Only because other people want me to stay?


#1

If I were to tell you that the only reason I was staying at my job, even though I’m thoroughly unhappy, is because other people say they don’t want me to leave, what would you say? If I say I’ve tried making things better. I’ve tried to find things to do that I enjoy more at my job. I’ve tried improving relationships with co-workers I don’t particularly like. And I’m still miserable. Yet there’s a few who say I’m awesome, and they don’t want me to go. And I’m still unhappy and want to go.

Would the answer be: “screw them, you have to do what’s best for you” or “you should do what YOU want, not what other people want you to do” or something like that? That is probably what I would tell someone.

That’s not what this is about exactly. It crossed my mind recently that I wondered why this is any different from life itself? If the only reason I don’t end my own life is that a few other people would be upset by it, yet I’m thoroughly miserable, why should I base my actions on what a few people do or don’t want me to do? If I’ve tried therapy, meds, switching jobs, and all kinds of things to be happier, and I’m still not, why should I care what anyone else thinks I should or shouldn’t do?


#2

You’re right in that my response would typically be that you should probably do what is best for you.

In this instance, however, I’m curious as to if you’re able to pinpoint what it is that you DON’T like about it. Is it the work itself? Working in the tech industry? The tasks?

In my view, I think it is apples and oranges to compare it to suicide. The issue of permanence is a major issue as well as state of mind when making a decision.

I hope you are able to find small ways to participate in self care, even with being so miserable at your job. Do you find pleasant moments in your off-hours?


#3

My job is fine. It’s life that I hate. And some days the only reason I can think of to stay is the effect it would have on other people if I were to commit suicide. Agreed it’s apples and oranges, but it occurred to me that in most other things in life, people would tell you not to do something just because other people want you to. So it was an analogy. (No analogy is perfect, but apples and oranges ARE both fruit).

So if I wouldn’t advise someone to stay at a job they hate just b/c other people want them to, why is my life any different? If I’m only sticking with it because of other people, not because I want to, what’s the point?

I guess I only threw it out there because I wonder if anyone else has ever had that thought? How’d you get past it?


#4

Oh, I see. Apologies, I misunderstand the intent of the comparison.

I would argue that your life is different because lives can shift, change, evolve, devolve, morph.

But, I also don’t think I have an answer that would necessarily hold up to depression logic. When I have been at my worst, no one’s answer to “What’s the point?” ever held up (for me). My brain wouldn’t allow those answers to make sense.

I identify a lot with the frustrations of feeling like you’ve exhausted all the options as far as treatment or instigating change. I was totally there a year or two ago. I stuck around because of others. & technology developed and I managed to find something that threw me a life preserver. & I slowly learned to swim again.

I feel like those are the thoughts that really denote how garbage you’re feeling.

Do you have professional support to reach out to? I would really recommend it. I know it can feel pointless (ie: "What are they going to do about it?) but sometimes the 50th time is the charm.


#5

The answer is always you have to do what’s best for you. Don’t burn bridges, but do what you need to. I would shift focus to your outside life. Work is supposed to be 8 hours. That plus 8 hours sleep equals 16. That leaves a whole, theoretically, 8 hours. What do you have going on? Any friends? Any hobbies? For me, that hinders my health. I don’t have much going on. It’s very important, though.


#6

I get where you’re coming from with this. Personally I decided long ago I’m not staying alive for anyone else, but if we’re going to stick with the job analogy then take into consideration, would you advise someone to make an impulse decision for something this big? I certainly wouldn’t.

But if you are going to treat this in the same way then you should treat this in the same way. What are the steps you would recommend someone take before quitting their job (in a recession, where their prospects aren’t that good, etc. because this is a MUCH bigger decision). Probably sleep on it, maybe for a full week. Talk to someone they trust. Think the whole thing through including ALL possible outcomes, etc. For me, I have multiple steps I have to go through when I get to the point where I think “It’s time to quit life”. I mean hell, I even have a pro/cons list on my steps, it’s corny but it’s something I would do with any other major life decision. It may not feel like an “impulse” if you’ve been thinking about it for a while (even years) but that’s what the steps are for.

So yeah, I’ve had this thought and the idea that my life is for me is one that I really believe in. But so far my list has kept me alive for over a decade.

I’m the kind of person who follows rules like that, but if you’re not, you need to figure out what works for you. I have a friend who has a couple of pets that she is responsible for because it’s that responsibility that keeps her grounded. I’m going to echo the sentiment that you should find a mental health professional, someone who will help you figure out your list or your pets, or whatever it is you need. It’s hard to figure this kind of thing out on your own, especially when you’re in the headspace you’re in now. Good luck, and I hope I said something that reminded you of another reason you have for sticking with your “job”.


#7

Sometimes I work long hours because I’m afraid if I go home, alone, with just my thoughts, I might do something to myself that I’d regret. At least my job is something I’m good at (most of the time). I have plenty of friends who like to hang out. I have a pretty great therapist too. On paper everything is great. Except that my brain just doesn’t stop. I read this book http://www.amazon.com/Stayed-Alive-When-Brain-Trying/dp/0060936215 and it was great and did help. But there’s days, sometimes weeks, where I still feel like I’m just barely hanging on. All the work I’ve done, sometimes it feels like it’s not enough somehow.

Today I’m absolutely devastated because someone at work told me to quit pouting. I’m pretty sure he was joking. I made a sarcastic comment on a pull request (code review) because I had suggested some change be made, in order to be consistent with other things we have in the code base. Not just consistent for the sake of consistency, it is something I think is good practice, personally. But everyone else reviewing the code said they don’t like that our team does the thing I was suggesting. OK fine, I’m definitely not always right, and that’s not what bothered me. What bothered me was that it seemed like 2 people were making decisions to change what we as a team do (or don’t do) based on agreeing with each other in pull request comments. They just refused to do what I suggested because “we don’t like doing this anymore” without really discussing it with anyone on the team, and likely without even communicating the idea to the rest of the team (as not everyone is added to every pull request). So I made a sarcastic comment about how cool it was that we were making team decisions in random pull requests now. From that, I was told to stop pouting.

For goodness sake, both of these guys express themselves in very sarcastic and terse ways when there’s something they don’t like that’s happening. But as soon as I do the same thing, I’m “pouting.” So maybe I could have handled it better. But instead, all I can focus on is how absolutely horrible I feel that I was apparently pouting. Maybe I was pouting. Maybe I crossed the line from sarcasm to passive aggressive. So, then, who wants to work with someone like that - like me? Who wants to live with someone like me? Or be friends with someone like me? It may devastate a few of my friends if I did kill myself, but for everyone else in the world, it’s really hard to imagine that they’re not better off if they no longer have to deal with my pouting, and oversensitivity, and such.

And really why on earth can’t’ I stop obsessing this much about a silly little comment someone made to me about pouting?

But I suppose this is really beyond what goes on a forum like this. Two people on this thread have suggested I talk to a professional. And I already am. And she’s great. But my defective brain, it’s strong. At any rate I guess I thought finding another place to comisserate might help. That’s all.


#8

I like the idea of the pro/con list @Opj. I’m also the kind of person who follows rules. And I have a lot of practice making pro/con lists for just about everything else. I think it’s worth a try :smile:


#9

I totally get what you’re getting at with the “talk to a professional” thing, it’s common here, but like, you know, worth being said in case it’s not true?

Also, I would highly recommend finding a space where you can chat with other lady devs if you don’t already. In real life, online, just lunch with some people you know on Saturdays, something because I think that could help too. Like I don’t think your colleagues are trying to be sexist but “pouting” is a gendered word. Sometimes it’s these micro aggressions that have you doubting everything and they might not all be sexist, but a few of them are. They probably aren’t coming from people who know that it’s sexist, but that doesn’t stop it from cutting you in that weird way that you then start falling down that toxic rabbit hole of “well what if” and just being around other women in the environment has been helpful for me - not even in a gripe session way, just knowing that they’re there and we talk.