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I'm afraid to get a job

No, this isn't about the economy or anything. One of my biggest fears is actually being employed, which, as you can imagine, is pretty inconvenient.

Since I was a little kid, having a job seemed like a scary thing, but I figured that by the time I had to get one, I'd grow out of that fear. I was also afraid of going to college but when that time came it wasn't a problem at all.

In fact, I have had a job before. Two, in fact, and nothing went particularly wrong at them. Yet during those times, pretty much all I thought about was dreading going to work next. When I was on the job, the fear wasn't usually so bad as long as I was doing something, but even working for just four hours made me feel trapped and panicked pretty quickly.

So what exactly is it that stresses me out so much about work? I'm not afraid of going to school for as many hours (though I still hate it). I think that, perhaps, it is the thought that I /have/ to be there from a certain time to another time on particular days that generates the overwhelming feeling of panic and of being trapped. Another factor is the fear of failure, and also the uncertainty of what exactly I'm going to be doing on any particular day (though working as a cashier was pretty routine). Or perhaps, it's just that it all seems so professional and official; I'm not just doing favors for friends any more.

Last summer, I tried volunteering, teaching English as a second language. This still scared me a good deal, but not as much as working for pay since it felt more like I was just doing someone a favor, thus it was no big deal if I screwed up or couldn't make it. However, this also turned into something where I felt trapped that I was expected to be there every day for a certain period of time.

It's not like I can just ignore this problem; working is a pretty big deal. Heck, getting a job is pretty much essential to living. Actually, getting a job pretty much IS living. So far, everything I've done, elementary school - high school, and now college has been in preparation for getting a job, one that I'll be doing for most of the rest of my life. Don't tell me that I just need to find a job that I like; it doesn't
matter what I'm doing, the very state of being employed is what scares
me. I don't know what I'd even be working for anyway; to continue living? To enjoy my time off? I'm hardly even capable of enjoying what used to be my favorite things or the company of friends any more.

The only reason I'm in college now is to put off getting a job (and my parents are making me). And yet, now I can hardly get my work done for college either. But what do you expect? My only motivation is to put off getting a job which everything I do is working toward anyway.

And you wonder why I'm depressed. Life is work and I'm terrified of work. I can't very well live off my parents all my life. Would they even let me? And what girl would date a guy who is afraid to work and shows no sign of moving away from his parents?

As of now, my only option seems to be to just keep going with college and once again hope I grow out of this fear. I can't say I'm very hopeful.
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Top Opinion

  • Cam Krout 2011/07/09 03:28:22
    Cam Krout
    +6
    Dude, I feel the EXACT SAME WAY. It is not this job or that job that scares me, but the very state of being employed. You have no idea how much better this makes me feel, knowing that somebody else feels literally the same way. I am 20 years old btw. This is actually quite amazing to me, somebody else feels this way...anyway, I just hope that makes you feel better, I will probably end up seeing a psychologist for this problem because I am just terrified, my last job was horrible but school isn't such a bad thing because you don't HAVE to be there, you're there for your own interest. Nobody else is depending on your being there; that's my problem with employment. I'm just not that dependable.

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  • amongeur 2012/04/23 17:06:40
    amongeur
    +1
    I read this and just had to reply. I feel the same exact same way. Ive had jobs before and done very well at most of them. I have panic attacks when its time to get ready for work, and feel anxious most of the time im at the job. Ive been a stay at home mom for years now. I had one small job since my divorce but I messed up, I was waiting tables and forgot about one table big mistake but, eveyone mess' up. The next time I was scheduled to go in i called and said i just couldnt come and wasnt coming back. I was just so scared. I dont know what to do anymore. I too am postponing, with college but have two small children to care for and I am now divorced. I have my LNA license and did very well in the schooling but im terrified to get apply for another job, much less get one. I volenteer and still have alot of anxiety going to that job not so bad but its still there. I need a job and I want to support my family but the fear is paralizing.
  • La 2012/02/21 07:53:56
    La
    You sound like you need some professional help to deal with your issues. Many people have some of those issues to some extent, but to have all of them to the extent you have them to is bad. You won't "grow out of" it, I think.

    Unless you can force yourself to go to a job until you get over your fear, you're going to need help.
  • Frost 2011/08/15 07:08:18
    Frost
    +3
    I'm afraid to get a job and afraid to drive. :(
  • yoyomunkee Frost 2012/02/16 17:08:05
    yoyomunkee
    +1
    ME TOO. Both of the ideas scare the crap out of me. I never want to drive.
  • Cam Krout 2011/07/09 03:28:22
    Cam Krout
    +6
    Dude, I feel the EXACT SAME WAY. It is not this job or that job that scares me, but the very state of being employed. You have no idea how much better this makes me feel, knowing that somebody else feels literally the same way. I am 20 years old btw. This is actually quite amazing to me, somebody else feels this way...anyway, I just hope that makes you feel better, I will probably end up seeing a psychologist for this problem because I am just terrified, my last job was horrible but school isn't such a bad thing because you don't HAVE to be there, you're there for your own interest. Nobody else is depending on your being there; that's my problem with employment. I'm just not that dependable.
  • Linkums Cam Krout 2011/07/09 03:35:02
    Linkums
    Thanks much for the comment! I don't like it that other people have to deal with this, but it is nice to know I'm not alone.
  • Cam Krout 2011/07/09 03:28:21
    Cam Krout
    +3
    Dude, I feel the EXACT SAME WAY. It is not this job or that job that scares me, but the very state of being employed. You have no idea how much better this makes me feel, knowing that somebody else feels literally the same way. I am 20 years old btw. This is actually quite amazing to me, somebody else feels this way...anyway, I just hope that makes you feel better, I will probably end up seeing a psychologist for this problem because I am just terrified, my last job was horrible but school isn't such a bad thing because you don't HAVE to be there, you're there for your own interest. Nobody else is depending on your being there; that's my problem with employment. I'm just not that dependable.
  • dee 2011/03/26 20:17:48
    dee
    +6
    I I feel it is time to discuss this with a psychologist....you have to become a better friend with yourself and start to believe that you are a capable human being...your fears are not you so you have to challenge them and only believe that good stuff that pops up in your head ...all that negative stuff about not being able to do such and such has to be challenged....imagine yourself climbing a mountain and overcoming obstacles and being proud of yourself no matter how small the obstacle ...until you get to the top....
  • Keely 2010/12/14 20:25:05
    Keely
    +3
    I'm also exactly the same way. I hated working, back when I did work as a teenager.I got married to a soldier at 18 and lived off of his income for the next 3 years... Now we're back home and I know I need to get a job, but I'm delaying it with school, also. I have had a few job interviews since we got home this summer, which is a hugeeee step for me, but then I'm too scared to call them back to see if I have a job. I don't want to grow up, I don't want to have that sort of responsibility. If something doesn't go smoothly at a job I panic! I will always remember that panicky feeling when someone would be disappointed in me and I started to cry. Very embarrassing, and it really wasn't a big deal... but I felt like I had failed. We spend most of the beginning of our lives preparing to work but I think there is more preparation learning how to learn. Who knows how to work? I don't. I'd go to college for the rest of my life, if I could. I'd be damned good at it too! But, alas... my family needs me to bring in income.

    That may be something that helps you- when you do have something driving you to get a job. Be it moving out on your own, needing a car, meeting a girl that you want to take out to dinner. Something along those lines.
  • Linkums Keely 2010/12/14 21:36:50
    Linkums
    Thanks for sharing your story and advice. It's nice to know I'm not alone. How did you find this old blog post anyway?
  • dali23 2010/10/06 14:41:28
    dali23
    +2
    I feel the same way. I am so terrified of getting a job. Every time I try or think about sending out a resume , I become depressed and lay in bed for an entire week . It is silly I know but it doesn't feel like it in the moment. I finished college, I have degree. I know I am quite capable of doing a lot of things, I just don't know how to convince anyone of it. Everyone else around can get a job quite easily so they don't see my predicament.
  • Jamie 2010/05/21 20:43:08
    Jamie
    +5
    I feel similar to all of you. I'm 25, have a baby, I've been a stay at home mom for awhile, but now it's time to find a job and I know I have to do it, but I'm nervous about it and anxious. It doesn't help I don't think I have many skills to offer, so I'll be stuck at a shitty job somewhere. In the past I was treated very horribly by a few individuals and it has just stuck with me. I feel like I don't trust anyone to open up as quickly as most people do, then I get labeled as 'shy' or 'stuck up' when really I just take a long time to open up. I think I'm going to try a therapist, I haven't wanted to go that route but I feel like I'm not going to get past this by myself. I have NO IDEA how I'm going to open up to a therapist! I just want to be NORMAL!!!!!!!!!!! ughhh!
  • 아만다 ♥ AMANDA 2010/04/05 05:35:56
    아만다 ♥ AMANDA
    +2
    The "I'm hardly capable of enjoying what used to be my favorite things or the company of my friends anymore." What exactly does that mean? I am just wondering to see if this is a similar problem that I have. I am pretty sure the paragraph described me... It's like you are me. But not.

    OMG I know what you MEAN!!! Depressed... Life is work! That is how I feel!!! I told my mom that it's not like I WANT to be "lazy" I'm not trying to be lazy... It's just that when I do something, it makes me feel so miserable.

    Dude.. I feel like we are so much alike right now that it's creeping me out a bit. But it makes me feel better knowing that I'm not the only one who feels this way. I mean... EXACTLY this way.

    I was supposed to go with the "get a job or go to college" option after my "gap year" but that turned into a "gap year" and a half. haha. Then I got the freelance job and the weird thing is I can do my work any time that I want... But once I get to doing an assignment/article... I always figure out some way of not finishing it. It's not like I don't want to finish it, because if I do finish it, I get paid! So why do I procrastinate and give up when I am so close to getting the money I deserve?

    SORRY... I am rambling. PS... You weren't rambling when you replied to me in the fears question. I didn't mind. I find this interesting. But now I am rambling... SOO... PEACE! =)
  • Linkums 아만다 ♥ A... 2010/04/05 16:25:03
    Linkums
    Yeah, what I'm talking about when I say I can't enjoy things is that I've had severe depression for several years now and as a symptom of that I don't really enjoy doing anything or really feel much emotion at all. So in the past, I would've enjoyed playing video games, programming and designing games, writing fiction, studying linguistics, but now I just don't feel like it and even when I force myself to do something "fun" it isn't really fun and is more like a chore or at best a distraction to keep my mind occupied and forget about other things I have to do. So it started as a symptom of depression but now it's just another reason to be more depressed; why put myself through getting a job when there's nothing I want to do when I get home anyway?

    But even if I didn't have the depression I think I'd still be afraid of getting a job.

    Anyway, I don't mind you rambling. xD I'm just glad to have found someone who feels similarly. I find it interesting too.
  • 아만다 ♥ A... Linkums 2010/04/06 05:38:52
    아만다 ♥ AMANDA
    +1
    Ohh yeah! Exactly... I am afraid to force myself to do something because then it isn't fun. I don't know about the whole depression thing. But I think I am afraid to go hang out with friends which might be an anxiety disorder. It's not that I am afraid to hang out with them... Because I really want to... But I think of something that will make me unavailable to go.

    Yeah... I know what you mean. I think that if I went and got help I'd still have problems. I want help to... So I will be more open to doing things. Because I do want to do them... It's just that, when the time comes I back out or procrastinate.

    YAY! Thanks.. Same for you. It's kind of like my 15 year old sister's 16 year old guy friend. I really like talking to him... But she thinks I am starting to like him. haha. I am 20. He is 16 for crying out loud... Maybe in like 5 years and if he is still pretty cool. But IDK LOL. Anyway...
  • Jamie 아만다 ♥ A... 2010/05/21 20:52:51
    Jamie
    +2
    Weird! I am the exact same way with my friends! I hardly hang out with anyone anymore! I really want to! It would be good for me, I know that, but I ALWAYS think of some reason why I shouldn't or can't! It's strange!!!! Pretty soon I'm not going to have any friends anymore cuz they're not gonna waste their energy on me. It's sad.... I'm not sure how long ago you guys wrote on here (whether it's this year or last year, or whatever) but I'm just wondering how you guys are doing with this stuff now???
  • 아만다 ♥ A... Jamie 2010/05/23 03:30:10
    아만다 ♥ AMANDA
    HAHA. It's funny that you are just now replying. I posted that April 6th... on April 8th, I went to hang out with my old guy friend from high school... Things went well... We ended up cuddling and kissed a couple of times... BUT... I haven't seen him since and have only heard from him a few times. haha. ONE of the reasons I don't go out... HAHA... ANYWAY... You posted this in like November and I just commented in April... But... I'm still pretty much the same I was then. haha.
  • La Linkums 2012/02/21 07:57:12
    La
    You could consider taking antidepressants for a while, as a short term solution. You don't want to become reliant on them, but you need to remember how it feels to enjoy life ^_^
  • Afraidtoo 2010/03/09 16:36:16
    Afraidtoo
    +3
    I am there too. I am late 50's and have had sales jobs where I could just cruise and not do much work, like finding new customers. I can't believe I got away with it so long but I did. I was always telling myself 'Tomorrow I put my nose to the grindstone and really apply myself' but I never did. I thought I was just really lazy. After getting fired 3 times for being non productive I am seeing a therapist. She established that I am afraid of failure so I don't put any effort into work because therefore I can't fail. It's a Catch 22. I am going broke because I haven't worked in quite a while but am making great strides with the therapist and I am optomistic that I can straighten out. My advice is to please seek out a therapist for help. Try to nip this in the bud unlike me. You are not going to do it on your own. I wish you much luck.
  • epia 2010/01/14 15:36:24
    epia
    +4
    You hit it dead on. I feel the same way. But on top of it all I am scared to death of driving (i.e. afraid of dieing or getting in a car accident). I KNOW it's irrational. But I don't know how to fix the problem. Sad too, that I can't afford professional help. What's a person to do. :(

    The anxiety & depression are debilitating. I understand your pain.

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