I feel like a total failure in life. My parents sent me to a good school- one that budding pilots and doctors go to and I'm still earning just above minimum wage. They must be so disappointed in me. I like my job but it pays so little. Everyone else around me seems to be on mega bucks and doing well in life. I'm in my thirties now and it feels too late to retrain in something else as I also have three kids. Between this and work, I barely have any time or energy left at the end of the day. I feel stuck, any advice?
Relationship expert Jessica Leoni says: “I know I am stating the obvious but you have so much to be proud of and you are completely wrong to judge yourself as a ‘total failure’ in life. Sadly in the UK, far too many of us equate success with a fat pay packet when there are so many other more relevant gauges to overall happiness and life success. You don’t say what your job is but you do say that you like it, and that is an enormous plus. Most of us spend the bulk of our adult lives slaving away at work and you would be surprised how few people can honestly say that they ‘like’ their jobs. Yes, your peers from the ‘good school’ you attended may be pilots and doctors but are they really any happier than you? I suspect not.
“You say that your parents ‘must be’ disappointed in you but offer no evidence of this. I have three children of my own and all I want for my kids is that they are happy in their work and home lives. It sounds to me that you have ticked both those boxes with a job that you like and three kids. You don’t mention a partner but I suspect that you have one and they are very proud of you, too, and you are working hard to bring up those kids together.
“It’s no wonder that you have no energy and are stressed by all the demands on your time. Raising three children is tough! What we need to do is look at ways to combat your cripplingly low levels of self-esteem. First way to do that is for you to celebrate all you have achieved.
“Is a career change a good idea and practical at this time in your life? I know the global economy is in turmoil and we are in a cost of living crisis but the jobs market is booming and employers are crying out for good people. If there is a career you are passionate about and want to pursue, I would encourage you to follow your dreams. Yes that would involve leaving a job you like but one that doesn’t pay very well so any retraining is not going to hit the family finances too hard. I suspect that there is no dream job that you covet because you would have mentioned it and what you want is the fat salaries of your school peers and the ‘status’ that goes with those seemingly prestigious careers. What goes with those fat salaries is long hours, lots of stress and possibly diminished job satisfaction. You could end up being better off but seeing nothing of your kids (because you are always working) and in a job you hate (as opposed to one you like).
“I would be a little more grateful for the all the wonderful things you have achieved so far in your life and worry a little less about ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and matching the pay packets of school peers who may have a few more quid than you but none of the healthy work-life balance that you have achieved.”
Jessica is a relationship expert for the dating site IllicitEncounters.com
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