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Long term jobless / scared of meeting people
#1
Right, it's always embarrassing to explain my situation to anyone, but I can hardly deal with it on my own.

Whenever I meet new people, the 2nd or 3rd question usually is what my job is.
And that's when I want to leave the place already because I'm full of shame.

I have never worked properly. I have the financial support of my family.
I have a university degree, but for various personal reasons I have never worked. There was also a fear of working, which got even stronger after I got fired from my only short-term job of a few weeks. That's 7 years ago.

After a lot of talks with my therapist, I finally decided to go to the job centre today.
My advisor was really nice, but basically she told me that my university degree is worth nothing, as I haven't really worked since, and it's too long ago (8 years) to be worth anything anymore. Right, what a great start to the day when you get told that you have studied in vain.

Now why I post this today:
Tonight I'm supposed to go out with my friends. I just want to meet people. But I am always afraid of the job question. I'm not lazy sitting in front of the TV all day and drink piles of beer or so. I do a lot of things. I just don't work... and so I have big issues with always finding a reply that's neither making me an arrogant asshole, nor making me seem like a lazy depressed alcoholic. Should I avoid new social contacts to avoid the shame? I don't want to lie! Avoiding meeting people, is that what I have to do? But I don't want to talk about such a depressing topic that won't be helpful to find new friends or a boyfriend! I am really lost here Sad

So, my conclusion was, I have to find a job. Just so that question doesn't make me bush anymore. And that's why I finally overcame my fears and went to the job agency today.

Anyway my advisor told me what I could do as my next steps, and I will make a move towards that direction... to become financially more independent, but first and foremost to overcome the social pressure on me. I want to find a boyfriend, but I think everyone will hate me because I don't work. It has to change.

I just don't know how to lift my mood for the party tonight. I just don't know what to say to people when they ask me. I don't want to make them feel bad for having asked either. It's just all so fucked up...
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#2
It's simple. You say "currently looking for a job", then if they ask, you say what your degree is..

I don't think anyone will be too harsh on that, shit happens man, and there's plenty of reasons why one person may find him/herself unemployed.

I'd say the financial independence and the job thing will do whole lot to bring your own self-esteem higher. Which in turn will make it easier to feel good about yourself and more confident when meeting new people.

So, go for it, keep trying at the job hunt and don't stop socializing, eh?
[Image: 05onfire1_xp-jumbo-v2.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp]
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#3
Whichever the reasons you could possibly have for having not worked since you graduated from College, think that YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING NOW to improve your situation and join the labour market. Keep focused on that and work hard to reincorporate yourself. Go back to school and take some refresher courses related to your profession, check up if there’s a chance to enter as a trainee in a company or doing some volunteer work related with what you want to do while you get a paid job. What happened YESTERDAY it’s happened and you can’t do anything to change it, but you can do something to change TODAY and that’s what you have started to do going to the job Centre. Keep it up, you can do it!!!.

Should you avoid new social contacts to avoid the shame?. I don’t think so. You’re not a criminal on the run or something. You’re just a guy that took a wrong decision but is working actively to get his life right.

It seems you really want to go out and meet new people, why not doing so?. If you stay at home you’ll be safe from questions/comments, but you’ll probably feel frustrated and isolated. Isolation leads to depression, which won’t do much for your mood. You’re working hard to improve your situation right?, so you need to be in a good mood.

The feelings of shame are similar to the feelings of fear. They can paralyze you if you let them take control of you. There are things that we need to do because they get us to places, and we can’t stop doing them because of fear or shame. One of these things is to keep having a social life and meet new people. You don’t know if the next person you’ll meet could be a potential friend, love interest, or even a possible employer/ contact to get a job.

Whenever you feel like you’re invaded by shame, perhaps you could try saying to yourself: “What I did or do with my life is no one’s business but mine. I’m working hard to improve my situation and take good decisions, so I have the right to be here and I’m gonna keep staying here in the party/ knowing people/dancing/ and so on”.

On the other hand, getting to know people requires to engage in a conversations, and conversations are made by a simple dynamic: One asks a question and the other answers. That’s the way they get information about each other, unless one of them starts talking about themselves on their own iniciative. One of the most frequent and almost mandatory/unavoidable questions is: What do you do for a living?. Where are you working now?, and so on. Why?. Cause work is an element of identity which gives much information about a person. Therefore there’s no way you could escape from it. People is gonna ask sooner or later. Now, what can you do?.

You can always say: “I’m a mechanic engineer/graphic designer/Spanish teacher/M.d. currently searching for a job”. How about you?.

If you see, you’re answering the question without giving details about your situation. People doesn’t need to know that you haven’t worked, nor the reasons for haven’t done it.

Two things can happen: 1) the other person can ask you more details about your unemployment situation or 2) they can start talking about themselves. In the first case you can a) encourage them to talk about themselves (Example: I don’t want to bore you with the details, tell me about you?) or b) Decide if you explain that you have no laboral experience and the reasons about it or if you give general answers (Lying a bit) to justify your situation (Something as simple as “I finished college but never practiced cause I worked in another thing, maybe with a relative or something). In case 2) you can just listen to them and even to encourage them to keep talking about themselves, people love to do that. If needed you can even try changing the subject. There are ways to let people know indirectly you don’t want to keep talking about yourself/laboral situation:

Enough talking about me, tell me about you…
Maybe we can talk about it some other time, how about we go to dance…
I’d prefer to let the job topic for another time, how about you tell me about (any topic, music, fashion, how did they know the party’s host).

Lying is not good, but neither is to give people you barely know detailed explanations about your life. Sometimes people ask you about certain aspects because they are just trying to keep up the conversation, but there are also some other people that are very rude, foolhardy and inconsiderate, that out of morbosity, surprise or curiosity won’t hesitate to ask you for details, make uncomfortable expressions (How come!!!!, so many years???) or even scold you. All they need to know is that you’re searching for a job. If after you have gotten to know them you decided they are to be trusted, then you can tell the truth and explain your reasons.

With respect people and potential boyfriends hating you for not having a work, its best not to generalize. Lack of a job could be due for some reasons: the economic situation, the more demanding requirements to get a job, the offer is higher than the demand in the job market, and so on. No one has a perfect life, and if everyone were eager to judge/reject a person just because a wrong decision or an aspect in his life that could be improved, then everyone would be alone and isolated in their houses.

Think that in spite that could have happened you’ve started to do something for yourself and that’s very good. Focus on making things happen, keep working hard to reincorporate yourself to the laboral market and give yourself the chance to have some fun and meet new people.

I wish you the best and hope you’ll have a great time at the party!.

Greetings,

RainV
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#4
First of all the more you hide yourself away the more cut off and depressed you will become , you have to keep putting yourself out there. You being out of work is nothing to be ashamed off if you are actively seeking employment , and meeting and spending time with people may help your situation as people you meet may be able help you in gaining employment.

As for a boyfriend hopefully that will happen for you in time , and any guy that dismisses you just because you are finding it hard to get a job is not worth your time.
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#5
Someone at that party might be able to point you in the direction you need...

Them .."So...What do you do for a living?"

You : "I have a degree in X but I am currently not employed and looking for a job"..
You smile.. then you add.. "Do you know of anything? "

Or another option ...
Turn the question around. .

"I have a degree in X but I am currently not employed and looking for a job".."What do you do?"

^^^
People love talking about themselves. . If you practice the "What about you? " line..
You'll probably get away with very little chatting on your part.

Hopefully you're a great listener. .lol
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#6
Anonymous Wrote:...
Tonight I'm supposed to go out with my friends. I just want to meet people. But I am always afraid of the job question. I'm not lazy sitting in front of the TV all day and drink piles of beer or so. I do a lot of things. I just don't work... and so I have big issues with always finding a reply that's neither making me an arrogant asshole, nor making me seem like a lazy depressed alcoholic. ...
You haven't said what you actually do. I have friends who are independently wealthy and don't work for a living. One of them is the direct of the west coast devision of a national non-profit. The other just travels and paints for leisure. Neither of them have any issues socializing, I assure you.

So what DO you do? Do you want to work? I can assure you, if I didn't HAVE to work I wouldn't... and I actually like my job (most people don't, or so it seems). I'd much rather just be doing whatever the fuck I wanted to do.

People ask this question "what do you do" for a variety of reasons. Mostly it is just to make conversation because they don't know you and don't know what else to talk about. It isn't so much that they CARE (in the sense of will have a strong judgement about you) whether you are employed or not. THAT might only become important if there were some relationship developing... and just meeting someone... you're many miles away from that prospect.

So... For you it is a problem. But that problem probably looms far greater in your imagination than it does in other people's heads.
.
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#7
You haven't worked for 8 years because you got fired from a two week job and make your family support you?

Go get a job. Any job. Flip burgers at McDonald's. If you're fired get another job.

Jobs are often less work and more rewarding than relationships.
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#8
you need confidence. Not a job.
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#9
Suggestions above are good for dealing with conversation. People usually do not want to know details. They are more interested in getting a conversation going. I used to just say that I was a purchasing agent for a non-profit organization. They were then happy to talk about anything at all. It is very important to ask them for information. Get them to talk and then react.

"purchasing agent for a non-profit organization..." How about you?
I go to school and do volunteer work at the SPCA.
Which school?
Dumdum Tech.
Ah! What's you major?
Bean Counting.
That's neat.
You liking the music?........

Both your search for a job and your need to be less shy could benefit from some volunteer work. Hospitals, churches, libraries, non-profits...whatever. It can get you involved without a lot of pressure.

You could even start by posting here under your nickname or a made up name and not being "anonymous." People here will understand. Just give us a chance.
I bid NO Trump!
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#10
Alright, I'm following the latest suggestion and come out of the closet - this is my thread, this is me.

Actually, after nights like the last one, everything about this became so unimportant.
I went out with my friends because it was the last time before one of us moves away to Australia, but my thoughts all were in Paris, and well.. this topic became so unimportant in the meantime.

Anyway.. I try to get back to the topic.. thanks for all of your replies, especially to [MENTION=23182]RainV[/MENTION] for your long great post.

I agree that it would be wrong to stop socializing. It's a radical thought that I get every now and then, out of despair. But it would just make me stuck in a vicious circle, that's for sure, so I have to go out and keep the mood up indeed.

So you asked what I'm doing if I'm not working. I'm making music, I'm playing in a band again, being there for my old parents when they need me, going to the gym, keeping my place clean and tidy, and fixing my life.
But that's not how things should stay like. I will continue to find me a job, or whatever that gives me at least some perspective and/or money.

The thing is that my shame is also always connected to - I admit - my jealousy. As you say, society considers work as an important part of our identity. By listening to someone else about their job, I happen to shrink even more along the talk, if that makes sense. If it's our identity, then he/she's something, maybe something big, and well, I'm nothing. I know that jealousy can blind me, I know that noone's life is perfect, but at that most early phase of a social relationship, when it's about gaining first informations about your opposite, it's like I feel people look down upon me, especially if they have a good job and/or work hard. I don't want to have that "loser" identity on the first meet.

I feel really unwell with lying, it's one of the main reasons why I had issues with my last job (I had to lie in it, which led into troubles that made me unstable, in consequence I got fired). Not a good idea.
I'd rather politely try to change the topic.. if that's not offensive, after telling them "I studied this / now looking for a new job / btw I'm a musician / how about you?"

Then, sure, he will talk about his job.
[MENTION=20947]MikeW[/MENTION] - yeah, honestly, I don't care about what whoever is working, I judge people by other standards. I don't give a shit what my friends do for a living, for example, they'd still be the same persons in (mostly) whatever other job. That's why I don't get how it's considered so much identity-establishing by some people, if that makes sense. I'd listen to him and then politely change the topic.

I agree I need confidence, and I have to learn to "allow" myself to have exactly that. Often it feels like I have to abide by what I think society thinks of me. I have to allow myself to be confident no matter what. I just don't know how really, but playing with my band will help me with that I'm sure, and I'll take a look into some volunteer work or smaller jobs.

So back to last night, I didn't meet anyone asking that question, but it will happen eventually, and if I want to meet people, I have to want it to happen as a consequence. I just feel so small at the thought of it.
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