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33-Year-Old Local Graduate Jobless For 2 Years And Feeling Lost

Hi Gilbert,

I read many articles at the website and was consoled by that fact that I am not the only who is troubled or feeling depressed by my  unemployment status.

But in many ways, I might be worse.

I am 33 year old male who has graduated from a local university years ago. Today marks 2 years of unemployment for me. In late 2008, I left my previous employment at a government agency to pursue personal interests and make an attempt at the business of day trading. That turned out to be a stupid mistake as the global economy was railing from the financial crisis then. It was until early this year that I began to seriously consider returning to the workforce. As you might have guessed, I was unsuccessful.

Along with my unemployment status, I have to grapple with a deeper psychological issue. I have also been a negative person and my self esteem had kept going south since my university days.

I have switched my university course due to poor discipline and the bad habit of seeking perfection in everything I do (leading to procrastination….). Because of the fear of losing out to my peers, I rushed into choosing my second course only because it took 3 years to complete instead of the normal 4 years required of other degree courses.

Problems began to compound when I couldn’t find a job after graduation. Eventually,  I did manage to find a job that brought me abroad. But I quitted  after a while and again sunk into a period of unemployment before landing a job with a government agency.

It was like starting from ground zero again because the new job was in a different field. All these years, I felt that I have wasted so much time in my life but the vicious cycle kept repeating itself. I just couldn’t seem to extricate myself from this rut. I kept avoiding the problem of finding what I want to do in life. Ego and fear of lagging behind my friends kept me from seeking help OR returning to college to try a different course because that means I would waste more years, lagging even further behind others.

What is redeeming in my current plight, though, is that I do not have many financial commitments as I am single and living with my aged parents. But sometimes I feel that I can’t take it anymore because I am ashamed of myself for still living with my parents at my age because I could not afford to buy my own property. I couldn’t even bear to tell them about my unemployment status. In fact I was ashamed to tell anyone about my plight. I have totally lost self-confidence in whatever I do now.

I am not sure how to move

forward. My career path so far has not been linear (fragments, rather) and looking inward, I can say that I don’t really like the previous jobs I have done nor am I good at them anyway.

I know that this can’t go on forever, so I’ll really appreciate any form of advice and counseling from you.


Ivan (not his real name)


Dear Ivan,

Thanks for your mail and I empathsize with your situation.

Unemployment is something that can mess up someone’s life and a prologned one can be devastating.

What you are feeling now is pretty normal as you can see from the many letters that I have posted on my site. People go through a whole range of emotions when they are jobless.

Try not to be too hard on yourself – we are entitled to feel lousy along the way as we are all human. We can’t always feel positive and buoyant.

Nevertheless, do what you can to lighten up and try to stay positive if possible – I know that it is not easy under the circumstances.

Its actually the best time to practise some of the positive stuff that you have read in motvational books and take it as an opportunity to build up your adversity quotient. There is never a better time.

You will appreciate this tough time  as its a hardening process whereby you only see the result later on.

When I ws jobless for 18 months druing 2000/2001, I was devastated and also suicidal until I made a decision to change my attitude towards my unemployment crisis.

I jogged thrice a week and now run marathons, read regularly,  write alot and seeked support from my friends. I realised all these activities took up alot of the free  time during the period that I was jobless and were very destressing. They were my life-savers!

By now, you realise that alot of the issues we face during joblessness are  emotional so if you can manage your negative emotions well, you can go a a long way.

I have look through your resume and found that you are ably qualified. I also saw that you have some overseas experience in China which is good.

Many young graduates have this problem of quitting midway through their career due to various issues.

I find that perhaps our young graduates tend to whittle under work pressure easily. This is just my personal opinion and don’t feel offended.

I will arrange a career coach cum counsellor to spend some time with you. Please give me a few days to arrange this.

Meanwhile, stay strong and take care. All this shall pass.

I also seek your permission to post your mail on my site so that we can all learn from one another.

I will not use your real name to protect your identity. Cheers!

Category: Payday loans

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