Last Updated on April 10, 2023 by ThoughtsStained
Hello, dear readers. You may have noticed that things have been a bit quiet on the blogging front. So, I wanted to write a general check-in, of where I’m at. It’s going to be some updates on what I’m dealing with in real life. Plus, just a few random thoughts I want to get out somewhere, but don’t know how to make a separate post about them. It’s not particularly a joyful post. But, writing it all out, I hope, will be cathartic, for me.
So, let’s get started.
Trigger warnings: discussion of deep depression
What’s Going On
So, I’m going to try not to trauma dump too much, in this general check-in. But, I do think it’s important to get some of this off my chest. As it does explain why I’ve been so absent here on the blog. As well as other social media and things. It might also explain why I’m planning on some heightened marketing for my editorial services and Patreon.
Toxic Day Job
Basically, it all comes down to my day job. For some context, I work at a university where, last August, our unit was restructured into a bigger one. My previous unit was pretty toxic, so I was excited for the change.
In the almost nine months since, it’s become clear that the new leadership (that did rehire some toxic members from previous leaderships) is even more toxic than before. I’ve never been more overworked and burnt on in my entire life. It’s gotten to the point where I confessed to my supervisor that I’m burnt out and I need more breaks. Mostly to stay on top of some of the more administrative aspects of my job–and maybe go to the bathroom during working hours. Or get a full lunch break.
And the solution given to me was to take away all the administrative and break time I currently have. I kid you not.
When I broke down and cried, it didn’t change anything. And now I am just waiting for the retaliatory shoe to drop, as leadership does not like being questioned. They’ve hated me for years for daring to offer (respectful! professional!) criticism and feedback. Always bookended with receipts and solutions for change.
(Fruitless?) Job Searching
So, honestly? It’s been awful. It doesn’t help that I’ve been job searching since December (having applied to over 75+ jobs at this point). I have barely gotten any responses. (Only one interview, which resulted in being passed over for a different candidate.) But it’s been so exhausting to continue to write cover letters, reformat my resume and apply for jobs I know I qualify for, and get nothing. Sometimes, not even rejection! Just silence!
But, after the 1:1 that resulted in me breaking down into tears at being overworked, micromanaged and burnt out, I’m also trying to figure out if I can quit without another job lined up. I do have my freelance editorial business, but work with that is so sporadic, it’s a huge risk to do that full-time and hope I’ll make enough (roughly $1500 a month) to survive each month. Yet, there’s also the argument that I’d have more time for my clients if I did that full-time.
Honest talk, friends: I have never been so depressed. I haven’t done a deep dive into our finances quite yet, but we know that we can’t survive on my partner’s income alone. Yet, due to my back condition, I can’t just go get a job in retail or food service, to help make ends meet. My body literally cannot handle it. That’s why I’ve been looking for remote jobs. Especially because I need health insurance, for my chronic condition.
I could drain my retirement, and be okay for maybe a year (after losing half of it to “tax penalty” of withdrawing early). Which, I absolutely do not want to do. But, I’m just at a loss and might just be desperate enough.
I’m so tired of being so, so depressed.
Attempting to Complete My MFA
To complicate things still further, I am literally on track to complete my MFA in a few months (by August). Yet, if I quit my job, I’ll lose the tuition assistance that’s allowed me to pursue this graduate degree. And, if I quit before mid-May, I’ll have to pay back almost $2,000 in tuition. (Same if I quit mid-summer, before my classes finish.) And being this fucking close after spending the past three years working on this degree makes me feel like I should finish it.
But at what cost, you know? Mentally?
This is also assuming that my supervisor doesn’t fire me for being “combative” by offering any feedback aside from praise. Which happened to a coworker before who, like me, criticized their narrow-minded focus on only one element of our job (when we need time to do all elements). They treated her so poorly, she quit. Yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if they fired me before I had the chance to find something else.
Scattering of Random Thoughts
Also, in the vein of complaining, here’s a few things that have just been particularly challenging this year.
- Housing sucks: we tried to potentially buy a house and that proved impossible. Yet trying to save up for one is also impossible, for our salaries. (Plus, it would mean every penny would need to go towards that, when I’d also love to travel? Get tattoos? Order takeout sometimes?) But, our rent also increased. And there is nowhere cheaper to live in our town that won’t a) drastically downsize or b) be a literal shithole. Not to mention that, if I didn’t have my partner and still tried to live here, my rent would take up more an one entire monthly paycheck. So, if my partner and I ever break up, I’m screwed.
- Relationship with money: on top of that, my relationship with money has been so, so hard. Like, I feel so guilty buying takeout to make things a bit easier when I’m too busy (or too depressed) to cook. But then it adds up so fast and I feel guilty for “wasting” money I could be using to pay off debt. Yet, why can’t I have a life where I don’t feel guilty spending $15 on a meal?? Or I want to buy a book or surprise my friend with a gift? I’m just so, so tired.
- Also: healthcare is a scam, trans folx deserve to live full and healthy lives, gun reform is drastically overdue and fuck republicans generally and fuck democrats who refused to DO ANYTHING by gods.
Looking Towards the Future
So, this general check-in ended up being a post purely full of complaining. And I am sorry about that. I can’t imagine that’s super fun to read.
But…I’m just so tired, friends. I’m tired of being stressed out and burnt out. Exhaustion and depression have been my only two modes, these past few months. Imposter syndrome and being gaslit by my supervisor and the lack of success in job searching is taking up all my brain space.
I really hope I can share an update soon where I found a job and was able to escape. That I got my MFA degree and passed my defense. Where I’m not bawling my eyes out and spending my evenings unable to do anything. That I can feel less guilt when spending money that isn’t on bills, debt or absolute necessity.
Yet, if I’m being honest? It all feels a bit impossible, right now. If you know of any remote jobs that are looking for highly organized individuals, hit me up. If you’d like to promote my editorial services or my Patreon, that’d mean the absolute world, right now. Any good vibes you have to spare, I’d appreciate so, so much.
Thanks for reading and any future comments (because I know y’all and already anticipate your kindness). It truly means the world. Hopefully, I can get back into the swing of things soon. (And I do have some other posts planned for this week, which should be much more enjoyable than this one!!)
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Dini @ dinipandareads says
Nicole, I’m so sorry that you’re going through such a hard time. It’s absolutely wild that the solution they proposed is to take away what free time you have—that’s a whole other level of unethical? Is that even legal? The job market is also so miserable. 😭 I’m currently in the process of looking for a job (again) as my current one is in a precarious position due to organisational changes and the thought of going through the whole cover letter writing, application filling process and interview journey for who knows *how* long already makes me want to cower under the covers and sleep my days away. Sorry, didn’t mean to end up whinging about this situation but I get you. 😅 And I know how hard it is and I wish that it could be easier. I really hope that you find something better soon or that you find a good temporary solution that allows your mental health to get better! Sending you so much positivity and support!!
Oh Dini, you’re so amazingly kind and sweet. Right!? It just felt so horrid of a response and the reasoning so weak (that I didn’t even dive into fully on the blog). But I absolutely HATE that you might have to go through all of it again, especially due to things outside of your control (like organizational shifts, which sounds like your company may be dealing with)? And if you ever need a space to complain or vent or just process, know I am always here for you!
Thank you for your kindness and empathy. It means the absolute world. 🖤
M.A. Crosbie says
Oh Nicole I’m just so so sorry….You don’t deserve to be treated like that at work (no one does!!!), and I just cannot fathom why you haven’t been snapped up by another company/organization yet??? You’re brilliant and have always worked so goddamn hard, and you’re doing everything you can. You deserve the world. I love you and want to do whatever I can to help, and I’m always here for you <3
You’re so amazing for always being so supportive. Having you in my corner makes everything just a bit easier to bear.
Realms of My Mind says
I’m so sorry you’re going through that right now Nicole! Hope you can at least hold out through May for the tuition assistance, but I know how crushing toxic jobs can be. It may be that the mental and emotional relief will be worth the uncertainty of unemployment, but I also know how incredibly scary that can be.
The housing market really does suck right now; my rent went up significantly, but we’re still below market value compared to other apartments of the same size (which is an insane fact) so we couldn’t move anywhere cheaper in the area. We even looked at moving states and the finances still didn’t make sense. What a time to be alive and a millennial, am I right?
I hate that you have familiarity with toxic jobs, Caitlin! You absolutely do not deserve that!! I know, I keep going back and forth about whether the price of the mental (and physical that is starting to deteriorate from all the stress) versus the financial stability. It’s not a fun game to be in.
And I’m so sorry your rent raised too and makes it impossible to even find viable cheaper options.
Millennials have really gotten just the shit ends, honestly.