ASK ROBIN: A SHARED EXPERIENCE COLUMN

"I'm almost a year sober and feel stuck in my job. It was fine when I was actively using and drinking, but now I'm wanting to explore other options. I don't know where to start. Have you felt like this?"

-Suck in a Job

Dear Stuck in a Job, 

First off, you are NOT alone in this feeling. At one point in my early recovery, I felt exactly like you do. I was working at a corporate job, and my day-to-day was as titillating as drying paint. Every morning I’d come to work, sit in my cubicle, eat a strawberry yogurt, and cry. Not in a dramatic way—more in a silently suffering, I’m bored out of my mind and I have eight hours to go sort of way. Even my crying from boredom was boring.

This was the problem: I had gone from numb oblivion to excruciating awareness of every. Single. Moment. My disease ravaged me, but it was also exciting. I had replaced that roller coaster with … nothing. A close friend in recovery pointed this out. “Do something that scares you!” she said. “Write down the top things a killer career would give you—things you don’t necessarily think you deserve or can get—and start there.” She called it a “life audit*.”

So I did it. One Sunday, instead of moping around dreading the upcoming work week, I met my undesirable feelings with action. This is a recovery trick I’ve learned: I often act my way to better feeling.

I grabbed a pack of Post-its and a Sharpie, and wrote one “impossible” dream on each square. I challenged myself to generate 100 ideas (it was really hard after the first twenty), things I never dared to say out loud. Some dreams were small (I don’t want to work in a room without windows), some were grandiose (I want to change the world for the better at scale), and some were ridiculous (I want to work from another planet).

From there, I was able to extract a few of my career must-haves: the ability to make a lasting social impact; financially support my family; work with a brilliant, compassionate team; and help others with my condition. I wanted to feel independent, creative, challenged, and a little scared. Using these insights as guideposts, I plotted my next move. I started a role as an intern at a design studio, and slowly worked my way to founding Workit Health. My role and career, almost two decades later, answer my must-have list down to the last detail.

Unstuck, if this sounds like a drag, I understand. Post-it parties are not for everyone! My advice is to interview people you admire *in recovery* about how they got to where they are today. If you don’t know people in recovery, throw a comment in our Workit Facebook forum; social media is a good place to get started. Ask all the “dumb” questions, maintain a beginner’s mind, and write your thoughts down. Stop focusing on the feelings and start leaning into action; it works if you work it, every time.

I hope this helps, Stuck in my Job. I believe in you!

 

Warm regards, 

Robin McIntosh

CEO and Co-Founder

 

*Recently I caught this article outlining my friend’s life audit technique from long ago; it seems the world has caught up to our recovery ways! 

TLTR? My quick scan recovery tips:

  • Friends in recovery. Mine save my life daily.
  • Externalize the internal. Get those dreams OUT!
  • Act your way out of negative feelings.
  • It works if you work it.  🙂
Robin McIntosh

Who is Robin?

Robin McIntosh is Workit Health’s CEO and Co-Founder. She’s been in recovery from addiction for over 14 years, and founded Workit Health with the goal of building a better recovery experience for people who are still struggling with addiction.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. Workit Health, Inc. and its affiliated professional entities make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.

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