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Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum and really relieved to have found it. I'm 26 years old and finishing college. I have 2 years left to go... so I use the word "finishing" in more of a wishful way. I'm studying techincal writing. Writing is my passion and I am an INFJ in every sense of the word.

For the past 8 years of my life, my work life has been hell. I somehow went down the path of being a hair stylist. I fell into it. My senior year of high school, I had enough credits to graduate early. It was a spur of the moment decision to go to cosmetology school half of the day while I was a senior in high school. I hated it from day one, but my parents would not let me quit because they had a very foolish rule (but it made sense to them) that once you start something, you must finish it no matter what. I was really devastated. This career path has caused me a lot of depression (and financial stress because I was never able to support myself well in it.. it's very hard to make money in this field because it's oversaturated and it's even harder if you don't absolutely LOVE it).

So right now I am in school full time and I am not doing hair, but I am torn because I need to be making money and I feel ashamed that I am 26 years old and I really don't have a career path. I feel I should be further along than I am now. This makes me feel like a failure. I can't stand the idea of going to work in a salon again. The problem is, it's not just that I hate it, but I also have the disorder known as BDD. Mirrors are my worst enemy. This disorder is really misunderstood, but let's just say it makes my time at work even harder.

I am unsure of what to do.. should I try to start freelance writing like it's my job and really treat it like it's my business? I want to start earning real money. I just know that if I go to work in a salon, my mind will not really be there. I feel bored intellectually in a salon and like I just want to scream.. the environment is also too overstimulating (noise, too many bombardments from people, etc, I don't like dealing with the public). I have walked away from the industry before and said I would never go back to it, but I always end up thinking maybe I should go back to it.. but then I do and I hate it and it's a vicous cycle. I just don't know what else I can do to make a living because I feel so underqualified.

Please help.. I feel like I'm losing my mind and I really would appreciate some sound advice from an outsider's perspective. Thanks in advance!
 

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I've been chewing on this a while now, but I'm not really making much of a progress, so here we go... :happy:

I'm 29 and just about to finish my master of arts this fall. I do have a job waiting for me, but not in non-profit management, and also something that I know for sure that I won't be working with in ten years time... so, I feel somewhat in a limbo when it comes to career, as I am still undecided as to where i'm heading in the long run... i could stay on the job for a few more years, delaying the scary step into the unknown future, or I could decide that now is the time to switch careers and go do what i really want to be doing, even if it is less economically secure and probably includes many times more challenges than staying in the office....

whichever i choose now, i know that i will need to take that step sooner or later if i don't want to find myself at old age regretting that i never even tried my wings and had a go at doing the things that i really wanted to do... :unsure:

as you say obviously you have to earn a living one way or another... but i would encourage you to as far as possible go with what you love doing - writing. if you then find that you need to get a second job to support yourself, then that's how much this world sucks, but if you can keep your mindset straight and remind yourself that it is just your second job, to make enough dough to survive, then i think you would still be able to see yourself as someone in a writing career... being able to make sacrifices and living on less, would of course also help towards you working with the things you really love...

admittedly i know virtually nothing about job opportunities for (technical) writers, so I would discuss this with someone who knows more about that of course... and don't feel bad about yourself not having your entire working life planned out... i find that the people that do are generally the most boring people i meet, and that almost everyone over 40 with an interesting job that i talk to have not known in their twenties what they would be doing later in life...

instead, be happy and thankful that you do know what your passion is... then prepare mentally to work hard to be able to live it...

btw, thanks for giving me the opportunity to think this through... i think i'm more clear about my own priorities as well now... :happy:
 
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After flunking out of college twice, I've decided to throw away the convents of the real world and I've chosen to live according to how I see fit.

I've got many aspirations, but right now, I've decided I want to be a rock star.

So I'm working on my singing voice so that I can start actively seeking out a band when I move to Edmonton. Sounds like a ridiculous pipe dream, right? It is. But will that stop me from trying? Probably not.

Work at what you want to achieve in life as if the world was going to end tomorrow.

It doesn't matter how ridiculous it seems. If there was no chance of ever getting somewhere with what you love, then we wouldn't have any famous people in the world.

(And by 'famous people' I'm not just referring to actors.)
 

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Ouch, my heart goes out to you, I know what it's like to be in a job that you hate. So YES! see what you can do with your freelance writing. If that doesn't work out for you, there may be other jobs that you can take for the time being. The "J" skills that us INFJs are gifted with make us great for office work, we tend to be highly organized and function well in an office environment as long as we have enough independence and quiet time.

I totally disagree with your parents, I'm a life coach and I tell my clients to try whatever they feel like and don't hesitate to quit and try something else if it doesn't feel right - that's how we learn. So keep looking for something that you think you'd be comfortable doing and don't limit yourself by what you've done in the past.

And lastly, lots of people haven't found a career path at 26, stop beating yourself up! You are in school and are moving towards the career you want, you're doing great.

Melinda
 

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I was working in retail for a while, and I hated it, but I had to make money.

If you need a job for some extra money, then I think you should see that as "temporary". But if you're doing something you hate, and you don't NEED to do it, then I think you shouldn't stress yourself over it. And I think leaving that job should be your decision and not your parents. (You are 26; not a teenager).

You say that you don't make much at the job. Have you thought about going into another mundane-type job to help you out financially for the time being?

Finally- as has been said, no you're not a failure. You're still young, and you have your whole life ahead of you. If it makes you feel any better, I'm 27- although I feel much older- and I'm unemployed. I'm looking for a job so I can go back to school. I already have two degrees in mass communications, but I have decided to take a different career path in psychology. I may be in my mid-30s by the time it's all said and done, but oh well. I plan to be alive for 50 or 60 more years, so that should be fine. I just hope that I can meet the girl of my dreams and start a family before I hit 40.

Good luck! Keep your chin up! :happy:
 

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I went to college for 3 years. Haven't been since 2006 though. I want to go back and finish my degree but life has a way of fucking up your plans. Currently working to pay off my debt working in a kitchen as a dishwasher. Sounds like a great career? lol I've learned a lot over the last year, more so in the last 6 months. What I've learned is that each day your life is passing by and you need to take hold of each day and make the best of it. I'm back home living with my mom after moving out 5 years ago. Once again, not ideal... However, there are pro's and con's to everything, so it's best to focus on the plusses. I've got a great view of the ocean and I'm saving up my money to pay off my debt that's been collecting since I moved out. Plus I'm taking care of my teeth. These things don't exactly make me happy, but realizing that I have people on my side makes it easier.

I felt like sharing my life a little bit just to show that every one of us is going through hard times. That's what life is about; how you deal with hard times. You mentioned that you have 2 more years to finish college, so that should be your plan. Focus on doing that and take any job you can while you are working towards that. It will not be fun, but you will thank yourself when you finally finish school. I know I can't wait to go back myself. Maybe try and offer to edit papers at your local college? Post on craig's list or something and see if people need a competant writer. Also, if you hate working with hair so much, then I wouldn't recommend going back to that. Move on and try something new. Anyway, I probably didn't even answer your questions so I'll just stop....... here. :tongue:
 

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Well, your job is just that - a job. We all need one, we all would rather be doing something else but why not make it work for you? Use it to find fodder for writing a book. Nobody says you have to be tied to cutting hair - I have my license and do something totally different for a living. In any case, just know that you are NOT tied to it. Life is too short to do something you dislike day in and day out. Look at cutting hair as being a back up profession. Keep your license up to date, do a little kitchen cosmetology on the side for your friends but know that it's not something that defines you.
 
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Just a few ideas:

1. Write a sarcastic booklet (blog style) about the life in the salon (the customer from hell, the arrogant boss, the stupid colleague etc). We always think of the hairdresser as "a service person" - it could be interesting to see the other side of the coin. At least this could be interesting reading for other hairdressers - there must be millions of them, and maybe you could write something for "The National Hairdressers' Journal" or whatever publications there may be out there.

2. Consider approaching companies providing services to salons, and say that you know the business as well as the technical writing side of it. Maybe some of these companies need help to explain how to use a product, in a way that is more fitted to this particular audience (e.g. safety precautions for using hairdryers, chemical hazards of bleachers etc).

3. Do you realize the number of people with anxiety issues that would like to have their hair done, but they find it too scary to go to a salon? For people with social anxiety it would be great if the hairdresser could come to their house. Try to find out if there are any organizations that could be approached, helping you getting in touch with the clients. This would probably not make you rich, but you could meet some nice people, and make some money to pay the bills along the way.

You are 26 and you don't need to be ashamed - to me you sound like someone I would consider hiring if I was on the outlook for a technical writer. I worked as a technical writer and project manager for more than ten years, and the ones I never considered hiring were the super slick consultant types - I knew they would always be more interested in themselves than the job or the client (and NOT in a good way :wink:)

Keep up the spirit, I am sure you are much better qualified for a number of jobs than what you may think yourself!
 
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