When the Glass Ceiling Becomes the Glass Prison

March 02, 2015

Connect Member

The Financial Whisperer: untangling your emotions from your money.


Sometimes the day comes when you wake up and feel bewildered as to where you are. You just know that you are anywhere but happy. That moment is the tipping point of awareness that some things in life are just not working anymore.

When the day came for me, it wasn’t just a slight speed bump distracting me. It wasn’t a small problem that would run its course and be over, like my daughter not getting into the Ivy League school of her choice, or my son telling me he was quitting school to travel around the world on his skateboard, or my sister informing me that our mother needed to move to a retirement facility for full-time care.

No — an undefined, yet powerful feeling that I was “done” had overtaken me. I was beyond fed up and beyond something that a week’s vacation in Barbados would normally cure.

I was numb.

I only had the energy to climb back into bed and try to sleep. Even sleep was difficult because that nagging feeling of constraint wouldn’t disappear. The house was empty except for my shaggy dog Mollie.   

I spent the morning not on the treadmill (an interesting metaphor), but drinking tea, watching repeats of Downton Abbey, and ignoring my texts.

I had everything I asked for: President of a division that has an eye-popping annual budget, awards and photo ops adorning the office walls, an elevated lifestyle, and all the trappings of a successful executive.

So what happened to me? Burnout?

What happens when we’ve reached for a goal that sounds full of the promise of happiness, but lose sight of that happiness once we’ve finally achieved the goal?

I had to ask myself, in this expanding window of self-awareness, what has driven me? Did I have to compromise the very things I valued in order to reach the top?

How do I make peace with the daunting, vaporized feeling that nothing I do is ever good enough, and that there is always more to do?

The answers are inside of us. We just need to give ourselves permission and the tools to uncover our truths.

If you are feeling this way, here are some questions and suggestions to ask yourself in order to uncover answers. Get a pen and notepad.

1. Pretend you won the lottery. Ask yourself what you would do instead of what you do now. Living your passion daily feeds your soul. Putting out fires rather than doing what you love is manageable when it’s not a daily occurrence, but when the scales tip the other way, and you become a full-time firefighter versus a weekend volunteer, it starts to eat away at your core, numbing your spirit and creativity.

2. Assess how you use your time. Do you feel you have enough to manage comfortably without adding stress? (No female executive or working mom ever feels she has enough time!)

3. How well do you nurture yourself? Do you even sleep well?

4. When did you stop enjoying your job?

5. List all of your gripes from anywhere in your life. Women are notorious for sidestepping their anger and rationalizing it away. Your anger can go away, but it takes you connecting with your authentic self and doing the work, once and for all, that will put you back in control.

Is it time for an exit strategy?

Finding what really makes your life satisfying and making a plan to actualize it, as well as monetize it, will make you more powerful in a nurturing way. You already have a lot of power. What you need is to feel connected to yourself once and for all.

Pegi Burdick is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.

Find tools to help you on your journey of getting control of your life on my site. And, you can sign up for your 30-minute free session and get my free e-book by signing up for my newsletter at www.thefinancialwhisperer.com. twitter: @emotionandmoney.