Working with migraine: Ah yes, work goals and ambitions

Have too much ambition_ On the fast track and don't know how to get off_Try migraines.

It is that time of the year to assess my skills and reflect on my career goals in order to have a productive conversation of said goals with my manager.  It is an amusing exercise from the get-go.  My enduring ambition is simply to maintain full-time work and that is a damned hard goal to keep up with.

It is amusing because all the qualities that make me approachable to customers, my smile and humor and whatnot, are all simply my outward mask to get through the day.  Definitely genuine but still all part of the facade.  So, of course, there is that contrast: smile on the outside, scream on the inside.  Then there are the goals themselves as if I have been even capable of having any long-term goals or career aspirations in a very long time.  Obviously, I want to maintain the status quo, rather than go back to the hell of fearing I would lose my job altogether.  Yet with management, it is best to talk the talk, which I do well enough. But Maintain is my goal.

Really though having the ambition to maintain my career and full-time work is no small matter.  I was told not too long ago that I should not hold my self-worth dependent on my job and yet don’t we all?  We spend more time with co-workers than we do with the family in a day, so we ought to enjoy the work, want to do it well and have a sense of pride in doing it well.  So, of course, it defines a significant part of who we are.  That is important enough to me.  Now, sure, I would say I am not an ambitious person but that is because I am not capable of being ambitious.  Because I am also defined by my illness and must abide its limitations or suffer the consequences.

I do fondly remember a time when I simply dealt with chronic pain and not chronic migraines when I thought my illness did not define me and I could still do what I wanted to do as long as I acknowledged my limitations   Ah, what a sweet time that was.  I did not even refer to myself as disabled.  That was a very painful lesson to learn for certain, but nevertheless, I always maintained that I could find a career, if not the one I had aimed for in my studies, then one that I could be motivated to do, engaged in and intellectually challenged.  And that is true, I can find such employment but maintaining it is a constant struggle.  No wonder I want to hold onto that one last ambition as long as I can… and save as much money as I can just in case that does not work for me.

This sort of thing reminds me how different my worldview is.  I can be determined, focused and positive all I want, but I must constantly be aware of the price of pain, pushing myself beyond my limits and acknowledging my goals may be simple but they are far harder to attain. And Maintaining the ultimate goal because my health could decline at any moment and then there that goes again. The pain makes it so difficult to maintain that is is the ultimate of goals in my mind.



  1. I have always worked, although I have reinvented myself and my working career several times over thirty some years. I do know it is easy to get your self worth wrapped up in What You Do for a Living. I'm so much more than that, and so are you! I understand the bullheadedness in going forward regardless because there aren't many choices!!!! However, there is difference from taking pride in doing a job/profession well and that job/profession being the only thing you focus on at work and outside of work. When you get old like me work just isn't enough.


  2. Your post resonated with me… though I haven't been able to work at all, since my chronic pain began a few years ago. Your goals may be harder to attain, but you can still re-frame your goals and strive toward them. Try not to define yourself too much by your job or your illness, though I know that those 2 things are probably major parts of your life, so it's hard. I haven't figured out how to re-define myself yet. Keep searching and writing. Blessings.


  3. I have a lot of guilt about not working and recently wrote about it in my blog. But I think it is saving me. I tried to get disability and couldn't, so I am in a precarious finacial situation. But it is worth it for now.

    I relate to the search for re-defining yourself–not too much by what you do and not too much by your illness. It is an interesting search. I love reading your honest, straight forward, courageous posts.


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