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I’m afraid I’m “stuck” in life.


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So I got this book called “What Color is Your Parachute” which is supposed to help you sort of figure out what you want from life (such as your ideal career) because I have no idea what I’m doing, all I know is I don’t want to do backbreaking labor for next to no money anymore  

The first few chapters are all about how to make your resume nice and how to ask the right questions during interviews and stuff, which was great but a lot of it was stuff I already knew. 

Then it gets to a part where you start doing exercises as part of a “self inventory”. The first couple were pretty easy, but I’m completely stumped on the part I’m at right now. It’s telling me to “write seven stories from when I was enjoying myself” and like how I used transferable skills. 

I’ve got nothing. Literally nothing. I’m not trying to pull the “poor me” act here or anything... I’ve got absolutely no ideas for what to put here. The book uses a story of some guy who wanted to take his family on a road trip but didn’t want to pay for motels or anything. So he figures out a way to turn his station wagon into a “camper” of sorts. 

I’ve never done anything like that. One of my friends told me to think of something at work that maybe happened where I was able to overcome a problem or do something better than anyone else. That’s never been the case with me. 

I’m not saying I’m not good at anything, but all the times I’ve really enjoyed myself was when I was doing BS that just.. isn’t anything special. Like where I used to work, I loved putting the furniture together for display when it was spring and summer time. But any idiot can do that, it’s just a matter of following instructions. 

I don’t know. It just feels like I’m “destined” to be stuck doing menial work for little pay. And the worst part is, this is how it’s always been for me. I remember ever since I was a little kid having absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed life, either. I just don’t know. 

If anyone has any advice or anything that can help (if they’ve been in a similar situation), I’d love to hear it. 

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The only thing that being stuck means is that it's time to change things up a bit... you can't have yourself think there's already a visible end of the road if there's no way of knowing where it exists. If your feeling stuck, you aren't moving.

My favorite way to streak my lively freedom is to just think: How am I going to be able to get what I want, and why I want what it is? What you decide on why that choice is healthiest for your lifestyle matters, but this is a probably a common problem, because I personally believe that most everyone wants to be of help to as many people without straining themselves. 

"Why is it that I want to change? Is it to stop feeling so bad? To feel good? Etc.

Something is going to have to influence you to keep moving forward.. gradually. Anything or anyone that you believe to be good, it's advisable to focus on who you are or what you want, even if one of those things happen to be a job. Your mind and emotions move you, with a little help with food and water of course.

Why do you think the others appreciate the sneezing videos?

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Like I said, I’ve never really had an idea what I wanted... especially career-wise. 

I almost feel like I’m nothing but a “support character” in other people’s stories. It’s incredibly frustrating. 

It’s almost like I’m trapped in a box with no way of getting out :( 

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I really hate this concept that a job has to, like, define your whole life. I think we, Americans especially, put too much stock into needing to find meaningful, soul-fulfilling careers or else we're just drones or cogs or something. If your hobbies are where you find enjoyment, that's totally okay.

Now, if you're concerned about earning more money, you could always try to take classes that will teach you a trade of some sort. That does take money, though.

My mom used to volunteer at the humane society, and at some point one of their employees quit, and they asked my mom if she wanted the job. I just took an aerial aerobics class led by a guy who was hired on as an instructor because he took classes there himself. Maybe try volunteering places, or just get involved in various different things that you like or might like to try. The best way to open yourself up to opportunities is to give yourself the opportunity to find them.

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That’s true. Yeah, I’ve never defined myself by my career, which has been a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because I don’t stress myself out trying to achieve something and say to myself “if I’m not [whatever], I’m nothing” but it’s bad because I’m stuck doing menial work for not nearly enough money and I do feel “lost” or “stuck” so that’s no good either. 

I think I’m just going through a weird patch because I just turned 30 and even though I generally do enjoy my life, I can’t help but feel like I could be doing better. Like, am I sort of tricking myself into thinking this isn’t so bad? Or should I be more grateful that things aren’t even worse?

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I think others have echoed this, but maybe you could try to turn inward and try not to compare your experience to anyone else. I think it's totally normal to feel this way when you hit 30, since that's a milestone in life. But do you feel you could be doing better because you're looking at other people your age and what they are doing? Or are you looking at what you're doing and finding that it really doesn't satisfy you?

I agree with Murphy that your job doesn't have to define you, but it's hard to have time for a lot of enriching hobbies if you have to work a lot of hours to keep the bills paid. So I've always tried to quest for a job that I enjoy doing, just so all those hours of my day feel fulfilling or at least sort of fun. Though there are those lucky people who make bank and then only work like 4 hours a day, I guess LOL. I think your book is onto something about the seven stories, but I can see why it's difficult to come up with things. You did say this though:

On 2/25/2018 at 1:30 PM, ilikesneezes2000 said:

I’m not saying I’m not good at anything, but all the times I’ve really enjoyed myself was when I was doing BS that just.. isn’t anything special. Like where I used to work, I loved putting the furniture together for display when it was spring and summer time. But any idiot can do that, it’s just a matter of following instructions. 

That's pretty cool. Maybe lots of people can follow instructions, but you LIKED doing it, and that's the important thing. Who cares who else is able to do it? If YOU like doing it, then I think that's what matters. I think there are other jobs out there that are all about that sort of thing. Maybe instead of the seven stories, you could think about certain tasks you enjoy doing and what about them you like. And then see what jobs out there require those tasks and see if one springs out to you as something worthwhile and exciting?

I can't tell if you want to a) find a job you enjoy doing, or  b ) find a job you are suited for that will make you more money so you can do other things. 

I hope at least some of this is helpful! I'm sorry if I just rambled and didn't help at all :lol:

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I like what people have said so far. A job definitely does not have to be everything. People pursue different things in life. For some it is going to be a well paying job, but for others maybe it's all about family, or hobbies. Its all about figuring out what you want out of your life. Me personally, I dont need a whole lot out of life, so I've actually been quite content with being a 'support character.' I dont have a lot of advice on how you should go about getting to where you need to go, but I do know that life is full of possibilities. It can be lived out in so many ways; don't let society decide how you do it.

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I dunno, maybe my problem is I “want it all” lol. Like, I want enough money to be able to live on my own (and comfortably) but I don’t want to spend my life slaving away. As it is, I usually work six days a week, eight and a half hours a day, spend ~80 minutes driving (which I guess isn’t SO bad, but I still don’t like it). I’m exhausted and in pain all the time from work and I don’t even make enough money to justify it. 

I just can’t get the thought out of my head like “is this really the best I can do?” Hauling groceries around. Dealing with stupid idiots and assholes bumping into me all day. Making little money (last year I only made slightly over $25,000 net). Waking up at the ass-crack of dawn. Not even being able to live on my own. Constantly in pain.

I want to be more grateful, because some aspects of my life are great, but I want to fix the bad, too. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I might actually have a chance at becoming the dairy dept. manager. The good news is I’d be making more money and hopefully it would be at the store that’s closer to home. 

But on the flip side, it still doesn’t solve the problem of being exhausted and in pain all the time. And it’s not like it’s guaranteed that I’d get to work in the store that I like all the time. They can transfer people anywhere at any time for any reason. And this company seems to rather have its employees be miserable rather than happy. 

I know the popular thing to say is “go to school, get an education!” which I certainly wouldn’t mind, but as has been the case for my whole life, I don’t have an actual realistic goal, so I feel like I’d be going for the sake of going and my heart wouldn’t be in it. 

I just can’t shake that “surely there’s a better life for me” thought :( 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I ended up getting offered the dairy manager position, but I turned it down because it was in a store that’s not even in this state, so I’d get double taxed. Plus with the raise, I’d still only be making $16-something an hour (which is completely 100% NOT worth it).

The good news is, I should be getting back to my old store (the one I liked working at and that’s also really close to home) on a more permanent basis. Assuming they don’t fuck with me... which I’m expecting them to, to be honest  

I’m really struggling with this, guys. I don’t know why this is so difficult for me. I really don’t. 

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  • 1 month later...

Hey, I know this is late, but I work as a professor of writing and in HR as someone who literally looks at resumes and does phone interviews full time to see who to hire, so I can always give you tips if you have any questions. I toootally know how it feels to struggle to find the right fit. 

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And, yes I know I'm a teacher and we all say this, but education really really does open doors. But it doesn't have to be getting a college degree-- it can be certification classes or a trade school, or whatever might help you get a leg up or experience something you never knew you enjoyed. 

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