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BOOKTHIEF profile image
Work advice Hello everyone. I am new here, literally signed up a few minutes ago. I was busy browsing other websites looking for solutions to my problem and reaching a dead-end. I am not sure if my problem is the usual kind or if it's even allowed. But it's a problem and I'm a person, so I guess it qualifies.

As the title suggests, I am stuck in a space where I can not seem to move forward and every time I take a leap I end up back where I started. I would obviously benefit from specific advice, but any general tips and understanding would boost my will to live.
I am a university graduate with an Honours Degree. I had to fight hard against all odds to even make it this far. So to be here now, jobless, obsolete and a complete burden is tearing me apart. I graduated a year ago, so COVID is not really to blame for my situation. I made a heartbreaking decision to leave home for better prospects as I used to live in a small town with "NO FUTURE" painted across the horizon. The better part of this year I spent my time sleeping in a distant relative's spare bedroom with my boyfriend, equally excited and frightened for this new beginning. I got a job through my boyfriend's family. It wasn't in my field, but I am not the type of person to turn away opportunities and I was very willing and able to work myself up from nothing - I've had a whole life's experience with it.

I started the job in January. I should indicate here that this was my first official job with a salary and everything. I've done some freelance work (small town) but nothing like this before. I'm older than the usual fresh meat since I've spend four years studying, and a few years of doing nothing due to not having money. But what I lack in experience I make up for in hard work. I went above and beyond. I took pride in my work. And yet it all went downhill anyway. As life does.

Things happened, pretty much within the first few days, but it escalated in the following months. Suffice it to say my new boss wanted more from me than I was willing to give and I have a very strong dislike for these type of situations. My mother went through the exact same thing, and I am more self-aware than most people I guess. Note that it's never the targeted person's fault - this type of behaviour is sickening. The point I'm trying to make is that I tried to make it clear how I feel in a polite, professional manner with some room for forgiveness if I was misinterpreting the obvious advances. That made it worse. The whole executive board would call me in to tell me - I kid you not - that I must be nicer to this gross manifestation of arrogance. I tried to stick it out. I really really tried. But my mental health was suffering greatly and I found myself no longer looking forward to the day and instead dreading it so much that I couldn't sleep. The last straw was me getting yelled at in a meeting in front of the whole company about MY attitude. I still wasn't fired, but you best believe I sent in my resignation the following day.

The few weeks afterwards was hell. I realised, like most experienced workers will tell you, that your co-workers are not your friends. They care more about their jobs than you. Fair enough. I would get over it. But because I got that job through family, I occasionally have to see this monster every time I visit other people. He's absolutely a pathetic human being and I know he's not a threat to me (he's arrogant, but spineless) but my body goes into full panic-mode when I see him. My soul wants to crawl outside of my body to create as much distance between us as possible. It doesn't help that this slimy thing will use my name in every sentence, whether it makes sense for the context or not. It makes me want to vomit.

I am rambling now, but the point I am trying to make is that this experience has crippled my confidence. I've made it through a lot of bad things in my life, but this for some reason is tearing me down. When I quit it was March, so my country went into lockdown a few weeks afterwards. I continued to look for other work, thinking it would be easier to find work since I now had some experience rather than none.

It is now November and I am still unemployed. I went to a total of one interview and I didn't even get a rejection email, just silence after I contacted them. Every other application has either been a scam where they ask for you to fax things, or it has been straight up rejection. These statistics are baffling to me. Even during a time of a pandemic like now, I CAN NOT believe this is happening to me. So it must be me. My type of qualification is the kind that only benefits you when you get your Masters Degree. I can't move forward without money and experience and I can't find a job for the life of me. I am not even aiming high.
In my last interview they reached out to me because my profile matched what they were looking for, but in the interview I got asked why I'm there if I have an Honours Degree. My alma mater university is not responding to my emails, likely due to the pandemic. I've looked for internships. I just reach a dead-end everywhere I go.

Like I said I could benefit from specific advice, but I'm here for some advice on life. I am sure there are a lot of people who have had similar problems due to COVID, and my heart goes out to everyone. I need some help here on how to deal with this emotionally. I am depressed. I am getting old and the image that paints of me is one that keeps me up at night. I am 25 now. No longer young enough to be considered "entry-level" but not qualified/experienced enough to be considered for more advanced work. Nobody wants me. That hurts to even write, because I consider myself to be an asset, because I work hard and I try my absolute best to learn and adapt. More over the family I left in the small town is suffering financially and I guess I was sort of their last hope. It kills me really. And I can't discuss this with the people around me because they see it as me making excuses. I don't really know what I'm asking for here. I just needed to talk about it. I am slowly losing my will to live and that's not what I want. I just want a shot at a normal life, a life most people just sort of fall into.

Thank you for reading this far. It's a bit long. Mostly unedited. I know I will appreciate any feedback. Hope you all have a good day.


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Hey Bookthief,

I guess I'm actually a good help for you since I was in the same situation not long ago. Not just me but my friends as well.

First of all, there are a lot of things hapenning all at once and that's ok. That's life and this is usual. Something that isn't usual is that this type of things shouldn't bring you dawn or corner you to a point of no return.

What happened to you in your first job is usual, it happens to a lot of us. We get a job, people aren't what you expect them to be and things like that are horrible, because sometimes you don't even know how to react to them. But whatever happened it's in the past now. It's gone. I get that you hate this person because of what he did to you but getting panic attacks that's just no. And I think it's something that has to be dealt with. This time it's for this reason, and the next time it will be for another one. I really think that you should go to a counselour and talk about this and anything you want. They are there to help you and guide you.

I decided to take just the normal degree, but some of friends pursued masters and even docs. Some just had part-time jobs so they could fit in classes and work for some bucks. But noone of us found work fast. Like seriously. It isn't easy to find a well paying job these days, and these things take time.
This pandemic made some things collapse and unfortunatly some jobs too.

I get that everything is making you feel hopeless but the last thing you want right now is despair. Just keep waiting for the university to answer you emails and keep searching even if you had to move to another town.
Just don't stop looking and eventually you will find something.
You are still young and these things are absolutely normal.

I really believe that pursuing a masters is the way to go, since it's a way to get an easy stable job. Can't you run for a scholarship with your grades? I took my master basically for free with a scholarship. It was very stressful but I managed.


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I know my english sucks.

I meant that my course included a master degree, and my friends had to take another master separated from the original course.


BOOKTHIEF profile image
Hello BLUEBIRD11, thank you so much for your response. Your English is perfect.
I don't know if this will be me replying to you directly (still getting used to this website).

Unfortunately for the counsellor part, I don't have money for that. I don't have medical insurance either. I do get what you are saying though, and maybe I know this myself. I need to move on from this first experience. I guess it's getting me down more than it should just because it's the only experience to reflect on at this point.

My course is one that has the Masters separate since there is a strict selection process. I actually got a bursary for my Honours - I was really fortunate. I don't think that I will get one now, since it's already a competitive field. Moreover the course requires "experience" with reference letters and everything. It is also a full-time two year course with one year community service and one year internship. I have to be available 24/7. So realistically it will have to be 2 year of study without income/or part-time income if I am lucky.

I have been taking online free courses to try and expand on what I know and learn skills that I'm not particularly interested in. For example a lot of the jobs that I see are asking for bookkeeping capabilities and not necessarily qualifications. But sending out my CV just causes confusion I guess. "Why are they applying for this job when it's not in their field?" I imagine they think to themselves. It must look like I don't know what I want and that I have no direction. I have tried leaving out my qualification or keeping it vague to see if it helps, but no fish are biting.

I've even considered writing a book or short stories. As my username suggests I am passionate about books and stories, although it's not what I studied to become. I wouldn't know where to start really.

I do understand that I have to stop bringing myself down with these negative thoughts, it's just that I find them creeping up on me during quiet times and at night when I can't sleep. I also have external factors that are generating a lot of stress for me. I can't ask anyone I know or family simply because most of them don't care. They have carved out their own lives and are generally of the mind that I mean to rob them of their happiness when I ask for simple advice. I am the only one in my household that pursued higher education so there is really no one to ask for advice.

I really do appreciate your reply and for not judging me. I know that getting out of this rut will depend entirely on myself and I need to put in a little more effort into searching for solutions and keep a positive outlook. Thank you for letting me know that these things are normal, because I was beginning to feel like there was something wrong with me.

I hope you have a good day.


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Yes unfortunatly in your case there's no way for you to go to a counselour without any money. But it's something to consider even later in life when everything gets more stable.

So if you need to acquire this "experience" first there's only one way to get it. You can search and apply for scholarships that only require a degree, contact a professor that you know that is working on something or try to find someone that fits you into a project. If it's a full time course we really need to think about getting a scholarship. If all that fails the only way is to ask for a loan.

My friend got a scholarship to the masters and then another to the doc trought the help of a professor that was working on a project and decided to include in. He still had to apply and run for the positions like everybody else but it's an easy way to get money for your studies.

Don't give up just now. I know it's a lot of work to get the reference letters but sometimes is easier than you think. Try to think about someone that could help you in this.

But it's also not uncommon to not work in the field. All of us worked part-time jobs that weren't related to our course.

It's totally normal. Obviously you have been through a hard time. Your brain isn't made of steel. Lets take a deep breath and try to find a way to deal with this.


BOOKTHIEF profile image

Thank you for these recommendations, these are not avenues I've thought of exploring before. I do not know of any professors, but I have a general idea of companies I could approach. I have been working on a shortlist of organisations that offer internships. I think that will be my best bet for now. I haven't had much luck in the past getting anyone to answer phones/reply to my emails. But it's worth another shot. If all else fails I will try to physically go to these offices to enquire about internships/projects, now that we are allowed to leave our houses.

It's definitely my dream to get my Masters. I've just never really thought that it would be possible. I might have a better chance in the coming year to find projects to join as the campuses are closed off and most of the staff are not working save for online classes. Most projects start on a 6/12 month rotation anyway. I will really push this month to get myself out there as much as possible. Even unpaid internships are fine with me. I am already struggling, I can make it another 6 months.

Thank you again for helping me focus on the steps that I need to follow. I know these things should seem obvious to someone like me, but this is the type of stuff that I had no idea could be a possible solution simply because no one told me or I neglected to ask.


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Just to try to help you how we acquired recommendations, but we are probably talking about different fields.

I talked to my teacher of celular biology that was working on the effects of a disease in the celular level, a project for veterinary medicine. I worked like 6 months at the lab and at the same time I worked at another lab just testing some samples for roundworms to earn some money. Both of them wrote recomendations.

My friend talked with his teacher of plant physiology. Another one got a research project on genetics, with our genetics teacher.

It's really crucial for you to form a network of people that you can relly on if you want to pursue further education.

Sometimes if you remember a teacher that you get well with you can always try to email them. Some of them are always in need for an extra pair of hands, since most of the students aren't interested in research.

So don't despair and good luck :)


BOOKTHIEF profile image
My field is Psychology. I did a mix of on-campus studies and open-distance learning. I did myself in with the latter because I lack connections and the bonds I formed while on campus withered over time. I didn't have a choice as I lived quite far away from the university and it was my only option at the time. I do get how important connections are though. I am trying to remember if there was anyone that can help me, but I hardly had to rely on any of the faculty back then. I've contacted another university to find out if they can point me in the right direction.

Just a little side note: Biology, especially at cellular level, is really cool! I've always thought that if I didn't go into Psychology I would definitely have tried something like Genetics. This is partly why I considered Research Psychology when I first started. Thought working in a lab situation would be fascinating and super scientific haha.

Anyways, I live very close to a whole bunch of universities and this gives me hope now that I can find at least one person who will give me shot. I will probably update my progress, if only to give advice to others who might find this.

I wish you luck and prosperity as well (Y) (A)

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