Is there any hope for me?
January 27, 2007 9:50 PM   Subscribe

SuckingAtLifeFilter: 22 year old female, needing a job. Sucking at life and all things related. Education, experience, and family history inside.

I have a BA in English (Creative Writing) and Psychology. My grades sucked some serious ass (cum GPA: 2.48, class rank: 300/336). In college, the career development person said I'd be great as a librarian, but my grades sucked so bad I was turned down at the two schools I applied to (UMD and Catholic). I ended up going to graduate school anyways, at Trinity University in DC. They took me about 2 days before classes started and didn't require letters of recommenation, GRE scores, or a personal essay. The program I'm in is MSA with a concentration in federal programs management. There's no cohorts or anything like that, you're basically left on your own to do what needs to get done (which, according to my readings on the internet, is strange and highly unusual). I'm the youngest person in all of my classes (most of the people are continuing ed) and to me, it just feels like an extension of undergrad. However, I am managing to keep a 3.0, which is the absolute bare minimum to not get booted. I should be finished with this program by next January. I'm currently taking 4 classes a semester, trying to finish as quickly as I can.

In college, I worked as a telemarketer for about a month (trying to pry money from alums and parents), IT help desk (putting software on professors computers and running anti-virus), had a radio show that I stopped going to about halfway through my senior year, was the president of my organization for a year, and worked in a junkyard under my brother for about 3 months one summer. In high school, I was an aide in the guidance office, doing basic secretarial work. That's all the "official" sounding experience I have. The other thing that I've been doing for most of my life (since I was about 14) is being a volleyball official, which, when I mention it in relation to jobs, most people go 'huh?'
I played competitive volleyball (junior olympic) for many years and stopped once my doctor told me I was starting to lose range of motion in my shoulder and that it would only get worse. I had been referee-ing for a while before then, but only in relation to my team at tournaments. Finally I got into it for pay (which is pretty decent, about $25/match, about an hour per match) and have been doing that for a while (professionally through college). That's all the experience I have. I didn't do any internships because I never qualified for any of them, and I'm kinda out of the age/education range that most of them want, anyways.

I currently live with my parents in Maryland (at about the middle point between Baltimore and DC). They are basically supporting me. (They put me through college and are now paying for graduate school.) I have my own car and no debts except for about $300 on a credit card. I pay my dad about $100/month for my cell phone bill and health/car insurance. (The actual monetary figure is more than what I'm paying, but $100 is what we agreed upon.) I've got about $500 saved in my bank account, but that's it (and it's quickly getting eaten away by gas.)

My brother is considered to be the "fuckup" in my family. There's been a lot of pressure on me to "not do what he did." My parents believe very strongly in the idea of work being your ultimate salvation and that having a massive bankroll is best thing in the world. My dad is a mechanical engineer with the DOD and my mom is an accountant with a pharmaceutical company. My brother does house renovation-like-things. He's currently massively in debt and had to sell his house to my dad in order for my dad to refinance it and deal with the mortgage. My parents think that my undergrad degree was a "waste of time and money" and that I should've "majored in something useful".

There's a problem with me "majoring in something useful" and that is that I'm fucking stupid. I really am. I've never been very intelligent, but somehow, my teachers used to always say that "if [I] applied myself, I could get somewhere". Well, here I am, Mefi. I'm painfully introverted and like to talk to people on the internet instead of face-to-face. I like to read, but I haven't been doing much of it lately. I used to like to write (see undergrad degree), but I haven't written anything except for Nanowrimo since I graduated. There's a very real possibility that I'm depressed, but it's not "bad enough" for me to do anything about it. (Also, my health insurance won't cover it and my parents don't believe in it.) I'm not very passionate about much of anything, but I never really have been.

The problem:
I need to find a job. I've basically quit referee-ing, because I've lost the small bit of interest I had in it. I haven't told my parents that I've quit yet (but I think they're just about ready to figure it out) because well, that's basically the last thing I have that makes me even a little bit worthwhile in their eyes. Of course, I'd like to think that there's a job out there that doesn't involve dealing with people. So, here are some of the things I'd like to find in a job: very little/no dealings with people, no management of others, work from home would be preferable, night/shift work, and that doesn't involve a whole lot of math. I don't speak any other languages than English (but I can read some French and Italian, barely.) I'm terrible with directions, math, and children. I'd like something that was basically straight-up data entry, but most of the places in this area are government (which I'm basically excluded from because of my grade-suckage) and require experience/training that I don't have and can't get because "data entry isn't a real job" according to my parents. I'm not really in any relationships and I don't have many friends in this area, but I'm kinda tied here because of my lack of money and the fact that my parents are supporting my ass.
My dad seems to think that somewhere in the government wants me, but I've put in lots of applications (both there and at other places around the area that aren't government-related) but no one has called back. I can't even get a shitty retail job. He seems to think that I'm "not trying hard enough" and that if I "hadn't screwed around in undergrad and applied myself" I would be in a better position than I am right now. My mom is basically trying to stay out of the way because these conversations usually end up with me slinking off to my bedroom to cry like a little bitch. I know that this whole ick is probably somewhat because of that QLC thing I've been hearing about, but I don't see an end to it. I honestly can't see what I'm going to be doing in a month, or two months, or when I get out of graduate school. I feel absolutely useless and worthless to society except as a carbon dioxide producer (in the words of my brother).

So, Mefi, are there any jobs out there for someone like me?

And before people go off on the whole 'spoiled little bitch' thing, yeah, I know. That's why I'm trying to get out of there and onto my own, but I honestly don't know how. I've also read a shitload of the other AskMe's about this sort of thing. I'm also willing to answer questions and emails, if people don't want to post things here. TIA, y'all.
posted by sperose to Work & Money (78 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Look into medical billing, maybe? The gal next door does that (work at home mom) and she's making some decent money for what's basically data entry. There's a huge learning curve, though... I don't know if that's what you meant by "can't follow directions", or if you meant you wouldn't be a good cab driver.

And look into some counseling that ISN'T job counseling. Start with student psychological services on your campus. No one deserves to feel like a carbon dioxide producer, and the only way to not be one anymore is to feel like you're not one.
posted by SpecialK at 10:01 PM on January 27, 2007


You are depressed, and you need to speak to a mental health professional NOW, regardless of your health insurance or your parents opinion of it.

Your school should have some resources that will be cheap or free.

You'll no doubt get tons of responses, but honestly, your self-esteem issues and sense of hopelessness worry me.

You need help. Get it. You're not crazy, in fact you sound much more mature and logical than you give yourself credit for. But you certainly sound desperate, which is actually much worse.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:03 PM on January 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

You're 22. How can you suck at life when you've barely even started?

Stop putting yourself down. It's poor form. And you're obviously quite intelligent so stop fishing for compliments.

Move away from home and get yourself in an environment where you can begin defining yourself on your own terms - not the way your family/peers perceive you.

Based on the length of your post is finding the right job really the issue here?
posted by quadog at 10:08 PM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

You get out on your own by earning money and then putting money away to go rent an apartment.

Go wait tables. or be a the bus girl or something 'cause you sound like you need a kick in the ass and doing some good ol fashion work in a socialable setting might be good for you. And it'll get you outta your parents house, which seems to be most of your problem.

There's also phone sex operator.


There's buying and selling stuff on ebay. Pick something, comics, old posters and buy a few and attempt to resell at profit.

But mostly, quit listening to your parents. They're not helping your emotional state. Everything is going to fine, plenty of people go through similar stuff at this age and they come out fine. Look into getting some therapy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:12 PM on January 27, 2007

You're 22 and have a BA and are probably in pretty good shape if you're teaching volleyball.

It's really really hard to not just say "Quit whining."

But, you kind of sound like me when I was that age, except that I didn't get the BA. Instead of being told I was wasting time, I was just told that I'd never get student loans and was too stupid to waste college money on.

Have you considered a part time job? It may not sound like the best, but Starbucks does provide health care and doesn't pay half bad. Talk to other people your age. Perhaps getting away from the parents for a while might be a good idea. It took me an additional 10 years, but I finally realized that my mother was absolutely toxic to me. I cut her out of my life and took the plunge and went back to school. (Not for a degree, though. Not quite yet.) My life turned around completely and I've been happier than a pig in mud ever since.

At least you finished college. You have plenty of time to figure out what you want to do. Hell, some people are twice your age and still don't know. It took me until I was 29 to get a better direction in life.

It really does sound like your family is making things worse. That's the hard part. It would benefit you to realize that you're young, intelligent, educated, and there's a whole world out there. (ok, cheesy, but it's true!)

How to get out and on your own? Rule #1: don't accumulate a bunch of debt. That will help you out later in life. Other than that, it's pretty easy. Get a part time job, see if you can rent a room from friends or something. I ended up moving to Seattle. Try not to do something that drastic unless you have a plan beyond "Uh, move and get a new job." :)
posted by drstein at 10:19 PM on January 27, 2007

Oh, and you don't suck at life. Not yet anyway. Try to not suck at life. Hell, how do you know you suck at life when you really haven't lived a whole lot of it?

It's hard, but dismiss your parents insulting comments. Don't take them personally.
posted by drstein at 10:21 PM on January 27, 2007

You obviously are not stupid, since you wrote this question the way you did.

I have trouble focusing on your "what should I do" question because of all the other stuff. It sounds like your dad is harsh on you and you're pretty harsh on yourself.

My mom is basically trying to stay out of the way because these conversations usually end up with me slinking off to my bedroom to cry like a little bitch.

Holy shit, sperose. You deserve so much better. Get yourself out of that house and into an environment where people are nice to you.

Save up $1500 and go get an apartment somewhere. I'd actually recommend moving out even if it means living in a campground outside Phoenix and working as a dishwasher. (Though I'm sure you can come up with a better idea.)

There's a very real possibility that I'm depressed, but it's not "bad enough" for me to do anything about it.

What's your indicator for when it will be?
posted by salvia at 10:21 PM on January 27, 2007

Maybe you could sign up for a temp agency and just take jobs that are a few days or a week at a time. Office work, data entry, filing, that sort of thing. It would get you out there and hopefully make you feel like you are doing something productive.

There's lots of people with degrees not thought of as "useful" that just go out there and work for a living at something else just to make ends meet. I had a law degree, had practiced for a few years, got kinda burnt out and temped for almost a year doing office work, data entry, filing. Got me back on track and out there with people.

Good luck I hope you work through things.
posted by Miastar at 10:21 PM on January 27, 2007

I briefly worked as an operations clerk at a large bank. It bored the hell out me and I quickly moved on, but something like that would mostly meet your requirements. It's about 8 hours of sitting in a cubicle, sorting through things and not really dealing with anyone else. They don't care about your previous experience or grades, or even if you have a degree at all. They pretty much only care that you can type and that you'll show up on time. (I see Bank of America has a Data Entry position available in Baltimore right now...) A position like that would at least give you some job experience and the opportunity to move up to higher positions.

I don't really recommend something like that though. You're young, you've got a degree, and no debt! You can pretty much do whatever you want with life at this point! After dropping out of college, I went and spent a year in France as an au pair--you almost have enough saved up for airfare already, and that's all you'd need to get going. Unless, like your parents, your idea of ultimate salvation is having a large bankroll, then it might be more useful to spend this time trying to find something you're passionate about, and not just some crap job to work until you die.
posted by logic vs love at 10:26 PM on January 27, 2007

First of all, I think this pretty common. In discussions I've had with friends, we ALL freaked out the year after graduating from college.

I'd recommend moving out as soon as you can. I lived with my parents for a year after I graduated from college. My dad did the same thing to me when I was jobhunting - I wasn't trying hard enough, why didn't I try this instead, etc. It doesn't help when you are already upset.

My parents and I have our moments but I have my own apartment now, and I can chose to talk to them or not.

And I nth the suggestion of therapy. There are ways to get it for less than you'd expect - mine has a sliding scale per visit based on income, for example. Definitely check out the student health center.

Don't let your parents get you down and don't be so hard on yourself.
posted by sutel at 10:29 PM on January 27, 2007

I sympathise enormously. It's very hard to get a job when a. you don't have any useful experience, and b. you're painfully shy and c. apparently depressed. I do agree with the posters who suggest you get help from oncampus health providers because that more than anything else will be holding you back.

Now a job I think you'd be good at, and persistant enough to see it through, is transcription. I've picked up a heap from my local university, they supply the dication machine, and I type it up at home. (It's usually interviews with research subjects). Have a quick look at conversational analysis (there's plenty of resources on the internet), get used to setting up hot keys in Word for people's crutch words, and advertise either via email or brochure around campus. Here in Australia I get between $20-$30 per hour, of course, things will be different for you.

In between, may I suggest a period of self discovery and a bunch of self help books (check previous threads at metafilter) particularly regarding Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, but there are others - look in your library. Accept that you are still forming yourself and you don't need to remain as you are.

Lastly, please, don't insult yourself regarding your intelligence. Some huge number of people cannot apply themselves long enough to get an undergraduate degree (I'm on my third attempt), but you did, and you got one. Good on you! Now, when selling yourself, don't be saying, I got this here degree but it may as well be printed on toilet paper because of my GPA. No, it's wow, look at me, i have a degree, and I've been accepted to graduate school. I also have been involved in a number of extra-curricular activities including: radio etc. I'm a well-rounded person, even if a little short on experience and I'm willing to take a junior wage during my probation period while I show you what I can achieve. etc.
posted by b33j at 10:30 PM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Have you considered warehouse work? It can often be shift work, and while the pay isn't great, you wouldn't have to deal with the public. What kind of shape is your shoulder in now? There can be some repetitive motion in certain areas with warehouses. Barring that, I'd suggest a temp agency.

Everyone else has already pointed out that you do sound like you have depression, and that your living situation sounds like a problem as well. There's not much to add to that, except that yet another person agrees, and you sound like you have some serious self-confidence problems. Why do you say you're not intelligent? Nothing in your question leaves me with that impression.
posted by dilettante at 10:37 PM on January 27, 2007

You're not any more depressed than every single person who has ever graduated from college and ended up broke, confused and living with their parents. If you had more interaction with your peers you'd know this so you might want to reach out and build up a support network with former college friends. You'll all get through this stage of your life and you won't look back.

However I'd forget about applying to the government for now, they rarely hire people straight out of school, at least in my experience. Get some other work history first. Medical billing is a good one, or how about tax preparation? This is probably a good time of year to get a grunt job at a tax place, if you like it you will need more training but not much and you can make decent money and work anywhere. If you enjoy writing then proof reading, technical writing or copy writing might work for you too and you already have the training for it. Bookkeeping is another option, you can get a data entry job for one and see if it's for you easily enough. In the meantime just get a job, any job even if it's stocking shelves at Safeway just to get out of the house.

Although if you really hate people that much then federal program management may be the ticket. I work with federal program managers on a daily basis and none of them seem to enjoy people very much ;)
posted by fshgrl at 10:46 PM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I imagine your parents are worried about you, and nagging at you may be what they think will be helpful. It's probably how they grew up and it's probably all they know.

You sound depressed - not big "D," but little "d" depressed. And you're in luck! You can get help!

At their website, it looks like Trinity University has a health and wellness program and a social support network. I don't know whether they're any good or not, but you can find out by checking them out.

Please do check them out.
posted by jasper411 at 10:48 PM on January 27, 2007

I currently live with my parents in Maryland (at about the middle point between Baltimore and DC). They are basically supporting me. (They put me through college and are now paying for graduate school.)

You need to leave the nest. Struggling at your age will make you strong, and leave less time to worry about... things you shouldn't. What do you want to do with your life?
posted by bkiddo at 10:55 PM on January 27, 2007

Time to ditch the family and get out on your own. Perhaps a move to Boise, which is almost all the way across the country, but not as expensive as the coastal states. Live cheap.

The barista idea isn't a bad one. Yeah, you have to deal with people, but it's not bad to push your comfort zone a little. Besides, the interaction is pretty limited. You take people's orders, you give them their coffee. If they have a problem with it, you either give them their money back, or make them another one. When things are slow, you joke a little with your coworkers.

You could take a PT job at a Starbucks in your area, then find another one wherever you move to. While you are working on saving up a bit of money, see about getting counseling from your school.

You'll be fine, and your life will be your own.
posted by Good Brain at 10:58 PM on January 27, 2007

It sounds like a change of scene would work wonders. You know, you're at a point in your life where you can pretty much do whatever you want. Maybe not the glamor stuff you see in magazines (and very, very few people get to do that stuff anyway) but you're not married, you don't have kids, you have a degree, you're not dumb, etc.

Get out of the house. It's easy to coast a bit but there is nothing like having your own place. Even the crappiest basement apartment is heaven when compared to living with your parents.
posted by maxwelton at 10:59 PM on January 27, 2007

I identify with many of the things you describe: money-obsessed parents, being the "good" child, wandering out into the world of employment with a liberal arts degree, being unable to talk to my family about potential mental health issues, and feeling apathetic towards pretty much everything. I didn't experience these in exactly the same order you have, but it was pretty close.

My feeling is that, no matter what your employment situation or living situation, your life is going to continue to suck until you do something about your depression. And there's little doubt that you are, in fact, depressed. Certainly if you walked into a doctor's office and laid all this out, he'd diagnose the big D in a heartbeat.

But anyway... you're depressed and you need a way to get undepressed. The solution might be spending a week in Mexico doing peyote with a 100 year old shaman. It might be spending a month alone in a room with a book. It might be taking fifty milligrams of paxil a day for six months. I don't know. But it's a safe bet that you need something, and it should be possible for you to find out through trial and error what that is.

If it were me, the first thing I'd do is get hold of some anti-depressants or, if those aren't available, some St. John's Wort. I'd take a standard dose for two weeks to a month. If I ended up feeling better, I'd conclude that depression is at least part of my problem. Then I'd consider the various available options for treating it.

[Disclaimer stating what you already know: There are risks and side effects and so forth associated with just about every medical treatment I know of. Anti-depressants, including St. John's, are no exception. Ideally, you'd have a doctor advising you on this stuff].

Once that matter was settled for the nonce, I'd start looking around for other potential contributing factors. My relationship with my parents, for example. Then I'd try to think of a way to deal with that problem. And so on.

But for now you just need to find the first rung of the ladder. I promise, the second one will be a whole lot easier.
posted by Clay201 at 11:02 PM on January 27, 2007

I don't have any concrete advice to add (I'm in a little bit of a similar situation myself in some ways), but I will second or third the thought that you're depressed and that it's really important to confront/try to deal with that. It's not that you're not trying hard enough, it's that being depressed (or similar issues) makes it difficult to do what you'd need to do to move on.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:02 PM on January 27, 2007

While I know we're all supposed to be offering answers, but all I can offer some empathy - I'm 23 and looking for a job, and doing a great job of disappointing my parents in the meantime. If you want a buddy in the "lost in your early twenties pool", let me know. (Although as noted here, there are already scads of potential buddies to choose from.)

But for what it's worth:
(1) A friend of mine after college went from a B.S. in Biology, to disillusioned lab assistant, to....well, it looked dark. She's now at a top 10 law school (and her GPA was actually rather poor for that school, and she was depressed for a time before getting help). So she's okay. If she's okay, you can be okay.
(2) A prof of mine dropped out of high school, then worked as a bike messenger before getting his GED, then going to college, then grad school. And now he's a top researcher in his field.
(3) Another prof of mine graduated while she was in Europe doing an externship, and was applying for jobs she was wildly overqualified for during her post-college, quarterlife freak out. She's now also a high-powered prof/researcher in political science.

So basically, I like to think at once we get our heads on straight and give ourselves a year or two post-schooling to sort things out, we'll be okay. Besides, I think half the battle is just deciding where it is we want to go - for me, had to go into a job I loathed and leave to figure it out - and make a plan to get there. And you're obviously looking into it, so you're on the right track.

But I nth the bit about moving out - make that your first goal. Going into an interview fresh from a verbal beating from your parents isn't going to make getting a job any easier. Once you've got your own place, and you're feeling better about the whole adulthoold thing, work on the rest of your Adulthood Game Plan.

Besides, look at it this way - you are 22! You are limitless! You have a million directions you could go, a million possibilities to choose from! But believe me, at 23, I'm just as scared as you are. However, I think the beautiful thing is that we're young enough that we could fall on our faces tomorrow and recover in time to be having the time of our lives personally and professionally by 25.

Or perhaps that's just brashness supported by snotty youth. Regardless, life's going to keep happening - we'll just have to roll with the punches, and know that eventually there's an up to every down.
posted by universal_qlc at 11:18 PM on January 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think you need to take some responsibility for your life and stop letting your parents run it. That's kind of harsh, and probably not entirely true, but it does sound like part of it. You talk a lot about what your parents\your dad want or what they think is best. What do you want? This paragraph (the one just ending now) is the most important thing I will say. Read it twice if you have to.

As for immediate advice, I would suggest finding some job. There should be plenty of jobs around that don't care about your degree or your grades. This will hopefully get money problems out of your immediate field of view. After that, figure out what you want. It can be what you want out of life, what kind of job you want, where you want to live, what kind of person you want to be, any of these things. The point is to want something. Then, make that happen. Presumably this will take more than 2 weeks, so if you need help making it happen, you can always ask us.

I would also say that you sound depressed and hopeless. Others have given you advice on this, which I suggest you look into. I've been depressed, and one thing that really helped me was to take responsibility for my role in creating a depressing situation. After all, if I created it, I can make it better.
posted by !Jim at 11:33 PM on January 27, 2007

Oh yeah, and after you find a job and get a little safety-money saved up, try to move out of your parents' house. I would suggest making other changes and taking more control today (right now), because even if you move out, your parents are still capable of controlling you from afar.
posted by !Jim at 11:36 PM on January 27, 2007

My undergrad grades were pretty close to yours, I don't have an advanced degree, and 6.5 years out of college I'm doing OK.

Here are three things you need to do:
1. Get out of the house.
2. Get a job.
3. Deal with your depression.

It sounds like dealing with your depression is going to be hard while you're in the house, getting out of the house is going to be hard while you don't have a job, and getting a job is going to be hard because you're depressed. But don't despair! (At least, not any more than you already are.)

A job is really the place to start. You're 22, which means you have a good 45 or more years before you hit retirement, and starting out at a low-level meaningless job now is no reflection on you. As several people up-thread have mentioned, temp agencies are the place to start looking for this work. There are lots of data entry jobs out there, and you shouldn't have any trouble finding them. The key: register with multiple temp agencies. Tell them you're interested in finding permanent work, but happy to take short-term jobs in the mean time. Call each temp agency every few days whenever you're not working.

When you have a steady income, you get to decide: move out first, or get counseling first? If moving out seems too overwhelming and counseling seems stupid, you're exhibiting irrational thinking and you should start with a therapist.

You don't have to tell your parents about therapy. It's expensive, sure, but it's not that bad, especially when you have a job and you're not paying rent. And it's worth it. If you don't like the first therapist you meet with, try again. Keep trying again, until you find someone you can work with. Explain that you're depressed, and you're trying to deal with your depression and get out of the house. The therapist can help you with the depression, and can help you set goals that will get you out of your parents' house.

Good luck. I'm rooting for you.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 12:06 AM on January 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

The retail store I work at has some people work mid shift (11pm-7am) throwing freight. One of them was telling me that she would bring her iPod and that she didn't have to talk to the other people working there, they all just did their thing. We also have cleaners that come at around the same time. So, I suggest an overnight retail job and I second the warehouse idea, also (as it should be somewhat similar).

I held a paper route job for a couple of months that had 700 people, and it made good money. Plus, I didn't have to talk to a single person. The only downside is that I had to get up every day at like 4am. But you might be able to work this to your advantage -- you would be either sleeping or at school whenever your parents are around, so you wouldn't see them so much, and hence, they wouldn't be able to heckle you as much.

Oh, and my step-brother worked at UPS throwing/sorting packages while attending a technical college. They pay very well and have excellent benefits. I don't think that the lifting is too bad. This is another early morning job, but with days off.

I also recommend attending/organizing a mefi meetup, I noticed there are over 200 people within 30 miles of you. Good times with good people does wonders, I guarantee that none of them will treat you like crap because you don't have a better job and a 'useful' degree. You might even be able to network your way into a better/perfect job.
posted by philomathoholic at 12:15 AM on January 28, 2007

You write concisely and in a well organized way; this question is a good example of that. (Except for misisng an apostrophe; but your sentences are to the point without being choppy or too short.)

Consider getting a job as a technical writer for a beltway bandit. No, it requires no math, and you'd be a natural for it. You could probably do software QA or help desk work as well.

And you are by no means too young for a DC internship; there are plenty of 26 year-old "interns".

Apply for internships and tech writing jobs; in the meantime get a waitressing or temp job to get some cash and get your parents off your back.
posted by orthogonality at 12:17 AM on January 28, 2007

I have a BA in English (Creative Writing) and Psychology. At 22, you're ahead of your game here.

After reading through what you wrote, a few things become clear:

- you are not sure what you want to do as a career.
- you've really yet to truly define yourself as a person
- you are seeking a job to get your folks off your back.

Problem 1: Hardly anyone knows exactly what they truly want to do for a career out of college. It's okay to dither a little bit on what you want to do. The biggest issue here is that your parents are playing a role in this. This should be a decision made and influenced only by you. Try volunteering if you can't attain the internship you want. Experience is experience, no matter how you get it.

Problem 2: The parents. Like most parents, they want you to be just like them, or fit in to comfortable social norms that they can be proud of. They probably do not understand that this is stifling your ability to move forward with things, which it sounds like is your goal.

Move out when you can. You may not have the resources to do so now, but when you can, and do, I am sure you will see a change. I have parents like this, and it did wonders.

I've had extensive dealings with family members like this, so if you want advice or just to rant, feel free to drop a line.
posted by richter_x at 12:20 AM on January 28, 2007

You might want to look into some quarterlife crisis groups.
posted by k8t at 12:24 AM on January 28, 2007

As you're obviously smart enough to know about AskMeFi and to ask the question in an intelligent way, but can't even get a simple retail job, it seems to follow that you must somehow be falling down at the interview stage of looking for a job.

Your shyness is coming across as something else, or as so problematic you look like a bad prospect for employment. Does that sound logical? Unless you don't even make it to the interview stage, that makes sense. If you don't even make it to the interview then there's something wrong with the way you're applying.

Anyway. If you just plain Need. A. Job, here's the thing.

The author of a book of job/career advice once wrote that looking for jobs in the paper and writing off to the address listed is not the number one way to get a job.

It's not the second best way either. It's barely in the top ten.

The number one way to get a job is to ask everyone you know "Do you know somewhere I can get a job?".

People in real life hire friends, and relatives, and friends of friends and relatives of relatives and friends of relatives. You get the idea. They hire people without going through the formal channels because they owe someone a favour, because they want to be owed a favour, or just because there's a mountain of filing and they need it put in alphabetical order and can't bear to do it themselves and the phone rings and it's someone saying "My pal sperose needs a job. Got anything?"

The second best way to get a job, after ask everyone you know "Do you know somewhere I can get a job?", is, if they say no, ask them "OK, then do you know anyone else who might be able to help me?".

I think you're a bit depressed too, by the way, and I wish you luck, but part of the problem with depression is inertia. If you get a job, even the worst job in the world, it will help break the inertia. You'll meet people, you'll move around geographically, you'll get some exercise, you'll learn something, you'll stop thinking so much and be more active. Unless it's in the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor, pretty much any job is a good job for you right now. Break the spell, get out of this mood, and things will almost certainly seem better.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 12:25 AM on January 28, 2007 [3 favorites]

I know some people who have been where you've been, and I personally have been fairly close.

All the comments so far in the thread have been good, so I won't rehash them except to underscore a few points I thought mirrored my friends' experiences:
1) Temp agencies are your friend, when your resume is thin.
You're probably not going to find "the perfect job" through a temp agency, but I'm not sure such things exist anyway. At worst, you'll find a paycheck. Hopefully, you'll have health benefits and enough of a paycheck to move out of your parents house, which you need to do pronto. (Being so close to DC, there's a lot of temp work and relatively cheap housing available. Not that long ago, I lived in a rented room in the DC suburbs for $600 a month.)

2) A good interview erases all sins.
The purpose of a resume or application is to get you an interview; the interview gets you a job. Maybe you can find some friends (family friends would be OK here) to do some mock job interviews with, and give you some pointers. Yes, you'll feel silly and ridiculous. Do it anyway. It doesn't matter how introvert you are, or how much you don't like people, or anything else; even if you're just going for a job that's going to bury you in the deepest recesses of the National Archives or something, you're still going to have to sit across a desk from some bureaucrat and talk about yourself to get it. It's unavoidable, and you can do it, it just takes practice. Doing some "interviews" with friends, maybe working up to a more stressful audience (your parents?), might prepare you. But whatever the method, this is a life skill that you can't dodge.

3) You're not half as dumb as you think.
As other people have pointed out, the fact that you can articulate your problems in writing and have asked a bunch of strangers on the internet for solutions, means you're not stupid. In my opinion, it puts you ahead of at least 50% of the people in the working world, probably more. Make a list of the skills you have sometime, I bet there's a lot on there you don't even think about (can you format a document in MS Word? Can you read something and summarize it? Can you manipulate data and make graphs from a spreadsheet? Those are all valuable skills, which many people don't have.) You're defeating yourself by painting yourself as a failure, when you're clearly not.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:10 AM on January 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Because you said you had considered librarianship, I think you should look into other library jobs that don't require a library science degree. I am a 27 year-old librarian, and to be quite honest with you, I enjoyed my pre-librarian library work just as much, actually more than, my librarian work.

I was in the same boat as you at 23--English degree, mediocre grades, and absolutely no plans for my future, and parents putting a whole lot of pressure on me. I applied at a library and it changed everything about my outlook. I think that libraries are such wonderful places to work. They have plenty of good full-time positions that don't require the degree, such as administrative assistants, processing, circulation, and technology assistants.

Anyway, don't give up yet. I think that 95% of people in their mid-twenties go through the same experience. Everyone feels uncertain. I can't even tell you how many awkward job interviews I have been through and how miserable I felt after each one. Ugh. You just need to let yourself realize that you will find your calling. It is hard now, with the parents making you feel bad, but please believe that as long as you don't give up, things will go your way. It just takes time. Trust me.
posted by foxinthesnow at 1:11 AM on January 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you need a quick part time job (or full time job) while getting your head together, I'd like to second (third?) Starbucks. I worked there 6 months and they treat their employees really well - health and dental benefits, bonuses, even student loan help. They also promote you very quickly, so it's easy to be a shift manager and start making more money. And it's not that taxing, hopefully leaving you energy to socialize or job hunt on the side.
posted by piers at 2:38 AM on January 28, 2007

I second the QA/technical writing/help desk work. Find a smaller software company that will take someone with little experience - I used to work at one and saw lots of young folks like you get into one of those positions and start to suddenly flourish and gain confidence. And find a kind, patient, older mentor like me once you get there - someone to brush you off and send you back to your desk when you think you can't do it anymore. Find one big bug or meet one big deadline and you'll have a growing circle of friends.
posted by loosemouth at 2:56 AM on January 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

How to put this gently? Your father is a dick. He has you trapped in a cycle of dependency and criticism. The only way you'll earn his respect is by breaking ties and striking out on your own. But he has you reliant on him financially and emotionally to the degree that you'll have a very hard time doing that.

All the advice above regarding your talents, skills and potential opportunities is right on. The only thing holding you back is self-confidence and a willingness to become proud of yourself through taking on and overcoming challenges. Start small and build from there. Before anything else, you have got to get out of his house, off his dole and into your own life. After that, things will begin to fall into place.

Whether he can admit it or not, he is angry with himself for having been a bad father to you and your brother. His way of working this out is by offloading his emotional burdens onto you. When he sees you feeling like shit and crying, it convinces him that he's not to blame. But his problems are not yours. And his criticisms of you are not necessarily your own criticisms of yourself. It's going to take you a while to figure out the difference between them, but you can scarcely start working on this until you're out on your own.
posted by felix betachat at 3:54 AM on January 28, 2007

You write well. Best of all, you are able to compartmentalize and organize your thoughts. You are... drumroll... a damn good legal secretary.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:13 AM on January 28, 2007

I think asking around on campus is the best way to find a job. As a grad student you might not qualify for work study jobs (which are usually subsidized, right?), but most campuses have lots of jobs ranging from answering phones to IT helpdesk to teaching assistantships that they need people to fill. You are already a known quantity there, and you probably won't even need much of an interview or application process to get the job. Start by asking your departmental secretary, then ask any professor with whom you are taking a class, then ask at the library, then ask over in the jobs or career office, then ask at the office of the Dean of Students (or whatever they call it where you are --- student support services, etc). One of them will be helpful and say, oh sure, the library needs shelvers, go talk to so and so.

You are clearly depressed and need to talk to someone supportive who can offer some options. Would counseling help? or maybe antidepressants? Walk over to the campus health center, or call the phone number of the counseling office, and explain your situation. Their whole existence is based around providing these services to students in need, so let them help.

I don't think that moving to Boise or quitting school is what you need to do. You are halfway through a masters program that your parents are fully funding; unless it is really really awful (which it doesn't sound like, just alienating and confusing and isolating, which is actually pretty normal for grad programs) or you have a better plan, I'd say continue, because even if you go off in a totally different direction with your life, the advanced degree will do no harm, and may open some doors.

I also don't think you should be so worried about your gpa, both undergrad and grad. My undergrad gpa was significantly worse than yours, and it hasn't been a problem yet.

Lastly, either once you are done with your masters, or in case you decide you "want to take a break," many many thousands of confused and undecided young people have signed up for the Peace Corps, the Navy, Teach for America, and other programs as a way to do something interesting while figuring out "what do I want to do with my life?" Your type-A father may not understand and be supportive, but a program like that could be just what you need --- they provide structure (more in the Navy, less in the Peace Corps), food, money, and a job, and you can see new places and figure out what you want to do next. A lot of internships work the same way --- they take you on for a year, and you can use the time as a break from "the real world" to see if this is a good direction for you. Let me reemphasize: this is normal; thousands and thousands of your peers struggle with this, and use these same strategies to figure it out. Similarly, being depressed is normal; getting counseling or antidepressants is how people move through the experience all the time.
posted by Forktine at 5:18 AM on January 28, 2007


Get some cognitive therapy for your depression. Your post was full of distorted self-statements that are only going to continue to get in your way if you don't learn to appraise your situation more accurately. It is NOT as simple as "stop whining". You didn't learn this "sucking at life" thing overnight and getting a job or moving out isn't going to miraculously fix it and make you suddenly happy, although they're not bad ideas either!

If you can access a GOOD university career center, like one that staffs real career psychologists, I'd recommend that. They can help you with both your career issues and your cognitive/behavioral/emotional issues. Many university career centers will see members of the public for free; i.e. you don't have to be a student there.

Good luck.
posted by forensicphd at 6:13 AM on January 28, 2007

After waking up and it not being 2 am my time:

Sperose, Hon, you deserve so much better. Your dad's an engineer, he doesn't understand anyone who doesn't plot out their life with a T-square and follow the plan even when it goes south. (My childhood friends' dad is an engineer. Her mom stays out of arguments between her and her dad too. I don't give her mom or your mom any credit, though -- what that means is that they've given up trying to protect their kids, and given up fighting for what's best for their kids. That's bad.)

Get out of your house. Get out of their clutches. You need a job fast. Don't worry about being rejected for crappy retail jobs, you don't fit the profile of someone that retail companies want to hire. I mean, hell, I've been working as a programmer for seven years and I couldn't get hired for a Christmas Seasonal retail job at the mall, and the grocery store wouldn't call me back -- those jobs won't hire people who are as smart as you and I, because we ask questions and fight if we think something isn't right -- and the last thing they want is their place to unionize or even just realize that they're making shit wages so that the managers can get a promotion/bonus based on their profit margin.

The library thing is a good lead, believe it or not. The career field's way too challenging to get into, though, because it's the default happy place/answer from career counselors for Creative Writing majors. Does your local library have any openings for paid hourly workers to shelve books or catalog or anything else? Or what about a smaller book retailer, or a used book store? You'd be a great candidate to work for Powell's Books in Portland... you're pretty much exactly what they look for. Does your department at Trinity Washington (Trinity U. is down here by me in Bush-land) have any openings for research assistants? Or maybe look for professional jobs that are part time, contract work (how good are you at Marketing/PR BS?) or paid internships that use your core strength -- the incredible writing ability that you displayed in this post.

You absolutely shouldn't go into government service if you don't like people and like thinking. The only thing that's good about government service is that it's hard to get fired, but that's also the worst thing about it .. the place feels like a post office sometimes as people with spirit have them ground and crushed between the cogs of the great machine, and people like your father feed on the deutrius that hits the floor below. It's all I can do sometimes to keep my head down, know when to NOT think, and keep from being sucked up into the gearworks... but it's just temporary, I'll be out of here in 2-3 years if things go according to my loosely-defined plan.

Look, feel free to get in touch with me if you'd like. Contact info should be in my profile. I'm nudging some friends who live or used to live in no-DC to see if they have any area-specific tips.
posted by SpecialK at 7:08 AM on January 28, 2007

All I have to say this morning is I do not agree at all with the other posters above saying "this is normal after graduation". I detect a distinct desperation in your tone. The way you talk about yourself really grates as well.

I think you are beyond "oh brush it off, go get 'em tiger".

Hopefully, I'm wrong. I would be nothing but delighted if you went to a professional and they said "You're perfectly fine. This is normal." That would be great.

But, take advantage of your school resources listed above. What possible harm could it do to talk to someone? There is no downside.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:27 AM on January 28, 2007

I've read a lot of students' writing at top colleges. Believe me, you're a very good writer. If you like writing, do something (even if it's Starbucks) to jolt yourself out of your rut and then try and figure out how you can use your skills. In my experience, good writers are extremely rare and extremely valuable to just about any white collar employer.

I think your parents are trying to help you the only way they know how, and in a way it's good they haven't "given up" on you. But if they're making you cry, you need to make a decision right now that you're not going to listen to them anymore. This would be the best option financially, because rent is expensive. But if you can't do that, you have to move out.

And yes, you are depressed, and you have no idea how much getting help for that will help you change the other things in your life that are causing your depression. Don't think of it as "oh my god, I'm crazy." Many, many very normal people go through times of depression and have to deal with it with counseling and/or medication at some point in their lives. It's normal. And just taking that one step towards making yourself better will open your mind up to changing lots of things in your life.

If your parents tell you otherwise, just ignore them. You're an adult now - the best thing about being an adult is learning to ignore your parents. What's going to happen? Are they going to kick you out of the house for getting counseling? If it helps, tell them you're seeing a "career counselor" that's going to help you find a job.

If you're so inclined, something like the Peace Corps will probably do you a world of good. Everyone I know who's done such things considered it to be best thing they ever did. Traveling is often one of the best things you can do for your mental health, and if there's a way you can do it affordably and with a purpose, you should go for it.

As others have pointed out, people in far worse situations than you have turned out just fine. Good luck.
posted by walla at 7:36 AM on January 28, 2007

I'm gonna jump on the Starbuck's bandwagon here. I worked there briefly a little while back and they really do treat their employees well. The pay is decent (but piers is right in saying that promotions to shift lead and the like are relatively easy to come by and that will get you a pay raise), the benefits are fantastic, and you can often have a really good time while you're there. It might be the absolute best first step you can take. I'm a big believer that little bits of progress can be the most helpful things when you're in a funk or minor depressive cycle. By getting a part- or full-time job that you can enjoy right away you'll start feeding your bank account, get out of the house more, have a bit more purpose in your daily life, and then the rest of your problems might start to look less daunting.

And the years after college really can be awful - I felt similarly for a while after I got my BA (in English, no less, and at a school where I had more fun partying for a few years than I did in going to class). It's a tough adjustment to make. But there is a future beyond it, and more good times ahead. You just have to figure out what method you'll take to find those good times, in the form of new jobs/grad school/a career. Good luck, sperose.
posted by AthenaPolias at 7:58 AM on January 28, 2007

1. Stop beating yourself up- you are a lot more accomplished and put-together than you realize.

2. I second the suggestion that you contact a temp agency. A lot of people I know have found great permanent jobs through temping, and at the least, it will get you out of the house and into a new enviroment when you can meet people and learn something new. Plus, if you get an assignment that sucks, you can quit with very few repercussions.

3. If you're not too burned out about volleyball, have you considered coaching? With your experience, I'm sure you could find at least an assistant coaching position at a local high school.
posted by emd3737 at 8:07 AM on January 28, 2007

Unless you really really know what your life's purpose is early on (and I've never me anyone who does), this kind of indecision and uncertainty is totally natural. There's an assumption that people transition from teenager to productive member of society at this point.

I agree that you need to get out on your own. Your task right now should be to learn how to be totally self-reliant. It'll be a huge boost in confidence to know you're capable of taking care of yourself without assistance from your family. Then you can have a nice, normal relationship with them.

Personally, I'd go traveling, maybe work a year in a hot market, like Ireland or London. That'll boost your confidence and show you a good time.
posted by fcain at 8:31 AM on January 28, 2007

I think maybe people are going "huh?" when you mention the volleyball refereeing because it's unusual or unexpected, not because it's unimpressive. It's a grand thing to have on your resume.
posted by jamesonandwater at 8:42 AM on January 28, 2007

You have a very low self image. I can sympathise. For starters, I recommend going to the book store and peruse the practical-inspirational section for something like this. It took me a long time to overcome the old stigma of self-improvement, but there's nothing wrong with trying to get helpful ideas, learning new tools, seeking inspirataion... and they come from all sources.

I don't think anyone in the world is really just plain old stupid without deciding to be on some level (excluding some medical reason). e.g. I have friends that insist they can't do math or learn how to program a vcr or use a computer and I think it's a ridiculous idea. You probably feel you can't learn well. It's mostly attitude, so that's where you should start. I know high school dropouts very personally that a decade later that overcame the self-limiting beliefs and took the action to learn what they needed to become better. e.g. One took up real estate, and then enrolled in a medical tech school and is at the top of her class, all while going through a divorse with kids. It's 80% a matter of personal motivation and attitude at the very least.

Next, I'd recommend not taking any more classes until you have a better of idea on what you're willing to do and where you want to be. There are lots of options. I hear court reporting pays well or many vocational schools in the medical or business fields if you so choose. Getting more schooling is never a mistake but it should have a goal behind it, even if it's just the personal satisfaction of getting an advanced degree. Don't do it just because it's the next thing to do and you don't know what else to do... well, I guess if you don't know then it's a better option than nothing, but the best option is to search and learn as much as possible. With the internet you have so many more resources now than ever.

You have a good start. You do have a degree. And that's good for something. Some types of jobs only care that you were good enough to get one, and not what it was in. So keep looking, keep searching. You're young and can do it. Good luck to you.
posted by mikshir at 8:45 AM on January 28, 2007

Actually, you seem to be a motivated person. Refereeing is not easy. IT help desk means you actually have to talk to people. Figuring out how to get into grad school takes some skills. You have talent. It's just how you present it in a resume.

You should address your mental health issues first. It may require going to the school counselor. Next, you should understand that many of the things you're feeling are a result of boredom. You're 22 years old. Your teen/undergrad phase of life is over. It's time to spread your wings. Move to the West Coast. Join the Peace Corps.It's amazing what a change of scenery will do. But you have to address the depression first.

Your life has just begun. If you have these same doubts at 35, then it will be more problematic...
posted by KokuRyu at 8:55 AM on January 28, 2007

Everyone's had excellent responses; you get the gist. But to give you a few more ideas, because in all honesty it doesn't really matter WHAT you do right now, so long as it's something:

The area you live in is a fantastic place for young people who have not much to offer besides time and the fact that they can shower and dress themselves (I've been one of them). Is there any somewhat political cause you have even the slightest interest in? Find their local or DC HQ (or a political campaign), send them an email with a resume that emphasizes your organizational skills, and tell them your constraints: you want to give your time to something, but not have it involve much people interaction. In the spring when there aren't a lot of interns around, there are PLENTY of options, and usually they aren't posted on a job website. If it's unpaid, offer to give ten hours a week (this is a normal thing). The key is to sound somewhat passionate, or at least driven to participate in their cause--faking it is acceptable. A lot of the more organized causes--I'm thinking environmental--are excellent at hooking you up with a couch to crash on too. Advocacy groups love having people who won't be offended by being told to stuff envelopes all day--particularly those with graduate degrees. Even a semester long internship will give you interesting-sounding experience and an entree into network of organizations that need to hire people constantly.

On the making money side, I 19th Starbucks. On top of the benefits, they provide you with excellent training in everything; it's more extensive that the "professional" job training I've received. Don't be afraid of customer interaction--they'll get you there, particularly if you are up front that you might be uncomfortable. Emphasize that you'll happily work opening, closing, any day of the week.
posted by xaire at 9:05 AM on January 28, 2007

Talk to your parents.

A job isn't what you need and it's likely not what your parents really for you. It's obvious your parents love you very much and what they really want is to put you on the right track. Don't take their comments about your useless undergraduate degree at face value; this is just plain old parental concern at the fact that you still don't have a clear direction in life. So talk to your parents. Get out of this stupid cycle of shame and deception. Some worthless cubicle job isn't going to redeem you in their eyes if it makes you miserable and doesn't give you a real future. You are blessed, truly blessed, with decent parents who are willing and able to love you and support you. They just want you to be happy. Use them. Go to your parents and tell them everything you've told us and make it very clear: you have real problems and you need their help. They will help you if you only give them the chance. Listen to their advice and be grateful for everything they've done for you.

At your age and with your skillset I think education is still the best investment of your time and money. Rather than searching desperately for some desk job or retail job you should be focusing on increasing your grades and getting good recommendations from your teachers. If there are real reasons why you're not doing well in school then identify them and resolve them. Instead of jobs try looking for internships. Internships will give you a decent opportunity to try new things.

You should really take a moment to appreciate just how extraordinarily lucky you are. I'm not trying to guilt trip you or anything but do realize that having successful, decent parents willing to support you is a real blessing. The type of thing that most couldn't even dream of.

So use them.

In your situation, at your young age and with your parents potentially willing to bankroll it, your best investment is still education. Yes, you've had a bad time with it. But education really works so sit down and figure out why you've done badly in school and figure out what it would take for you to do better. You think you know what you want and what you're good at but you likely have no concrete idea about these things. If you put yourself in a challenging situation doing something you're not supposed to be able you'll likely rise to the occassion.

The people who do well in this world are generally the people who know what they want and then go out and get it. You have no idea what you want. That's fine. You need to go out and look for it.

But really talk to your parents. You're extraordinarily lucky to have such parents and if you just come completely clean with them -- if you can't do it in person then do it in a written letter or over the phone -- my feeling is that they will do whatever it takes to get you on the right path.
posted by nixerman at 9:05 AM on January 28, 2007

Almost everyone sucks at some level. You're a good writer, have a sense of humour and some self-awareness. Already you suck a lot less than most people.

I've had a lot of problems with this kind of self-doubt through my adulthood. I've known others who I've encountered at shyness/social phobia forums who get stuck endlessly mulling in indecision and feelings of inadequacy. Mostly they seem like decent enough folk who just can't feel that they fit in and can't give themselves a break. Eventually that becomes a kind of mental comfort zone, to accompany the physical comfort zone provided by the supportive parents, the harmless boyfriend, or the unchallenging job or course of study.

One thing I do know is that putting yourself down to beat others to the punch never helps anyone. I do it myself, but I know it doesn't help. It sounds whiny to others, and they don't want to always have to support your problems. People want others to be upbeat, confident, outgoing and uncomplicated. I know that we all can't be that, but it's probably a good idea to moderate any impulses to let everyone know that you think you suck.

Moving or traveling or doing some job you never expected to do could do wonders. After periods of inactivity and confusion the lowest and dirtiest jobs could sometimes, for awhile anyway, make me feel part of the world again. I don't understand why you quit the volleyball job. That seems slightly depressive or self-destructive. A job like that paid well for the time spent, didn't require you to dedicate your life to it, and allowed you to remain in a social circle you'd grown up being a part of.

Temp agencies can be good. They allow you to check out different environments without requiring much investment from you. Sometimes, though, operating through them can lack dignity, when for example they call at the last minute wanting you to rush somewhere that won't really provide you anything of value. I'm out of work again right now, and I'm trying to stay away from them for awhile. They can become a comfort zone too, sending you places that are unchallenging, and it becomes a sort of slumming. But as a way of introducing you to fields you have no previous experience in, they can be useful.

There have been times when I've posted this kind of long confessional stories to Internet forums. For myself it's always been a sign that I needed someone to talk to, felt isolated, and I was looking for someone to understand. The replies here have been supportive and have provided many good suggestions, even if there is conflict in what different people think is the best path. That just shows that you have many potential choices, that at 22 and as a member of a professional family in the most advantaged area of the world, everything is open to you. I hope the responses here have helped you some.
posted by TimTypeZed at 9:52 AM on January 28, 2007

Based on your writing I would disagree that you're stupid. Sounds like you maybe have some behavioral and/or attentional issues solve. Trust me, it's possible. Good luck.
posted by alms at 10:22 AM on January 28, 2007

you're not a fuckup, you are exhausted. your batteries are empty.
it's time for a recharge.

you give yourself far too little credit. you are 22 and you have a BA in english and psychology! (I didn't even enroll in my undergrad until I was 24.) yes, you are depressed, I think there is little doubt about that, but you don't strike me as either delusional or suicidal but more along the lines of every second other college graduate in this country.

you are at a point in your life where you can do anything you want. you have a degree, you have almost no debt - what is keeping you from putting your stuff in storage and taking off for six months? do something YOU really wanted to do for a long time. be nuts. travel without much money, see where the road takes you, be forced to do odd jobs in south america or africa, somewhere far away for sure. explore, enjoy, live. you will come back a changed person.

don't stay where you know people. don't stay in the country. go and just see what happens. come back when you have an idea, when you have run into something that interests you so much, you want to do this for the rest of your life. open your eyes and start exploring and you won't be able to keep these things out of your head. you have no choice but to run into all sorts of amazing experiences.

there are two kinds of people in this world: those who sit on the couch and complain and those who do something to address the problem. I think you can be the second kind.

(take a notepad and a cheapo camera if you have one. you have an english degree and you are most certainly not stupid.)
posted by krautland at 11:08 AM on January 28, 2007

"neither delusional or suicidal"

bad bad typo
posted by krautland at 11:09 AM on January 28, 2007

If I could reach across the internet and give you a hug, I would. You sound completely miserable, agonized by feelings of inadequacy, and you don't need to feel that way, because there is nothing inadequate about you.

You are depressed, as so many commenters have said. The reason it's so easy to see this is that your assessment of yourself and your situation is so distorted, relative to the facts you present. Depression distorts your perceptions of yourself, and you've got it bad!

You are not stupid. You have a college degree, unlike 3/4 of your country. Perhaps more importantly your post is articulate, well written, and lucid, and surprisingly few people can do that. I'm not the first person to say that here. Don't ignore us. I'm not saying it to be nice.

Your educational achievements are fine. You are doing a postgraduate degree with a respectable GPA in less than the normal amount of time. You've got a worse than average undergraduate GPA, but you'll get over that, its not crippling. The postgrad will help.

Your other attributes are also good. Team sport to a good level, plus refereeing (people will understand this, and not go "huh!". Everyone on Mefi understood it.) plus useful jobs (Helpdesk, telesales), plus a bit of social involvement (radio, president of "my organisation"). This is better than I had at your age, and is fine for a resume. I don't see why you downplay this so much.

You've still got a year till your course ends, so you've got plenty of time to think about your career. Take your time, talk to people. Use any contacts you might have. Not knowing where you are going is normal at 22.

This is not an attempt to "make the best of it". Its my honest assement I promise.

I'll say it again:

The way you feel about has little to do with the facts of your situation, and lots to do with the way your brain is working. Get some help for your depression, and you will quickly feel better.

I've been where you are emotionally. Its terrible, and my heart really does go out to you. But the situation can improve.

(sorry to ignore your job question, but I think its been well covered)
posted by Touchstone at 11:20 AM on January 28, 2007

In addition to what you are doing in school now (which I believe you should finish), try working with people one on one in a volunteer capacity...with kids as a literacy volunteer, or visiting blind people to take them to safeway or help them go through their mail. Volunteer organizations abound, and expectations of your time are reasonable. If after while you don't see a point to it, then by all means seek help. You aren't depressed as much as you might be just angry that you feel you lack influence over your own life. Influence others' lives, in a positive way, and don't expect to be thanked. Just do it. Start small. See what happens. And ta-hell with that barista job, I mean really.
posted by nj_subgenius at 11:33 AM on January 28, 2007

Another vote for "you're depressed." If things that used to seem fun don't any more, and you lack motiviation, and it's interfering with your life, you are depressed. If you address that first, other things will become easier. Also, has many apparently cheesy but stunningly effective techniques for getting your life together when you think your life is a mess.
posted by selfmedicating at 12:39 PM on January 28, 2007

There's a lot of good advice here, let me just second a few things.

If I was to guess, you seem to be making all of your choices to limit the possibility that others will judge you. You are unusually concerned with avoiding shame, rather than maximizing happiness or achievement. You have not talked about your English courses or your Master's degree as a source of joy or enlightenment, so I wonder if you really wanted to do them anyway, or if this was just postponing "reality". Now you want a job in data entry, which most people find absolutely soul-crushing and has no future whatsoever. Its only advantage is that it requires few skills and does not require you to interact with people.

You list all your attributes as negative; you told us that you don't have skills with X, Y, or Z, but you haven't told us what you skills you DO have. This is really unusual when asking someone for job advice.

Cognitive therapy is probably the best thing you can do at this point. You have the advantage of a few years analyzing literature, so this will be like looking at your own mind and discerning motivations and recurring themes.

The next thing you need to do is learn what you actually like and gain standards for yourself apart from those set by your family. You cannot do this by avoiding everything. It's going to take a long time, but you have to start listening to that internal voice that says "it would be nice if..." or "it would be fun if...".

One recommended career exercise is to write some stories about yourself where you enjoyed accomplishing something (anything!). There's a book about career-choosing called "What Color is Your Parachute?" that's based around that technique. The website has these articles: Childhood Dreams Come Back To Save Us, and What Do You Have To Offer The World?.

However, the title of your post was "Is there any hope for me?". I don't know, is there? Are you trapped at the bottom of a well or something? Do you have congenital birth defects? Do you have ebola?

Or are you an intelligent, healthy person living in North America, with access to higher education, social services, and some upper-middle-class family financial support? Of course there's hope for you. However, none of us can give you hope. You're going to have to find it in yourself. As well as the answer to the question: what am I hoping for?
posted by brevity at 12:50 PM on January 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

There's been a lot of great advice in this thread, and I'm saying that as someone who spent my first year out of college feeling just like you did - hopeless, jobless, stuck at home, and depressed. I can now fondly refer to it as "the worst year of my life." It sucked and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. But it ended, and you have to remember that while your situation may seem overwhelming and hopeless now, it won't be that way forever.

The thing that helped me the most was talk therapy. I balked initially, because I had very little money and I was embarassed to admit weakness in front of my parents. But I was able to find a university-funded clinic that worked on a sliding scale, so I ended up paying $10 per session. It was once a week, so I didn't have to tell my parents where I was going. It gave me a private space where I could work through unhelpful thought patterns, deal with my anger and resentment toward my parents, and (sometimes) just cry and whine without feeling guilty that I was unduly "burdening" someone. It took time (and smaller steps than I would've liked), but eventually I was able to move out of the valley and start heading up toward the peak again.

Please consider looking into it: it's a lot more accessible than you might think. While I agree that establishing financial independence and "getting free" of your parents will be important to your self-worth, it's also going to be very hard to do if you're already depressed. Getting yourself into a clearer headspace will better equip you to take those big steps.
posted by brookedel at 12:58 PM on January 28, 2007

You don't like people. I don't much either, so I sympathize with the shyness. It's kind of a good life-skill to be able to deal with them though, since you know, we live in a society. Get a job that forces you to deal with people. In college I got a job at my dorm's front desk. It helped. I had to answer the phone, and talk to everyone when they came in. I'm still not very social, but I can at least function pretty well. Also, I'm 25, and very in debt from moving out right away after I found a job after college. Yeah, it screwed up my finances, but not beyond repair, (and some of the financial troubles have nothing to do with that...) I still don't regret it. As long as you live at home, well, you're a kid. It made me feel much better to take care of myself.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 1:09 PM on January 28, 2007

On the depression front: The whole 'not bad enough' thing to me is that I can still function (mostly). I've been self-medicating for years, and when I've had the rare opportunity to talk to a professional about it, they say the same thing: "it's not bad enough". Or they go in the completely opposite direction and say "we need to commit your ass right now" which they did to my brother when he was younger than I am now and is now a very secretive thing in our family. The other thing that comes across in my family when I've brought up the idea of getting some help is "what the hell do you have to be sad about?" My folks don't really believe in psychology and think that once I get a good government job and a house that everything will be peachy keen. Also, it seems like this is just the way it's always been. Ever since I was little, I've never really had much passion for anything (except writing, and that wasn't exactly passion, it was more of a "this doesn't suck" sort of thing). So it's been kinda hard to figure out if this is just my temperment, or if it's something else entirely. I've also read a bunch of the "self help" books about this sort of thing, just to get some type of handle on the situation. With those, it's more like "okay, this sounds like me, but now what?" (As an aside, whenever my mom sees me reading these kind of books, she assumes that reading them is what is making me sad, not the realization that it's me in the book.)

Job front: I've tried the temp agency thing before (after HS and every summer in college) but nowhere has needed/wanted me. I've been putting in more apps and weirder places and tommorow am going to drag my ass out to every Starbucks within a 10 mile radius (there's a shitload) and see what I can scrounge up. I'll also hit up some of the other retail-like stores (TJ Maxx, for one) that are in those shopping centers. After typing this post last night and letting it sit, I found some more job things (meter readings and Safeway stocking) and I really hope that something pans out soon. Volunteering sounds like it would be something I'd like, but I want to try and get some money coming in first, so I can volunteer somewhere. Quitting referee-ing wasn't exactly quitting in the strictest sense, but more like just not signing up to do it. I still have all my certification and whatnot, so if things don't pan out soon, I can take a weekend or two and get some cash that way. It's more of a stress thing (plus my dad really wants me to advance in the ranks, which I don't think I'm ready for.) There's also a lot of bureaucracy involved that I'm not interested in and don't really give a damn about, which has kind of shot me in the foot and excluded me from some assignments.

The big move: I've been trying to get out of this house for years now, but it's one of those things that if I bring it up, my parents shoot it down saying that I'm " not responsible enough" or I "don't make enough money" or "you're going to move where?!" so it's been a pain. I'm starting to think that the only way out is to just pack up and leave one day (as my brother did). My dad has made an attempt to help me find somewhere to move (like a townhouse or something where I could rent rooms to my friends who also have nowhere to go) but it fizzled once he really started to see just how much it costs for a townhouse/house in this area. (Prices are starting to go down, but they still suck ass.)

School: The whole reason I'm at Trinity right now is because I couldn't figure out what to do when I graduated in May. The original plan was libsci, but after I got turned down, my dad panicked and sent me to Trinity because they had no problems with last minute registration/acceptance. As far as me staying there, it's not because I'm in love with the program or think it's where I want to go in life, it's more because it's giving me time to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to be doing. It's a strange program (IMO) because there's no research, no ta-ing, no cohorts, and they consider Wikipedia to be a reliable source. A bunch of my internet friends (hooray livejournal) are in these extremely strenouous programs that take several years whereas I'm just doing reading out of textbooks that still have the important words bolded with definitions in the margins. There's also a teeny part of me that thinks of possibly attempting libsci again after I get this degree, because UMD and Catholic both do automatic acceptance with an already finished Masters. But knowing the way things are heading, it probably won't happen.

Travel: I've never been a very spontaneous person. Even when I was a child, I always had plans and stuff for what I was going to do. So while bailing and running away from everything for 6 months to a year sounds like a cool idea on paper, I'd never be able to do it. I just don't have that spontaneity. It has crossed my mind before, but it's just one of those ideas that sounds better on paper than it does actually doing it (to me at any rate).

My parents: Talking to them doesn't do any good. I've tried it before and if I'm saying something they don't want to hear--they won't hear it. Hence the reason why I'm leaning more towards taking the same route my brother did, and hiding money from some job they don't know about into a secret account, and bailing without telling them until I'm already gone. Otherwise, they'll just keep shooting down every idea I have until I'm in his situation (he was about 30 when he left). The whole libsci thing was a big ass joke to them for a while, until my dad realized that I really wasn't getting any job offers, even with a shiny newly minted BA. They still think it's kind of silly and something that I'll "grow out of".

Thanks for all the advice and whatnot given so far. I'm just going to keep trying to stay above water and get the fuck out of here ASAP.
posted by sperose at 1:37 PM on January 28, 2007

" If things that used to seem fun don't any more, and you lack motiviation, and it's interfering with your life, you are depressed."

My mother told me that same bullshit for years. She was ALWAYS telling me that *I* was depressed, and I needed therapy. If I wasn't depressed, then clearly I was on drugs.

I finally decided that my mother was just full of shit. She was. I'm not depressed.

I think the OPs parents are a huge dark cloud over her.
posted by drstein at 2:22 PM on January 28, 2007

"tommorow am going to drag my ass out to every Starbucks within a 10 mile radius (there's a shitload) and see what I can scrounge up"

GOOD. Don't give up. DO NOT GIVE UP. You'll get rejected by some places, but that's ok. It's not you.

Keep trying. Think positive things! It will work out in the end. :D
posted by drstein at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2007

This thread has a lot of great advice, and I'm just going to nth most of it.

I'm 25 and working at The Mini Bux as a day job while I get my shit together artistically. My degree is in art, and I hope to have a career in art eventually, but for the moment I need to get health insurance and pay the bills. The Mini Bux treats me well and the pay isn't bad.

I also suffer from Big D Depression (Major Depressive Disorder, specifically) and I know that I wouldn't have been able to make even this small step without a little help from my friends and the right medication. Maybe you don't need medication, maybe you just need a good therapist, or the right herb, or whatever, but you certainly should see a doctor as a first step in figuring out how to kick the depression to the curb. As for friends, you've got a couple thousand MeFites cheering you on! Hooray!

(My email is in my profile if you want to get in touch, I'd be happy to help you in any way I can, best of luck!)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:45 PM on January 28, 2007

I've been trying to get out of this house for years now, but it's one of those things that if I bring it up, my parents shoot it down saying that I'm "not responsible enough" or I "don't make enough money" or "you're going to move where?!"

Sounds familiar. My parents always wanted me to be in a safer neighborhood, have more of a savings cushion, etc, than I could ever quite pull off at that age. But I just rolled my eyes and did it anyway, and they got over it.

The hardest part was myself -- living at home is so comfortable that it creates inertia -- it's comfortable like a swamp. Every time I moved out, I did it on the spur of the moment -- suddenly, I just had to get out of there and left. In retrospect, I have no idea how I pulled it off. (Did I have a security deposit saved up? I must have found somewhere month-to-month with roommates).

As soon as you find a job, just go. They might be a little upset. The mature thing would be to just say you appreciate that they are concerned for you, but you think you'll be alright. You don't have to buy a townhouse to get out of there. Here, check these out. Ooh, this one is pretty good...
posted by salvia at 3:51 PM on January 28, 2007

I'm at a similar point in my life, and I know how awful it is to feel so stuck. What's helped me is minimizing time with my mom (who means well, but) while living with my aunt and uncle, who are encouraging rather than pressuring. And recently my father told me how much I remind him of himself, and how three of the five kids in his family struggled with depression and social anxiety and phobias around the ages of 17-25. So just knowing that "it's not just me" helps--I know a lot of people have said this already, but it's important. Feeling lost and purposeless and depressed is common in people our age, but you can change it.

Volunteering sounds like it would be something I'd like, but I want to try and get some money coming in first, so I can volunteer somewhere.

Yes and no. I agree with everyone that going out to every nearby Starbucks is a great plan, and so are a lot of the other job ideas people have suggested. On the other hand, not earning money is a relatively small part of your troubles right now. Volunteering will take care of a lot of what's wrong:
it will get you out of the house regularly and give you something to get up for,
make it harder for your parents to get on your case,
build experience that looks great on a resume,
teach you new skills,
help you find new things to be passionate about,
and most importantly, boost your confidence when you realize you're doing good work for people who appreciate you.
So absolutely go out and keep the job search in high gear, but go ahead and look at volunteer opportunities too--if you get a job right away, there are plenty of places that would love to have you volunteer on evenings or weekends.
posted by hippugeek at 4:33 PM on January 28, 2007

Your parents are crushing you. They may love you in their way but the solution to you moving out is NOT (NOT!!) for your parents to buy a townhouse. Normal people just... move... out.

You cannot leave too soon. Stay with friends, do anything. Just leave immediately.

I had a similar childhood to yours, although not as bad. I ended up with their doubts and fears smushed down so far into my gut, that something in me revolted. At an age similar to you, I smashed my father's windshield and then moved out the next week.

Please forgive me if the tone of my previous post sounds harsh. But I guess I see some of my former self in you. Stop telling yourself "I've never been a spontaneous person", "I'm not this", "I'm not that".

You seem to be avoiding your parents' disapproval as if it was radioactive or something. Trust me, I know the feeling. But you have to learn that it's okay for them to disapprove. Your plans do not have to be perfect. You're an adult and they have to respect them no matter what. You do not have to come up with a plan that they approve. REPEAT. You do not have to come up with a plan that they approve. Just one that you can live with.

You may find that once you push back, the relationship between you and your parents will dramatically improve. There are some parents who are just unable to let go, and you will be doing them a big favor by standing up for yourself.
posted by brevity at 4:50 PM on January 28, 2007

Just one detail: Stop worrying about what your GPA or class rank was -- it's no longer relevant. I know that this was important at the time, but except for applying to grad school, your grades are not important to most employers.

I've had occasion to hire a few right-out-of-college level people, and when applicants put their GPA on their resume, I think WTF?
posted by desuetude at 5:17 PM on January 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

Yeah, my GPA was similar to yours. You know what I do?
I'm a chemist. That's right, GPA doesn't matter outside of school.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:11 PM on January 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

You have a university degree, that puts you above the bare minimum requirement for going abroad and teaching English in a foreign country. It would get you out of that terrible environment, broaden your horizons, teach you self-sufficiency, boost your self-esteem (everyone gains popularity when they go abroad), and more than likely give you a decent amount of disposable income that doesn't come from your parents.
Even more of a plus is that you get to use your obvious language skills in a positive setting, which will hopefully make you stop cutting yourself to pieces over not having any "useful" skills.
posted by nightchrome at 6:55 PM on January 28, 2007

Side note: My HS GPA was similar to yours, I slept and/or was drunk through business school and my college GPA somehow came out as a 3.3 or 3.4 ... three years out of school, and I can't even remember. That's how little it matters ... except when applying to Washington DC federal govt' positions, I will grant you.

But you really, really don't want to work there anyway.

Get thee out of the house.
posted by SpecialK at 8:39 PM on January 28, 2007

I like nightchrome's suggestion, seems to have a lot going for it. I have a fair number of friends who did that after school and it's a great way to get some great experiences while being able to save up cash and not worry to much about living arrangements (since those are usually provided). Based on your background, it sounds like a great use for skills that you're good at.

And also, it gets you several thousand miles away from your parents, which based on your posts, seems like what should be your number one priority and will probably help the most for clearing your head.
posted by lhl at 1:52 AM on January 29, 2007

Step 1: Become financially independent. (Get a job that is easily transferable)
Step 2: Move out of house, possibly to another state (I liked a previous commenter's suggestion of Boise - my sister lived there for a while; Boise is really cool, in my opinion.)
Step 3: Check in with yourself to see if you're still depressed once you're on your own.

For jobs, I think any kind of secretarial/assistant thing is a BAD idea, because there's a lot of checking in with your supervisor/boss, which it sounds like you are trying to avoid.
I Nth the temp agencies. The thing about them is that you have to keep calling them, or they forget about you. Make an appointment with yourself that every Tuesday at 10am, you will call the three temp agencies where you are on file.
Here are the jobs you would like through these agencies:
-Short-term (1-4 days) data entry projects (maybe after a few, you'll feel like you can take on longer projects)
-Transcription (medical/legal/whatever) (I agree with the commenter who suggested this; it's a big work-at-home field, you just need to find a way in)
-Warehouse work (either the data-entry side, or something physical that won't strain your shoulder but gets you moving around)

The great thing about temping (over retail) is that you can sell it to your parents that it's just to build up your resume toward what your dad might call a 'real' job. Explain that you've tried for the jobs he thinks you should have, but that people want to see some professional experience, so you're working on this stepping-stone first. The down-side is that the hours tend to be 9-5 M-F, which might not work with your school schedule.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:20 AM on January 29, 2007

Also, go for a walk, outside, alone, every day. When I was unemployed and generally in a bad place, I found that getting outside, on my two feet, even just for 15 minutes, was very helpful, even in the dead of a very cold winter.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:22 AM on January 29, 2007

Random advice from a random dork...
- You're 22! At that age it seems like everything sucks. Concentrate on the good (don't ignore the bad, it can teach you stuff). Things will get better.
- Get back to refereeing! I used to play volleyball, and good refs are few and far between. Plus you're good at it. And you get paid for it (another life lesson - don't quit a job until you have its successor lined up).
- You're not dumb (did you not read your post?!?). Actually, you sound a little like me - a 2.9 GPA (when it mattered), but everyone thought I was a LOT smarter (And, yeah, I got the "He'd do better if he just applied himself" line too).
- You're still in school, so you're not official "in life" yet. If you catch my meaning.
- I think poor grades can be "explained away" in job interviews (I don't test well, personality conflicts with teachers, etc.). Besides, if people think you are smarter than you are, maybe 1) they're right, and 2) interviewers will catch on to this as well. (Personally, I'd rather hire someone with a lower GPA, but impressed me at the interview.)
- I'll be the lone dissenter when it comes to moving out. But only because it will enable you to save a lot of money. So you can move out later.

Best of luck to you!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 10:16 AM on January 29, 2007

Everyone's said it all, I think--just one thing I wanted to add. Reading your question was like reading the beginning of a wise and funny first-person novel. I wanted it to go on. You say you're interested in writing. You should pursue this. Writers are known to be late bloomers, and their development is for the most part internal and invisible. You may not have anything to show for your ambitions for a long, long time. Parents will be frustrated by you (so what else is new), and once you let the cat out of the bag, everyone and their dog will tell you you can't be a writer anyawy. What they say just doesn't matter. Writers are strange and different--always have been. You have a sort of good genie inside who won't steer you wrong, so listen to it.

Take a class, submit an essay to a local paper, keep a journal...and tend your unique flame.
posted by frosty_hut at 2:09 PM on January 29, 2007

Good advice above. My take on it:

1. Get a job - temping is a good idea
2. See a therapist
3. Save money
4. Move away from your toxic parents

Heck, if you can do #4 before #2, all the better. That voice inside your head telling you you're shit? That's not your voice. That's your parents. Move, move, move!
posted by deborah at 9:37 AM on January 30, 2007

You don't have to move out to get out of your parents' home. Get a job. Then as soon as you can afford it, join a gym. A cheap one, but one with a comfortable atmosphere. When I lived with my parents during grad school, I was either in class, in the library, at work or at the gym. (I'm not a fitness nut, but there were music and people so I stuck around. It helped with the stress of it all too.) Maybe you could volunteer at a local public library to take up even more time away from home, which would also help you get a job there or at least feel out if you'd want to work there. (With the way librarianship is evolving and becoming much more customer-centric, it's less and less of a profession for introverts, so definitely look before you leap.)

Stay in school until you figure out what you want to do. With so little debt, you're completely free so you really good teach English abroad, for example, which can be life-changing in so many ways, and would put a whole ocean between you and your dad. It doesn't have to be spontaneous; it can be very well-planned. But it sounds like your parental support would end as soon as you left school, so stick with it, putting in minimal effort, until you make some kind of decision.

And, as everyone says, see a therapist, for several reasons. The depression and home situation, of course, and as a resource who can help you make a plan about what to do, but also because your degree is in psychology. If anyone is likely to know what career options there are for psych majors, a therapist probably will, even if he/she has a sociology or social work degree instead of psych. There has to be something that drew you to that major; maybe you just need to rediscover it. (If anyone says they want to commit you, just leave. Find a better match. You need to find someone to help you deal with life, not remove you from your life.)

And keep us updated, please!

On a side note, your degree is in psychology and your parents don't believe in it? How did you get that one past them?
posted by Jaie at 10:30 AM on January 31, 2007

As another quick update on the current situation: I've put in a shitload of apps for just about every place near me (Starbucks included) that had a help wanted sign, plus some online places too.
I've been spending a lot of time thinking about wtf I'm going to do once I finish at Trinity (which will probably be early next December, providing that there are no fuckups on my part) and so far the thing that keeps popping up is to travel for a while (I've travelled a lot, but only with my mother and the hand-holding involved) and then move out. I've been talking to my brother (who bailed without telling them) and he and I are currently conspiring about getting me out of the house.

With regards to my majors in college, originally my dad wanted me to major in something sensible, like Biology. I refused to give up my dreams of being a writer and stuck with English and really liked psych stuff and it was semi-scientific (as I told my father, who only understands SCIENCE!) and was supposed to be a triple major. In 4 years. I took one summer class, failed it miserably (due to sucking at math and abusive asshole exbf at the time) and then dropped Bio the next fall. My folks still don't believe in Psych as being worthwhile, but my mom's company makes drugs for schizophrenia, so she's at least willing to believe that sometimes people's brains don't work the way they're supposed to. My dad is all about "be a secretary for the government, damnit" so the topic of my choice of degree has been passed over.
posted by sperose at 5:32 PM on January 31, 2007

I think the period right after getting your undergrad, if you weren't one of those organized achievers who had a job lined up before you graduated (I wasn't), is one of the hardest there is. You're "supposed" to be starting a career and be able to support yourself. But it doesn't always happen that easily - don't beat yourself up for having the same sort of hard time that many many others have had.

Ask your Dad to provide some positive help instead of criticism. He could pay for a placement agency, pay for interview training, pay to have your resume created professionally, etc.

As for jobs that meet your criteria, burglar alarm monitor at night. I did that for most of my college career. You talk to people on the phone and to the police dispatchers, but that's it, and you can study or write while on the job, at least with the smaller companies.

If you want to get away from home badly enough, join the Peace Corps, or AmeriCorps/VISTA. You earn a tiny wage, but with your tiny debt, that's OK. With Americorps you earn money towards further education, if you want that. And with either you get terrific experience, often more responsibility than a comparable government or corporate job can provide, and you do worthwhile work.

Another route to finding a job is to volunteer for a non-profit. Most of them need and use volunteers. It's possible to end up working where you volunteer, but beyond that it provides a way to meet new people and to hear about jobs - tell everyone you meet that you're looking, and that that's part of why you're volunteering.

Don't be so hard on yourself and you'll do fine. Good luck!
posted by RelentlesslyOptimistic at 11:15 AM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I got a job! Granted, it's working at a Rita's serving gelati, but it's a goddamned job. Wootness.
posted by sperose at 7:58 PM on March 21, 2007

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