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Can't or won't get a job

(7 Posts)
EdWest Sat 28-Oct-17 16:59:09

Got a problem with adult DS aged 25. He still lives at home but, in the 2½ years since he graduated (with a 1st class Maths degree from a redbrick uni), he still hasn't got a job, and the number of 'issues' he's got that get in the way of him getting a job seem to be multiplying, and his mum & I genuinely don't know what to do for the best. Some of these issues are absolutely genuine; they might all be. They include: a congenital foot, leg & hip problem that means he can't spend very long on his feet OR sat down for long periods. Walking more than a mile or two means big blisters. He has special shoes that help quite a lot. In the middle of his degree, he had to have open heart surgery to correct a partial blockage - the surgery was successful but it really knocked him psychologically. As in, before the op he was very self-confident, bordering on arrogant. Now, he seems to have swung the other way & he seems full of self-doubt. I'm not entirely sure the heart op was 100% responsible for that.
He's had weight problems: was very fat at school, lost loads of it in 6th form/uni, is now putting some of it back on, so overweight but not like he used to be.
No girlfriends ever; has mates from uni but doesn't see them much because (in our judgement) he's embarrassed by his lack of job, lack of progress in life compared to his mates who are all working & moving on.
He's depressed but not cripplingly so, and not all the time. Not on any medication.
He's now developed tinnitus - I'm pretty sure that's not from loud headphones or anything because he just doesn't do that.
He's stuck, but stuck in quite a comfortable way: roof over head, fast internet, £100 a month pocket money from Grandma (we've asked her to stop but she doesn't want to because she worries he'd get more depressed).
He's clever, intellectual and musical but doesn't really know what he wants to do. Doesn't want to work in finance, says he wants to go back to uni & study philosophy but of course can't afford to. When I point out that intellectuals basically have to support themselves by teaching & writing, he refuses to countenance teaching of any sort - and it's hard to see how he could hack it, with his confidence issues. This is a guy who shies away from speaking to people on the phone. When I suggested counselling, he got really indignant and accused me of telling him he was mentally ill.
He applies for jobs but gets very few offers & is bad at interviews because of confidence issues. Doesn't want to go on the dole because he's sure it would make him more depressed. Doesn't even want to earn money from maths tutoring - he did some, but now says he's no good at it (in fact, he simply didn't prepare for tutoring sessions - this was in his over-confident period).
I know how this will come over: he's taking the piss, sitting pretty in his bedroom and we're enabling him by letting him get away with it all. And much of that might be true. But he is not sitting pretty - he's unhappy, and stuck, but it's got to the stage where we can't really talk about it without someone stalking off in a strop - either him or one of us. Sorry for massive post but didn't want to dripfeed.

notnowbernadette Sat 28-Oct-17 17:05:33

It sounds like he could really do with doing some volunteering to build his confidence and people skills. This might help he decide what he wants to do and importantly give him something to talk about in job interviews.

wishingitwasfriday Sat 28-Oct-17 17:11:12

Just wanted to say that the standing/sitting for long periods shouldn’t stop him getting an office based job. We have lots of people where I work who have sit/stand desks which allow them to working at various heights. Is something the company are rolling out to all who want them to encourage a less sedentary work environment.
No advice on how to encourage him to apply though!

Santawontbelong Sat 28-Oct-17 17:11:41

I hope you don't make his meals /laundry /etc for him?

EdWest Sun 29-Oct-17 00:22:36

Thanks for replies. He does do housework (and doesn't moan about it). He knows how to look after himself, and did so when at uni, though he came home to recuperate after his heart op (he went to uni in the same city we live in). Volunteering sounds a good idea; our main problem is with what we do if he doesn't cooperate, especially if Grandma doesn't change her view on the pocket money. I think we're going to have to insist on him paying us rent out of it; the trouble is not so much the possibility of him refusing, as the probability that he'd pay, and then we'd be back to square one, with a sadder ds1 and possibly an annoyed Grandma. The latter being the least of our worries. Quite honestly I wonder whether he'd be able to hold down a job if he got one; he's got long-lasting problems getting to sleep & his sleeping and waking times are pretty chaotic.

wizzywig Sun 29-Oct-17 00:36:19

Do you think that pre-op confidence/arrogance was actually a mask he put on? He must feel as though the cv version of him (very smart) just doesnt match up to his reality which is someone who cant or wont get a job and gets pocket money from his gran. I think he has gotten stuck in a rut. Yes id be worried as a parent of his mental health. The degree means nothing if he is sat at home unable to function. It must be very difficult to persuade an adult to get out of the house and to do something. Is this something his former uni could help him in? Do they provide mentoring for their alumni

EdWest Sun 29-Oct-17 11:36:27

*Wizzywig, I'm sure you're right about the overconfidence/arrogance. Before his heart op, he was saying things like, this is just a blip, I'll be over it in a few weeks. He didn't even tell his tutors about it, and eventually we told them, which he was furious about. Of course, it wasn't a blip, it took him months to recover.
Another thing happened not long after: he was on a 4-year MA course, and the way he was doing it was, he would rather study at home/student flat/library rather than go to lectures etc. As far as I can make out, he self-taught for a large proportion of his degree. But this wasn't sustainable as the maths got more and more specialised, the internet resources he was using began to dry up for the really advanced stuff in the 4th year.
Knowing he would fail his 4th year exams, he refused to even do them. For a while, it was touch and go whether his uni would award him any degree at all, but in the end they gave him a B.Sc based on his first 3 years. We were massively relieved he hadn't wasted four years of uni, but to ds1, that represented a failure. So from his point of view he'd fallen at both a physical and an intellectual hurdle.
And of course his CV is now not great: a good degree but an almost total lack of any other experience. Over two years of unexplained inactivity. He does all sorts in his bedroom - improves his piano & guitar, he's teaching himself to code, I could go on. But of course this doesn't help him find work. I now feel that what little job-finding activity there is, is a smokescreen, not only to keep us off his back, but also to convince himself that he's doing what he ought to. He's in a corner, we've got to prise him out somehow, but without making things worse. Maybe that's not possible, it'll have to get worse before it gets better.

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