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my life has been a disaster since graduating college


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I just can't handle "real" life, apparently. I graduated college four years ago with a strong sense of purpose and confidence in my own abilities. I was called brilliant, told that with my intellect I could do just about anything I wanted in life. Unfortunately, I have learned since then that intellect alone doesn't fucking cut it in the real world. Not in the least. As long as I would have stayed in the sheltered, myopic world of academia, where intelligence obviously DOES carry a bit of weight, I might have made out okay. But I became suicidally depressed upon entering my PhD program and had to quit immediately. I didn't regret it but then I lost interest in my subject. There goes my sense of purpose.

I won't bore you with all the details but let's just say that with the combo of chronic severe depression and social anxiety bordering on agoraphobia the longest I've held a job since graduating college is nine months. I also have large gaps of unemployment so now my resume looks like total shit. I also just quit my job of four *months* yesterday because they treated me like the scum of the earth one too many times. Now I'm unemployed AGAIN. I have no idea what I "want to do with my life" even if I felt like I were in a position to choose, which I don't.

Don't get me wrong, I am not in the same shape I was a year ago when I first started meds. I have been extremely lucky and they have helped IMMENSELY. I've never had to switch meds or anything. But I'm so sick of having no purpose in life. I'd like to try not to base my life purpose and self-worth on work, but that is hard for me because as my pdoc says, I have "obsessive compulsive personality traits" and as such have an "external locus of self-esteem"; that is, I base my entire self worth on the external accomplishments that "society" deems to be the measure of a person's worth. And we all know that that is having some kind of dazzling career. We Americans are fucking OBSESSED with careers. And I know for a fact that if we were obsessed with something else entirely, I would be right there obsessing right along with everyone else. Such is the nature of my personality.

Why can't I get away from thinking this way? I absolutely DON'T judge other people like this. So why do I always have to judge myself?

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"Unfortunately, I have learned since then that intellect alone doesn't fucking cut it in the real world."

This has been a tough point for a lot of people to understand. Probably because you get the impression while you are going through college that you are going to get a degree, and then people will line up to hire you to sit around and be smart. This is not the reality you find once you get that diploma.

My husband and I just had this very conversation about 3 days ago.

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"Unfortunately, I have learned since then that intellect alone doesn't fucking cut it in the real world."

This has been a tough point for a lot of people to understand. Probably because you get the impression while you are going through college that you are going to get a degree, and then people will line up to hire you to sit around and be smart. This is not the reality you find once you get that diploma.

My husband and I just had this very conversation about 3 days ago.

Well, I didn't think people would hire me to sit around and be smart. I did, however, hope that my academic acheivements (I got perfect grades for chrissakes) would count for SOMETHING in the working world. Alas, it does not. I even think it is a detriment. Therefore I omit this information from my applications. I also omit my major because people think it is a joke even though it's one of the most intellectually challenging subjects. I think it's pathetic that people don't like the fact that I'm smart, but whatever. That's not the source for most of my working woes anyway. It's my own f-ed up brain.

JMO - perhaps your meds aren't working as well as you think/hope? I'd talk to your doctor about your continued depression and anxiety and consider starting therapy. Take care~

My meds are working fine. Wouldn't you be a little depressed if you had just quit your job with no backup? I'm also already in therapy.

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Hello!!

I'm sorry to hear you're experiencing all these feelings, hollywood.

At least you have an idea of what the problem is though. I'm glad the meds did good things for you. I hate that society judges people by certain things too. Maybe you could try focusing on other things society judges you by if you really need to? Like fitness & health for example. I don't mean go nuts, it just seems to me like a possible alternative. You don't need to worry about your resume. The most important thing right now is YOU *points at you and smiles* You need to just focus on yourself and forget about employers and the rest. I know you've probably tried that but I think it's the right thing to do.

Please write back here so I know how you're doing.....

;)

-------

OK, I was typing whilst you replied. Pretty bad timing on my part huh! I think people that don't like you cause you're smart are either ( a ) jealous, or ( b ) scared of your intellect. People get scared of their positions and status and feel threatened. Anywho, what did you major in? I hope that's OK to ask.

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HW,

I've been out of college for, oh, 30 years or so. Many of the same frustrations plagued me. I'm not embarrassed to say it: I went to college for a liberal arts education, majored in comparitive literature and philosophy. According to the popular wisdom, coming up with a more useless degree would be a stretch. Critical theory - now there's a money-maker. And, like you, I was smart but had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Still don't, truth be told.

But. You'll find a niche. A lot of professional organizations these days are looking for people with the kind of education that gives you a broad cultural background. Can you research, can you write clearly, can you recognize faulty logic, can you be persuasive, can you learn new information quickly, can you consolidate reams of material into a cogent few pages? Yes, these are non-specialized skilly, but they are useful in a broad range of professional environments.

It is incredibly frustrating to realize that you have to be able to make a living and yet have no real idea about what kind of work you'll be able to do for a lifetime. But it will come.

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OK, I was typing whilst you replied. Pretty bad timing on my part huh! I think people that don't like you cause you're smart are either ( a ) jealous, or ( b ) scared of your intellect. People get scared of their positions and status and feel threatened. Anywho, what did you major in? I hope that's OK to ask.

Awww, you're so nice. I like nice people. (BTW, DMF sorry if I sounded snippy. I didn't mean to.) I'm doing fine. The fitness and health thing is a good suggestion. I already do that stuff though. I am in really good shape and I just ran a 12K and I like to cook healthy dinners. Yay me! /nerd

I majored in philosophy. Make of that what you will. Most normal people think it's a joke, but then again most normal people are idiots.

Have a lovely day, you lovely person. ;)

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Awww, you're so nice. I like nice people.

Thanks. You're nice too :)

I am in really good shape and I just ran a 12K and I like to cook healthy dinners. Yay me! /nerd

Cool! I need to start running when I feel the need to be bothered *jealous*

I majored in philosophy. Make of that what you will.

I'm thinking...... lots of studying, writing and very deep thinking. I don't think Philosophy is a joke. Some of the greatest minds in history have been philosophers. People think Philosophy is just about thinking something and writing it down, but it's so much more than that (at least to me). I sometimes like to get lost in philosophical thoughts, though lately it's been very difficult to, if I manage to at all..... (my favourite is the Universe - origins, existence, etc)

Most normal people think it's a joke, but then again most normal people are idiots.

I agree (although people would probably include me in the "idiots" category too :embarassed: ;) )

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I agree (although people would probably include me in the "idiots" category too :embarassed: ;) )

Well, I don't, if that's any comfort to you. :)

I think of idiots as people who judge things before they have any experience of them; who can't see outside of their own little world.

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It is incredibly frustrating to realize that you have to be able to make a living and yet have no real idea about what kind of work you'll be able to do for a lifetime. But it will come.

Oh wow, I almost missed this post entirely! Looks like we posted at the same time yesterday. Thanks, Greeny. I'm glad I'm not the only unrepentant liberal arts major out there!

I also live in a pretty rural area so there aren't as many jobs out here. I'm hoping to move to a more urban area (most likely Redmond, near Seattle) within the next few years. Probably a competitive place to find work but perhaps the variety and sheer number of jobs will be greater.

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Hello,

I became more depressed once I graduated college which was about 10 months ago.

In my head, the repetitive question often arises, "NOW WHAT???"

So, I have been seeing a psychiatrist who has helped me balance my brain. My anti-depressants frequently stop working which has often happened to me over the last 10 years. So, then I have to find a new one.

Anyway, I realize the focus I have had on a career being a musician, psychologist, or blah blah blah, will make me happy. Well I am doing what I set out to do, and it still is not enough.

So, finding a greater meaning is what I am trying to focus on, because this societal crap is not cutting it.

I reccomend, buying, The Self-Esteem Workbook, it has helped me some.

Next, stopping the desire of receiving approval from others or wanting fame or gain is something I am trying to focus on. This society is based on being great. I realize I have fallen into the trap, and often think of what others think. My logic tells me to stop, who cares, but it is a hard challenge to not care about others approval. I am stepping up to the plate and working on letting go of my ego.

I hope you feel better!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Heya hollywoodfreaks,

I like your definition of idiots ;) although I can't say that IRL for fear of getting sued. :)

A relative (parents' generation, like, late 40s-early 50s) of mine is just about the most ... I guess, *content* person in our big bizarre family.

He has a philosophy degree, and his branch/generation of the family has been a buncha nidiots about it from day one.

Us kids always thought he knew *everything.*

His *paying job with benefits* right now, for years now, has *nothing* to do with his degree.

Fits his lifestyle and inclinations. Plus, you know, salary and benefits, which don't suck.

He's happy, like I said *content,* reading, learning, talking, listening, agitating, pissing off the others of his branch/generation, whatever.

One of the few relatives (or in fact *people* in the whole world) I can sit and talk to/argue with/not get sick of -- for hours. And I have to fight for his attention b/c all us kids want a piece of him.

Lucky for me, he likes talking to me too, without the apparently-obligatory medical questions. Which is *also* a rare quality in our family.

Us kids *still* think he knows *everything* b/c really, he probly *does.*

Or at least knows how to *think* about things properly, which a lot of our job-in-their-field relatives don't.

Just saying.

(PS. Moving to the city helped, he says. I can't keep it up, but he's taken to it like it's his real *home.*)

--ncc--

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