Learning From Failure

I’ve been gone for a while due to some things happening in my life. In the past month I have lost a job, gained a job and then lost that one. I’ve dealt with depression and self-hatred and frustration and pain. I’ve had nervous breakdowns and many, many moments of doubt.

One thing I’ve learned during the last 28 years is that life doesn’t care about your plans or wants or needs. There really is no rhyme or reason to life; it just is. That’s not to say that there is nothing to live for, just that trying to figure out why things happen the way they do is sort of fruitless.

I started this site to help others by using my life and career and I intend to continue to do so. In that vein, I’m going to be completely honest here – even though I’m completely ashamed and embarrassed – and let you know how I recently struggled.

The Story

My job of almost four years ended on December 31st. Two weeks before that, I got a call that I have wanted to get my entire career: I had been offered a job at a company that I have wanted to work for since I got into this field. I was ecstatic to learn that I had been chosen from a large group to join this amazing company.

My start date was January 8th. The position was to be part-time, but I was aware that for the first two months I would be in training full-time. I was so excited to start, and those first two weeks of training were awesome.

However, when I got into the actual place where I would be working, everything changed. I found that I was unable to grasp any of the work I needed to be doing and that the morale of the office wasn’t what I had been told it would be.

I’ve been in this field, doing this work for a decade. Yet, every thing I did was wrong. Every move I made was a mistake, and everyone I encountered hated me for making their jobs harder. I couldn’t figure it out and there was no one there to tell me how to make things right. Instead, I got side eye and aggression.

I am very hard on myself in every aspect of my life. I’m my worst critic and when I make a mistake, I punish myself heavily. So, when I just continued to make mistake after mistake, I felt dumb and stupid and useless. Add to that the fact that everyone around me obviously thought I was dumb and stupid and useless and I was headed for a nervous breakdown.

On top of all of this, I was in so much pain. There is a reason why I have to work part-time, and that is because of my health issues. While working full-time, I came home and laid in bed until it was time to go back. I got nothing done around the house because I couldn’t function due to the increased pain.

So, with the added pain, constant mistakes and the obvious hatred of my new coworkers, I had a complete nervous breakdown. After two and a half weeks of training, I left for lunch, sat in my car weeping for an hour and never returned to the job.

I am not proud of this. In fact, I am so ashamed of myself that I don’t want to show my face to anyone ever again. I am a grown woman who has made a career of dealing with difficult situations, yet I caved and gave up.

Learning From It

I failed. There’s really nothing else to it. And over the last few days I have been harder on myself than I have been in a while. I’ve called myself so many names that I would never say to anyone else for fear of breaking them down to nothing. I have cried and yelled and cried some more. The shame of quitting a job hits me in waves and there’s nothing I can do to assuage my guilt.

That said, this experience has shown me my limits and what I can and cannot do. Having chronic pain limits me in ways I never imagined, and that’s hard to come to terms with. This has forced me to come to terms with them, though, and for that I’m grateful.

I’m not happy about the fact that I am not who I once was, but at least now I know for sure that there are just some things I can’t do, instead of wondering about it. I’ve often thought that I should go back to full time for the money, but now I know that’s not possible. And that’s okay.

It will get better. I may have just closed the door to ever working for that company again, but there are other companies and there are other jobs. I am a firm believer that you should never work a job that you hate if you don’t have to, and that’s what that would have been.

Who cares if I can say I work for a well-known company if I have a panic attack every morning on my way to work? Who cares if I make a little extra money an hour if I’m depressed in bed while not working? It’s not worth it. We’re only given one life and I refuse to live it in misery.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes life just doesn’t work out how you expect. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation that you just can’t figure out. When this happens, all you can do is just keep moving forward. Trust your instincts and try not to be too hard on yourself (I’m saying this to myself, too, by the way) and just keep moving. Learn from it and do better next time.

It’s not the end of the world.