Today was the last day of our training session, and the best word to describe what I’m feeling right now is sadness. I’m not sad because I disliked the course or because I didn’t get what I’d wanted out of it; I’m sad because I’m dreading going back to real life tomorrow. I don’t know how to best explain what I’ve been feeling over the past three days. It’s like I felt like I fit in, like my goals were aligned with the organization’s goals, and like I was with a group of my peers and that we were really collaborating to influence the future of the organization. I don’t know if I’ve ever truly felt any of those things at my job. At work, I like my team and the people on it, and I have goals, but they’re company goals that are completely misaligned with my personal goals. I feel like everyone knows more than me and that I’m the junior member of the team (it doesn’t help that I’m literally the only female member of my team and the second-youngest), and I’ve never ever felt that anything I say can influence leadership to make changes.
So I’ve been in these discussions with regional and divisional leadership for the past three days and so many of my personal goals are in lock-step with what the organization is trying to achieve; I felt like people were listening to me and paying attention to what I had to say and giving value to my words this week… compare that to how I feel all the time at work, and I guess it’s not so surprising that I feel such an intense connection with the mission of my volunteer organization and I feel so disenfranchised with the corporate life to which I’ve grown so accustomed. I hate feeling this way, too, because the company I work for full-time is truly incredible – it provides soooo many perks and I’ve never had a problem with anyone I’ve ever worked with; additionally, I seem to be good at my job (while I was out this week, I got another award from one of my customers), even if I feel like I’ve never quite gotten my footing. So it’s not fair to say I hate my job – I truly don’t – but I don’t know how to reconcile everything I’ve felt and experienced this week with the bleak reality that I’m just not fulfilled at my job and the frustration makes me feel like I’m being eaten alive from the inside.
I’m still glad I went – I learned a ton and I was able to make some great connections for future projects and collaborative efforts – but part of me is wondering if maybe this training was the worst thing I could have done. It’s like how you don’t know what you’re missing if you never had it to begin with. Had I not attended and felt all the good feels this week, I would still know that I want to do something with the organization full-time, but I wouldn’t have the all-consuming need that’s resulted from this training.
So it’s back to work tomorrow, and I just don’t understand how I can be expected to get out of bed in the morning and go. Even if I work from home, I don’t know how I’m going to force myself out of bed to turn on the computer. I’m going to have to, and hopefully I’ll get some momentum and get back into my regular rhythm of just putting the volunteer stuff out of my mind as much as possible, but it’s going to be so incredibly difficult.
So if you’ve struggled with finding your passion and knowing exactly what you want to do but you’re stuck tolerating the job you have (even if it really and truly is a fantastic job), please – how do you do it? I need all the tips I can get. 😦