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Life Feels Stuck

TerrendosTerrendos Decorative MonocleRegistered User regular
I know it's not fair for me to be complaining because comparatively my life isn't bad; I'm employed and making good money at my current job. But I feel very unhappy with the path my life has taken (read: no path) and I'm out of ideas as to what I'm doing wrong.

I have a BS and MS in mechanical engineering and I currently work as a contractor at my current position, where I've been for four years now. My pay is good but the benefits are bad (one week of paid vacation a year, for example), I am regularly made to feel expendable, and I don't like what I'm doing. I'm assigned to fire protection, which I despise, and is not what I was hired to do, but nobody else wanted it and as a contractor I got stuck with it (read: I mentioned that I had no interest in the field and was vaguely threatened with termination of my contract). No big deal, right? Just find another job! Well, I've been trying to do that, off and on, for two years now. I've sent out well over a hundred applications and had a grand total of 2 interviews, and never heard back from either. One of them was for an engineer 1 position at a different branch of my own company doing *basically* what I'm doing now, and I couldn't even get that! How the hell does that happen?

All of this would at least be tolerable if my romantic life was... anything. But it's not. I haven't been on a date in years. I basically never meet women to interact with. There's few enough at my job, and I don't have any local single friends that would go out to bars with me or anything. I've tried online dating a couple of times but without success (just last week I ran out of women on Tinder). A few months back I started volunteering with a tutoring group to potentially meet some women, and I actually met somebody really cool, but I got shot down when I asked her out. Now I feel guilted into continuing to tutor even though I now have to share a room with the woman that rejected me and the whole thing has been a bust.

I feel like there's something wrong with me, something obvious that spending 10 minutes in a room with me is enough to make anyone want to stay as far away as possible. The evidence is piling up. I graduated five years ago, and in my head, I had a very different mindset for what my life would look like right now. I thought I'd be married or at least on the way to engaged, and at least a couple of promotions up or working for another company. I've spoken to my family (who are probably the only part of my life I'm happy with right now) and they're supportive, but they haven't been able to provide me with any useful advice other than "keep plugging along." I'm tired of plugging along. I've been spinning my wheels in the snow for four years. I want something to change. And I absolutely do not want to look back in another 5 years and be in the same place I am right now.

TL;DR: Nobody's buying what I'm selling in any respect, and I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

Posts

  • RainfallRainfall Registered User regular
    Change what you're doing, then. Maybe not professionally, but personally. Make an effort to try new experiences and get energized outside of your career and without worrying about a relationship. If you can break your routine outside of work it will go a very long way towards helping your outlook on life.

    DidgeridoozepherinschussMoridin889
  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    Terrendos wrote: »
    All of this would at least be tolerable if my romantic life was... anything. But it's not. I haven't been on a date in years. I basically never meet women to interact with. There's few enough at my job, and I don't have any local single friends that would go out to bars with me or anything. I've tried online dating a couple of times but without success (just last week I ran out of women on Tinder). A few months back I started volunteering with a tutoring group to potentially meet some women, and I actually met somebody really cool, but I got shot down when I asked her out. Now I feel guilted into continuing to tutor even though I now have to share a room with the woman that rejected me and the whole thing has been a bust.

    Please, please don't be the guy that just goes to things with the intent to hit on women. I run a fairly large meetup group and participate in a couple of other volunteering events, and those guys are just the WORST. They are super obvious and normally end up turning off the women, who clearly notice it.

    Join activities because you want to do them, or because you want to meet people of all sorts. Expand your social circle, raise your social capita and let dates come more naturally.

    This will also have the benefit of enriching your life and help you feel less like you're stuck.

    CauldDaenrisbsjezzIrukaAuralynxzepherinSiskaCowSharkMichaelLCDarkewolfeUsagiceresdispatch.ourahonkyMoridin889
  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    Rainfall wrote: »
    Change what you're doing, then. Maybe not professionally, but personally. Make an effort to try new experiences and get energized outside of your career and without worrying about a relationship. If you can break your routine outside of work it will go a very long way towards helping your outlook on life.

    I was hoping for something a little more specific than "make a change." That was what I was trying to do with volunteering, but it hasn't really helped. There's not a whole lot of stuff to "do" that interests me here. I've tried browsing meetup and didn't see anything to spark my interest. I'm pretty introverted anyway, so those sorts of group activities tend to be unappealing.
    Kyougu wrote: »
    Terrendos wrote: »
    All of this would at least be tolerable if my romantic life was... anything. But it's not. I haven't been on a date in years. I basically never meet women to interact with. There's few enough at my job, and I don't have any local single friends that would go out to bars with me or anything. I've tried online dating a couple of times but without success (just last week I ran out of women on Tinder). A few months back I started volunteering with a tutoring group to potentially meet some women, and I actually met somebody really cool, but I got shot down when I asked her out. Now I feel guilted into continuing to tutor even though I now have to share a room with the woman that rejected me and the whole thing has been a bust.

    Please, please don't be the guy that just goes to things with the intent to hit on women. I run a fairly large meetup group and participate in a couple of other volunteering events, and those guys are just the WORST. They are super obvious and normally end up turning off the women, who clearly notice it.

    Join activities because you want to do them, or because you want to meet people of all sorts. Expand your social circle, raise your social capita and let dates come more naturally.

    This will also have the benefit of enriching your life and help you feel less like you're stuck.

    I don't want to meet people of all sorts. And I'm not the guy who does things just to hit on women. I can barely flirt because I don't want people to feel uncomfortable around me. It took me six weeks of tutoring to even introduce myself to that woman.

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    how old are you

  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    I'm almost 30. The realization that I'm about to leave my 20s has catalyzed this feeling that I'm not where I want to be.

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    Terrendos wrote: »
    Rainfall wrote: »
    Change what you're doing, then. Maybe not professionally, but personally. Make an effort to try new experiences and get energized outside of your career and without worrying about a relationship. If you can break your routine outside of work it will go a very long way towards helping your outlook on life.

    I was hoping for something a little more specific than "make a change." That was what I was trying to do with volunteering, but it hasn't really helped. There's not a whole lot of stuff to "do" that interests me here. I've tried browsing meetup and didn't see anything to spark my interest. I'm pretty introverted anyway, so those sorts of group activities tend to be unappealing.
    Kyougu wrote: »
    Terrendos wrote: »
    All of this would at least be tolerable if my romantic life was... anything. But it's not. I haven't been on a date in years. I basically never meet women to interact with. There's few enough at my job, and I don't have any local single friends that would go out to bars with me or anything. I've tried online dating a couple of times but without success (just last week I ran out of women on Tinder). A few months back I started volunteering with a tutoring group to potentially meet some women, and I actually met somebody really cool, but I got shot down when I asked her out. Now I feel guilted into continuing to tutor even though I now have to share a room with the woman that rejected me and the whole thing has been a bust.

    Please, please don't be the guy that just goes to things with the intent to hit on women. I run a fairly large meetup group and participate in a couple of other volunteering events, and those guys are just the WORST. They are super obvious and normally end up turning off the women, who clearly notice it.

    Join activities because you want to do them, or because you want to meet people of all sorts. Expand your social circle, raise your social capita and let dates come more naturally.

    This will also have the benefit of enriching your life and help you feel less like you're stuck.

    I don't want to meet people of all sorts. And I'm not the guy who does things just to hit on women. I can barely flirt because I don't want people to feel uncomfortable around me. It took me six weeks of tutoring to even introduce myself to that woman.
    Terrendos wrote: »
    [A few months back I started volunteering with a tutoring group to potentially meet some women, and I actually met somebody really cool, but I got shot down when I asked her out. Now I feel guilted into continuing to tutor even though I now have to share a room with the woman that rejected me and the whole thing has been a bust.

    You started tutoring, not because you wanted to give back to the community, or push yourself to do something new but to meet women. And then want to stop the moment one turned you down. That's a perfect example of doing things just to hit on women!

    You don't want to meet people of all sorts, and you mention not having any local friends. Okay, what happens if you do meet a women and start dating. Are you going to spend all your social time with her? What about her friends?



    ShogunRainfallMrVyngaardDarkewolfeDidgeridooceresdispatch.oJennerose
  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    Kyougu wrote: »
    Terrendos wrote: »
    Rainfall wrote: »
    Change what you're doing, then. Maybe not professionally, but personally. Make an effort to try new experiences and get energized outside of your career and without worrying about a relationship. If you can break your routine outside of work it will go a very long way towards helping your outlook on life.

    I was hoping for something a little more specific than "make a change." That was what I was trying to do with volunteering, but it hasn't really helped. There's not a whole lot of stuff to "do" that interests me here. I've tried browsing meetup and didn't see anything to spark my interest. I'm pretty introverted anyway, so those sorts of group activities tend to be unappealing.
    Kyougu wrote: »
    Terrendos wrote: »
    All of this would at least be tolerable if my romantic life was... anything. But it's not. I haven't been on a date in years. I basically never meet women to interact with. There's few enough at my job, and I don't have any local single friends that would go out to bars with me or anything. I've tried online dating a couple of times but without success (just last week I ran out of women on Tinder). A few months back I started volunteering with a tutoring group to potentially meet some women, and I actually met somebody really cool, but I got shot down when I asked her out. Now I feel guilted into continuing to tutor even though I now have to share a room with the woman that rejected me and the whole thing has been a bust.

    Please, please don't be the guy that just goes to things with the intent to hit on women. I run a fairly large meetup group and participate in a couple of other volunteering events, and those guys are just the WORST. They are super obvious and normally end up turning off the women, who clearly notice it.

    Join activities because you want to do them, or because you want to meet people of all sorts. Expand your social circle, raise your social capita and let dates come more naturally.

    This will also have the benefit of enriching your life and help you feel less like you're stuck.

    I don't want to meet people of all sorts. And I'm not the guy who does things just to hit on women. I can barely flirt because I don't want people to feel uncomfortable around me. It took me six weeks of tutoring to even introduce myself to that woman.
    Terrendos wrote: »
    [A few months back I started volunteering with a tutoring group to potentially meet some women, and I actually met somebody really cool, but I got shot down when I asked her out. Now I feel guilted into continuing to tutor even though I now have to share a room with the woman that rejected me and the whole thing has been a bust.

    You started tutoring, not because you wanted to give back to the community, or push yourself to do something new but to meet women. And then want to stop the moment one turned you down. That's a perfect example of doing things just to hit on women!

    You don't want to meet people of all sorts, and you mention not having any local friends. Okay, what happens if you do meet a women and start dating. Are you going to spend all your social time with her? What about her friends?

    I started tutoring to meet new people with the thought that many of them were likely to be women. I am uncomfortable now because I still have to work in a very small room with the woman that rejected me.

    I have local friends. I do not have any sociable single friends that are local. I am reasonably happy with the current number of friends i have now and the time I spend with them. It's not as though I would turn down a new friend, but it's not something I feel the need to actively pursue, even if it were remotely easy for someone my age.

  • GizzyGizzy i am a cat PhoenixRegistered User regular
    Do you like board games? As an introverted person myself joining a board game group was pretty awesome because you can just focus on the rules and the games until you eventually warm up to people enough to be social.

    Switch Animal Crossing Friend Code: SW-5107-9276-1030
    Island Name: Felinefine
    Kyougu
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited December 2017
    100 job applications over 2 years is less than 10 per month, which, if I can be very blunt, is nowhere near enough. That's not even 4 apps per week. This is not what "seeking new opportunity" looks like, I'm sorry.

    If you hate your job and want to do something about it, you need to send out 10 job apps today. Get yourself on a pace of 50 per month and see what happens.

    Job hunting should be your second job. You should be hitting 15-20 hours per week of just pure job search, resume customization, company research, applications, and so on.

    On this front at least, you aren't spinning your wheels in the snow - you're idling in the parking lot and worrying about the weather.

    spool32 on
    DarkewolfeArmorocceresdispatch.oSCREECH OF THE FARG
  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    It sounds like you live in a smaller community (run out of people on Tinder). Have you ever considered moving? Larger cities have a lot more employment prospects and a lot more opportunities to meet and make like-minded friends, as well as date.

  • NobeardNobeard North Carolina: Failed StateRegistered User regular
    Here is some specific, actionable advice.

    Start seeing a therapist. That is a solid choice with high probability of helping you. Speaking from experience here.

    Stop tutoring. If you do not want to tutor for tutoring's sake, then stop.

    Get a new job for the sake of getting a new job. Even if the new job is the same fucking thing just in a different building, do it. There are decent odds you'll feel better despite there being no real change. Brains are weird like that.

    Changing jobs may also help with your resume, but don't take my word on that part.

    It sounds like you have no dependants. That give you a lot of room to try stuff. Take dancing classes. Learn an instrument. Learn to whittle. Learn to whittle while playing said instrument while dancing. Go Bigfoot hunting in the Pacific Northwest. Nearly every region has some weird crypto animal you can hunt if Bigfoot is too far away. Try to break a Guiness World Record. Ripley's Believe it or Not museums are less descriminating, so try to get an exhibit in one of those if Guiness seems to challenging.

    Do not be too afraid to be uncomfortable or even a little hurt. Statues are not made without the attention of a hammer and chisel. I say this as someone who has tried his whole life to stay comfortable and only recently have I had real pressure put on me.

    Isn't Tinder more of a hookup app than for actual dating? I dunno. Be mindful in any case.

    You deserve genuine respect and praise for asking for help in the first place. You'd be surprised how hard that can be. Go you!

    I'm not saying we are going to have an autocratic dystopia, but things keep happening that look like they come from an autocratic dystopia.
    Kyouguspool32dispatch.oKhraul
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    well 29 isn't anything to worry about

    i guess my less over-dramatic version of the preceding advice is you need to keep working on yourself. Option 1) have money or look like you have money. investment in good fashion and grooming pays off about a million times over. 2) be an interesting person. let's say you actually got a date with one of these women, what would you even talk about, other than how you haven't been able to get a new job? This doesn't mean you need to become a mountain climber, but you need to at an absolute minimum, learn how to pretend to be a social person who can hold court with anyone who comes along, be it a romantic interest or a group of interviewers.

    when you live alone, especially for long periods of time, it's very easy to lose perspective on how other people see you. nobody is buying what you're selling, maybe what you're selling isn't good enough.

    this also applies in professional circles. appearances and impressions are the key to "easy mode" in the two circles of life that you're trying to compete in, and you're struggling in both.

    i would get involved in group social activities and work on integrating yourselves into those groups (as opposed to just being 'random guy in attendance'). If you can walk into a group of a dozen strangers and get them to remember your name and like you, then getting the attention of a romantic interest will seem trivial by comparison

  • JarsJars Registered User regular
    what do you do in your spare time? if the answer isn't much it might be time to start doing something that improves yourself. not necessarily something you enjoy, but something that will help you grow as a person and better yourself. that could be many things- learning a new skill, or simply refining your current skills. starting a new hobby. training for an athletic activity. even just therapy because therapy can be really fucking hard. would it be easier to continue on as you are, sliding through life? sure, but I've been down that road. you don't want to be where I ended up.

  • mRahmanimRahmani DetroitRegistered User regular
    What are your interests? You mention a degree in ME, are you working in that field?

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    I work for the Navy as a civilian and I can tell you that we are looking for Engineers. It all comes down to what you're comfortable doing and whether you're willing to relocate. Despite being arguably the largest employer in the nation, many people forget to look for job openings in the Federal Government. https://www.usajobs.gov

    If you don't want to work for DoD, the Fed still needs Engineers for infrastructure, planning, management, etc.


    If you enjoy Engineering, try talking to schools or the Y about starting up a small STEM club/group that you can come up with projects like building bridges or managing rainwater. Some schools already have those clubs and just need more volunteers.


    I may be jumping to conclusions, but from your OP, it feels more like you're lonely and/or having relationship issues than you are having actual career issues. You could maybe sign up to be a foster at the local animal shelter, or just volunteer the odd Saturday to help them clean out the cages and exercise the animals. Both would give you a bit of a sense of companionship from the animals while also giving you a mechanism to meet new people through dog walks or dog parks.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Honestly, you really sound like you're not in a good place to start a relationship. For one thing, you can't be hitting on people from things like work or volunteering. Just don't do it, and don't take up anything new with the intention of doing it unless it's some sort of singles thing. The reason is... exactly what you just experienced. You can't just quit doing things where people rely on you because you got rejected and are uncomfortable now. It's not good for you, and it makes the other person feel super icky when you quit after they reject you. Even without all that, burning through commitments that way can make you feel so shitty when none of it amounts to anything accomplished. If a relationship begins naturally at something like that, okay.

    In addition... I think it's best to make sure your life is where you want to be and that you aren't still feeling stuck before you seek a partner with so much focus. At a time when your job might change very soon, being single and unattached really gives you the freedom to move or adjust to a major change.

    tl;dr Get your own shit together before worrying too much about finding a partner, and when you reach that point don't start with something like volunteering. If you do volunteer somewhere, don't try to date anyone there.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    NobeardHahnsoo1dispatch.oMichaelLC
  • PyrianPyrian Registered User regular
    Terrendos wrote: »
    Nobody's buying what I'm selling in any respect, and I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
    You're trying to advance your career and your love life, it's not working, and you don't know why.

    You have questions, and you need answers. I don't think you'll find them here, at least not directly. I'd rather you focus on what you might do to find specific answers to specific problems. Have you had a coach look over your resume? What is the state of your social skills? Many introverts lack social graces simply due to lack of practice, skills that can learned and taught. Look for something detailed, specific, and non-toxic (avoid the fuzzy new-agey stuff if you have an engineering mindset). Do you live in a place with lots of relevant opportunities? If not, have you considered moving? Have you researched places with lots of jobs in your interest areas? Are you even applying non-locally?

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited December 2017
    Turning certain ages feels like a kick in the stomach to some people. What ages are the magical milestones vary from person to person, sounds like 30 is one of yours. Life happens, it's not a ride you stood in line for at an amusement park with a very specific route that is fun, scary or miserable in the designated spots.

    It sounds like you had an idea of what being an adult was like that may not have been accurate. Your post reads like a mixture of mid-life crisis and depression. You should find a therapist as others have said. You should also find some friends and sort your priorities before you decide to inject your insecurities into a relationship and poison it from the start. You are responsible for your happiness and putting that kind of weight on others isn't okay.

    Your job doesn't make you happy? That's because it's a job! They pay you because it's not fun. Very few people find work to be everything their guidance counselor sold it as, even if they land their dream job. If you need a change, maybe wait some tables on weekends for a couple months as a motivator. It could definitely be worse.

    Volunteer at something for the winter and do something selfless. It can't hurt. (like a shelter or kitchen, you'll be busy enough that flirting wont even be on the radar)

    Do not check social media to see how people are doing. It's a fucking highlight reel and in no way representative of reality.

    dispatch.o on
  • kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited December 2017
    Reading posts is like reading an epistolary novel - narrators are always unreliable. We the readers can guess as to what the problem might be but could never give you a definite answer.

    On both the job and personal front something is going on that makes you unattractive. You should focus on figuring out what that is before you focus on putting yourself out there more either via tinder or the job market or meetups or whatever.

    Whatever personality problems you have probably make it impossible for you to self-diagnose without assistance. The hyper analytical way you write, your profession, and the way you have failed with women make me wonder if you’re on the spectrum or have some other issue that keeps you from reading and responding to cues in conversation. Or maybe your personality is within the normal range of problems people have but you are physically unattractive.

    All we can do is speculate based on what we read. I’d ask friends you can trust for their take while being mindful that people may not feel comfortable being honest or that they may not correctly understand you. On the job front of talk to a recruiter about your resume and understand their feedback as a starting point. If you can do any kind of meaningful professional networking that may help with referrals to jobs vs cold-applying to a million places.

    That you focus on that girl “rejecting” you is not something people say when they are happy about themselves. That somebody didn’t want to date you isn’t a “rejection” of you in any meaningful sense - she just doesn’t want to date you. In fact she’s happy to have you keep tutoring her. If i were you I would not be happy in that situation - if i liked someone and it wasn’t reciprocated, it would be unpleasant for me to keep having to hang out with her and pretend i didn’t have unrequited feelings. I’d end up feeling used because of that asymmetry. If you find yourself feeling that way short-circuit the path to bitterness by stopping tutoring her immediately. Don’t be honest about why - people will think you’re a creep - just make up an innocuous excuse and move on and don’t repeat the mistake again.

    Further on the relationship front - it doesn’t sound like you have much going on in your life besides a job you “despise.” People have been giving you the advice to fix your life up a bit first before trying to date. Why is that? Because you aren’t going to be appealing to date if you don’t do anything besides work at a job you’re unhappy with. You should think about how to build a life you’re happy with that you can then share with others. If you don’t have much to share with a partner you won’t seem very worthwhile to potential partners.

    Another red flag to me is that you said it was hard to make friends “at your age” of 29 - like dating it’s a numbers game and a question of putting yourself out there. I moved from LA to SF at 30. It was hard making friends - but no harder than being 25 - and was a numbers game of putting myself out there. I met my wife off tinder at 31 and my best man/bff is the sister of a coworker I met the year before. It can be discouraging but it is not particularly hard if you are able to interact with people comfortably. It just requires dedication and effort. If you address your underlying issues you will find it easier to make friends than you currently think.

    Therapy is a good long term solution for you to chase down but you should focus on achieving your goals to the extent you can self-identify your problems while you work on therapy - it can be hard to find a mental health professional that is both good and a fit for you.

    kaliyama on
    fwKS7.png?1
  • ReznikReznik Registered User regular
    I can only speak to the job thing. I was unhappy with my contractor position (and not the only one, as just about everyone who was there when I started left for greener pastures) and I'd been at it for about 3 and a half years. Same boat as you with regards to the OK pay and shit benefits (actually, sounds like we're the same age too), just a different field. So I did the following:

    - got a colleague (who successfully got hired elsewhere) to look over my resume, as we're in the same field
    - cleaned up my resume as per his suggestions
    - went on every job site I could find and applied to anything I was even remotely qualified for and a few things I wasn't. Applying for jobs online is easy. Sometimes you have to fill out annoying forms, but seriously, sign up on Indeed/Monster/Workopolis, check them every day, and shotgun blast some applications out there. Hell, once you put your resume up on Indeed it's like 1 click to apply to a job.

    I've been at my new job for over a month and I'm still getting contacted for interviews. But I also applied to probably 50 jobs in about 2 weeks. So. You gotta increase the volume of applications.

    It's also helpful to look at the wording on the job descriptions and make sure the wording in your resume matches up. Otherwise the keyword matching software most places inevitably use will skip right over you.

    Do... Re.... Mi... Ti... La...
    Do... Re... Mi... So... Fa.... Do... Re.... Do...
    Forget it...
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