How to recover from a bad career year?

**TL;DR** Worked a couple toxic jobs this year and self esteem is ruined and my perception of companies is pretty negative. Accepted a new job that’s not 100% what I want or where I’d like to be in my career to start in a couple weeks, but still emotionally gutted. Not sure to wait out for another role or take it and see if it will be better.

**Background/Rant:** This year has not been great for me, career-wise. Earlier this year, I switched from a highly competitive work environment to a job that presumably was going to be a step up in my career but the company was essentially run like a high school that demanded your self esteem as a measure of success, had poor benefits compared to my previous job and terrible long term rate. Yes, I regretted leaving my job. I knew the new one was a bad fit two weeks in, but I struggled to find another job quick enough so that I wouldn’t absorb the toxicity. I’d dealt with very competitive people in corporate environments (my background is in marketing and sales enablement) where I built a thick skin, but these people were absolutely vicious and petty to one another, reputationally instead of coming for your work.

I left after 4 months when I got an offer in a temp role at a B4 making double per hour of my previous salary. I was emotionally exhausted and gutted. I planned to use the temp role to keep looking for a permanent job and reach some financial goals since my manager was very temperamental and the team wasn’t very welcoming, I thought I could focus on the paycheck. I was fired from that role unexpectedly 3 months later and have been in panic/survival mode since because of the recession, I’d just bought a new car a month prior and I know it takes 3-6 months to find a new job. Completely freaked out. I had some emergency savings in the bank but I didn’t know if I could get unemployment or if job hunting would take even longer bc of the economy.

I’ve been applying for jobs daily and I was able to find a full time job that’s an OK for now role. It starts in two weeks. I also was granted unemployment after a month of a waiting period and fighting with the staffing agency that placed me with the B4 company.

My self esteem is in the gutter and it has been almost all year. I was made to feel wrong and bad for having confidence in myself and doing well in my work, I was made to feel like a leper because I didn’t surrender my self esteem to essentially grown up mean girls/boys and I wasn’t treated that well as a temp either; people treated me as if they didn’t want to work with me at all and I got canned for that.

Being at the mercy of whomever gives you a job is a really terrible feeling as well. I’ve thought maybe people were right, that I shouldn’t demand decent treatment, respect or to be properly compensated for my skills because the rug is going to get pulled out from me or someone won’t like me and that means my job will be gone the next day. Over the past couple months, I’ve largely felt I needed to take what I could get because I wasn’t sure how long I was going to be unemployed. I’ve had horrible experiences with temp agencies and just jobs that have red flags to me but I’ve overlooked bc of the market right now.

Job rejections still feel like a huge sting to me for some reason, even though in the past it didn’t phase me, I’d accept it and move on because I knew that the right fit was around the corner. I find myself now begging to take jobs that I know aren’t a fit or trying to negotiate when I’ve already been rejected, which in retrospect is insulting. Overall, I have a horrible taste in my mouth for these companies.

Some things are working out for me, but I have just felt so torn down this year that I feel as though I don’t have a right to ask for what I want or stand up for myself bc I’ll get treated like shit or feel like I’ll go broke if I do. I’m not sure if it’s better to just take an extended break, wait out for roles that are really what I want or just go back to work and hopefully I can build back up some confidence.

Any tips on what to do next? Or how to get out of this rut?



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