No job for a horse lover

How can I pay the rent doing what I love?

Hang in there, says our elder. It may take time but you’re going to be fine.

Dear EWC

I have been out of school for almost a year. I got B.S. in animal science and specialized with horses. I liked it a lot and I had zero experience when I transferred and learned a lot in my two years of school. After graduation I moved back home and I had a job interview at a vet hospital. I did not get the job and it killed a bit of my self confidence. I ended up working at the child and elder abuse hotline a few months later because I really needed money. I’m really unhappy at my job and I am still looking for employment. I recently did another job interview, this time at an equine hospital. They told me I was over qualified as a receptionist and passed my resume to the tech who told me I was unqualified to work with horses. I really wanted and needed this job. I bawled my eyes out because I really wanted a chance. I thought this was the job I’d been waiting for. Nope.

I recently decided to volunteer at a horse ranch and have been putting in a few hours every week. I love volunteering but it doesn’t pay the bills. I don’t know what more I can do. I’m putting in all of my money into rent. I’m envious of anyone who seems to have a better life, people who can afford to go out, travel, pay rent and not be concerned about putting gas in their tank or groceries for a week. Most of all I’m envious of people who are doing what they love and can earn a living doing it. This is not the life I pictured for myself. I worked hard in school, I work hard at my job that makes me so unhappy and underpays me, I am so angry with myself for not being better when I’m already giving it my best. I’m turning 30 in two weeks and I don’t even want to celebrate because I’m concerned with all the payments I have to make. I’m seriously feeling defeated. Lately all I do is throw myself a pity party because I feel that all my accomplishments account for nothing. Thanks for reading my rant. Sorry for all my negativity. I’m just unhappy and disappointed with myself and I don’t know how to help me get better or be better.

Good listener replies

I’m so sorry you’re feeling so bad. Your pain is obvious, and this must be a simply awful time for you. But it will end. First take a deep breath. You’re doing the right things as far as I can see, and with volunteering and working hard, it will pay off at some point. Turning 30 is also a huge milestone so of course it’s only natural to start evaluating things — even if you’re not being fair to yourself.

Times are difficult for most college grads unless they are in a high tech field and while many of them are doing great presently, that’s no indication of what they will be doing when they’re 40 or 50. I would start this way: Are there people you know or could talk to who are doing the work you want to do? Try to sit and talk with them (the more the better because you’re getting more perspectives). See how they achieved what they did, and how. Did they need more classes (I know money is tough so I don’t know if that’s an option). Did they start with one entry level job but not another? What should you think about doing or not think about doing? In my life I also go the line about being “overqualified”. There were times when I asked for the job anyway, because I knew I’d learn a few things and could move on. The beauty of informational interviews is that while you are gathering information, you’re also making contacts. It’s also possible the volunteering will turn into something more. I know it did for me once! Even temp work has led me to full-time jobs.

Don’t give up. In the meantime, try to surround yourself with positive people and try to keep the naysayers or those constantly telling you what to do, at bay. You’re going to be fine. It may take you a while to really start your career, but in your lifetime you’ll likely change careers many times.

True story: A lady I worked with once went on an event, a trail ride. She had never ridden before but fell in love with all things horses. She was 36, and quit the job, took a two-year animal tech class, volunteered, and ended up working with horses — and probably still is. That was 35 years ago!

I didn’t start riding until I was 40 and seriously thought about a career in Equine Studies (there had been a college not far from me that offered a degree). My health issues intervened so I tabled that. I have a number of friends in their mid-to-late 60s who are doing better in their second or third careers (not equine related) than ever. So, what I’m trying to say is, there are options and ways to do things these days. Just find what will work — because one avenue will. I know it’s hard to not look around and see everyone’s success, but not everything is what it seems, either. Hang in and good luck to you!

Letter #: 422232
Category: Self-Improvement

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