The therapeutic sofa, part 6. Career = Hard.
Lately I’ve been taking some significant career steps.
I told Therapist that I had a lot of anxiety about this. After we talked for a bit, she asked me what my husband had to say. I had to admit I hadn’t told him. Why not?
I mumbled some shit about how when you care about something, it’s hard to share it with other people and…but that didn’t feel right. It’s true that when it comes to career stuff, he is enthusiastic and supportive but doesn’t necessarily GET what I’m doing. But that’s fine. So what was the real reason? Eventually it occurred to me: Me putting more energy into my job means me putting less energy into our family. It means me being even more bitchy and exhausted than I am already. And that has a real impact on him. Here we are struggling to stay afloat with the amount of energy we’ve got, and I want to take some from somewhere and put it into MY JOB? MADNESS.
Of course, when I finally screwed up my courage and told him what I was up to, he was supportive. We’ll see if he can actually handle me being even more drained, but at least he’s now officially signed up for it.
So thanks to Therapist for reminding me that work and life are interrelated. Funny how I forgot about that! She gave me some buckets for dealing with this. My favorite is: Ask yourself every day: What do I need to do today to stay SANE? I like this. It reminds me to put myself in the picture, to think of myself as important, rather than putting my head down and hoping to just MAKE IT THROUGH THE DAY. Because that approach leads to me yelling and having to shut myself in the bathroom. Despite my anonymous commenter’s suggestion that I just “pull up my socks”.
Then we talked about some of the other issues I have career-wise. I think this stuff will be not at all interesting to you, BUT just in case there are any early-career academics reading who happen to have exactly my personality flaws…
Let me start with a little photo essay. This is where my educational career started.
And this is where it ended, at least with me on the student side of the desk.
It’s been quite a journey, and I have accomplished SO MUCH, and I am so proud of that fact. No-one but me will ever really appreciate how hard it was or how entirely on my own I was in doing it. I AM PROUD, and there’s not much I’m willing to admit to being proud of.
What sucks is that despite all my AMAZING ACHIEVEMENTS I am pathetically lacking in self-confidence, and all the abilities that come with it. The ability to self promote (OMG EVERY FUCKING EMAIL I GET FROM MALE COLLEAGUE HAS SOME KIND OF SELF-PROMOTIONAL CONTENT. FUCKING INSANE). The ability to approach people who might help me achieve my professional goals. The ability to even HAVE professional goals…
So over the past year I’ve been doing some work on these things. I got some career coaching that helped with the GOALS part, and I formulated my GOALS. And then Therapist gave me some buckets that have helped me actually ACT to achieve those GOALS.
Bucket #1: Accept that the place I got my PhD is, actually, based on her experience, a bit notorious for creating grads who lack faith in themselves. It’s a good-at-breaking-you-down, not-good-at-building-you-up place.
Bucket #2: Accept that people can be of use to us, and perfectly willing to help us, regardless of whether or not they LIKE us. My undergrad mentor LIKED me. She cared, and still cares, about me. My advisor at my AlmaGradSchool Mater cared about a lot of her students. But I was never one of them. I always felt crappy about that. What’s wrong with me? But it doesn’t matter. She can still help me. And I asked her to, and she has.
Bucket #3: I like to be super organized and matter of fact. High powered people who are constantly being asked for help like you to be super organized and matter of fact when you ask them for help. Some of my natural qualities are actually GOOD FOR THIS SHIT.
Aaaaaand, I think that’s it for this supremely fascinating post.
Next up: Being Almost 40 = Hard, which is basically going to be me whining about how my pants don’t fit. Stay tuned.