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Thread: New job as a catalyst for personal growth

  1. #1
    aroud
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    New job as a catalyst for personal growth

    So I've posted on here before in the careers forum about my recent and eventually successful attempt to land a new job after a particularly horrendous experience in my last job - including dealing with an insecure and bullying MD.

    I'm in my late 30's, and my last job ended up pegging me back on a personal growth level. Essentially they way I felt at work was following me around, coming home with me, and I remember a couple of months in particular where I would describe myself as a real shadow of my former self. Worn down, depressed, lacking in confidence, and generally not being the person I really am (or at least think I am).

    This new job is also senior - moreso actually, and an amazing opportunity to be respected leader doing work that I am really enthusiastic about. I am very confident that I can make this work and do well. It's going to be a clean slate in many ways. New people who will know nothing of my former job and the person I was worn down into. I can go into this new job being who I want to be, but wiser and stronger for the crappy experience in my last job.

    It's likely that I'll be asked about line managing other people, which again would be an awesome opportunity.

    In normal circumstances I would not be posting at a time of such amazing opportunity, but my wife and I have had problems setting in a new country and this job is a bit like a "Take-2" event for me. The last one simply didn't work out and ended terribly. I'm having trouble articulating myself a bit here, but essentially I want the opportunity in my marriage to grow personally and professionally. Sadly our marriage problems have seen me field a sometimes one-sided array of criticisms about how I'm responsible for my wife's insecurities around looks, how sexual and wanted she feels - and it's been difficult to field those questions during the horrid few months I had in my last job where I felt crushed in so many ways - long hours week after week. No matter how crushed I felt I was still asked to explain why I was not giving her the comments and attention she needed from me. This made the world an even darker place when it was already like living in a nightmare and I felt like I was barely holding on to my own sanity.

    The thing is, I know now how important it is, especially in a senior job, to not just appear strong and a leader, but also to FEEL strong and a leader. I am worried that, looking back at the problems I've had in my marriage, I will be unable to maintain a strong leader persona if we hit problems again in our marriage. What I've learnt is that if you feel like you're not a good husband and doing a good job in your personal life, that can affect how you come across in your job. People notice someone who's a bit depressed, a bit withdrawn. I've been lucky to have a few weeks in betweem jobs to reflect on everything.

    I believe my wife is also at a point where she is reflecting on the last few months and looking at herself. She's told me she's been disappointed with the way she had approached things, the decisions she has made, and has told me how sorry she is for not being a good wife these past few months, without referring to specifics, but I have not dug deeper because when she said that she was very upset. She is not one to hide emotions so I believe this is genuine. And if so, perhaps she will be mindful of the need for me to appear and feel strong in my new job. As husband and wife I believe that we should keep each other strong and feeling good about ourselves. I really think she crossed a line these past few months, making me responsible for too much of her feelings of self-worth and self-esteem - at times where I was exhausted and worn down. It makes me worry that there is effectively a ceiling of how much I can achieve, and how much I can grow, in my marriage right now.

    I feel like a stronger person for what I've been through, and want the next few months to herald a new era in our marriage after a 6 month blip from hell. But it was just 6 months. I want my wife to grow also, but am worried about entering the same destructive patterns again. An unhealthy relationship directly impacts performance at work. It's so difficult to have a argument the night before going into work and being a leader - just 'switching'.

    I'm not sure I'm making much sense here.

    I can appreciate some people might read this and just say I should man up, and reading it back I thought that for a second, but the situation is more complex than that. In the past couple of months I've been the strong one, encouraging her to hold on until we fix a few fundamentals - while she has really come apart and not been of any mental help at all. I've felt totally by myself in maintaing a calm-zone in which I can go to interview and land jobs, and be strong to get us out of a real mess. And I've done that without any help, because there's been nobody around helping.

  2. #2
    Batya33
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    I think you need to break this into smaller pieces. First, I totally think "fake it till you make it' at the new job -being strong and confident -is more than fine. And yes I do think you have to get used to wearing different hats - professional and personal - and figuring out transitional techniques from one to the other -it might be as simple as some intense cardio and a large intake of water (to hydrate and get your body relaxed and in flow, etc) or it might take learning some breathing/meditation techniques. But trying to get all this accomplished with all this pressure plus a new job is self-sabotaging IMO. Break it down into smaller, daily goals (or weekly). Good luck!

  3. #3
    catfeeder
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    Instead of taking it as a given that a low point in one area of our lives MUST harm other areas, try on the idea for size that some people step up to excel in other areas to compensate for a lack in another area.

    So a bad workday can mean extra special attention to wife, and a bad marriage day can mean throwing yourself into your professional life with a laser beam focus.

    Just because this hasn't been the case in the past, it's something to consider. This way, there's always an area in your life that helps to bring you UP for the challenges in other areas. Finding something creative that you enjoy for 'just you' also creates another 'go to' area when things are stale or not-so-great with work or home life. A bit of 'me' time can help you refresh and become a better problem solver.

  4. #4
    derroax
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    Have you seen the TV series "Billions"? If not, I recommend it.

    Something from an episode stuck with me: a character was going to lose his career, family etc and everything he was doing to stop the decline would take him one step forward, and two steps back. He got the advice to take the "180 degree approach" which could sometimes mean doing the opposite of what you might be inclined to do.

    The reason I'm saying this is because it sounds like you use a lot of your energy encouraging, supporting and empowering your wife now that you're out of that awful job, which is amazing - at the same time, you need to make sure she's not becoming dependent of your support, as this can become quite draining and detracting from other goals you have in life such as your career. Ultimately, your professional success will directly impact your personal life. Your confidence and success at work will echo into your personal life, not to mention your earnings which are probably more significant and will enable you to do more as a couple.

    Simply based on your post, I would focus on two things:
    - recognising any potential signs and making sure that you are not enabling your wife to be co-dependent
    - encourage your wife to see how being successful in your role will benefit your relationship

    You sound like a person who is very self aware and in touch with your own and other people's emotions, so I feel like you would do a great job at looking at things from a different perspective and conveying this in a way that other people can relate with.

    I realise you were probably looking for advice as to how to be successful yet independent of how your wife feels, but previous experience has shown you that this is difficult so rather than pretending it's not there, I think you should use it to everyone's benefit.

    Edit - not sure this makes a lot of sense, I'd be happy to elaborate/talk in a private message.

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