Thursday, July 19, 2007

Commitment Phobia

In the past year plus of being on 'sabbatical' from the work-a-day world, I've come to realize what a commitment phobe I am. I don't want to commit to a permanent place to live or commit my time to someone else's mission (as in work) or even commit to watching a television show that is more than half an hour. It's really bad, and the hard part is, when I do commit to something and get into it, I generally get some real satisfaction from it. But the fear of commitment keeps me from jumping in...hence a constant dilemma.

The latest manifestation of commitment phobia popped up yesterday. Recently, I was perusing some job postings online, just to see what was out there these days, and I saw one looking for a writer in the area of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations. The job description sounded like it could be fun, given the right environment, and since one can only tell so much from a written job posting, I decided to send in my resume and a letter to find out more about it.

Ten days later, last night, my phone rang. They want me to come in for an interview. Yikes! I don't know any more about it than I did when I sent the resume, but my commitment phobia is kicking in, and my blood pressure is going up, already. I am like one of Pavlov's dogs. Someone says 'job', and I start to panic.

Dilemma! Do I want to go to work again? Do I want to commit my time to someone else? Could it be the start of a whole new career in writing? After all, that is certainly a change from what I was doing for 20 years that made me so sour on corporate life. Could this be something where I could actually work and find balance of life?

I realize that my fear of commitment stems from my other primary flaw of being a control freak. I fear committment because I know once I commit, something will suck me in and take over my life because I will want to control every aspect of it in order to produce 'perfect' results. And I just don't want that to happen again. If I could do something productive and satisfying, while finding balance in life, that would be the ultimate. But for me, I wonder if that's possible.


SandDancer said...

It should be possible to find that balance but in practice I know very few people who manage it. Personally, I find my phobia of committment also stems from the thought that by choosing one option, I'm closing off others - I can hear those doors of opportunity slamming shut!

I know a few other people in similar circumstances to you, who are comfortable financially but who want to return to work, just not in a full-on way they used to and they are finding it very difficult as if an employer wants them, they want them full-time.

But you should go it with the job - see what happens at the interview at least.

M said...

Yes, I will definitely follow up to learn more, but I will have to strongly define my parameters and stick to them, in terms of what I need as well.

SandDancer said...

I find it annoying that companies expect people to go for interviews on scant information and the attitude tends to very much be that it is all about whether they want you for the job, rather than it as much being whether its right for you.

Good luck with it.

M said...


Agree. But this time I really feel like I'm going to interview them, rather than they me. I have the advantage of not needing the job, which is great.

I agree on your earlier comments about part of the commitment phobia being tied to missed opportunities. I have friends who want me to come back to work with them in my former industry -- for a lot more money than I'm sure this pays -- so that weighs on my mind, too. I'm not yet sure how much of my job satisfaction truly comes from what I'm doing vs. how much money I'm making. It may be more than I realize, and it'll be good for me to find out.