge in your life. It is scary, it is exhausting, you will often have no clue what to do. But if you keep your mind open, get curious and are willing to learn, anything can happen and you can become anything you like. I believe in you!
Run Forest! Run!Giphy
Fun might be the wrong word, but I love my morning runs because as an introvert they're my truly alone time. I get up at 5 in the morning so that I can run before work, and it's so valuable to me to be able to spend half an hour or so just cruising along lost in my own thoughts. Hardly anyone else is out that early so it's just uninterrupted peace and quiet.
But I recognize that it's not worth it for a lot of people!
This is a good idea, just do something you think you will enjoy, whatever it is. I get up between 4 and 4:30 am. I used to get up to an alarm at 6am do all the things to get going and head off to work, sometimes earlier if it was gym day, hated it. Around five months or so ago, one of my dogs became sick and started getting me up at all hours. He has improved on sleeping until 4 or so, but still gets me up. He is in hospice, so now I get up, take him out, feed all of them and then sit on the couch with my morning tea and breakfast for more than an hour reading Reddit with him in my lap. It makes my days so much better, even with not getting as much sleep. Turns out, I really need the slow mornings to make my life happier. I like my job, I really like the people I work with, but given a choice, I'd rather stay home.
Think about what you might enjoy doing, possibly got to school for it. One thing I've noticed is the more white collar and higher in an organization the more flexibility you tend to have in your work life. It's not fair, but reality. I can pretty much set my own hours within reason, but the receptionist or admin assistants can't. You might want to find a position that lets you work from home sometimes, which helps me a lot.
I'll say this: Going to work sucks. I've been working full time everyday for the last 12 years and I'm no closer to a house, or anything. (Don't get me wrong, I have savings but houses are literally 1.5m+ in my city so unless my partner gets his stuff together we won't be buying anytime soon - and that's another story...). Recently, I've had a lot of co-workers, who I've known for years, move on. To new jobs or new locations. I'm the only one left in my section. So, obviously my job, after 12 years, is no longer mentally stimulating. I do enjoy what I do (customer service/helping others) but I can do that with my eyes closed. 90% of my motivation, the co-workers who became my friends, are gone. I'm dealing with a bunch of new people I have no connection with. And hey, added bonus, the pay is still pretty low. (It was worth it for how much I enjoyed being there previously). I used to wake up excited to go to work. Now, all of a sudden, I feel exactly the same as you do. Anxious, de-motivated, and generally pissed off.
I know how you feel. It's because you don't want to do it. You don't want to sacrifice 8 hours (+/-) of your day having to do something tedious to earn a few bucks. You, having tasted what freedom feels like, and being able to do whatever you want, and relax at home, probably resent the fact that you are being forced into this position, this environment where you can't do what you want. I've been a little spoiled (work was fun for me for a long time), so I get it. I hope I haven't rambled on too much about my own issues with work but I really feel what you are saying. You are not alone.
See a therapist. Try to change your mindset. Try to not think and just do. Don't feel like you are forced to go in, make it your choice to go in. Try to look for the positives in your job. Customer service can be tough, but it is also rewarding. Think of your husband. Do it for him if you find you can't for yourself. And there are options: Perhaps look for another job you can relax a little more at - maybe a job where you can work from home would suit you better (that's what I dream of!). Good luck.
I'm in a similar position. I escaped retail/service and was working towards becoming a tradesman. I got started later than all my peers, and was fully 15-18 years older than my work mates. But I was hanging on and doing well. And the work was brutal, exhausting, terrible labor. But I was learning a lot, and having a great time, and at no time did a customer ever come up and be an a-hole and ruin my day.
And then, for the third time in my life, I blew out one of my knees.. well having been through it before I figured "I got this." So I put on of my old braces on, and went back to work.. but it got worse, and worse, and worse (yes I know this is all my fault from not seeking medical help). Until it got to the point it is now, where I hobble around and can't do much of anything.
I sit here.. knowing that there was a good life ahead of me, but that opportunity is gone now, and I sit depressed completely out of money, behind on bills, and trying to get myself to apply to these crap jobs, that make me think I'd rather jump off a bridge, than serve another customer coffee, or bag their groceries or whatever.
I've tried leveraging the construction/trade experience into some sort of maintenance position or custodial, but all it takes is for them to see how I walk when I come into the interview, and the interview is over at that point.
Hell I even had a grocery store give me an interview, and when they saw me walk in, looked at my legs (obvious I have bracers on under the pants), and said "ok well thanks for coming in, but we don't really have anything for you."
I hear ya. I have only been working for a little over a decade but I've hated every minute of it. My life is whatever I can piece together with the tiny fragments of time left after all of my 'responsibilities'. And it will never end. I will always need car maintenance, groceries, laundry, bills, the only thing that keeps me going is the hope for a brighter future. If it were the 1800's and there was no technological progress I would have killed myself by now. Not in a dramatic emotional way, just like oh this is what existence is, no thank you I'm not interested. It's not getting easier, as time goes on I just lose a little more of myself and get a little more numb. I worry that if my life ever does get better there won't be anything left inside of me to care.
There is better out there!Giphy
Girl this is just what it's like to have a crappy job. It doesn't mean you'll feel this way about EVERY job. But yeah, minimum wage, unskilled jobs often cause a lot of people to feel this way.
Why don't you try figuring out something you might enjoy doing? Or working part time until you do?
What's up Doc?Giphy
I know someone like this.
He has major anxiety surrounding adulthood. Super smart, fundamentally kind, but absolutely terrified of being a grown-up. He has admitted that if he could spend forever in his childhood bedroom with nothing heavier on his plate than cleaning his room and doing homework, he would do it. Adulthood just scares the crap out of him. For some reason, the idea of working and paying bills and doing taxes and generally just being responsible for himself for the rest of his life overwhelms him. And it's not because he was spoiled - his parents had high expectations and he did very well in school. He's just had anxiety his whole life and this is how it chose to sabotage him.
He is in therapy and on meds. It helps enough that he can hold down a low-stress, part-time job. He's not to the point where he can handle full-time work or living on his own, but that is the goal. You're not going to improve without help. Don't be afraid to ask for it.
I'm similar. Severe anxiety, very much overwhelmed by the daily realities of making in a living in this world. What made it worse was the fact that I did not have a full-time job until I was 28, because I lost most of my 20s to mental illness and wasn't stable enough to keep a job. And starting so late, when everyone else around me - YOUNGER than me - was already accustomed to the demands of daily work was humiliating, grueling, and overwhelming.
It took 4 long years and nearly a second mental breakdown before I said F**K IT to the big city rat race and moved to a smaller town in a different part of the province.
I'm doing much better now. I'm in a different line of work that I actually like. The cost of living is 25% lower. I found a family-oriented company that actually cares about its employees and wants them to have a life outside of work. The dread still sets in every Sunday night, and I find myself desperately waiting for Friday every week... but I make it through, and I work hard.
The only lingering thing that pesters me is the fact that I cannot make my own work hours and build work around my life instead of the other way around. But that's the way it is for most everyone. You hand over your time to someone else. That's what makes me dread Mondays. That, and the nagging fear that I will regress into not being able to hold a job again, but that's another story.
OP should def see a doctor/therapist about her anxiety, but a big chunk of the problem is that OP just has to grow up a little later than other people, just like I did. Growing pains always hurt.
You're not alone!
Damn this is me right now. Whenever I get a job it's just constant anxiety until I quit. I did have a job for a few months that wasn't too bad, I didn't like going and sometimes I called in sick when I shouldn't have, but I could manage it it was just a few hours every day doing data entry. Then they changed the job to answering phone calls and dealing with customers and working full time and then the anxiety was to much and I quit. I have no idea what to do with my life tbh or how to get a job I can handle.
Do what you have to...Giphy
Some people say "find something you love," but I don't think that is practical. More like, "Find something you don't mind doing for 8 hours a day," or something that doesn't run you into the ground.
Right now I do something I don't mind doing for 8 hours a day, such that it passes the time and it can be interesting (learning about science). But it took me 4 years to figure out wtf I was good at and what I even liked. I do still look at people who say, "I love my job!" like they have three heads. But I had 5 jobs before this one as I tried to figure out what I liked and what I could handle.
A big reason I can function at this level is because I take daily medication and I go to therapy twice a month. Those two things help mitigate the insane anxiety I have very little control over. It lowers the base line enough that I can try to combat the situational anxiety that still comes through. BUT, therapy is a luxury, especially if you're American, so I know that isn't always practical.
So you do know one thing - dealing with phone calls and customers is too difficult to handle. (Same with me.) The next step is to look at the things you're good at, and figure out the kind of jobs that would let you use those good skills. Skills like: You like to solve problems. You are curious, so you like to research because you find answers to weird questions. You like to figure out how things work, so maybe you'd be good at putting things together or fixing them. You're a good critical thinker, so maybe you'd be good at analysing data. Or you like to do social experiments, so maybe you could test out social media posts to see if you can boost a company's followers/engagement. OR, you like jobs without complicated expectations, so you stock products in a store - that way you mostly don't deal with people, and you need to figure out where things go and organize them. Or you deliver packages. Or you make flower arrangements in a shop.
You can get pretty creative if you want to. Eventually you'll figure out more about what you can/can't handle and you can narrow down the list of the types of jobs you want to try.
I had to quit several call centre jobs because I couldn't stop crying at work. I picked up some light retail hours in an area I was actually interested in - adult retail - and now retrained to work for myself as a sex coach. I don't think I'm cut out for the 9 - 5 world (I still have nightmares about office work) and running my own business is so much less stressful than the anxiety of working for a corporation. The most important thing to me is that I work to my code of ethics and can be proud of what I do.
You know, I think there is a job that for everyone that they will enjoy. That said, it's probably not the first or second or even third job you will have. It takes time to find something you will enjoy. Enjoy the road along the way with each job that doesn't work out, too, because now you know you don't like that kind of work and can try something else.
Draw from your life previously...
Can I ask what you did during the day when you weren't working for so many years? Did you garden or create and plan big meals? Did you tidy the house? I suppose I'm trying to understand if it's just the shock of being somewhere you have no choice about or if there is an actual real problem here. To be fair I've been working since I was 14 and every few years I get that feeling. I feel like I want to cry when I wake up and would rather die on the way to work than actually go. That's when I know it's time to move on and find something new. But that's after a few years usually not a few weeks.
One thing I've noticed that makes it harder to get things done is social media, since everyone likes to pretend on it that their lives are #perfect #soblessed (excuse me while I throw up in my mouth a moment). I sometimes feel guilty for needing to arrange my days like that (no errands or gym after getting home, etc) because people post stuff about their perfect homes and how they go to the gym at like 11 at night after the kids are asleep but then still get up for work at 5...
Then I just don't want to do anything productive, because I'm thinking "what's the point? I'll never be as good as Brenda over there." Ugh! It's frustrating. But oh well, we just have to learn to work with what works for us and stop worrying.
The best medicine...
He tells me to talk to a therapist but when do I do that? There's no time for anything! I get home and have to recover for like 3 hours then I might have an hour or two where I feel normal but then I start worrying about having to go back the next day.
You say you already have 3 hours allocated to "recovery" each day. That's time you should be using to go to therapy. To say that you can't go to therapy because you're too busy feeling badly about the thing you need therapy for is no different than saying "I'm too sick to go to the doctor." Really, when you feel sick is when you most need to go to the doctor. You can't expect to get better before you take your medicine. It's just that in this case your medicine is counseling.
How long have you been doing this job? In rehab, when someone is ready to go back to their job, there is a period of "work hardening" where the person has an adjustment period of getting used to the change in schedule, sleep schedule, energy demands, etc
I know that my friends who left work for their families and then went back also had this adjustment period. The adjustment period includes figuring iut what you actually have time and energy for, making adjustments to daily routines and expectations and getting sleep and wake times adjusted.
You will not have the time and energy to do all the things you did while you were not working. Most of that ends up being no big whoop (so we have rotisserie chicken and sides from the deli instead of a completely homemade roadt dinner), but some changes are harder.
Give yourself a break. Expect that you are going to be more tired and more stressed for a while. Loosen the demands on yourself. Notice what you do like about the job and what you don't like. The job itself may not be an ideal fit.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.