Sense of failure, guilt and permeating lack of self-confidence
(West Salem, WI, USA)
People reflect back to me that I have a lot going for me - a job as a business professor, being smart, married to a good guy, two good daughters, able to communicate well, etc - but I have inescapable sense of feeling bad about myself.
I wonder if it is my job, my boss is very driven and it seems like she keeps me from meaningful work opportunities (but she is great at managing up so the "uppers" think very highly of her so that I don't feel like I can make any waves).
I think about quitting work. I am good at what I do but I do not love it. I used to love it when I was able to participate in meaningful projects like developing a sustainability center and connecting the university with other community organizations around the topic of sustainability. Partially due to my work in bringing sustainability to our department, we hired a PhD (I have my MBA) in Environmental Resources who let me know that she was the sustainability "leader" and that every time I did something related to sustainability, I was doing her job. The dean seems to have taken his hands off the issue, maybe wanting us to work it out and maybe wanting to appease her because we need more PhDs on campus if we want to become accredited for our own PhD program.
What keeps me from quitting work is that I actually did give my notice a year ago. I felt SO good about it for a few days then I had a very intense time, not able to sleep at night, feeling like I had made a bad mistake.
I had become good friends with another faculty member last year. We did things together all throughout the summer and I watched her kids for her. She suddenly stopped talking to me and has not responded to my request to talk about why we are not hanging out anymore. Her office is just down the hall from me (we have a very small department of 15) and she has not spoken to me since August. It is very uncomfortable.
I wish I could say I always had good self-esteem and now is the exception because that would mean that it would be situational and I would only need to wait this out. The truth is that I have always had a very poor concept of myself and yet my expectations or dreams were always so big and earth-changing.
Aside from raising two awesome girls, I feel like my life is mundane and unimportant and that there is something else I have to give, no matter how humble, that would make a difference and that would make me feel like my outer world is in alignment with my inner world or purpose.
Any help would be so appreciated. Has anyone else struggled with a deep lack of self-esteem/confidence and "recovered" :)