I Am Lonely
There I Said It

I recently left a job with an organization whose mission I love—the American Cancer Society (ACS). This was a hard decision, as the job checked off most of my requirements: 

• Fulfilling mission
• Great teammates
• Interesting work
• Flexibility
• Non-psycho boss
• Passionate volunteers

While working at home, I got in the habit of sleeping until the last minute before logging onto the computer and starting my day—even though, every night, I planned to exercise and do a mindfulness practice upon rising in the morning. 

During the workday, I cherished video calls with my teammates, feeling momentarily fulfilled. However, I could not shake the cloud that kept following me around. My lack of motivation to do things outside of work and disinterest in self-care continued. 

I know things like getting to the gym, having a daily social outing, etc. would have helped me. The problem was getting my mental muscle moving to make it happen. I was in a rut, and the overall feeling of “flatness” was not going away. I faced the reality that the permanent, home-base setup did not work for me. I needed to get out of my house. 

I explored coworking spaces but struggled with the idea of paying a few hundred dollars a month for an office. On occasion, I would go to a favorite restaurant, hunker down and work a couple of hours. That gave me some connection (thanks Pasquale and Uncle Rich), be it short-lived. Every night I would psych myself up, telling myself that tomorrow would be the day to turn it around. And we know where that went—nowhere.

Fortunately, a position became available at the Southern MN Initiative Foundation (SMIF) for work that I love to do, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses. The extra bonus is that SMIF offers a hybrid working model—my favorite working style. At the time of writing, it looks like the new role also checks off all of the requirement boxes—whew! 

Initially, I was embarrassed, sharing with my ACS coworkers that the main reason I was leaving was because “my mental health was taking a hit.” However, upon hearing this, many coworkers said they have the same struggles. 

I am stuck on how to improve the loneliness factor with our new work culture. The reality is that many of us will never return to the environment we had five years ago. One upside of this shift is how home-based working has benefitted working moms. However, for a lot of us, this is a serious mental health conundrum that is not going away anytime soon.


About Author

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Peggy is a mission-driven leader, entrepreneur, social explorer and advocate for all things moving women forward. She is currently employed with the American Cancer Society and is the founder of SheTaxi.

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