Hello, hello, hello. Unsure of who really cares to know, but here it goes anyway.
As anyone who's read this, or anyone who knows me for that matter, knows the job I took in 2008 was not the right fit for me. I'm fine with pressure and I hold myself accountable to do the best job I can-- that was not the issue. I am unfitted to live in an environment where derogatory treatment is meant to act as a motivator. I flourish more in a positive environment. The office became very much like my previous marriage where criticism, eye-rolling and general hostility of "you're not doing enough" was more prevalent than "hey that's not bad" or, goddess-forbid, "good job". I feel the need for a disclaimer here: I don't need pats on the back and I welcome constructive criticism. The poor environment was company wide and the hostility wasn't directed at me alone. At the beginning of 2011, we switched to a strictly commission compensation plan. For those of you unaware of how that works, my previous base salary became what is known as a "draw". What I got in my paycheck every week remained the same. We earned a certain percentage for our contributions to the different components of the sale. At the end of the month, our percentages need to total what we collected weekly in salary or higher. We got a separate check for anything over. Sounds fair and if you're good at what you do, plus have the sheer luck of the market being stable-- this last component is out of our control-- then you can make a pretty good living. I'm good at what I do, the market went up and down in a reasonable fashion and with the "anything over" check, I met my yearly salary (my draw) in September and was poised to make a good amount of money more in the last quarter of the year. However, from January through September, I did some calculations and realized that if I were truly paid for all the contributions I made to each project, I would have earned my draw in mid-May and would have been on track to earn close to double for which I was hired.
Why the discrepancy?
I hold that I am not a "sales person". I do not have the aggressive personality to go to a passive buyer, explain the service and convince someone that they can't live without it. I never had that and, frankly, I don't want to be that person. My strength is strictly operational. If a salesperson comes back with a contract and an order, I'm your go-to-girl to make sure it gets done. I excel at it and I love it. Of all the project components, one of the highest percentages to be earn is the project management contribution. Sounds like a good thing for me, doesn't it? Wellllllllll... My colleague, who is that sales-driven type, was awarded the money for project management in more cases than not. Sometimes it was definitely earned-- no doubt and I completely accept those times. For many of our larger clients, I was the main rep who was contacted for orders, fulfillment, billing, contractual compliance and troubleshooting. My colleague's only involvement was often taking a message for me when I was away from my desk. That large percentage was not awarded to me, even though I had done 12 of the 13 points that categorize project management, because our branch manager deemed my colleague to be the superior salesperson. (Incidentally, the person in question didn't do the 13th point either. That was someone else who got completely cut out of the role for reasons unknown to me.)
I argued my case constantly. I can be aggressive when I'm fighting for something I know to be just. I was simply told over and over "it's a sales role and I can't trust you'll be effective". In a general sales role, that's true. I'm not effective. BUT this isn't the sales role. These are established clients and my compensation plan didn't allow for a "get the new client" percentage/incentive because that isn't the role for which I was hired. I was running the projects and my success in doing so led to more and more orders, right down to exclusive orders.
That was a gripe. (And a big gripe.)
As you know from previous posts, I've had a long battle with depression/anxiety and OCD. I've been in treatment for years, medicated and I was under control for a long time. What I've uncovered from years in therapy is that a lot of my problems come from the childhood experience of doing well but then be told I'm not doing well enough or that it was the wrong way to approach it. This doesn't sound much different than what many of us grew up with and it may not be. I'm wired to be very sensitive. I get weepy when I see elderly couples walking hand-in-hand. My heart is touched by a parent wearing the gawd-awful bedazzled necklace her preschooler made in daycare to accessorize her $300 power suit. Getting fabulous grades in school and hearing the comments from parent-teacher conferences be "She's not working to her full potential" and hearing over and over my mother's drama queen-like whine "Noooooooooooooooooooo! Why'd you do it that way?????" all stuck in an unusual way: I'm not capable of doing anything right/good enough/properly/worth anything.
I'm more than certain we all feel this at some point in our lives. I applaud the people who can feel it and then release it. It became ingrained in me. I haven't been able to release it. My childhood insecurities have tagged along into adulthood and it affects major aspects of my life. Granted, I have a plethora of other issues; this is the one I'm dealing with most to overcome.
For 3.5 years, I've pushed myself in this job. I've pushed to do a good day's work. I've pushed for equal pay. I've pushed for company goals. I pushed knowing that I wouldn't be in this job forever and my experiences were teaching me great things.
Last May I became engaged. My betrothed makes a good salary and I would have the opportunity to leave this high-powered job and switch careers to something more suited to my personality where money wouldn't have to be the motivating factor for going in every day, as this job had become. The divorce forced me to support my house on my own (I refused alimony--- if he didn't want me, I didn't want his damn money) so switching jobs was more difficult because I needed a certain amount of income. Let's face it: I was paid well to begin with and I not only supported myself but managed to save money as well. He and I started making plans for my career change. (I will work.... I'm not looking for him to support me. I want to contribute to our household financially. The only way I wouldn't work is if I become a mommy.) We discussed budgeting. We talked about the types of roles in which I'd be interested. We both agreed I need something challenging and mentally stimulating. We both agreed at a low-point salary that would be good for our budgeting and anything over that would be great.
Life was coming together well.
I'm stubborn. I'm proud. I'm sensitive. I have a history of depression/anxiety/OCD. As work became more and more hostile, I started showing symptoms of panic disorder. I pushed because we had a plan and it would be better soon enough. My symptoms became worse. I pushed. Then, in October of last year, my symptoms took over. My body and mind shut down. I had periods of shaking, severe confusion, disassociating, blacking out and actual physical pain. This was unlike any kind of panic attack I've ever had--- so much so that my therapist sent me for a battery of test for everything under the sun. Systematically, we ruled out the scariest thing (neurological and cardiac problems) and continued through the medical encyclopedia until all that was found to be a physical issue were low counts of iron and vitamin D. This left only psychological issues. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety. The diagnosis prescribed rest, low stress, 24/7 companionship (due to the disassociation and black-outs), a ban on driving and (for a while) stairs.
Since October, I haven't worked, driven or been alone for more than a few hours (and that was just recently). I have a regimen of medications, an intense therapy schedule and quickly diminishing bank account.
I am blessed with various good things in my life. I have two very supportive families-- my fiance's and mine. My mother is retired and my fiance can work remotely without issue. Both have been taking turns "babysitting" me. I'm able to cover my bills with my savings but I've been treated to groceries and the occasional medical expense to let my own money last a bit longer (the main concern is being able to afford the mortgage). Our wedding is planned for May. One of his adult children is considering renting my house so I don't have to sell it for a while, or rent it out to strangers. All the medical testing I've been through has determined that I'm in great physical health.
So. Why am I back here?
My original intention of this journal was to let me talk through emotional roller coaster of divorcing and living on my own for the first time in an environment that was anonymous yet public. The public aspect was to give me more of a voice than a traditional paper and pen journal. I felt that as long as my thoughts were "out there", for anyone to read and comment upon, it gave it more credence, more tangibility. It's like when you have a major change in your life and say out loud for the first time to anyone "I'm engaged" "I'm divorced" "I'm pregnant" "I've moved out".
There's a safety here too. The journal isn't searchable by my email address. I do not have my name here. Anyone reading this hasn't a clue who I am. (Yes, those of you who were commenting often came to know me, but there is still anonymity here amongst non-internet friends, family, co-workers, employers, prospective employers.) I've shared this link with only a few people-- mostly those who would hear these thoughts from my own lips and their selection has more of a therapeutic nature for me.
I'm morphing this documentation now to be more on my personal growth, be it through introspection, creative writing or flat out venting. Yes, it's not that much different than my original intent-- and I shall most certainly be silly at times and share fun stuff. I feel more comfortable in the idea of knowing that my brand new world is new each day and I hope to never stop growing, evolving, learning.
I know this journal will not have a readership. My audience is the universe and the auditorium doors remain open. Come and go as you please. Comment as you wish. Ignore as you see fit.