How to start over – when there's no such thing

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    So, this is my first post and hopefully it isn’t too long or boring, but I wanted to share what I’m going through right now. Maybe some of the wonderful people who read this can help me, and maybe this post will help other people. Who knows? But here it goes….

    I’m about to be 28 years old and want to start a new career. I’ve worked for 7 years in radio and, although I’ve gained a ton of experience and have been told by many people, including bosses I am “gifted” at what I do, I am still at an entry level salary. Furthermore, I realized I am not fulfilled in what I am doing anymore. I got into this business because I wanted to make people smile, I wanted to entertain, and I wanted to help people achieve their goals. However, my position doesn’t allow me to do any of those things and it took a long look in the mirror and remembering what I said to a high school friend years ago when asked what I wanted when I grew up to realize I currently have the exact opposite of what I want out of a career and life.

    When my high school friend asked what I wanted, my response was to make good enough money to support a family and have a job that would allow me to spend time with my kids. Being that I had neither of those things growing up, it made sense. However, somewhere between then and now I chased a dream of becoming a media star and am a little grateful that things didn’t work out the way I hoped the would in my past because I would be stuck in a career that would constantly keep me away from my family and working on weekends. But it wasn’t until a few months ago and a talk with my girlfriend (who I plan to marry) that I realized I wanted to be in HR.

    Seems simple right? Well, not really. There are a few obstacles in my way, mainly, the fact that I suffer from depression and anxiety, and have for years but hid it. Depression actually runs in my family and being someone without insurance and with little income, its hard to find affordable help. To make matters even more interesting, my girlfriend (who I live with) is the same age, went to the same high school and college as I, and is VERY successful. Granted, she had a parent who guided her through her career path and found people at jobs that were willing to give her sound advice when she hit her ruts, and I had an absentee father and a depressed mother who didn’t pull everything together until a few years ago and have worked in a couple of very negative work environments , but I still feel like I’m playing catchup.

    My depression and anxiety has hit an all time high, to the point where I will randomly break out in tears at just the thought of filling out another job application and getting rejected. I’m trying to exercise, listen to positive music, talk to my mom almost on a daily basis, just to keep a positive influence around me who has gone through what I’ve gone through, but the anxiety attacks still keep coming. I know I am very blessed to have a mom who can sympathize with my situation and a girlfriend who has known me for 11 years and loves me unconditionally, but I still feel like I’m letting them down by not finding a job yet that fits into my new career path. I guess the point of this is to ask, how do you truly start over when you have a troubled past? When your choice of career is stopping you from advancing now? When you want to share everything with your loved ones but you know by sharing you may hurt them, or scare them, or depress them? How do you let go when the only way you feel better is by talking and you don’t want to be a burden to someone? For 27 years I believed that “Everything will work itself out. If you try your best and work toward a goal, eventually you’ll either achieve it, or realize that you need to miss that goal to achieve something greater” But I haven’t had a feeling that everything will be ok for almost a year now. How do you get that back?

    Thank you for reading this—–I truly appreciate the time you are giving to my rant/issue and anything you could suggest would be more than appreciated.


    Hi Shiek. Well this is the first time I have ever posted to any forum. But, your story touched me. I am much older than you and feel very fortunate to have started over many times. The hard times I went through each time taught me more about myself and made things that used to seem so hard much easier for me to handle. You are so smart and self-aware to know that you need a change. So many people delude themselves and stay in the wrong place. Pat yourself on the back! I’m also glad for you that you have supportive people who love you. Its just my opinion, but I don’t think you need to resolve all past hurts in order to try a career in HR. I think dealing with past issues happens over time as you go through changes in your life. It sounds like talking to people is the way you figure things out for yourself. How about finding people in the HR field and talking to them – ask questions, such as what is a typical day like; what do they like best; what do they dislike; how did they get started; can they recommend another person to talk to. You never know what doors these conversations can open. I wish you all the best.


    “I still feel like I’m letting them down by not finding a job yet that fits into my new career path.” You are over personalizing the issue. You are probably not finding the job because of factors that lay outside of your direct control, such as very few job opportunities. Do not condition yourself by “should”/”must” statements: “I must get a job ASAP”, “I should have found a job by now”. If it comes to you, change it to “IT WOULD BE NICE if I have found a job by now”, and you will feel a bit better.
    You are probably catastrophizing the issue. What is the worst thing that can happen?
    You actually have a strong backup: “I am very blessed to have a mom who can sympathize with my situation and a girlfriend who loves me unconditionally”, and is “VERY successful”.
    I think your main issue is your low mood and anxiety rather than your matter-of-fact situation. Your low mood and anxiety, and perhaps lowered self esteem source from automatically irrational perception of things and you need to get out of this pattern. I recommend getting some psychological counseling. Find a therapist who specializes in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Also, you can learn some techniques from the “Feeling Good” book by David Burns, especially his three column technique/daily thoughts log.


    Hi sheik,

    A friend of mine just got a great government internship in HR. you can totally do it. She had no experience either and was stuck in a terrible boring job before. She did a certificate college program that was one year long. It also provided an internship. She applied on her own for the governent one she does now but the educators help you find your own internship. I am also changing careers and I know how you feel. My post “end of my rope” similar struggles. It will be okay you will get through it. Maybe try volunteering somewhere to gain insight, contacts and experience. Best of luck 🙂

    ramandeep singh

    Agreed with indiglo


    I wanted to thank everyone so much for your kind words to my post (I changed my screen name, so I apologize for any confusion) Every post helped me in leaps and bounds and made me feel better about my situation (even yours ramandeep singh)

    9lives- Thank you for reminding me that changing career paths isn’t so much out of the ordinary and also reminding me that I do need to pat myself on the back for deciding to make this change. I spend way too much time beating myself up and not enough time giving myself credit for the things I have accomplished. Since reading your post I have actually come up with a couple people I know who have or currently work in HR that I can reach out and talk to in the next few days.

    Indiglo- I did have this doomsday idea in my head of what would happen if I didn’t find a new job soon, but oddly enough, reading “what’s the worst that can happen?” in your response made me realize that what my anxiety driven imagination of what worst case would be is totally different to what really would be worst case scenario (which in my opinion, would be for me to go back to school before getting a new job in order to get my foot in the door) I also looked up the book you suggested; “Felling Good” and ordered it. I hope it’s as an amazing read like all the people who rated it say it is. And I am currently looking for a therapist who is willing to work with someone without insurance and your suggestion to look for someone who specializes in CBT has given me direction in my search.

    StraightNoChaser- I actually read your post before I wrote mine and seeing the kind response you received inspired me to speak about my own bumps in the road. I did look up some training programs and want to get more information before putting out the money for it, but if your friend can do it, why can’t i? I wanted to comment about your post too, but I will do that on your post. Just remember, just like how you told me that it will be okay and I will get through this, the same can be said for you.

    Thank you again everyone! You all made a sad young man smile and if any updates happen, I will keep you posted 🙂


    Talking about starting over again??? for me must be very hard at the age of 59!!! I lost everything that I worked very hard for it ,from my condo to my bank account which is empty
    now!!!and I am very tired to start all over again,to my friend who is only 28 years old I must say do not fear you have all the years before you and you can make it .for me is over ,my advise to young generation is :never second guess yourself and go with your gut feeling.and do it

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