My son is struggling with depression/unemployment. How to help?
December 12, 2013 2:50 PM Subscribe
My son, a late-20s college graduate, got fired from a job out-of-country and was forced to come home; he has been staying at my place (I am a single parent). I was happy to have him home and figured he would stay for a month or so then be out on his own again, but it has been 3 months with few signs of him actively job hunting. He has confided in me that he is unsure of what to do with his life, and is feeling overwhelmed and depressed. I would appreciate suggestions on how to keep him motivated on finding a job, and also ideas on how he can go about deciding on a career path. Details inside.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (42 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
The other day he broke down crying for the first time I've seen in his adult life, and told me that he has no idea where he wants to go from this point on in his life and feels overwhelmed and paralyzed with anxiety. He asked me for help, and I feel that the advice I gave was inadequate. He is very intelligent and has so much potential, but cannot focus enough in one area to specialize.
He thinks that he might have made a mistake in his major, a relatively in-demand language. I told him that it would be a good idea to find some way to utilize the degree to find a job in a related field, but I am not sure that he wants anything remotely similar. This frustrates me since I helped out a lot financially to send him to school, but I am trying to see this from his point of view (and I don't want to beat him down further when he's depressed).
He seems to have a new career idea flitting through his head every day, many of which have no relation whatsoever to his undergraduate degree. One day he mentioned wanting to try finding a job on the west coast (I reply "that's nice, but decide on the kind of job first!"). Another day he said he was interested in composing videogame music. I know he is a competent pianist and enjoys videogames, and I know he composes that kind of music in his free time, but it is such a 180 from his degree that I have a hard time taking him seriously. Is it even possible to make a living doing that?
Then he wants to be a writer the next week, but he does not work towards anything he is saying. He is also considering grad school (he took the GRE and did very well on it) but he needs to decide on a career before applying!
He is a bit of a dreamer, impulsive, and has always had a difficult time making life choices. He has been diagnosed with inattentive ADD, which makes sense since he has always had a hard time paying attention. He has so many ideas on what he might want to do that he cannot focus on one and becomes paralyzed. When he has a goal, he thrives - He just can't decide what his goals should be.
I know he is taking steps for the depression aspect of his problem. (exercise, eating healthy, plus he told me he started seeing a therapist). He also has some money saved up, thankfully.
Would a career counselor be a good idea to suggest? Or maybe a career personality test (like briggs-meyers)? Is it even possible to get a masters in a field that is completely unrelated to your undergraduate degree? I would appreciate any suggestions on how to get my son focused on one specific goal to move towards, since having too many goals seems to paralyze him. I keep telling him that he can't do everything!