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Have I made a big mistake? Career/anxiety advice

ZiplockZiplock Registered User new member
Hello All,

Long time lurker, first time poster but I've always found reading these forums really helpful. I'll jump right in to say I'm at a bit of a loss to know what to do, so some objective thoughts would be useful. I broke up from a serious relationship about a year and a half ago, which was a pretty big blow to me. The relationship in part ended as I was struggling with bad anxiety and panic attacks, bordering on depression. Following the break up I did a bit of soul searching and had counselling and decided I needed to shake my life up a bit by pursuing a job related to my degree, which is in environmental conservation (I had previously been working in office admin). I managed to land a voluntary role up on a private estate up north as a ranger, doing practical physical work as well as leading educational groups for school children and events across the estate. Although I live in the UK, this was a pretty big move for me but I decided to jump in with both feet and really glad I did, as I enjoyed so much of it and made some really good friends. It was a weird and wonderful place and had a real arty and creative vibe which I enjoyed and, to be honest, didn't feel like work at all. More importantly, I found my anxiety and panic attacks reduced considerably, and I found I had a really positive focus on life and what I wanted to be doing - something that had been severely missing for me for years.

Fast forward 10 months, and it was becoming apparent that I needed to find a paid job, as my savings were getting pretty low. The estate I was working at couldn't afford to take on anyone in a paid position, so I began looking elsewhere. It just so happened that a friend from University contacted me at this time asking if I was looking for work. He runs his own landscaping business and really wants to get into environmental management and thought I'd be a good fit to help him. This seemed like a great opportunity, as it was back down south close to friends and family, and meant I could really focus on my career.

I've been there a few months and have been working both outside and in the office, and although on paper this was the type of role I wanted when I was studying for my degree, I'm back to panic attacks and anxiety about work and really struggling to maintain the positive outlook which I'd been working on. I'm now feeling like I've made a really big mistake taking this job and making this move and wonder whether I was better off staying where I was, even if meant taking a second job to support myself. I don't want to give up on this opportunity, but I'm already looking at other jobs similar to the one I was doing up in Scotland. Has anyone experienced similar or thoughts on what I can do next?

Sorry for the wall of text -
TL;DR - I managed to get a handle on my anxiety/panic attacks by starting a new career. I've started a new job in that field and feel like I'm right back where I started.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    You don't say *why* you don't like the new job except "anxiety and panic attacks" which sounds to me like the problem is probably not the job but literally the anxiety and panic attacks, which you have a history of. See your doctor about that. When you've got that under control, focus on getting a job like the one you loved, but with a paycheque attached.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    This is a line of questioning best suited to a therapist, not random internet strangers.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Yeah unfortunately I feel like your question should be "why do I respond to moderate stress in this way?" instead of looking for career advice. Long term, you will always be scratching out a minor subsistence life until you tackle the panic. Keep your job and find a therapist immediately.

  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    I am struggling to think of a reply to this that is appropriate for this setting. The short version is I don't think this is a problem that can be solved by moving jobs. I don't have nearly enough information to say that though, and I don't think I should have that much information. You mention you are working on panic and anxiety. If that doesn't involve a therapist I would suggest you consider talking to one. If it does then this is a great issue to work out in session.

  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular

    Become a Park Ranger for the state of Wisconsin! I'll be applying myself, without the environmental degree, actually any post-HS degree of any sort, so you would at least have a giant leg up on me. Applications due July 30th.

    If you don't live in Wisconsin, or are willing to move to Wisconsin, keep an eye on your state's (or the state you'd like to move to) job posting website. I'm positive you'd find something more fulfilling since it's amazing what removing the profit motive can do to a job.

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