Can't find a job, feeling hopeless and depressed

First of all, let me say that I've had a history of depression and anxiety before and still do. I currently take 25mg for sertraline. And now this situation is making it worse.

So I've yet to find a stable full time job after graduating 8 months ago. I switched careers slightly right after graduating, I have a degree in B.A in geography with a 3.615 GPA but with no luck finding a job related to that field I switched my career path to horticulture, which is not all that different from each other. But anyways, so I got a position at a botanical garden as an intern and it was a 5 month program so I worked through all the 5 months. Then they asked me if I can still work there to sell tickets to visitors until the garden closes in November. I make $15/hr here so thats decent but its only temporary. So after November I won't have any job. Well there is one place I can go back to where I used to work but that company only pays minimum wage($8.38/hr). So basically I have no path to go. I've applied to tons of gardening/horticultural jobs but no luck. I've always loved nature. Which is why I took geography as my major so I could learn more about the environment but its only after college that I realized that my favorite aspect in nature is plants. They are so calming and relaxing and I thought this would be a good way to naturally deal with my anxiety and depression without having to deal with meds all my life.

When I see other people having stable jobs and incomes, it just makes me sick. Why does everyone else have a good job but not me? I've done so much. I have two relevant internship experiences, I also worked part-time for 2 and a half years, I worked hard in college and somehow was able to achieve a 3.165 GPA and graduated a semester early. I'm already 22 years old and out of college.. yet I feel like a loser still working part time. I'm also depressed because I have no special skills.. I suck at computers, I'm horrible at communicating and my interpersonal skills are so bad. I also forget a lot and terrible at following directions and have no common sense. You're probably thinking that I have no hope in life and that I should just give up right. Well thats ok, I know that as well. I would be ending my life if it wasn't for my caring girlfriend.

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12 Replies

  • Hi there sorry your feeling frustrated. But I think you have to face the fact that if you do Certain Degress in University , these Degrees afford less opportunity than other Degrees, it's the same as someone who does a Degree in Philosophy ? Now apart from going into Academia, there will not be lots of jobs on offer for Philosophers.

    You say you have no interpersonal skills and you suck at Computers etc and you can't follow instruction, I think you need to work at these skills as all these are essential in any job. Why have you no common sense. My advice is don't waste time worrying over jobs, but make a big effort to improve your skills which you mentioned are lacking. This should help you to improve Job prospects, but you may have to be more realistic and face the cold reality that it may not be possible to get a job in your chosen field, so you may have to take another type of job, and bide your time.


  • Thanks. I really do regret my major. I should have taken something more meaningful. Now I have no path to go and therefore pretty much doomed in my job career.. It really isn't that easy trying to fix my interpersonal skills and my communication skills when I didn't learn english until I was 4 and me being bilingual. I have terrible grammar skills and often do not know the right words to say when communicating. But I have improved slightly by working at all these places and interacting with people but I still do stutter and say things that people don't understand.

  • Firstly it is really difficult these days for even the best qualified to find work - I know graduates in similar positions to yourself - both my children and those of all my friends have struggled despite being graduates - so make sure you do not blame yourself but rather see yourself in a difficult situation which you have to find some way through. I think your comment about everyone else being in a stable job and having a good income is not true but that you notice such people and don't see the many who stay home hiding in their room because, like you, they are depressed about being unable to find a job. Put the idea of your situation being your fault where it belongs - in the bin!

    You did well to get the work with the horticulture company, so give yourself credit for that - you clearly have some skills or the job would have gone to someone else, there is no shortage of unemployed people, but in order to get out of the very difficult situation you are in you need to think laterally. There are no easy answers however for a bright graduate with no ties there are possibilities, though perhaps not ones you would want to consider or readily come across. You say the horticulture company want you to go back to work with them and although they only pay the minimum wage the minimum is better than no wage at all as money is necessary in order to keep yourself clean, well fed and clothed, and to seek alternatives when you are able to find them - you can't even get to an interview or make phone calls without money.

    Rather than seeking work I think you need to consider what you want to do with your life - which is a very different question from asking how you can find work.

    I see you are in the US and don't know whether you have any body similar to our National Trust but if so then you might approach them to see whether they use volunteers for some ongoing work such as maintaining gardens, or rivers, or countryside footpaths - getting to meet lots of people in the right little bit of the world is the first step and best way of finding out about any opportunities that exist. I assume you have no ties since you don't mention anyone else in your life but sound as though you are at the usual age for leaving Uni? You might consider going abroad to work unpaid, such as through VSO or teaching english in another country - my son did that and has been happily and successfully living in China ever since, now married to a Chinese woman and funded by the Chinese government for a PhD. You might consider doing a postgraduate qualification, either in your degree subject or in something off at a tangent from it, the minimum wage would help you to pay for further studies, even learning a foreign language that would give you the basis for moving abroad or for tutoring younger students in that language. You need to forget your degree if you are unable to find any use for it, but think of yourself as a graduate (ie intelligent person) who has the skills to stick to things (a degree) and succeed in them. You have demonstrated your level of intelligence but may need to study for further qualifications aimed at a career - for example community work, court work, business studies, art and design, catering... think widely. What have you ever enjoyed doing, what would you do in your dream world, do you want to continue to work outdoors or would you prefer to work inside, meeting people or working alone in research or paperwork. Not all jobs require computers though a lot do - for example you might enjoy photography and the minimum wage might help you to buy a camera and learn to take good photos then you might find you develop computer skills that feel relevant to your desire to alter photos. Think VERY widely. Geographers may not be in demand in the job market but there are many different kinds of interests that can bring in an income as well as satisfaction. Finding things you enjoy and are good at will help you to deal with depressed feelings, improve your self-esteem and life satisfaction and enable you to take advantage of opportunities that come along, things you have not even come across at this point in life since you are not in the 'world' where they are found.


  • Thanks. I still can receive financial support because I live with my dad still but he is complaining often that I graduated college and its not normal I don't have a job yet. And he is saying I should be paying for house bills along with him now that I am an adult. Which makes me want to rush finding a job or else I won't be able to live in this house for too long. Anyway, I won't be using my geography degree at all thats for sure. I'm completely into horticulture now and I want to be working outdoors all my life. I've worked at an office job for a month right after I graduated but I quit because the office work just wasn't for me and I made many many mistakes my boss was thinking of firing me. So I realized that indoor office jobs are not for me and I'm more suited outdoors. The abroad program sounds nice, in fact I was invited to do one of these programs while I was in college but I declined because I have social anxiety and do not like being far away from home especially for a long time. I am thinking of taking horticulture classes for a certificate but the next session will start in January and by that time I am almost 23 and that program will take roughly 1 year to complete which then I will be 24.. and then I will be 2 years late in finding a job and thats only IF I find a job after completing the classes. I want to find a job as soon as possible or else I feel like I'm too behind. I wasted two years of income. I really don't know what to do anymore. I have no special skills to excel at anything and on top of that my communication skills are horrible. Even if I do get hired, I have a feeling I won't last long like my previous office job. Sigh, I am starting to lose more and more hope. Starting to think of death but in a way that my family and girlfriend won't be saddened...

  • Oh it must be difficult for you to have your Dad expecting you to find work when it is clearly so very difficult in this time for even the best qualified of people. Perhaps your Dad needs to read your post and the replies you get so he can begin to understand how many graduates are out of work despite their best efforts. I was talking with a friend yesterday, her son has a degree in environmental sciences, hands on experience working in a prestigous project abroad and another year's experience but now he is still unemployed despite having applied for more than 50 jobs; he occasionally gets shortlisted and presents wonderfully but still he hasn't managed to get the jobs - there were 1100 applicants for the last job he applied for! Does your Dad really understands that it can be more difficult now to find work than it has been at any time since the depression in the early 1930s?

    So you do know that you are definitely suited to outdoor work... that's a start. You also have a qualification within that area which helps as it does not take you in a completely opposite direction. I think you really need to be extremely proactive and, as I said before, think very laterally. What about getting a job in a garden centre for the period leading up to Christmas, they usually need help - with Christmas trees, stocking up with the winter flowering indoor and outdoor plants, even stocking up shelves with toys, all better than sitting at home. You will be earning and showing your Dad the effort you are making. What about contacting every gardening firm, garden centre, tree surgeon, garden designer - within your locality and ask whether you could have a placement with them, that you will not require payment but are wanting to gain further experience and get to know other possible opportunities within outdoor work. What about joining the local park 'Friends' group so that at the very least you will be doing some outdoor work that will keep you occupied and gaining further experience. What about seeing whether any of the local charity groups such as Mind have an allotment for their service users, you could offer your time and again gain experience. What about taking on an allotment and in time informally selling your produce in a local farmers market or similar... You see I am thinking you need to follow up EVERY business that connects to the kind of work you might find enjoyable and interesting. It would not seem strange that you lack social skills - if you do lack them - as many gardeners like the solitary nature of the work for precisely that reason. What about offering your services as a gardener - advertise in the local shop windows, say you are starting out but keen and hardworking and with a relevant degree, charge a reduced rate - you would be helping people at the same time as doing something.


    PS The certificate course sounds like a good idea if it is something you think you might want to do - and as for your age, my own son is 32 and has still not established himself in a career, many of my friends' children are in a similar position - in fact the young people with degrees are struggling as much as those without many qualifications - the difference is that you have some proven abilities despite feeling you have not, and also you have the intelligence to think about your situation.

    In terms of what you said about thinking about death - I would ask your GP to refer you for some counselling to talk through why you feel so bad about yourself and blame yourself for things that are not your fault. Part of the reason will be your father's view that you 'should' be earning by now - perhaps he thinks you are being lazy and avoiding work in a way that his generation can't understand, or perhaps he doesn't understand how difficult it is to seek work while feeling so low. You need support, your girlfriend may be one source but you would benefit from having other people on your side.

  • I was born when my dad and mom was still both 22 and they were still in college. So because my dad already had me at that time, he had to find a job asap upon graduation. So he did but I'm sure he went through his rough times and stresses. So I think he is comparing his experiences to mine and complaining. Which I don't think is right because he's the one that was irresponsible and had me at such a young age. And I did tell my dad that I am doing my best to find a job but my dad says it doesn't matter, results are everything. Therefore he is unsatisfied with me. I'm also kind of in a rush because my girlfriend wants to marry me when I'm 25 ish and have kids when I'm 27 at the latest. And of course I need to be financially stable to raise kids.

    Anyway, working at a garden center and nursery are good, but they are all mostly seasonal jobs which I do not want. I want a full time year round job that gives me benefits. My dad is also complaining how I won't go anywhere with seasonal jobs and I have to agree on him with that at this one. But regardless, I still applied to some nursery and garden center jobs with no reply back. At this time of the season plant business is very slow.

    For my suicidal thoughts, I do see a psychiatrist once in 2 months but sessions are short and he only prescribes me medication. I've done therapy 3 times in the past and it helped temporarily but I'm back in this state so I feel like its useless no matter how many times I get therapy treatment. I don't know what to do, theres no point in living when I don't even have a job and money to do things I want. Life doesn't go that easy does it. Well at least for me, I bet most other people are just living happy with no struggles

  • Despite your circumstances being very common amongst young graduates in today's job climate you are in an emotionally difficult situation as your father is not only comparing you unfavourably with himself but he is also setting you very high and what I would consider unrealistic expectations. He seems perhaps not to realise that by putting pressure upon you he is making it less likely that you succeed which is ironic given his view that results are everything.

    It must be difficult living within a family where your father is unsatisfied with you as a natural consequence will be a tendency for you to identify with him and feel similarly unsatisfied with yourself which is sad. You have done well and been successful in managing to get to Uni and complete a degree but your father is failing to give you credit for that, instead pointing out how you are failing and what you are doing wrong. Such behaviour is only likely to further undermine your self-esteem.

    I notice you do not mention your mother but mention that your father had to get a job immediately upon graduation. I wonder whether your father blames your mother for her pregnancy and fails to take responsibility for his own failure to use contraceptive methods. I wonder whether he also blames your existence for the situation he found himself in as a young man.

    There is an indication that is the case in your comment that your girlfriend wants to get married... The lack of comment about you want suggests you have learned to put the needs and wishes of others before yourself and I wonder whether that pressure also makes it difficult for you to feel good about your successes. Your mention of earlier suicide attempts suggests you have never felt good enough about yourself to value your existence and I think your lack of self-worth reflects how you felt your parents valued you while you were growing up.

    I am wondering whether your mother is still alive and if so whether she was more positive towards you than your father?

    You are right, life is not easy. Some people do seem to find it easier than others but often the people who do not find life difficult are not sensitive to the needs and wishes of others, that may be true of your father?

    From your use of the spelling 'mom' I imagine you may be in the US rather than the UK and if so then it is difficult for me to comment on how other forms of therapy may or may not be available to you.

    I think you are likely to continue to feel badly about yourself and caught up in other people's expectations whilst you are living at home and your father is unable to see you as a separate person living in very different times from his own. I wonder whether there is any relative or friend you might stay with for a time while you consider how you might move forward in a life the way you want it to be?


  • Thanks suex. In fact I just had a fight with my dad for the same exact thing I mentioned above. So I told him straight up that he had to rush and find a job because he had me by accident but that I am in a different situation than him so stop comparing us. He then says its not even worth comparing his past situation to my current situation now because the difference is too big its not even comparable. And he also gave me 5000$ for my graduation gift and I said "You only gave the money because you thought it was your duty as a parent and to satisfy yourself. Not because you actually were proud of your son". Now I admit that was a bit harsh towards him and I know he didn't really think that. And I even apologized for that but he says its too late and he will never forget what I said. This fight today, by the way, made me feel even more worthless and my suicide possibility rose from 20% to a 30% now. Anyway, we admitted that our personalities do not match and have never been since a long time ago so we agreed to not talk to each other as much and stay peaceful.

    He isn't that bad of a person as you described though. He doesn't blame my mom nor does he blame my existence. My mom left us(my dad, my little brother, and I) when I was 7 years old. This was the likely trigger of the start of my anxiety and depression. So we've been living with my dad for 15 years now. He raised and cared for us 15 years and worked very hard in his job. So he does have his good sides but he just has these strict expectations and standards(us being an Asian family) but he also has these abnormal expectations like "results are everything, efforts don't matter"..."Your not even paying any of the house bills so shut up. If you're envious, then get a job" stuff. This is probably part of the reason why my mom didn't want to be with my dad anymore. Because of his personality. Btw, my mom still sees us and she still loves us. In fact, she only lives 10 minutes away from our house. While she was still with us, she was always in a bad mood and grumpy. But ever since she left and got married to another man, she seems like a completely different person. She is much happier and nicer. She also payed half the college tuition along with my dad as well and she also helps pay my medical fees.

    And I'm not sure if its my parents fault but it is true that I always think of myself as worthless. And that is true and no one can deny that. I have no skills to use for my job. Sure I have skills in my hobby like skateboarding, piano, and knowledge of plants but its not really useful for a career. And then yes, my girlfriend's wishes about early marriage and kids is also putting a huge stress on me as well. But we've talked about this before and agreed on each other.

    I'm in the U.S but its ok, therapy won't work no matter what. I'll either figure this out myself or put an end to my life. And as for leaving the house, I would love to but I do not want to leave my beloved dog. My mom is with her husband so I can't live there and my girlfriend lives with her dad so I can't live there either. I want to rent an apartment but where would I get that money lol. You're right, its really uncomfortable living with my dad. He constantly comments on how I don't pay any house bills so everything he says is right and that if you want to talk back then find a job and start paying house fees. He is acting so arrogant. He makes 100K in his job so he thinks he's the boss or something. And whenever I tell him my opinions, he tells me how I'm not in a position of saying that because I don't even have a real job. I'm tired of his shit. I just want to leave but I have no where to go and I don't want to leave my dad. So yea my future is looking pretty doomed. No skills, no communication skills, no nothing. This is why I consider suicide. Its ok right? My girlfriend would benefit a lot more from that. I'm sure she would want a guy that is more reliable and has more money and the potential to raise a family than be with someone who has no career, no money, have depression and anxiety... It'd be good for my dad because he'll feel guilty for the rest of his life if I die. My mom.. she'll be sad but she's living happily with her husband and she has a lot of friends.

  • Hi

    I haven't read the rest of what you have written yet, just the first bit, but do go and tell you Dad how much you love him and appreciate all he did for you since your Mum left. xx

    Well now I have read what you have written and can understand much of it as my father was half Asian and set me impossibly high expectations too except he idealised me one minute and criticised me the next, perhaps your Dad did that too? It left me deeply depressed. Instead of Mum leaving it was my Dad who left. When kid's parents lave before they are about 10 they tend to blame themselves because they are too young to understand what was really going on, I know I blamed myself but it took me years of therapy before I realised that and got in touch with the feelings relating to it, before that I had no idea that was how I had felt as a child. We are all really good at blocking out feelings. I think that is where your suicidal feelings come from at a deeper level though probably you are unaware of that. I do think therapy could help you but only if it was deeper psychoanalytic therapy and probably longer term - however I think you don't need that as you are already expressing anger towards your father and talking freely about how you feel. I wonder, have you ever been really angry towards your mum for her having left you? I wonder whether you are able to talk closely with her about that and grieve with her about all you missed with not having a mum around and also not having her in particular around?

    Sue xx

  • Well we're not really the loving/bonding type of family tbh. I would say we're more like friends more than father/son relationship. And yes my dad does that! Sometimes he says I can do it if I try but these days all he does is criticize me for not having a full time job. Oh so you were in a similar situation as mine.. kinda. I don't think I was mad at my mom at all. Because all I could think was that my own mom won't be with us anymore and all I felt was deep sadness. And I've talked to her about this and she was deeply sorry but she had to because she didn't want to be in a trapped relationship with my dad. So she decided to stay close to us even though she left.

  • Please stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Life is very much a journey, not a race. You're so young yet. To put things in perspective, I lived at home with my parents until I was 31, when I got my first full time job (now part-time!). I had my first child when I was almost 33 and my second when I was almost 35. I still don't really know what I want to do with my life, career, etc, and now I'm 41! So really, there's no rush...take your time...and remember Be Kind to yourself...wishing you well,


  • Hi Heruga, you have worked incredibly hard and should be so proud of yourself. There are so many people with degrees that are unable to get the job they want straight away. So don't think it's only you because it really isn't so realistically you may have to do a job you don't really want to do for a while. Many of us do but as long as you can support yourself that's the important thing now. Without that security anxiety and depression can really take over your life.there is ALWAYS hope!! And don't ever give up!! You will find the job of your dreams, it just hasn't turned up yet. Just keep looking and believe in yourself. You've worked so hard and you deserve it🙏🏻😀

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