33 Years Old and Nothing to Show for It
Here’s a painful note from one of my podcast listeners:
“Dan, I am 33 years old and have nothing to show for it. Nine years after college, I have no job, no career. Just a couple of useless degrees . I studied fashion design, then graphic design. I’ve had around 5 jobs in that time, lasting 6 months each. All the jobs I’ve had have been crappy, and all the people in all of them were hateful and toxic. I’m starting to think the typical workplace isn’t for me. In graphic design, they won’t hire anyone who has less than 3 years experience. It’s a Catch 22. All the doors seem shut for me. I still don’t even know if I have any talent. I’m starting to doubt my self-worth. I’ve read your books, but nothing has clicked yet. I really can’t seem to get a job? Not even a crappy job, what do I do? Please Dan, help me.” Mary
Mary – fortunately, I can help you – and you don’t have to go back to school or get another degree. Let’s take a quick look at your description:
“I’ve had around 5 jobs in that time lasting 6 months each. All the jobs I’ve had have been crappy and all the people in all of them were hateful and toxic.”
That means you’ve been in a lot of different environments, giving you a pretty broad overview of the workplace. So let’s just narrow down to the common denominator in all of this – You.
You can’t control the environment but you certainly can control You. Happiness and contentment are very much an inner game – not just a result of circumstances. If your happiness depends on the circumstances around you, you are always very vulnerable.
Here are some suggestions that will immediately change your work success:
- Become a person people want on their team.
- Be a happy, enthusiastic person.
- Smile readily, compliment other people on their work.
- Ask people about their interests and then listen intently.
- The quality of your work will improve and other companies will be recruiting you.
Ultimately you have to be able to produce work that has value. And whether you do that as an employee, a free-lancer, or by standing on the street doing caricatures is not important. The key is that you are able to produce something that people will pay for. And keep in mind, whatever your work title, people do business with people they know, like and trust.