I'm usually terrible at writing long explanations, but, oh well, here goes nothing, heh.
I’ve kinda ... hit a stump in my life where I constantly feel like I’m lost and just cant figure out a direction to go in. Iv always wanted to be a game designer or you know work with anything having to deal with video games since I was little, but I was never really good at academic stuff. It got even worse when I went to high school. There was a lot of stressful things going on for me at home at the time so I just shut down, constantly trying to escape how miserable I was with daydreaming and video games instead of school and homework so I eventually dropped out.
Fast forwarding to now, I now live with my grandmother sitting on a "diploma" I got from the Lincoln academy online high school. Which saddens me to say I only got because the answers to all the tests for it was posted online so since I couldn't answer them and pass on my own I pretty much cheated to get it. So now with that I've been trying to get a job for months but, I have no references, no "special skills," or anything that would impress someone on an application so nowhere I apply to seems to even want to give me the time of day.
This wouldn't stress me out as much ... if I didn’t have a car to pay for. I was pressure into buying it from my grandma because the one I was in was very old and close to giving out. I told her since I was only in a temporary position at Wal-Mart and didn’t know for sure if I should used my saved up car money just yet. Well after a few months of giving Wal-Mart the best work I could I thought there was a chance that I would get hired on as permanent part time since I was doing so well and gave in to my grandmother's pressure and went ahead and got the car. Lo and behold Wal-Mart hires more temps and tosses me aside like used garbage and I haven’t been able to find anything since.
So now I just feel ... lost. Everywhere I look my friends are going for or living out the career of their choice while I’m sitting here with absolutely no path in site. I want to better myself and even though my boyfriend says its fine and I will find something for me eventually I’m scared to try new things and I’m terrified of college considering I couldn't even make it through regular high school or even an online one. I want to better myself and be a man my boyfriend can be proud of you know? Though every time I try something new to see if I could be good at it my mind and body just freeze up and thoughts of failure just constantly run through my mind until I give up. I guess it stems from people always either putting me down or treating me as if I cant do anything all my life ... I dunno.
So I guess what I want to know is, how do I get over this fear that prevents me from trying new things so I can get a hold on my life, push myself in the right direction, and maybe find decent employment. Sorry if this letter is all over the place and filled with bad grammar this is my first time writing a long letter like this.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this.
A lost sun bear (age 20)
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Dear Sun Bear,
I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time, but there are some things you can do to try to get you over the hump.
There are a lot of furries out there like you who love computer games and think that, therefore, being a game designer would be a super job, not realizing that to be in this field you need to excel at such things as mathematics, computer programming, and graphic design, not to mention being very creative.
So game designing wasn’t for you—as it is not for many people—and you defaulted to a Wal-Mart job and soon learned a big reason why Papabear despises Wal-Mart: the way they treat their employees. Even so, did you really see yourself working at MegaChineseCheapCrapStore for the rest of your life? I’m sure you did not.
But now you have to get back on track. The thing is, you don’t know where to start. One thing you can do is take a career aptitude test. There are a number of them online, some are free, some are pay tests. If you are able to, you can also seek out a career counselor at a local high school or community college and see if they can give you an aptitude test at the school. What you really need to do is find out not just what you are interested in, but what you are good at. Everyone has things that they are more inclined to excel in than others.
I know you don’t want to go back to school. You know you will earn more, usually, with a college degree than without one. But there are careers you can go into without an advanced degree. Some of these include: police officer, dental assistant, secretary, architectural draftsman, electrical technician, plumber, HVAC repairman, construction machine operator, sales representative, hair stylist, cosmetologist, industrial machine repairman, insurance agent, airline attendant, surveyor, stenographer, online SEO specialist, social media specialist, and even paralegal (although that last one is usually better with an associate’s degree). Several of these careers have people who make $40K to $60K a year, after some experience.
What you need is to get your foot in the door. One good way to do this is an apprenticeship program. For your state, Virginia, you can visit this page http://www.doli.virginia.gov/apprenticeship/registered_apprenticeship.html to learn more (around the country, the U.S. Department of Labor sponsors these programs-- http://www.doleta.gov/OA/sainformation.cfm). These programs offer on-the-job training, after which you can obtain a license to practice in your field. Companies across the country need people who are skilled in the trades much more than they need someone who worked at Wal-Mart. Obtain a skill (with minimal book learning) by practicing it in the real world, which, I have a feeling, may be more up your alley.
Last, but not least, there is always the military. You are still very young, so as long as you are in good health, you would probably be welcomed by one of the branches of our military. Service could do you some good by giving you a structured environment and also an education. You can learn more at http://www.military.com/.
I hope these tips can help you, Sun Bear.
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