Get Unstuck from 3-D Doldrums

By Dr. Molly Barrow

Are you in your third decade and disillusioned, disappointed and disheartened at your career? Are you still in your “college” job that was supposed to be temporary? Do you use a credit card like a drug to make yourself feel better and then discover you cannot quit your dead-end job because you are in debt?  After arriving into your twenties somewhat battered, filled with stale dreams and smarting from past rejections, your path to future success may elude you. Take a moment to review your possibilities.  A happy ending is still possible. Here are ten ways to get unstuck from the 3-D Doldrums.

1. Decide You Deserve Success: What is holding you back? It may be your “worse case scenario” thinking. Sometimes to protect yourself from disappointment, do you think negative comments to yourself: “I probably will not get the job, anyway,” “Everyone else is set except for me,”  “I should be driving a new BMW,” or “Why bother, it is just a volunteer job.” Change your self-defeating jargon to “I say yes to every great opportunity.” Fail all the time, but keep trying.

2. Who Am I? You are not who you were five years ago, nor will you be the same person five years from now. Your life and work choices, just like food preferences, accumulate. Make smart decisions and “Voila” there you are, lean and successful. Make lazy choices and “Voila,” there you are bloated, debt-ridden and depressed. The easy road is usually the wrong one.

3. My Parents: The push-pull of your parent’s advice and your own desires can often leave you at a standstill. People only nag people they care about and their urgent nagging of you is simply misdirected affection. They may have twenty to fifty years of experience on you, so be sure to sit down and really listen to their advice as well as other respected adults in your future field. Then if you must, you can make your own mistakes - as long as you only make them once.

4. I Want It Now: Do you want a better life? Live within your current means and avoid debt like a plague. Make the right decisions on the smallest scale possible, like for the next thirty minutes pretend you are a money-saving, happy and fit professional. What is the next choice that will keep it going? Do it. Take a break and relax, then start again. As long as the good decisions outweigh the bad, you will begin to improve and feel empowered. The process of achievement is often more satisfying then reaching the final goal.

5. Any Work Is Good: Every day you work at your low-level job accumulates good work experience. Whether you are a garbage collector or a stockbroker, all jobs have very similar skills to learn. Punctuality, dependability, responsibility all mean that “you do what you promise to do” and that takes years of practice. If you are selling shoes or selling real estate developments for millions you need to know your product, treat the customer great, and know when to move on to the next real buyer. Analysis, psychology and statistics are more than just boring classes - they are tools of the trade that can make you money.

6. Continue School: What idiot designed the current school system that demands energy-exploding people to sit silently in rows for eight hours? The best of the best have spent time in the principal’s office. If the educational system is unbearable for your nature, check out the online options and finish your degree, get an advanced degree or commit to lifelong learning in the comfort of your room. The best schools in the country offer online degrees.

7. My Relationship Is So Important: Nothing trashes a good relationship like poverty and arguing over money. Make a majority of your decision-making benefit your career rather than put all your eggs in the relationship basket. Odds are fifty-fifty right now that a marriage will succeed. Finishing school, getting solid business experience of any kind and developing your work skills will result in much higher odds of success. If you have designed your life around an unpredictable young person or worse, made decisions strictly to keep a rocky relationship going, when the relationship fails, you could end up with nothing.

8. Show Up: Be the one who shows up, often not always, for the company charity, the necessary overtime or the party for the pregnant assistant. Dress up and act like a professional. The social business occasions are where upper management gets a chance to notice you without the corporate world typecasting. The good ole boys and great ole girls have the power to promote you and thus skip years of climbing the corporate ladder.

9. I Never Noticed You Before: The person that you attract may change drastically when you are no longer watching television all day, smoking pot, actually bathe and take out the trash regularly. As you leave college day habits and distractions behind, you may find that even you are attracted to people with character, kindness, humor and intelligence over well-developed muscles and an “attitude.” That is why concentrating on your career might be more important than finding a relationship when you are 3-D.

10. Satisfaction and Gratitude: You may not be able to control anything else about your current job, except how you approach the work. Do what ever you do carefully, artistically and with the best of your ability. Decide that you want your life to be happy today instead of bitterly waiting for distant tomorrows. People will notice your approach to work and react accordingly. Positive behavior and thoughts draw more positive energy and experience, and is the smart game to play. The act of gratitude can change the worst jobs into play. Eventually, the new you will have all that you long for, however it may bear no resemblance to what you want today. Permit yourself to feel hopeful and confident, instead of driven and frustrated, while you change and grow inside.

Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Molly Barrow.

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