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  1. #1

    Default Life Advice Need (Fair Warning - I may come off as ungrateful)

    I've always been pretty driven - graduated high school early, went to college and compressed my bachelor and my graduate degrees to complete both as quickly as possible. Got a real job (a fairly high stress one) bought a house and a car, and am now feeling just plain overwhelmed by it all - especially when I think about being in this line of work, in this location for the next 30+ years. Should note that all of this has happened while living in the same smallish city.

    With the benefit of hindsight, I think I naively rushed ahead into adult life without realizing all the real life demands. I also didn't realize exactly how much work and stress was involved in my chosen career path. Those around me that are in the exact same place career-wise nearly all took a few years off between degrees, and went and did things. They travelled, worked abroad, pursued a passion. The've gotten that out of their systems and are ready to buckle down and be adults. I just don't feel like I'm ready. I'm in my mid-20s and I feel like I need time to myself to figure out what I actually want out of life, and to experience something different. The scariest part is that I don't feel at all motivated or driven in my career right now. Its a very odd feeling, and I've been out of school for a few years so it doesn't seem like it is some interim adjustment issue.

    I 100% realize that I'm fortunate to have a good, well-paying job and the funds to have a house, car and to ride/compete. I absolutely understand that. There are many who are not so fortunate, and are really struggling. I also realize that this is what I worked so hard for. So what is my problem? Do I just need to suck it up? Is it normal to have these feelings a few years into 'real life'? Would I be crazy to quit my job, and then come back to the same line of work in 1-3 years?*

    *I actually do generally like what I do, and think it could be a long-term career....just not sure about starting now for the rest of my life. Added complication is that I genuinely like the particular company I work for and it would be a great set-up if I was ready to really settle-in and start life in earnest here. If I left, I could not expect to return. However, I could almost certainly find similar work elsewhere - but the people might not be as great.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2009
    Location
    Rock Chalk!
    Posts
    3,092

    Default

    If you're unsure of what you're doing - in life, not just work - it sounds like you're in a great position to change it. Life won't get less complicated when you find a SO, have kids, etc. If you want to do something different, do it now.

    My nephew is in his late 20s. Single, degree in nuclear & mechanical engineering, works for a great firm. Has his own house (largely paid for by a few roommates over the past few years), with his only dependent being a dog. His house is on the market right now, and he is returning to school this fall to pursue a degree in wildlife biology. I, for one, think that he's in a perfect place right now to do this. He will never know if it was the right thing if he doesn't go for it.
    A proud friend of bar.ka.



  3. #3

    Default

    Do a couple of years in the Peace Corps. I don't know a single person who regretted doing so.
    http://www.tbhsa.com/index.html

    Originally Posted by JSwan
    I love feral children. They taste like chicken.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    40,960

    Default

    While the grass looks greener across the fence, we have a brain to use it and choose if our side of the fence is fine, thank you and stay happy with it.

    Can you not take some vacations in far off places to scratch that itch, while staying where you are good at it and like everything about a nice sounding job, in a world full of not very nice jobs?

    Maybe try to find some other outlet for your discomfort with your life then trashing it to go look for something else.

    If and when you really need to change your life if things start not working out, you can always do it then.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2003
    Location
    Happily in Canada
    Posts
    4,866

    Default

    I think you might need a creative outlet. So far, you have always been driven to achieve certain goals that have an end-date. Now, there is no end-date except Freedom 65 (or whatever age you are going to retire).

    Society has set up this very strange system where we spend the best part of our lives (even of each day) going to work, to make sure that when we get old we can live in comfort (we hope).

    I have not yet come up with a great solution. However, I could just about have written your post (with more student debt and no house). I am considering some alternative careers, some of which are in the same field but doing different things. I think I am "bored" now that I have put in 3 years.

    Maybe you need a different challenge and (hate to say this) something that is new, scary, and needs you to do more than just put your time in.
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2004
    Location
    Rixeyville, VA
    Posts
    6,559

    Default

    Do not assume that you will always be in the same career or that life is going to just be that status quo for the next 30 years. Most of us will have several different careers in our lifetime. Very few of us are going to be with the same company for 30 years. Also don't assume you will be in the same place all the time. Unless you are in a job that has some unique feature tying you to one place, you should have skills that are transferable to other employers in other locations.

    Stop focusing on the past. It is over and you can't change it. Beating yourself up because you didn't backpack in Europe or do some internship somewhere is a waste of time. You can't change what has happened, only the here and now.

    And you can do a lot to change that! Not sure about your career, spend a little money and do some career counseling. Find a mentor. Travel. If you have an interest, is it something you can develop into a project or a business? Volunteer. Try new things. You can do all sorts of things to help yourself grow. The time to begin is right now.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,582

    Default

    I think you are at the point where nothing in your life is new, so you are a little bored with everything. You also have passed the honeymoon stage of life, and the excitement has worn off. Stop looking at how long you have to work until retirement, and start living day-to-day. And stop thinking you'll stay with the same job forever, because most people do change a few times in their life, and no job is totally secure these days.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2006
    Posts
    815

    Default

    Can you give us a hint to the general industry/type of work you are talking about?



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
    Posts
    4,085

    Default

    Here's my life advice: I don't know what you should do career-wise, but I do know this -- save as much money as you possibly can!

    This will enable you to make the changes you want, if you want to make any changes. For example, to move across the country, or to take a year off and travel, or to quit your job and take 6 months to look for a new one, or to switch jobs and take a pay cut. You get the idea. Money gives you flexibility.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2002
    Posts
    441

    Default

    First of all, congratulations and good job, you set your sights on a goal at a young age and worked exceptionally hard to achieve it; I admire you. In no way do I think you are ungrateful, only human….

    You seem to be maturing, looking for a deeper meaning and purpose in your life than a self-directed and self-focused existence is giving you. MGP had a great idea in the Peace Corps, if you can take time out like that, do it. If that seems like too big a disruption in your life, look for somewhere else to donate some of your time or resources. Get involved helping people. Learn to live a life dedicated to more than your own goals and happiness’s. Those things are great but they notoriously do not deliver on the happiness that our society seems to attribute to them. The people I know who are happiest and good people that I want to spend time with are people who live beyond their own lives.

    Take care and good luck.
    hound



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 1, 2007
    Posts
    651

    Default

    Its never too late to pursue your passion, travel abroad, or change your life.

    You just need to sit down and ask yourself what will really make your happy.

    Maybe travelling around the world sounds exciting, but are you sure that you wouldn't be happier waking up in the same comfortable bed each morning? Some people have a wanderlust and others are much happier with structure and routine. Sometimes the people happier with structure don't realize it until they've given the restless thing a shot.

    I don't think that you're coming off as ungrateful. You worked very hard to get where you are. You followed the socially applauded, American way of life, but it may not be for you and its always a great time to assess if it truly is.

    Read this story:

    http://www.lifeprinciples.net/SuccessatLife.html



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 7, 2007
    Posts
    1,396

    Default

    Sounds like you just need a long vacation. Take a month off if possible REST. Don't take classes. Don't stress about your future. Just take a break. If after a month you dread returning, then maybe you need to do something else.

    What you're experiencing in normal. Trust your gut, not your head.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 30, 2007
    Posts
    2,743

    Default

    If you had 6 months left to live, what would you do? Your answer identifies your passions and priorities. Now try to fit some of that into your life now. Best of luck. You also appear to be in a good position to save up some money and switch to something else in the not too distant future if that is your desire. I am the total opposite of you- slow boat to china, meandered through life and school. Finally got a decent job with my advanced degree in my 40's.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2009
    Location
    CA to Costa Rica to WI
    Posts
    885

    Default

    I don't think you're crazy at all for considering doing something different for a year or two before coming back for career job. (But that's probably because it's similar to my situation.)

    However, as someone else said, the grass is always greener... It it absolutely possible for you to travel around he world for a year, or join the Peace Corps for two, or live out of a van while driving across the United States, or any number of things. But that takes sacrifices two. I graduated college a month ago and left everything I loved in my college town including my friends, my amazing barn, and several good job offers to move back home and take a job I don't like much but pays well so I can save up to spend 6 months backpacking Europe.

    Are you willing to sell your house, car and horse? Downsize all your possessions so you can pay to store them for years? Are you prepared to lose future promotions or status at your job? If you are, I think it could be the best couple years of your life and be that change you need and never got, but it's not all easy peasy. For what it's worth, I've heard some companies will give you leave for doing something like the Peace Corps and guarantee you employment when you get back. But then again, are you willing to flip burgers when you get home until you can find your career job again if not?

    I say go for it because you only live once, and when you're 80 and you look back in life, I think you'll regret not doing it much more than doing it.
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Fourteen Months Living and Working in Costa Rica



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2012
    Posts
    1,961

    Default

    Congratulate yourself--you're one of a dwindling population today who actually achieve functional ADULTHOOD before the age of 40! Which puts you monumentally ahead of the game.

    I blew off college after 2 years and started my first business, which lasted for the next 17, at the age of 23. Most of my peers were still navel-gazing and trying to "get in touch with themselves," whatever that means. I knew what I wanted--money, horses, and freedom--and went right at getting it. By 27 I had exceeded my wildest dreams!

    The hell with what your friends are doing--that's their trip. Right now you've got about a 96% leg-up over your peers, because even trustafarians eventually have to get a life. If you're not working in Wal-Mart, and spending all your time tethered to the I-phone that now passes for having a "life," you're doing something awfully, awfully RIGHT! Celebrate!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 13, 2005
    Posts
    429

    Default

    Take care of YOU!!! whatever that means

    Take some time for you and ask yourself...
    Last edited by Noodles; Jul. 4, 2012 at 02:51 PM. Reason: not done with post



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 13, 2005
    Posts
    429

    Default

    Take care of you.....and take time to ask yourself some difficult questions...below are some to start with??

    1) Right now if I could do anything at all(no boundaries with money skill etc..)what would I do?

    2) How do i make my world too small for me?

    3) is my spirit dying the way i'm living

    4) what situations/people energize you...deplete you?

    5) what are the choices that are mine to make

    6) What am I more curious about that afraid

    7) whats the worst that can happen if I make a change

    ...and maybe the best question...

    WHAT DON'T i WANT TO SEE.......


    Good luck and take care of you!!!

    Noodies



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2000
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    10,613

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by houndsRus View Post
    First of all, congratulations and good job, you set your sights on a goal at a young age and worked exceptionally hard to achieve it; I admire you. In no way do I think you are ungrateful, only human….

    You seem to be maturing, looking for a deeper meaning and purpose in your life than a self-directed and self-focused existence is giving you. MGP had a great idea in the Peace Corps, if you can take time out like that, do it. If that seems like too big a disruption in your life, look for somewhere else to donate some of your time or resources. Get involved helping people. Learn to live a life dedicated to more than your own goals and happiness’s. Those things are great but they notoriously do not deliver on the happiness that our society seems to attribute to them. The people I know who are happiest and good people that I want to spend time with are people who live beyond their own lives.

    Take care and good luck.
    hound
    Lots of good advice, but this is what I would have said too.
    Good luck!
    A FINE ROMANCE - JC Reg Thoroughbred - GOLD Premium CSHA - ISR/OLDNA Approved
    CSHA Brickenden Stallion Award Winner - for Performance offspring.
    Please visit A Fine Romance on FB!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2008
    Posts
    2,820

    Default

    Take an affordable, quiet vacation to let yourself relax. Cabin in the woods, that kind of thing. Maybe that's enough, or maybe you'll realize you still want your everyday life to change.

    I think you missed out on a period of fumbling around that isn't very fun in reality, but is quite valuable. If you don't fail and fumble early on, then when you do wonder if this is what you wanted to do, you're already pretty settled in and financially depedent on your existing career and feel much more afraid to change.

    Remember that even though you feel you gave up something intangible and valuable when you rushed into adulthood, you have financial options that are also extremely valuable. You don't have to quit your job and move to Tibet; you can ease into it a bit, if that's easier. Start saving money, for one thing, and paying off any debt.

    I recognize the value of a good job, particularly today, and particularly with great people. But remember that jobs change all the time. Don't make a decision to stay if you really want to leave, just because the people are great. All it takes is one boss to leave, one change of management, one layoff or maternity leave that turns into a resignation, and the whole dynamic changes. If you stay, you might one day find yourself the only person left from the time when you were happy there.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default

    So first - I really appreciate that I'm not being perceived as ungrateful or spoiled by my fellow COTHers. For whatever reason, I think I've been "self-labeling" myself that way and it has really affected my point of view. Maybe its because I don't feel like I had to work that hard to get where I am (school has never been that challenging, and I was fortunate to land a good gig early on), but I think the result has been that I have been putting some pressure on myself to be grateful and not consider other options. So, first step - stop dwelling on the past. This also includes, as a poster correctly pointed out, not thinking about the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" aspect (i.e. I could have backpacked around Europe, I should have taken time off before graduating, etc".

    Next - I think Blugal and IronwoodFarm are right in that an element of this may well be that school always had an end date, and the rest of life isn't quite as straight-forward. I probably do need to take things day by day, and its probably a by-product of being so results/goal driven for so long!

    I also realize that while I may feel like the next 30 year are stretched out in front of me as largely unchanged, that is not the reality. That said, based on the opportunities with my current employer, that is VERY much a possibility. I would just go from employee to equity holder over time. It may also be that that opportunity is also contributing to this feeling. There is a certain expectation. In the past year or so, I've realized that I am a "people-pleaser". I don't want to disappoint those around me, and tend to do what is expected of me rather than what I WANT to do. I have a fear that I will stay this path, not because it is what I want or would make me happy, but because it is expected of me. As it is, even the prospect of packing up and doing something different is at least 14 months away as I would not want to disrupt the big project that I am working on.

    Of course, I don't actually know what I want. Be it what I have now, or something else. Maybe I do need a vacation to reflect on some of the really interesting questions that Noodle has listed. I'll make money doing what I do now, and it is intellectually engaging...but I'm not sure that it is engaging in other respects. Now, I seem to have two questions on the go (1) can I put down my responsibilities and check out for a period of time and (2) do I want to return to what I'm currently doing or try something else on for size.

    Of course, that vacation is probably a long time away. It is difficult to find a few clear days in the next few months!



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