Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crisis of Personality

Dear Aunt Babz--

I am a thirty year-old single male
who has recently returned to the US after working and studying abroad for the past two plus years. When I was forced to move back to the United States because of a lack of work, I was hoping to find a job with the government or an NGO in the field of international development. Now, nine months later, I am living with my parents, very single and still unemployed. The whole situation is having increasingly negative effects on my attitude and self confidence. I have spent the last 10 - 12 years preparing myself to accomplish the many goals that I have set for myself (this includes putting myself through school, obtaining 4 degrees, living in three different countries and being completely fluent in a foreign language). I've always felt that of the many things I would like to achieve in my life, there are a few things that are or would be central to my happiness: being a husband and father, and being gainfully employed in a job where I felt like I was helping others, making things better. These goals are now seemingly stifled by the current economic situation that plagues so many of us. I find myself frustrated and often depressed with my apparent lack of control over my unemployment and by the realization that the chances of an unemployed 30 year old living with his parents attracting a desirable woman are fairly slim. I am also becoming aware of the negative effects that my souring attitude is having on those around me. I often find myself curt and ornery with my parents and other family members and apathetic towards the very few social opportunities that may be available in my very small hometown. What can I do?

Rotting in the Rockies

Dear Rocky,

Seems to me that you are having a crisis of personality. When a person can’t “do” what it is they have as a passion, that depression seeps in and takes over. But you can at least see this, so you might be able to change it.

First, your mood has to change. I know it sounds so easy, but it really is hard to have a positive outlook when things are just not going your way. Still, if you are down, so will the chances of getting better.

Second, take up employment wherever you can find it. This is not the time to be sitting and waiting for the perfect job to come at you. You need to prove your worth, and you can’t do that sitting down. Get a job to earn a pay check, and volunteer at a more international development type place (like the Red Cross, hospital, local shelter or youth organization). Especially in a small town, you aren’t likely to get into that field unless you have connections. This is how you make them.

Having dreams and goals is not a bad thing; it gives us the drive to succeed. But it is only in the act of waking up and living on that a dream can be realized. Be the person in control of your own destiny, and get up! Don’t let the things that are situational (like living quarters, relationship standing and employment) destroy what is non-conditional (like attitude, drive and the joy of life). Once you start writing your own ticket, you’ll see the changes.

Good luck with the job hunt, and with your future.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rocky - yes, times are tough. If you really want to help people then shift your attitude to different goals, at least temporarily. Go volunteer at one of the hundreds of charities, sooup kitchens, hospitals, etc. It doesn't ahve to be your life's work but you will feel a sense of fulfillment and will be less likely to focus on the percieved negatives currently in view.