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I’ve quit every job I’ve had… what’s wrong with me?

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  • #388157
    Bananananananer
    Participant

    This might be a little bit of a read, and I apologize for that. I’ll include a tl;dr at the bottom. Just haven’t really ever gotten this off my chest to anyone other than my fiancée, who still somehow supports everything I do. I will forever be grateful for her.

    As the title suggests, I’ve quit every job I’ve had. I couldn’t give you the exact number because it ranges anywhere from 1-2 a year to 6-7 a year, and I’ve been doing it since I was 18 (I’m now 26, if that helps tally the ridiculous sum).

    I’ve just never found a job that I wasn’t miserable at in one way or another. Some were, admittedly, much more pleasant than others – and yet, I still quit! I’ve been told a million times that if it was enjoyable, it wouldn’t be called work, and I understand that. I, however, firmly believe that if you’re genuinely unhappy in any specific situation, you should (if possible) remove yourself from said situation. BUT there has to be a point where that goes from “mindful philosophy” to “lazy excuse”, right?

    Most of my work history has been industrial work (because that’s mostly what’s available around me). There have been jobs I quit for legitimate reasons, such as safety or distance, but others I’ve just quit for… no real reason at all. It’s like the moment I detect that I have even an iota of unhappiness within a job, from that point on I can no longer force myself to stay.

    There’s a particular emphasis on force myself to stay, because I quite literally cannot convince myself that that specific job is worth it at that point. I just come up with any and all excuses to justify my quitting before I even have time to process my own pathetic thoughts.

    The worst part is that, immediately after walking out, I almost always regret it. One time I did actually call the company the moment I got into my car to let them know I’d walked out and was going home because I just couldn’t handle it that night, but to basically beg to be able to return the next day (hoping I would just get over myself, I guess). I hadn’t realized my phone bill was due (can’t remember why I hadn’t paid it or noticed beforehand, this was years ago), so the next day, my phone turned off. Well, when I had turned it back on, I had actually gotten a voicemail from that company saying they would allow me to come back. Because it took a while, I was blacklisted. I’m still upset about that. But should I be? Would that job have been just like every single other job I’ve had? Would I have just given up the moment things got even a smidge stressful?

    For a bit of a personal background, I have pretty bad social anxiety, my family moved more than 50 times before I even turned 18 and I consequently attended several different schools a year, I’m transgender (quite a few of these industrial jobs don’t exactly have inclusive environments), I’ve picked up and dropped a multitude of hobbies (my most revisited is drawing and language study. I’m currently studying Japanese and Korean), and I’ve also quit every attempt I’ve made at higher education, although I actually love school and learning… I don’t understand that, either.

    Maybe important??: I was recently diagnosed with ADHD-PI and medicated for it. I sincerely do not want to use having ADHD as an excuse. I’m honestly just exhausted with myself at this point, and I feel like just adding to the list of excuses I’ve used would only exacerbate whatever is wrong with me, let alone stall any possible solution. The medications have helped me concentrate so much, but until I’m able to find a job (I’ve burned so many bridges by now… not even sure where else to look), I won’t know if even maybe the ADHD has been a contributing factor to my wishy-washy job/school/responsibility-hopping.

    There’s also the fact that sometimes I think maybe I subconsciously believe I’m almost too good for work. I don’t want to believe that, because I’ve got a whole host of insecurity problems, but why else would I immediately just give up when I’m presented with any sort of real work-related stress, like everyone else doesn’t have to deal with that too??

    So I just… I don’t know *sigh*. I’m not even sure what the point of this post is. Venting? Looking for advice? Looking for others who may be or have been in a similar boat? I feel like I’m drowning, I’m the one who put myself there to begin with, and I’m the one still holding my own head underwater.

    tl;dr: I’ve quit so many jobs. I just can’t seem to convince myself that going through apparently any sort of work-related stress is worth it, no matter how hard I want to want to work. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD-PI, but I’m not sure if that’s just another pathetic excuse to justify my laziness and self-righteousness (do I think I’m too good to work?) or a legitimate reason for always jumping from one thing to another, like my hobbies and even higher education. Is this something controllable or am I just lazy? Is there anything I could possibly do to change?

    Thank you to any and all comments. Like I said, not sure what I’m trying to achieve or gain from this post. I just found this site and saw some similar posts, so I guess maybe I’m just throwing this out there in the hopes that someone might understand myself more than I do. Because at this point, I can’t stand myself.

    #388178
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Banananananner:

    It’s like the moment I detect that I have even an iota of unhappiness within a job, from that point on I can no longer force myself to stay… I have pretty bad social anxiety… I was recently diagnosed with ADHD-PI“-

    – reads to me that the problem is that you have a low tolerance to discomfort/ distress. So, while other people are able to tolerate and endure distress for a whole week, a month.. a year and even years, you are able to endure it for a much shorter time. When a person’s anxiety has been severe and prolonged, it weakens the nervous system leading it to overreacts to small amounts of discomfort and distress.

    This is what happened to me. By the way, although I didn’t seek the diagnosis and was not diagnosed with Predominantly Inattentive Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD-PI), I have no doubt that I fit the diagnosis since childhood and for most of my life.

    anita

    #388202
    Jupiter
    Participant

    I don’t see laziness at all in your post. I see so many great qualities, insight, sensitivity, concern and intelligence.
    I have struggled with the same thing you describe but on a lesser scale, and without the ADHD. But the pain from working is always there. I literally don’t understand how people can stay for years in the same job. I can make it about 1 year before hitting a wall, but I keep going for a while longer. Usually 3 years, then I quit, but in my profession people often stay for decades. One thing I really liked was temping, because I had much less emotional pressure knowing the job was not supposed to be permanent. I was able to handle the bad vibes more easily because I didn’t have that trapped feeling. Maybe you could write down exactly what is involved in your desire to run away. Is it about you feeling badly about yourself, like you are not doing things perfectly? Is it that you feel that the people around you are scary for some reason or another? Whatever it is, just do a stream of consciousness writing or thinking to get to the core. Put all the reasons together and see if there is a common thread. And then, maybe try to unpack that, and set up some small goals on facing those issues.
    definitely worth talking with a counselor or career counselor also to see if they could assist.

    #388245
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear  Bananananananer (this was hard to replicate 🙂 )

    reading your post, this part caught my attention:

    I have pretty bad social anxiety, my family moved more than 50 times before I even turned 18 and I consequently attended several different schools a year,

    This is a lot of moving, specially for a child! If you were uprooted so many times from your friends and the things and people you got attached to, it leaves a mark. Perhaps that’s why you can’t keep a job either, because subconsciously you just don’t want to get attached to anything, knowing that you’ll be leaving anyway? The pattern of leaving things and people and projects might be deeply embedded in your subconscious mind…

     

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by TeaK.
    #388253
    Bananananananer
    Participant

    Anita, thank you for the helpful reply!

    Is there any way to overcome this? Do you believe therapy could help me learn how to build that endurance for stress up, or is that something I will never be able to achieve?

    I never realized the nervous system could be altered in such a way, so thank you for that information.

    I also never wanted to believe I could have ADHD. My sister has it, and it affects her in different ways than it affects me (she is much more hyperactive, while I am just mostly unable to concentrate). But I never truly thought about having it myself until I spoke with a psychiatrist recently who diagnosed me. I hadn’t received therapy, however, so I think I’m going to try that.

    Again, thank you! I hope you and yours are all doing alright, and that you’ve been able to find ways to overcome the difficulties that come with ADHD (regardless of whether or not you’ve been formally diagnosed). 🙂

    #388254
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Bananananananer:

    You are very welcome.  “Is there anyway to overcome this? Do you believe therapy could help me learn how to build that endurance for stress up, or is that something I will never be able to achieve?“-

    – Yes, increasing your endurance to stress is something that you will be able to achieve, if you work on it. I achieved it myself. There is a concept in psychotherapy called emotional regulation: it is about learning how to lessen the intensity of distressing emotions (fear, anger, physical discomfort) and in so doing, endure (a lesser) stress  better. It is done in a variety of ways, such as the practice of mindfulness, as well as using CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) techniques and exercises. To simplify, it’s about taking a pause, or a break, between the Intense emotion/ discomfort (in the workplace, let’s say), and the reaction to it (walking out/ quitting). During this pause, you lessen the intensity of the distress.

    I worked on it a lot in my CBT+ Mindfulness psychotherapy experience as a client, 2011-13, and I will be glad to share more with you, including certain exercises and techniques, if you are interested. You can give me an example of a time you felt distress at work: what were the circumstances, what were your thoughts at the time, your emotions, your physical experience, and we’ll take it from there.

    anita

    #388255
    Bananananananer
    Participant

    TeaK, thank you for the reply!

    I do realize that that is a lot of moving for a growing person, especially with moving to numerous schools and making and re-making new friends every time. I’m not exactly sure how it’s affected me, but I know it has. It had to have affected me, right?

    After reading your and others’ replies, I am definitely going to be attending therapy. If moving around or having anxiety or anything else has made pursuing my goals that much more of a difficult task, then I believe I need to learn how to cope with it and grow, instead of simply sitting stagnant with self pity and frustration.

    Thank you so much! Your reply has given me lots of insight and thinking to do. I hope you and yours are doing well! 🙂

    #388256
    Bananananananer
    Participant

    Jupiter, thank you so much for such an insightful reply!

    I also liked temping, so I definitely understand! I never understood why I preferred to be a temp, without all the benefits and pay and security I would get with being hired-in, but after reading your reply, I understand.

    And thank you for the suggestion, I will 100% do that. I’ve never been great at writing my thoughts down (I find it difficult to be honest with myself, I think), but I will give it my best and try to find all the reasons I may have quit my jobs.

    I will be looking into therapy. 🙂

    All that being said, I sincerely, genuinely hope you’re doing okay, and that you’ve been able to find work, or even a hobby, that you’re comfortable with, and I’m sorry you also have similar difficulties.

    #388258
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Bananananananer:

    I submitted a post for you right after your reply to me. After my reply you submitted two posts to other members. I am letting you know of the  2nd post I addressed to you in case you missed it.

    anita

     

    #388260
    Bananananananer
    Participant

    Anita, thank you and I apologize for missing your reply! I had actually missed that, so I appreciate the reminder. 🙂

    I will most definitely look into CBT, as that sounds like something that I could benefit from!

    For your last suggestion (and I greatly appreciate you putting the mental effort in to discuss this with me, so thank you so much), the most recent job I quit was a customer service job, working from home (thankfully, a lot of jobs are now going virtual, so there are more options than just industrial). You’d think that because it was work-from-home, it’d be easier for me to handle the stress, as I was in a more familiar environment (or at least, I thought that) – but no. The training, while it was 4 weeks, was not nearly sufficient enough to prepare me for the actual job and the multiple programs we had to cycle between to handle a call.

    While I did find out that I can handle customers well (I surprised even myself by at least sounding professional and like I knew what I was doing), the stress of waiting for a ridiculously long time for an answer from a team leader when I had no idea what I was doing was too much. I wasn’t able to just sit there and wait. The only enjoyable part of the job was making some decent friends during training, the WAH aspect, and actually being told how much the customers really enjoyed interacting with me.

    I realize that it was only my first few days and the job would definitely get easier, and part of me regrets just not even giving myself the chance, but even that amount of stress and frustration was too much… I think I just honestly was most upset about the fact that I just didn’t know how to do the job I’d been training 4 weeks for. Maybe that’s perfectionism or expecting too much of myself? I’m not sure. I just felt like I should have known more, but I didn’t. And it made me feel unintelligent and frustrated, so I left. Still trying to figure out if I regret that or not.

    Is that what you were asking for? Hopefully that’s enough information. Again, thank you so much!

    #388261
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Bananananananer:

    I am glad you located my reply, but I will not be able to read your recent post and reply further before a couple of hours from now, and possibly not before tomorrow morning, which is in about 19 hours from now.

    anita

    #388262
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Bananananananer;

    You are welcome.  “I think I just honestly was most upset about the fact that I just didn’t know how to do the job I’d been training 4 weeks for. Maybe that’s perfectionism or expecting too much of myself? I’m not sure. I just felt like I should have known more, but I didn’t. And it made me feel unintelligent and frustrated, so I left“-

    – the thought/s that went through your mind at the time seem to have been something like:  I should know more because I went trough the training, there is something wrong with my intelligent, I don’t seem to do anything right.

    Is this,  paraphrased, the thoughts that went through your mind at the time?  If not, can you state your thought or thoughts more accurately?

    Following stating your though/s more accurately, a CBT exercise would be to challenge each thought: to list evidence for the thought (supporting the thought to be true to reality) and evidence against the thought (supporting the thought to be not true to reality).. like in a court of law: evidence for and evidence against.

    You are welcome to take it from here.

    anita

    #388263
    Bananananananer
    Participant

    Anita, yes that is what was going through my mind. That I just wasn’t intelligent enough to handle the job I was presented.

    I will be writing down my thoughts during that time, and listing the evidence for and against each thought. I will absolutely keep following up with CBT, and speaking to my therapist about it when I’m able to see them.

    Thank you again, and I hope you have a great rest of your day. 🙂

    #388264
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, Bananananananer, and thank you for your appreciation and wishing me well!

    anita

    #388267
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Bananananananer,

    you are very welcome!

    I do realize that that is a lot of moving for a growing person, especially with moving to numerous schools and making and re-making new friends every time. I’m not exactly sure how it’s affected me, but I know it has. It had to have affected me, right?

    Yes, it most probably had an effect. We as children need a sense of security, stability, a sense of belonging. If you had to change schools several times per year, that can be really frustrating! I remember I didn’t want to move not even once during my elementary school, because I had good friends, my class mates, one of which I am still friends with to this day. It was a truly non-judgmental relationship, which meant so much for me and gave me a sense of strength, since my own mother was so judgmental. I haven’t even realized how much those early friendships meant to me until much later in life. If you didn’t have that, if you always needed to leave just as you started making friends, I can imagine it could affect you negatively because we thrive on healthy relationships, on strong bonds with people…

    After reading your and others’ replies, I am definitely going to be attending therapy. If moving around or having anxiety or anything else has made pursuing my goals that much more of a difficult task, then I believe I need to learn how to cope with it and grow, instead of simply sitting stagnant with self pity and frustration.

    Yes, it’s a very good decision to seek therapy and heal and manage those problems. Because it’s doable, you can heal and you can thrive. You don’t need to suffer till the rest of your life. So by all means, work on understanding yourself and what you were missing as a child, and how to repair it now… and if you have any questions or dilemmas, I’ll be happy to answer. I wish you luck!

     

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