Vocational stress

I just told Kyle I’m experiencing vocational stress.  He replied, “You mean you’re stressed out about work?”  While the quick answer to his question is yes, I told him it’s more like “vocational calling” stress.

Depending on the degree that you know me (or my family members), you probably know that I had an incredibly emotionally overwhelming first two years of teaching.  I ended up seeing a counselor each fall to help get through those tough patches.

This year I’ve felt more emotional stability as the school year has started, which has been really helpful.  I haven’t been feeling that hopelessness that I felt the past two years, but I am still quetioning whether it’s the right job for me.  Right now, it seems silly to change jobs, but philosophically, or rather, emotionally, I don’t know if this is the right job for me.  (Or…at least I don’t know if I’m working in the right area of Special Ed.)

The thing that is getting to me most right now is that I constantly feel out of my element.  I feel like people look to me for answers that I really don’t know.  I feel like there are limited aspects of my job that bring me pleasure .  And that is precisely what I wonder about.  How normal is that?  How many of you wake up looking forward to going to work?  How many of you go to sleep at night without a worry about your job?  Is it rare to be a person like me who is overly sensitive to the question of whether my job is a good match for me?

My mom once described me as an intense person.  And she’s absolutely right.  I do everything with intensity, or I don’t do it at all.  That is, I intensely don’t do it.  So, right now I’ve reached a point of having been intensely over-involved in my work thus far (because it feels like I’ve had to be involved to that degree to even stay afloat), and now it’s catching up to me.  Now I’m feeling like, “How in the world is this worth it?”  Why spend 9+ hours of each work day and several other hours emotionally invested in something that isn’t bringing pleasure to me?

Do I continue to just do the job with the mindset that I am completing a challenge?  Or do I continue on my search for a more personally satisfying use of my work time?

Is this typical?  Do any of you struggle with the same type of “vocational calling stress”?

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2 thoughts on “Vocational stress

  1. Amy, I’ve been thinking a lot about your vocational stress. You are absolutely not alone in this thinking. We hear this from Jeff & Tim all the time. They could totally relate to you but unfortunately they probably would not respond. Uncle Ron feels that it is a generational thing too. Now, the Cafe idea really lit you up! But, in time maybe you would have the same vocational stress about that too. Not because you are you, but because it too is a stressful vocation. We have a friend that runs one. When we have lunch there she comes over and sits with us to “talk business”. She does a great job and the food is awesome, but she has very long days and weekends. She is a single mom and struggles with that. There is no perfect vocation. It sounds like you would feel guilty if you left your special ed teaching job becasue you would be leaving your calling. I have no advice for you unfortunately. It is good to put your feelings into words. I always felt envious of women that could find a job in the field that was their passion. This is getting longer than I intended. I’ll also send it in an email in case you don’t check this.
    Love & hugs,
    Aunt Lyn

  2. Thanks for thinking of me Aunt Lyn. I have had some good conversations with Kyle lately about my job and feel like I have a good support system at work, too. Maybe I’ll update more as a post eventually to explain more about our program at school, where I fit in, and where I think I’d like to be in an ideal world. 🙂 I really value your support. 🙂

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