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Do you ever feel like a loser because of your chosen profession, or lack thereof


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I'm an engineer. I don't really like being one, never did, but can't think of anything I'd be capable of doing and feel a little too old at 31 to change. Sometimes I feel like a loser when I compare myself to people in professions are more prestigious and higher paying like doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, or even miners making a killing like this guy link removed


It's depressing.


How do you change your mindset to stop comparing, or to be happy with whatever you have. I find it really hard.

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You have a job. You're not a junkie living in an alley.


Sure things could be better, but they could be a hell of alot worse.


I just can't put that into my head. I actually know it could be first hand with vivid examples, like cousins in the home country that go off to the gulf region and work like slaves doing construction labor for less than $200-$400 a month.

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I worked a lot of hours once upon a time...I did shift work at nuclear power plants where I worked 12 hour shifts for 12 days straight, took two days off and repeated the cycle. I made ok $ with OT, but it didn't last since the project ended and I'm back to a regular pay. At least, doctors and IBers, have a steady supply of longer hours so they always have the opportunity to get paid if they put in the work or have to take stress leave. I concur that they earn what they make, and I'm not at all displeased with them. I just feel beneath them and displeased with myself.

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Keep searching on the internet... you'll find lots of stories where there is a huge surplus of lawyers in many areas. These people took out a huge chunk of change for education only to find a job not there. There are stories of lawyers working as housecleaners... going for interviews and being told there will be no partner track available... or being told they will be earning much less than expected and if they don't take it the next guy in line will.


I think you are definitely sufferring from the grass is greener on the other side syndrome.


I know lots of engineers with good money and prestige... dated many and married one at one point.


If you are unhappy in your choice its not too late at 31 to find a career you love. I went to professional school and there were a huge mix of people - truck driver, nurse, accountant, engineer, etc. People go for second careers all the time. Even still what about going for an advanced degree in your field? You could probably command more with a masters degree in your field could you not?


I think you need to find something you are passionate about.

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I don't think money is what's causing your depression here. I think you're just thinking money is going to fix the way you feel.


I know plenty of engineers. My late father was an engineer, but he mainly worked in academia (as a professor.) Ditto for my brother-in-law. Both of them were/are on the upper end of middle-income (nearly 6-figure incomes), living upper middle-class lives, and they said that working in industry would earn them even more than academia. I have a friend who is an engineer (in the industry) and he makes enough to support two daughters, buy a house, have toys like motorcycles, sailboats, etc. I take it you work in industry, so you you could find some pretty covetable positions, and there is always a demand for engineers. Being unemployed is not likely, and in this economy, that's a blessing.


I think the problem is that you don't enjoy your work and so somehow, this is translating into wanting something someone else has. If it were about money, you could certainly look at your situation and see that it's far more comfortable than most in this country right now, and that no one looks at engineers and thinks, "Wow, what a loser." If you tell most people you're an engineer, you're set, as far as respect goes.


If you were making money hand over fist with some blue-collar job, with your mindset you'd be thinking, "Yes, I do make a ton of money, but I'm constantly having to prove myself, because this job has no prestige. No one respects miners, or knows how hard we work for this money! They think we're all hillbillies!"


And, there are plenty of GPs who have less earning power than you, as an engineer. They work in small clinics in small towns treating people with little means, and they could complain that they aren't making the kind of money a cardiologist in a big city would make. But a lot of these doctors love their work and would have it no other way. They just love being physicians and seeing patients.


So it comes down to how you view the way you're spending your life. You have enough money to live very comfortably and enough prestige to impress anyone. But you're not happy or impressed with your line of work because it's not rewarding to you. If you can't imagine doing anything else and don't have any other passions, then I feel for the rut you're in, but don't blame your paycheck or your status. Perhaps there are some things you really do like or love, but just are afraid to entertain the idea of doing them for a living. So maybe it's worth giving it some thought, if there's anything like this. But you'd have to figure out how you'd finance it of course. If such a thing might be possible, I'd advise you to start considering it. Otherwise, fill your life with other things that you enjoy and just consider your job a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.


(Btw, along the lines of "following your passion", I saw a program once about people who left secure jobs they no longer wanted to be in to pursue their dreams. Many of them were very creative ideas. Among them was a NY lawyer who left his successful practice to go live out in the country and develop a line of homemade cheese. He invested in all that was needed for making it in large quantities and it became award-winning. He ended up developing a whole line of cheeses for sale to elite clientele and was making a killing. Not all people who go out on that kind of limb will make it, but everyone in that show did, developing cottage industry businesses that just soared. I hardly think, "I make cheese for a living" would blow people out of the water more than, "I'm a corporate bankruptcy lawyer", but there's the moral of the story.)

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Not too late to start down a different career path. Money and prestige does not = happy but if that is your goal look at those careers will lead towards what you want. The more time you spend being unhappy and sitting still means less time being in a career that you want. You will never be able to get that time back. Do some soul searching and seriously consider what will make you happy, not what society says makes a person happy. Make a plan, and go for it.

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I'm studying biology, and it's the engineers that I envy! It'd be so cool to know how everything works, but I've always felt not smart enough. It's not about the money for me, but the knowledge, I guess I do looove biology, though, and I don't care that I'll probably never be rich.

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Engineer is barely a career that I associate with "loser". Remember, doctors have huge school loans to pay off, then they must spend a huge portion of their salary on malpractice insurance, and it is often expected they spend a lot more at country clubs and the sort to mingle with others in their profession.


I guess nothing's impossible, but changing to a career to becoming a doctor or a lawyer at your age would obviously be pretty tough to pull off.


Have you ever considered sales? I guess it doesn't have the prestigious title as "Dr." but I know many sales reps that earn well in the six digits, probably more than most doctors or lawyers do. You don't need a college degree in sales (although you probably need a degree of some sort to be considered like any professional job). Of course, like any job, you would have to start at the bottom to get experience, but being an engineer might make you a good fit for a company that sells products to engineering companies.


I was voted most shy in my high school class, so at that time, I never would have thought I would have done good in sales, but if you find an industry that you are really knowledgeable about, and find a company or product you are very passionate about, you'd might surprise how well you do.


In this profession, you'd have to work VERY VERY VERY hard, especially starting out. Also if you ever consider getting into sales, be sure you get a job selling B2B (business to business) instead of B2C (business to consumer).

B2C would mean that you are calling engineers around the country asking them if they'd like to buy your $400 engineer software package. B2B would mean you find engineering companies that wish to buy a 12 month license for their 1000 engineers for $200 per head. You can see how how selling B2C it'd be impossible to get rich, while selling B2B the sky's the limit.


Obviously, sales isn't for everyone, but I've been in that department for awhile now and I find it's lots of fun!

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You should be proud to be an engineer! You must be intelligent and have an understanding of some things that most other people fail to grasp! I know this because I WORK with engineers-to-be (undergrad students) and help them get engineering related jobs. These kids are all extremely bright and motivated (smarter than me, no doubt)...and I know the second they graduate and get their first job, they will be making a TON more money than me. I am just a career counsellor. But I don't let that affect my self worth! So what if it's not an occupation I can "brag" about. I am good at it, my students appreciate me, it pays my bills, I do enjoy it most days...no one should have their self worth be tied in with their JOB. It's just a job. I am more concerned with the type of person they are..their character, their motivations, stuff they do OUTSIDE Of their jobs (that they get paid to do).

ANd seriously, the engineering students on our campus are held to the highest regard..and they certainly hold the attitude that they are superior, lol (if that's what you care about)

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I know this thread's old, but


I think you should read Dalton Conley's Elsewhere USA ---it has been noted elsewhere, but the upper middle class is typically the class with the most status anxiety. This book addresses status anxiety among the creative class in a pretty interesting and straightforward manner. this is tongue in cheek but if you're not feeling successful enough, you should get married to another professional--double the earning power, at least. He also calls what you are talking about the economic red shift--where it always appears that everyone else around you is better off when the majority of us are actually enjoying an increased quality of life these days.


I am making this book sound boring--but he's a funny guy and I really think you would enjoy the book. I think it was published a year ago and the information is pretty current.

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you know what? I envy you... My dream is to be an engineer but I messed up in school thats why I end up being a technician...


Being an engineer is the most prestigious job or career that I could ever think of... Wherever you look, theres always an engineer behind it. From the house where you live now, to the gadgets that you use, the power plant the supply electricity to your house, the car that you drive, the airplanes that you see in the sky and lots more. I remember back then when Im still taking up my engineering course, one of my instructor told us that if theres someone in this world that is a co-creator of god, those are the engineers. Im already 23, but still, I wan to pursue that dream...

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm sorry I left this thread and did not respond to any of the responses. I feel like I have some combination of ADD, depression and just can't focus on anything involving work, hell even responding to threads I start on internet message board forums. I'm having a hard time reading and staying interested in my tasks. I understand the notion of counting your blessings, but I just feel so drab doing this. I know it's called work because they pay you to do it, but I'm running out of steam and feel like a total loser. I'm doing ok in my life, and the only thing that really annoys me is my job but I don't know what I'd rather do (realistically). I'm driving my current gf insane because I was so happy when I was off work, but now that I'm back, I'm back to being miserable about it......guess that's not abnormal.

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If you have a job that you can go to every working day, and make money, then you are blessed indeed. Engineers are highly trained professionals that had to jump through a lot of hoops to get where they are. Sure the reality of the job might be a bit different from the glamor that was pitched while in school, but that's true for every profession including mine. Respect has nothing to do with the amount that you earn. It has everything to do with taking pride in what you do, and doing your best at it. Doctors have problems of their own (insurance, liability, overhead expenses, training debts. Lawyers rarely have lives as exciting as their TV counterparts, and they rarely make what you think they do unless they are in a big city working for a big firm as a partner. Investment bankers get where they are through a lot of schooling, knowing the right people, probably making huge mistakes and a few good calls, and for the most part the ones that are really REALLY rich got there by doing something illicit or illegal.


So if I were you, I'd be happy to be an engineer, and if the daily grind gets boring, consider getting a Masters in something cool and specialized. If you want to travel you can to to USAjobs,com and look for a government job in engineering that will take you all of the world. At the end of the day though, in any career, it's all about Pay, Schedule ad Quality of Life. Doesn't matter what it is that you do. The job that has all of the above will be the one with the biggest return in the way of happiness. Luckily, as an engineer you have the ability to specialize and change your direction without necessarily changing your career path and starting over.


Right now you have more education, earning power, and a higher personal "stock price" than most humans on earth. Hope that makes you feel better!

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31 isn't too old to change your job if you don't like it. I'm almost 5 years younger than you (which is a tiny age gap) and I'm still finishing high school! So don't feel bad. I keep posting threads on here trying to keep my spirits up while I finish it, and it's rough. I feel like a complete loser in every shape and fashion, but there is a small bit of me that is happy because for once I don't feel like a quitter. Not having a diploma is the most embarrassing thing on the planet for me, and it just eats away at you...trapping you. Nobody respects me. Heck, I wouldn't even respect me! But that needs to change..


I used to be a quitter and now I'm striving to fight for myself. I have depression too and some sort of attention disorder (I forget which one at this point) but hey, you can strive for something you would like to do at any point in your life. That's what I learned. Don't trap yourself thinking, this is the end of the road. I'm going to be doing this for the rest of my life....No don't think like that.


What is it that you really want to do in life? For me it's get a darn diploma and take art school. I don't care how old I am at this point. It's just what I want to do and I'm sick and tired of holding myself hostage from the things I really want to do in life.


What helps:


1. Learning to laugh over the things that would normally make you feel like a loser. (I know this sounds a bit demented) but it's true. If you can relax and just laugh about the things that depress you that can help fuel you to change those things without quitting. For example, I have a huge pile of 10 thick pink books sitting in my living room right now to finish my HS. I really don't like them. They look like a heaping tower of work I need to do. Then once I finish those pink books more come in the mail! They get stuck in my mail box because they are so thick. I allow myself to complain about it, but I also joke about it to my friends because it is funny, and even my family. Do they think I'm a loser? No, they cheer me on, because they know I'm working on what I want. They think it's funny too.


In fact the more I joke about my workload ..the more people are willing to help me and cheer me on. As long as I'm doing it, it's fine. It really helps! It's like therapy to work harder.


2. Acknowledge bums on the street or low income people. This might be easier if you live in a city, but next time when your out walking, really look at the bum next to a coffee shop, begging for change. Where did he go wrong? What's he doing on the street anyway? What could have happened that was so rotten in his life that he needs to sit and beg on the street corner for the last 15 years of his life? Lots of bums live this way because it's a mindset they are comfortable with. They might feel more comfortable living on the street with drugs than they do living in a apartment complex or house. Why? Because if they live on the street there are no bills to be paid...there are no responsibilities. They only need to eat, stay warm and get their fix.


You on the other hand, you have the mindset of holding a job, having your own place, and eating proper food. You may have depression, but at least congratulate yourself for having a healthy mindset. You can take care of yourself and have capabilities to hold yourself a job (and a lot more) because you are not on the street!


3. Stop looking at your "problems". Depression is something a lot of people have. Depression is the body's way of telling you "Why do you keep leaving off this one thing you really want to fix?" so sadness eventually forms into depression. Depression is what happens after you ignore a problem you should be trying to fix, for a long length of time. It is not permanent. It's your body's natural response to not dealing with certain problems in your life. Look at your depression hard enough and you will see exactly what you need to do to overcome it. Start small. Depression can help you see the things that need tending to. It's not there to hurt you.

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