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Keeping It Real: Job Struggle

(Originally published on The $76K Project on 10/17/2017)

Dearest Blogosphere:

I am going to be very honest with you, despite the fact that this may come across as a load of privileged whiny whining.

I am struggling with my job.

Really struggling.

Like, I cried before work this morning. And two mornings ago. I also kind of cried in my cubicle around 10 AM today, but I mopped myself up before anyone saw me.

I feel so anxious that I can't sleep without taking a sleeping pill. I've never had to do that before.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with my work environment. My coworkers are categorically wonderful. My boss is understanding. I have a standing desk, a double monitor, an ergonomic chair, an office plant, and access to a decent coffee maker, all of which make my work life pretty comfortable. Nobody gives me a hard time when I take a sick day. Although the salary isn't great, the benefits are outstanding. People don't walk away from benefits like these. They just don't.

So this is not a complaint about my employer or the people I work with.

The problem is me. My job is essentially a customer service job in that the primary job function is to assist customers - via email, phone, and in person. At least half of my day is spent in back-to-back meetings with people. While my gregarious, extroverted coworkers thrive in this environment, my introverted self wilts within the first hour. I literally lose my words. I struggle to talk, or sometimes even breathe. Cue panic attacks. (Have I ever mentioned my mental health issues? Yeah... I'll get to that sometime.)

Also? As it turns out, cubicles make me feel claustrophobic.

I keep landing jobs like this because I genuinely do like people. I genuinely care about their well being. But... I've come to realize (it's only taken, like, 15 years) that I mostly like and care about people from a distance. I need my space. I don't want to be in a job that requires constant in-person human interaction. Or really any face-to-face communication. Can't we all just do our thing and check in via email? Maybe Skype in a pinch?

In this job, I am like a water buffalo trying to pass as a giraffe. I feel like I am the wrong person for this job, and it's exhausting. 

What keeps me going is a) the health insurance and b) our debt repayment plan, which relies heavily on my paycheck. I want this debt gone, and if this is what it will take, I'll do it. I'm trying to keep my eye on my "why".

Again, I don't mean to whine, but if only for my own records of this whole financial overhaul, I want to keep it real. Doing things I don't like is, I suppose, part of this whole debt repayment thing.

So tell me: have you ever struggled with a job? How did you handle it - especially if you're a fellow introvert? (Also, please be kind, because putting this out there isn't easy.)

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