In my quest to become a career woman and land a great guy in the process, I managed to sabotage both. Here’s a good reminder that it’s never good to hand over your own dreams for something that seems like a fairytale.
I always wanted to be a boss. From the time I was in high school, I wanted to be one of those powerful women with a classy, slicked-back bun and a power suit. I tested the waters by leading a few school activities after working my way up. People seemed to respond to me and I enjoyed the role so I had visions of literally being the world’s best boss. I also ran a few groups in college and got my Bachelor’s of Science degree within four years.
It took some time to find a job. I knew I had to work my way up. As a college grad, I really struggled to develop many skills—at this point in my life, it was pretty difficult to secure a job based on the recession. However, I figured that I had something that other applicants didn’t have: a real dream. Eventually, one of my favorite nonprofit organizations offered me a position where I could manage interns. It sounded perfect.
Admittedly, I came in a little too eager. On my first day, I was eager to show my coworkers what I was made of. I researched the organization pretty thoroughly and happened to notice that a guy I went to school with was actually involved in a separate branch in a different state. Being new, I shot him a message. Couldn’t hurt to network, right?
I ended up falling in love with him. Back in college, he was more of a loose acquaintance than anything else. I always found him to be attractive but I didn’t make any sort of move back then since I figured he wouldn’t be interested. Now we started talking every day and realized that perhaps this job led me to him for a reason. He admitted he was falling for me too and we vowed to make a long-distance relationship work.
That means a lot of time at work was spent talking to him. We texted and chatted online and it got to the point where I started putting off some of my work to make time for him. I chalked it up as being in the honeymoon phase. Really I made any excuse I could since that’s what love does to you. My coworkers started taking notice when I was giggling to myself at the computer but only made a point to bring it up after I started missing deadlines.
I eventually did the work but it wasn’t my best. I did catch up in the end but I rushed things. Why pay attention to detail when I could talk to my boyfriend about our future together? I also told myself I could catch up on weekends, but some of those were spent traveling to hang out with him.
My annual review wasn’t all that good. I got a slight raise but I know it could have been more. In general, things were satisfactory. I was asked why I wasn’t more engaged and why I wasn’t planning fun meet-and-greet activities for the interns I was managing but I didn’t have an answer. They told me they were a little disappointed in me, especially since I was so dynamic in my interview. Suddenly I got really scared. This was once my dream job so why was I throwing it away?
Unfortunately, I lost everything. Not only did my job happen to squeeze me out by taking away my office and a bunch of my responsibilities as an incentive for me to quit but I found out around the same time that my “dream guy” was cheating on me. Long-distance was tough, and it turns out he liked the chase more than the relationship. I felt absolutely shattered.
My next opportunity wasn’t all that great. After all of that, I ended up in a lot of “foot in the door” administrative jobs, none which had great potential. Then I just kind of gave up on myself. It’s really hard to think about where I’d be if I didn’t let some guy distract me from my dreams. I’m happy with what I do but I know I could be doing so much more.
He didn’t even apologize. I’m all about forgiving and forgetting and know that it was my fault for somewhat sabotaging that job opportunity, but he didn’t even seem remorseful for cheating. I went from thinking he’d move to my state (or I’d move to his) and we’d work together and live happily ever after but ended up with nothing. That wasn’t just delusion—that was his stated gameplan too. In general, I learned to never put a guy over a big opportunity. As far as your career goes, you should always put yourself first.
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