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Is choosing a solitary career isolating or just a good match?

answered 11:45 PM EST, Sun March 11, 2012
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I was fired from my last job as a landscaper near the end of last season. Basically I stopped coming in to work sometimes because I just couldn’t face it all. Part of what made it so hard was having to work in a crew. All these guys laughing and joking all the time just made me feel so much worse than I already did. They didn’t like me very much, but I can’t really blame them for that, since this is sort of the way most of the world feels about me. Needless to say, I am depressed.

I am living with my sister now since I can no longer afford my own place (I am a real 34 year old winner!). My sister says I can stay as long as I want to but I can feel that she must be sick of having me around. I am a real downer to be around. Her little kids used to love me but now they pretty much avoid me if they can.
My sis said she’d pay for me to get some job training (more pity money from her) so I registered for truck driving school. I think it’s the perfect job for me since I won’t have to talk to anyone for most of the day and no one will really care about how I look or act as long as I can drive something from one city to another, and I am pretty sure I can still do that.

Now my sister is saying she doesn’t want to pay for truck driving school since she is worried that it will be harmful to me. She worries that sitting by myself in a truck all day is just going to make me feel worse. She’s dreaming that I’ll get trained to be a cook or something and then join a team of other people and start living happily ever after. What she doesn’t understand is that I can’t possibly feel worse than I do now and I can’t do a job with other people – I know that’s not going to work. So at least doing something is an improvement over sitting in her basement all the time. Am I wrong?

Art Matthews Says...

You aren't wrong in that doing something is better than doing nothing, but is it enough to make a lasting difference for you in the long run? When we get depressed and have low self-worth, we tend to want to isolate and push others away, but then we often wish that we had more connections with others and trap ourselves into feeling lonely while avoiding people at the same time.

Instead of using your sister's money for job training, why not talk to her about getting personal and career counseling so that you can work on the root problems and overcome your issues with feeling judged, not fitting in and not having a clear career direction. I see what your sister wants to do, she wants to make sure that the help she provides you will be effective in helping you over the long haul, rather than providing you with a quick solution that allows you to avoid being around people and possibly fester in your isolation. Through counseling and career exploration, you can both know whether truckdriving is an option that only allows you to escape or if it is a real career calling for you. Don't take a short cut just because it promises to be a quick answer to your distress.

As Robert Frost said in The Road Less Traveled:

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference."

Take the road less traveled and do the self-exploration involved in counseling and career exploration. It is a road that will make all the difference.

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Page last updated Mar 11, 2012

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