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AIBU? Middle age crisic? Need help, please don't judge me...

(21 Posts)
Windyvalley Sun 03-Jul-16 19:50:33

Note sure where to post this. Feeling actually embarrassed posting this.

I've been torn between my desire to be valuable to the world and my weak mind which is frightened to throw myself into any "causes".

I'm facing a turning corner in life. I've been extremely unhappy at work. It's a company filled with office politics at high level management. MD and GM changes at average 1.5-2 years in the past 8 years, as it's all about short-term P&L numbers. I'm fed up with all the lies they put up and it's currently run by a bunch of consultants who bully and who rule by fear. Hardwork and common sense are suppressed whilst a group of 20s are promoted to manager roles to introduce "changes" and "new ideas" without respecting experiences and expertise. It's poisoning my life and has already made me lost faith in workplace and business driven successful career. I want to quit whenever I get a chance.

I'm an INFJ type in the Myers-Briggs personality types. If you know what that means, you may understand the world looks a completely different place to me than to most of the people around me, including DH. The "purpose of life" (a desire to help others and to balance the unequal world) is especially important to guide the journey in life and motivate me to improve and be a better and happier person. The situation at work and my relatively "mature" age make me have he urge to find a new direction.

However, I'm also a highly sensitive person and have an issue with a mixture of "low self-esteem". I overthink according to people and could be hurt easily by other people's unkind move or unacceptance. I think I could be weak to deal with manipulative people. I also have ADHD related issue therefore not good at reading social cues and can make a fool of myself in social situations. All these self-perceived weakness made me so far stuck to the pragmatic route in terms of "what I do". I have a master degree but could not make myself fulfil my potential or be bold enough to push myself to excel.

I have a DS who's going to school next year and I feel ready to have a second one soon. If it becomes true, I would need to quit my job and be a SAHM for a few years. DH fear I would be even less happy if I stop working and feel even less valued.

Having a second one or not, I need to figure out what I want to/could do for the next so many years. If I have a second one, at least I could work toward that direction part-time; or if I don't have a second one, I would have even less excuse to not go ahead for a new plan.

I'm keen to find some kind of good cause which suits me. But by the way I know myself and the way other people tell me about how "charity" works in the real world, I can't see the direction...

Not sure if anyone can understand the kind of flawed and paradoxical person I described, or relate...

Would anyone has anything positive to say at all? Suggestions? Advice...?

DeathStare Sun 03-Jul-16 20:12:01

To be honest I didn't understand half of that but it sounds like you need a new job that suits your outlook better and where you feel like you are making a difference. I don't really get what your question is but does that answer it?

MagnumAddict Sun 03-Jul-16 20:17:47

Just don't expect working for a charity to be all sweetness and light. Plenty of office politics no matter where you work but I definitely think you would benefit from feeling like you were making a difference?

If you can't get fulfilment from work maybe in the short term volunteer for something you care about? I know finding the time is difficult when you have a child but it sounds like you need something to give you a boost

Dozer Sun 03-Jul-16 20:22:39

Sounds like a new job elsewhere would be good, perhaps initially in a similar field or using similar skills.

Can you as a family afford for you to earn less?

Why are you assuming you'd become a SaHM if you have DC2? Does your H agree?

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Sun 03-Jul-16 20:27:47

Could you start a small business selling ethical goods online..eBay company perhaps to see if it suits you. And thus allow yourself to work whilst being a parent , and build your self esteem, see where it takes you.

Yoyoyopo Sun 03-Jul-16 20:38:07

Have you thought about providing homestart services or enabling care for vulnerable adults? It's a very grounding experience and provides a very valuable service to your community - it's usually paid though not highly - it definitely makes you think about your priorities a couple of my friends have done it after demanding careers and although both returned to the same type of job they learnt a lot through it - I worked with children and it became my new career - just depends on your time, finances and ambitions I guess - good luck!

JamieVardysParty Sun 03-Jul-16 20:41:59

Hello fellow INFJ. I get it, I really do, so you're not alone.

I completely understand that feeling of wanting to make a difference and change the world, but not having the self-esteem, being too worried about what will happen/what people will think. It's a constant battle for me of wanting to achieve or wanting an "easier" life.

I think the problem with charity work is that you can't make any difference to the real "heart" of the problem and in that, it becomes frustrating.

Are you looking for a real career change? Are you able to take time and afford to retrain? I wonder whether something like counselling, or even a doula would interest you?

OTheHugeManatee Sun 03-Jul-16 20:46:12

Just get a job somewhere else. For god's sake don't go work for a charity - the pay is shit and the politics usually off the scale.

You hate your job. Don't overthink it. Just get a new job.

Windyvalley Sun 03-Jul-16 20:51:21

Hi all, thanks for your kind words.

I can't change job right now, as new job requires dedication. There were numerous childcare issues this year (all the time actually) when I needed to be flexible with work or I could get to office 2 hours late before making it up during the week. They also allow me work from home when I really need. And the working hours is also very family friendly. I really don't the situation right now allows me to dedicate into new job.

Yes, if I have a second child, I will be staying at home. So I need to think very carefully if that's for me. And I have to figure out what I want to be and a plan before I can do it.

Windyvalley Sun 03-Jul-16 20:56:52

JamieVardysParty Sun, can I give you a big smile??? I really suspected being INFJ is just a smoke for excuse! Thanks for making me feel better just because someone could understand "it". halo

I know charity could be a huge trap. I started looking for ideas beyond "fundraising" or anything involves too much social interaction... I actually think I'm in the "nerdy" side... So something like in the classroom or help animals sort of things. (Before I met DH, I thought about volunteering to Africa, but of course didn't have the courage to pursue!)

Windyvalley Sun 03-Jul-16 21:01:18

JamieVardysParty, I was thinking for retrain befor going back to work after ML, but couldn't figure out what to go for.

I know they classify INTJ shall be good at counselling but do you know if it really works for INTJ? I found myself a bit too straightforward as I see things extremely simple and clear whilst difficult to convey it to people who couldn't see it.

Is there a career as doula?

Religieuse Sun 03-Jul-16 21:04:39

I agree with Manatee - I think you just hate your job and need a different one, and are making excuses not to do so, and considering having a child in order to sidestep the issue.

I think that the (entirely laudable) desire to change the world is neither here nor there in that this doesn't need to be how you make a living. Plus I think you're being naive to think that the charity sector is without egos, office politics etc etc. Think about how you can start to make a difference, and do this in your spare time for now, at least. I think that defining yourself according to a personality test is ridiculous - presumably you have always had the same personality, and wanted to change the world, so why haven't you been working in that field before now? Or have you only just taken this 'test'?

And the only reason to have a second child is to really want a second child, not because you hate your job, or are having a midlife crisis - be very sure that the one isn't mixed up with the other.

I do actually agree with your DH about the likely effect of stepping out of the workplace on you. If you are so thin-skinned and under-confident, staying at home will sap your confidence and make it very difficult for you to get back out there again.

JamieVardysParty Sun 03-Jul-16 21:06:32

Ha I know that feeling. As well as looking around at everyone else and wondering how they can make it look so easy, like they've got it all together and are "normal". I'm also highly sensitive and it is an interesting combination!

What is your current job? Just wondering if you have marketing/sales/accounting skills etc that you could start off volunteering with those specific skills. When I was looking for work abroad a few years back, I volunteered to run a charity's social media and improved their SEO.

I do think the job and environment is an issue and is probably clouding things. It's hard to think of something that would combine the two. Could you look at doing the same job in a new environment, whilst looking at volunteering opportunities, to see if that makes a difference?

Gazelda Sun 03-Jul-16 21:07:50

There are a lot of issues being mixed together here OP.
You hate your job, but can't leave at the moment. So don't don't know whether you want a second child. If you do, then you'll become a SAHM.
While a SAHM, want to retrain.
Thinking logically, you and your DH need to decide whether you want a second child or not. Everything hinges on that decision.

Gazelda Sun 03-Jul-16 21:12:14

BTW, I have worked for 3 charities, and volunteered for several more. Some are more political and energy-sapping than others. I love the one I'm at now, but the pay is shite. I get fulfilment from knowing that I am helping others.
But you don't have to 'change the world' while working for a charity. You can change 1 person's world by visiting, helping at a club, being a breastfeeding mentor, being a paid carer, a CAB officer or any number of other roles that make one or two people's live a little bit easier/happier.

DurhamDurham Sun 03-Jul-16 21:18:10

I've worked in the voluntary sector for the last sixteen years, I've been with the current one since 2008. Believe me when I say that there are clashing personalities and office politics just like anywhere else.
It is a fulfilling job, it's great to be able to be creative and to help your community. The down side is the lack of security, although I've been with this charity for a number of years now we've almost run out of funding so many times, I've had to change my role several times in order to fit in with the funding requirements.

MrHannahSnell Sun 03-Jul-16 21:25:49

This maybe a generalisation, but my experience is that office politics in a charity are far nastier and brutal than in a commercial concern.

FoxyLoxy123 Sun 03-Jul-16 21:28:32

I get it, too. I'm very close to being INFJ but just squish out as INTJ (I'm an accountant so it had to go that way really!). I also struggle with self esteem and have decided I am a bit too sensitive. Heart on my sleeve (feeling side of me eeking out).

You do sound very unhappy. If you can afford to have a second and be a SAHM I would give it a bash to be honest. It's OK to be selfish and do things that are best for you, whatever that might mean.

I'm currently on a mini secondment somewhere and the culture is amazing. My normal workplace culture is diabolical. Despite this, the subject matter of my usual workplace is enough to keep me there, because I can claw at the fact that what I'm doing matters and can have an impact, whereas in th secondment place it doesn't, albeit I enjoy going to work far more than I ever have. That doesn't mean I will stay there forever though, there is only so much smashing my head on a brick wall I can do.

It's a tough one. There sounds to be a lot in your head right now. Be kind to yourself and don't beat yourself up too much. Maybe try to separate these things out and prioritise what is most important flowers

amarmai Sun 03-Jul-16 21:38:58

I wd recommend teaching if you want to make a difference. Also it is possible to ignore most of the politics if you avoid the staff room, which is absolutely easy to do.

Windyvalley Sun 03-Jul-16 21:49:56

I DO want a second one (and I always have wanted), but I'm also scared by the possibility of a difficult baby and making everyone miserable - We had an extremely difficult first year with DS.

DH wanted to have two children, but the least thing he would want is to make everyone end up being unhappy because of the stress an extra child would give to us or an unhappy me.

I'm genuinely a happy person (apart from the toxic job I have) as my source of happiness rises from within myself. But I do need to reroute my life to regain some strength to face the outside world.

DH tries to convince me to go for retrain for project management, as he believes I would be bloody good at it and so I believe, plus it's a well paid career path. But I feel that's not the direction I want to go, just not where my heart wants to be.

By the way, I don't rely on personality test to define me. It yet helps me to understand myself and my inclination and where I'm positioned among others. It also helps me to understand other people, like DH.

Windyvalley Sun 03-Jul-16 21:58:02

Thanks, ladies, for all the warnings on politics in charity companies. My first conclusion from this post is to eliminate "working" in the charity sector... My EQ is too low to deal with it.

FoxyLoxy123, really happy for you. Where I'm from, there's little support for young people on career choice and understanding oneself. You are lucky that you know where you want to place yourself to and you know what to focus on. Pursue your dream (while making a good living if possible)! Well done and good luck for whatever path you want to take after the secondment.

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