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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Struggling and unclear

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  • #1099149 Reply
    sammy952019
    Participant

    I have been struggling so much during the last 3 yrs. How to get back on my feet, start my career and just basically get on with my life. I moved back home after uni in mid 2018 thought I would save some money for a year move back out and start living my life again. After 6 months of job search I landed a Job at an appliance store and worked there for 8 months but I had to quit because of a lot of toxic work behavior which was affecting my mental health. I have been struggling to find decent employment for 2 yrs now. Mainly because I don’t want a job to affect my mental health because I’ll try working at a job and stay there as much as possible but I end up quitting because I keep getting treated like trash and I’m unable to handle that toxicity. My family is not that supportive as well I don’t have the best relationships and all of that really brings me down and puts me in a dark place. I don’t know what to do at this point. I haven’t done anything related to my career in 3.5 yrs and I’m just scared that I’ll end up no where with no friends or family that care for me. Currently I’m at my lowest state mentally and I don’t know how to get out of this miserable pit.

    I also don’t have any friends to depend on.

    #1099152 Reply
    ron
    Guest

    If you’ve had multiple jobs you view as toxic and think you are treated like trash, you should at least consider that the problem may be your expectations of how employees are normally treated and a dislike of following instructions/assignments from any manager. You gave no examples of what you consider toxic work atmosphere or being treated like trash, so nothing else to go on. Your comment that you’ve left multiple jobs to protect your mental health strikes me as a red flag. You also don’t mention what your ‘career’ is. There are tons of unfilled jobs out there. What you land is going to be entry level, within or outside your career field. That comes with detailed instruction, closer than normal supervision, and not being given a lot of discretion or complicated/vital tasks, until you demonstrate that you are capable of self-directed, independent work. Everyone who has had a new job, especially just breaking into the job market has experienced this.

    #1099153 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    I would strongly recommend you talk to some kind of psychologist who specializes in career stuff. Would your parents’ insurance cover that or would they pay for it? Something is wrong here. It sounds like your expectations are way off and you’re not able to handle normal workplace interactions. You also have a degree that you’re not using, and the older you get, the harder it’s going to be to get into that field at entry level. I think you need a counselor to work with you, identify what’s holding you back, give you coping mechanisms, and help you work out a plan to find a job in your degree area.

    Without detail I can’t give you any more specific advice, but people at work aren’t meant to treat you like a loving parent or something. They need to be direct with you. They need to tell you what to do and then give you feedback about how you’re doing. That is all normal and okay. It’s not okay to call you names, or use your personal characteristics against you. Are they doing that? Sexually harassing you or being racist or sexist?

    #1099155 Reply
    sammy952019
    Participant

    My Degree is film studies (2018) and after that I worked retail for 8months at an appliance shop. I gave my best to that job and if I had questions I always asked my boss or more experienced worker and even had a note book to take notes on tasks, but the manager had favorites and a lot of closed door meetings were happening while the store was busy so the work load increased. The pay was 1 dollar above minimum wage as well. There was just a lot of people talking behind my back and rumors of me getting fired. Overall they just keep putting more workload on me without showing any appreciation. I was stressed, still am because things aren’t going great at home. Parents don’t like me as much so they won’t support me. There are a lot of fights happening at home between me and my parents and the last thing I need is a toxic work situation. You might not consider it the worst thing but I live a very lonely life. I have no friends no outside contact little things like my job trigger my mental health and put me in a dark place.

    #1099156 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    I really think you need to find a counselor to help you get sorted. I’m not sure you’re clear on what you want, even.

    What you describe doesn’t sound toxic. At any workplace, they just keep giving you more work. There are ways to push back without losing credibility, but you do kind of have to do your time first and eat a little of the shit sandwich.

    Also, you could absolutely be making friends at work so you wouldn’t be so lonely, but you’re not doing that, and I guarantee you it isn’t because everyone is out to get you.

    I think you need more help than we can give on an advice forum, but basically at any entry-level job you should do fine if you:

    —Show up, don’t take excessive sick days
    —Do what you’re told, take notes, ask questions
    —Be friendly and helpful to your co-workers
    —Ask for feeeback to help you improve
    Have the attitude of how can you help the company / the customer

    And sure, the pay might be bad to start, but the point is to stick around, gain experience, get promoted, move to a higher paying job.

    #1099164 Reply
    LisforLeslie
    Guest

    Well as someone also with a liberal arts degree, what careers did you think were out there? I thought I was going to stay in academia and one of my professors set me straight: There were no jobs. His generation were not yet ready to retire, and they had raised a whole herd of associate professors who were fighting over the few jobs that existed.

    So I left to think about my options and I got a job as a file clerk in an office. They paid 80% of a master’s degree in IT management as long as my grades were good.

    As for toxic jobs – might have been toxic, but might just have been the way retail is. There is no good depiction of retail work in media. Not sure what you expected, but it lines up with what I’d expect. Don’t expect the nonsense that you see on TV.

    #1099166 Reply
    FYI
    Guest

    Contact your university and ask them for career counseling services.

    #1099167 Reply
    anonymousse
    Participant

    Unfortunately, when you’re starting out in mostly lower wage jobs (which is completely normal even when you’ve just graduated college with a degree) you kind of do have to be the lowest grunt on the totem pole and take the shit. Get the coffee, refill the paper, whatever. It’s just kind of expected and almost everyone had to go through it, too. And things are probably better around that kind of stuff today, maybe?

    Your expectations seem off. A job isn’t really supposed to be a fun place, and you’re really lucky if the people and/or management/owners make it a nice or fun place to spend the time you get paid to work there. Like, the maybe end goal is to be at a place that you love to work. That is not generally your first experience fresh out of school. (Although a lovely goal, a wonderful and lovely workplace is often just not reality.)It’d be a lucky and rare thing if you had that. If you’re seeing that on social media or something, that’s not real life.

    Most jobs I’ve had it was the people there that made it fun. Maybe you’re taking things too personally or something else like that?

    Also retail right now is brutal. People that have been working all the pandemic and are cranky and have watched their coworkers die/have been harassed or worse by angry customers for over a year. I take the time lately to talk to people every place I spend money and they have horror stories if you take the time to ask. I am honestly a little scared of the general populace right now, myself. People are angry and a little (hate to use this word) crazy right now.

    #1099170 Reply
    ron
    Guest

    I don’t know what sort of career job you expected with a BA in film studies. You certainly can’t teach with that. Maybe an assistant job for an independent film producer, but don’t expect to be working creatively. Newspapers are cutting back staff, so a newly minted BA is unlikely to get a job as a critic. Did you attend a good college or university? Did anyone there talk to you about career opportunities? Did you research this yourself? Why did you choose to major in film studies? Do you know anything about jobs in that industry? What were you expecting to do in the film industry with your degree? Realism is important. If you have unrealistic expectations, then you should expect to be disillusioned.

    #1099171 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    So, this was years ago, but my husband majored in PR and Journalism and had no clue what to do. He joined a temp employment agency, and they found him a job setting up coffee stations at an insurance company. Totally menial and boring, but A) he had fun, and B) he did a great job at whatever they told him to do, and somehow he was able to then move into the actual insurance business and do sales, and now he’s using those sales skills in a field that’s completely his passion. I know other people too that started out in food service or event planning or admin jobs and got really far in high-paying positions. The key is doing an excellent job at whatever they tell you to do, and once they see that you can handle responsibility, they’ll often give you more, and higher-level responsibility.

    Of course if you’re in a job where there’s no advancement potential or the boss hates you, you should look elsewhere, but even a boring entry level job can be a jumping off point to something better.

    #1099172 Reply
    anonymousse
    Participant

    Realism is fine but kids are often given completely unrealistic goals/ideas of what careers are really viable in the arts, and what their actual talent level is by their counselors and teachers at school.

    -a person with an expensive BFA in fine art

    That doesn’t mean a career in art is out of the realm of possibility. My suggestion is to find a job you can settle in with and be somewhat happy with while you volunteer in art possibly and continue to look for a entry level job in art in some facet.

    #1099176 Reply
    Copa
    Participant

    Hm. Yeah, I also agree that your expectations for work — especially entry-level work — sound off. It doesn’t sound unusual at all that management would have meetings at your workplace during business hours that you were not included in as someone who was not part of the management team. The thankless work for lower pay is unfortunately quite common as well. I mean, when I worked at Starbucks — a job I actually quite enjoyed — some of the tasks that needed to be taken care of daily included cleaning the bathrooms and dealing with garbage or customer messes.

    I think you should speak to a mental health professional. It sounds like your mental health is very fragile if you cannot handle a fairly normal work environment and you have quite a bit to sort out outside of your job prospects.

    For career advice, I don’t know. I always felt like university career services offered very little help to me as an English major.

    I do have a friend who studied film who is now a product writer for Netflix and very much enjoys her job. A few things worth mentioning about her situation, though. First, she went to a highly regarded university. Second, she got a master’s degree in media studies after completing her bachelor’s degree. Third, she has wealthy parents who offered her continued support in her 20s while she took unpaid internships and freelance work to gain experience. Her parents resumed their financial support after she got divorced in her early 30s, at which point the Netflix job was only part-time contract work.

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