My husband is the breadwinner and so goddamn supportive that he hasn’t once made any snide comments about my unemployment, and when I ask him if I should just try something else, his kindness is a straightjacket that forces him to say little besides, “Whatever you want to do, I’ll support your decision.” But I’m the one who handles the bills and I can tell you this much: we can’t go on any longer just wishing and hoping for a dream job to land in my lap. The cherry on the shit sundae is that I’ve spent the past few months crying every day and counting regrets that go back a decade. I literally have no friends in LA, no support system, and no one to lend a sympathetic ear beyond my husband.
I’m 30, have a worthless BA in social sciences, a film school degree, and almost no “grown-up” work experience. Fuck, I don’t even know how Excel works. Do I keep pressing on? Get another degree in something that might actually yield a legit job? Have an unwanted rugrat I’ll resent just so I have something to do and prove to the world that I’m useful in some capacity? Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope.
I know you probably already know this, but your situation is not uncommon. A lot of my advice is going to be taken from my own experience so, you know, grain of salt and do what feels right for yu and all that. But I am in a similar situation right now. I sometimes regret my career choice (and yes go back to: well what if such and such hadn’t happened in 2001, would things be better now?? Don’t matter. Can’t change it), I’m saddled with a substantial student loan debt for a degree I’m not using, and I don’t know if I should go back to school, suck it up and do a job I want or yes, even have a baby we’re not prepared for just so I have something to do.
First off: Going back to school. I have considered this myself, but since very few people have the means to pay for college or grad school out of pocket, this means saddling yourself with tens of thousands of (additional) dollars in student loan debt with still no guarantee that you’ll find work or end up doing what you want. Unless going back to school is part of your dream or you feel confident that you’re making the right choice, I’d say no. But! If you live near a community college they always have classes on how to learn office skills like Excel and they’re usually pretty affordable. If you can afford to sign up for one or two classes, that might be worth it. Then you would be qualified for a larger number of temp jobs and could possibly get a temp job that helps with the bills a little more. The other benefits of signing up for a class are that you can network a little or maybe make a friend who is in a similar situation. One of the worst parts of unemployment is the isolation, getting out and meeting people can go a long ways.
You graduated film school at an exceptionally unfortunate time to be entering the workforce. If this were a time when the economy didn’t blow I might say that you should rethink what you’re doing if you’re not getting work. But no one is getting work. I don’t know how the film world works, but I’m assuming it’s not really booming either. We probably won’t be in a recession forever….right? RIGHT?!?! So it has to get better and something will come along.
In conclusion, try to get some skills to get some steadier work. I think it will go a long ways towards relieving your stress and loneliness. Network, reach out to those teachers who thought you had so much promise, if you haven’t already. Don’t give up on your dreams just yet! Good luck!
That’s it for today’s STFU Jezzies. Do you have any more tips for this reader? Put ’em in the comments! And remember to submit your life questions to Ask STFU Jezzies. See you next week!