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I LOVE my job but I just wish I could do my job

Posted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:28 pm
by MsKahkiV
My story will probably be fairly familiar but I'm struggling at work. My struggle is more emotional and internal then it is that my employer has any issues with me (sorry its long but when I started writing it became therapeutic getting my story out of my brain).

My History: I was diagnosed back in 1980s with Dyspraxia when I was in about 2nd grade, except nobody told me. My parents were in the mental health field and I guess didn't want me to have a stigma attached so just never thought to tell me. Despite my parents not telling me about my diagnosis they did send me to what I guess would be considered occupational therapy (as a kid I thought it was just a play time where I got to practice rollerskating, writing, drawing, etc) for this I'm forever grateful.

In my 20s after being in the workplace and attending college I realized something was just not right. I couldn't get my work done and just had that feeling of no matter how hard I worked I couldn't get what ever I was working on to a place of high quality that I felt capable of. Very reminiscent of school. I went and saw a psychologist and was diagnosed with ADHD. As soon as I learned more about ADHD it was this HUGE aha moment for me. I told my mom about this and she at that time told me oh yeah you were diagnosed with that and dyspraxia when you were a kid. WHAT??!!! Now everything made since about what was "wrong" with me as a kid. I was put on Adderall I think that medicine saved me years of unemployment. Medication is not the answer for everyone but for me it is a lifesaver.

Current Struggle: I'm now in my late 30s and despite my dyspraxia, ADHD, & Dyscalculia I somehow found my way into a career as a Data Scientist. It took me 19 years to finish my 4-year college degree (that is 19 consecutive years of going to school no breaks...granted I did also work full time). At year 17 I had to finally go the alternative learning route and get my BA in "individual studies" where you kind of make up your degree by the multiple courses you taken in areas that together don't add up to a traditional degree. Despite my interest in computer science and analysis I couldn't take the traditional data science route because to get into those courses you need to pass calculus I -III (I tried pre-calc 3x without luck). I settled for a focus on philosophy (epistemology).

Honestly I think I was given the title Data Scientist just to impress clients, I do nothing a traditional data scientist does I just understand databases more then the average analyst so I got the title. I have no clue how to apply techniques and statistics to an analysis I go with my gut feeling on the approach and when I compare my answers with someone who has the proper training we come to same conclusion. The only reason I have the job I have is because I see things in a different way then what a stereotypical "math person" does. My boss likes the connections and hypothesis I make. Now that our company is growing I can't keep up with my work mainly because I don't have that professional training so I'm not efficient. When you throw in ADHD it means I work 12-20 hours a day just to do what someone else could probably do in a 9 hour day. It is taking a toll on my health and mental stability. Despite this I LOVE my job but I just wish I could do my job. I've been very open with my boss and co-workers about my challenges but because I someone how pull off my work they don't pay it much attention, think I'm just hard on myself. They do not know I get up a 4am to start work and I usually don't finish until 10pm or later and I usually end up working most weekends to keep up.

I can't afford any more school and honestly what I need to learn is not taught very well in school for my learning style. My company is bringing in a person to help me with my workload but this person will be senior to me and get to take all the work I like and I will be stuck doing the lower level stuff I find extremely boring. They will also probably get all the credit for the work I've started and built a strong foundation on but can't quite get it where my boss wants it. I can't find another career because I am the only one in my family with a job (my husband was severely injured and hasn't worked in over a year with no signs of improving). If I go to another company I will take a $30,000 pay cut because I don't have the training or knowledge to do the job that pays what I make now. It is so hard that once again no matter how hard I work I'm not good enough to get to the next level. I just want my brain to work and accomplish all the things I can see in my head but just can't figure out how to do or get lost trying to execute them.

Re: I LOVE my job but I just wish I could do my job

Posted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:28 pm
by Tom fod
I hope putting this in wrifing has helped and it does sound familiar but equally quite an extreme example. Comparing yourself and the work you do to an idea of what a 'normal' and working frighteningly long hours at the expense of/risk to your health and wellbeing being is dangerous. What if you have an accident during your journey to/from work. Could shorter working hours and a sensible division of responsibility enable you to focus on the areas where you add value and gain kudos but equally allow you time to be with your husband.

If you're working all the hours to paper over the cracks your management will be unaware there is any problem until it's too late. For your own peace of mind look into how your joband that of your new colleague dovetail and ask questions/make suggestions about your position and division of responsibility so that you both have meaningful roles. Maybe you are misinterpreting your employers' intentions and they are more conscious that they have a duty of care to ensure you have a work life balance.
Please look after yourself and your family too.

Re: I LOVE my job but I just wish I could do my job

Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:29 am
by MsKahkiV
Thanks for your comments You’re right the other colleague they are hiring to help me might actually be someone that can take some burden off me and possibly allow me to focus more energy in things I’m good at. She also has that professional training I feel I’m lacking, so maybe she could be a mentor for me. I was kind of feeling sorry myself earlier. After writing my original post I had a more realistic look at the situation and looked at what can I control to help myself. I can’t “fix” my brain but I could help eliminate some of the distractions in my day that prevent me from focusing and cause me to spend way too much time in the office. I usually have about 4-6 hours of meetings a day which doesn’t give me enough time to get my work done. I can start being stricter with my time and decline meetings that I really don’t need to be at. My work has offered me a private office to use when ever I need to concentrate and I haven’t taken advantage of it enough. With the start of a new year I think it’s a good idea to commit more to a balanced life. Thanks again!

Re: I LOVE my job but I just wish I could do my job

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:46 pm
by Tom fod
Glad I could respond usefully and you're very welcome. Apologies for my tardy response Sometimes posting our thoughts about something in black and white can help us rethink and reassess how to handle the difficulties we're wrestling with/worrying about.

It does sound like your employer values you and seem to be forward leaning. We often are very hard and demanding on ourselves even though our contribution is really valued highly we're comparing ourselves unfavourably with our peers.

All the very best for 2018