My Attention Deficit Disorder

17 Oct

While lying in bed, I was trying to envision the perfect excuse, the perfect illness that would suit my needs in order to call in sick….and then I woke up.

Yep. Early one morning, I had a dream I feigned an illness to stay home from work. Given that I’ve only been at my current job for about six months, and that I rarely remember dreams, this is not a good sign.

“Career ADD.” I’ve only been able to find one article that so succinctly defines the “condition” I have when it comes to work and, so it seems, even life in general. I ran across this article a while back, and its points were valid and painfully honest for someone like me. You can read it in its entirety here. I highly recommend it.

Basically it explains that people who are constantly dissatisfied and changing jobs have an internal conflict in their career expectations and satisfaction level. After a year, six months, even 90 days, there are people like me who always are looking for the next “honeymoon stage” in a job. And when that fades, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay satisfied and focused.

I don’t completely fit all of the qualifications for career ADD. The article suggests that a person with career ADD doesn’t have a defined career path, and I guess for a few years that was true. However, I’ve known for quite some time that I want to be an investigator, but previous efforts using traditional methods to land this kind of job have been fruitless. And with the economy, it has become more convenient to simply accept the first job that comes along rather than waiting for the opportunity that suits me best.

Of course, the older you get, the more you understand and experience life. I’ve had to come to grips with the unpleasant parts of me I must change in order to live a more fulfilled life. Part of that is my expectation level – for me, my job, my family and my friends. What I’m beginning to see is that it’s more than about having unrealistic expectations or setting the bar too high. It’s about how I feel when I or someone else falls short of these expectations. It’s not as though I’m just now realizing that humans are flawed and will always disappoint you. The problem is that unbelievable pain I experience when I inevitably descend from the unattainable and high pedestal that I’ve placed my job, myself or my loved ones.

My God, how it hurts.

This is why I’m always so self-deprecating – it’s because despite all of my past successes in life, my current failures are always at the forefront of my mind. This is why I’m so unusually devastated when a friend hurts me or does something that contradicts what I think a friend is supposed to do. This is why I always feel so  unchallenged or (worse) inadequate at the jobs I take, and why when something bad happens or if I’m reprimanded, my first instinct is to quit.

It’s true – my closest friends and family know that I’ve always managed to see my way out of problems. No matter what comes my way, no matter how insurmountable or tragic the circumstances I face, I’ve always been able to dust myself off and move on – to a new job, new relationships, or to my next big idea. But I think it will take me a long time to soften the stinging blow I feel when things don’t go according to plan or when that pedestal crumbles.

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