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Education and Careers Work of any kind can get stressful at times. Ask in this forum if you need help with coursework, applications, and more.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Lorelei Offline
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Red face Change of Plans - June 19th 2012, 10:47 PM

This pertains to education, but also to anxiety. So feel free to move it if necessary.

I had plans to take two fairly intense classes this summer, starting yesterday. And the night before last I broke down crying. I realized that pushing myself in academics was safe, but it was making me into a GPA-zombie. I don't actually need to take the classes in the first place, I was just doing it to avoid feeling useless. So I dropped the classes, and resolved to get a job for the summer. My friends and my parents are really happy about it. Every one of them saw me break down from type-A stress this past year, and they're relieved that I'm taking a break.

But I just now realized that I spend a lot of time doing things that make me miserable, just to avoid doing things that scare me. I'm scared of not being able to measure myself by a letter grade. I'm scared of not being good enough at anything but academics. I'm scared of failing in the real world.

I am terrified of trying to get a job, maybe getting it, and then being bad at it. I've done volunteer work before, I've been in clubs and student governments, but I've never done paid work except for odd jobs. Not only have I changed plans at the last minute, but I've decided to go and do something that I feel I'm totally incompetent at.

If any of you have tips on how to cope with social anxiety and depression when looking for work, or just have general tips on what to do, please let me know. Thanks!


"How dare I? Because it is the truth." -Jane Eyre

"You do what you love, and f#%* the rest." -Little Miss Sunshine
   
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Re: Change of Plans - June 19th 2012, 11:39 PM

It sounds as if you are a perfectionist. You know you are good at school and volunteering. And I get that. But you have to remember that you need to develop a job skill set too. FINDING a job, especially when you are behind in the game and don't have a lot of (stellar) prior job experience or a completed higher education is the hardest. SO many people have trouble getting a job. I swear, actually GETTING the job is the hardest part. Of course, trying to stay remotely confident (or at least give off the image that this is how you feel) during training for a job can be stressful too, but people (managers or whatever) general expect a certain level of insecurity when a young person first starts working, so long you aren't totally messing up (which won't be as big an issue as you might think).

You should definitely start with making a resume. You should put on name, contact info, job experience, education, volunteer experience, certificates and then hobbies/interests. And in that order. Hobbies/interests are VERY optional and whether you put it on entirely depends what sort of job you are looking for (example: if you are applying to be a cashier or an accountant I don't think it matters, but if you are going to be working with kids, say at a summer camp, it can be very useful since sports you like and stuff might help, know what I mean?). You should try to think of things for skills, for example, I have down that i have strong interpersonal skills and listed a few of them because I apply for a lot of positions working with kids so that is something important for me to state, I also have that I speak/write/read fluent English, know American sign language and a basic level of written/spoken/read French (again, I do lots of stuff with kids, so my ability to use sign language is useful). Of course you have to tailor your resume to a job, but people our age understandably only have so much to work with, so just do your best there, you shouldn't go to overboard (like you don't need 10 points for your skills, try to limit it to 5 max, preferably 3-4)... And just skip jobs and go straight to education. You should also invest in a first aid and cpr course, it looks good, it will probably be legitimately useful in someway (I've had a few friends break a bone or knock teeth out or what ever) but yeah, I mostly did it just to make my resume look better but yeah....

You just have to remember to be patient. If you haven't had a job before, it might take a while longer to get a job. There is a quote that's something like "it's easier to get a job if you already have a job". Don't get bummed out if you can't find anything, and don't have unrealistic standards. You are 19 and have no higher education yet or monumental experience, you should not be above working at Dairy Queen or Tim Horton's at this point in your life. Next summer or the summer after when you can tell people that like "hey, guess what, I have worked here" your standards can increase, (expectations can increase with experience basically). You can always offer to babysit and stuff for people. And you should try at day cares too.
   
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Re: Change of Plans - June 20th 2012, 12:19 AM

Cool username, bumble bee! Thanks for helping me out.

I do need work experience and not just academics, which is one of the reasons I decided to work this summer. I have been scared of working because school feels like the only thing I'm good at. But that mentality needs to end.

Being around people always makes me anxious. I just usually hide it as well as I can and then feel exhausted later, so that's what I'll have to do for interviews. I try to listen as actively as possible because it helps to focus the conversation on the other people and not on my anxiety. Other times I'll make small talk or pay a compliment, again to focus on someone/something other than me. But it is hard to formulate sentences quickly, because I go over them a lot in my head before I say them. How could I help this in an interview? And what do I ask an interviewer when it's my turn to talk?

I am definitely not above working food service or janitorial or anything. This will be my first paid job and I know it'll probably be minimum wage. The problem is that I really feel as if the minimum wage job would be too good for me. Like I'll mess up mopping a floor, or directing a customer to the right place, or making an ice cream cone, and that means I don't deserve a job. *headdesk* Again, it's probably an irrational fear, so I'll just have to deal with it until I can attack the problem.

Thanks again for responding and being so helpful! Any other recommendations would be appreciated.


"How dare I? Because it is the truth." -Jane Eyre

"You do what you love, and f#%* the rest." -Little Miss Sunshine

Last edited by Lorelei; June 20th 2012 at 12:25 AM.
   
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Re: Change of Plans - June 20th 2012, 01:04 AM

Oh yeah, I've made jokes and stuff with interviewers, it doesn't just have to be a 20 minute long drill-fest. Though I've had an interview where it's like agghhhhhh stop grilling me. So you don't need to worry about relaxing a bit, if you get in an they start grilling you, well, there isn't much you can do, just try to think on your feet.

And you should definitely try to think of answers to questions. Like I've had people ask me like "why do you want to work at Tim Horton's?" "uh, well, because i love the food service industry and want to be able to make minimum wage or just above that for ever" yeah, I think questions like that are a bit hard, its like "well, again, i need the cash and i had to apply for jobs that i am actually currently qualified for and have time for, which, sadly, are limited, and this was on the list of places that will hire total blow holes and since I actually have a brain, I figured I have a chance to be a good contender"... So yeah, it's hard some times when people ask you stuff that you think is stupid, especially when you are like me and are insanely sarcastic (some say snarky, some may say it is being plain rude depending on circumstance).... Any how, more to the point, just google potential questions for job interviews, but it tends to be stuff like Why are you interested? What do you have to offer? What sort of hours can you work? What is your form of transportation? And so on... You, yourself, should definitely think of shifts you'd like to work (would you rather work monday to friday, weekends, morning afternoon night, etc. and ask about flexibility in hours (say, you decide in august you'd like to go to your cousins wedding in LA for a week, will that end the world, or will the accept that) of course, with a summer job, especially if you are being employed to fill an actual role, is a harder time to just prance away, places like mcdonalds are easier cause so many people work there it usually does not matter one bit if one low down employee leaves for a while, but if you are a camp counsellor or something where your not so replaceable, then you probably should commit to avoiding leaving town or falling "ill" (I quote "ill" cause a lot of people our age are "sick" when they are hung over, I have no idea what you do with your time) when you are supposed to be working. You should also ask about uniforms (I was asked in an interview at a fast food restaurant if I'd be ok wearing a uniform and mentally i was like Well, no, they are hideous and will make me look like a troll, but obviously i need a job bad enough i'm over looking that, like why the hell would i apply for a job at a place i have been to a thousand times KNOWING that the employees have to wear ugly uniforms if I thought I could be like no I'm planning to wear jeans while i serve customers, thanks for asking, like to me, that is a waste of a question, obviously i'm not going to say I don't want to wear the uniform, the only uniforms that are sexy are on soldiers, cops and paramedics and other such workers, everything else pales in comparison)... So yeah, just keep in mind that they ask odd or appealingly obvious stuff, and you can't just say what ever or be sarcastic about it (the fact everyone doesn't think I am horribly obnoxious is cause I don't let fly every sarcastic thought that occurs to me haha).
Just google resumes, and start looking around. You can PM me if you wanna talk more ok
   
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Re: Change of Plans - June 22nd 2012, 04:14 AM

There is a learning curve with every new job. Depending on your current skill set, personality, strengths, etc. it may take you longer than others to get the hang of things; however, you CAN figure it out! When I started working at my first paid job (a shoe store), I learned everything within a few days. When I started working at my second paid job (a pet boarding facility), I didn't really feel comfortable/confident in my abilities until I had been working there for over a month. I asked a LOT of questions - and at the end of the second day, I was seriously ready to quit. I stuck with it, though, and reminded myself that I was new and bound to make a few mistakes along the way. The important thing was that I asked questions when I was unsure, and that I quickly asked for help when I made a mistake. I ended up working there for over three years, and I trained many a "newbie" during that time.

Look, I'm not going to lie. Even if you get a college degree and apply for a job that's relevant to what you studied, there is STILL going to be a learning curve. You'll need to learn how the "system" works - how to file paperwork, what the procedures are, where everything is located, and so on. You're going to feel a little lost - maybe even REALLY lost - for the first couple of days, weeks, or maybe even the first month or two. This is NORMAL, so don't let it scare you away! Your all-knowing boss was in your position once, whether it was at that specific company or with a different company. I can guarantee it.

Think of this as an opportunity to grow exponentially. Having a job is so different from just going to classes. Depending on what kind of job you select, it can be very demanding, but also very rewarding. I like being able to DO something, vs. just sitting in class and absorbing information. Jobs are exciting, but again, don't let the initial "newbie" jitters get you down. Give yourself time, and you'll be surprised as to how quickly you get the hang of things. =)





   
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