Personal Development/Very confused


Hello Mr. Methot.  I read your profile and some of the answers you gave to other people, and you seem like the right expert to ask my question(s). I will try to keep my message as short as possible.

I am a 28 year old male.  I was born and raised in Greece and have been living in the U.S for half of my life.  The truth is, I was never really happy here (completely different culture/society and hard for me to "fit in") but I know I couldn't expect a better life in Greece considering the economic problems, so I may not be happy but at the same time I'm glad to be here.  I bring this up because it might be part of my problem (not being happy where I am).

I have been working with family most of my adult life, selling produce at the flea markets, and I also did this on my own as self employed for a couple of years.  The only job I've had outside of the produce business and family, was working for a small business for a couple of years (flower shop).  A few years ago we started a business (fruit stand) which unfortunately did not go well during the winter season (we sell all kinds of fruit and vegetables so we though we could survive, the location was great too). Long story short, we have closed it down and only plan to operate it in the high season.  Since we've been closed, I feel lost because I know I should find a job or start a career but I feel "stuck" and I'm indecisive.

I want to look for a job, but because I don't have a prior experience working "real" jobs, I am not confident or feel that I any skills in particular.  I also never finished college, even though I will only need a semester for my Associate's degree in Advertising/PR (but it is the lowest and a meaningless degree).  I could find a job, but it will be just a job, paying the minimum wage.  I would hate to be at this age and work at a job that people out of high school get.

I just don't know what I should do next.  I do think I have mild depression, and that results in lack of energy and ambition.  I have been feeling this way for a long time (probably because I am not happy where I am), but I have always stayed optimistic-and as long as I was making money, I didn't care to fix it.

At this point I seem to have 3 options. 1 is to go back to school and spend 2-3 years getting a bachelor's degree.  The problem with this, is that by the time I am finished I will be 30-31 years old and it might be hard for me to find a job with no experience.  Another option that I have, and it feels as if it is the better option, is to do some sort of training that will qualify me for a descent job-and then decide if I want to go back to school or not.  I am not opposed to the idea of getting a degree as long as I have a job.

I have taken numerous personality and career tests online, and they have all given me similar results.  Working with people and helping people is one of my strengths.  The only career choices that I seem to have (that require little training and I might enjoy) are either working as a personal trainer (which I don't consider a real career, and is not very stable) or training as an EMT-with the option of becoming a Paramedic or getting into the medical field.  Working as an EMT does sound appealing and is feasible (there is demand) but the medical field itself never interested me.  

I just need some advice on where to go from here.  Should I move to another country and start fresh, should I stay where I am and find any job I can at the moment or should I do the training and work as an EMT.  If I had to answerer "What's your passion", it would be advertising/marketing, but I don't seem I would qualify for any position in this field-and I'm not the type of person to do cold-calling and hard sales, even if it meant getting my foot in the door.  Teaching english abroad also seems something I might want to do-not sure if I qualify due to not having a degree and speaking the language with an accent-but it will give me a chance to visit another place and "recharge".

I'm not necessarily asking for a career advice, but advice on my life in general.  How big of a risk can I afford to take being a 28yr old?  I apologize for the long post, I just need a different perspective and thought I'd give a more in-depth view of my situation.  As you can see I'm all over the place and need advice from someone with a different perspective. I hope to hear from you and to your feedback. Thanks you!

Hello Ignatios,

I am making this response public, because it won't identify you, and also because I think that others need to hear this as well.

I just finished writing a response to 'Greg', and his career question was so similar to yours that I will copy it here, then give you my comments on the rest of your questions below.  (if I knew how to point to the response, I would have done that, but I can't find it easy).

Hi Phil

I'm 26 now and for the past 9 years I've worked either in a factory or outside, so I've only got experience in manual labour. But now I'm getting tired of coming home everyday after working hard for little money so decided I want a career change.
I want to go work in an office where I can build a career and work my way up to a good salary but unfortunately I have no experience. I'm hoping if I get some qualifications In things like Prince2 or ITIL they may hire me but there is no garantee it will work.
Do you have any advice on how I can get hired for a job I have no experience in?
Answer:   Hi Greg,

There is no question that what you are asking on the surface is difficult. It would seem that there are so many people with degrees out there doing the same kind of work that you are doing because they couldn't find a job.

I don't know what the job market is in the UK, but there is one thing I know from my experience as a motivational management consultant. What impresses people who hire the most, is the desire and determination to work hard and the willingness to learn. Not just the words, because anyone can say that, (and usually do), but I'm talking about the look in the eye that communicates the message loud and clear that you are willing to learn and learn well the skills required for a job.

My close friend started working as a receptionist years ago in a financial institution. At night she took courses in the industry. She showed up early for work, and left late. All could see her desire to better herself.  This year she is retiring after achieving a six-figure income and becoming one of the top experts in the city of Montreal in her field.  That is drive and determination.  Do you have it, Greg?

What I would suggest, first and foremost, Greg, is that you pick a field where you have general interest. Don't just go into any office; pick an industry that actually means something to you. Before you go for a single interview, study up on the industry. Do some reading and research. You want to learn the 'language' of the industry.

If you are interested in Prince2, for example, read up on anything you can find about the business. Read up on general management principles so that you have a comparison. When you read the Prince2 documents, highlight words and concepts that you don't know.  Learn them.

Then, and this is important Greg; you would find someone who is successful in Prince2 consulting, tell them of your ardent desire to learn, and ASK for knowledge, hints, and tips, anything that can move you forward.

No matter what industry you choose, Greg, do what 95% of the 'others' don't do; find a mentor. You may believe that a successful person wouldn't want to spend time with a stranger who is a newcomer, but you would be wrong.  Everyone of them was where you are now, so many of them would take a delight in helping.  Sure, not everyone, but also for sure, if you keep asking, you will find a person willing to help you.  Tell them you would like to take them to lunch to ask them questions, Pay for the lunch! It doesn't matter if they are making 10 times the money you are making, show them that you are willing to risk the investment.  If you don't have much money saved up, start putting some aside, this will cost you, but it is an investment that will pay off immeasurably.

It doesn't matter if initially you get a job doing menial office work; as long as you are in the 'building' you are in. Then work to learn anything and everything.  Ask questions and prepare to take the courses.  There is a lot to learn Greg, and you are only 26 so you have time.  Remember, you are preparing to shape the rest of your life.  The next couple of years are an investment in time that will pay off in the future. Again, are you ready to do the work, Greg?

In your comments, you said that you hope to be hired, and also that there is no guarantee that it will work. First of all, there are never any guarantees, and if guarantees are what you want, you already know that you can get paid for manual labour.  Guarantees, you see, are usually not that attractive. No one who made it big did so with guarantees; indeed many of them failed numerous times before it turned in their favour. What they had in common is the determination not to quit. That's the one quality you need to have.  If you don't have it yet; read about it, and learn the habit of not quitting. (and yes, it is a habit).

To your point about hoping to get hired.  Think about getting hired in the industry as anything, just to get in the door, (even if it means less pay), but after that, stop thinking about being hired, and start thinking about being the type of person who in the future, will hire others to help your successful business. Consider yourself as a Prince2 project. How are you going to manage all of the steps necessary to succeed? Make a plan, plan to work and work the plan.

It is a big step, Greg, to ask someone who lives thousands of miles away from you for help. You did that, congratulations.  Notice how someone, whom you don't know, has taken the time to write this and point you in the right direction. People pay me hundreds of dollars an hour for the same help, so, as I said, you can always find people who will take an interest in someone taking an interest in their own growth. See this as lesson one, and proof of how it works.

Read this response several times and make it a part of your own thinking.  

I hope this was helpful Greg. Please rate this response honestly.

Phil L. Méthot
Laval, Quebec, Canada,

Now back to you Ignatios,

The question regarding being happy.  You mused about Greece, and contrasted it to the U.S. You wondered about being somewhere where you might be happier. I hope everyone reads what I'm about to say because it is one of the biggest secrets of life.

There is NO PLACE you can go to be happy! Happiness is a decision. You choose to be happy - period! In a restaurant, some will complain that the people are too noisy, that the room is too hot or cold, that the service is slow and the food is awful. Still if you look around you will find people having a great time in the exact same place under the exact same conditions.  Anyone can make a hell out of heaven, it takes choice to make a heaven out of hell.

Now of course there are places I sometimes would rather be. In the cold of winter when there is four feet of snow outside, I personally would rather be where it is warm, preferably by a beach. While I'm musing about the Caribbean, someone goes by on a snowmobile having a great time in the same conditions. Realize, though, Ignatios, that I'm not unhappy.  I might prefer to be somewhere warm, but while I'm there in winter whether, I can still be quite happy. I'll be damned if I let a little weather dictate my inner sense of happiness.

So no, Ignatios, being somewhere else isn't going to change anything, because you still take you with you. Decide to be happy first, then think about doing something you like to do because it interests you and allows you to express yourself in a way that is to your nature.

As for what to do next, Ignatios, you said that you have a passion for marketing/advertising, but you said that you wouldn't qualify for any position in the field. Of course you wouldn't automatically for a position in the field. I can't think of any position that you would 'automatically' qualify for.  But that isn't the point! I'm sorry to say this, Ignatios, but there isn't a magic wand out there that someone could wave and make it 'all better'.

You have some work to do and you have to be willing to be able to do it.  You are worried about being 30ish and being paid what high school students are making, yet if you don't plan now, you will say the same thing about being 40ish, 50ish, and oops too late!

You're luck, you have a 'passion'. Decide to do something with it. Be willing to learn. Don't be afraid of starting out with low pay, it is the price of admission into the big leagues. And  you need to ask yourself if you are willing to pay it? The procedures are the same as what I said to Greg.

Depression in your case is a bad habit.  It comes from looking where you have been and extrapolating that into your future.  You don't drive a car by only looking into the rear-view mirror, you would soon crash. But so many people try to move forward in their lives by looking at where they've been. It is irrelevant! (and it causes depression)

I hope this doesn't come across as uncaring, Ignatios, it may be hard talk, but I wouldn't do this if I didn't care.  You have listed more things you don't want then you have things that you want.  I would suggest that you put your energies into what you want. You have a passion, find out how to make it work. Study, learn, finish your Associate's degree in Advertising/PR. It doesn't matter how low you think it is, it shows people that you are willing to finish what you started. That is very important.  Since it is part of your passion anyway, you need to show yourself your commitment to take positive steps forward.

Short-term pain for long-term gain - are you willing to do it? If you are, then nothing can stop you.

I hope this was helpful. Please rate the response honestly.

Phil Methot  

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Phil L. Méthot


Can answer questions relating to self image, motivation, fear of success, fear of failure, guilt, shame, debilitating feelings, self expression, weight gain, weight loss, goals, and public speaking, and communication. Will not discuss clinical aspects of depression, or medical associations to depression.


Motivational Management consultant since 1985, Author of the books; "Through the Door!": A Journey to the Self, (a look at the battle between our negative self-images and our personal power. Author of; "The Weight is Over" a book on weight loss and the role of The Self Image Paradox. Author of 10 Steps to Becoming a Great Public Speaker. Co-hosted a radio Talk Show for two years on Personal Development.

Toastmasters International Club President

My works are published on the sites: and in my book "Through the Door!" :A Journey to the Self. Articles may also be seen at

University of Toronto Trained with The Canadian Training and Motivation Group Inc.

Awards and Honors
Presidents Club award for excellence in Motivational Management Training. Honor roll member of Success Motivation International. Advanced Toastmaster Gold/Competent Leader

Past/Present Clients
Air Canada, Ritz Carlton Hotel Montreal, Air Transat, Festival Cruises, Panoff Publishing,

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