A funny thing happened. My self-esteem moved up a notch or two. I was bolstered by a friend who asked me to come talk to some young people about what I do in my professional life. No PowerPoint, just talking, the way I like it. The young, smart, positive, energetic people actually listened to me talk and *gasp!* said that it was helpful.
I left the hourlong meeting walking on air. I drove with confidence, not clutching the wheel of my little Honda or fretting about lane changes on my way back to the office. I went from sullen to chatterbox. It helped that this was one of the first off-site meetings in a long while that I felt I could attend without first taking some little anti-anxiety pill.
I won't cross the line of talking about my professional life except to say that it has a huge effect on me. I've never been the kind of person who could successfully compartmentalize life. It's all integrated, work is intrinsic to my identity.
Anyway, it's important to feel necessary, and at that moment, I did.
I didn't feel like a liability feeding off of other people. I think I actually contributed some positive energy to the world.