Even workaholics come to a breaking point. Mine happened right at the end of January. The holiday rush for implementing new projects coupled with the pressures of getting all the year-end duties brought me to my knees.
Every industry has tremendous pressures exuded on their employees. I’ve been in the information technology (IT) field in one form or another for going on 28 years, from my time in the Navy until this moment. Until this year, not once have I gotten to a point of walking away from a well paying job. Since January 1st, I’ve had it in my head that I don’t want to work in IT any longer at the company I work for, and maybe not work for the company at all. If it wasn’t for the pay and health care benefits and, most importantly, my wife’s support, I would have quit my job last month. I had reached my breaking point and it wasn’t pretty. The tone in my voice turned to one of utter disdain for everything and everyone. Although I’m not a joy to work with (many have tagged me as being too blunt), this was different. I could tell first thing after waking up that I would be nothing more than an asshole to deal with all day. The anxiety had gotten to the point of imaginary arguments were happening in my brain with outcomes that had me so riled up that I was already uber pissed by the time I was in the shower. Bad dreams were happening and being embellished with telling people, especially managers, to go to hell and enjoy the stay.
Last year I took a week off by myself and went to Clarksdale, Mississippi to explore and experience the “Birthplace of the Blues”. I’m a part time musician and composer so it seemed logical that that was the place for me. It was the first planned vacation I’ve ever had…and it was awesome. So awesome in fact that I decided to make taking a vacation an annual thing. This year I found a cabin in the woods of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. The time off was from 2/11 thru 2/17 and it was great. No other humans in sight of the cabin and surrounded by wilderness and a river right off the back deck. No wifi, barely a phone signal. I watched about 2 hours of tv the entire week, read 2 books and started a third, and discovered that naps are a good thing. Serenity.
However, it wasn’t a trip that refreshed my soul. Yes, I was devoid of work for a few days but the dread of coming back started the day I drove out there. I was past burnout and all the way into a deep depression that hasn’t gone away yet. I say “yet” because it will pass over the next week when I get my work groove back. It’s Wednesday and I’ve already had a mild confrontation with my boss. He and I spoke briefly about one of my teammates being moved to another team and me getting one of my guys back; basically a trade from one team to another. I had forgotten that it would happen and it did while I was out. In what came across as what I feel was a condescending tone, he reminded me that we had spoken about this during a 1 on 1 meeting in January. That was enough for me to explode inside but I was able to keep it together and speak with a cooled voice. I could have ruined my career with my current employer right there and really wanted to. We hung up and I went about my day. Even at 48 years old, restraint isn’t one of my strengths and may never be.
In the afternoon I spoke with a friend about what company she worked at before coming to mine. She reminded me and I started looking into jobs there just as hard as I’ve been looking at others. She was great in talking me out of leaving, sisterly advice if you will. Her advice was to not jump out of a job without another waiting, something I already knew but it meant more coming from a friend. The rest of my afternoon (about 2 hours) was shot to hell and I did next to nothing outside of thinking about getting out of there.
I work for a great company. Pay is good, benefits and bonuses are nice, friendly people. You’d think looking elsewhere would make me feel guilty but it doesn’t. At. All. With all the awards, media background, voice overs, and music you’d think I would target that industry. Problem is that I’d end up having to settle for entry level positions and I can’t afford to do that. I won’t go back to school for any type of certifications or degrees and I’m not keen on getting more IT certifications for today’s skill sets. I’m too old for that anymore and not motivated to do it.
A few weeks back I hired a strategist that revamps resumes and builds LinkedIn profiles, one of the better decisions I’ve made in a long time. She’s done an excellent job with all of it. She helped emphasize my media background and skills while still staying true to my current company (feel free to hit me up via the link at the bottom and I’ll connect back). But now is the time to make a jump and that’s what I’m targeting. At some point I may end up with more than one job in order to pay the mortgage but I’m willing to do it if it’s in the field I want.
Thanks for reading all of this and I appreciate you stopping by. If you enjoyed this piece please click the applause hands below and comment if you wish. I’d love to hear your experiences no matter what they may be. Also, I have two books available on Amazon that I advocate you to buy, Manku and Manku Too. For more about me and what I do, here’s my website. Everyone is also welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/john-r-0b4a18159.