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Lack Of Career Success, Feeling Like Youth Has Passed Me By


moocat

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I have struggled with depression all my life, starting from the age of 12 when I questioned the purpose of life. Since then, I have had ups and downs. There are months when I am so depressed I can't do anything at all. It doesn't help that I am a chronic procrastinator. I have been depression free for about 18 months, right after finishing my doctorate degree. However, it seems to have returned in the last few weeks and it is making me really melancholy.

I can't stop feeling that my career is not going anywhere. In some sense, this is crazy and it is very black and white thinking. This is like thinking Elon Musk is successful and achieving anything less is not enough. I have a very fragmented CV, with stints in lots of different fields. I should feel grateful that I have been given all these opportunities to try out things, working with the best people in the world. But because of the frequent career changes, I haven't made it up in the career ladder. I am at an age now where all my friends are moving up, or starting their own million-dollar venture, and I feel left behind. Being 30 also suddenly makes me feel old, like all the opportunities in the world have now passed me by and I have squandered my potential.

I want to stop feeling this way. Any stories to share that could make me shrug off this grey fog in my brain?

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Hi!

Umm... 30? Feeling old? Geez...

Sounds like you HAVE had plenty of opportunities - I don't know what field you're in, but in many corporate environments, a broad-based experience history is virtually MANDATORY for advancement to the highest levels. The company I spent twenty-five years with had a complete program around succession planning and executive advancement. If you wanted to be on the path toward Vice President or higher, they MADE you change locations and avocations every two or three years.

30 ISN'T old by any stretch.

I don't know what your long-term goals are, but I'm guessing 95% of the population would love to be where you're at.

Lastly, don't EVER compare yourself with anyone else. Compare yourself with yourself. Look forward and work your plan. Do you need more/different education? Do you need to start over in another field or with another company? (Again, 30 is still relatively young.) Or are you in fact comfortable with your current circumstance - work/life balance - pay, responsibility, family time, stress levels?

I can only really share MY story. I floated around and was relatively successful in a \the hotel industry in the late 1970's and 1980's; also spend my share of time drunk and wasted. Unless you're in ownership or upper management, hotels are a lousy field - horrible and long hours, bad benefits. Went 750 miles for an opportunity that never panned out. Came back to the Midwest, took a years' worth of temp jobs - the last one was with a "major consumer products company". Have just ended a twenty-five year career there. Never made "management" because of my lack of a college degree, but I have a very nice 401K, some nice savings, and little debt. At 56, I am seriously thinking about staying retired. Again, NO DEGREE. But I was considered the company expert in one field and was well thought of in my other areas of responsibility.

Probably not a lofty enough comparison for you, but again, don't compare. Set YOUR OWN goals and head in that direction.

Best of luck to you.

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I can relate to how you feel. I was a music theater actor and later an aspiring opera singer. I moved to New York to pursue my dream and the first five years I had a fair amount of success. I never got to Broadway, but I had been told by people in the biz that it was only a matter of time. I got an agent. I did some work that I was very proud of. Then things started to dry up. I had some medical issues that made singing difficult and as a result my career got hurt and my depression magnified. I then went into opera. I made a dramatic vocal change and felt pretty good about myself as a singer. (I had gotten my medical issues addressed.) After 5 years, my family spent three months in Germany trying to make a go of an opera career. That is where I had my first anxiety attack. The trip wasn't successful. I came back and got my same desk job and I haven't sung in a year.

This isn't exactly an inspiring story, but if you look at it from another angle (which I find very difficult at times.) you can see something amazing. I did something that most people wouldn't have dared. Twice. I moved across country. I am originally from California. I saw many places in the U.S. I probably never would have visited. I did some amazing work with fantastic people. I then went to Europe and got to sing in old opera houses. Do I wish I had more success? Of course, but that doesn't take away from what I did accomplish.

In this day and age, success is viewed by how big your paycheck is. But if you can take a look at what you've done in a new light, you will see amazing things that do mark your life as successful.

Of course, money is a necessity and there is nothing wrong with striving to get more. However, it never defines your true successes.

You are only 30 and look what you've done already. Just imagine what you will have done by the time you are 60.

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Guys, guys...

Ya gotta stop that way of thinking. 28-30 is still young.

MANY people don't get things sorted out until their thirties. Forties isn't too late. People change careers in their forties, even later. Not that I'm an exemplar of success, but I met my strongest love (it didn't work out) at 26 or 27, started my twenty-five year career with a "major consumer products company" at 30, got married at 39.

Don't compare yourself with anyone else or some ideal or whatever. Find a plan and work it. Ain't no shoulds, need tos, gottas.

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I have struggled with depression all my life, starting from the age of 12 when I questioned the purpose of life. Since then, I have had ups and downs. There are months when I am so depressed I can't do anything at all. It doesn't help that I am a chronic procrastinator. I have been depression free for about 18 months, right after finishing my doctorate degree. However, it seems to have returned in the last few weeks and it is making me really melancholy.

I can't stop feeling that my career is not going anywhere. In some sense, this is crazy and it is very black and white thinking. This is like thinking Elon Musk is successful and achieving anything less is not enough. I have a very fragmented CV, with stints in lots of different fields. I should feel grateful that I have been given all these opportunities to try out things, working with the best people in the world. But because of the frequent career changes, I haven't made it up in the career ladder. I am at an age now where all my friends are moving up, or starting their own million-dollar venture, and I feel left behind. Being 30 also suddenly makes me feel old, like all the opportunities in the world have now passed me by and I have squandered my potential.

I want to stop feeling this way. Any stories to share that could make me shrug off this grey fog in my brain?

I am totally in your boat, friend.

Everyone says that 30 isn't old, but by that point you are past your prime. All you have is the experience that you have brought with you. (Which is totally valuable, don't get me wrong)

I'm 24 years old, and I already feel aged and old. I feel like my best days are behind me for some reason- the days of childhood innocence with Pokemon/video games, the days of college with adventure/partying/rebellion. I hope this is a false assessment, and I try having faith. But adulthood has been lame so far, and this is coming from someone with a job traveling. Though I wholeheartedly hope things get better, I'm just incredibly cynical after dealing with a lot of depression.

Edited by Kabuto
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Yea, you definitely can't compare yourself to other people, it never really makes you feel good.

Take me for example, most days I just think of myself as a mid twenty something, trying to sort out the secrets of pleasure and pain with the help of mindfulness, doing yoga, meditating, exercising, trying to get in touch with what has real meaning to me. I'm nice to the people I meet, they seem to feel good after talking to me. I enjoy a few pages of paradise lost here and there, make some interesting comparisons with hamlet possibly, and feel generally rewarded by my experiences of the day.

Then I compare myself to others... --college comparison, dreams, carrer, friendships--I have a -worthless- degree in philosophy that is excellent job repellant (can't even get hired at Barnes and noble), I tested so low on the LSAT that all my dreams are dead. My grades were poor, I have no interest in going back to school. I will never have a job that is even remotely respectable in my geo/demographic. I have no friends and tend to dislike everyone I meet, which means I have to be fake in order to not be rude. No 'passions'. No hope. My life is a series of coping strategies until the day I die, which I may or may not welcome with open arms.

The point being, if you think about things from the perspective of other people, it's very easy for everything to be cast in an unfavorable light. But taken from the point of no comparison, you can create the perspective. In theory at least.

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I can only say that my father majored in philosophy, spent years just drifting through life trying to find something that stuck, and then hopped on the technology bandwagon in the late 80's with some training. He's still programming (mainly in database languages) at 61, and is the guy who gets a call when the younger generation employed at a company can't handle a job.

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I have struggled with depression all my life, starting from the age of 12 when I questioned the purpose of life. Since then, I have had ups and downs. There are months when I am so depressed I can't do anything at all. It doesn't help that I am a chronic procrastinator. I have been depression free for about 18 months, right after finishing my doctorate degree. However, it seems to have returned in the last few weeks and it is making me really melancholy.

I can't stop feeling that my career is not going anywhere. In some sense, this is crazy and it is very black and white thinking. This is like thinking Elon Musk is successful and achieving anything less is not enough. I have a very fragmented CV, with stints in lots of different fields. I should feel grateful that I have been given all these opportunities to try out things, working with the best people in the world. But because of the frequent career changes, I haven't made it up in the career ladder. I am at an age now where all my friends are moving up, or starting their own million-dollar venture, and I feel left behind. Being 30 also suddenly makes me feel old, like all the opportunities in the world have now passed me by and I have squandered my potential.

I want to stop feeling this way. Any stories to share that could make me shrug off this grey fog in my brain?

I will be 31 next month. I can relate to the feeling that life is passing you by, that youth is slowly fading away.

I have always been way behind most people with many things...mostly because of my learning disability that was diagnosed too late, as well as some other issues that hold me back.

I'm unable to get/keep a job at all. I want to have children but my husband apparently doesn't. I have developed issues with my health that are causing me to fall apart physically in some ways. I have almost no motivation anymore.

I feel ugly, invisible, fat, dull and worthless. I am constantly searching for the meaning of my life but I can't seem to find out what it is.

My depression has been eating away at me even more these last few months because of two traumatic changes beyond my control. But I've been trying to hide my pain because no one in my life understands.

I see all these people with loving families, supportive friends, great jobs/careers, money, nice cars, homes of their own, falling in love, having babies, etc...and it tears me up inside that I will never experience a fraction of that joy.

A couple of little things, simple pleasures like looking at the stars at night, were taken away from me (I will explain more later).

So I understand. 30 is definitely not old by any means but we live in a society obsessed with youth and to some misguided people, we are considered no longer "young" once we reach a certain age.

But it helps me a bit to remember that age is really just a number...it doesn't define who you are. I would like to think that we can improve in terms of wisdom and experience as we grow up. I know many people much older than we are, who have aged like fine wines, they simply get better with time.

I guess that part of the problem with me is that I'm still stuck in the past. Therapy hasn't really been helpful in my journey. I see all these kids who are optimistic and hopeful about the future...I remember when I once felt that way, too.

I had all of these hopes and dreams about what my life would be. I see lines on my face and changes in my body that weren't there a few years ago. I see other girls/women getting prettier and enjoying their beauty, while I was unable to ever truly feel happy with myself because of my environment and circumstances at that age. And now at 30, it is doubtful that I will ever be able to get my sh*t together.

So, enough about me...what about you? It sounds like maybe one of your issues is that you haven't found your true calling in life. Sometimes as people, we feel pressured by society to do certain things that really aren't a reflection of what we actually want. Like for instance, a medical student whose true passion is to be an artist but his parents discourage him because they don't see it as lucrative or respectable.

It is awesome that you finished your doctorate, BTW! You are a rock star...be proud of yourself because that is not easy, from what I've been told.

Maybe you feel "stuck" because this might not be the right career for you? I am still trying to figure out what to do with my life. I have two degrees which both took me a VERY long time to finish. I should be proud of myself because of all the hard work but I'm not. I just feel disillusioned and like an enormous failure. Like what was the point of me even going to college? I should have tried vocational school to learn a trade instead. I would probably have a job by now and be making some real money.

One person even made me feel bad by saying about my degree: "what do you intend to do with that?" The way she said it made me feel terrible, like she was looking down on me.

I agree with another poster who said that comparing yourself with others will only make you feel worse. I tend to do that as well and it only adds to my depression. As difficult as it is to remember, we are all on our own journeys. Your path is not the same as that of your friends and that's OK.

They might seem to be making all these great moves in life but you know what? Sometimes that's just the surface...they might be struggling with other issues you don't know about. People will rarely show that side of themselves, though.

I don't even know you and I can tell that you have so much to offer the world. You are smart, a deep thinker, maybe even creative in some way.

You aren't alone in feeling this way. Many of us here are struggling with the meaning of life and those of us who are in the 30 and older crowd, we can relate to the feeling of youth being lost.

If this career seems to be going nowhere and you want to advance, can you talk with a counselor about this? Maybe try thinking about what you really want out of life and what you want to do. You finished your degree which is a huge accomplishment; now you need something that will give you satisfaction, since your current situation isn't.

I'm sorry if my response was too lengthy or unhelpful. Please PM me if you would like to talk...I'll be here to listen.

:flowers:

Edited by FeelinBlueAllTheTime
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24? 30? Past your prime? Past your prime for WHAT? Oh, FFS.

I don't know that anyone exactly ADVOCATES being a late bloomer, but it frequently happens.

Yes, metabolism starts to slow down in your 30's and 40's. But no one's talked about that yet. Everyone's talking about careers, and to say 30 is past your prime from a career standpoint just ain't necessarily so.

But if it IS true, whacha gonna do about it? Huh? Whine? Mope?

Or look forward, game plan, and get to work?

Geez. I guarantee for every one of the "in your prime" twentysomethings, there are two 35-55 year olds ready to eat their lunch with ongoing education and EXPERIENCE. Go get some of that and put it in your toolkit.

Adios and out.

PS... what I wouldn't give to be 30 again. I'd be he'll on wheels.

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24? 30? Past your prime? Past your prime for WHAT? Oh, FFS.

I don't know that anyone exactly ADVOCATES being a late bloomer, but it frequently happens.

Yes, metabolism starts to slow down in your 30's and 40's. But no one's talked about that yet. Everyone's talking about careers, and to say 30 is past your prime from a career standpoint just ain't necessarily so.

But if it IS true, whacha gonna do about it? Huh? Whine? Mope?

Or look forward, game plan, and get to work?

Geez. I guarantee for every one of the "in your prime" twentysomethings, there are two 35-55 year olds ready to eat their lunch with ongoing education and EXPERIENCE. Go get some of that and put it in your toolkit.

Adios and out.

PS... what I wouldn't give to be 30 again. I'd be he'll on wheels.

I think the thing is some of us feel old at almost 30 due to how much of our time is wasted feeling depressed. But I know 25 years from now, when I'm in my early 50s I'm going to wish I was the age I am now lol.

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Hey Moocat, its funny you were on my thread somedays back advising me. . .I thinks its quite commendable that you took time out to try help me regardless of your own struggles. Takes quite an amount of strength to do that. I'd say we have quite a lot in common. . . We are both melancholic, been depressed since childhood in late 20's and are chronic procrastinators. . .That's me to the T! But add to this attributes the fact that I am uneducated, been poor all my life, work menial jobs and in an unenabling environment should prove to you that you are not the one in the worst situation in life. . I'd be a hypocrite to tell you I don't feel bad at the moment, I am full of self hate, anger and resentment mostly at my self, but I am learning to get over it and making use of what's left of my life. Can't turn back the hands of time.

Edited by confusedsoul
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Thank you for everyone's responses.

I *know* that I should not compare myself with other people, but it is really difficulty to do! Our world is structured in such a way that most of the wealth goes to the top 1% and if you are not in that group, the world can be very unkind.

I'm in science and I love it. I have loved it all my life. I used to go to the library when I was 8 years old and read all the books in the science section. I even read the whole physics textbook when I was 14. I am decently good at science, but nowhere near the top of the field. As I got older, I have come to know more and more talented people in the world and I just feel like I can't compete. You know, statistics shows that only 5% of a PhD graduating class will end up with permanent jobs in science. I guess the other 95%, no matter how passionate they are about science, are just losers.

What I don't understand is why we can't have more scientists, artists, singers, writers etc in this world? Why is it that I have to be the top 5% (and that is 5% of the group of people who have PhDs, which makes it more like the top 0.05% of the world) to do what I want?

I would stop comparing myself against others if the world is a little bit less competitive. If not being the very best means I can still do what I want.

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"The other 95% are just losers"? Really? That's how you feel and how you judge people?

Of those 95%, how many do you figure go on to rewarding careers in other fields?

Of those 95%, how many do you figure marry and raise children?

Of those 95%, how many do you figure go on to make solid contributions to society?

"Most of the wealth goes to the top 1%, and if you are not in that group, the world can be very unkind"?

So if I'm in the top 2%, I'm going to have a rough go of it?

You've got an odd way of looking at success and failure, my friend. Life doesn't automatically suck if you can't rub elbows with the elite. Many many people are very happy living on modest means. There ARE such things as family, friends, and spirituality.

Sure, having a decent income can relieve one of a burdensome worry, but you don't have to be a millionaire. And as you have observed, people don't always wind up in their favored positions.

But it doesn't make them losers. It doesn't make them anything other than... people.

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moocat I had the same fear about becoming a scientist or doctor,thats why im trying to work as a research asstiant or a lab technican or something else in science that doesn't require a phd and if that doesn't work out I will be a teacher,or try to get a masters in health care administration,i read about how hard grad school and medical school is and I know I don't have the enthusiasm and love of science to continue my education I just want to graduate and get a decent job to move out from my parents.

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In the top 1% or you're a failure? Ya I have that same black and white thinking. You probably, on some level, believe you'll never get that love you need if you aren't a 1%er. A friend of mine went to a top20 school, and when he only got in to a 12 placed law school he quit because it just wasn't enough. Because of that same belief. He solved his problem by becoming the thing he hated: a party guy. But he feels better now. Read stoicism and party hard. It might be you're only hope.

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