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Old 11-02-2007, 11:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

I just posted this in the Crickets section because it specifically has to do with my "up there" age, but I figure I might as well put it here too since it's also about frustration and life sucking and all. So, here you go:

Hey, everybody. So I seriously think I may have set an all-time record for lack of participation in the work-force, unless you count career criminals, the mentally retarded and people committed to institutions. I'm in my mid-30s and have no work experience other than a handful of part-time jobs during my college days and one full-time gig seven years ago that lasted just short of a year. I've pretty much given up on having any sort of normal career path by now, not that I was ever very keen on the idea in the first place. I have very little ambition in that regard. The only "productive" thing I'm interested in is art and I've been hopelessly blocked and and stifled in that area for years. Luckily, I have no family to support, so I've been able to just get by monetarily by being extremely frugal and slowly chipping away at a reasonable sum of money I have saved up in a high interest-bearing account. I'm sure I could live like this for at least another decade, but I'm finding it harder and harder to fight off the nagging feeling that I'm wasting my life.

Up to now, I've always relied on a lazy-man's nihilistic attitude about work. I don't put all that much stock in careers as a form of self-fulfillment. I think most people have them just to make money (which is an obvious necessity) and to busy themselves until they can finally retire and die. I fear I might have finally outgrown this particular defense mechanism, however, and perhaps that's a good thing. Hiding from the normal goings-on of society for so many years has really done a number on my psyche. I feel like I can't relate to 99% of humanity anymore and that it would be next to impossible for me to plunge back into the rat race.

Seriously, what would an employer think of someone my age who can barely talk to other people and has a work record with more massive gaps than Canyonlands National Park? So what if I have a B.A., they'll still think I'm a loser/weirdo/psycho because no "normal" person would live they way I have for the past decade-and-a-half. I'd have to struggle painfully to explain myself and that would just be ridiculous. I can barely even talk to people as it is. I know they have special "back-to-work" programs for people recently released from prison and those re-integrating into society after spending time at the state mental facility. Why don't they have such a thing for sensitive people like me who just want to give normal life another shot in as gentle and painless a way as possible? Sadly, I think the only way someone in my position could ever find a job would be to have an "in" somewhere through a friend of family member. Well, I have no friends and my family is incapable of understanding anything about me, so it looks like I'm out of luck.

Anyway, that said, is there anyone else out there who can challenge me for the title of King of the Insanely Avoidant Weirdos? I'd hate to think that I'm really the supreme champion I imagine myself to be. There's gotta be someone else out there at least this *****ed up. Anyone? And any advice? Please help!
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Old 11-03-2007, 01:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

Have you ever thought of selling your art? Or starting some home based computer business that deals with art, like web design or something similar. At least if your passion is art then you will enjoy your job if it involves something of that nature. There are also lots of correspondence courses out there if you need to study further.

Good luck, it's never too late I believe.
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

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Originally Posted by Anachiel
Have you ever thought of selling your art? Or starting some home based computer business that deals with art, like web design or something similar. At least if your passion is art then you will enjoy your job if it involves something of that nature. There are also lots of correspondence courses out there if you need to study further.

Good luck, it's never too late I believe.
Hi. Thanks for the reply. I'm light years away from being able to sell any art right now, but if I can ever get to the point where I'm satisfied with my abilities, I have many many ideas I'd like to pursue. The problem is my emotional problems tend to get the best of me and block me from progressing at anything more than a snail's pace. I'd really like to talk to other people facing similar issues. Maybe I'll post something about it over in the Arts section of this board.
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

Blokt, I'm in a very similar situation. I have such a blotchy work history, mostly just a few months here and there, mostly part-time, all low-wage and menial. Like you, I never valued any of the work I did or saw importance in it, so it was always easy to leave. And of course SA and depression made it that much easier. It seemed I could get away with it in my 20's, but I just turned 30 and now I'm starting to worry about the rest of my life as well. Like you, I also feel my passion lies in the arts, but right now I lack the confidence/discipline to turn it into a career, though I still chip away at it.

In the last job I had, I basically lied about several years of work experience. It worked. They didn't check my references. Some places will do this and it's possible to fill in these gaps until hopefully you can find a permanent job. It's just a way to get your foot in the door when you have gaps like this and you can get real experience behind you. Have you thought about just making up experience for interviews?
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Old 11-08-2007, 01:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

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Have you thought about just making up experience for interviews?
Ha! I've considered that but I don't have the confidence to pull it off. I've also considered pretending like I'm younger because age really seems to matter to people these days for some asinine reason and people can be quite judgmental if your life experience (as defined by them) doesn't match the length of time you've been sitting on this planet. But obviously that would be impossible to do in a job situation where they require ID and all that. The thing is, I attended a few community college classes earlier this year and everyone I met thought I was in my early 20s, so that got me kinda fantasizing about literally "starting over" from that point in my life. If I were more adventurous, that'd be a really interesting experiment to try out.
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Old 11-08-2007, 02:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

That would be great if one day you could make money off of your art, but yea I don't know much about it either.

You mentioned criminals who just got out of prison who get jobs...I heard what they mostly do is work in kitchens, believe it or not o_O Maybe since you make such little money, you could qualify for government scholarships or loans and take culinary arts classes at community colleges.
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Old 11-08-2007, 07:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

I have no answers or anything helpfull for you, but here is all I know. I have no work experience. I know that I need to, but I just cant see myself with a "real" job. As much of a life I dont have right now, working everyday just to make money to go home and continue to be depressed, lonely and wanting to die, no friends or anything to spend it on, that just dont seem like its worth living. My art is my life, its my only survival and it is the only thing that can save me from voluntary death.
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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You know I get really upset with society in general especially with government bodies when it's obvious that so many people in the world suffer from SA and there is nothing out there that helps people with SA get into the jobs they want (some sort of government assistance). It's not like people with SA are no hopers or don't want to work, it's just that SA is just as much a crippling disorder as a person who is physically handicapped. There are only the selected few who get assistance because their illnesses seem valid enough but SA just doesn't seem to be a valid enough reason for the govt. to do anything about it. So we are really are on own on this one. I work but I wouldn't say it was my chosen career choice either and I know for sure if I didn't have SA I definately would have been doing something a lot more exciting than what Im doing now. SA stuffed my career choices up for me also, especially having the hyperhidrosis problem I have, so I know how frustrating it can be when you are in this situation. It doesn't seem fair does it? Well all that is really left is hope, just keep trying and perservering, that's all there is really.
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

Blokt, is your name Jeff Dowd by chance?

Unfortunately, employers are looking out for themselves, so they're afraid of taking a chance of someone with a gappy work record. I'm still in college right now, and I feel like I share your philosophy. I still have a few years left of my marathon college experience, but I'm afraid to start working and being the one "in charge."
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Old 11-09-2007, 03:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blokt
Anyway, that said, is there anyone else out there who can challenge me for the title of King of the Insanely Avoidant Weirdos? I'd hate to think that I'm really the supreme champion I imagine myself to be.
You're new around here, so you may not know my stunning record of failure. I graduated college in May 1995 and guess how many jobs I've had since then? Hint: it's a very round number. I've done absolutely zero work nor school in the last 12 1/2 years. (I had no jobs during college either.) I haven't even made any attempt to seek work ever. I'm not sure if I'm SAS's record holder, but I have to be very near the top on this measure of failure.

Even applications for crappy fast food jobs give room for your last 4 jobs or so. Am I supposed to put down the paper route I had from ages 12-13? I've got nothing to fill the space.
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Old 11-09-2007, 03:42 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

Hell, I am almost 48 years old, and my employment history is a joke. Of course, it never helped that I never knew what I wanted to do in college. I just picked a major. I have tried all kinds of jobs, but didn't care for any of them. There are some areas that I tried and know that I am not capable of doing them, customer service being one of them. Usually, a job that I have either quit or been fired from has been due to the people. I wish that I could find something that I could do all day by myself, without someone looking over my shoulder. I could write a huge book on this whole topic, but most of it would just be angry words. The work world is so f***** up!
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

Hello, everybody. Keep those replies coming!

IronMaiden86: What kind of art are you into? From your screen name I'm guessing music. I've been trying to learn guitar on and off for years myself. I seem to lack the motivation to do it on my own though. I tried a class but it was more centered on the classical side with note reading and all and that's not what I was looking for. The classroom environment was also too stressful so I ended up dropping it. I wish I just had a friend who knew how to play and could coach me through the basics.

Anachiel: Yea, I actually called a vocational re-hab place in my area and they said I had to have been receiving some kind of hardcore psych treatment or hospitalization through the state mental facility to qualify for their services, so I guess it's for people who are more stereotypically "disturbed." I'm plenty disturbed though, I think. I just don't appear that way to others. Should it really be held against me that I have the self-control not to act out on my mental problems?

jaayhou: Haha. Well, The Dude at least had a couple friends to go bowling with which is more than I have. Yea, I understand where employers are coming from by not trusting someone like me. That's why I think the only way I could get a job would be to somehow get to know the employer first and for him/her to cut me a break. But not being the most sociable person, obviously I can't really see that happening. Maybe I'll luck out and run into someone on the internet. I dunno.

UltraShy and BeachGaBulldog: Thanks for chiming in on this thread. It's good to know I'm not alone in my horrible position. We need to form our own club and swap stories about nothing over pitchers of mind-numbing beverages. So are you guys both really isolated like me as well? I basically have only one other real-life human being who I talk to on a regular basis. I guess that's better than nothing. A large part of me doesn't miss the stimulation of commingling with other humans one bit, but I've come to realize I do need it to some degree. As for the career thing, sadly, it seems only natural to give up after a while, not that I've really been trying much of anything. This just seems to be my natural state.
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

I think I may be worse off than you. I am 37, almost 38. I didn't go to college. I was lucky to get through high school. I have had several jobs that lasted a day or two. I did a paper route for a month. I did telephone sales for a week, and now I babysit for my niece and nephew. I live with my parents, never been on my own. The mere thought of attempting to find a job makes me sick to my stomach. I worry about what my future will be like. I have no friends, no boyfriend/husband. I've never even dated. I have no life. I am just about as screwed up as it gets.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:52 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

Hey, bonniels. Welcome to the party. I doubt there's that much better or worse between us. We're all in the same boat and we're all *****ed. It all comes down to will. Do any of us have the will to do something to change the situations we find ourselves miserable in? Perhaps if all hang around in this thread long enough, we'll manage to pester each other into some kind of action. Please, don't slip back into the woodwork, people!
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Old 11-13-2007, 03:25 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

Hello blokt, don't worry we won't all slip into the woodwork! lol. I just want to mention that this website has hundreds of posts to read and you can only read so many before the eyes start to get blurry, so I don't get offended if people don't answer my posts straight away even though I'd love people to do that. It's great that we can all give each other support on here. I know career paths coupled with SA can get complicated. Ive often thought to myself, what can I do where I can make some serious money and my choices are varied but then I think of the hyperhidrosis problem and it has really stuffed up my career because of it. Not many people without SA understand how hard it is to deal with this problem, they think it's nothing serious but if they had it they'd know what it's like. I just saw a dermatologist today and if I could fix this hyperhidrosis problem I'd definately be changing my career in a flash! I was told that botox is one of the best treatments at the moment but guess how much it costs? Well you have to do it every 6 months to a year and to just do your hands it costs between $1200 to $1400 and then separate to do your underarms and your feet etc. I can't afford that sort of money!!!! Then people wonder why we get into a rut, well there are so many obstacles to overcome! Im sorry Im rambling on about my own crap when this is your thread. Situations like these frustrate me when you really want to get ahead and inside of you you have the drive but those damn obstacles get in the way!
OK I'll stop mumbling, sorry, I know Im in a down mood today, I haven't been too encouraging have I??
Well blokt I really do hope you settle into a career that keeps you happy, I know it won't be easy climbing but hopefully eventually you'll get there
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Old 11-13-2007, 03:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

Hey Blokt;
You've been working on developing your individual artistic style while supporting yourself through your wise financial investments...It's true, not really verifiable and might sound good on your resume...
Good luck to you
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Old 11-13-2007, 04:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

....I'm also passionate about art. It is one of the few things that I do naturally and don't have to struggle with!!! Every other career path pretty much requires my having to modify how I feel or behave. But art is natural.

I also haven't been properly employed for almost 6 years now. The last three were spent trying to get back into the work force only to be fired twice. -this was very disheartening for me.

I remember doing a project with other long term unemployed people also interested in the arts -it was for a community art gallery and was one of the few periods in my twenties during which I greatly enjoyed my self.

Far from these individuals being 'losers' or 'hopeless' I actually found them to be highly interesting personalities. So, I hardly see how they are 'losers'. Probably, in fact, they were actually too interesting to fit in with the average person. One was a poet who hadn't been employed for 15 to 20 years and who had a great personality and was witty and charismatic. Another was an aspiring writer, who somehow had gotten very low marks in her final school year and yet who I couldn't help noticing to in fact be very bright. She was also a lot more alive than most people are.

So, perhaps one of the first things to do is to take care of your self image and your self esteem. -Don't allow yourself to pigeon hole yourself into fitting into some stereotype: the world will do this enough. And, if anything, it is more than likely to be the thing that you planned perhaps subconsciously to get away from. So, don't tarry in labels and in limited views of who people.

The other suggestion is to get involved in some sort of volunteer effort and preferably one that supports marginalised members of society -the misfits. you would probably bring more understanding to such people and have an intuition for how to treat them and see them.

Furthermore, volunteer work could lead you into a job. It would certainly help you in terms of 'work history'.

Another tip (that I am using) is to write on your resume that you have been painting and traveling. That you have sold your work and been commissioned to do portraits. ...unfortunately, for me this is a fairly big exaggeration. As I haven't done much art either -I've been too preoccupied with my emotional issues...

Anyhow, volunteer work is great. It will help you broaden your mind as to what you are capable of.
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Old 11-13-2007, 04:28 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

If I didn't have to worry about money and a new car to pay for and bills, and if I was a billionaire, I'd never have, or worry about a regular career. I think it's rare that someone is truely passionate about their career, and those who are, are very lucky. But sometimes people who enter a field they enjoy end up hating it also because it then becomes work, and not fun.

If I was just super rich and didn't have to worry, I'd focus my time on doing things I REALLY enjoy. I'd probably vollunteer at animal shelters, and other charities and then just take classes in things I really liked. But instead I'm stuck doing completely usless jobs I'll never really care about only because I need the pay check.

I tell myself a college degree is just a peice of paper. One could probably learn many things if they just sat down at a book store and read all day, but society requires a piece of paper to prove something. I just don't have the ability to stick to one thing and focus for long periods of time. Also it costs money, and they make you take a bunch of useless classes that have nothing to do with your major. Here i go ranting again lol.

I personally think everyone in society is a slave. I know if given the chance, no one would be stuck in a 9-5 job. We are all just slaves because most of us HAVE to work.
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Old 11-13-2007, 04:48 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mid-30s & No Career. What to do?

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Originally Posted by Krystalvisions82
If I didn't have to worry about money and a new car to pay for and bills, and if I was a billionaire, I'd never have, or worry about a regular career. I think it's rare that someone is truely passionate about their career, and those who are, are very lucky. But sometimes people who enter a field they enjoy end up hating it also because it then becomes work, and not fun.

If I was just super rich and didn't have to worry, I'd focus my time on doing things I REALLY enjoy. I'd probably vollunteer at animal shelters, and other charities and then just take classes in things I really liked. But instead I'm stuck doing completely usless jobs I'll never really care about only because I need the pay check.

I tell myself a college degree is just a peice of paper. One could probably learn many things if they just sat down at a book store and read all day, but society requires a piece of paper to prove something. I just don't have the ability to stick to one thing and focus for long periods of time. Also it costs money, and they make you take a bunch of useless classes that have nothing to do with your major. Here i go ranting again lol.

I personally think everyone in society is a slave. I know if given the chance, no one would be stuck in a 9-5 job. We are all just slaves because most of us HAVE to work.

...I just wanted to say that I like the way that you write. ( felt a little like reading a newspaper column, actually!)
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