It's hard that everyone thinks I'm fine all the time. And when I'm not they say I will be fine. Because I always am.
It's interesting that I hate that because it is actually how I operate. I know the reality is that things are bad and will be bad. But I also have to sustain an optimism that it will have to be ok. I couldn't exist if I didn't believe that. But it doesn't mean I don't fall apart.
Ask a strong person why they are.
I was born with some of this, I know that. But the traumas I experienced growing up and through now have necessitated and compounded it.
I've never felt like I experienced a long bout of depression, short ones probably. But I've never acknowledged any amount of it. I don't exhibit all of the traits – I don't push people away. I just don't have many people close enough to reach out to. I've also experienced a lot of disappointment in people... I can't risk it anymore. I can't risk asking someone to be here to hear that it's inconvenient for what has been too many times.
But I do experience briefer periods, and this week it's happening. I'm in it, and saw it growing. I'm not ok right now. I will be, just not right now. I need people to let that be the case and stop expecting me to be ok, and stop expecting me to take care of it myself. When I say I'm not ok I'm saying I don't know why I'm here. When I say I'm not ok I'm asking for help. The kind where someone is literally here for me, giving me hugs and love. Just because I've made it this far without doesn't mean I don't need it too.
When people ask me about my work history I have a lot of stories I could tell. I could talk about the job where I made some of the best friends I still have. Where I met some of the most unfriendly people in New York who were mean and bad to me. The job where I learned what advertising was, how to get ahead, how not to get ahead, and how systemic racism is in the industry.
I could talk about the job where I saw what good and bad management looked like, learned how to work within product teams, and became a feminist after experiencing significant sexism. I could talk about the job where I lived the closest to a sorority lifestyle I'll ever get, and experienced one of the many cocktails of how a startup can fail.
I could talk about the job where I just wasn't set up to succeed. Where other people's insecurities kept me from doing the things I love and am good at. I could talk about the job where despite how much I spoke out against sexist and racist behaviors they still informed hiring and daily life. The job where I was hired for my extraordinary product skills and yet astounded people when I simply held an efficient meeting.
Instead I laugh off the question of why I left all of that behind.
"I don't make a great employee :)"
My grandfather, an ex-marine, always says he never would have made it in the private sector – he'd get fired too much. After being let go twice and quitting a few jobs just because, I can very much relate.
It's true. I don't make a good employee. I can see what's wrong and I will always try to fix it. In the countless interviews I've done at startups and companies across New York over the past few years I became very good at pointing out what exact details of a situation would lead to my demise. Whether it was how someone treated me in an interview, the company org structure or compensation package. I have plenty of stories about all of those.
But I took some sort of pride in wanting to make it work. Someone once told me they were amazed that despite my ability to critically assess these situations I somehow continued to want to get a job somewhere. Maybe it was just that I really enjoy working on a product, with a team. Whatever it was, I'm also not a believer in starting a company for the sake of it. I believe in solving problems.
It just so happened that in my last, defeated, batch of free time I began to solve a problem. And generated a fantastic opportunity. In the most natural progression of events that could probably have happened, I began starting a company and roped in so many great people to help along the way. We're in the earliest of stages, working on our very first beta. And having raised some angel funding, I am going to focus on making it as wildly successful as it can possibly be.
Today is my last day working for someone else. Hopefully for a very long time.