Difficulties with employment

I have been unemployed for long periods of time. For the past 6 months I have been working at a very low paying job that I am extremely over qualified for. It is not easy but I do it with a good attitude because I am grateful for what God gives me.

Here is the first problem. I don’t like to talk about my employment situation when in social settings because I believe that after all the stress I go through, I need a break and I need places where I can go and forgetting about my problems for a while. Also, a lot of people make comments that are just painful to hear. Sometimes it is purposely them being cruel because they want to hurt me. Sometimes, it is ignorance (they really just don’t understand how insensitive they are being) and other times, it is some ‘do-gooder’ who just pretends on the outside they are helping but the truth is, they just want to let their control issue shine. The way I deal with it is to state, ‘I do not want to talk about it’ I believe it is best to nip it in the bud and not give them an opportunity to say something that will hurt me. And I have suffered SO much pain at all the comments people have made over the years, I honestly can not bear to hear them anymore.

Well, it shocks me how many people just do not respect the boundary ‘I do not want to talk about it’. And I am at the end of my rope of continuously having to be polite and keep repeating the boundary.

Here is my second resentment. The secular world tells you the way to get a job is to network. Well… in my experience, ‘networking’ is just some fictitious concept some dude invented to create a business of employment councelling. It has never worked for me and looking back at my life, all the jobs I had was because it was God’s will. The 2 best jobs I had, I did horrible in the interview. In one interview all I did was cry and I got the job:rolleyes: So I believe at the end of the day, the best is to pray to God.

Well… being a human being, I joined a professional organization to network. We just had our Christmas party and I am in tears. I felt so small by all the talk about the jobs that are out there when I have approach several of those people asking for help and they all said ‘no’. I TOTALLY respect their ‘no’ since it is their right. But what kills me is if I have joined the best networking organization in town and they don’t want to help me the proof is in the pudding, networking does not work. Not to mention that I find it tacky that these people talk about all the opportunities in their organization when they know I am looking and have told me they won’t help me. It is l like telling someone I am an alcoholic and asking if they could help keep me sober and they say ‘I refuse to help keep you sober’ and every time they see me they waive a beer in my face.

So now my dilemma is as follows. I want to quit the organization because the pain is just so unbearable. However, I want it on my resume. I just don’t know what to do


I’m so sorry you’re having a difficult time; I graduated 1.5 years ago and I am still unemployed due to my physical condition. I understand how it is as people just assume because I went to a school where the job placement rate is 90%+ I should have a job by now. It’s difficult to try to explain to people why I am having a difficult time finding a job. Then people try to give advice and at times it is difficult to be patient and tell them I have already tried that or this would not work for me. I do have a great support system with my parents who understand and tell people the truth when it comes to my situation.

I would just keep re-enforcing the fact you do not want to discuss it and stick to that. It’s tough when society defines people by what they do for a living.

As for networking…I really don’t think it works but I do the LinkedIn thing anyways. It seems like the professional group members might be more in it for status than actually helping others. I guess I would never even know how to approach others about helping me find a job. I personally just sent out letters to volunteer my time to employers and have yet to get a response so I don’t think being proactive brings results either sometimes.

I pray things improve for you soon!

Sometimes it is helpful to ask for an information interview. You probably know about that – a brief 15 minutes interview you schedule with someone in the kind of place you’re interested in working. It’s easier because it’s just to gather information, you’re not trying to sell your qualifications for a job. Here’s a descriptive link.

Being out of work or underemployed is really hard.
Good luck.

It is really more like, I am an alcoholic, I want to get sober and I want *you *to be my sponsor, whether you want to be or not."

You see, networking isn’t just “hey, I know you and I know a company that needs an employee, let me tell them about you.”

It is, “Hey, I know you, and I think you would be a good fit for a company that looking to fill a position.”

When someone recommends you, they are putting their reputation on the line. THAT is what networking is all about.

Networking definitely works.

My daughter is a theater professional who constantly networks online and in real life. I do mean constantly–she’s always making contacts. If she didn’t, she would be waiting tables.

My husband works for a major computing company (international). In this company, when you finish one assignment, you are expected to find your next assignment and manager. They don’t assign you–YOU look and ask and find a spot that needs you. So that means networking. Yes, the Lord provides him with his jobs within the company, but the Lord does so by helping my husband network and seek out the places and people in the company who need him. If he didn’t network, who knows what he would be doing? It’s just a way of life for him.

I work in a hospital, and we generally don’t have to network to find jobs–the hospitals and clinics come looking for us. But I also play piano, and the way I find gigs is networking.

Find someone you trust in your organization, and ask them to teach you how to network. A lot of networking is listening to others, really listening and paying attention and remembering what they say. (My daughter writes things down.) Also, you need to learn to pick out and remember what’s valuable, and to filter out and ignore everything that is not valuable or truly hurtful.

And get some counselling to learn to deal with your social difficulties. I don’t blame you for wanting to avoid shop talk outside of work. But I’ve read your posts over the last few months, and it seems to me that you are over thinking everything and making lots os assumptions about everybody. You don’t seem to have the skills to be able to interact with others socially. You also seem pretty fragile emotionally, and I can understand why this leads to unemployment–people feel uncomfortable with someone who is always on the verge of tears or actually crying or constantly getting hurt.

I think you need to find a good counselor and do some hard work. Hopefully your company has some kind of Employee Assistance program that provides free short-term counselling.

Good luck to you.

When someone asks you about your employment situation and you would prefer not to discuss it, after you let them know that, quickly change the subject. “I’d rather not talk about it. So, did you see the latest episode of…” Unfortunately, sometimes all you can do is repeat, repeat, repeat. If you can come up with some quick subject-changers, though, it might make things a little easier.

As for networking, it can certainly work. Usually, though, it’s not so much “Can you help me” that works. It’s conversing with a variety of people in the group, talking about the types of positions you are interested in, asking questions about their organization, and asking whether they know of any positions available that you might be a good fit for. Just because you are looking for something doesn’t mean that the jobs available are a good match for your skill set or personality. Your approach might be just a bit off- over eager, or off putting in some other way, I don’t know. Remember that, as other posters have mentioned, when someone recommends you for a position they are putting their own reputation on the line, and they certainly should not feel obligated to recommend someone who they don’t consider a good fit. If you try a more relaxed approach, instead of asking “will you help me”, you might find that people will be more interested. Also- don’t write networking off just because you haven’t needed it in the past. I suspect that most employers would not hire someone who cried throughout the interview.

I think the suggestion of counseling is a good idea too. I know very well the pain of unemployment, but it should not be so unbearable that you avoid social situations and cannot bear to go to a networking group. If the networking group isn’t working for you, there is nothing wrong with quitting it. But it might be worth exploring, either on your own or with a professional, whether there might be ways you could approach the situation more effectively so that you are able to get more out of it.

With all due respect, you have just proved my point that people make annoying comments. First of all, you assumed that I did not know about information interviews, and I am fed up with being told things I already know. Second I specifically came onto a catholic website for support in following God’s will and I was given secular advice. And lastly, hiring managers are SO busy they do NOT have time to spend 15 minutes talking to someone just for the sake of giving information. I actually sat in an interview once with a guy from HR, he told me the hiring manager wanted to meet me. The hiring manager brought a project with him and asked me if I could solve it. The hiring manager did NOT care to get to know if I was a fit. He simply had an urgent problem to solve and was hoping to get an answer.

I realize your post probably came from good intentions. But I want compassion for what I am going through more than a job. The reality is, I could get a high paying job tomorrow and my hurt feelings will still be there and I will still need to deal with the hurt feelings


Thank you for your kind post

Wish you the best.

Please don’t rule out networking though… It is the way the world works…

Yes, quickly changing the subject sometimes works but sadly sometimes the person just changes it right back.

For some it might but in my experience it rarely works and I don’t know anyone that actually had results from it.

Well… this is something you really need to be good at and personally I would not be able to do this well and would probably do more harm that good to myself

And that is the point I am trying to make. It gets very wearing to always hear there are no positions that match my skill set and I am sick of constantly being discouraged.

And I agree that most employers would NOT hire someone who cries in an interview. The point I am trying to make is that is a perfect example of how God’s will was done and not the world’s way.


I agree with the advice upthread about seeking counseling. Work on your self-presentation and self-confidence. I know that this sounds like “secular advice” which is what you don’t want, but your posts over the past several months put up a lot of red flags as to how you are probably coming off in social and professional settings. I’m not going to tell you to keep doing the same thing and suffering in silence when it sounds like what you’re doing is not working for you and is causing you so much pain.

It seems like you’re just so beat up by circumstance that you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of an opportunity if it came your way. I also think you need to differentiate between the stuff you face in a social setting (which is probably not helpful and that you can just brush off) versus these networking programs, where you should put yourself outside your comfort zone and conform to norms. In a purely social setting, feel free to say, “Do you know of any jobs I can apply for today? If you don’t, let’s talk about something different” and be very firm about it.

I suspect you would probably benefit a lot from professional advice directed to people on the autism spectrum, as it sounds like you’re probably too direct and literal in your approach to networking and socializing in general. Also, I don’t know your area of specialization, but you may wish to hang up a shingle on Craigslist or elsewhere and work weekends and evenings to build up a clientele. That may get you a full-time job much quicker than the more direct route. And even if it doesn’t, every client will build your confidence and increase your income. My husband is a hobby programmer who does stuff in his off hours, and he has earned up to $1,000 a month on the side in royalties doing apps and selling them online for $1 apiece. He even got an invitation to apply to a job with a major electronics company in Silicon Valley this past summer just based on his online presence. If you are good at what you do (and it sounds like you are), you may need to work harder at letting your work speak for you. That’s presumably why you got the job where you were sobbing at the interview–you were good enough that they ignored the weird interpersonal behavior. That’s what I think you ought to take away from that–you are that good. If you stop doing weird interpersonal stuff, you are going to have an amazing career.

I think networking does work, but in your particular case, you may not be in the right mental place to do it effectively. I would suggest getting a side business running in your off-hours, having some success with that, and then and only then going back to the networking events. You need to have a win to talk about, even if it’s just an extra $100 a week.

Best wishes!

You need to adjust your networking strategy so that it works for you. Of course, how you do that depends on your field, but no matter what you do the way you “sell” yourself is the most important constant. There are people (especially those who have settled in their niche) genuinely interested in helping somebody else move forward, or even in climbing the ladder together. But the bottom line for almost everyone is: “Can you benefit my plans?”

That question requires some discernment. Especially because times are harder, people want to make investments they can count on (that is, you’re not going to reflect badly on me/step on my toes/drop off the face of the earth if I do you a favour).

For example, I’m fortunate enough to work in a people-oriented field where I get leads more or less every week. Some are interesting. Others are dull. Now and then I come across a few that are actually useful to me. I never jump before deliberation. Likewise, people may not terribly keen on giving away their valuable contacts and inside information to you straight off because they aren’t sure it’s worthwhile – yet. Ideally you’ll meet someone whose objectives coincide with yours, then you scratch each other’s backs, and its uphill from there. That’s one issue.

It’s more problematic if you come across as desperate or severely lacking in confidence. People might be sympathetic, and you might have bankable qualifications (and I am sure that you do) but “leaky” behaviour suggests that you’re unreliable. Unfortunately, people do judge books by their covers. While I don’t knock God at all, I suspect that you secured your previous position because the employer determined beforehand that you were a valuable acquisition, and that your emotions would probably wouldn’t interfere with the company.

Reading some of your comments it does seem that you have anxiety troubles and that they interfere with your self-esteem and how you relate to people face-to-face. After searching so long for a good job it’s understandable that you are exhausted and want to release your frustration. However, it’s also important that you address the matter as best as you can, rather than attribute its cause rather nebulously to God or the system of networking. In addition to some of the advice laid out by Xantippe and Cat, try strengthening your contacts at your current job. Its a smaller pool of course, but you might get more results from someone you know than a stranger.

I just want to point out that I post when I am discouraged and you are only getting one snapshot of my personality. I find it offensive to be told I sound like I am autistic. The truth is, very few people are capable of honesty and I can see why. If wanting to vent about a frustration is going to get me accusations of being autistic, then I can totally see why so many people keep their problems to themselves.

Anglewannabe said:

“I just want to point out that I post when I am discouraged and you are only getting one snapshot of my personality.”

We’re getting a whole bunch of snap shots of your personality, each of which suggests something similar.

“I find it offensive to be told I sound like I am autistic.”

I said, and I quote, “I suspect you would probably benefit a lot from professional advice directed to people on the autism spectrum, as it sounds like you’re probably too direct and literal in your approach to networking and socializing in general.” I did not say that you sound autistic, although as a matter of fact, you kind of do. I have one child who has an autism spectrum diagnosis, I’ve read a lot about high functioning autism, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my kid’s psychologist, I successfully IDed a friend’s child who was later diagnosed as PDD-NOS, and I have more than a few autism spectrum characteristics in my own make-up (grade school was quite a misery because of it).

You keep slamming into social issues, over and over again. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not them? I remember, when I was a kid, how difficult it was to deal with people. I just didn’t seem to click with them and I couldn’t make friends or know how to talk to other kids. I slowly improved as I got older and I’ve gotten a lot better in my 30s, but it was quite shocking for me to watch my daughter interact with other kids as a 1st and 2nd grader, and to see how bad she was at it. It wasn’t until then that I realized how I must have been at the same age and later on–it was like having a time machine to visit myself as a child.

I suspect that you would really benefit from some in-real-life coaching to help you with your rough spots.

“The truth is, very few people are capable of honesty and I can see why. If wanting to vent about a frustration is going to get me accusations of being autistic, then I can totally see why so many people keep their problems to themselves.”

White lies and lies in general are a feature of neurotypical behavior and culture. Feeling revulsion at dishonesty and being a compulsive truth-teller, on the other hand, is very characteristic of high functioning autism. I don’t think I feel as strongly about that today (although I think I’m no less honest), but I remember when I was younger feeling absolutely incapable of saying something that I did not believe to be true. In fact, it’s my straight-forwardness that you are finding so unpleasant right now. Bear that in mind the next time you find yourself having social problems–it’s very disconcerting to wind up on the receiving end of autistic bluntness.

What you see as other people’s dishonesty may actually be their kindness or their politeness.

:thumbsup: Anglewannabe, there’s a lot of wisdom in this post. I respectfully suggest that you take off the armor and put away other defense mechanisms that you’ve built up (e.g.,“I specifically came onto a catholic website for support in following God’s will and I was given secular advice”), and listen.

I can somewhat relate to what you are going through. I’m not sure what kind of field you are in but perhaps you need a change? I graduated from college 9 years ago with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and although I’ve had lots of interviews I never found a position and it used to really discourage me (and to be honest I’m still a little miffed by it lol). However here I am 9 years later and I’m a Certified Massage Therapist and I really honestly love my job. Before I went back to school for it I made sure (via a cousin of mine who is also a CMT) that there were jobs out there for me when I got out of school. I realize now that I chose the wrong major the first time around and all my jobs since then were in NO way related to Graphic Design. I love art but it would have been a better choice for me to major in an actual fine art instead of what chose but, well, what’s done is done.

As far as networking goes…it can work but it can also take FOREVER to see results. My husband loves small talk and he meets soooo many people and has sooooo many business cards and is soooo into networking that I can’t even comprehend it! I, on the other hand, HATE small talk and HATE meeting new people without forming some sort of meaningful relationship with them (like my clients I see at my job). I don’t consider myself autistic but I am very introverted…and there is nothing wrong with that. We innies make up about 25% of the population and unfortunately in western society are very undervalued and misunderstood. I would really suggest looking into careers that are suited for your personality and perhaps pursuing that route if you can. Good luck :slight_smile:

Here is my spiritual advice: do the novena to St Jose Maria Escriva for work. I would also reccomend his writings as he talks to professionals quite a bit about work and the connection between work well done and spirituality. I will be leaving for you.

I struggled greatly with a similar situation.

I used to run a movie theater. We were open 365 days a year. Where I live, we don’t get snow but once every other year or so. Christmas Day 2010 I wake up to a foot of snow outside. A white Christmas! What a coup! I had to open the theatre that morning, but it would be obvious that we would be closed right? WRONG. I was told by a snotty district manager clown to get there and stay open for my 8 hours or quit. I was the first and looked like the only car on the road. Treacherous snow everywhere. Finally I opened by myself with two other employees to take care of 17 people over 8 hours. I missed my wife and her family’s Christmas ( it was the last one her grandmother saw ), and I was in the midst of ungrateful customers complaining about an unsalted parking lot and how the heat still wasn’t hot enough in the auditorium. All of this on Christmas day. I made a promise to myself that day to change.

I went back to college, got my 4 year degree. But even with that, I hardly ever got a call except for nonstop life insurance recruiters. I prayed and prayed, I even broke down in the confessional. The kindly priest in the confessional told me that God will place me and give me time, that he know’s what’s best. Six weeks later I got a job.

Now I sit atop having a 9 days off for the holidays, Mass to get to, Christmas with my loved ones. The point of all this? Trust him and keep praying. Padre Pio said to pray, hope, and don’t worry because worry is useless, God will hear your prayer. I firmly believe this. :slight_smile:

I would consider a change but that is where prayer comes in. I pray for guidance. I don’t want to just go for the ‘quick fix’ only to end up in the wrong spot. Some of my skills are transferrable but depending on the path I choose, I would need more education perhaps which I would do at night

Anglewannabe said:

“I don’t want to just go for the ‘quick fix’ only to end up in the wrong spot. Some of my skills are transferrable but depending on the path I choose, I would need more education perhaps which I would do at night”

I would not hurry to go back to school, particularly since it’s not clear that there are any problems with your actual professional skills. Night classes might work well for you, though. There’s always something good in our local community college course catalog.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.