December 20, 2012

Quarter Century Crisis




Without realising it and definitely without intention, I walked head on into a quarter century crisis. This feels a bit repetitive because I've explained my situation to so many people already but I want to post about it so that everything I write about hereafter falls into place.

I cried at my desk every day when I returned from my birthday weekend in Rome. I was overcome with dread and a knot in my stomach as my train pulled in to the city of Eindhoven and it didn't go away all week. I wasn't sleeping properly and was giving myself migraines from stressing out so much. I was suddenly 25 and very unhappy. I hated the situation I was in and hated myself even more for hating it so much. I'm usually pretty positive but I felt exhausted from trying to find something positive to focus on here; I just couldn't find it. I wanted to be elsewhere, doing other things with other people. I felt like I was lying to myself by continuing this internship. I knew I could be so much more productive over the coming 5 months by doing something I felt passionate about. I was stuck in a grey environment, doing work that I wasn't interested in at all, trying to put other plans into place that couldn't work without my full attention. I felt like a quitter though, even after giving it my all. Reactions from friends and family ranged from being supportive to telling me I was downright mad for want to give up an opportunity with a company such as Philips. I know that it seems silly to some but I'd rather have something on my CV that I'm really proud of than something I did for the sake of good branding.

I finally plucked up the courage to tell one of my managers about how I felt and that I couldn't continue with this internship. Luckily, she was very understanding (albeit shocked to see me in such a state) I walked out of there with a smile that rivaled the Chesire cat's; an enormous weight had just been lifted off of my shoulders and I felt normal again. I then had another meeting with senior managers the following week, presented my case and specific reasons for leaving and was granted leave 5 days later.
I feel really good about my decision and even though this experience wasn't at all what I expected, it was a learning experience nonetheless. In a roundabout way, this has clearly shown me what I do and don't want to do with the next chapter in my life, how it needs to be done and what it may take to get there.
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