My Confession: I Should Not be Ashamed of This, But I Am

I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to put this out there, but ok here goes – I am unemployed. I am jobless and very ashamed, guilt ridden, and embarrassed about it. The thing is, I wasn’t retrenched, I quit on my own accord during a dismal economy and in Asia where there is no such thing as unemployment benefits.

I somehow find it more respectable if I had been retrenched. Then it would be no fault of mine to be unemployed and have a horrible gap in my resume that’s hard to explain.

But seriously, I had never been more miserable in my life. I worked till late at night including weekends, and I had daily crying jags. It was for my mental and physical health that I quit. It was not so much the hours, but the toxic people at work were making me so miserable. (I used to work at a happy place, where I gleefully worked till midnight.) They were treating other people badly as well and I could not bear witnessing this every day. It was so draining. In the end they got away with it scott free. I left without making any waves as I felt it would be pointless. I just can’t do office politics. I’d rather just opt out. It’s sad because the rest of my colleagues were so nice, but the people who had the power in the office chose to abuse it. I wonder if I will ever get back on the saddle. It was just a really traumatic period and also the sudden loss of the person I love more than life, had affected me in more ways than I realized. I just could not go on in a place that was that toxic – it was just not worth spending 90% of my time with horrible people and only 10% with the people that mattered to me.

That’s why I started the blog as I felt like I was going nuts. I felt like I was losing my identity and my identity was unfortunately so tied up with work all these years. I have since become such a hermit as I just cannot field questions which unfortunately in Singapore is “Where are you working?” I am a shell of what I used to be – a bubbly, people person (that’s how my partner describes my old self and I have to agree). Now I shrink away from people, and dread reunions. I am lucky I still have a few very kind and thoughtful friends who know my situation, and don’t make me feel worse about it.

On the bright side, I got back to my books. My reading. I never really stopped writing even when I was working, but now I can indulge in both. Ironically I now feel I don’t have enough hours for the number of books I want to read. I am so hungry for books, I want to just devour and binge on them. When I was working, I was expected to stay late in the office and even work weekends. When I came home all I wanted to do was hit the pillow in order to survive the next day.

Since a blog is a place where you can explore your dreams – my ideal job would include being a writer or working for a bookstore where I can influence book selection. Any job where I can be surrounded by words. I want to eat, live and breathe words. Numbers, I am not so much a friend of, although I have done my share of accounts management and budgeting for the financial year. Just writing about it sounds so dreary.

I know I should explore being a freelance writer and I should try to submit articles to magazines. But I never feel I am good enough and that’s holding me back. To put it bluntly, I am paralysed by fear. I hope by confessing it, I can start to conquer it. Because of nightmare interview experiences, I also fear interviews. Telling you all this makes me feel so utterly useless. Maybe it’s because a friend actually asked me “Why are you so useless?” when they heard about my quitting. This situation does one thing for sure – it clarifies who your real friends are.

I hope one day I can have a vocation I love and once again have the pleasure of being financially independent. It doesn’t help when everyone around me talks about how they don’t earn enough or that they didn’t get a bigger bonus and such. Looking back, at one point I was earning more than I really needed to survive and I would be happy today with a pay cut, just as long as I can be happy at work. Just a place where people are treated with basic respect and dignity. That’s all, but it seems like asking for too much. Although they say money can’t buy happiness, right now I am thinking that up to a point it can. I would just love to treat people close to me, to gifts I buy with my own salary. I used to be able to do that. That would definitely make me happy.

I am taking a long time to press the publish button on this one….

About bookjunkie

Blogging about my daily life in Singapore helps with my mid life crisis.
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16 Responses to My Confession: I Should Not be Ashamed of This, But I Am

  1. btlau says:

    gotcha, work could definitely be draining and staying away from office politics is a smart thing to do

    • bookjunkie says:

      thanks for the affirmation 🙂 I just wish I could find a place where I can just do an honest day’s work. Why must there be any politics? I used to work at a good place where the boss did not tolerate politics and it was great while it lasted. I think a lot depends on the people on the top and the environment they cultivate.

      • btlau says:

        it’s prob bcoz it’s close to xmas and all the way to CNY, I’m going to be mega stressed, bcoz I run a food distribution biz, but gawd, there are days when I just want to throw my hands up and scream. After a bit though, you’re just like, well, that won’t help the problem, and there are new problems everyday, so if i can being stressed over it, i am going to look ugly,lol, so noOooo, just solve and go at the same time, i guess, but yea, therea re days when it seems like 1 thing goes wrong, and all the wrongs keep coming

      • bookjunkie says:

        oh dear…yeah those days….sending you good wishes and hope your days till CNY go smoothly with minimal distress 🙂

  2. There is no reason for your to be ashamed, so quit it!
    You are obviously a talented writer…maybe that’s what you are supposed to be doing right now. I truly believe (for what it’s worth) that you have to go with what seems right to you…and just allow things to happen. (this comes from my current mixed up belief system that combines Catholicism with Buddhism)

    Keep doing what you love and keep blogging and reaching out…..things will happen

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart Sister Earth!!…..You have no idea how much you have just uplifted my spirits 🙂 I have a somewhat mixed up belief system myself…..I like to take the good preached in all religions.

  3. bookmagic1 says:

    Sometimes life takes us in directions that we dislike, but eventually when we reflect, we see that there was a reason why things turned out a certain way. So hang in there, and not long from now you will probably realize how this turn of events shaped your life and character and your choices will lead you to a much better place. Best wishes.

  4. S says:

    Hi bookjunkie, I stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for reviews on teadot @ Tampine1 (strangely enough). Just wanted to say that you have a nice and earnest writing style and that sort of authenticity is something hard to come by. Seriously consider giving freelancing a go! I don’t think there’s shame in leaving a life that makes us unhappy — it’s worse to be stuck in a miserable state and lament that instead of responding constructively.

    All the best for your future endeavors! I’ll check back soon =)

    P.S. I haven’t perused your blog, but have you considered doing book reviews? Those would combine your love for reading and creative writing energy. (Plus, book recommendations are always welcome in the blogosphere, in my honest opinion =))

    • bookjunkie says:

      That’s a real good idea & I am so glad I did that review on Teadot now!! 🙂

      I was never happy with my style as it did not sound professional enough, but then I thought, I just want to sound like myself and not like what I think I should sound like. I just want to be as honest and authentic as possible.

      My confidence has been boosted by your kind comments – thank you so much S!

  5. parsleysagerosemarythyme says:

    I know exactly how you’re feeling and am struggling with the same situation. I keep reminding myself that happiness is what brings success in life. How can we be happy? By doing what we love. Keep writing, bookjunkie. You clearly have a talent and love for it.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thank you for sharing your situation with me. Yes, I think we are all just striving for a little bit of happiness 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind comments as well.

  6. Maria says:

    Shame is an outdated emotion when it comes to unemployment — there are just too many people around the world in the same boat for it to have the same connotations it once had. And yes, keep writing! You never know what will happen as a result of your blog; it could lead to a new career for you. I’ve picked up writing and training gigs as a result of my blog, so I know it’s possible. Have you considered pitching articles to some of the expat publications in Singapore? You have the advantage of being a local, so you’re automatically an expert (and you take beautiful photos, which is always a plus.) I know being out of work is a confidence killer, but hold your head up and take strength from knowing you brighten the days of a lot of people (me included.)

    • bookjunkie says:

      I guess it’s because I find it so hard to pick up and go back. Definitely a confidence thing.

      Thanks for the tips about how to get writing gigs Maria. I really must start pitching articles.

      Thank you also for reading and just being so nice 🙂

  7. Maria says:

    When I lived in Singapore, I got a job — my first one in 15 years. That’s a loooong time without gainful employment, so I completely understand how being unemployed saps your confidence! But if you let it, that lack of confidence will feed on itself. You have a lot to offer (and I’m not just being nice here — I read you every day, don’t forget), you just have to recognize that and figure out how to leverage it.

    If you don’t feel ready to pitch publications yet, why don’t you write a couple of full-length articles and post them on your blog? It would be like a dress rehearsal for the real thing, and if you’re happy with the results, you can use those articles as writing samples when you do feel ready to approach editors.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Actually I never really thought of posting full length articles on my blog. You know what? That’s a really helpful idea.

      You’ve buoyed my confidence for sure Maria! 🙂 I just need to stop the negative talk in my head….Thank you!

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