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Forums / Young people / Worry about future career prospects

Topic: Worry about future career prospects

12 posts, 0 answered
  1. Nub
    Nub avatar
    5 posts
    4 August 2020

    Hi all,

    I'm 20 and in my penultimate year of university. I am panicking intensely about my future career prospects since I would be graduating with two degrees in an ultimately useless fields since I don't have any skills or abilities that employers are looking for. I’ve never had a part time job in my life (was originally planning to get one this year, but COVID and moving back home has altered my plans and mental health significantly), and I’m honestly just been feeling defeated and anxious at home.

    The career I want to go into (museum work) is intensely competitive and rarely has any positions open. While I have volunteered at both galleries and museums for a little over a year I feel like it’s not enough and I don’t know if this would ever lead to full-time (or even part-time) employment. I’m honestly already feeling defeated before I begin.

    These thoughts been significantly distracting me from my studies, and the fact that my parents remain supportive of me studying my degree makes me feel even more guilty. Since I have no marketable skills and abilities, I feel like a failure who doesn’t deserve the privileges I’ve had. I constantly compare myself to other people my age even when I know that it’s unhealthy and pointless. I need to focus on the ‘now’ rather than anything else, but these thoughts run me in circles and it makes me anxious.

    I’ve tried to spin my thoughts into being productive, with a ’Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,’ attitude by arranging a meeting with my university careers counsellor and by considering getting a few business/finance certificates from TAFE for the ‘hard’ skills, but I honestly still feel useless. I know that this stuff takes time, but I keep on returning to these thoughts and I feel like my brain is racing away from my body so all that happens is that I feel numb and distracted.

    I truly love my studies and degree (strongly considering postgraduate study - even if i do constantly stress about my grades), but I can’t help but feel like it’s completely and utterly useless in todays’ competitive job market where I can’t compete with post-graduates and active professionals with experience.

    Apologies if this isn’t in the correct thread, but thank you for reading.

  2. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6133 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to Nub

    Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums Nub, 

    We're sorry to hear how anxious you've been feeling lately. We understand it can be really tricky not to compare ourselves to others or to second-guess our career choices but from your post, it sounds like you're a hard-working and motivated person. Far from useless! and if you've enjoyed the relevant study and volunteer work, it's likely that you're on the right track to a fulfilling career. It might be worth doing some research into the occupations previous graduates of your degree now work in (if you haven't done so already). You might be surprised at where your degree can take you.

    If you feel it might be useful, we'd also recommend reaching out to our Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. The website will be regularly updated with information, advice and strategies to help you manage your wellbeing and mental health during this time. You can also call our dedicated support line, staffed by mental health professionals, which is available 24/7 on 1800 512 348.      

    We hope that you keep checking in to let us know how you're going, whenever you feel up to it. 

  3. P0L0
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    P0L0 avatar
    74 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to Nub

    Hi Nub,

    Welcome to the forums and congratulations for reaching out for help.

    It is totally normal to be feeling anxious about getting into the job market after uni. You have spent almost your whole life in school up until now and that change is big, but it is definitely not insurmountable. I am in my first year of uni currently. I struggled to get through some of my subjects in the first semester. I remember thinking that I would never be able to pass, but I did. The key is perseverance. So if you feel worried about job prospects in your desired field of work, persevere.

    It is also very normal for many university graduates to apply to a multitude of different workplaces to no avail, until they manage to find one that is hiring the kind of person you are. You just need to find that one business. Have faith in yourself. You are only as strong as your mindset.

    So persevere and you can get through this!


    1 person found this helpful
  4. M99
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    M99 avatar
    51 posts
    4 August 2020 in reply to Nub

    Hi Nub,

    Sounds like your are understandably in a stress-inducing situation. I find that often around this age the prospect of future careers becomes more daunting and realistic as many young adults are no longer just studying but also finding post-graduate jobs. I understand how this can be an anxious time for you given the instability of COVID-19 paired with the competitiveness in your field of study and interest.

    I'm glad you have taken the initiative to widen your experience and have gotten involved with some volunteer work and even looked into further skills and studies. This is a great step forward, as you are not only dwelling in your emotions but also taking effective action towards a practical plan. This shows you have initiative and adaptability, I think these are key assets in the working environment and definitely would disagree that you don't have any marketable skills!

    However, I understand that when in a competitive field it is difficult to not compare yourselves to others and not to be over critical of your shortcomings. I am also 20 and like you I have also recently found myself in an anxious situation where I felt like my field was too competitive. However, upon further research I found there are multiple options and pathways to my desired course or desired career. I think having a "hope for the best, but prepare for the worst" mentality is good as it assures that you are well-equipped and prepared if plan A falls through, however I also think having a "where there is a will, there is a way" mentality is equally important as it assures you that no matter what you do, if you have the will and passion, there will always be a way to a fulfilling career or successful path.

    I find that many people can have a way and are doing essentially what they had planned, however I also find that a proportion of people also lack the will and passion in what they do. Therefore, I think rather than finding a way, it is the will that is most essential to guaranteeing you a fulfilling future. I think what you have done so far is great, definitely improving your qualifications, knowledge and resume building will help with future job prospects, however maintaining that beautiful passion of yours is just as important!

    It sounds as though you have supportive family and friends, don't let that make you feel guilty but allow yourself to feel grateful and use that strength to accomplish what you wish to do. I hope you are able to find your way and do what you love

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Nub
    Nub avatar
    5 posts
    5 August 2020

    Thank you all immensely for the kind replies, it's really uplifting to know I'm not entirely alone in this situation.

    I’m very grateful for all the support, and I do hope that further perseverance and examination into my career options pays off.

    However, it’s hard to remain hopeful when I feel like I’m stuck in life and not progressing through life - more so when the idea that I would never be ‘successful’ in life (which I understand cannot be measured) is something I have significant stress about.
    Hell, the idea of not being able to pursue my desired career path has been debilitating me for quite a bit, and the thought that I’d have to pursue ‘Plan B’ so late has made me extremely conflicted. I think I’m just kicking myself for not planning my degree better.

    I understand that a lot of these thoughts aren’t very productive, so instead, I have this question to pose:

    How do other people avoid feeling ‘trapped’ by thoughts about the future? It’s been distracting me from the present quite a bit and I’m rather tired of feeling stressed and exhausted from the moment I wake up.

  6. leesy_lou
    Student Mentor
    • Masters of Psychology student on placement
    leesy_lou avatar
    60 posts
    11 August 2020 in reply to Nub

    Hi Nub,

    Read your post I just want to say thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and feeling on this subject. Like M19 and POLO have mentioned its completely normal to be stressing about your career and future at this point it your life, its extremely common in your 20's. As a 27 year old I'd like to warmly welcome you to the club of "freaking out about your future and stressing about getting it together". As I'm a little further down the road, and yet to secure my own personal dream job, I want to assure you that it does get easy, and you will become more comfortable with the unknown.

    What really strikes me is your sense of not being good enough for the job you so clearly want and likely deserve. You sound interested and quite passionate, and for future employees there are admirable qualities in a worker. Its not ALL about your qualifications I assure you. Completing working experience is a great addition to your CV. I'm certain that this is something employees also look for, and in terms of "competitive", something others don't have. Also a great opportunity to form networks. Don't give up on your day dream, how you feel now is not s reflect of reality. You're doubts to not equal your ability, and everyone in that job started off just like you! Thinking in this way makes me feel up for a fighting chance, untrapped me from my inner critic. If they can do it, why cant you?

    Practically it sounds like you are doing all you can at the moment to feel more at ease about the future, and now it's more about trying to trust the process. I've found walking in nature and mindfulness helps. Tell me, what distressed you?

    You've got this <3

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Lauren57r
    Lauren57r avatar
    37 posts
    11 August 2020 in reply to leesy_lou
    Hi Nub
    I am in a very similar situation
    And also stuck with no future prospects

    However have you taken yourself away from it all and done something you love?
    For example I usually go and sit somewhere completely away from everything with either a book or just focus on something natural

    And its completely normal to have those thoughts but remember your doing this because you love doing it and keep your head held high

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Nub
    Nub avatar
    5 posts
    16 August 2020 in reply to Lauren57r

    Hi Lauren57r and leesy_lou,

    Thank you both for the kind words, good to know that this isn't an issue I'm facing alone. leesy_lou, that's a great point you made about remembering that other people were in a situation similiar to mine starting out as well! To give some background, I supposed what distressed me into this though process was a side comment from my professor during a lecture - just something along the lines of, 'don't expect a stable career in this field' which is fair and something that I knew beforehand. However, just the fact that that idea was confirmed basically sent me into a panic that I've only recently begun to pull myself out off.

    For now, mindfulness+ breathing exercises are helping me and I've been able to focus on current assignments which is nice - but it's still irritating to get constantly distracted from work to return back too the issue. Playing with my dog helps, but then I return to that sinking feeling of not being productive hahahha. It might be something to work out myself for a while.

    Thank you all again!

  9. leesy_lou
    Student Mentor
    • Masters of Psychology student on placement
    leesy_lou avatar
    60 posts
    19 August 2020 in reply to Nub

    Hey nub,

    I'm glad you found that helpful to hear, and that you have felt a little comfort in knowing you aren't alone in these feelings. I wish it made them float away but I guess its all apart of the human experience which is good and bad.

    Sounds like what your lecture said altered your perception of the field a bit and sounds like it put a spotlight on the aspects of the job that are not so ideal, that does sounds overwhelming to think the road might not be easy when you complete uni. As a feel uni student, and talking to others uni is pretty hard already at the moment so having the added stress of the possibility of an unable career is confronting for sure. But it is just that, a possibility.

    I was listening to a tedTALK yesterday afternoon that sprung back into my mind when reading your post. It was about the desire to want our thoughts to just stop and about how emotions can be exhausting. I felt her explanation was so human and grounding - you might like it.

    Sounds like you are doing an amazing job navigating all the uncertainty at the moment, through mindfulness and playing with your dog. What kind of dog do you have?

    Speak soon <3

  10. Nub
    Nub avatar
    5 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to leesy_lou
    Hi leesy_lou,

    That's a really interesting TEDtalk, thank you so much for sharing! Susan David really puts it into words well, I feel like that idea of allowing yourself to experience emotions and understanding them is really important. I think that the sudden burst of anxiety and stress I felt at that time did make me move far faster and more actively into thinking about how I should plan for my future and what alternative options I have! The last part really resonated with me since I've had similiar fears when I was younger as well, and the idea of courage being 'fear walking' is really interesting.
    I think now it's all about just doing the best I can this semester and continue talking to my careers counsellers.

    As for my dog, he's a beagle! I've been going on daily walks with him and thats always been an enjoyable part of the day (even when he is being a bit silly and trying to eat things off the floor during those walks)!
  11. leesy_lou
    Student Mentor
    • Masters of Psychology student on placement
    leesy_lou avatar
    60 posts
    22 August 2020 in reply to Nub

    Hey Nub,

    Yes I agree, I loved the notion of "fear walking" for the notion of courage - pretty powerful. She was so eloquent and grounded, its clear she has lots of knowledge and personal experience. Speaking in that way is a skill I hope to one day master, bit for now I guess like you I need to be patience with the process .. haha

    Awwwww so cute - I love beagles, they are super adorable. Sounds like a lovely companion to have on your walks, I'm sure the cheekiness keeps you smiling for the most part. I have a boxer, so am a fellow cheeky dog owner!

    Sounds like you are feeling more comfortable being uncomfortable (if that makes sense), and that talking about it had help?

    1 person found this helpful
  12. Nub
    Nub avatar
    5 posts
    26 August 2020 in reply to leesy_lou

    Hi leesy_lou,

    Boxer!!! Wow!! Super cute! Love cheeky dogs hahaha, they really are such a delight to be around.

    Yes, been feeling better as of late and more comfortable with this uneasiness. I've also had a lot of discussion with the careers counseller and for now I think I'm slightly more comfortable with where I'm at in life. I've figured out my plans for the future and thought up a plan B, so for now I'm trying to develop more confidence with how I'm doing at the moment.

    Thank you for listening and responding!

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