Kristina honey, I read your post and honestly have absolutely nothing to say. I can't convince you to stay in the field, because I know how you feel. I have been job hunting for about 2 years - and STILL haven't found what I'm looking for.
Let me tell you of my experiences.
I left full-time nursing with the same mindset that you have right now. I got a job at an insurance company - a salaried position that paid $3 more an hour than I was making at the hospital. I worked M-F, 8-4, got free lunch, and carpooled with my husband. I got to wear normal, professional clothes instead of stinky, wrinkly scrubs
. Was I happy? Within the first 3 months, I knew I wasn't. I found that my work was very dull - I didn't mind sitting behind a desk, although I did gain 15 lbs, but I found that I was also working next to 50 year old crotchy females who were doing the same job I was (record review). This company promoted from within, so chances are that I was working with a person who simply climbed the ladder, without any formal education. I wasn't recognized as a nurse, had to listen to essentially uneducated people tell me what kind of medical problem these insurance applicants had, etc. It was a living nightmare. I searched for a job for about a year, and could not find a thing. I finally decided that the job was SO bad that to go back to nursing in the interim was better. So I got another per diem gig at a small community hospital, thinking I had the upper hand here. I could regulate my hours, didn't have to work holidays and all that crap, and this particular hospital was MUCH better than the large teaching hospital that I worked at since grad. I have been doing this now for about 8 months and found it is just the same. To get 40 hours, I have to flex between all 3 shifts - and when I am there, (especially at the teaching hospital) we get cracked up moms, overtime, etc. It still sucks, even when it's not on Christmas Eve or the weekends.
Then there are the times, like Friday, a 12 hour shift, where my patient was SO complementary to me and made me feel good about myself. I didn't even think I was doing all that great of a job, and here she said "I was so glad I got you as a nurse - you are so kind and thorough" Funny thing was, I picked HER! She had a nice labor, beautiful delivery, etc. And then I liked my job.
May 7 I am starting a new full time job at a clinic. I basically will be a phone nurse, taking requests for Rx refills and calling them into pharmacies. M-F 9-5, no holidays, weekends, etc. Crappy pay, but pretty good for a clinic. I will always work per diem in labor and delivery, to keep up my skills, and because a part of me loves it. But still, the clinic isn't really want I want to do either. I decided that what I really want is just a job - just a job that gives me a paycheck to keep my lifestyle that I have and enjoy my LIFE. My life, meaning my husband, family, my home, gardening, travel, maybe children one day. THAT is what is important, which is what allowed me to accept this phone nurse position. Is it challenging? Doesn't seem to be. Does it allow me to have a life? Yes. From what I hear, all the nurses are very happy there. I can wear my own fun scrubs and do my hair and wear SOME makeup (as compared to 3rd shift)
Ultimately, I think I want to get my Masters and teach in the community (prenatal care, or sexual assault prevention) That would be more interesting - but again, all I really want in life is a wonderful family - my job is really nothing to me. Going to school might even be too much effort. I just want to live and collect a paycheck. A clinic will let me do that.
So basically, Kristina, what I have learned is that in EVERY job there is some crap no matter what profession. I have learned not to find happiness or satisifaction in ANY job that I have because I will forever be sorely disappointed. My life is outside of work and will always be. My suggestion to you is find a nice little nursing job that you can tolerate, maybe swallow a paycut, and try to change your mindset. Allow yourself to live your life.
I hope this helps you.