Friday, December 3, 2010

WHAM Did Tell Me: That's what you get

I was recently promoted at work. I have a whole team working for me now. I report up to a Director who reports directly into the SVP. I talk to the SVP daily. I'm moving up the food chain. I've been doing it for years. It's the reason I've spent so many hours at my desk, after they turn the ac/heat off at night, and I'm the last car in the garage. It's what I wanted. So why now, after I'm getting what I want, do I not want it anymore. I find myself most mornings longing to stay home, go for a run, pick up the house, and fix dinner for Coal Miner. Am I having the 5 year itch at work? Am I starting to realize perhaps being the SVP isn't exactly what I thought it would be?

Don't get me wrong, I like the fact that I've made a name for myself. I've built a little empire, all by myself, without any advocates at work. I ensured that I attended the right meetings with the "big guns", I went to those Happy Hours, I was adamant about my promotion, my ability to run a team and manage a multi-million dollar project at the same time. I was and am a superstar at work. I know it, everyone else knows it as well, its not a secret. So what's going on? What happened? Am I burnt out at the age of 30? That can't be. I'm too young for that. Have my priorities changed? Or am I just trying to do too much? I've come to the conclusion its the later.

Most days I find myself sitting at my desk, head swirling, thinking "how on earth am I going to get all of this done?" I need to ask for help. I need to start delegating. I need to slow down. I'm doing way too much, way too fast, and putting unrealistic deadlines on myself. Why do I need to be a VP by 40? Seriously, why? What does that prove? Why do I "need" that title? Yes, I get it, I want to be important. Hell my whole generation wants the same thing. We were brought up to believe that you need titles, cars, houses, things, etc. to be important. But what if I just want a simpler life. I like nice things, but I don't need them to be happy. I like money, but...I can't say what I just said about money. I don't know that I need it to be happy, but I do know that I need it to feel okay.

I grew up watching my parents live paycheck to paycheck. Wanting more than what they had. Juggling which bills to pay to ensure that our electricity stayed on and we could still charge groceries to the credit card. They refinanced their house multiple times. My mother worked two to three jobs at a time. She was exhausted. She was never around. Neither was my dad. And it wasn't their fault. They came to what they could, they were home when they were needed, they were always there when I needed them. It didn't take anything away from my parent's parenting skills or my childhood. It was an amazing childhood (almost storybook if you don't count what I just told you). BUT, I don't want that for myself. I don't want that for my family. I don't want my little girls (if I have them) to have a memory of me sitting at the kitchen table crying trying to figure out when the last possible moment is to pay this bill or that bill. Or hear me say to my mom on the phone "We are in the red again." They didn't think we knew. We did. So, after psychoanalyzing the shit out of myself, I know why I "need" money. I know why it makes me feel safe. And I know why I feel like I have to die trying to earn as much of it as possible. But still, I long for a simpler life. I long for a slower life. I long to enjoy my days, each of them, instead of wishing them away. I yearn for less traffic and more "us" time. I just need to find a way to feel safe and at ease. Got any grand ideas?


Anonymous said...

I love this! Very true! You feel the same as I do but braver than me to put it into words. I have learned to follow your heart and gut regardless of the carrot that is dangling before you. It's important to have goals and dreams but they must be yours and ones you believe in. The movie, eat pray love taught me that people change: our dreams, ambitions, and way of thinking do too. And it's ok. Follow your heart and intuition and that will steer you clear- but we must have the patience and confidence to listen regardless if it is different than what our ego says is right for us. My mom always recites a Chinese proverb to me: step back and you will find clarity and the answer - well that is the English translation and I'm paraphrasing of course. Your blog really touched me and thank you for writing it!

Kelli said...

It's funny, I've recently gone through a very similar self discovery journey. If you'd like, I wrote a blog post about this very same issue awhile back:

I'm not sure if it will help you or not, but it did help a couple of my friends and it really did put a perspective on things for me.

Best wishes on your journey!

Kim hudson said...

Sorry that last rant was from me! Kim Hudson

Naomi said...

That is my goal. Having worked with an Italian who lived on the ideal "il dolce far niente" (the sweetness of doing nothing), he kept harping why americans work so hard, I tend to agree. He used every second of his vacation hours as he obtained them. Should we expend so much energy and stress on work rather than live life? I love my job as it is laid back, I only manage 2 people, and I make a comfortable living and I have no desire to move up in the chains. I am a cog in the machine and I am fine. Unfortunately I still live paycheck to paycheck because of my past money mistakes, but if I didn't have those I would most certainly have a comfortable life even in expensive DC.

But I'm with you...all I want to do is read books, go running, clean, spend time with J, travel the world, etc.

I definitely applaud you for all that you have strived for...I hope that you do become a VP one day if you ultimately decide that's what you want.

P.S. Or we can drop everything and go back to our plan long ago to open up a pole dance studio ;)

Anonymous said...

Recently getting a "promotion" (more like a role change because there was no raise ha!), and now managing 5 + people I can relate to this. I am also working 2 jobs, living pay check to pay check, have ZERO "us" time with Brett, much less "me" time, can't seem to squeeze in a spin class or hot yoga....its all just depressing really!

Thanks for writing this, it reminds me that I need to decide what is really important. Seems like yesterday we were just all a bunch of hot high school girls having fun and now we are 30 and every little moment feels like it is going to effect the rest of our lives!

I think Coal Miner has something to do with you taking a step back....thats just me :) Keep us posted on this because your words are encouraging and inspiring!

MDubs said...

Thanks ladies - I'm glad I'm not alone in my attempt to seek the perfect balance. Perhaps we can all keep each other apprised of our progress as we go. Good luck my friends!! :)