Two years ago I found myself unemployed. Everything I had been taught, everything I had believed in was shattered. I had worked hard, gained the respect of my co-workers and bosses, things that are supposed to lead to steady employment, and yet the modern fairytale of a single woman supporting herself in a big city crumbled. I had moved across the country to pursue my master’s degree, found steady employment in a crumbling economy, and was starting to build what I thought would be my career. Then the hospital where I worked went bankrupt and closed. I found work, and quickly, in my field at a hospital where I had worked prior, but I rapidly found myself miserable and burnt out. I was being overworked, mistreated, and underpaid. Friends began begging me to quit and eventually I did. I also spent the following year turning down positions at multiple hospitals, including the one I left. I was lost and confused within the confines of my own life.
Thoughts of what should have been and whether or not I made the right choices have started storming through my head over the last few days. I gave up on a career before it really began. Should I have stuck it out? I didn’t hate the work, I hated the environment, the bureaucratic red tape, the continual reminder that I live in a country that treats its sick and poor with disdain and disregard within a system that is corrupt and inept. The perfectionist voice in my head says, “You quit because you weren’t good enough. You weren’t tough enough. You should have stuck it out. You left three months shy of having all of your hours for state licensure. You are a no good fool for leaving.” The rational voice in my head reminds me that I was miserable, constantly sick at work, and while currently struggling to figure out how to make ends meet, incredibly happy and fulfilled doing the work I do now.
It is hard to know if I made the right decisions. Sometimes self-doubt is easier than facing the present moment head on, even if the present moment sucks ways less than the past that the self is doubting. I don’t have regrets because everything I have done has led me to where I am at this point in my life. I have learned a great deal about myself, met some wonderful people, many of whom have become close friends, and had experiences that have shaped how I think, feel, and behave. So why the self-doubt? Why the questioning? Who the hell knows if I made the right decisions. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.
“Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself. “ ~Joseph Campbell