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Just graduated, got a job and very unhappy.

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  • #78464
    LotusFlowerInTheMud
    Participant

    I just graduated, and have been lucky enough to get a job. Luck with a combination of extreme hard work. I spent 5 years working extremely hard pursuing my degree, juggling multiple jobs and work terms on top of it, in the hopes of successfully landing a job when I graduated.

    And here I am. Mission accomplished, but deeply unhappy.

    I am unhappy because I feel lonely, isolated, disconnected, and undervalued at my office job where I feel that if I didn’t go in one day, no one would notice. I just sit at a desk using a computer all day, and feel extremely discouraged, disillusioned and disheartened about my future career as I can’t imagine enjoying doing this for the rest of my life as a lot of jobs out there seem to be office jobs… It just feels so bleak.

    I am unhappy because I feel that I don’t connect with anyone at my work place – they are all much older than me. I try very hard to chat with people but when it doesn’t work out I feel discouraged and that I am hopeless at small talk.

    I am unhappy because all of my close friends graduated and moved away, and since I worked/studied so hard, I find it so hard to make new friends as I feel socially awkward, shy, and anxious about it. I have tried joining activities and being friendly to people – but their reactions have really discouraged me and I end up feeling even more discouraged and hopeless…

    I am unhappy because I took this job out of fear of unemployment and everyone says that I should be happy just because I am lucky to have a job in this economy but I am not, and no one understands.

    I am also unhappy because I took this job when my Long Distance Significant Other and I were having troubles – I did it because I thought it was the smart thing to do as opposed to moving and “closing the gap” with no job, but I miss this person everyday and wonder if I had moved, if things would have been okay…

    I have slipped into a depression and could really use some support and advice to get through this difficult time.

    Has anyone been in this situation? How do you make it better? I have such a hard time getting up in the morning these days, I just feel so crushed by the weight of the world.

    Please help me to find peace, clear my mind, and get through this.

    #78467
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi lotuslotus,

    I think what has happened is that you worked so hard for so long, now that you have “arrived”, you essentially crashed. You know how your body suddenly gets sick after you’ve gone through a long ordeal? When it’s “over”, the body says, “Now is the perfect time to reboot” (get sick so you can recover). You are depressed. The shyness/isolation/you miss your boyfriend ~ I’m not saying it’s not real, not at all ~ but to me they seem like mental excuses to keep yourself unhappy. Because you don’t have the energy to get into this new life of yours. The disappointment of “This is it?” now that you’ve arrived have compounded your discouragement too.

    What I would do is give it time. Work at your job with no expectations. Do things that interest you with no expectations. Join a place of worship and a gym ~ again with no expectations. Meet your neighbors. Go on local Meet Ups. Volunteer. Again, no expectations. By the end of the year take a step back and critically review your life. I bet you will happily discover you actually have several friends.

    Best,

    Inky

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 3 months ago by Inky.
    #78473
    Jordan
    Participant

    Another thing, in addition to Inky, is you should try to sort out whether you are unhappy with the job itself (nature of the work), or your surroundings (coworkers, city you live in, frienship status, etc.). This is very important. Mull over it for a while.

    If after a while you do find it is the job itself you dislike (hate office work, or dislike the kind of tasks you are given) then you should find a new job. Of course this isn’t easy. In this circumstance it is best to get a plan B together- research things you like and see possible careers with those, all while keeping your current job. When you feel you have the necessary funds then take up new education or employment.

    If it is the surroundings that are causing stress, then there are many things you can do. If you feel isolated try to get to know your coworkers better. Sure they may be old, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have fun. Try going for coffee, or a pint of beer after work, or try getting everyone together for a potluck. Try something that gets you to know everyone. If it’s a mean boss or mean coworkers, let them know how you feel. The key is to find things that interest you and pursue them. If you miss your girlfriend/boyfriend, see if you can transfer to another location more convinient, or quit after a year or two and work in the same field, but in a different workplace that is closer.

    #78474
    Axuda
    Participant

    Hi lotuslotus

    I think your statement, “Mission accomplished, but deeply unhappy” is key here. Your “mission” for a long time has been to get yourself to exactly the point that you are now from the perspective of qualifications and employment. But your mission hasn’t been focused on your own happiness. So, one mission is accomplished, but now you have another mission to embark on – one which will be far more important for your emotional health and future. The good news is, having succeeded in the first mission, you will easily be capable of succeeding in the other.

    Many people in your situation feel a massive sense of anti-climax. “Study hard, get your exams, get a degree, get a job”. It is drummed into us from an early age as if it is all that matters. So we get there, and then what? 40 hours a week sitting at a desk? Is that what all that was for?

    Now, as a Dad myself, I’m not going to tell you that all of that was worthless (it wasn’t – you’ve got a job for one thing). But it certainly isn’t everything, and now is the time to focus on you and your own well-being. If you are expecting your work and your colleagues to provide that, well, chances are you are going to be disappointed. this is something you need to do for yourself, and that will bring others into your life.

    Start by focusing on the things that you really enjoy, the things that bring you pleasure. Nobody is judging you on them, and you don’t need to consider whether you can make a living out of them. If it is hard to come up with things, think back to when you were very young. What did you love to do? Drawing, painting, running around getting muddy? What things excited you? Was it cars, horses, planes? Whatever it was, write all those things down. (And I’m willing to bet serious money that “sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week” isn’t on your list.)

    Now, from that list, what are the two or three things that really leap out at you? Now, think about how you could build more of those activities into your life. It could be by classes, but you could just do these things for fun, or advertise on Facebook for a friend who might have the same interest, or you might just meet people by doing it. But just start. Doesn’t matter what it is. Start. And you will start feeling better and happier. You probably don’t believe me, but that’s fine. Do it anyway. Because these things work whether you believe in them or not.

    You mention that you have tried joining activities but the reactions of others has put you off. This happens – sometimes people don’t like the idea of strangers infiltrating their little clique. But look at your actions too. Was it something that you were really interested in anyway, so you could bring some new insights, or was it primarily to meet people? When talking with others, did you come across as “needy” or clingy? Did your attempts at conversation focus on them or on you? Giving people the opportunity to talk about their favourite subject (themselves) will always get a much more positive reaction than telling someone else your life story. The same might apply at work too.

    Your long-distance relationship will also be improved if you focus on your own mental well-being. I greatly doubt that you would feel different if you had moved closer – you might well have felt worse, because you would have made your future well-being more reliant on someone else. From your post, a lot of what you are saying reflects the fact that you are looking for others to provide you with the happiness you seek. That’s not a criticism, that’s just human nature. The problem is, we are then handing control of our own happiness over to others. By taking control ourselves, we enhance our own well-being, which in itself actually benefits others – I’m sure you would like your partner to be happy when you are not together, too. You can miss someone dreadfully but still be happy that they are in your life.

    So, to summarise, you need to work on yourself, but you are easily capable of it. Just take responsibility for your own happiness, take up an interest of yours, take an interest in other people, and watch as things start moving upwards. The job may still be dull, but that doesn’t mean your life has to be!

    #78475
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear lotuslotus:
    I read about this phenomenon a lot: finally achieving the objective, the goal after lots of work and time, maybe feeling ecstasy, short lived, and then crashing, feeling disappointed, unfulfilled. And this phenomenon happen repeatedly to people who achieved goals that others go WOW. I mean, how often has it happened that people who achieved international fame, lots of money, and still they are depressed and you do hear of those who commit suicide.

    What is the reason for a highly successful person in terms of the world (social conditioning: money, prestige) to become depressed and disillusioned? I think it is called by some the Carrot Effect- you chase the carrot and believe you will live happily ever after when you get the carrot in your mouth.

    You achieved your goal- and you feel down and say: what went wrong? Of course you will find what is wrong- disatisfactions at work, older workers who don’t respond well enough to your efforts to connect, significant other elsewhere- there are plenty of reasons to be unsatisfied once you look for them.

    But the origin of the disatisfaction is having your goal out there in the future and once the future is present it did not deliver the happily-ever-after experience, the joy, the bliss. It cannot. The answer is having your goal Here and Now. Not There and only Then.

    What does the latter mean, having your goal here and now? I ask you and anyone who is reading this. I am figuring this out myself.
    anita

    #78476
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hey Lotus,

    Congrats on getting a job on graduating. You worked really hard and you made it.

    Now the question is, what next? I know that things must seem harder now in a different way – it must feel strange going to office and just working away on a computer without feeling much of a rapport or connection with the people you work with, after all one spends so many hours of their day there. Obviously it can be quite a bummer! I totally understand it must feel kinda stiff and isolating, especially after you worked so hard – then that whole other issue of relationship problems in long-distance – it gets harder to stay in touch, share the troubles and feel lighter and comforted. I wont say i have the perfect answer for you but all i can say is try to make it a point to have some fun on the weekends with some activity, skype with your significant other once a week atleast and keep texting/calling. Besides, its not like you will work in the same office forever anyway. Eventually, you will have a transition and things will improve.

    I suggest you learn to unwind better at the end of a long day – have some healing rituals and just relax, watch some good show, call/text a good friend and then go meet friends in the weekends. Things will get better over time but i really think you gotta focus on work-life balance. And if you are indeed truly unhappy for like many months, even a year, then perhaps indeed you need to look into finding employment in another department. I know its easier said than done but for now, get focused on doing your work well, trying to interact more with your colleagues, especially those outside your team nearer to your age. Talk more to the lady/guy who sits near you. I know its different to have a friend around but for now, make it a point to interact, smile. It is tiring indeed but sometimes in these situations, we have to grow outside of our usual tendencies. The more you close within, the more this depression will engulf you.

    This situation isnt forever and you can come out of it well.

    Regards,
    Moon

    #78477
    Rock Banana
    Participant

    I highly recommend Noah Elkrief – check out his YouTube videos. Maybe start with this one, “How to be happy in life & why you aren’t already happy”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AOxCzHOYso

    He says, “I achieved everything I wanted, but yet I wasn’t fulfilled.” Like you, he got what he wanted in life – wealth, a good career, relationships, nice house, car, etc. Yet he wasn’t happy. And then he found happiness and is making YouTube videos about how to REALLY achieve happiness. He also offers 1-on-1 counselling: http://www.liveinthemoment.org/session/

    I recommend this guy a lot, I should probably start getting money for referrals at some point. But honestly, I have no connection to him except I like his YouTube videos, and I think in your case he is seriously the guy to check out!

    Please let me know, after checking it all out, if you found this helpful. I think this is probably an extremely good fit for your situation so I would love to hear if it did help. All best.

    #78480
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi anita and everyone!

    I think of my mom and step-dad when I hear “Have your goal be Here and Now”.

    So this is their life: The Grandkids, Travel, and the Power Squadron. That’s it! Every month they see all the kids/grandkids. They go on a trip for two weeks every season. And they do all their club’s activities. That’s It, Man! When nothing is going on they have their routines. No stress. No “arriving”. No “ambition”. They love those three things and they schedule them in.

    They are utterly happy. They have their goals here and now.

    #78484
    Rock Banana
    Participant

    Nice Inky.

    Here’s a good video with Alan Watts commentary I’ve just watched

    #78486
    LotusFlowerInTheMud
    Participant

    Hi Everyone,

    I just wanted to express my utmost gratitude to everyone who took the time to reply. I can tell that your responses were thoughtful and well-meaning. I will take them to heart as I sincerely appreciate this.

    Inky, Thank you very much for your insight. I will definitely take on the perspective that I have “crashed” due to my long ordeal and am slowly healing again. If I may, I would like to ask, why do my feelings of isolation/loneliness seem like excuses? I would simply like to understand your perspective more.

    Jordan, Thank you for your input. That was extremely valuable and yes, I am trying to figure out whether its the job itself, the field, or my surrounding situations that are leading to my unhappiness. I definitely do try and connect, but feel they are disinterested.

    Axuda, Thank you so much your thoughtful response, it was uplifting and gave me hope as you mentioned that I had accomplished my first mission, and now am journeying on to my next one. I really, really appreciated that perspective. To clarify, I joined activities that I genuinely enjoy and am interested in, but am disheartened because those that I am participating in the activity with already have a clique, which I find makes me feel like an awkward outsider. I should also mention that I do my best with my interactions with people and always focus on them, by being genuinely curious/caring about them. But I am not seeing this yield any results yet… In fact I feel that I wish I knew how to “small talk” better as I find that people who can joke/talk about nothing are often the most successful at making friends… But I will keep going as you suggest though. Hopefully, things will start to work out as you say.

    Anita, Thank you for your insight. Yes, I agree with you that it is key to stay in the present and I will admit that this is a great weakness of mine as I have always been taught to plan ahead. This constant planning process has lead me to live in the “future” causing me great anxiety. Can you share any tips for how to stay focused in the present?

    Moongal, Thanks for your reply, I sincerely appreciate your compassion. I will definitely keep trying to work on my work-life balance and follow your suggestions.

    Rock Banana, Thank you so much for your resources, I will take the time to them and consider them carefully. Much appreciated.

    Again thank you everyone for your responses, If you have any further insight/feedback I would be extremely happy to receive them.

    Also, if you guys could take a look at another related problem I am facing, I would appreciate your wisdom and kindness as well (http://tinybuddha.com/topic/long-distance-change-in-relationship/).

    Most Appreciated,

    Lotus

    #78491
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Lotus:
    I am impressed by how you acknowledged every person who commented on your post, being gracious with each and asking clarification or just gratitude. In this response you demonstrate, I believe, good people skills, which makes me wonder about your stated lack of success in connecting in the work place. There is the fact that you are the youngest there- perhaps the rookie affect among the old timers? A certain kind of work prejudice toward the newbies, especially a young newbie? Could be, in which case it is not your failure in small talk or other people skill, but their own prejudice is the cause. (thinking outside the box here, a good idea, isn’t it? May have no indication of any lack on your part…

    Regarding staying in the presence, this is what i am finding out recently: first, if you are not used to living in the present you can’t progress too quickly, no matter how motivated you may be- it is not a matter of trying hard enough, this is the thing: you have to take small steps, bigger steps will be counterproductive. Over time you find out more and more what it means to live in the presence. It is a growing awareness through patient persistence over a long time. So, it is not something that can be taught- it has to be experienced. You can read about living in the present, MINDFULNESS, for example I liked what i read recently in Idiot guide to Zen living- excellent, practical suggestion about living in the present. I highly recommend. As time goes on, with practice, you find yourself NOT bored because something is always happening. There no longer is anything too small to notice and to capture your interest. It is no longer the “big things” only. No thing is too small, so you are less and less bored and less anxious and depressed. It is NOW, NOW, NOW. Like I wrote, it’s been taking me since early 2011 of persistence, day after day and I am now in a different place. Can’t be taught. Has to be practiced. For a jump start, i hope, the Idiot Guide is one place. there are many other sources online if you google mindfulness.
    best wishes to you:
    anita

    #78492
    Anonymous
    Guest

    By the way, I rushed in the above post (therefore spelling mistakes like “presence” instead of “present” as I often do and rushing is not being mindful. It is all a matter of progress. I am more mindful than I used to be. The pressure to be perfect at mindfulness, “achieving” mindfulness are counter productive motives. It takes escruciating patience.
    anita

    #78493
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I mean excruciating patience. I am done now.

    #78510
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Again,

    What I mean by your loneliness/isolation being excuses:

    We feel our feelings, and instead of reaching out to others or being comfortable in our own skin, we say “BUT”. i.e. “I feel isolated BUT the people around me are not very open” (therefore I’ll do nothing and stay miserable). That’s all I meant. Basically I’d rather you stay busy and active, and meet new people rather than stay depressed.

    Make a plan for people to see, things to do and places to go this very weekend.

    Good Luck!

    #79382
    Chris
    Participant

    Hi Lotuslotus,

    I see a lot of me and my journey in your story. The life plan that was vaguely communicated to me was get good grades in school, go to a decent college, get a decent job. That’s what I did.

    Much of the past 20+ years of my life and career has been spent trying to figure out, “OK, now what?”

    I remember waking up about 3 weeks into my first full-time job after college and thinking that there was no way I could wake up and do what I was doing for the rest of my life. The thought itself was daunting and spirit-crushing. I was fortunately able to do some different things along the way to make it bearable, however it was only about 18 months ago that I was able to start really pulling myself out of a career that had made me mostly unhappy for a very long time.

    Just the realization and awareness that the path you’re on is making you unhappy is a good place to be starting from at your stage of the journey. I’d encourage you to stay open to the feelings and awareness that you’re able to recognize. Don’t do what I did, which was to try and ignore or numb them.

    It also sounds like you’re at a point in your journey where you have a good deal of flexibility and your responsibilities are manageable. This also works in your favor, as changing direction now is probably going to be easier than it will be 3, 5, 10+ years down the road.

    Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, especially if you’re feeling depressed. Help comes in different forms like therapists (wish I started seeing mine years earlier!), spiritual guides and career coaches. You don’t have to go it alone.

    Rest assured that you’re not the only one in this situation. Find a group of like minded people and connect into the group. Just realizing you’re not alone in what you’re experiencing is very powerful.

    I’d also recommend reading Choose Yourself, by James Altucher – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17977529-choose-yourself

    I’ve found the book to be a great counter-balance to the outdated career path that many of us have been taught by default.

    I have a spare copy of the book I’d be happy to send you for free. Please drop me a line at http://justrollingwith.it/contact if you’d like me to send it to you.

    Best of luck to you!

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