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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've actually been trying to type this for a while, but it's very difficult to put the issue I want to talk about into writing, so I apologize if this is all over the place.

OK, so here is the thing: I need a job really bad, and I have no more money to spend, time to waste, or help from others to rely on.

The reason I haven't been applying in many places is that I'm not very confident and I actually start getting very nervous about the idea of looking for jobs and sending resumes. I get really stressed and really anxious when I'm just adding or removing a little thing from my resume. I don't mind working, but I absolutely hate searching and applying for jobs.

Another reason I haven't been applying is because I get a feeling like I'm either too bad for the jobs that seem interesting or too good for jobs I'm actually qualified for.

What kind of things make me a bad fit for certain jobs? Well, lack of experience, education, and good communication skills are some examples of things that keep me from having a job I'd like. I'm not an engineer, nurse, counselor, or teacher, so obviously I can't consider those jobs even for one second.

What kind of jobs I'm I too good for? Well, here is were things get kind of complicated. See, the problem is that I while I was working on my degree I was getting better jobs and my communication skills were getting lightly better. Each new job I got paid more and helped me improve my social skills, which improved my self esteem.

I worked two summer seasons as dishwasher, another as a cook, a fourth as a cashier, and then more than two years as a library assistant (offering tech-ish support to patrons), and then I finally got my degree and lost my job because it was only available to students. No big deal, since what I wanted to do was travel right after graduating, which I did.

Such work history, plus the fact that I have a degree is what makes me feel self conscious about the idea of applying for jobs at places like Lowe's or a restaurant. I feel self conscious because I worry I feel I'm gonna be laughed at because I'm applying for a job for which I barely have the skills despite having a goddamned college degree. What's the potential employer think of me? Will they think there is something wrong with me for applying for non-skilled work despite having gone through college?

Plus, I also worry I'd eventually encounter former classmates or former coworkers who have been doing way better things because they are not socially inept or anxious messes like me. I just picture it in my head: "Hey, what's up buddy? Didn't you graduate last year? Why did you end up having a job that pays less than the job you had before you graduated? Oh, well, whatever... I have to go visit friends and have a life. See ya!".

By the way, this town is very ****ing small, so bumping into people I went to school with or worked with won't be difficult. Oh, and the fact that this is a small town also reduces the job opportunities considerably.

I hope this makes sense... I don't want to sound arrogant about what I've been saying. I never devalue other people or think anyone's worth is relative to their education or job... it's just that sometimes I feel too much pressure to be like other people expect me to be. I don't want to feel like school was a waste of time and I don't want to feel like I've failed myself and others. I guess that feeling is just increased by the fact that I thought I was constantly moving forwards and towards a brighter future, but my insecurities are keeping me down and going backwards.

Other things that also affect my ability or willingness to apply for most jobs is that I'm kind of self conscious about my age and the huge gap in my job history. I'm 24, so I feel like it would be pretty ****ing weird to go back to having a job like the one I had when I was 18. What's wrong with jobs like that? Well, I'd feel very ****ing old if I was surrounded by 18yo people who are just getting into college.

The gap in my resume? I spent a huge chunk of 2010 traveling, so I could pretend I've been traveling for a whole year, I guess. That sounds better than "I did have a job for a few months, but I quit without giving the two weeks notice because it was draining me and killing me inside, which is why that job doesn't appear on my resume, Mr/Ms employer."

For what it's worth, it doesn't help I also have some self image issues, and I feel terrified about having to wear business casual clothes. It's still something I'd do, but I try to avoid that stuff if possible. I'm getting rid of you, stupid extra pounds!

*sigh*

I don't know... I've been trying to put myself in a different mindset and think that getting a job, any job, will ultimately help me reach my goal of moving to another city or being independent, but all my fears and insecurities always dominate rational thought. Oh man, I don't like this situation one bit :(

Opinions? Thoughts? I'm I an arrogant ******* (in this context, please :p). Has any of you had similar problems?


TL;DR: You missed an epic story full of thrilling espionage action not apt for the faint of heart.
 

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I have a lot of the same insecurities. I've been unemployed for a few months here because I refuse to get a generic retail job... I run into people I knew in high school and college all the time. If I became a cashier at Safeway or some other retail thing, I would be pretty embarrassed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What is your degree in? Do you know what you want to do with it?
Psych (yeah, I know). I always knew a career in psychology wouldn't be very useful without at least having a masters, but I always thought that's what I would continue my studies after getting my bachelors. The idea was to get a masters and become a counselor of some sort, but that plan became less feasible as I became more depressed, less motivated, and less confident in my ability to continue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've also been wondering whether I'm being too picky given my situation and the economic situation in general. Am I being too picky for someone who hasn't worked in a while? Am I being too picky for someone who has very poor social skills? Should I be glad if I get any job despite having SA, regardless of my education and previous job history?

Don't get me wrong... I don't think my education is all that awesome, but the thing is that all the jobs I got before were meant to be temporary because finishing college was ultimately my main goal. I reached that goal, which I thought would help me get better jobs, so I can't help but feel defeated if I have to get a ****ty job.

I guess that if I have to get a ****ty job it just means I'm reaping what I sowed during college. No meaningful social networks= No good job opportunities.
 

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Good god, I think I'm in the exact same situation.

Know what you mean about working on your resume. It's almost painful.

Definitely understand the anxiety in even just looking for and applying for jobs. I've been pacing around all afternoon because I found a job I might be able to apply for.

I also have a bachelor's in Psychology. It was easy and interesting while I was in school...

Know what you mean about applying for jobs that are "below" you. It's not that I feel I'm better than the people that work those jobs. I actually would love a stress free/not very important work environment. But telling people I graduated from a good school only to get a job at Kmart would make me feel really ashamed of what I've accomplished.

Know what you mean about looking for jobs and thinking there's no way I'll be able to do this. It's frustrating.

I'm just hoping that once I get my foot in the door somewhere that I'll start to feel better about myself and figure out what I want to do longterm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
[all the quoted stuff]
Know what you mean about working on your resume. It's almost painful.
I kinda end up physically tired after writing or editing the damn thing for hours only to feel like it looks amateurish and crappy at the end. And don't even get me started on the ****ing piece of **** that is the cover letter. I can't write those... just the thought that someone will read it and judge me on it makes me so nervous.

Definitely understand the anxiety in even just looking for and applying for jobs. I've been pacing around all afternoon because I found a job I might be able to apply for.
Yeah, when I finally find something that looks great (either because it pays well or because it puts me in front of a computer) I get all excited until and I get these butterflies on my stomach, which doesn't help me relieve the pressure I get when I remember I actually have to apply.

I also have a bachelor's in Psychology. It was easy and interesting while I was in school...
Good thing you mention this. I don't want to give the impression that it is a useless degree. On the contrary, it can be useful even if you don't plan on continuing your education. I've seen people who do get good jobs with that degree, but that's because they have the initiative, the motivation, the social skills, and the freaking letters of recommendation. I don't have any of that and I even struggle to find people to put as references.

Know what you mean about applying for jobs that are "below" you. It's not that I feel I'm better than the people that work those jobs. I actually would love a stress free/not very important work environment. But telling people I graduated from a good school only to get a job at Kmart would make me feel really ashamed of what I've accomplished.
Exactly. There's nothing wrong with those jobs, but there is a reason why they're constantly hiring, and that's because most people move on at some point. I feel like I moved on, and I dread the idea of having to go back.
I'm just hoping that once I get my foot in the door somewhere that I'll start to feel better about myself and figure out what I want to do longterm.
That's what I've been trying to do, but the problem is that once the bank accounts are empty, I have to work whether I'm ready or not. I've been trying to be ready and more comfortable, but as I said before, the people who have been helping me don't see it that way. They think I'm lazy and they're not willing to put up with my **** any longer.

The job I quit last summer? I wasn't ready for it and fell into a huge depression that got progressively worse when I started wondering what it was that I was working for if I felt like **** all the time and I didn't have any friends. It didn't help that the job consisted of alternating between training (read:babysitting) multiple people with learning disabilities (who were either very drugged up to work, or very irritable because they were not drugged up enough) , working on the front desk, and doing the paper work and the supply management of the part of the department behind that front desk.
 

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I've never had a job for exactly these kinds of reasons. Everything about the application process and resumes and interviews is the exact counter to my basic instincts, completely diametrically opposed to my personality. Makes me sick even thinking about it. It seems like a whole part of life that's just off-limits to me.

This has held me back for years. I've missed out on a lot of happiness because I can't pay for the most basic things that other people take for granted like video games or junkfood. The shame of not having a job has caused me to withdraw from my friends and the world. If I ever find a way to make money, even a little bit of money, I'll be extremely thankful for every penny.

And I'm so empty and passionless that I don't even have the energy to find something to work towards or any sort of occupation that I care about. Even people who do have passion can't get jobs in their industry. I'm screwed.
 

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okay, here's what I would do, or at least what I would tell you to do:

at this point, you are stuck. you need to get unstuck.

No one, in this economic climate, is going to look down on you or think less of you because you are doing something that has nothing to do with your degree. particularly not in a small town. opportunities are doubly limited. sure, there will be some people who are doing better than you, but there will also be plenty of people who are doing worse than you.

screw everyone else, the important thing is that you get moving again. Go ahead and apply for (ironic for someone who wants to be a counsellor, yes?) the jobs you feel confident that you can get. Thi is so you can start socking money away so you can, and hopefully you want to, get out of Toad Suck, West Monbraska. Why would you want to get out of Toad Suck, West Monbraska? so that eventually you can get a better job doing something with your degree. I am sure Toad Suck is just great, dulcet tones of songbirds as they sweep through the verdant valleys, the hum of the tractors blah blah blah, but let's face it, what are your future job prospects?

You are worrying far too much about how this is going to make you look to others, how that is going to make you appear to others, etc etc.

Meanwhile, see if you can get some kind of counselling or other help for your anxiety. I think the two, getting a job and dealing with the anxiety, must happen in tandem for your future to get more positive.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You're right, I just have to do something. I guess there's no other way around this problem and I don't want this to get worse. I just have to get used to the idea that everything I do to get money will help me get out of this frozen hellhole.

The other thing I've been considering is that being picky and afraid of being judged for the job I might end up getting, I also fear being judged for not having a job or money. Having a job might not fix everything, but it will at least get me some money and improve my employment history.

Although I've been trying to deal with my anxiety through other means, I guess I have no other choice but to go see a therapist again.
Oh man, this is sooo hard... *takes deep breath*

Oh, Leonardess: DON'T LEAVE AGAIN!
 

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I can relate, too. I graduated college and got a mediocre job related to my major--problem is, I hate it.

So now I'm starting from scratch, much like you. My biggest fear is having a minimum wage job and being surrounded by starry-eyed high school/college kids who feel like they are actually going somewhere in life. But the hard fact is: I may have to, and so might you. Times are tough. So many of my friends are all getting laid off their mediocre jobs. A few of them have even had to move home because of it. These are other college grads/soon to be college grads, too.

At the end of the day, I've always believed you have to do what you have to do to survive and move forward to something better. Even if you end up working a job you could have done without a degree for awhile, it's all in working towards a better career and a better life for yourself. Experience is better than no experience, no matter how you slice it. I'm not saying it's going to be easy at all or trying to trivialize your anxiety about job applications (because I'm anxious about it too...it's such a frightening thought) but it's got to be done. And you can do it.

Best of luck to you!!!
 

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is getting over herself
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don't just get used to the idea, embrace it. for everything you do that gets you closer to where you want to be, is forward movement and is something that improves your situation.

no one thing will fix everything. "everything" will never be fixed, as long as you live. for every problem that you sort out, another will crop up. but you can get to a point where your problems are just like everyone else's - normal or average, if you get me. You can minimize them, or get them to a manageable state. Everyone's got some kind of problem(s).

I know it's hard, but you are a man of many talents, if your posts are anything to go by. You can do this.

You're right, I just have to do something. I guess there's no other way around this problem and I don't want this to get worse. I just have to get used to the idea that everything I do to get money will help me get out of this frozen hellhole.

The other thing I've been considering is that being picky and afraid of being judged for the job I might end up getting, I also fear being judged for not having a job or money. Having a job might not fix everything, but it will at least get me some money and improve my employment history.

Although I've been trying to deal with my anxiety through other means, I guess I have no other choice but to go see a therapist again.
Oh man, this is sooo hard... *takes deep breath*
 

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Hm, yeah I was you like four month ago (so you can consider this the future you speaking to you :p). We went ahead and got that low-wage job, and yes we sometimes see people we know and may feel slightly embarrassed that you are stuck working here. But then you remember they are here in this town too so they are not THAT successful, or if its an adult you quickly forget because you are busy working, and look at all the people our age in the same situation (there are a lot, not just SA people, even that one girl that was hired at the same time as us). Yes we are surrounded by some younger people, but surprisingly not that many highschoolers. And actually age doesn't matter that much, its kind of nice to be working in this environment, not some stuffy place. Plus we chose a place that we frequent anyways so the discount is kind of cool. And we are slowly gaining some money so that you can move away and have a little cushion for job searching if necessary. Its still just a holding place for what we want to do, but its better than nothing (maybe we will even get around to volunteering somewhere closer to the industry you want to go).

I remember my job search for a "real" job was very disheartening, I spent a lot of time on those Americorp (basically volunteer program) or internships and to be rejected for those felt like such a failure. But getting a yes, even at this low paying job was kind of exciting, more so than I expected. Also, I wavered between thinking of myself as being too picky and living by my principles to describe that why I wouldn't take certain jobs, so luckily I found one of these unskilled jobs that I feel somewhat maintains my principles (ok so I had to bend a little).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the comments, guys. I really appreciate the advice, and it's comforting to know other people have gone through similar situations.

So this the ideas I'm going with:

  • It's better to have a job where I feel comfortable. There is no point in having a job that pays a lot but makes me a nervous wreck.
  • I want to move out of this place and move to a different city. I have save money and I have to get more comfortable socializing before doing that, so any job that helps me with that is good.
  • Principles? How I can be picky about jobs but still be ok with living at someone else's home at 24? I need to GTFO of this house and be independent! It just brings more stress to be here.
  • A lot of people take some time to travel after college, right? That's what I'm going with. If someone -even a potential employer -asks me why I am applying for X job or why I haven't been working for a long time I will just say I've been traveling and chillin' thanks to my savings (and my PFD). I can say that and I'm not lying! Hey, now that I think about it, I was in Vancouver exactly one year ago. Isn't that something to be glad about instead of embarrassed?
More stuff to come!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I wish I could be as cocky as you, but it's not something I can easily do, and yours is not an ability I possess.
Anxiety and depression are not things I can control voluntarily and they make things such as dealing with the job seeking process very difficult for me. Although I've been trying to deal with those issues for a very long time, I don't think I'm at the point where I can be as comfortable as you are with finding and getting jobs.
 

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I like this post - if you can put yourself in the shoes of the employer, and think how you can make their life easier, then they'd be more willing to hire you.

I'm going to be applying for jobs soon, and have a lot of anxiety about explaining work gaps and such, but this post made me realize I do have some positive things I could also put out there. And I like how you said so fire me if I can't do the job. :)
 
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