“With my anxiety I have had the hardest time with getting the courage to start working again. I don’t have to work, but I don’t know what degree I want to get, so I’m stuck at home with no kids. I’ve been developing hobbies, but I feel guilty for not working or going to school. My husband is doing both full time and it hurts to think I’m not pitching in. The reason I am hesitant getting a job is that I am so hard on myself. If I make a mistake, it ruins my whole day because I’m worried what my boss or manager would think. I forget things easily and my logic skills are awful. Crowds also get to me. I’ve only worked at fast food restaurants that get so busy, and I haven’t tried other types of jobs. Another reason I’m not going to school is because I feel like it’s almost time for me to become a mom, but what the heck do I do in the meantime??”
Anxiety can be a very hard issue to deal with-especially when fear of the unknown is involved. That being said I do think there are a few directions you can go.
School: Contrary to popular belief, schooling doesn’t have to be something you do ONLY if you have a specific direction in mind. Do generals. Get an associate degree. Take some classes in things that interest you. They have classes on everything from social media to blogging to pop culture. You can learn how do use photoshop, get better at public speaking, or learn job skills. A class can be something that interests you, and it might even point you in the right direction for a career. Keep in mind that these courses don’t even have to be in a traditional campus-they can be fully online and done from home.
If traditional schooling isn’t for you, you might want to consider a trade school. You can go to a school that is online, or in house, and learn all of the skills to get a job. A lot of these schools also set you up with an externship, or provide real life practice, so you can see the job in action before you take the step to work there.
If you are looking for an online program, or work from home options, I HIGHLY recommend Career Step. They offer a lot of programs in the medical field, and they have a few options where you can work from home after you graduate.
Working: If school isn’t something you want to pursue right now, I would recommend getting online and checking local job listings daily (I really like Indeed.com) If money isn’t the big drive, look for something that you feel like would be fun or interesting. Check with friends for entry level positions at places they enjoy. Working with people you are comfortable with can even help ease some of the anxiety associated with doing something new. When someone hires you, they KNOW you aren’t going to be perfect. They know you are going to require training and time to get good at what you do. As long as you are willing to try, and make an effort to ask questions and improve yourself, you will be just fine.
Volunteering: If you decide against school, and working, I would highly recommend volunteering your time. I think this not only gives you potential job skills (in a situation where you don’t have to worry about being criticized) but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment. Sites like VolunteerMatch allow you to choose things you care about, and will find places in your local area to give back.
I think you have several options, but before you go any of those directions, and before you start to have kids, I would highly recommend counseling. I think that counseling has such a negative stigma attached to it, and it isn’t negative at all. It is a way to improve how we think, how we treat ourselves, and how we associate with others. If you can get your anxiety issues sorted out, and learn some coping methods, you might find that the idea of school or work no longer stress you out-or that you are ready to take the next big step in life.