I have big goals, big dreams, big hopes for the future. I’ve built my life on working toward accomplishing these dreams. I’m generally a really optimistic, ambitious person. Anything I set my mind to, I succeed at in some way.

Until this year. It’s been a year of consistent, debilitating disappointments. I wrote a book and put my heart into it. I polished it and sent it out into the world. I received 30 rejections.

I’m a newly qualified teacher with two Masters degrees and $100,000 of student loan debt. I’ve applied for dozens of jobs and haven’t even gotten an interview.

I can’t stop the feelings of inadequacy and being not good enough because I’m LITERALLY not good enough. It’s been confirmed by 30 rejection letters and dozens of job applications unanswered. Nobody wants what I’m offering, even after I’ve worked my entire life to be prepared. I only have one person to talk to–my mom–and she’s insistent that I’m just being “negative”. This makes me feel so much worse. All I’d need to feel better is a few words of sympathy, but when I explain that, she says she can’t solve my problems for me (I don’t want her to, I just want to feel like I’m not alone). We both want me to move out, but seeing as I have no money and no chance of a job no matter how much I apply, I’m stuck here. It’s so unhealthy. My heart constricts just thinking about staying here another year.

This is the worst I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I’ve always been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel in the past, but this past year’s disappointments has obliterated the optimistic girl who could find the silver lining in everything.

A: You are obviously an intelligent and motivated woman who’s taken many steps to be successful in the workplace, so it makes sense that being unemployed and having multiple book rejections would be totally discouraging! It sounds to me like living at home isn’t helping either. Have you asked for your mom specifically for empathy and emotionally support? I suggest you let her know exactly what you’re looking for, even giving her the exact words, when you share your struggles with her. You mentioned that she’s the “only” one you have to talk to – why is that?

I suggest that the first step you take is to branch out socially so you have additional support during this difficult time.  Try getting involved in some community groups that interest you, like book groups or hiking groups, for example.  Consider spending some time volunteering. Look for ways to broaden your circle of associates and friends beyond you mother.

Since your current employment efforts aren’t going as planned, it might be time to get more creative in your problem solving by taking your passions, gifts, and training, and refocusing them temporarily. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.

Housing: What about looking for a housing situation where you manage an apartment complex in exchange for rent, or you check in on an elderly person in exchange for living in a basement apartment?

Employment: What about applying to non-teaching jobs while you’re waiting for the right teaching opportunity to come along? Any job will allow you to save money and move out on your own so you’re not “stuck” living with your mom. Consider refocusing your teaching experience by developing a course for community education classes in the evenings, for example.

Writing: How about taking your love of writing and looking into writing a column for a local newspaper or website while you’re waiting for opportunities to get your book published? Have you looked into self-publishing options?

My personal and professional experiences have taught me that, even when things don’t go as planned, no life experience is ever wasted. Many professional opportunities I’ve had have come through developing a network of personal and professional relationships that have opened up doors that I didn’t even know existed. As you expand social circles you’ll be developing key relationships that will likely open doors for you, too.

Thanks for writing in. Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Aug 2011

APA Reference
Hanks, J. (2011). Inadequacy & Job Rejection Have Led to Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/08/17/inadequacy-job-rejection-have-led-to-depression/