What I Now Know After Feeling Miserable and Worthless at Work


“You
don’t
need
anyone’s
affection
or
approval
in
order
to
be
good
enough.
When
someone
rejects
or
abandons
or
judges
you,
it
isn’t
actually
about
you.
It’s
about them and
their
own
insecurities,
limitations,
and
needs,
and
you
don’t
have
to
internalize
that.
Your
worth
isn’t
contingent
upon
other
people’s
acceptance
of
you—it’s
something
inherent.”
~Danielle
Koepke

Imagine
you’re
in
your
early
thirties,
in
a
job
you
enjoy
at
a
company
you
love,
and
you
just
got
promoted
(without
lobbying
for
it),
so
you’re
living
a
great
life.

All
of
a
sudden,
you’re
bombarded
with
negative
feedback
from
your
manager.
Despite
previously
being
commended
on
how
you
demonstrate
accountability,
maximize
relationships,
and
a
whole
host
of
other
“leadership
dimensions”
there
is
now
not

one

area
you’re
strong
in,
and
everything
you
do
is
regarded
as
not
good
enough.
You’re
devastated,
stunned,
confused,
hurt,
embarrassed,
lost,
scared,
and
basically
frozen
with
fear.

This
was
me
back
in
2007.
At
the
time
I
had
been
with
this
large
corporation
for
nine
years
in
a
variety
of
roles,
steadily
progressing
up
the
corporate
ladder.
I
started
with
them
immediately
out
of
college;
I
had
essentially
grown
up
there.

I
remember
feeling
so
happy
and
proud
when
the
job
offer
came;
my
excitement
and
enthusiasm
for
going
to
work
each
day
was
a
little
freakish.
Each
day
I’d
get
up
early
and
be
bubbling
with
energy
because
I
couldn’t
wait
to
get
there.


My
family
was
impressed
with
my
landing
a
job
at
that
corporation;
it
was
the
first
thing
they’d
tell
people
who
asked
about
me.
I
always
identified
myself
first
and
foremost
as
being
a
team
member
at
that
company.
It
was
who
I
was

at
my
core.

I
initially
started
in
a
role
more
focused
on
data,
analysis,
and
inventory
planning,
and
maintained
this
focus
for
seven
years.
This
aligned
well
with
my
analytical
and
logical
mind.
It
wasn’t
until
I
tried
my
hand
at
project
management,
teaching
others
to
lead
projects
as
well,
that
I
started
to
grow
more
comfortable
focusing
on
the
people
aspect.

I
remember
being
so
scared
when
I
first
decided
to
diversify
my
skillset
and
make
this
shift,
but
proud
that
I’d
had
the
courage
to
take
the
chance.

Even
though
initially
the
nerves
were
almost
overwhelming
in
the
coaching
role,
I
was
really
enjoying
working
with
a
broad
set
of
people
from
analysts
up
to
directors.
I
was
someone
they
turned
to
for
help,
guidance,
and
advice.
I
started
to
feel
more
and
more
comfortable
and
was
eventually
told
there
was
a
promotion
coming
my
way.

Shortly
after
the
promotion
things
started
to
suddenly
go
downhill.
I
was
constantly
being
questioned
about
what
I
was
doing
to
change
and
how
I
was
addressing
my
opportunities.
Nothing
I
did
was
right
or
good.
It
was
such
a
sudden
shift
that
I
ended
up
very
confused,
scared,
and
doubtful.

To
hear
that
I
was
no
longer
good
enough
for
this
company
I’d
grown
up
in,
loved,
and
identified
with
so
deeply
was
devastating.
I
started
to
think
I
wasn’t
good
enough
in
any
aspect
of
my
life
and
became
depressed.
I
was
constantly
anxious
and
scared
to
do
anything
in
case
I
made
another
mistake
that
would
be
pointed
out
or
somehow
jeopardize
my
job.
I
was
literally
scared
that
my
whole
world
would
be
taken
away.

I
leveraged
those
around
me
to
try
to
understand
and
get
through
this.
My
work
friends
would
try
to
convince
me
that
I
wasn’t
bad
at
everything,
that
I
was
doing
a
good
job.
They
could
see
the
impact
this
criticism
and
negative
feedback
was
having
on
me.
I
worked
with
my
human
resources
partner
to
develop
a
plan
for
how
to
address
all
these
sudden
performance
issues.


Things
were
so
bad
that
I
realized
I
needed
professional
help
and
started
seeing
a
therapist.
I
couldn’t
concentrate,
I
couldn’t
sleep,
I
was
even
starting
to
have
panic
attacks.

It
was
then
that
I
started
taking
anti-anxiety
medication
and
something
to
help
me
sleep.
While
I
started
to
feel
numb
to
the
emotional
stress,
I
also
started
to
gain
weight
at
an
alarming
rate.
I
gained
thirty-five
pounds
in
a
matter
of
maybe
two
months.
Now
I
wasn’t
just
worthless
because
I
couldn’t
do
my
job
but
my
health
was
really
starting
to
suffer.

This
was
one
of
the
lowest
points
in
my
life.
The
company
I’d
grown
up
in,
loved,
and
tied
my
identity
to
was
now
the
biggest
source
of
pain.
Sure,
over
the
years
I’d
imagined
a
different
life,
one
where
I
wasn’t
tied
to
a
desk,
staring
at
gray
cubicle
walls
and
trying
to
fit
into
the
company
mold,
but
I
always
settled
back
in
my
role
because
it
was
familiar,
comfortable,
and
who
was
I
if
I
wasn’t
someone
who
worked
there?

I’d
like
to
say
that
this
was
a
moment
where
I
had
some
sort
of
epiphany,
found
myself,
and
completely
turned
things
around,
but
it
wasn’t
quite
like
that.
I
survived,
bounced
back,
and
learned
a
lot,
but
it
was
a
slow
process.
Some
of
the
things
I
learned
didn’t
actually
come
until
years
later.

What
follows
are
some
of
the
lessons
learned
from
this
time
in
my
life.

You
determine
your
own
worth.
Don’t
let
others
do
this
for
you.

When
I
was
feeling
so
beaten
down
and
horrible
during
this
time,
I
allowed
myself
to
believe
what
someone
else
was
telling
me
about
my
worth,
abilities,
and
value.
I
didn’t
have
enough
self-confidence
to
know
that
just
because
one
person
thought
I
wasn’t
good
enough
that
didn’t
mean
that
I
was.

I
was
still
the
same
person
as
I
was
before
getting
promoted.
When
reflecting
on
this,
I
realized
that
I
was
putting
a
lot
of
stock
in
people
liking
me
and
I
sought
external
validation
to
feel
I
was
a
good
person.

I
now
know
that
it’s
okay
if
people
don’t
like
you.
People
are
different,
and
everyone
doesn’t
like
the
same
thing,
so
why
would
you
expect
everyone
to
like
you?
While
I
still
sometimes
struggle
with
wanting
people
to
like
me,
I’ve
learned
to
trust
my
own
abilities
and
I
know
what
I’m
good
at.

You
don’t
need
to
be
someone
you’re
not
in
order
to
fit
in.

My
company
had
the
attitude
that
everyone
had
to
display
certain
characteristics
and
conform
to
their
mold
or
you
would
be
coached
on
all
your
“opportunities.”
I
experienced
this
myself
and
I
saw
it
happen
to
many
others
as
well.

Twice
a
year
we
went
through
reviews
and
rated
ourselves
on
leadership
dimensions.
I
was
consistently
told
I
was
too
passive
and
quiet,
that
I
needed
to
be
more
assertive.
I
even
went
to
assertiveness
classes!

I’m
an
INFJ,
I
am
quiet,
and
I
will
always
be
quiet.
I’ve
since
found
a
career
that
allows
me
to
be
myself
and
help
people
in
a
way
that
makes
me
feel
good.
This
doesn’t
mean
I’m
getting
external
validation
about
my
worth,
just
that
I
have
the
confidence
to
know
I’m
enough.

Don’t
be
afraid
of
the
unknown
or
be
too
scared
to
move
out
of
your
comfort
zone.

My
identity
at
this
time
was
so
tied
to
the
company
that
there
was
too
much
fear
to
leave;
I
didn’t
know
who
I
was,
so
leaving
this
identity
felt
like
leaving

me
.
Even
though
I
was
miserable
I
was
not
uncomfortable
enough
to
make
a
change.

It
wasn’t
until
years
later
that
I
felt
good
enough
to
leave
this
company.
I
was
actively
pursuing
a
consulting
career
when
I
got
laid
off
during
their
largest
lay
off
in
history.
I
knew
it
was
coming,
had
even
planted
the
seed
with
my
manager,
so
I
wasn’t
upset
and
didn’t
have
the
feelings
some
do
when
in
this
situation.

It’s
not
easy
to
let
go
of
a
role
that
feels
like
part
of
your
identity,
but
it’s
far
harder
to
hold
on
to
something
that
leaves
you
feeling
miserable
or
unfulfilled.

You
are
not
your
job.

Even
though,
if
you’re
like
most
people,
you
spend
much
of
your
time
at
work
it
doesn’t
mean
that
you
are
your
job.
Your
job
is
just
one
piece
of
your
life.
There
can
be
so
many
other
facets
that
have
nothing
to
do
with
work
like
family,
friends,
hobbies,
volunteering,
etc.
Cultivate
those
things
so
that
when
you
are
having
a
tough
time
at
work
you
can
get
away
from
that
and
focus
on
things
that
give
you
joy.

You
have
to
know
yourself.

This
was

huge

for
me.
Even
though
I
was
miserable,
I
didn’t
know
myself
well
enough
to
feel
good
about
my
abilities
or
to
know
what
else
to
pursue.
I
couldn’t
list
the
things
I
was
good
at
or
liked.
I
couldn’t
even
think
for
myself
and
would
second-guess
my
decisions.

Throughout
my
life
I
never
really
had
a
plan,
just
followed
the
standard
path
that
everyone
followed—graduate
high
school,
graduate
college,
get
a
good
job.
I
never
stopped
to
spend
time
learning
who
I
was;
I
was
whoever
I
thought
people
expected
me
to
be.

Eventually
I
spent
some
time
learning
about
myself
through
journaling,
exploring
personal
development
topics
through
podcasts,
books,
blogs,
etc.,
taking
online
courses,
and
working
with
a
life
coach.
I
also
leveraged
a
personality
test
and
asked
those
around
me
for
feedback.

You
have
to
know
yourself
to
know
what
will
bring
you
joy
and
satisfaction.
And
you
have
to
know
your
values
and
priorities
to
live
a
life
aligned
with
them.

Sometimes
people
are
going
through
things
you
have
no
idea
about.

Although
to
this
day
I
still
don’t
know
why
my
manager
seemed
to
turn
on
me,
I
do
have
some
theories.
I
believe
that
deep
down,
he
wasn’t
a
mean
or
bad
person;
he
was
someone
who
was
scared
and
unsure
and
chose
to
use
his
authority
to
exhibit
power
over
me
to
make
himself
feel
or
look
better.
Eventually
he
separated
from
the
company,
and
I
don’t
believe
it
was
by
choice.
I
have
empathy
for
him
because
I
believe
he
didn’t
know
how
to
handle
his
feelings,
so
he
did
what
he
felt
was
the
safe
thing
for
him.

While
it
took
a
great
deal
of
reflecting
and
contemplation
to
understand
the
lessons
that
were
presented,
going
through
this
very
difficult
time
in
my
life
made
me
a
stronger
and
more
resilient
person.
When
you
realize
that
you’re
stronger
than
you
thought
it
gives
you
power
to
handle
even
greater
challenges.

About

Leah
Masonick

Leah
is
a
Life
Purpose
and
Career
Coach.
She
empowers
courageous
and
determined
professionals
who
feel
lost,
burned
out
and
unfulfilled
in
their
life
and
soul-destroying
careers
to
rediscover
themselves
and
create
the
freedom
to
live
their
life
purpose.
Sign
up
for
her free
personal
vision
workbook and
check
out
her
coaching
programs
at leahmasonick.com.

See
a
typo,
an
inaccuracy,
or
something
offensive?
Please

contact
us
so
we
can
fix
it!