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 Post subject: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:48 am 
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I hate my life.

I hate my job. I have no social life.

Despite all this there is no way I can see to go forward without things getting worse.

And the worst part? I feel like I can't even get more specific than this without effectively outing precisely who I am. :(

I have never felt more trapped.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:21 am 
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For the purposes of discussion, I shall assume that you are a Lithuanian basket-weaver currently living in Zimbabwe. Because living conditions in Zimbabwe are, quite frankly, terrible at the moment.

Polyodon wrote:
I hate my job.


Basket-weaving is clearly not for everyone. It might be worthwhile looking into getting a new one. Decide first what job you would like to do - for example, weaving carpets - and then look up jobs in the local newspaper, or on websites.

It may turn out that carpet-weaving requires skills and/or qualifications that you do not have. At this point, it might be worthwhile to consider spending some time at your local university - many have after-hours course schedules - or look into something like EdX (many online degree programs are questionable, but this one's got backing from Harvard, M.I.T., and other such big names)

It might also be a good idea to move. Zimbabwe is in a bad state.

Polyodon wrote:
I have no social life.


I am really not the right person to ask about this, as I have a very minimal social life myself. (I don't know how people do it. Is there some secret newsletter or something?)

But I have been told that one way to start is by joining a club of some sort. Toastmasters is a good example; it'll teach you presentation skills, which are generically useful (especially if you decide you want a job as a motivational speaker), as well as allowing social interaction. And it's worldwide, so there's fairly likely to be a club near you, or at least in the same country; look here to find out more details. There's three clubs in Zimbabwe, but if you want to move elsewhere, there's likely clubs there, too.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:36 am 
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CCC is right. If things are as bad as you say, then change is needed. Start with a holliday and a change of scenery. Go to school and learn something you always wanted, and yeah, make a career out of it if you want. Entertain the notion of moving to help facilitate your career. Pick up a new hobby. Do anything, as long as its not something you normaly do. Change may hurt, but it has to happen before things can get better.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:16 am 
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Well, I'm not gonna give you advice if you're just wanting to vent, because nothing is more infuriating than well-meaning people saying "Well have you tried this?" when if it were that easy, you would've done it already.

Do you have anything that gets you through the day? Something you look forward to in your week? Something that feels worthwhile? Focus on that. Unless it is drugs or booze.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:00 am 
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I hate one of my jobs but I've just started a second one which makes me happier.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:49 am 
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Polyodon wrote:
And the worst part? I feel like I can't even get more specific than this without effectively outing precisely who I am.


This is intriguing. Are you a celebrity? A politician? A spy?

A former sluggy.net mod?

Never mind, I won't ask.

There's a simple solution to your problem. No one can ever be happy working only for themselves. You need to identify some project you can work on (in whatever spare time you have) that will bring happiness to someone other than yourself. Ideally it should be something that calls on your own unique talents and skills.

I can't absolutely guarantee that will make you happier, but if it doesn't, at least you'll have made the world a better place.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:10 pm 
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So I'll try to be more specific, but as a warning, I'm changing a number of details on purpose. The why here is I am in a very public role, few people do what I do, and as soon as I lose anonymity, I lose all ability to speak freely. Given a small number of correct details I could be doxxed in seconds.

So, I'm a scientist, and I work at a research institute, where we also offer graduate programs in our work. By most accounts, I am very successful. I am a junior member of my organization, but run my own laboratory (in theory). I've got an NSF grant worth $2.5 million for which I am the sole PI. It ought to be a very enviable position, but I have discovered, unfortunately, that the institute I work for is a bad joke. I'll be returning all or most of my grant due to the incompetence of our staff, as the "in theory" part of my lab is due to the fact that I am a lab director, no one else works in my lab but me. I literally have enough funding to have four full time researchers under my direction, guaranteed, for the next three years with no additional funding. But nothing gets done in this town, and they didn't send offers out in time, and the folks I spent months recruiting had to go elsewhere. It's an unmitigated disaster. I've been trying to salvage the situation by converting the positions into a senior hire, but our department's finance office shot that down because the institute director is opposed to senior hires. He'd rather I return the grant.

I love my job, in theory. I spent 8 years in post-graduate training earning my PhD and post-docing, loving every minute of it. But when deciding between three lab positions, I picked the wrong one and ended up at a highly ranked, but doomed institute.

Finding a new job will be tough because I'm married with a two-body problem, and openings in my field are scarce and highly competitive. I was blessed with three options when I picked this one. Most of my colleagues have 0-1 offers when on the market. I just picked incorrectly, though as my wife has said, I would be wishing I took this one if I had taken the others, because on paper, and during my interview, it looked like the best option by leaps and bounds (start up funding for my lab was $500k here, $150k at other options).

Quote:
But I have been told that one way to start is by joining a club of some sort.


Tried that. My move out here took me from a tight knit group of like minded friends, to the complete social wasteland that is my current home. I've been here a year (almost) and haven't met a single person I'd ever want to see again.

I live in a "vacation-town". There is no intelligentsia here to speak of. Everyone wants to get hammered, high, and find a glob (excuse my language). That isn't my idea of a good time. Given I'm talking here, you can guess I'm more into having a conversation board games, etc.

Quote:
Do you have anything that gets you through the day? Something you look forward to in your week? Something that feels worthwhile? Focus on that. Unless it is drugs or booze


Not really. I wake up at 7am, go to work, work until 10pm, hit the gym, head home, check sluggy.com, go to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat, 7 days a week. I gave up on weekends around December and have been focusing on just working. I'll get a change of pace this summer as I'm going to go embed at Stanford using part of my grant to take a summer sabbatical, so I'll have a bit of a working vacation at least.

Quote:
There's a simple solution to your problem. No one can ever be happy working only for themselves. You need to identify some project you can work on (in whatever spare time you have) that will bring happiness to someone other than yourself. Ideally it should be something that calls on your own unique talents and skills.


This is kind of what I do for my work, as I'm a Christian and prefer to work on scientific problems with a humanitarian bent, but I'm being seriously thwarted by my place of work.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:49 pm 
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Have you looked at Meetup.com to find groups that do things you like? A friend suggested it to me to find board gamers and local film producers. I found board gamers, but the other hobby, film producing, has turned up nothing yet. Not that I am trying to advertise for them, but it worked out pretty well in the Memphis area.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:57 pm 
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Doxxed? I am unfamiliar with your terminology.

I know of someone who was in a - at least superficially - similar situation. It involved a tertiary education institution, a lecturing post that looked really good on paper, totally incompetant staff, money that was supposed to turn up but didn't thanks to said staff incompetance, and to add to this, students who relied on him to get their education.

In many ways, his was a better situation - this took place in a major city, he made several friends (many of whom he is still in at least tenuous contact with), he didn't desperately need the income, and his spouse had not yet moved to the same city.

After a series of intense arguments with the admin staff, he solved his problem by giving notice, leaving the job and going back home. (He fairly quickly managed to get a different job, elsewhere). Last I heard, the institution in question had put out an advert that looked very good on paper...

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:07 pm 
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Hmmm, that's a tough one. I realize the following advice will seem useless to a number of people on these boards, but as one Christian to another, I can't say enough for the power of prayer, particularly in the face of a problem that seems intractable.

On a more mundane level, I can't offer much on the job situation --although in my experience, administrative incompetence can also be an opportunity if you're willing to exploit it.

In terms of the social situation, it's hard for me to believe a metropolis the size of Miami has absolutely no interesting people in it. If no one there meets your current interests, maybe it's time to develop some new ones? I myself lived in New York City for a year and felt isolated and lonely the whole time I was there. However, I also picked up a number of new interests there --kung fu, slam poetry, live music --that have been a big plus in my life.

It's funny, I have a buddy --also in the sciences, like yourself-- who moved down to Miami a decade ago. He never tires of telling me how much he loves it there, and how full it is of art and culture and things to do. Meanwhile, he's openly contemptuous of our mutual hometown, Columbus, which I find to be filled to overflowing with interesting things and people. I guess one man's hell is another's paradise.

At any rate, if you want, I can try to put you in touch with my friend and maybe he can show you the good side of your temporary home.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Jorodryn wrote:
Have you looked at Meetup.com to find groups that do things you like? A friend suggested it to me to find board gamers and local film producers. I found board gamers, but the other hobby, film producing, has turned up nothing yet. Not that I am trying to advertise for them, but it worked out pretty well in the Memphis area.


I tried meetup, I have yet to meet honest folks here. One meetup group was actually a scam. :(

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:35 pm 
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kitoba wrote:
Hmmm, that's a tough one. I realize the following advice will seem useless to a number of people on these boards, but as one Christian to another, I can't say enough for the power of prayer, particularly in the face of a problem that seems intractable.


I'm not a mainstream protestant, I should say, my faith doesn't believe in the power of prayer. We believe God is omnipotent, and already does what is best, and that largely human action is governed by humans as He gave us free will. We pray for guidance and the like, which I should have done more of before taking this offer.

Quote:
On a more mundane level, I can't offer much on the job situation --although in my experience, administrative incompetence can also be an opportunity if you're willing to exploit it.


Amazing how disfunctional some places are, eh?

Quote:
In terms of the social situation, it's hard for me to believe a metropolis the size of Miami has absolutely no interesting people in it. If no one there meets your current interests, maybe it's time to develop some new ones? I myself lived in New York City for a year and felt isolated and lonely the whole time I was there. However, I also picked up a number of new interests there --kung fu, slam poetry, live music --that have been a big plus in my life.


I found it hard to believe either. Miami is very much a third world city, as I have come to understand. A lot of the very, very, very poor, and a cluster of super-rich. Very under represented in terms of middle-class, and they're all in the service/tourism industries. Very little art or culture. It's all about getting smashed. We don't even have reasonable museums.

I'd love if it had an art scene, I was very into the art scenes the last few places I've been. But Miami is a cultural wasteland. Lots of scammers, ass holes, and opportunists, a lot of tourists, and a lot of poor people with whom I share no common language. Even in my building (I live in kind of a dump to save money), I can't interact with the other tenants or our building managers without an interpreter.

Quote:
It's funny, I have a buddy --also in the sciences, like yourself-- who moved down to Miami a decade ago. He never tires of telling me how much he loves it there, and how full it is of art and culture and things to do. Meanwhile, he's openly contemptuous of our mutual hometown, Columbus, which I find to be filled to overflowing with interesting things and people. I guess one man's hell is another's paradise.


I would kill to be in Columbus.

Quote:
At any rate, if you want, I can try to put you in touch with my friend and maybe he can show you the good side of your temporary home.


Might be worth while, though in 1.5 weeks I'm getting the glob out of here for the summer at least.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:11 pm 
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Polyodon wrote:
I'm not a mainstream protestant, I should say, my faith doesn't believe in the power of prayer. We believe God is omnipotent, and already does what is best, and that largely human action is governed by humans as He gave us free will. We pray for guidance and the like, which I should have done more of before taking this offer.


I more meant "pray for guidance" than "pray for direct divine intervention." You might have options you haven't discovered yet.

Quote:
Even in my building (I live in kind of a dump to save money), I can't interact with the other tenants or our building managers without an interpreter.


Maybe take a Spanish class?

From what I've heard, the most interesting part of Miami is on the other side of the language barrier. Since you're there anyway, it could be a good opportunity for some cultural immersion, or at least some volunteer service activities.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:33 pm 
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kitoba wrote:
I more meant "pray for guidance" than "pray for direct divine intervention." You might have options you haven't discovered yet.


I'll do so, but I haven't even found a good church here. Spiritually I think this place is bad for me.

Quote:
Maybe take a Spanish class?

From what I've heard, the most interesting part of Miami is on the other side of the language barrier. Since you're there anyway, it could be a good opportunity for some cultural immersion, or at least some volunteer service activities.


Likely, but I just don't have time. I'm terrible at languages, and already work too much. I planned to when I thought I might stay here permanently, but really I need to GTFO. Right now it seems like Spanish is a huge investment with little return potential in the foreseeable future.

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 Post subject: Re: I hate my life
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:26 pm 
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Do you have a device for listening to podcasts?

I've been using the coffee break French to learn French. They also have coffee break Spanish.

http://radiolingua.com/shows/spanish/co ... k-spanish/

Fifteen minute lessons. Perfect for a coffee break or in my case the drive to work.

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