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How long can I hold my breath?


Hoagy
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A couple of years ago I came into some money and made the decision to use it to take a few years out and retrain for a new career in counselling. This is a personal thing for me because I have some experience of depression and know others who have suffered with mental health (including one who took their own life). I wanted to do some good and make a difference. It's important to me.

 

Now I'm about to start the two year degree and I've run into a problem. I've always had a kind of Protestant work ethic that tells me I should get a job, work, pay taxes, contribute to society, and be a fine upstanding citizen. It's not just about earning money (although that isn't unappealing - I could do with a new apartment) but more about the pride, dignity, satisfaction and self-respect that comes from having a job. I like collecting a paycheque at the end of the month.

 

I feel as if I'm swimming underwater and I don't know how much longer I can hold my breath. If I can hold it long enough then I can get through this and start looking for a new job. I'm already looking for a part-time job that will fit around college and my other commitments and that would make things a little easier for me but nothing beats a real full-time job. I don't want to quit my course already because, as I say, working in mental health means a lot to me. But if an opportunity came along and the terms were agreeable but it meant I couldn't do the degree then I admit that I would be very tempted to grab it. Opportunities like that don't happen every day so I'd be a fool to not at least consider it, right?

 

I feel an itch and I can't scratch it. I have an existential need to work but I've commited myself to the next 21 months at least without a meaningful job. As I say, I fortunately have resouces that mean the pressure is not so much financial (not right now) but it's more psychological. I don't know how I'm going to get through this without exploding. I don't like not knowing where I'm going to be in two years or five years from now. I don't like the doubt and anxiety and uncertainty. Will I be living the dream and working as a counsellor or will I be picking grapes on a vineyard in France? If I at least had some clue, some reassurance, of where my future was going then I might find it easier to keep holding my breath.

 

Thanks for listening to me rant

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It's cos you are a Midlands lad hoagy , it was how I was brought up as well ...you get in a morning and you work hard for in life .

 

What you are going ot become though is worth this , your contribution and experience and you must carry on with this , speaking for the mental health people in the UK , there are not enough , kind compassionate experienced men and women willing to dedicate themselves to this . Be proud of your choices .

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Are you having some fears about seeking your degree?

 

I ask because I think that may be causing your uneasiness and not your lack of a job. You can easily work and go to school. I did it. It'll make focusing on school harder but if your issue is truly your desire to work, well... get a job...

 

The rest of your 'what ifs' are so obscure and meaningless in the here and now. 'What if I get a job offer?' ....what if the world ends tomorrow? Life happens, and opportunities come and go, that doesn't mean you give up on your dreams. If anything face the opportunities when they occur and until then keep your bottom in school.

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Get a job and a paycheck is short term thinking....and dangerous in a way because it can leave you living paycheck to paycheck for life.

 

Pursuing a degree and your passion is long term thinking - getting the degree, getting the practical training, building your practice, maybe opening your own business, etc, etc, etc.

 

Don't get shortsighted.

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Try and frame it this way:

 

Your JOB for the next couple of years is to get the best qualification you can get. Get the best life experiences you can get, so you can bring that to your future career as well. Do these things and chances are people will be knocking on your door trying to employ you in the future.

 

Hope this helps.

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I have applied for part-time jobs but there aren't many around here and I need to find one that fits around the days I have to be in college and the compulsary work experience placement and I don't even know where that is going to be yet. I'm doing what I can but what I can realistically do is to some extend dictated by the demands of the course and everything is up in the air at the moment because nobody seems entirely sure of what is supposed to be happening. It doesn't help that the university suddenly decided to change the course content at the last minute. I'm even looking into the option of creating a small business on ebay or something to generate some income while allowing me control and flexibility. It might not be much but, as the advertising slogan for a well-known supermarket says, 'every little helps'.

 

As I say, I'm fortunate that finance is not an immediate issue for now but I have known what it is to be deep in debt before and I am absolutely terrified of going back there. I desperately crave stability and peace of mind. Almost every night I wake at 01:00 or 02:00am (it is 02:20 now) and the doubt and uncertainty immediately hits me in the chest like a physical punch. It's probably just psychosomatic but I'm starting to get concerned about how the next two years is going to affect me healthwise.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's a test to see what's really bothering you. Is it your need to be industrious or need for a current cash flow?

My first suggestion would be to work part time for a social services or mental health facility--even in a non related position such as office clerk or parking attendant or cafeteria.

Side note--I know people who were studying for a medical degree, another as a therapist--and in both cases once the people started working in clinical study--with real people--the entire career was a turn off. So I would look further into it like clinical class/study before you get your heart set on it.

 

Here's your test. How about working for free in your field of choice as an intern or volunteer? Hospitals can always use various volunteers and daily you would see ranges of human emotion.

If you would work for free then it is your industrious itch that's bothering you.

Not for free--then you don't feel financially stable.

 

I agree with the response above that you should think about your studies as your work and focus on your future.

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