I just quit my job… It wasn’t necessarily a spur of the moment decision, but it certainly happened before I had a plan in motion for what I was going to do next.
I am a fairly careful person and leaving my job before I had planned my next move was one of the most terrifying things that I have ever done. I had been feeling somewhat unhappy in my workplace for a while and had been considering leaving when a series of events made it painfully obvious that I needed to go. Now.
The overwhelming anxiety that flooded through me for the 48 hours leading up to my departure was crippling. I could not get my mind to slow down and stop obsessing over everything that could possibly go wrong or would never go right again.
I worried that the reason my work situation got so bad was because I was a failure, that no one would hire me now, that I sent my career into a spiral of doom by making this choice. Was I too young to risk my income just to stand up for myself in my workplace? And, was I putting my fiancé in a stressful financial position by not knowing where or what my next job would be?
I spent the days leading up to my resignation reaching out to friends, co-workers, and family for support. In my conversations with them about my overwhelming anxiety I received a couple of pieces of advice about managing stressful situations.
I want to share this experience in the hopes that the advice I have received will help others get through tough times and have the courage to want the best for themselves.
On a rollercoaster
Now that I have officially resigned my position and have begun to interview for other job opportunities, my stress-filled moments have started to come and go in a roller coaster of emotions. One moment I am feeling confident and hopeful, and the next it feels like I will never get another job and I will be forced to sell a kidney to pay our mortgage.
These extremes in my emotions are taking a toll on my mind and are affecting my sleep and my relationships. In my moments of clarity, I know that situations like these have a tendency to work themselves out.
I know that I should not let myself get so overwhelmed by the what-ifs and the should-haves, but even though I know all of this to be true, I continue to fall into my pit of self-doubt over and over again each day.
My un-employment situation could work itself out tomorrow, or I could have weeks or months *big gulp* until I am in a new job. I cannot continue to let my anxiety rule my consciousness for that long! I need to find solutions for getting better control of these emotional ups and downs that I have been feeling.
There are a plethora of stress-management techniques out there like exercising, deep breathing, making a list of solutions and focusing on them, but these things are honestly somewhat temporary fixes.
They only really help while I am practicing them, and while jogging all day would keep my mind from focusing on my stress, it isn’t going to help me overcome my anxiety once and for all. A couple pieces of advice that did seem to help me in the big picture of my stress were to take an honest look at the the real reasons that I feel so stressed, and then to embrace my stress as a tool to help me move into a better place.
Rejection isn’t rejected
Being rejected by one job opportunity seems to feel exactly the same as being rejected by EVERY job opportunity. It brings into focus all the ways in which I don’t add up, I don’t fit in, and I don’t have what it takes.
I have been constantly worried about how I stack up next to the other applicants that are vying for the same spot that I am. The stress of being good enough for the job has been weighing on me heavily.
So, when I don’t get called for a second interview, or I don’t get the job offer I have been beating myself up about it. I have been letting these rejections get the best of me and pull me into a sea of self-pity.
The advice that helped me clamber back into a more positive and optimistic mindset wasn’t at all what I thought would help me. When I was talking with one of my mentors about my situation he told me quite plainly that there could be a million reasons that I am being turned down and one of them might be that I am the wrong person for the job, and that is alright.
Accepting that I might not be good enough, or that I might not be the right person for the job has actually helped me to feel less defeated about the rejections. There is only so much that I know, so much that I have experienced, and so much that I am good at.
If what I am currently made up of is not ‘good enough’ for a job or for a person, then so be it. I will find something that I am prepared for, even if that means taking a job that I believe to be over-qualified for.
There is no shame in being exactly who I am in this moment, and I need to stop letting myself feel shame for that. I am willing to learn and make mistakes until I do have what it takes to excel at what I decide to do with the rest of my life.
Our paths to success might not be straight lines. We might need to turn around or take a detour in our search for success and the sooner that we stop fighting that, the sooner we can get to work.
As for Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety is usually thought of as a negative thing and something that I try to feel as little of as possible, but sometimes stress is actually good for us.
It took some outside perspective to help me realize that my overwhelming desire to get back into the workforce is my brain’s way of pushing me to do what is best for me. Working, and working hard, is an important part of life for me.
I love being busy and being a career woman. My subconscious knows this about me and is prodding me from the inside to get moving and not give up until I get what I want! Once I accepted this stress as something that I cannot run away from, but an aggressive encouragement to do what I need to do, I did not feel so weighed down by it anymore.
Embracing my stress as a positive thing doesn’t mean that I feel good about it all the time. It simply means that deep down I know that my mind is keeping me from living a life of complacency. It is reminding me that I need to step out of my comfort zone and take risks in order to get more out of life.
I am thankful for that because at the end of my life, I will have accomplished so much more that I could have without that drive and passion. No matter how long I have to battle through this anxiety, I will keep using it to push me closer to my goals instead of letting it paralyze me.
A life worth living for will inevitably come with stressful scenarios that feel like they could crush us. When we are in the middle of these stresses it seems impossible to feel confident that we will find a way out.
We can tell ourselves over and over again to not panic or stress, and to believe that things will be ok, but it is impossible for many of us to get out from under our anxieties until we find a resolution to our situation.
The best way that we can combat our stress isn’t to run from it, but to wake up every day and match it with our perseverance and determination. We can learn to focus that stress, turn it into grit, and let it drive us to be better and stronger than we were before.
As long as we are willing to keep working until we have what we want, we can change any stressful situation into a victory.