Why do I feel guilty making my own decisions?

(Just a quick note for any potential employers who may read this – don’t worry, I’ll turn up to any interview you may offer me. I’m only applying for jobs I actually want now…_

Today, I had a job interview that I cancelled last minute and didn’t show up to. It wasn’t because I couldn’t be bothered, or that I wanted to go do something else, or that I got anxious (although that can happen to me) I just knew it wasn’t right for me. However, I’m still thinking about everyone else’s opinions 3 hours after I’ve made that decision – why?

Let me give you some context: I’m 21, and I’m temping at the moment, after chucking in a job that was contributing to a lot of stress and illness back in August. This was a full time retail job that didn’t offer me any realistic career progression and I had been doing for almost a year with decreasing passion. I was signed off by my doctor and after a complicated few weeks travelling, I started temping.

I’m actually quite enjoying temping. It’s giving me some work experience, the money isn’t bad and my recruitment agent is brilliant. I like that I’ve got time to figure out what it is I want to do long term whilst not feeling tied down anywhere awful. But I can’t keep at it forever, I’ve got plans to get on with! I made a commitment to myself that the next permanent job I took would be in a field I enjoy, good enough money for me to start the next chapter of my life and wouldn’t jeopardise my health.

So as I sat in my car this morning, ready to turn one way out of a junction and drive off to an interview for a management role at a clothes store 30 mins away from my house, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I got about 5 minutes of the way there and turned round to go home instead – I can’t take a job in a sector I don’t enjoy, for too little money and a large risk of me getting too stressed and pressured again. Retail makes me hate the world. I don’t want to feel like that again, so no ta. An interview would just waste everyone’s time.

I went home and applied for some real jobs I might actually enjoy, and applied for a part time course that will help me on the way to my chosen career path, so it wasn’t a waste. So why, oh why, are the “just go and see how you feel” comments still floating around my head?

It was really tough to decide not to go to this interview, but I couldn’t get hold of anyone close to me and the internet wasn’t giving me the answers I wanted. I was looking for permission to bail – even though I knew what was right for me. I’d spoken to people earlier and voiced my doubts who could see my worries, but advised I went just in case. Well, I didn’t. I may have missed an opportunity I suppose, but I’m pretty sure I saved some time and an awkward feeling of settling for something I didn’t want. Again.

Why, at 21, do I feel the need to be affirmed in my decisions? I can pay my own bills, drive my own car, choose what I want and what I don’t want. Why do I need others to help me take appropriate action?

I feel like this post should come to some resounding conclusive thought, but it won’t. The quick answer is I don’t know why this was so difficult for me, and I don’t like that it was. But one thing is for sure – I said no to something I really, really didn’t want to do. And although that might be tiny, I’m really bloody happy that I did.

3 thoughts on “Why do I feel guilty making my own decisions?

  1. shortsharkshop says:

    Well done for making that decision. It was really brave of you!

    I’m also jobhunting at the moment so I know the feeling. Unfortunately I don’t actually know what I want to do, so the fact that you have a field in mind is excellent, and if you’re going to wake up every morning to do something it might as well be something that you don’t dread. I know how it feels to need that validation off family and friends when you’ve already made a decision. I quit an internship a few months back because it was making me really depressed, and I felt scared that my parents would be disappointed in me, but I’d been feeling so miserable so I just quit, and honestly it was the best decision for me. Likewise, you shouldn’t feel guilty about not going to an interview for a job that you felt wasn’t right for you. I know it’s hard to shut those feelings off, but one day you’ll be in a job you love and this day won’t even matter! 🙂

    You’re right in only deciding to apply for jobs you want, and it’s your life so you need to do what makes you feel comfortable!

    Best of luck with the jobhunting! I hope you find something you love soon 🙂


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