• Pia Jeraldine Maria

I took my 'Dream Job' & it took my mental health.

Everyone has their own definition of what a "Dream Job" is; what those two little words mean to them.

When I was little, whenever anyone asked me what my "Dream Job" was - I would always say that it was to be a cashier. If you're as confused as they were, let me explain. Little naive Pia at the time thought that cashiers got all the money that people handed to them at the grocery store & it sounded pretty fantastic to me. If only that were the case.

Fast forward to January 2019 - I got an unexpected phone call from my "Dream Job." But, of course, being the milennial that I am, I let it ring and go to voicemail. I remember listening to that voicemail and having my heart beat out of my chest; to be honest, I thought it was a joke because I sent in an application in August 2018. But, after much conversation with all the important people in my life, I decided to go through with the application process and the interviews.

Yes, interviewS. 6 of them, to be exact.

Three & a half months, 6 interviews, and much anticipation later - I finally got a job offer. I was thrilled beyond belief (especially after going through one of the most intense job applications anyone could ever go through). I was sad to be leaving my office, but excited to be able to say, "I'm only 25 years old and I landed my 'Dream Job'!"

Looking back, I realize that I struggled at the new job since day 1. I remember walking in on the first day and was so confused by the state of their work environment - to say the least it was very 'cave-like'. It wasn't what I was used to, but I decided to let it be and treated it like a little speedbump. That little speedbump quickly grew into a huge mountain as I tried my hardest to find my place within the office. I couldn't click with my coworkers, I could go days without speaking to anyone & I slowly felt my personality take shape of the ambiance around me - dark and cold. The craziest part - that was the norm; everyone else was working fine in the office environment. As for me, I was repeatedly telling myself, "This is your 'Dream Job' - you can do get through this," everyday before I walked in.

As the days went by, I started to lose my sense of self. I found it hard to find the motivation to wake up in the morning & started to take sick day after sick day because I couldn't get myself to walk out the door. I would sit for the majority of the work day in my dark & cold office just figuring out how I can make myself useful because when I asked, I would get little to no response. The work that I found myself doing wasn't what I had hoped for - I was attempting to find ways I could tie in my sense of creativity into my work, but I could only do so much. I felt like I was rotting away - but it was my "Dream Job" right? I had to keep fighting it.

June 2019 - three months in. I started to develop an uncomfortable breathing problem. My chest was consistently heavy & whenever I attempted to take a deep breath, it felt like something was stopping my lungs from taking in more air when I knew I could. I took more walks than normal - but not to get some fresh air, but to have a short cry in the staircase just to allow my anxiety to run its course. I started incorporating crossing the date off at the end of my workday just to prove to myself that I survived another day. I started to take more sick days which ended in me having a panic attack because I knew once I got up, I had to go to work. So my solution? Take multiple sick days in a row.

I started to realize that this is not what I want my life to be - I wanted to be motivated to get up & be excited to go to work. I wanted to be passionate about what I was doing and know that I was helping people whilst doing it. I wanted to be able to incorporate as much creativity as possible and create things I would be proud to show off. I wanted to be able to turn around when I needed a break and tell my co-workers about this video I found when I got into the weird part of YouTube at 1 AM. And most of all, I wanted to be happy.

My "Dream Job" was slowly turning into a complete nightmare - I was not happy at all but was attempting to fight it because I thought it was what I wanted. I dealt with the office environment, lack of interpersonal communication, lack of motivation, breathing issues, staircase crying sessions, panic attacks... because I felt so much pressure to stay. But then, I came to realize that it wasn't worth it - if my "Dream Job" is causing me so much anxiety & heartache, then it isn't my "Dream Job." And four months in, (with a backup plan already in progress) I put in my resignation.

Some people may think I made the wrong decision and I should've stayed. But now, I'm the happiest I've ever been. I have no problem waking up in the morning & going to work. I have the motivation to workout 2-3 times a week. I found my breathing getting better and better as the days go by. And most important of all, I'm happy.

life is too short to be miserable.

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©2019 by Life of Pia