What is this sadness that takes me over? I start thinking that I am doing much better and…boom, it hits me without suspicion. I may have had a great day, and it is just there. There are days when I feel miraculously happy, while there are other days when everything goes straight to darkness. I don’t have feelings of hurting myself or anything that would result in self-inflicted pain. Those types of thoughts do not afflict me, but there is this sense of darkness that comes and goes. I call it “I can’t see the sun.” Here’s a bit of background on how I ended up here.
When I separated from the Armed Forces, I felt it my duty to go find a job and become successful. I was married and was having a baby with my husband. We had been married for less than a year when we found out that we had gotten immediately pregnant. We truly did not enjoy young married life. We simply grew. I remember that I could no longer stay in the military because I couldn’t fathom raising a child with dual military parents. I separated from the military when I was exactly 8 months pregnant. Nobody would call me. I went to job fairs like crazy and learned to interview on the spot. However, I felt that I was certainly doing a poor job. None of those recruiters cared to call me. I ended up getting a job as a government civilian, yet the job paid very little. In addition, I was not adjusting well to life outside of the order of the military. I felt that my coworkers were too uncaring about the mission of the organization that we all supported. They would roll out a television set and play soap operas for 3 hours straight. I would be in my work cubicle trying to ignore it all. They mocked me for it. This was the first time that I truly felt disappointment.
After having my baby, I decided to just leave the federal civilian career path. I embarked in applying for jobs everywhere. I chose a career field that I thought matched what I had done in the military. At that point in my life, I never cared for being a “match” or for looking for my “calling.” I just wanted a paycheck. I wish someone would had spoken to me about the importance of enjoying work. I was never taught that concept. I grew up in a family that worked for a living. Meaning…if you got a paycheck, you can have a life.
For years, I held on to this concept. I jumped from one job to the next, never finding satisfaction. Always feeling empty, miserable, trapped, and bitter. Slowly, I began to lock away these feelings. I didn’t know how bad things would get for me internally. I have been an emotional and spiritual mess for years. I simply feel like I do not belong anywhere. Now, I have 15 years of experience in a field that I absolutely hate. And it is not hate for the job itself, but more so for the culture. It doesn’t matter what organization you work for, if it is the same job, it tends to prove misery. People are mean, bitter, poor leaders, and lie to themselves.
I pursued higher education in an effort to challenge myself intellectually on something else. If I wanted to do something else, I had to find a way to get out. I thought that my advanced education would help me do just that. Well…surprise, surprise…nobody cares about my higher education. Employers are looking for “certifications” that can be achieved by younger generations. Don’t get me wrong, I am not that old. I am not even 40 yet. Nevertheless, I feel that I have personally gotten so busy in life that studying for a certification of any sort seems completely and utterly uninteresting.
When I began the PhD studies…don’t be fooled…I am not a smart person at all. As a matter of fact, I feel that my pursuit of higher education only proves my intellectual inability. It means that I have a couple of problems that I can list:
- I have poor self-esteem about my self-worth, therefore, I feel that by pursuing higher education I prove that I am smart.
- I have an unfulfilled life, therefore, fill my time with something that makes me feel relevant.
- I don’t have a job.
- I have a job, but hate it.
- I do not believe in myself, therefore, the pieces of paper (degrees) help me cope with my reality.
My last job was certainly the place where I exploded…the implosion had taken place a few months prior to be taking the new job. The last job served as the cataclysm to what was coming. The last drop. I was completely and utterly unhappy. Now, a month after my departure from said job, and sitting in the misery of unemployment I wonder. The misery does not come from leaving that particular job, but from not having a paycheck. However, isn’t it sad that money was the only reason that kept me in that specific job (and some of the previous ones). If I am truly honest with myself, I cannot state that I have enjoyed any of my jobs. I coped and read a lot about how to be happy in an unhappy situation. Nevertheless, faking it and not being real with myself was truly my undoing. Now, I have time to really think about the things that went wrong. Many times I have been completely jealous of the people that I have left behind in all these previous jobs. Think about it, as miserable as they made me feel, they are still employed, still getting promoted, still working. Look at me: unemployed and lost.
Today, I feel completely lost. I feel that I am truly not good at anything. I feel that I wasted 15 years on jobs that I did not care so much for, therefore, I learned nothing. When ones attention is not on the things that would count, unlearning takes place. We operate like robots, we obey marching orders and we do. We do not function independently, we are not creative, we do not exist. I realized the most important factor of my professional existence and it is that: I did not exist. I changed nothing, I improved nothing, I contributed to zero, and I was a passerby.
This, however, is not such a bad thing. It only means that I developed a super power that many would envy: I am invisible.