I’ve been Googling how to overcome the anxiety of starting a new job and I feel like the internet is not therapising me correctly. Everything I read is about imposter syndrome, feeling lonely or feeling overwhelmed. And not to sound braggy, but I’m not even slightly concerned about my job performance. I didn’t leave my last job because I wasn’t performing well. I left because I was doing incredibly well at my own damn expense and was no longer fulfilled. No, my concern is that all the personal progress I’ve made in 3 months off work will be undone because maybe I haven’t learnt anything about managing the work/life balance at all and I’m stuck in some neverending cycle.
That sounds a bit dire and might suggest I’m someone who prefers unemployment. I don’t. I’m in the middle of my first week at my new job and I’m giggling. I love using my brain and having a routine. And I’m better informed about what burnout looks like for me so I’ll take my new learnings forward. It’s just that I’ve spent these 3 months getting to know myself outside of work and I like this girl and wanna hang out with her more. I’m worried she’ll disappear into her work again.
There’s a cycle at play here. When I’m less employed, I tend to write more, draw more, do more and just feel a creative flow. This is also evidenced by the fact that I go AWOL on this blog whenever I’m employed. I just cease creating. I feel like work uses up all my creative juices, and even if I make time to do creative stuff when I get home, my well is truly tapped. The well is dry, the thoughts fall apart like wet bread and my very bones feel dissolved in lethargy. And I go to sleep sad and unaccomplished.
My field isn’t even inherently creative. I work in project management. It’s all problem-solving, training, coaching and building systems. And yes, it’s a creative labour since your brain is constantly focused on multiple people, noticing problems and creating solutions. And it does drain you.
In the last 3 months I’ve built myself outside of this. Gotten back to my roots so to speak. After the wedding drama and leaving my job, I wanted to start healing my inner child (and my eyeballs). I continued bellydancing classes, started going to a writing group, dabbled in a pole fitness class and started other creative pursuits. I have an art class that starts next week 🙂 I’m trying to improve.
It’s been a good reset but I’d started getting restless. Focusing on myself was great to set a baseline for what makes me happy outside of work, but it needs to happen amidst other pursuits. Your true north should be making sure you are whole enough to take part in the world. At least that’s my take on things. I want to affect change and be a force for good, but I don’t want it to consume me. It can’t be all that I am.
Herein comes the anxiety. What if I swing too far to the other side as I have done before? What if I vanish after this post and my creativity slowly drains until I quit another job in frustration? I mean, my career is going well. This is my highest paid role yet, and I ‘ve come far from teaching ESOL part-time to now working in management at a well-known mental health charity. But creatively, I’ve always struggled to gain the momentum I want in my life outside of work.
And I don’t want that anymore.
I want to reassure myself that taking this break allowed me to decompress and reinvest in myself. I like to think this next job won’t just absorb me because I’ve set up a good foundation of who I am outside of work. I’ve begun focusing on hobbies. The next few weeks have a lot of things in the calendar. Bellydancing Mondays, art class Tuesdays, writing group Wednesdays, secret project you don’t know about yet on Thursdays and pole dancing Saturdays. (Also I’m going to a jousting for Easter. No idea why.)
I’m just a lil’ anxious y’know?
Oh, also I’ve started watching Stranger Things. We just finished season 2. Is it just me or did Dustin get dumber between seasons?
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