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Podcast Episode 009: "I've Given Up On My Dream Career. Where Do I Go From Here?"

Episode 009: “I’ve Given up on My Dream Career. Where Do I Go From Here?”



Today we answer a letter from Patreon Donor Julia, who feels lost after making a big change of direction in her life.

Today’s question

“I’m twenty-one years old and I was in college majoring in biology, but I was just miserable and had to leave. But all I ever wanted to do was science, and now I’m really struggling with what to do next. I was paying for classes as I went (as much as I could, anyway) so I only have one loan to pay off. But I just really don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’ve worked in retail and foodservice and I hated it. I’ve been applying to daycare centers because I like kids, but I haven’t heard back from any of them. Any advice you could give me on finding a direction would be very much appreciated.”

This question made our hearts heavy. We hate to see a twenty-one-year-old sounding so lost and resigned. Because twenty-one is so young! You’re an adult when you’re twenty-one, but like, it’s the toddler stage of adulthood. The world won’t always feel so intimidating and impenetrable.

Our Boomer parents would certainly tell her to fOlLoW hEr DrEaM, dAmN tHe CoNsEqUeNcEs. But obviously we have to bring a more nuanced answer than that.

Allow us to remind all of our young listeners that…

  • Cs are passing grades. They are enough. Let yourself step down off the hamster wheel of your own demanding expectations.
  • College curricula can be more challenging than the “real world” career you’re preparing you for.
  • Piggy and I graduated from college ten years ago, and in the last decade, the number of employers who have expressed a desire to know our letter grades in college is absolute zero—a thermodynamic state once thought to be merely theoretical! SCIENCE!
  • Some careers are challenging to pursue because they’re vanishingly rare and impossibly glamorous: professional video game player, A-list film actor, high-end vibrator tester, etc. But other careers are challenging to pursue because they require a lot of intelligence, persistence, and education: biologist, surgeon, high-end vibrator engineer. Shake the former, push the latter.
  • STEM fields will remain overwhelmingly male so long as women and nonbinary folks lack mentors and programs to help them through the doubt.
  • Sometimes you wanna quit because you know yourself, and you’ve made a mature and informed decision about what’s best for you. Other times you wanna quit because you’re scared of failure, or scared of success, or unsure how to move forward. You will spend a lot of your young adulthood learning to spot the difference between the two.
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Look how culturally fluent I am!

Ask the Bitches: What the Hell Else Can I Do to Get a Job?

We get a lot of different questions from the loyal citizens of Bitch Nation. But certain ones keep popping up over and over again like some sick game of economic whack-a-mole. It’s clear our darling followers are desperate for advice on getting a job, for example.

Take this question darling follower @evharley asked on our Tumblr:

Hey bitches, I am a recent graduate and have had internships my last year of college BUT I am still not getting any interviews. I use the right sites, follow yours and Ask A Manager‘s cover letter and resume tips but cannot land an interview. I look for jobs 4 hours 3 days a week and it doesn’t feel like enough but I feel so defeated. Is there something more that I could be doing?

What a miserable, frustrating situation.

Searching for a job can easily feel hopeless, especially when you’re not getting any return on your considerable efforts. She’s working hard to get that elusive job and getting nowhere! She’s trying everything she can think of to get hired to no avail! SHE HAS DONE HER TIME.

So what else is there to do?

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I'm nervous to publish this. But you know what? It's okay to talk about your failures.

Confession: I Hate My Job and I Don’t Know How to Leave It

I don’t fancy myself a hypocrite. And yet I haven’t been practicing what I preach.

We talk a lot about career advancement as a path to financial independence here. You’ve got to angle for promotions and ask for raises and, most importantly, switch jobs on the regular.

And yet I’ve been stuck at the same company for almost eight years.

And I don’t want to be.

In that time, I’ve been promoted three times and I’ve received multiple raises. But it’s a small publishing house on a metaphorically small, remote island within the broader publishing industry.

And unless my boss gets torn apart by angry maenads sometime soon, I’ve literally reached the top of the ladder here. There’s nowhere else to go within my company, and very few options for other publishing jobs in the area.

I feel trapped. I feel like a failure. I’m bored, directionless, and frustrated. I want to enjoy going to work again. I want to feel challenged and get paid more.

So because I’m feeling rather… truthsome right now, I want to dissect my current career stagnation. I want to confess my failures and seek absolution. People of the Internet, be gentle with me.

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Friends, if you're going to jump, jump like there's no ceiling.

The Fascinating Results of Our Job Hopping vs. Career Loyalty Poll

Guys, Bitches can’t thank you enough for stepping up and volunteering your salary histories for our recent article on job hopping. If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out and feel free to skip straight down to those juicy, delicious, nutritious comments.

We discovered some really interesting trends, and we’re going to break them down for you now!

Overall, commenters were big fans of a hybrid approach. Job hopping was universally endorsed as an essential move, regardless of career path, even by serial job monogamists. But occasionally stopping to rest once you’ve landed in a good position was also extremely popular.

Here are some of the factors that made people stay… and go.

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