Fluff Vs. The Real Stuff

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 4, 2008

Good evening everyone!

I fully intended to start this post with Celebrity Beauty Secrets, but I had to listen to my heart and vent for a few lines (paragraphs) first. Please bear with me…

Boy, did I have one of those days at work. Everything was going wrong at work and I was in tears today it got so bad. I was pulled in a million directions at once and no matter what I did, no one was happy with me.

I feel like I am in an abusive relationship.

Something has gotta give…

It got me thinking a lot about my tendency (and many others I know in life) to sacrifice my own happiness for the sake of something else- like a steady income. I know so many people who stay in jobs where they are unhappy for years because they are afraid to leave something secure. It is really a horrible way to live.

Many people in my life know that I have passions outside of what I am currently doing (baking/cooking, health/fitness, etc), and I am trying to pursue this with my blog, but it is really tough when 12 hours of your day is devoted toward something that makes you in tears and mentally and emotionally drained at the end of the day.

Some days I come home and I have nothing left to give to the people who matter the most to me in life.

I have no energy to give to Eric, to pick up the phone and call a loved one, or to look forward to the next day. All I feel like doing after a day like today is lying down on the couch in a foul mood.

The big question is- why do I put up with something that makes me unhappy? Why do we as humans accept a crappy job and then dedicate half of our days to it?

I am able to appreciate the opportunities it has given me- like co-authoring a book chapter- however, symbols of success in my field (i.e., publications, conference presentations, etc) are merely fluff, much like the degrees and thesis that sit on my bookshelf.

These symbols of success represent the blood and sweat of what I do each day (research).

However, symbols of success are merely that- a status symbol of something you think will make you happy once it’s there, but they really don’t.

What matters is that you are happy with who you work with and what you are doing. That you have people who support you and are a positive influence on your career. This is the good stuff, and I think without it we will never be truly happy in our jobs.

We need to feel like what we are doing is consistent with our personal goals and aspirations and that our efforts are truly recognized and appreciated.

We’ve all heard the stories on Oprah about women who have a mid-life crisis and finally decide, at 50, to pursue their life long dream. They claim that they worked in the same miserable job for 30 years, and damnit, they are sick of putting everyone else before them. Women do it in their relationships to. I admire anyone who can do it, because it is scary as hell to think of leaving security in today’s uncertain world.

Many people in my life know that one of my dreams is to open a bakery.

Will it ever happen?

I wish I could say for certain that it will. There is so much uncertainty with the market and the recession right now, how could I ever leave a secure job where I am making good money? Sure, I’ve seen the stories of women who quit their job and went back to school or opened their own business to achieve the greatest success of their lives, but what about the ones who quit and then can’t find a job and have trouble making ends meet?

These are all the things that I think about.

I am not a pessimist by any means, although this post may come across that way. I am actually a realist. I think about all sides to something before I make a decision. I have never been an impulsive individual who throws caution to the wind and follows her heart, although I often wish I was.

So what has to give before someone stops accepting a negative influence in their life?

When is the breaking point determined?

How unhappy in a job (or situation) does one have to be before they say enough is enough?

Obviously it varies by the person. I often worry that if I left a secure job that others would look down upon me for being a quitter or shake their head and say to themselves, Many people can’t even find a job and you quit a good one. How could you?

Yes, the need to please is still something that is very much ingrained in me, and is something I hear slowly dies as we mature into wise and experienced women. I am looking forward to that.

Have you ever been in a job or situation that you were unhappy with but felt that you couldn’t get out? What prompted you to stay and what prompted you to finally change your situation?

Being someone that is so concerned about well-being, health, and fitness, it still eludes me why I would put up with anything that clearly contradicts these goals


More later tonight on Celebrity Beauty Secrets….I promise….

And to end on a happier note….I present my silly, fun, and goofy side (Eric too):


And this fabulous quote that makes a lot of sense to me….

The question for each man to settle is not what he would do if he had means, time, influence and educational advantages; the question is what he will do with the things he has. The moment a young man ceases to dream or to bemoan his lack of opportunities and resolutely looks his conditions in the face, and resolves to change them, he lays the corner-stone of a solid and honorable success.
Hamilton Wright Mabie

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

girlrunningaround December 4, 2008 at 9:29 pm

My heart goes out to you. We’ve all had those days.

If and when a time comes where you need to give up the certainty and take a leap, you’ll know. I’ve done this a few times in my life, and when it was time to let go and put faith in the future I just knew. You’ll just know.


Mariposa December 4, 2008 at 9:34 pm

im in that spot now girl.. and i really feel your pain. im writing this as im working on the couch, trying to relax with my laptop in my lap. i work ten hours a day and feel like a hamster on a wheel. but im a single mom with a stack of bills and a little girl needs me… so what choice do i have? i make decent money, have great benefits, and in the economy down here… sheeesh if i left i wouldnt be able to find anything “this good” without taking a drastic paycut.

my job is high stress, even though it really shouldnt be.

i cant really offer any advice on how to get out of it, but if there is anyway you can find something better for you without wrecking your budget.. do it!!! : )


sweetandnatural December 4, 2008 at 9:37 pm

I’m IN that job situation right now, so I can completely relate to your post. My job is extremely demanding of my time and energy and I don’t find fulfillment in what I do. It’s difficult because I’m unhappy while at work and I spend a lot of my time outside work trying to figure out what I really want to do and how I can get there. It’s exhausting! I’m trying lately to be more accepting of where I am now and appreciating all of the other things in my life. It’s not easy, but I know everything is just for now and things will change at some point. :-)


Elizabeth December 4, 2008 at 9:37 pm

I hear ya, sister! I am going through a similar situation- very secure gov’t job, but I am extremely undervalued, and my life’s passion is to write a book (I have similar passions as you- baking ,exercise, beauty tips, etc) and to work for a hospital (I have a psych and PR background). It’s very, very difficult. I can’t justify leaving my job, but I can justify trying to give less of myself to it (I have problems with this) and doing whatever I can to get out ASAP. (ie, having another job lined up more along the lines of what I want to do.) In this economy, I can’t justify or recommend jsut quitting. It’s just like what you say– you have to take positive steps every day to create the like you want.

Hang in there, I’m routing for you! If nothing else, it is a consolation that others are going through a similar experience right now.


Elizabeth December 4, 2008 at 9:38 pm

P.S. Sorry for the typos! And I meant “life” not “like”


AGS December 4, 2008 at 9:56 pm


You’re not alone. I was in a similar situation a couple years ago. I was working at a great organization with great people, and had lots of opportunities (3 promotions in 2.5 years). Guess what? I wasn’t happy.

So I committed to meeting with a group of 3 other women and we went through the book The Pathfinder (N. Lore). There are lots of other good books out there (such as What Color is Your Parachute). I devoted time each week to dreaming, researching, info-interviewing for a year. Guess what? I’m now on the path I want to be. It took two years total, to finally be where I am. . . but I did it. The bottom line: I never ask myself “why am I doing this?” each morning on the way out the door. And I no longer drive my husband nuts with my whining! ;)

Maybe this is just a bad day. Or maybe you might want to set aside time to investigate some alternatives. . . Hope tomorrow is better for you either way!



Beth December 4, 2008 at 10:04 pm

I too am in this position right now. I work in PR and have to travel weekly. I’m supporting my husband in law school and it can all be absolutely exhausting at times. I notice that when I’m not at work I’m focused on cooking/reading/researching all things food and health. I’m studying to take the GRE right now to hopefully become a registered dietitian and combine that with my PR background to become a company spokesperson (ideally for Whole Foods :)). You have a dream like I do, and I believe that’s the first step in seeing past your current situation. Hang in there, stay focused on what makes you happy and things will change in your favor!


Kristin December 4, 2008 at 10:07 pm

I currently have two jobs that I don’t want to be doing. I am a photographer, but a documentary photographer and the pay is not steady with that work so I do digital archiving work for two different jobs and I am fortunate to make 100% more than this position pays for most people who even have more experience than me. Knowing that I feel too guilty to leave. I am so unhappy… Believe it or not I actually want to take photos everyday of my life and care for orphan elephants… let me know if you hear of any job openings for that. hah!

Whatever you decide to do I wish you the best of luck and selfishly whatever you decide to do I hope you still blog!


Erin December 4, 2008 at 10:47 pm

Right now I am looking for a remedial job to save up money to pursue my dream, (AND living with my parents). I sacarificed a whole friend-base in Colorado and the beautiful mountains for the opportunity to save money…. It was a live-changing decision, much like the struggle I see you going through. My advice, Take it one day at a time, and when the days of unhappiness are beginning to affect who you know you are then I hate to say it but it’s time for a change. The motto, “It all works out” has helped me have the courage to risk it all for my dreams! I hope this helps!

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. – Emerson


Maggie December 5, 2008 at 12:13 am

I hate it when I come home so tired that I can’t give Bobby attention. It’s really depressing :( I’m usually okay with my job, but it frustrates me when I have to put in facetime (staying late when I have nothing to do just because everyone else is). I’m not really sure what I want to do in the future but I definitely want to have more than one career path. Good for you for pursuing your other interests on the side. Things will get better for you, I’m sure!! You’re incredibly upbeat and motivated and you have so much going for you :)


ttfn300 December 5, 2008 at 8:56 am

hmm, sorry to hear about your day… i’m a firm believer that you should love what you do. i know that sometimes you have to go throw some things (like this job), for money or other circumstances. But never give up on your dream, and continue taking little steps to make it a reality! Keep your chin up, and try to make your current position the most positive experience you can!


limberkimbers December 5, 2008 at 9:51 am

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason… so these experiences are making you stronger and teaching you something along the way. When the time comes to make a change you’ll know :)

About 4 years ago I got a promotion at work that was ultimately the worst thing that could have happened to me. After about 4 months of dreading going into work and then being miserable all day once I got there I got fed up on morning and went home in tears. I had just bought a house but was so unhappy that I wanted to quit. After a long talk with my bf I calmed down and went back to work with the intention of starting to look for something else. The next day I got fired!

In the end it all worked out. Getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me because it put me on the path that I am now and I can honestly say that I’m happy.

Sooner or later you will find that happiness too.


erin September 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I know this comment is a few years too late, but from reading your blog it seems like you have been able to reach the goals that this comic talks about:


My husband sent it to me a few days ago because, like you, I have been having aspirations of an unconventional career and have been struggling with whether it is “ok.” Thank you so much for this blog; I can relate to A LOT of what you write. Please keep giving back :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 3, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Erin, what a sweet comic! Thank you so much for sharing. I am so happy that you enjoy my blog – thank you for leaving such a nice comment!


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