I Am Lost

I inherited my mother’s sense of direction, and live and die by my phone’s GPS, but surprisingly, I am not talking in the physical sense. I do not think the place I am mentally in could be detected by the GoogleMaps satellites. What I mean is that I will be 30 years old next summer and have absolutely no idea what I am doing with my life, or what I’d like to do for the rest of it. It’s absolutely killing me inside.

I’m not writing this for sympathy, help, or anything like that. I don’t even care if no one other than my mom reads this. But there was a time I used to write in all of my free time, and it made me happier, so it felt like a good idea. Maybe you can relate, or, commiserate, rather. The tears that have been rolling down my face the past couple months would suggest that commiserate is an accurate term.

If you’ve followed me for awhile you know that I’ve gone through struggles with my jobs basically my entire adult life. I had four accounting jobs in four years, that I did well, but couldn’t have cared less about. The flexibility was there, the fulfillment was not. Eventually, I said goodbye to the career I killed myself over in school while earning two degrees, and I found myself working as an accounting and finance recruiter instead.

One thing about me is that I love flexibility. Who doesn’t, right? I’d made peace with the fact that maybe my job will never be the most fulfilling thing in the world, and that was fine. Instead, I’d just have an interesting-enough, flexible job that allowed me to do the things outside of work that made me the happiest (i.e. traveling around the country to hangout with my friends and scream my lungs out at Penn State games every fall). This new job was remote, gave me more interesting work, and had huge earnings potential. Finally, it felt like I’d found a role I was meant to do. I couldn’t have been happier.

I began this job in January of 2022. After a few months of training and some growing pains, I’d felt like I’d made a pretty smooth transition into my new career and that I was going to be very successful in it, just like my friend who had recruited me for the position. I had a solid first year, but it was understood that I’d need to pick it up in order to “earn my keep” in a heavily results-based position.

And who was I to think that wasn’t exactly how this year would go? All my life, I have been able to pride myself on my outstanding work ethic. I was the lifelong 4.0 student, the lifelong swimmer (confirmed awful sport to do for your entire life) that earned a spot on a Division I team in the SEC. When I want something, I will either get it, or I’ll come pretty damn close and die trying. Not because anything was handed to me, but because I busted my ass for it — in the pool, the classroom, the library… wherever. I know this may surprise you, since half of my tweets are about being drunk, but I think I’m still making up for how much of a square I was in my adolescence. I partied on occasion, don’t get me wrong, but school and swimming always came first.

Sure, I never made it to the Olympics, or even NCAA Championships, for that matter, but generally speaking, I’ve never really felt like I’ve “failed” at anything before. Not anything that I’ve really put my mind to, at least. Hell, even things I’ve given the minimally required effort.

Until now.

I am failing, pretty miserably, a quarter into this calendar year, and I am beyond mentally struggling to keep moving forward. If I don’t improve soon, I will be let go. I’ve seen it happen to countless others around me the past few months. I’m doing everything I can, but a combination of bad luck and maybe not being cut out for this line of work have caused me to continue to suffer. It’s getting harder to move forward with a smile on my face. It hurts. I’ve never felt like this before, about pretty much anything except dating. Which is currently the last thing in the world I am concerned about.

It’s not the end of the world, by any means. I’m a smart girl with a good education, I can find another job if need be. But once again, I’m coming to a career crossroads. It begs the question, “Do you want a job that pays the bills, or one that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning (at least most of the time)?” I have no fucking idea. I just know I’m getting pretty damn tired of answering this question every year.

I’ve lived a pretty great almost-29 years. I have an awesome family with parents who gave me a great childhood, an amazing group of friends, and I do a lot of pretty fun shit in my free time. I live alone in a nice apartment in downtown Nashville, and I have no one to worry about but myself. Not even a goldfish. I can quite literally do whatever I want, whenever I want to. I recognize that I’m doing pretty well in that regard. I truly can’t complain. That’s not what I’m trying to do here.

I’m just lost.

7 thoughts on “I Am Lost

  1. Caroline, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I just turned 46 and think I finally found my career. I follow you on Twitter and Instagram and love your posts. It seems overwhelming at times but keep your chin up. I try not to dole out advise to others but think about what you enjoy and what interests you. Maybe it’s working at Penn St! Just remember you are part of the greatest group on Earth, NITTANY NATION! #WeAre

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  2. Hey Caroline! I completely know the feeling you’re having mentally about your career. Like yourself went to school for accounting and while I was at Penn State, I worked 3 jobs at times to help pay bills for my parents back in Philly, my own bills in my apartment in State College and because my financial aid was late every semester, so I could buy books and be able to feed myself. Because I was so busy I did well at Penn State with a 3.2 GPA but not enough to get into a public firm so my first job was with a financial solutions company doing accounts receivable. I excelled very quickly there and moved into sales support less than a year later. I did that for 5 years before going to a startup company to do sales support as well where at first I was so excited to be an OG of a new company and first hire at my position in the company when it was made up of some of the best of the best in the leasing/financial solutions industry and that lasted about a year. Then with the stresses of working two jobs to pay for my wedding (working as a bartender of a brewery part time too) and long hours in the office busting my ass to get deals done and being pressured into having to be available and willing to work over 12 hours a day I was becoming mentally burnt out. My career path allowed me to pay for the wedding my wife deserved, which is the only reason I was working damn near 7 days a week for two years straight, and that I could also afford an apartment in a good area outside of Philly for my wife and I, while letting us be able to go places, BUT, I was so mentally and physically exhausted. I hated what I was doing. I was getting overlooked for advancements in other parts of the company, which was why I went there in the first place, because they didn’t want to lose my production and it made me jaded to the industry. So at 31 I was lost like you are now. The brewery I worked for started an amateur golf league in the southeastern PA region and because of my hard work at the brewery as well I was noticed by to founder of the brewery and golf league and asked if I wanted to come aboard full time to work as an Operations Manager for the golf league. It was a massively hard decision because I’ve always wanted a career in sports and something I’m going to be fulfilled with at the end of the day but it was a massive pay cut to what I was making in corporate America. I eventually decided to take the leap and do a complete change in career. It was scary at first and yes I’ve had to make sacrifices financially because of it but I love what I do now. I get to create something really cool to allow people the chance to play more golf and I get to play more now too because it’s now apart of my job. So I’m now exactly a year out from that decision and the golf tournament is a separate company on its own, we rebranded to a new name and expanded into two more states and look to grow nationwide soon enough. The money will eventually come and I’ll be better financially soon enough to where I’m now getting paid so I don’t have to be paycheck to paycheck and I wake up knowing I get to do something I love. So this long winded back story is just a way to say I know how you feel. It really sucks to not want to wake up because you hate what you do. I had that feeling. It was never that I was going to harm myself or anything but I was mentally drained and so unhappy while trying to put on a brave face in-front of everyone. As a passionate Penn State alum and PSU sports but myself, I came across your page a few years back on Twitter and Instagram so I’ve followed for awhile and love the content so I wanted to share my story with you because you share with us great content and your feelings. So I’m hoping for you to find that fulfillment and success and I’m rooting for you! #WeAre

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  3. In an ever-changing world where most people will have quite a few different jobs in their lifetime, where CDs (Certificates of Deposit) became CDs (Compact Discs) to which now seem obsolete and outdated, the answer is to follow your heart. Follow your passion. Do what gives you joy. That way work will not seem like work and become a four-letter word to you and you will not have regrets later in life.

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  4. Fellow PSU’er and accountant-turned-recruiter. I’ve been doing this for almost ten years, and happy to offer some perspective to the job as a career, if you’re open. Provided my work email address if you’d like to connect.

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