Friday, November 03, 2006


I had one of those therapy sessions today that made we walk out feeling clearer, uplifted, hopeful, and calm; like everything was going to be ok, and like I was on the right track to where ever it is I'm going. It was worth the 60 bucks.

My therapist, CG, does a great job normalizing what I'm experiencing, while at the same time never devaluing or taking away the uniqueness of my experience. For example, today she helped me see that it makes sense that I'm stressed out and feel a little bit like freaking out because of everything that's in flux at the moment in my life. I'm exploring and dealing with significant career, personal future, and relationship issues. I'm also trying to figure out what I want and need in my life in order to make me feel happy, safe, and fulfilled. And, I'm realizing more and more that it's very hard to figure all of that out while feeling stressed out, demoralized, and exhausted from my current abhorrent job.

My current situation sucks, the future is uncertain, and I don't have any answers yet. Of course it makes sense that I would be massively stressed out and filled with anxiety!

As you all know from the counter at the end of my blog, the time is fast approaching when I'm finally going to quit my firm job. I feel confident in that decision, and part of me is really excited about it. This firm, and firm life in general, is not the right place for me, and I need to eliminate that (huge) negativity from my life in order to open up space for me to be healthy and happy.

But, even though I know it's the right decision, I still feel a lot of anxiety about leaving. I don't know where I want to go next, and as of this moment, I'm planning to quit without having a new job lined up. A few months ago, that plan seemed brilliant. I thought I would quit and then travel as a way of rewarding myself and giving myself space to regroup and refocus. The last two years have been draining, and I need to get back in touch with what I want to do with my life. Trekking through Tibet seemed like just the place to do that mental and spiritual regrouping.

Now, I'm rethinking that part of my plan, and wondering if it's foolish to quit without having a job lined up. I'm letting fear, but also my innate practical nature, infect me. Fear that I would make it far more difficult to find the job of my dreams while jobless than it would be if I continued to be employed. Just this afternoon, a legal recruiter told me that I would be committing "career suicide" by quitting before lining up something new. Thanks! He said that applying for positions while unemployed would "raise questions" and make it harder to compete with other applicants - many of whom will be, in a few months, where I am now, treading water in a firm and looking for an exit strategy.

In addition to the concerns about finding a job - any job - I also have financial concerns. New York is an expensive place and I'm not going to be able to pay rent, buy organic produce and chanel make-up, let alone go out anywhere, with just my smile. Yes, I have some money saved up, but I did not work myself raw in order to blow my hard-earned savings on living expenses while unemployed.

On top of that, my huge, enormous, over-arching concern is that I just don't know what I want to do with my life!!! I know I want to work on women's rights issues, particularly on international human rights issues that affect women. I'm interested in asylum law, anti-trafficking work, reproductive rights issues, and, in general, creating positive societal change. I want to contribute to continuing the feminist revolution, to creating increased gender equality in our society. So, I guess it would be more accurate to say that I know what I want to do with my life, but I just don't know how to do it. I know my long-term goal, my passion; I just haven't figured out my path.

Will someone please show me my path? It would make things ever so much easier!!

Ok, I know that's not going to happen. This is my journey, and I've got to figure this out all by myself.

In an earlier post, I said that "I don't have anything stabilizing me; no rock to steady and comfort me." Tracy thoughtfully challenged me to think about where I go to for stability, and then later, in the midst of describing all of my swirling emotions to CG, the same question arose. Where do I go to feel stabilized, safe, and protected? Where do I go to feel focused and centered?

The answer used to be me, but I haven't been in great shape to be there for myself because I've been feeling so stressed out, uncertain, and tired. I've become unanchored and I'm drifting about in a swirling sea, waves crashing, rain pouring down all around me, and no daylight in site. Forgive the nautical metaphor; it's the best I can do at the moment to describe what's going on inside of me.

I need to find my anchor. My center. Focused resolve. Tranquility. Certainty. I know it's there. Somewhere. It's been out, no doubt someplace far more fun, like getting a massage in Thailand, but it needs to come back now. We have a lot to figure out.


Anonymous said...

I like your blog. It's purdy.

wordnerd said...

Those are some pretty serious questions Buttercup..and I don't purport to have any real answers...however, I heard a quote recently that really got me thinking (in my own life)...

We have to let go of the life we've planned in order to make room for the life that is intended for us.

I wonder when I am disappointed about things how much of this is attributed to my desire to plan things out....and if I could be happier and freer if I just went with it happens.

Money and relationships issues aside...I aknowledge that this is difficult and it's not like snapping your fingers....but it is something to think about. Something I'd like to strive towards.

Gypsy said...

I'm so pleased that your therapist was able to help you feel a bit more steady about things.

I wish someone would go ahead and tell me my path, too, and if they could include "published and successful author" in that path I'd be ever so thankful.

I think you're moving in the right direction. I, too, would be really stressed about leaving a job without having one lined up, mainly because I did that two years ago and it was misery. When we moved back to Florida from DC I didn't have a job lined up. I figured it wouldn't be too terribly hard to find one, even though I knew I'd have to compromise on something not exactly in my field (not a lot of call for editors in this smallish town).

But I got nothing for 7 months, and when I finally did get something it was crap and I hated it and it wore me down. Now, I don't say this to freak you out or anything -- you could have a very different experience. I just know that it's a frightening thought to be without a steady paycheck.

In the meantime, are you looking here for jobs?

Tracy said...

Isn't it cool when the same themes/questions come to you from different people and situations?

I truly hope that you find your anchor very soon. You are a wonderful person, and I want you to be fulfilled and happy.

Random thought: I know you didn't work all these months only to pay living expenses while you're between jobs. Still, that might be money well spent. ???

Caledonia said...

I walked out of a job a couple years ago that literally made me ill. It was a tough decision but I was in such a bad place, it was the only logical step for me. Sure it was scary and I suffered for it financially for almost a year. However, I started doing casual jobs when my health improved and I ended up working in my local job centre of all places. At the end of the day, it was obviously the right move because it led me to the job I'm in now.

For the first time in my life, I feel that I'm in the "right" place and having a bright, successful career is no longer my goal in life. First and foremost, I am healthy and I will never take that for granted again.

Life's too short to be stuck in a job that makes you miserable and I'm sure you will find something more suitable in the end.

Believe in yourself!

Buttercup said...

Emma, Thanks for visiting!

Wordnerd, I'll think about that. It's a good point. Very zen.

Gypsy, I'm rooting for "published author" to be in your future. :)

Tracy, It's true that the situation could be far worse. I could have no money, not family, no friends, etc. I'm lucky in many ways.

Caledonia, I'm so happy that you found a place that feels "right" to you. I want that too, and I know deep down that it will ultimately work out. It's just hard at the moment.

Artemis said...

Maybe this time is for you to find yourself, your path and journey - even if it might be scary and hard and difficult to do at first. Not having a safety blanket (ie your job) is hard - but if you are confident that it is the right decision then things will work out - you will make them work out!

Good luck!

InterstellarLass said...

When you find it, can you point me in the same direction? I need something refreshing (career wise) and I can't for the life of me figure out what it is.

I'd love to go to law school, but house+marriage+kids+life doesn't seem to = school.

Buttercup said...

Artemis - That's how I'm trying to look at things, but it's tough!

Lass - What about psychologist/counselor or social worker? The more I deal with those types of peopleon both a professional, personal, and friend level, the greater respect I have for them. They truly do make the world better with their work.