Monday, December 6, 2010

Can I please just have a break from life?

Today we're going to talk a little bit about why I quit my job and what it means for our relationship.

I'm hopeful that if I start this with a clear topic and goal I may avoid the general ramblings that usually accompany my personal posts.

We'll see how it goes.

I am a mess.  Daniel often says that he has to take care of me (physically and mentally but mostly the former) because I won't take care of myself.  Though I maintain that he is a bit excessive about it, the boy has a point.

Ever since I was really young, I never really put my health and well-being first.  In middle school, I used to rank my commitments by importance, saying that school came first, then cheerleading (or gymnastics or dance), and then my health.  That really was the way I saw it, and in high school, it really started to be a problem, especially after I had stopped cheerleading and no longer had a built-in balance between school and physical activity.

When I got to college, I realized that if this was ever going to change, I would have to be the one to do it.  But by then, never putting my own well-being first was so ingrained that even trying to change was exceptionally difficult.  My senior year, things came to a head.  I had a lot going on and was so burned out that I just stopped.  I dropped a class which lead to dropping one of my majors (history--so glad I didn't have to write that 30-50 page research paper) and finished my last semester with only 2 real classes.  It was the first time in my life that I had ever put academic success after my own sanity.

After that, I was addicted.  Addicted to making choices based on what I wanted and not what an admissions officer wanted or my potential employers would want or on anything besides what would make me happy right now.

Then I graduated during the worst economy our country has had since the Great Depression (Remember that history major business?  My concentration was American history.  Yeah, I have a really good sense of exactly how bad things are right now compared to every other period of our history, and they really fucking suck).

Things have been pretty interesting since then.  I graduated in May 2009, and since then I have had (as per my tax forms) 8 jobs in 3 geographical areas and 2 states.  Nothing makes me happy because I am so sick of waiting for my life to get better and doing things so that it can be better down the line.  Working hard in high school may have gotten me into Berkeley (the school I wanted), but once I was there, it was just the same thing all over again, and having a degree from Berkeley hasn't gotten me jack except for my last job which I hated.  I am so sick of doing things that are supposed to make things better for me later on and not having things actually get better.

Which is why my resume is a nightmare of unrelated jobs, none of which I have stayed at more than 6 months and most of which I only had for 3.  I quit my last job to look for one I actually wanted, but I am starting to worry that nothing will make me happy because I don't want to keep waiting for things to get better, and with all this competition, even getting crappy jobs that I don't want is a struggle.

But I could probably make it happen eventually.  I could volunteer, work part-time somewhere I didn't really want to be until I could get a job that I wanted, and live at home for a year or two until I could make it work.

But that's not really an option because it's not just me that I have to look out for.  Daniel has his own problems which are far worse than mine at the moment.  I can't be financially irresponsible in case I have to support him.  I couldn't quit my job for 2 months even though I hated it so much it was causing me physical pain because I had to lend him money so that he could live.  And if he gets a real lawyer job in the remotest corner of California, we have to go no matter what I'm doing.

In short, I still can't put my personal well-being first because I have to put ours first instead.

This has been the hardest thing about getting married for me because I so desperately need to be able to put myself first for a while, and you just can't do that in this kind of committed relationship.  This is why I broke off our engagement the first time, 4 months after I broke down and dropped that class, because I knew I couldn't make that kind of commitment to someone else while I so very much needed to fix myself.

I still need that.  A lot.  But the reason I decided to get married anyway was that I needed him more.  And the only thing I'm proud of in all of this is that this time around, even though allowing Daniel to take the time (and money) he needs to get his shit together has been really difficult, I haven't wavered, I haven't had cold feet or second thoughts, I haven't for a second considered not spending the rest of my life with him.  And after thoughts I have had in the past, this gives me glad that I have at least got something right.

Things are not going well for me right now, and I still really need someone to cut me a break.  I want a job that will make me happy, and I don't want to have to spend years more waiting for it.  But it does help to know that at least I'm happy with him.  Finding a husband this young will never be good for my career, but it is good for my personal well-being.  And at least my hodge-podge of shitty jobs shows that I have been attempting to make things better for myself while still being conservative enough to accommodate him.  And hopefully he'll get a decent job that will allow me to be selfish for a while and do whatever it takes to get a career going for me.  Hopefully, someday soon.

P.S.  The career I really want to get into is photography, so if you know a good, experienced photographer of any sort in Orange County or LA County who might be willing to take on an assistant, paid or unpaid, let me know.


  1. wow this is so courageous of you to write, and i know it resonates with a lot of people, myself included. kudos and best of luck finding your dream gig.

  2. :( I am right there with you. Since my previous job offer (that I haven't heard about for a few weeks) I haven't been able to even get a call back. A lot of bees are in the same boat - we all graduated from prestigious universities and the degree means NOTHING in this economy. It's so frustrating and I am thankful for the holidays coming up because nobody will be hiring and we can just breath and relax and enjoy. I wish I could go back for an M.A. in something I really want to do but now that I'm married I have to think of Dave and our financial situation. Oh, so this is growing up :(

    I wish you the very best of luck in your job search. I hope you find something you really like that makes you happy and your spirits keep up. I have good and bad days but wine helps, every time :D

  3. Haha, yeah, I'm drinking a glass of Moscato right now ($8 for a jumbo bottle! Fuck yeah!). Good luck to you too! I know the Bay Area is especially difficult. It's so sad that our degrees mean nothing, but I would you'd be able to get a job teaching TOEFL classes pretty easily.

  4. Man, you guys, this SUCKS.

    My recommendation: take a year off and come teach in Asia. You can make beaucoup bucks with no living expenses, still send money home to pay off loans, and maybe even save some money, too. We've finally managed to get debt free while here, still pay our loans every month, and even travel a bit. Plus they treat you like royalty over here. It'd give you a break from the shitty economy back home and you never know, it might give your resume an edge when you come back. Lots of people go to law school these days, but how many of them spend a year teaching law or English at an Asian university? It's just something you might think about after the wedding, if you still can't find decent jobs and things seem really desperate.

    Andrew also thinks you're foxy enough to go into modeling, so give that a try! :)

    Hang in there!

  5. Hey there - I found your blog from the WB December blog post - and although the first post I stumble upon was this one, its probably the one I can relate to the most, away from some of the wedding plan or post wedding mumbo jumbo (not that that isn't great to read sometimes!). Jobs suck, but unemployment also sucks. Careers suck, but having no direction also sucks. Bills suck. And there is nothing worse than that. Being an adults sucks hard. So I totally feel you there.

    Sorry for the random post - if you check out my blog, I'm an unemployed recent grad living with my med student fiance. So we have a lot of some of the similar stuff going on, just in a different way. I wish you luck, and I definitely look forward to catching up on your blog! :)

  6. Nicole, this is terribly honest--yet so real it makes for a very powerful statement. Life after UC isn't what they make it out to be. That is for sure. If you don't mind, which I'm hoping you won't I putting you as a face of the day for my blog. Reading this made me feel a little less alone in this whole process (minus the whole marriage thing). I think a lot of readers will like what you have to say. Ciao!


  7. Thanks Courtney! And no, I don't mind at all.

  8. I know that your story resonates with a lot of people these days... I will be graduating in May and although I already have a job lined up, I know its not my "dream job." I have so much debt that I really can't afford to be picky. Meanwhile, Mr. is paying off his own loans and having the hardest times finding a full time job. He works 4 jobs right now and we're still struggling to make ends meet!

    Thanks for posting and sharing your story.


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