Feeling like the world doesn't need you

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  • This topic has 7 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by Hana.
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    Hi all,
    I’m a recent graduate in Philosophy and have just been released from the safe haven of university to the outside world – and am feeling horribly lost.
    I began an MA last week that I’m pretty sure I’m going to quit, because I’ve realised it was a poor choice of course for me, and – to be honest – I’m so tired of studying. However, now I’m really stuck. Honestly, I just don’t know what to do with my life! Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an author, but of course, this doesn’t constitute a job exactly, and makes next to no money unless you happen to write a bestseller. Of course, I’d like to write as a sideline, but I need a ‘proper’ job if I’m going to make the money I need to survive!
    But every single job that I’ve considered, I’ve got a thousand voices telling me that it’s already heavily oversubscribed, the competition is fierce, there are far more people than there are jobs in that area, and I’ll have to fight tooth and nail even to get on the lowest rung of the career ladder.
    This is all making me feel extremely worthless and depressed. Even with a degree, it seems like I have poor prospects. I almost just want to curl up and do nothing because the world is unlikely to notice. It just seems like there are far too many people in the world already and the world doesn’t need me. Why am I even here?!
    Thanks for reading – I needed to get that off my chest! If anyone does have any words of wisdom about any of this, please let me know. 🙂



    I can very much relate to this – being a graduate and heading for an industry where the competition is fierce and there is no job stability in it whatsoever (I graduated in illustration and I’m more than likely going to end up doing my masters next year). I would very much like for illustration and art to be my full time job but it’s not possible at the moment – I was making very little money from it, I’m burned out from making art and it takes time to establish yourself as an artist. I’m looking for any kind of job that I can do until I start my course next year.

    I’m not sure what jobs you have applied for but have you tried applying for any retail or customer service jobs at the moment? The thought of working in retail terrifies me (I’m not really much of a people person, especially the outgoing trendy type!) but it’s around this time that all the shops are going to be taking on seasonal staff for the Christmas season so it might be worth a shot? You could try the local bookstores to see if they have any vacancies? They might be hiring at a nearby library? Are there any jobs going at the university for campus staff?

    As for long-term goals, have you maybe considered the possibility of teaching?

    You are NOT worthless. There are many people in the same boat, myself included – graduates not knowing what to do with their lives and being out of work. Some of my classmates whom I graduated with 2 years ago, they still haven’t been able to find work. I’m not saying this to scare or discourage you, I’m just saying this to let you know that you are not alone. It’s best not to focus on everybody else, you just focus on you. I know how easy it is to feel discouraged from applying for a job because it seems like an exercise in futility (lots of people applying for the same job).

    I hope this helps, and I hope you will find something soon.

    Take care



    Hi Joe,

    Thank you so much for your supportive and helpful words. I have been working in retail during the summer (a shop assistant) but it was very much a filler until my course started last week; but I wouldn’t mind doing a temporary job in something which might give me new skills for the future, like an administration job. So that is indeed one idea to consider! And those are good ideas too, I will look for jobs in libraries and bookshops for the time being! 🙂

    I have considered teaching but (in case you hadn’t realised already!) I have a slight self-confidence problem and just know I would crumble in front of a class of students! Also, I wouldn’t be able to teach in anything but philosophy or general subjects for junior schools, and unfortunately neither option appeals to me very much! (I wish I had taken English at university as then I could be an English teacher – and I do regret this missed opportunity a lot!)

    Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone – even if it feels like it!

    A big good luck for your course next year, I’m sure you’ll be brilliant!

    Kind regards,



    Hi Penguin

    Finishing study is an extremely difficult point in life, but many people don’t recognise it as such. I remember when I was at the same point as you, and feeling like I was alone in a space rocket on the launch pad. Up until then, everything had been mapped out for me, people were there to guide me. Suddenly, it was time to put everything I had learned into practice.

    Was I scared? Hell, I was terrified. I thought I was supposed to have everything all mapped out for the next 40 years, and I just didn’t. I had spent all of those years studying, receiving praise for getting things “right”, only to find that I was now in the world of work, where instead of praise you get paid, and if you get it wrong, you wouldn’t get helped, you’d get fired. No wonder it’s frightening.

    I took a job in a bank because I thought it would be a guaranteed future. Since then I’ve been made redundant 4 times as a result of restructuring or takeovers. So if you or any of your friends think that they are embarking on a safe and solid career, they are seriously deluding themselves. Who knows, they may still be working in the same field in 2056, but the odds are massively against it.

    I don’t know what roles you have been going for, but as someone who has both sought employment and employed people, I can tell you one thing for certain – there may be lots of people looking for work, but not nearly enough who have the right attitude. So you can stand out, not by having a degree, but by having the right attitude to work. Whatever you do, be it freelance writing, studying, helping out, or working in a bar, use it all to build a reputation of being trustworthy. Turn up, do your best and keep your promises and you will be streets ahead of a lot of young people. As a result you’ll be recommended to others and get more work and the financial backing to follow your dreams much more easily.

    Your studies will at times have taken you well outside of your comfort zone, so don’t think that any job is beyond you – almost by definition, it isn’t. You have been able to stretch yourself and create things beyond anything you would have thought possible even a short time ago. So keep doing stuff that takes you outside your comfort zone. Do stuff that is uncomfortable and difficult, on purpose, every day. Take an action every day that moves you towards becoming an author. Write a thousand words a day, every day. Get into the habit of becoming a writer. Because those habits will help you in any other work you undertake.

    Build your skills and experience to take advantage of whatever arises, and the opportunities that come your way and you won’t fear uncertainty – instead you will relish it. Remember that the world changes very fast. The job I do now didn’t exist 15 years ago, and now it is over-subscribed. My skills are no longer valued, so I need to look to something else that will make better use of them. So whilst it may seem like there are too many people out there chasing too few jobs, the reality is that new jobs are appearing all the time. I’ll bet that not many of your parents’ friends left school to become website designers, podcasters or smartphone engineers.

    So all I would suggest is to have confidence in your skills – you have already proved that you have them. And accept that it may feel uncomfortable and alien to you to promote yourself. Once you get used to feeling discomfort and fear and can overcome it, you can do anything. Nothing will frighten you again. You are no longer limited to a cosy, safe bubble – everything in the world becomes yours for the taking.

    You have already come a long way and learned a lot about yourself. The mere fact that you are nervous about the next step shows that you have the intelligence to understand what it involves, and that intelligence is what will take you through it in whatever direction you want to go.

    Good luck!


    I also can relate with the constant looping self-talk keeping me stuck in place. I suspect that as a graduate in philosophy you might have a tendency to overthink things.

    The story of Cinderella comes to mind as this is a story about what to do when your suck and experiencing the time of ashes.

    In the story Cinderella has lost contact with her mother and father. As an archetypal inner energy the Father provides protection, guidance, discipline while the Mother our ability to nurture and love ourselves. (We all need to become our “own mother and father” and learn to nurture, guide and protect our authentic selves. This is one of the tasks of becoming.)

    In the story Cinderella is stuck with the step mother (negative self-talk) and so not able to nurture her authentic self. Even her creative possibilities, what she felt were her gifts seem to work against the self and become un-relatable. (Step sisters)

    It is during this time that the task is to take care of the daily jobs required, to tend the garden, take out the trash. To do what you need and have to do as best you avoiding the temptation to over think, measure the experiences.

    This creates the space for what could be called the numinous movement, the invitation to the ball. The time where without our trying to control the situation we have the experience, the “magical” moment, were all ones experiences come together with purpose, a glimpse of possibilities and dancing with life once more.

    Here there may be a temptation to hold fast to such experience, stay to long, recreate them… but that will just leave you stuck in other ways. Such experiences are not meant to last but light the fire of inspiration.

    The numinous experience awakens the time for the inner “prince” archetype. The time of action to seek out a connection to ones being and doing, feeling and thinking nature.

    In time of ashes the story advises, as does many wisdom traditions, that we spend time doing the jobs required of us. Perhaps the kind of meditation practice of washing dishes, sweeping floors… without thinking of doing other things. A focus on the tasks and needs at hand without measurements or judgments that so easily leads to the negative step mother self-talk.

    Create the space for possibility and glimpse of what might be and the time to act, to seek out the connection between your feeling and thinking nature and see what new possibility might then be born. Allow it to happen and Trust.

    We become the stories we tell ourselves, so write a good one.

    Checkout Kathryn Craft the author of ‘The Art of Falling’ website, her journey of writing is interesting.

    • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Peter.

    Hey Penguin 🙂 ! I like the idea of a temp job to build skills and confidence. I would also suggest looking for a temp job with a project that excites you or for people that you find inspiring.
    Axuda, I would just like to thank you for reply here! I’ve been going thru something similar and it really helped!


    Truth of the matter is, the world doesn’t need you or any of us. Earth will keep on more-or-less until about ~5 billion years from now when the Sun becomes a red giant and fries the inner solar system out to about Mars.

    You seem to be experiencing the effects of a poor choice of majors in college. This is why people going to college should think about their major. I live in a region where there are still more jobs than people, and I don’t think that anyone is hiring philosophy majors because of their education. Simply, and somewhat harshly speaking; a degree in philosophy is not likely to get you much higher than the bottom rung of the ladder. If you want to be considered for something more than entry-level, you have to make yourself more valuable to employers than what would be entry level.


    I hope everyone found a purpose.

    The world a really does NOT need me.  I’m a 46 year old man, divorced for 4 years (her infidelity, if it matters), two children I have 50/50.  Unemployed for a year as of today.  Just another oppressive white man no one will miss.


    The world actually does NOT need me.  I’m figuring out the most effective means of suicide.


    Hi Peter, I’d love to know where this Cinederlla archetype story comes from? It is very interesting. I want to find out more!

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