Realizing that you are in a codependent relationship with your job is a bit unsettling.
People often talk about unhealthy attachments within our personal relationships, but rarely does the topic come up in conversation while speaking about what we are doing with our lives—or not doing with them.
For the last 22 years, I have held down the same job. I enjoy my work. I’m good at what I do. The pay is enough to survive on while permitting the occasional splurge and the benefits are above average for the standard middle class worker trying to survive in today’s economically frightening landscape.
It’s comforting in many ways to know that this job is there. It is available and safe. I have health insurance and paid sick time. It is in an aesthetically pleasing environment. There are many things about it that are far from ideal but I cling to it in an unhealthy attempt to assure myself that I have a title and financial security. This job is good enough and I’m used to it so when things come up that make me wonder if maybe it is not the best fit for me personally, I quickly banish them and remind myself of how lucky I am to have stability in these tumultuous times.
If I’m being honest with myself…
I’m afraid to leave. Afraid to fail.
The very real fear of failure has prevented me from trying to live life any differently.
I was already failing.
But I had not even yet found the courage to try.
How could I continue to rationalize this type of thinking? The fighter I know I am, the very same person stubborn enough to stay at a dependable and predictable job for 22 years due to fear, knows that it is time for that energy to be put into a different battle. I can no longer justify that the possible rejection I may possibly face by trying to leave is any more oppressive than the irrational need I feel to stay.
These moments in life are a gift rarely recognized and often discarded in haste due to their unfamiliarity. So often I subconsciously wanted to stay enmeshed in what has become predictable. Thinking about leaving is uncomfortable. I don’t know who I am without this job. I’m afraid of who I could be or who I won’t become that
I imagine I should be.
I anticipate failing a few times as I’m taking those first tentative steps out from underneath my stagnancy tree. Emerging slowly from the false security of the “I need to stay where I am” branches of tangled thought, but I am no longer comfortable living inside of the oppressive shadow of my imagined failures.
I’m beginning to recognize that every step into unfamiliar territory feels better than sitting in the dark silence of potential regret. I can’t continue to allow myself to sink deeper into the solitude and depression of getting by in life simply because I have been too afraid to live it.
The difference is that the failures I am bound to experience will not be imagined. I am finally opening myself up to them happening. I will put myself out there and expose myself fully to rejection and possible lack of stability.
I will hesitantly take the first steps out from underneath the shade of imaginary failure and hopefully find that the sun shines on my face every bit as brightly when I’m failing as it does when I succeed and know that I am worth the effort.
Author: Shana Shippee
Editor: Renée Picard
Artwork: Author’s Own
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