I am a 24-year-old working woman with Bachelors in Fine Arts. Lately, things have started to fall apart in my life and I feel as if nothing concrete is working out in any sphere. For starters, some of my closest colleagues left workplace due to their personal engagements, and I feel completely lost and bored now. Going to work was way more fun when they were around. Not that I don't get along with my other colleagues; it is just that I am not that close to anyone of them. So naturally, I am on the lookout for more lucrative opportunities for myself, but it seems as if no organisation or institute is ready to take me on board. Nadine, I have friends who keep on switching jobs as if it is not a big deal and I marvel at them for having things so easy. The thing is, there is no chance of a promotion for me and I meet a lot of people who mock my art degree and tell me to study further. Now, there's not a lot of money floating around at home and my father retired a long time ago, so being financially independent was very important for me. My parents never pressurize me to pay the bills or anything. They have never asked me for a single penny but whenever I tell my father that I am unhappy with my current job or want to study further, he changes the subject or tells me that jobs are rare to find these days and unemployment is rampant. I graduated two years ago and majored in fine arts not knowing that I would end up teaching in a school. Things have started to take a toll on me. I had never realized that keeping a job would mean so much to my father that he would get upset even if I take a single leave from work. I loved art but never wanted to pursue it this way for such a long time. I feel as if this job is ruining my inner peace. I feel unhappy with my current state and my mother thinks I'm ungrateful. The fact that money carries little importance in my life and I never studied art to earn big bucks doesn't sit well with my folks. I'm still very young and want to experience and achieve a lot more, but I feel as if all doors are closed on me now. Deep down, I know that I'm not that pretty and a marriage prospect is still not on the cards, so having a better job and travel experience would compensate for a lot of things. But nothing is working out. I will be resigning by this summer and I don't know where to go. People have higher education, better employment opportunity or a new relationship to look up to when they leave, I would only have inner peace of mind. I'd be such a disappointment to my family but I don't want to get stuck in a place for so long. What is the solution then? I am applying everywhere but have had no success so far. Please don't ask me to carry on with the job as I can't.
Dear Distorted Aries,
Having friends at workplace makes work fun and it is fine if you can have people you like and trust around you, for it makes work enjoyable. The point here is that you don't go to work just to enjoy and it is not always possible to have your university friends with you at workplace. In practical life, people need growth and have to seek opportunities; especially, during the initial period. Your friends were probably more ambitious and decided to switch jobs in search of better prospects. You, on the other hand, stayed put because your father didn't want you to leave your school job. My dear, according to the old school of thought, two professions considered suitable for girls are teaching and medicine. It is possible that your father feels that teaching in a school can keep women out of harm's way. You have stated that you are not expected to contribute to the household finances, so it's clear that money is not what your parents want from you; it's only your security they care about. But why they are against you going for further education is slightly puzzling.
The difficulty here is that your father is not willing to discuss the matter with you. You must somehow make your parents voice their concerns and reservations, and address them. Stop feeling so blue and instead of feeling sorry for yourself start planning your future. Contact all your friends and ask them to remember you if they come across a suitable opening for you. Resigning from school without something in hand is not a good idea. It is easier to find a job while you are still occupied, so reconsider your decision and shelve it till you know exactly what you wish to do.
In case you are unable to convince your father to let you switch jobs, persuade him to let you go for higher education. You might consider saving your salary for your fees if you don't have enough money pay your way through, for specialised education doesn't come in cheap. It's a fact that a better degree will help you get better employment, so spending money on your education will serve you well in the long term.
Lastly and most importantly, please realise that comparing yourself with friends or contemporaries is not a smart thing to do: we all have our own strengths, weaknesses and luck. So don't feel down about workplace not being fun anymore, and start trying to find opportunities. You have to be proactive about it, and willing to take a step backward to move forward. Which means that even if you get a job in the field you like with less coming to you than you are getting, take it. It will make your CV look better. And, if you cannot get a job, try internships. Just don't lose hope and remain positive; hopefully you will find something you want to do. Best of luck!