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  • What would you do?
  • mrsheen


    I find myself in a bit of a rut.
    Recently turned 40 and realising that I’m not going anywhere. Truth is I’ve barely got anywhere. I’ve been the same junior civil service grade since my early 20s after graduating with 2.1 in history. I’m pretty introverted and do good work but rarely jobs come up at higher grades that appeal. I struggle with people and relationships and rarely take leave and when I do I tend to stay home hibernating. I’ve travelled but recently these past ten years I’ve just started regressing in all areas of my life and become ever more withdrawn. I know I neef to change but find it difficult and it feels comfortable just doing nothing. I don’t know if I’ve just given up after years of trying and then seeing people get ahead when I rightly/wrongly think I’ve done more than they have. I realise that’s a wrong attitude to take.

    I’d love to meet someone, I’d love to earn more but don’t think despite the length of service, that I’m middle management civil service material. These past few years I’ve been working on website content and a colleague has offered to help me learn a bit of VB. I’m willing to give this or something else a shot to try and get me a sense of progression. I’m sure there’s some depression in there too as did some CBT a few years ago which proved helpful.

    Sorry for the ramble, has anyone faced similar? (I bloody hope so!)



    Not sure what VB is but if you find the idea interesting and exciting but scary and intimidating then that is the thing you should be doing.

    Premier Icon Poopscoop

    It’s not cured all my woes but after not being abroad before (a week in Cyprus not withstanding) I went back packing in India.

    I’ve had neurosurgery begore but this was far scarier. 1 was 43 when I did it. 7 years ago. Then went travelling a bit with my son, which is another story! Lol

    Change something. Anything. It doesn’t have to be travel. Just do something that is a little scary and out of your comfort zone.

    I’m still coping with some challenges in life but I’m bloody glad I did all that whilst I could.

    Make a change and do it.

    My travelling started by riding the SDW by the way. That was out of my comfort zone in a huge way. I like everything micromanaged and I couldn’t do that on the ride. It let the genie out of the bottle and before I knew it I was in India and other places.

    That sdw ride years back was a defining moment for me. Bikes can lead to amazing things.

    This may sound flippant, but have you thought about a dating app? You say you’d love to meet someone so surely there’s no easier way than that? If you just swipe right on someone who knows what might happen. You sound quite introverted but there’s probably scores of women who feel exactly the same about themselves. Give it a try. If you don’t think it’s for you just bin the app.

    Premier Icon Poopscoop

    Oh yeah. Look at the Tinder thread I started a voting of years back op. A romcom thread if ever there was one.😆


    Hey mrsheen, I hope you don’t mind me saying but you do sound stuck in a rut. No offense intended… I’ve been there, in the civil service too! No interest in promotion, but bored senseless everyday?

    The fact that you understand this implies it’s time to change.

    What are your skills? After 20 years, you know your job inside out (officer or higher officer?).

    Take those skills and apply them to the private sector. What can you do there? 20 years experience is not to be sniffed at! I would think you have something a range of employers would be interested in!

    What’s the most difficult, most challenging part of your job at the moment? Look for something in the private that challenges you… Much better to be challenged than bored?

    NB – I chucked the civil service after 12 years. Wish I’d done it sooner!


    Recently turned 40 and realising that I’m not going anywhere. Truth is I’ve barely got anywhere. I’ve been the same junior civil service grade since my early 20s after graduating

    If “progressing” was that important to you then you probably would have.

    but rarely jobs come up at higher grades that appeal

    Probably same shit… just slightly more money for more expectations…

    I’ve had what was described back to me by a counsellor as a very successful career… which she then qualified by saying assuming that’s what was or is important to you.
    TBH, it wasn’t… I just went along with it and a bit opposite I got pushed into positions I didn’t really want.. certainly the “higher” I went the less I actually wanted the position.

    Point is, at the end of the day it wasn’t what I wanted and it’s no more successful than your “career”…

    Do you have any opportunity for local FE? Can you get onto a course doing something you want and support yourself and work ….(meet people and get a qualification) though the dating app and ditch it if you don’t like it sounds quite reasonable.

    Just wondering but WHY did you choose history? (What history… is there anything still interests you you might conceivably get paid to do??)


    Don’t chase money thinking it’s going to bring happiness. It will bring more pressure, more hours, more stress, and in the blink of an eye the job could go, your health could deteriorate. Look at your hobbies. You’re a bike rider, I assume? Take some time off, go on Sabbatical, do a bike riding holiday somewhere, have some YOU time.


    Your story is a familar and common one. There’s plenty of good advice above but my own advice would be to start dating and resist the urge to get involved with one person. If you really are introverted as you say, take care to set up the meetings in places where you feel comfortable and bear in mind that there are plenty of women in their thirties who must be hoping to meet somebody stable and sensible. Not everybody wants to party all their lives!

    Here’s a leftfield suggestion… do something that scares the shit out of you and gives you a confidence you didn’t know you had. Singing in public or something.

    Premier Icon earl_brutus

    Was in exact same position few years back , got to 40 and suddenly realised life is marching on and have i really got the life I wanted, stuck in a rut, and a bit lost, its called a mid life re-evaluation, most people will experience this at some point, it can either give you the impetus to change direction or buckle down and carry on as you were. For me I was stressed with work, suffering depression, due to travelling all other the world with work ( which was very well paid) but little in the way of relaxation or social time with friends, and relationships and mental health suffered as a result.
    Had a few years of ups and downs but took up Yoga, travel less with work and not chasing promotions anymore ( earn less but no issue there as I only ended up buying useless expensive stuff anyway) stopped comparing myself to others and where I should be in life rather than enjoying where I was and what I had, and now seem to be in a slightly better place, making new friends and trying new things ( ie join a band/drumming circle, took up road riding, photography, etc.. where you’ll meet people with similar interests) Earning more money does not bring happiness. I thought it would. It didn’t. Still get a bit of depression from time to time but I now know the signs and can make small life adjustments accordingly.


    You need to do something. It reads like you are waiting for a better job offer, waiting to meet the right person, waiting for life to take a turn for the better. Apologies if I have that wrong. If you want career progression then you need to go looking for it, maybe take on something that isn’t quite right and make it fit or take a leap of faith and do something different. It is scary but I would hope in your position you have a bit of a financial buffer to cushion the blow if it doesn’t pan out well enough, quick enough. Whatever you decide, good luck! Life is short so go for it, whatever ‘it’ is


    Thank you all, its a good place this.

    I’ve been thinking about doing alot of stuff for years so people’s advice to change and do something new/scary rings true. I went on a nice drive today, playing uplifting jazz (forgive me!) which sort if reinforced need to get out more. I might indulge in a hybrid/gravel bike and make use of local trails in the peaks. Other hobbies would be good too. Thanks for that suggestion – yoga is on the shortlist.

    My ‘skillset’ is project support and more laterly digital with spreadsheets added in. I can see the kernal of a ‘career’ in there. My history degree was a 17 year old just picking what he was good at. Geography was a close second – hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    I think I need to cancel out some of the work chatter where some people, my manager included, are obsessed by grades. My grades are seen as irrelevant by their ilk.

    Premier Icon Cougar

    There surely must be a demand for good project coordinators / managers. Gods only know, there’s enough shite ones!

    I don’t know whether by VB you mean VBA, but if you can wrangle both Excel and VBA that’s a strong skill to have and relevant to a lot of roles. Not sure as VB would be my first choice of language to learn for web stuff, mind. (-:

    It’s easy to stay in a job due to inertia, but even if you’re “comfortable” there’s no harm in looking what’s out there. The best time to be job hunting is when you’re already in one.

    What’s the saying about doing the same thing and expecting different results?

    Premier Icon Cougar

    I’m sure there’s some depression in there too as did some CBT a few years ago which proved helpful.

    Based on the obviously highly conclusive evidence of two paragraphs, a lot of that sounds more like autism spectrum traits.

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