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Depressed because of... everything

Sir Robin

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I was going to title this topic "Depressed because of my job situation" but the truth is while that's a big part of it, it's still only part.

I've been out of work for nine months now. Last October I up and quit a terrible job because I absolutely could not stand it anymore. I was making less than $24K a year and I decided (or perhaps realized is a better word) that the tremendous stress wasn't worth the damage to my health. My plan, of course, was to find a new job within a month or so, tops. Instead, here I am. I interviewed for something last December that I didn't get; I applied for something a few weeks ago with the same company and this time I didn't even get an interview. I have burned through savings, my tax refund, a (small) 401K and am now going to have to dip into another, larger 401K.

They say you're not supposed to worry but I have been worrying for years about my financial situation. It scares me because it seems like in order to retire you need to have several hundred thousands of dollars saved up, and even then it's not enough. I hear news stories about old people who lose $100K to a scam or a bad investment and all I can think of is, "If you have that much money, isn't that enough? Why would you risk it trying to make even more?!" I feel like if I had $100K I would be set for life. Invest enough to get a monthly dividend check and relax.

One of my reassurances to myself is that, "People wind up broke all the time, because of divorce, or freak accidents, or bad insurance, etc., and they bounce back, so why can't I?" It helps sometimes and sometimes it doesn't. Let me explain.

So now that I know I'm not going to get an interview, I decided the best thing to do was to look at going back to school and getting a degree or certification so I can do a specific job. So I went and looked at an article about the best degrees to get to find employment. You see, I already have a BA degree that seems useful only as a paperweight. 

Anyway, this article had some stats that literally provoked an anxiety attack in me. It said the average income for someone with a Bachelor's degree is $61K, while the average for someone who only graduated high school is $37K. I was astounded. The most I have ever made at a job was $15/hour, or a little over $31K. (And that job I only had for about two months due to a BS government bureaucratic snafu that was 100% NOT my fault.) 

When I read that stat I became so upset that I almost started crying. My whole adult life I have been absolutely scraping by. The average I have made over the years has been about $11/hour. Now I'm being told that I make less than someone who only went to high school?! I am completely lost. All my life growing up I was told by my parents I had to go to college because that was how you succeeded in life. So I went to college and got a degree and it's gotten me nowhere. When I was married my wife was always complaining that there were jobs in her company she felt she was qualified for but couldn't get because she didn't have a degree. Well I have a degree and 95% of the time I can't even get an interview! I worked at one company where there were all sorts of people who didn't have a degree, but started in an entry-level job like data entry and moved up the ladder. Well I went and worked in data entry for a year and a half and, once again, most of the time I applied for something I couldn't even get an interview. There was another profession I worked in for four years. I left that profession and after a while I decided to go back to it just because I was sick of being turned down for interviews because I didn't have experience. Once again, 95% of the time I can't get an interview! Then one time I was finally offered a job in that field. They wanted me to move to another state, to a remote, rural area where I would not have known anyone except my co-workers... for $11 an hour. I turned it down.

I am so frustrated right now that I am fighting back tears. I just want to go stand on a building somewhere and scream at the top of my lungs, "WHAT DO YOU WANT?! I CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT ME TO DO, JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE! TELL ME WHAT TO DO AND I'LL DO IT!!" A high school graduate is supposed to be able to make $37K a year? I would **** somebody to make $37K a year. What am I supposed to have done that I'm not doing?! Can anybody tell me?!

I feel like life is a waste of time at this point. It's like my life is a game of Scrabble and all I ever get is one letter that I'm supposed to make up words with, and then everyone says, "Well he can't make a triple word score with one letter, he's not even worth looking at." People say I can't give up, but I feel like I'm so far behind in the race that reaching the goal line is all but impossible at this point. What did I miss? Where did I make this wrong turn that doomed me to a life of scraping for pennies?

Some say that life isn't about how much money you have, money can't buy happiness, etc. There's a big difference between not being able to keep up with the Joneses and barely covering your rent. I don't know what to do anymore.

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I think I have been at war my entire life with money. I often think, is this paper, that we even put God's name on, really how we determine success in life? Is it really whats important. I suppose the easy fast response is no. But the truth is, it is a system in which we are either prey or predators, to determine just how different we are. I have been the working poor most of my life. I was poor after highschool, was poor while i was in the army, and even though i have been successful the past couple years, i am still poor. I have given hope on a lot, and it seems like i did long ago. I dont know anyone making 40k a year. Everyone i know lives check to check. I have had quite a few friends get ba's and still work at starbucks and walmart. Luckily for me i live in a big city, where there is constant work. Double edged sword though, it means i compete with many people for a single spot. I know i sound like an ahole, but just keep grinding robin. Eventually is a word i am sure most people on this forum dont want to hear. But i am a firm believer in the grind, i believe where there is a cement wall, you can eventually smash your head through it.

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I was literally just reading an article about this very situation yesterday. It is infuriating. In our society it was ingrained: you go to college, get a degree, and you can obtain the American dream, living comfortably and securely day by day. But that is completely and utterly ridiculous.


The economic divide is greater than ever. In the article, big name companies stated that in order to secure a position with their company you had to have a BA/BS but they were only offering $11-16 an hour. Yet the CEO/CFO/COO’s we’re averaging in the millions for their yearly salary. Some didn’t even have a degree. It is completely stacked against the hardest working and completely unfair.


Worse yet, the debt acquired to obtain said degree is atrocious. Most people are going more in debt than they would make in two years of salary for their job they acquired the degree for!


It isn’t you. It really isn’t. The system has set most up to fail. Maybe not all but not everyone can be included in the ability to live beyond paycheck to paycheck. Dare I say most, if not all, that I know are one big bill away from bankruptcy. 


With the ever growing economic gap, financial freedom is an impossible, with retirement age exceeding mosts expectations. I feel like the only time we will finally be able to rest is at death.


Sorry to be so sad and morose. This has also been something heavy on my heart. When I see family on their death bed, still struggling to feed themselves. Even after they served our country for years, only for their bravery and sacrifices to be forgotten.


It is depressing. I am sorry. But I do hope that someday you can find some happiness outside of it all. When you snag your job, find happiness in the assurance of your paycheck. Best wishes friend. 

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Thanks to both of you for your responses. I would've looked at them sooner except the email notifying me was diverted into my spam folder and I just found it today. 

I am going to try applying for two jobs in the near future. One is the thing I interviewed for last December and didn't get. Although to me it seems counterintuitive, I'm told that I should actually have an even better shot this time around since I was apparently a finalist last time. The other is in another city, which would pay up to $22/hour; wouldn't be my first choice of occupation but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Making matters worse, however, is my utterly clueless jack wagon of an old man. He called me yesterday and told me he is "frustrated" that I don't have a job yet, and I'm "embarrassing" him because people in my hometown ask him how I am doing and he has to tell them I don't have a job. (Oh the humanity!) He also said he was considering changing his will to give all his money to my brother when he finally kicks off because I "don't seem to even want to get a job." The icing on the cake was he tells me he is "worried about my self-esteem." I'm no psychologist but I'm pretty sure if you want to improve someone's self-esteem, you DON'T do it by belittling, insulting, and chastising them, and talking to them like a 12-year-old. (I'm 42.)

I am in a completely hopeless situation with him. He has NO idea what I am going through, and I told him so. But the old Barsteward only hears what he wants to hear. 

Funny, just yesterday I went and saw my therapist for the first time in months because my anxiety was at a boiling point, and I told her I felt guilty because there are times that I wish my old man were dead. If he were dead two of the biggest problems in my life would instantly be solved. First, I would come into a sizable amount of money (accumulated over the years because he was a miser and rarely took us on vacation or did anything else to enjoy life.) Second, I wouldn't have to listen to his abuse anymore. And the way I see it I deserve that money because I took a LOT of emotional and verbal abuse from the SOB over the years. 

To my surprise (and relief,) my therapist told me that considering the circumstances, it's perfectly understandable that I wish the old man would die.

Edited by Sir Robin
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Hi Sir Robin,
I hope that you do get one of the jobs that you are aiming for.

I also did exactly what you did when I was young, I quit my job with nothing else lined up. And I burned through my savings. Then a friend told me about the ratchet principle. A ratchet allows you to move forward but stops you from moving backwards. So, from then on, I made sure that I have a new job before quitting and it would be a financially better one. I never burned my bridges since I might end up working with them again or in case I need a good reference.

As for your father, he sounds old school to me, like from an earlier generation such as a baby boomer who see themselves strongly as defined by work. But we owe a lot to them because their hard work laid the foundations of our economy today. I would consider just ignoring his negative comments, they come form a sort of different world and a different mentality. So, I would think that when he says, self esteem, it is mainly about employment. That’s how my dad and uncles think. But I would not entertain the idea of something bad happening to him. Hindsight is 20/20 and we have to be careful with what we wish for. We don’t want anybody thinking of us in the same way. I hope this does not offend you.

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