Back when I was 18, I had a friend ask me to go with her to apply for a job. I filled out an electronic application as well to kill time.
My friend was called in for an interview first, and bombed it. Then I got called in.
I didn’t actually *want* the job, but I played along anyway. On the day of my interview, I drank way too much caffeine and didn’t take it remotely seriously, because I figured it didn’t matter — there was no way I was going to get hired. I ended up pretending to be a completely different person.
Then I got offered the job.
I took it because it paid a bit more than the one I had previously.
Which turned out to be a big mistake.
It became very obvious very quickly that I was a bad fit. I strongly disliked all of my coworkers because I thought they were shallow, materialistic, and bitchy. To top it off, my manager backtracked on what she had said during the interview and was not only unwilling to accommodate my college classes, she scheduled me to work more hours than anyone else. I hated absolutely everything about all of it, and I wanted to bail.
But my parents lectured me about work ethic and blah blah blah, so I felt enormously pressured to stay. I put up with coworkers making passive-aggressive comments about my shoes, tolerated a pushy and demanding manager who was never satisfied with anything, and skipped my lunch break so I could leave early to show up late to my classes.
After a month, I remember standing with my back against a wall as I stared blankly into the room, feeling certain that my soul was taking damage from the toxic environment. I was fading.
Then I found out that I had been squeezed in last minute at a lower pay, and that the new(er) hires were making more money than I was because of a major change with the company — hence why I was given the more demanding schedule. I felt like the victim of nasty prank.
After two months, I couldn’t take it anymore and quit. I informed my manager that I was never coming in again, and that was it. I still hope it ruined her week.
With my next job, I was 100% myself in the interview, and ended up somewhere where I got along quite well with most of my coworkers. I stayed with this job until I met my husband and moved away to live with him.
Lately I’ve been reminding myself of this event in my life.
Reminding myself that “stepping out of my comfort zone” isn’t actually going to achieve anything desirable.
And I’m not going to let myself get chewed up and spat out in a vain effort to pursue my dreams.