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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

CAREER: Unsure What Direction to Take
Letter #: 383253
Category: Career

Original Letter

I graduated college two years ago and I've yet to hold down a full-time job.  I held down multiple part-time jobs while I was in college, and I was never fired during that time.  I even held down as many as 4 jobs at once and kept my 3.2 GPA.  After college, I worked at a bank for a year and then switched jobs, trying to find a full-time job that would better my situation and be a good fit for me.  I had two full-time jobs for a couple of months, but one was a hostile work environment and I left there for a job a friend created for me at their company.  Sadly, that job ended after a month because the CEO's niece thought I was prettier and more confident than her and she wouldn't work with me (yes, this is, as matter of fact, how things went down.)  I've now started a great job that I love - but it's part-time.  I barely make a thousand dollars a month after taxes.  While I'm loved and adored by my coworkers and clients, there is no chance that this will grow into a full-time job with benefits.  Next year I need health insurance as I have to take multiple medications to remain a functional adult (severe chronic illnesses.)  I also owe $50,000 in loans from school and a car.

I'm left with few options.  I can start looking for a full-time job and abandon this one that I love, which will damage my resume and chances of being hired even more.  I can take on a part-time job, which will help me pay my bills more effectively, but this will likely give me no time for church or rest, both of which I desperately need.  I can try to get hired on full-time by looking at jobs posted internally, but I don't want to live here in this town forever (I do want to get married and there are simply no prospects within 50 miles.  Yes, I've looked.)  The company I currently work for is affliated with several companies in much more desirable locations.  I planned on working at my job for a year or more, getting trained on the software, and then trying to find another job at the other locations, but there is no guarantee that I will find one by my deadline.  So I'm probably going to need another part-time job to make ends meet.  My parents want me to wait until after Christmas to look for another part-time job, but if I do that, I will miss out on the hiring season for the retailers in our area.  (I am currently living at home, and have been for the last two years, as I can't afford to live on my own.  I do pay for my car and my insurance, as well as my groceries, my neccessities, my clothes, my medications, gas and car maintenance.)

I make jewelry as a hobby.  I could try to sell my pieces, but I'm not sure that's a good way to try to make extra cash.  I'm not very confident and sure of my abilities to make pieces that people will want to buy.  I don't even know where I'd begin, but my current job did put in an order for some bracelets as a fundraiser.  So it's a serious option.  I also have my teaching certificate (in addition to a bachelor's degree in business administration), so tutoring for a university or college is also an option, but there's only one in my area.  I've applied before and been rejected; should I try again?

I don't know what to do.  No matter what I try, I will either have to sacrifice something, be it a good career I love, having a family someday (read:  EVER) or being a contented, healthy, functioning adult.  What should I do?

Elder Response

Even though you've had some bad experiences, and feel like you're in a stuck place, PinkGnomie, you really do have a quite solid foundation to build from. You have a college degree -- a quite respectable one -- and work experience. You apparently are very computer literate, which is almost a requirement for skilled work these days. You have a part-time job that you like, and that pays you (barely, but still...) enough to live on. You have parents who are supportive and are helping you out. You have a church home, and an enjoyable hobby. A pretty good list of assets!

Now, before going any further, I need to say that I may not be the best person to advise you in your situation, because I'm not a risk-taker. If I were a frog, I'd be testing every single lily pad for stability, temperature, and environmental quality before I jumped onto it. Some Elders, more adventurous than I, might tell you to take a leap of faith -- quit your job, move to South Dakota, trust that the oil boom will provide you with exactly what you want. But I don't work that way.

Seems to me that right now you're in a good spot to start exploring job options, both locally and in other areas. Start networking, beginning with your current boss: talk to him/her about your need for full-time employment, and that you want something that you can love as much as you love where you are now. As, him/her for ideas, for contacts. Check to see if your local community college has a career advisory service that can help you. Get on the Web; use FaceBook. Look for companies that employ people in the kind of job you'd like; find the name of somebody who works in that company, and email them -- "Hi, my name is xxx, and I'm looking for information about your company. Would you be willing to answer a few questions?"

You can do all this from the very secure position that you're in. You don't have to leap into something you don't want, or something you know nothing about -- you do have a roof over your head, and food on the table.

The chances of being able to make a comfortable living from your jewelry are slim to none -- it's a horribly hard business to break into, with huge amounts of competition. Watch a few episodes of the TV show Shark Tank and you'll get an idea of what being an entrepeneur means. But you certainly might be able to augment your finances by getting into a few local shops -- and having other people wearing your stuff would be a real feel-good!

You describe yourself as "depressed" and I'm wondering if you mean that literally. If you are, indeed, depressed, it's no wonder that you see your glass as half empty rather than half full; depression always makes us focus on the dark side of things. I hope, if that's the case, that you're working with your doctor to deal with it. If not, if you're more discouraged than actually depressed, then my advice would be to take a week or two to just coast along, gather your resources, have fun with your friends -- and then pick yourself up by the scruff of your neck and start networking! You have everything you need to build the kind of career that will work for you. Everything, that is, but the confidence that it will happen and the patience to let it develop.

Thanks for writing to us, and I hope you'll write back and let me know how you are doing. I'd love to hear from you again, and I'll be thinking of you. Good luck!


Best Regards,



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