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You Asked: I'm Stuck in a Rut

You Asked: I'm Stuck in a Rut


Dear Sugar,

I seem to be stuck in a rut. I have nothing really to wake up to in the mornings. I'm jobless, my social life is a wreck, I’ve never really dated, I’ve failed at my diet, and my family is driving me crazy — I just feel trapped. I sometimes cry about it, but I still do have a fight inside myself. I just don’t know where to start to get myself going again. I don’t have anything going on socially, so I thought a job would cure that. However, no employer wants to hire someone without any skills. How do I overcome this tough obstacle?

— Down and Out Dahlia

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear Down and Out Dahlia,

Sometimes it can seem impossible to see that light at the end of the tunnel during the dark periods in our lives, but I promise you, there is one. It sounds like you have the drive to pull yourself out of this, but you just need a plan. First off, no matter how it may seem for everyone else, getting a job is hard work — even if you have a lot of experience — but remember that persistence does pay off. When dropping off your resume or interviewing, check your low self-esteem at the door — employers are looking for confidence.

Outside of finding a job, I think it’s also important to start setting small goals to accomplish for yourself each day. For example, make a commitment to exercise 30 minutes a day, three times a week. Or aim to do something social once a week like going out for a coffee or heading to your local bookstore for a reading. You don’t even have to talk to anyone, but putting yourself out there is bound to make you feel more connected and far less trapped. You will get through this, Dahlia, just take it day by day and don’t give up on your job hunt. Good luck!

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Slightly-Mad Slightly-Mad 9 years
I'm honestly the exact same way, and I have been for four years. Recently I joined the gym and it's really helping with my self confidence. Keep in mind it's still not as high as it should be, but if it's helping, that's good. You just have to find something your enjoy doing to take your mind off of issues in your life, even if it's just for an hour. Trust me, it really helps!
jill37 jill37 9 years
Have you considered some volunteer work? Taking classes, joining a gym, and going out for coffee are all great, but they often require money, which can just add stress while you're unemployed. (For what it's worth, I've had very similar experiences.) But volunteering is a great way to socialize, and your likely to meet wonderful people who are genuinely thrilled just to have you there. And doing something you can be proud of will undoubtedly boost your self-esteem. Plus, volunteer work looks great on a resume; you may impress somebody with your hard work, learn some new skills, and make a good job contact. I agree with some others that counseling could be really good for you, especially if making changes just seems too overwhelming to do by yourself right now. I know that counseling was wonderful for me when I was in a similar position.
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 9 years
JessiShaye-That is great advice. Try joining a gym, or a yoga class. Also try finding some classes in things that you are interested in (maybe and art class, or a pottery class or something) Try doing volunteer work. If you like animals go volunteer at your local animal shelter. Animals can be VERY thereputic and it will give you something to look forward to. Not only that but it will give you a great sense of accomplishment. I dont know if you are religious or not (i am not, I am agnostic) but still a church group is a great way to meet people, and religion can also be very thereputic for some people (depending on how you feel about it I guess) I know that it can seem hopeless sometimes, but the only person who can make it better is YOU. And the longer you do nothing about it, the harder it will be to do something about it.
JessiShaye JessiShaye 9 years
When I was going through a rough phase I really got into reading and yoga. Yoga, which helps with self esteem, really gave me an outlet. It got me out of the house and started to put me on the right direction to taking care of myself. On top of all of that, since I had socially withdrawn a bit, it helped me meet people that I had something in common with. Yogis tend to have great energy and the experience puts you outside yourself. Getting through a class, especially a tough one, makes you feel like you've accomplished something - which is nice when learning how to goal set successfully. There's that saying from the movie Vanilla Sky; "Just remember, the sweet is never as sweet without the sour,". You'll get through this. :)
0danielle0 0danielle0 9 years
Whether you want to call it praying or just vocalizing your thoughts, I recommend you lay in bed each night and talk to yourself, or whoever you believe in, about how you're feeling and what you want from life. I guess you could consider this my alternative to journaling, which I've never been good at. :P I personally don't believe in organized religion, but sorting through my thoughts and future objectives helps me find peace in the day-to-day struggles of life. Then, when I've got all my thoughts out, it's much easier to take a deep breath, let it all go, and drift off to sleep. Best of luck. :D
Ikandy Ikandy 9 years
I think we all go through these feelings at one period or another (not to make light of what u r going through). When Im feeling depressed and unmotivated, (if Im not in pms mode) Im usually lacking in vitamines/supplements...vit.d(15 mins of natural sunlight), b, calcium,and loads more can help you feel your best. Motivation is really hard sometimes, so hard that we can so easily give up on everything...I personally, struggle with it constantly. I totally agree with everyone about setting short term goals...take baby steps. If u need to chat about anything...Im just a click away!!!!!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
All the advice on here sounds fantastic, so I'll just add my vote and say that this definitely does sound like a depressive episode. Perhaps once you acknowledge that, it will make your feelings themselves less overwhelming, because you'll know that that's what they're coming from. I think the journal idea Pistil brought up is great, and I would add that it may help for you to spend some time trying to figure out what you do enjoy and what you are interested in, and base your choices of job, friends, or other pursuits around that. I didn't get the feeling that you're in financial trouble--you didn't mention that, and it sounds like you want a job mostly for the fulfillment and social aspect, not the money--so that, at least, is good. It gives you more freedom. You might even consider taking a few classes at a local community college to figure out what you like. If you really, really want a job just to be around people, get out of the house, and all that, but don't have a lot on your resume, I'd suggest a few months of retail at a nice store that sells things you like. Just dress presentably and be personable at the interview, and you'll have a decent shot.
mcreverie mcreverie 9 years
i think you really need to stop thinking about things in a "list" because once you do that, life in general is going to seem overwhelming (as in "oh my god, i have so many things i need to do, how am i going to do it all, and why haven't i done them already?"). you need to give yourself a break. we are all human, we're not perfect, and i'm sure you have your heart in the right place. i think you need to think a little practically re: the job thing. i agree with everyone else about making short-term goals (and just two or three at a time, don't go overboard). have you thought about going back to school? school can give you access to internships which will get you into a job/career where you will feel valued. schools also have access to employers that recruit ONLY from schools so you'll have a leg up, and plus you'll definitely meet new ppl. OR you can do the temp thing too (or waiting tables or retail) which may or may not lead to something permanent, and that would definitely be a short-term solution (i'm not sure it's a long-term solution, unless you temp in something you truly enjoy). whatever the case, take little steps and you'll get there! =)
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 9 years
Ive been in a similar situation before, and it can be incredibly lonely. But, to say that no employeer will hire someone with no skills is not true. (that, and Im sure you have many skills, so stop underestimating yourself) I have a great job right now, working for a phone company, making alot more money that most people my age. I dont have a degree and when I started working for them I had no experience whatsoever doing what Im doing, and I dont have a degree (in fact I flunked out of college) I started as a temp, and busted my ass to prove that I was a hard worker and a quick learner. and out of over 30 people that were hired on with me, there are THREE of us remaining. And Im now a full time employee and have been promoted 3 times! Its not about what you HAVE, its about what you can AQUIRE. As far as your socail life, just getting out more. You dont have to go to bars or parties, or whatever. You can meet poeple anywhere, the book store, the coffee shop, the drug store. You just have to put out an image of confidence ( even if its only a facade for now) and people will notice. I know it seems like a daunting task, but its not impossible. Growing up I was terribly shy and reserved. I went to college and was still very shy and finding hard to meet anyone. (I didnt have a single friend for the longest time) Finally I decided that I would never last if I didnt make a few friends. So, I mustered up some courage and put on my fake confidence, and went out and met people. Withing a matter of days I had met so many new people, and withing a few months had developed a close knit group of freinds. So like I said before, its not about what you have right now, but what you can aquire, and what you are willing to do to aquire it. Good luck, I wish nothing but the best for you. And I know you can do it.
time_after_time time_after_time 9 years
Volunteer and exercise!!! Find a place that desperately needs people on a volunteer baisis. It looks good on a resume and it WILL make you feel better! :) Good luck!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great advice.
pixelsugar pixelsugar 9 years
One of the ways I've started meeting new people is going dancing. You're bound to meet people in dance lessons because typically you change partners a bunch. Also, while you're looking for a good job, why don't you try serving tables? You will make tons of friends by working around that many people and I've found some of my best friends through restaurants. Hang in there, you seem like you have a good head on your shoulders. I think you really need to consciously make an effort to get out of the rut you're in. I am confident that you can do it, if you put your mind to it. Good luck!
avocado_seed avocado_seed 9 years
I've been going through something similar for the past year and a half or so... I'm living by myself, I have no work experience, my resume is pitiful, my social life is a wreck, and a lot of things about myself make me very insecure. I'm about to graduate from university, and my future is a void... I don't like how I'm ending university. I have kept journals on and off, but sometimes I feel as though it just makes me dwell on my unhappiness even more, though it does help to write out your feelings.
Pistil Pistil 9 years
Keep a journal. Writing might help you sort out your thoughts. I don't write as much anymore, but I kept several notebooks through out high school up to college. It's like a form of personal therapy. Maybe I should pick that up again...
shernic82 shernic82 9 years
I can understand what you are going through. I recently finished graduate school and thought it would be a breeze to find a job with a Masters' Degree - but I'm starting to think it would have been easier with no degree at all! I moved away from my college town, and away from my best friend. I have found that it really does help to actually get out of the house and be around people. I go wander around the mall, and if it were warmer, I would go jog in the park (I hate winter, I think it adds to the feeling of isolation). I agree with what people have said about setting goals for yourself each day. Exercise always makes you feel better! I am going to take some of the advice I've read here for myself, so thank you for asking this question, and thank you everyone else for your helpful advice :)
Green Green 9 years
good luck getting out and by acknowledging that you are down and out is a good way to realize the only place to go is up! Set small attainable goals for yourself and make sure that the reason you are "failing" in your eyes is because you are expecting too much too quickly. Good luck, and when all else fails spend some time on sugar.com- we are here for you!
lemuse20 lemuse20 9 years
I know you've said that you've failed at your diet, but baby steps! I swear one of the best things you can do for yourself is lose weight, it's very rewarding and it definitely helps with confidence and energry which can also help in the job and social department. Just had to share that bit...
mlen mlen 9 years
as far as a job goes i have two suggestions- one is try a temp agency. many companies use temp agencies to hire part time positions. and temp agencies will evaluate you and test your skills and put you somewhere appropriate. and once you are in the company you'll be mingling the the full time employees. so work hard and be friendly and maybe when the temp position is up you can transition into a full time spot. or at the very least impress a boss enough that they'll be a good reference for you. my other suggestion is retail. it doesn't take much to get hired somewhere. start looking now before all the college kids come home. browse your local malls and i'm sure you'll find a store or two that are hiring. i worked retail as a second job once and i picked a store where i liked the clothes. not only did i get a discount but the other girls who worked there were my age and fun too, so i made some at least good acquaintances through the experience. as far as a social life goes, consider signing up for a class. if you have enough funds to audit a class at a community college do that, or look for an adult ed program. i audited photography at a CC a few summers back cause i was really interested in it. i enjoyed what i learned and i also became friendly with some of the others in the class, since we all shared a common interest. if there is a local coffee shop in your town that people go to, start hanging out occasionally. bring a book and sit there for a few hours over a couple weeks, see if you see the same people. if so strike up conversation. some of my best friends come from sitting and hanging out at a coffee shop. it sounds like you are depressed but working to get out of your funk and i'm glad you recognize that and are interested in doing something about it!
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
Most everyone goes through this in life so trust that you will get out of this! It will be great to start working on the things that are bothering you. First of all since you feel you have no skills how about going back to school? Even if you can only take one class at a time. Set up a meeting with an admissions office and see what you need to do to start. Since your not working and committed to a job and family this is the perfect time to go back to school and gain some skills. You say you've failed your diet...don't we all? The thing with diets is that they don't work! You just have to watch what you eat and workout. Even if your workout is just walking at the mall for a half hour a couple times a week. Watch what you eat and I'm sure you'll see some improvement. Even if you set aside one day out of the week to eat whatever you want. School is a great way to jump start your social life and possibly meet some cute guys. It will also get you away from your family for a while. Also to gain the skills to better your future! Also as far as work how about a job that doesn't require too much skills like maybe Starbucks or a bookstore? This will also introduce you to new friends and people even if it's just a couple days a week. Good Luck and remember everyone gets in a rut once in a while, hopefully you just something new and fresh in your life to turn things around.
kaenai kaenai 9 years
I noticed that you say you don't have skills; I guarantee you that you do, you just haven't found a way to make them sound marketable. But remember my earlier post; find a local program that might help you with your job skills. You'll meet people there, too, not only for friendships, but also for networking. They'll help you identify skills you may not realize you have. Meanwhile, you can work part-time in a shop (or department store). They may not pay what you want, but you'll gain work experience to add to your resume.
kaenai kaenai 9 years
This is definitely a depressive episode, and it will definitely get better. I've been living with major depressive disorder and chronic anxiety since I was 12 (don't worry, most people who go through it come out of it), and I know it's hard to deal with, even on a short term basis. I've felt like you feel now for the last 5 or 6 years, even while I had a job and was working (until about 2 years ago). For now: jennjenn is absolutely right; set small goals for yourself, and you'll start to feel a lot better. Don't make any plans that seem overwhelming, start small. Going to the gym is a great suggestion. It gets the blood and adrenaline flowing, and if you've got some music you love to listen to, it can really give you a pick-me-up, and it just might be the motivation you need to try something new. And don't listen to the naysayers who will tell you that you're just not trying hard enough. Depression is a very real thing, and it's not like coming in from a snow flurry - it's more akin to being stuck in a blizzard when you can't even see the door. It's hard, but you really can come out of it. At the very least, try counseling. Even on a short-term basis, it's always good to have someone there who will listen, and who understands the proper way to help you through your troubles. In the meantime: When I'm feeling bad, I usually put on an outfit that I know looks good on me, and fix up my hair, then either listen to some really upbeat music (something with a beat you can dance to), or try going for a walk - or even a jog! As for work, take some time to go over your resume. If you see something you can brush up on, try to find a class or an online training - many cities have work programs that are either free or low-cost that can help you out (for example, I managed to find a great program at Boston University that's completely free, and even gives college credits). It's also a good way to remind yourself of the talents you have and the skills you've learned. Give yourself a pat on the back for all of them! Most importantly, treat yourself well. When you catch yourself saying negative things about yourself, remind yourself that it's only the depression talking. It's difficult to lift yourself out of a rut like this one and find a new balance in your life, but you can do it.
aeschere aeschere 9 years
great advice, dear! i recently had to withdraw from uni because of depression and right now am at a loss of what to do aside from seeing a counselor.. i need to listen to this too. :)
Meike Meike 9 years
Yes, this is clearly depression. I recognize it immediately because I have been where you are now. 2 years ago, I lost all freelance gigs to a movie studio I wanted to work for because I got in a disagreement with one of the VPs. Yeah, stupid move on my part. After that, I hit a rut. I had a job I detest. All my friends were moving back to my home country or out of state. I was too shy to date and settled for someone significantly less than my standards of a perfect mate but at least he paid me some attention and distracted me from my real problems. The uplifter: Getting a new job, becoming a bit more of a social butterfly in my new work environment, dumping the ass and for an incredible individual who met all my needs. Little by little you need to implement new changes to your typical, mundane routine. A bit of adventure here and there will add spice to your life. You must motivate yourself to want these things and take action about them. All is not lost when you have two working legs and arms, and a voice. When you do find a job, put aside some money for savings but also set aside some money for little luxuries. Pamper your pretty self whether its going to the gym, buying that cute dress you like, treating yourself to a meal at your favorite restaurant, etc. Really make an effort to talk to whoever becomes your co-workers. Ask them out for lunch and get to know them. They can quickly become good friends. You see a cute person you like? Ask him/her out. If he/she says 'no' do not take it as a sign of rejection. Everyone has preferences and it's not about whether or not you are not attractive enough. Hell, I consider myself hot but I've been turned down some couple of times because 1) one guy was more focus on his studies than dating 2) one guy was in love with another girl and 3) one guy was bi and was in love with my gay friend. Lol. See, it's easy to ask people on dates when you love yourself and know the problem is not you. On an endnote, the only way to get out of a rut is if you have the motivation to take yourself out of it. That means being more optimistic about life in general, having more persistence when applying for jobs, exuding more confidence in social gatherings, and having the will to do good things for yourself. So, tomorrow, wake up early and get started. :)
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
dear said it best, I can't say it any better. We all have our dark times but you will find your light again. Set goals for yourself and do something daily that helps you work towards that goal. good luck!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I agree that you sound very depressed. In my mind, anyone who really, truly wants to work can find a job doing something. I mean, you can't be super picky with what you get, but many jobs require basically no skills other than dressing presentably and showing up. So the fact that you are giving up so easily leads me to believe that something else is wrong. You sound like you have no agency in your life. Like that you can't control any of the circumstances. Unless you change that core way of thinking somehow, it will be hard to get your life together. Good luck.
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