Just when you thought you were the only anxious person on the planet, Skillsroad has a chat to a young adult who is currently struggling with anxiety around the idea of getting a job. Here’s what they’ve learned so far…
Can you describe the feelings you get when you think about having to get a job, or having to work?
Hmmm… that’s a tricky one. Because I do love the idea of working on something that I’m passionate about. However, the idea of ‘getting a job’ for the sake of making ends meet makes me feel ‘trapped’ and simply unenthusiastic about life. I also feel as though my anxious thoughts will stop me from reaching my goals.
Why do you think do you feel this way? What is it about getting a job (or just life) that worries you the most?
Because it almost feels like I’m selling my soul! What worries me the most is foregoing my highest potential for money or ‘security’.
Can you remember the first time you felt this way? Did you know what triggered the feeling, or what was happening to you?
The first time I felt this way was when I first experienced the realities of a 9 to 5 job. I was working in a cubicle, participating in an incredibly repetitive, data collection task. One afternoon (roughly around 3 o’clock) I began to look at everyone else around the room, who, unlike me, were all completely zoned in and focused. I thought to myself, there’s no way I can be doing this for another year, let alone the rest of my life! Slowly but surely, my anxiety started to boil. And before I knew it, I was experiencing a full-blown panic attack.
Have you been able to talk to somebody about how you feel?
Yes – an excessive number of people… Expecting that I’ll somehow find the magic answer that I’m looking for. But everyone offers a different opinion. Some say ‘Oh, that’s completely normal! Everyone hates what they do. Everyone gets restless and anxious from time to time. It’s just about how you manage it.’ Others would say, ‘Get out quick! It’s clearly not making you happy.’
What have you tried to make yourself feel a bit more in control?
Meditation and exercise – both of which put me into the present moment. Easier said than done, though!
What is the worst advice you’ve gotten from people when you tell them how you are struggling?
“Just get on with it. You’re fine.”
Which responses usually do help you to feel a bit better, or more in control?
Just take things moment by moment. Day by day. Stop thinking about what will be, or what was. Think about what is. Right here, right now.
Do you feel hope that things will get better?
Yes, I really do. Because the occasional glimpses of hope I receive don’t lie!
Are you struggling to cope? Talk to someone you love and trust, or find help here:
Online support forum Beyond Blue: www.beyondblue.org.au, 1300 22 4636. You can also email them, or chat to them online.
Kids Helpline’s motto is “Anytime. Any reason.” They focus on ages from 5 to 25 and help you access support groups and peers going through similar tough stuff, so don’t be afraid to use them: https://kidshelpline.com.au/ or 1800 55 1800
Lifeline focuses on crisis support and suicide prevention: www.lifeline.org.au/ or 12 11 14
Main image: Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash