I feel like a failure in America ?

Well I pretty much did not doing anything with my life. As soon as I graduated high school I did not go to college I went right into working a full-time job at Target. It has been 5 years now and I still live with my parents. I thought I would magically have enough money to move out, but who was I kidding? I feel pathetic and an embarrassment. Like useless. I feel like girls would make fun of me if they knew the truth about how I still live at home with my parents. Everything is expensive and all I do with my pay-check is save it and give it to my parents out of remorse. Like an honorable thing. Now we are entering Fall and with this Covid-19 everything is getting worse. I seriously do not know what to do. :-( 

2 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 5
    5 months ago

    That's a tough spot.  Sorry to hear.

    It might help to keep in mind that judging oneself a success or a failure based on how much money you have or where you are living is a mistake.  Succeeding (or failing) at life is actually unrelated to such things.  You might not be familiar with this way of thinking, but it's accurate and useful.  Imagine yourself on your deathbed, many years from now.  As you draw your last breaths, what will be important to you?  It won't be your money, or your house, or the petty arguments you've always thought were so critical.  It will be the question of whether your life was of value to the only person who shares your experience of death.  That is YOU, alone.  Did you value your life?  Did you enjoy it?  In your own estimation, was it time well spent?  (Or did you waste it all in pursuit of money, status, respect, adoration, gratification...things that turn out to be meaningless at the end?)

    You can continue to work at Target, or even lose your position there, without it having the least effect on your success in Life.

    You are certainly not alone.  And your situation isn't all that dire, however disappointed you might feel.  You were born at a time and in a place that predetermined much of what you and millions of others like you are experiencing, and will experience throughout your lives.  Your parents were luckier.  They were born at a sweet spot - in an America that was the most productive country on the planet after all its competitors were bombed to rubble during WWII.  In those days, America gathered the wealth of all the other capitalist countries like a vacuum cleaner, and the standard of living for most of its inhabitants soared.  But by the time you were born, the competition had rebuilt their factories and the world didn't HAVE to buy American anymore.  American companies refused to recognize that fact.

    The end of the Soviet Union and the birth of the internet ushered in a new age of cross-ocean commerce.  It became possible to shift the manpower-intensive portions of manufacturing to other countries with lower standards of living, where a man-hour could be bought for much less.  And that's where the work that you are looking for went.  The USA graduates about one-and-a-half million non-college-bound workers every year, and it used to be that they would all engage in those manpower-intensive tasks.  Now those tasks are elsewhere, and this ever-growing cadre of unskilled workers is vying for work at McDonalds and living in basements without savings or prospects.  It's not YOU - it's when and where you were born.  Your country is sliding toward a cliff, and there's nothing you can do about that.

    You could pursue the work you're qualified for by moving overseas, but you'll suffer a lower standard of living in most cases.  You could give up on the idea of wage-earning and set up your own business.  You could ask your parents for help getting training for a particular trade.  Or you could be more esoteric and look to farming, hunting, fishing, or trapping.  You could even explore art.  There are still lots of possibilities, but not many of them involve wage-earning these days.  Inventing a product that interests people in other parts of the world would be particularly promising.  (You just have to keep the Chinese from pirating it.)

    In any case, there's no reason to compare yourself to your parents - that's not a fair comparison because neither you nor they chose the time and place of their birth.  They got lucky.  You didn't.  So you aren't a failure.  You're just a chap that faces a much tougher world than your folks did.  You might never live like they did - but that's not what defines success or failure in Life.

    Best of luck.

  • 5 months ago

    What makes you a failure isn't your past, but it is remaining in the condition of defeat. Everyone has made decisions that were not necessarily the best, and we have all made mistakes. However, if you stay in a state of defeatism you will be a failure. Instead of focusing on what you did not do in your short past, the key is to decide what you will do now. What options do you have in order to ensure that you will succeed moving forward? Just because you didn't go to college doesn't mean you are a failure or that you cannot move forward in your life. 

    The key is coming to understand what skill sets you possess. What are you naturally gifted and talented to do? One of the mistakes that our society has made is determining the success of a person by having a college degree. To be clear, having an education in any area is important, and yet, having a college degree can and will improve one's ability to earn in income. However, for those who do not have a degree, it doesn't mean that it signals the end of existence or the ability to thrive. Now that you recognize that you can do better with your trajectory, it is incumbent upon yourself to focus on what you can do. I suggest looking into jobs that relate directly to skills you already have, and build upon that. Writhing in guilt or self-defeat will only serve to keep you in bondage concerning your past. What matters is what you do now, and moving forward. 

    One other option you have is to take online courses so that you can create a foundation of skills that you can build upon to have a firm and bright future. 

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.