I’m a brand strategy director in the Midwest with two kids and a handful of pets.
When I was a young strategist, a very toxic boss put me in a position where I felt (and I honestly was) set up to fail. As a perfectionist, I tried to do everything I could to succeed despite my discomfort and my lack of experience, but the anxiety ate me alive. I had felt worried and panicked, didn’t sleep, and didn’t eat. I then fell into a hole of depression because my work and my identity were so wrapped together.
I eventually sought therapy, and my doctor also started me on anti-anxiety medication. In seeking help, I learned how much I was sacrificing my mental health in order to try to please this boss and that I needed to work on figuring out who I was outside of work. I ended up leaving the job.
I’ve learned that who I am and what I do are two different things and that boundaries are so important. I’ve also learned to be very picky about who I work for, and understanding the culture of the workplace is a huge part of the interview process for me.