I am ambitious and lazy. Is NoVA for me? (Alexandria: home, transfer to)
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So I continue to oscillate between loving DC and wanting to high-tail it out of here, after first telling everyone in my office to bite me (but not as nicely).
Depending on the day, I self-diagnose myself with anxiety, depression, adult ADD, narcissism (must. get. over. myself.) or SAS (surrounded by a-holes syndrome).
And then the next day, everything is great and how could I ever think about leaving?
So I'm thinking...my real issue is that I'm lazy. I've spent my entire life trying not to be lazy -- excelling in school, fulfilling obligations, scoring prestigious internships, competing for awards, competing for top jobs, competing for promotions....
And I'm tired.
Because deep down, I'm not a type A go-getter. I mean, I want to be successful and be known for doing great things. But I'm LAZY. I want to sleep until noon, spend a few hours writing, and while away the rest of the day at a street cafe.
I've been passed over for promotion several times recently, and I suspect this year will be the same. Because I've decided that I'm unwilling to do what it takes to climb to the top. I am happy at my level. Until I look around and see all the people with less experience pulling way ahead of me. Then I'm full of angst and anxiety.
I like leisurely walks in Old Town Alexandria and the area around Eastern Market.
I like shopping at Tysons and Pentagon City.
I like sitting at Busboys and Poets for hours and hours, reading and people-watching.
I don't like waking up at 6:00. Especially since as a night owl, I rarely am able to go to sleep before 2:00.
I don't like spending my days either trapped in a cubicle (soul-sucking) or forced to network (exhausting for an introvert).
I don't like the pervasive sense that no matter how high the quality of my work is, I will never get ahead if I don't learn how to kiss the right behinds and make sure everyone knows how AWESOME and IMPORTANT I am.
I know this forum tends to be deeply divided between people who love DC and NoVA and people who hate it with the passion of a thousand burning suns. But what about the people in between?
Has anyone else dealt with the certainty that there must be a life out there that's more suited to your personality, but you're afraid to go after it because you hate taking risks?
I think if I'm going to leave, I need to do it NOW. The velvet handcuffs are starting to turn to gold, and then I'll be stuck for the long run.
But I have no idea where to go or what to do. "Ambitious but lazy, will sleep for food" might not pay the rent.
I am much like you but, older I think, and probably MORE lazy than you think you are.
You are just an introvert and we get the short-shaft of things most of the time. It does get tiring being around a bunch of incompetent extroverts all day, but there it is. And I think you'll find it everywhere if you have to work. I don't think it is just a side effect of this place, it is everywhere to some degree.
I am fortunate in that *most* of the places of worked, after a time, my superiors have come to appreciate me, and get past my introvertedness. I now work for the federal government and there are so many more people around me that it is harder, but I've got a big SES boss that is a HUGE introvert herself, and that doesn't hurt. I've also been able, by nature of the work I do, to make connections with people in other offices who, after a few years, have come to see that I do really good work and the like my even-keeled personality. I won't lie though: my lack of butt-kissing has definitely slowed my progression down. Not only the butt-kissing but just pushing my way out in front, which I don't do, has hindered me. I don't care. It's me. But I never thought that the issues would be solved in another area. I think this is a societal thing and it happens everywhere.
Last edited by ChristineVA; 07-09-2012 at 05:10 AM..
Personally, I think you are attaching your unhappiness to a location, when, it sounds like, you should be re-evaluating your career choice. You seem miserable working in a corporate environment, and no location change will help that.
Sit down and truly examine what your passion is. Is it writing? Is that your career? If not, make it so. Use your ambition to pursue whatever you are passionate about. This can be done from any location.
Good post, OP. You don't see that kind of brutal honesty much in these parts. I don't know you but you don't seem all that lazy to me. Just like you said that there are people who love DC/NOVA to death and those who hate it, you fall in between those two. You also fall between lazy unmotivated loser with nothing going for them and super-ambitious type A who made straight A's throughout school and immediately got their perfect job and have moved up and up.
Rather than self-diagnose yourself with all those various personality disorders, I think you'd be best served to stop living your life for other people and live it for yourself. You want to be successful, but is that because you actually want that for yourself or is that so others can see you as successful? Don't you think you could be truly happy just doing your thing? Or is it that you feel that you have so much potential that it would be a waste to just coast, and you don't want to let anyone down?
Those are just some of the things that come across my brain reading your post...
"Ambitious but lazy, will sleep for food"--I am going to steal that!
I too applaud your candor.
I can relate, somewhat. I'm lazy (but a morning person), but I'm not that ambitious. I don't love my job, but I need it for us to be able to live here. And yeah, I hate playing the game of self-promotion and sycophancy. I can grudingly pull off the former (e.g., on performance reviews), but the latter I just can't do. I loathe butt-kissers, and I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees. (OK, that's a little grandiose, but you get what I mean.)
Back to you: What do you love doing? What are you interested in?
The lifestyle you aspire to can be had, but probably not in this region, due to the cost of living. If writing is what you love, then you could move somewhere cheaper and tend bar at night, then write in the afternoon. Unless you're lucky enough to be a software developer or anaesthesiologist, in which case you can pretty much dictate your own hours. The only other careers I can think of that may let you work nights are police officer, nurse, and chef. You could be an overnight radio DJ--I did this at a couple of places--but it pays next to nothing, it's monotonous, and working midnight to 6AM is a major lifestyle change.
Life is short. If you're not married and don't have kids, then there's nothing to stop you from going for it. At the same time, you have to be somewhat practical, in that you'll always need a job that pays enough to keep you afloat. Have a backup plan so you don't end up at age 65 with no savings and a pile of rejected novels.
Christine, hard to believe you're an introvert!
Last edited by Carlingtonian; 07-09-2012 at 07:05 AM..
I am what I am!! I have learned to fight it and, in my ripe old age, I can put on an "act" so people don't really know it.
I am a very social introvert though in that I do like to have friends and interact. I'm not one of those "living in the basement with 20 years worth of newspapers and a few cats" introverts.
But I'm quiet, reserved, and in the workplace you'll never know that I hate you because I put on a great mask. It's taken me years to force myself "out" and I don't overly enjoy it but I want to make money.
I can relate, though minus the achievement in my youth. My educational career through high school had peaks and valleys, mostly valleys; I barely graduated. I did the community college route for a year, got grades that were high enough to transfer to a four year college, and almost flunked out my first year.
Now admittedly, the deck was a little stacked against me. The college I went to had fraternities and sororities living on campus, they had their own floors in residence halls, and one of the fraternities didn't have enough members living on campus to fill up their floor, so I wound up living with them. To add to that, my roommate was 22 years old; he was an exchange student from a country where you could basically drink upon exiting the womb. I was not mature enough at 19 years old to handle these circumstances, with disastrous results.
What really turned it around for me was my summer job(s) the summer after my sophomore year. I worked two of them at once, desperate for spending money. Doing maintenance at a golf course starting at 5:00 a.m., home for a quick shower, then on to an upscale food place to slice deli meats and make sandwiches in the afternoon/evening. 14 hour days, all summer. That was enough to wake me up and realize I wanted something a little better, and I managed very good grades the rest of college.
Like someone else posted, I have a nice job with the Federal Government. I like the people I work for and with, for the most part. But some days, I just can't bring myself to function that well as the job can be monotonous. Since I'm married and have a pair of kids, just quitting to pursue something more exciting for far less pay isn't an option, and most of the days are enjoyable. Sadly, my director was working on a promotion for myself and a co-worker to reward us for some exceedingly difficult work we had tackled over the past year, but she got canned (transferred) after getting into an argument with the higher-ups. Since then, I've been less motivated since I feel like my career advancement has been temporarily derailed by politics, but I should probably get used to that, being a Fed.
Anyway, I really sidetracked there into my own personal situation, but I understand what you mean. I'm somewhat of a go-getter as long as I have a defined goal to work towards, but struggle when it's just day-to-day work. Like you, I'd much rather get up late and stroll around doing whatever, but that doesn't pay the bills around Nova, and I love Nova.
I've posted this before, but I think it's still relevant:
I can relate to the OP. I'm an introvert too, but I've been fortunate to work with managers who looked at your work and not care if you're a "yes man". I'm a laid back person too who can spend hours under the shade reading a book for entertainment. DC life isn't for me permanently, but it is something that I'll do for a while because it's good for the career and the savings account. I remember in school taking those tests to see what you'd like to do when you grew up. I was supposed to be a park ranger or a veterinarian. It's a far cry from the Sr. Systems Engineer position I've got myself into. My job pays my bills, but it does not define me. So I've segregated my world into "work life" and "real life". What happens in "work life" stays there and I try my best not let it intrude into "real life".
And those are just some of the ones that a single name is good enough to identify...
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