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fearing the future

Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:10 pm
by mike1234
Not sure where to start with this and obviously I don't want to go into a life story. However it is always difficult detailing ones circumstances without necessary information.
Last month I returned after a few months in S America. Before I left I was in a contracted role in the civil service which I didn't mind doing and would have carried on there, however I didn't get the permanent job when it was offered. I had 4 other interviews for other roles but was not successful despite coming very close to getting one of them. I was torn about whether to travel or carry on looking for work but in the end I went for this trip. It was good trip, no regrets on that aspect.

Now I've been back for more than a month and it's been a very difficult time. I feel very anxious, low motivation, self pity and generally extremely disappointed with myself and my life. I have been here before though, story of my life.

I'll be in my mid thirties in a few weeks time and the very thought of it is making me very anxious and in a panic. This is because I'm feeling completely lost and so far behind in life. I have no partner, no career and no job for now, no home (I live with family at the moment). I have nothing going for me. I am trying not to feel like a failure but it is how I feel. I never thought that I would reach this stage of my life and have very little to show for it. I do want to settle down, meet someone, have a family etc. but these things you cannot control of course. I have tried and keep trying but I think it's more to do with not really having that focus on what I actually want. I've thought about seeing a career coach but with the fees that they charge it's probably unrealistic at the moment.

For most of my life I have had no clue as to what to do with myself. I've struggled with depression etc so that hasn't helped. I enjoy travelling, sport, aviation, movies etc. but so do alot of people. As I said I was comfortable in working in the large government depts. where I've been before as I didn't mind the environment and lack of corporate culture. I would love to live and work abroad as I've been settled in the UK for too long now. Problem is I'm not an engineer or doctor where I can just take my skills anywhere. I would settle for an ok job in a place like this, someone to come home to and a modest place to live. That's not much to ask for yet I've never even come close to getting there. I have been stuck in this same place for so many years.

I know I'm not exactly old to start over but I feel so far behind other people my age who are already settled into careers. What are my options at this stage? I worry too about meeting a woman who will accept my situation and circumstances.

Re: fearing the future

Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:21 am
by David020549
At mid thirties there is plenty of time for a new direction in your life, you don't give much of a clue to the type of work you have been doing but with civil service cuts most contracts are going to be short term and precarious
There is a big shortage of qualified workers in the technical trades and you will earn good money in those fields here are some wide ranging ideas to consider, electrician, computer technician, accountant, plumber, communications, and a whole lot more. In many cases you will need college or university training, you should start now, there will be a college course starting close to your home soon, that will give you a direction in life.
Your personal life will follow a new career, women close to your age are looking for a stable reliable man to team up with, many of them will have a house and maybe kids already and are looking for a man to share their life with.

Re: fearing the future

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:53 pm
by reckoner
Some words of reassurance: you're not alone in feeling this, I think it's a common feeling for people in their mid-thirties, regardless of whether you chose to hotfoot it round the world or settle with a corporate job, mortgage, wife and kids. No one is immune. I'm early forties and everyone I know in their thirties and forties is going through some form of it. I think it's to do with realising that you don't have as many options available as you did in your twenties and that the time to be doing what you really want to be doing is looming close rather than being a hazy aspiration drifting far on the horizon. I think it's a valuable call to action but requires you to resist the urge to panic and see it as an opportunity, something to be enthusiastic about.

I reckon you should start with what you really want to be doing, including everything from the fantastical to the realistic, but focus on your wants rather than being defined by your experience. Then go through your CV and make it shine. The things you are telling yourself about having nothing going for you etc. are vicious lies. That's simply insecurity, your depression and the way all of us feel when we don't have what we think we should have. You'll have to be bloodyminded and ignore those negative thoughts (watch The Apprentice - jeez if those guys can even make it out the front door, you can get a job you love). If there's a gap between your experience and what you want to be doing, think of all the ways your skills and experience are transferable and what further training you need. (And always tailor your CV to the particular role in hand.)

A friend of mine resolved his occupational crisis and desire to travel by working for Medicin Sans Frontiere who have opportunities for people with driving and logistics experience as well as medics. Teaching English as a foreign language also helps you work and travel. The Internet is bound to have a ton of ideas that you might prefer to those. Just remember that a lot of people who love what they do for a living fell into it by accident so try not to overthink the long-term trajectory of a given opportunity. I don't think career progression is anywhere as linear as it used to be.

There's nothing you can do to find a life partner, other than being happy doing what you're doing in life, and you're far better off being single than in an unhappy relationship, so try to think of it as one less thing to worry about!

Re: fearing the future

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:59 pm
by reckoner
One last thing: a friend of mine is in his early forties and hates the job he's doing, he actually looks kind of grey whenever I see him. He would love to chase down a job closer to want he wants to do but can't because he has two kids and a mortgage to help his wife support. She dismisses his dreams of pursuing a job he enjoys on that basis. So, on the face of it, this guy has what you don't but it has become a kind of trap. The way you are looking at your life is only one way to look at it. A lot of people would think of you as free. Also, travelling the world can give you a host of desirable skills (independence, organisation, sociability, pragmatism, practicality etc.). There are a lot of positives to your situation. Your depression may stop you from seeing them but they're there when you can put your mind to it.

Re: fearing the future

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:55 pm
by mike1234
I think it's to do with realising that you don't have as many options available as you did in your twenties and that the time to be doing what you really want to be doing is looming close rather than being a hazy aspiration drifting far on the horizon. I think it's a valuable call to action but requires you to resist the urge to panic and see it as an opportunity, something to be enthusiastic about.
I think this is exactly the difficulty I've been going through for many years now. It's like this constant internal pressure which manifests itself I suppose in this anxiety and it's very crippling and I feel stuck.

The main issue is that I do not have enough experience and possibly lack of qualifications which inevitably means I need to retrain and gain new qualifications in something, anything that will help me land a decent job.

To give you more details, I finished university with a humanities degree with no real idea what to do next. That was 12 years ago now. I am still in the same place I was then - no career direction/path, no idea what to do with my life but simply older, at 34. I've lost count of people who keep asking me "what do you want?" If I knew what I wanted, I would have gone after it long ago and I would not be in this position! This is not a case of just sitting around and being lazy but rather a constant lack of uncertainty and stuckness. If I wanted to become an engineer then I would have followed that career path. If I wanted to get into business, banking, finance then I would have made steps to move in that direction. I do have ambition, I do believe I am bright and hard-working and in the years that have come and gone, I've just constantly battled this dilemma of making a decision. So the idea of re-training is something I keep going over and over in my mind but I have no idea what I'd do and I guess the factor that stops me from just going for something is the fact that I'd be going into something that I'm not even sure I really want to do! Does that make sense?
So committing to say, even a year long course in an area that I'm only remotely interested is a risk but not doing anything is even worse, I know.

I have been to the doctor and I am on medication currently, not that that has ever improved things for me but I keep trying different ones.