The Self-Inflicted Damage

Sunday, February 12, 2023 7:57am

I’ve been sick for the past week, and the last two days (Friday and Saturday) feeling near death. Today is Super Bowl Sunday – not that I care so much about the Super Bowl, but just for descriptive and timeline purposes…

I made a huge mistake. I took on a job I never wanted as a favor to another client, and it has easily been reflected in my mental and overall physical health.  I’m not sure how much clearer it can be, but if you’re in a toxic environment, you will see that in your daily life – in some way shape or form. For me, I’m completely miserable and my physical and mental health have been consumed by negativity for sure.

I haven’t been able to sleep at all. My angst about this current consulting situation is almost unbearable. I’ve walked into an office where people screaming on the phone or at others, is a normal course of a workday. Surprisingly I found myself screaming at another person a couple of weeks ago – and I swear, that’s when this virus, this illness found its way into my body.  I haven’t screamed at someone in years! And never at work… it’s absolutely mind-blowing to see how my body and brain have reacted to this situation.

The problem I’m in, of course, is if I walk away right now, I let down a bunch of great people who have nothing to do with the toxic environment. Truth is, they are so IN IT, they don’t even know it’s toxic. Or, if they do, they’ve found a way to work through it because they’re just used to it.  Some of the people working there have been with the company for over 20 years. I can’t even fault them for it because you can easily see how they’ve managed through it all and understand why they stay…  

The irony is – everyone who works there is pretty fantastic. They’re an amazing bunch of people who are creative and brilliant. Everyone, from the designers, PA’s, to the execs are good and decent people – but the way in which they work, which has been clearly cultivated over so many years – it’s part of an institutionalized, engrained way of working. I do not even know where I’d begin to fix something like that – and if I’m being honest, it’s way above my pay grade. Also, I have no interest in fixing such a thing.  My first thought is, run. Period.  

And there’s the problem.

If you don’t fix the problem, then you become part of that energy. You become toxic yourself. I can’t even blame one person for why they’re all in this situation – the blame feels like it goes across all  — those who put up with it, those who become it, and those who continue to stay in it. My staying is also enabling and basically “okaying” how this place functions.  But me leaving today, is also not an option…at least not yet.  

Yeah, I messed up. I did the one thing I swore I would never do, and I took on a job, as a favor to another client. So, if I leave one client, I’m positive I’d have to leave the other client – and that client is lovely, brilliant and I’ve had them forever.  So, for right now, not an option. If I won the lottery, surely a better option to walk away, and still, I would never fully do that to any of my clients. I would kindly find others to take my place, but goodness, it would be so much easier with a ton of cash in my pocket (as I know it would be for everyone reading this – my goodness, how I hate that money matters sometimes).

The truth is I could leave both jobs and live easily off my other clients for a while. And surely dip into my savings if necessary. The funny part is, this past week, I got a DM from another entity on LinkedIn wondering about my availability for more producing – this time a live show. OY. He’s an amazing man I met through another client and a CEO of a major label in the creator economy so of course, I took the call, but there is no way on the planet I would dive into something full-time like that. Not today.

So, what do I want?

I want my own show.

I want to be doing my podcast weekly with guests.

I want to continue on YouTube, Tiktok, and elsewhere.

I don’t want to be around toxicity purposely.

I don’t want to be toxic.

I don’t want to be this sick physically because of work ever again.

I don’t want to feel this bad mentally because of a job ever again.

I want to walk/run at the beach daily because I have the time and energy.

I want my simple life back, without the toxic environment.

And I want to stop feeling this weak today. I’m so tired. Writing this has taken everything I had energy-wise today. I need to go back to bed. And yet, later today, I have to work for this client. Yes. Sunday. Superbowl Sunday. If I don’t. People won’t get paid.

Oh, the mess I’m in, this self-inflicted damage I’ve done to myself.

March 31st, 2023.

The deadline to make a change. It’s enough time to make a change, but not so quickly as to be damaging to anyone.

Thank you for reading and helping me walk through this…putting it out there helps me stay accountable, so thank you. As always, I’m so appreciative.


9 thoughts on “The Self-Inflicted Damage

  1. I was in a very similar situation this month. My mental health was deteriorating rapidly so I backed out of a contract. I feel like a failure although I am approaching retirement.

    Once you get passed the worst of this, you can manifest your dreams, Carmen. Wishing you the very best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Rick. I appreciate it. I am so physically ill today so I’m just trying to get through the night. I will not last years for sure. But I do understand, moreso than before, why people stay IN IT. I would have never understood it before, but now I do. Thank you for being there for me, I appreciate it so much. I’ll take all the prayers I can get! 💕🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh dear Carmen. I truly feel your pain.

    It speaks highly of you that you don’t want to inadvertently put some others out at your expense. Of all people I know what that’s like, as I did it for most of my life and only began considering myself first maybe 15 years ago. I’m still learning how to do that.

    The problem of course is that, the one thing we spend and can never get back (nor save for) is time. This time you’re spending in absolute pain and illness is time you can’t get back. I don’t know enough about your situation to offer any kind of decent advise (and you didn’t ask for any either), but I will say this: you need to take care of this sooner rather than later.

    If it were me, I wouldn’t set a deadline for the end of March; I’d set it for the end of the week, and damn the consequences.

    The people affected by my decision would be grumpy for sure, and it would put them out – but I know they’d get over it and find another way to get things done.

    I’ve actually had to do this at my workplace a month ago or so. The CEO of our organization wanted a group to take on a new project, and as luck would have it, someone less senior than him (but WAY senior to me) decided my group should tackle it, making me responsible to carry out our CEO’s wishes.

    I sat down with my boss and my director, and told them bluntly “please give this responsibility to someone else.” I added “if you give it to me, I guarantee you I’ll be off work more than I’ll be here.” I told them it wasn’t a threat just a statement, based upon what’s happened in the past. I told them I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, so I know how this plays out.

    I don’t know if they were irritated or not; I frankly didn’t care. (This coming from someone who throughout my life felt the need to please everyone, often at my own expense).

    Whatever happens, I wish you the best, Carmen, and my hope is that you’ll get rid of that life-limiting burden much much sooner – the sooner the better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everything you said is absolutely ON-POINT! You are right for sure. And I am so sorry you went through that, but Bravo for how you handled it! 👏🏽 I would like to be able to say I can dump it by the end of the week — the problem is, I wouldn’t just lose one client, I’d lose two. And, I think I need to see it through for a bit, if only for my own selfish reasons that involve cash. But there is no doubt, you are absolutely right and maybe I need to see that as a sign, a good sign that it best I move on sooner rather than later… thank you so much. I appreciate you and your comment so much. 💕

      Liked by 1 person


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