Not many options

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by Jethro, Nov 3, 2014.

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  1. Jethro

    Jethro Member

    • 51 Years old
    • Divorced at 39
    • Widowed at 47
    • Last GF cheated on me with a man half her age
    • No job prospects
    • Lost 90% of friends in split with GF
    • Deeply in debt
    • Childless only child
    That's the summary. I pissed away a unrewarding, but well-paying career in technology management 11 years ago. I was making almost $200k a year, had a three cars and a 5BR architecturally significant house, great life style. Hated the job. Had no real passions outside of it, but felt like I was being a "great provider" to my wife who I'd known for 20 years, since college. She was an artist, didn't make much money, but I was always very supportive, got her a studio and all the gear she needed, bought her an Outback to carry her stuff in, encouraged her to take classes. Etc.

    So she took a welding class, fell in love with the instructor, and left me. At that point I thought "Why the hell am I doing this job that I hate?" I had some savings, we sold the house and made a bundle, and around then I ran into an old friend from high school who just happened to work in the film industry. Films have always been my passion, and in fact I had been reading up on the techniques when I met up with this guy. Long story short, I changed careers at age 39. Started working as a props assistant, set dresser, and occasionally associate producer on some basic cable TV shows. Got into features -- you've seen my work, I can guarantee it. Big, big films.

    I met a wonderful woman. We were together for seven years. She believed in me, was my biggest fan and my best friend. Less than three years after we were married, she died of breast cancer. I held her hand while she took her last breath.

    She had hit the cap on her insurance, so when she was gone, I owed about a quarter million dollars to the health care system. I lost everything: Our house, our savings, what was left my 401k. Everything.

    As for work, ten years later, that work has dried up. The film biz left this area due to tax reasons, and I hurt my back on a production a few years ago. Nothing major, but I can't move furniture for 14 hours a day, which is what set dressers do, largely. I also don't have great skills, and since I came into the business late in life I was regarded as a dilettante. Reasonably so.

    Now all of my I/T skills are ten years old. I've picked up a smattering of production stuff, as in, I can work as a camera operator, I know some video editing, I can even put together a basic web site or local network. But my professional days are over. Without a masters, the chances for me to find a new technology management job are literally a million to one. According to a recent Newsweek article, the average worker over 50 is almost completely unemployable. I've been scrambling to get some certs in the tech field, but that's not enough, as it doesn't even put me on par with a recent college graduate.

    Last month, I stumbled across a job for which I was absolutely perfect, melding all three of my strong areas into one job. Got an immediate callback from the sr vp after submitting a resume, great phone interview. Went in for the face-to-face interview, and the HR person took one look at me and sighed -- I had deleted the first ten years off of my resume, so she was expecting early 40s. When she saw that I was 50+, her attitude was "Well, let's get this over with." I did not get a second interview. The person they hired was 26.

    I can't even get a retail job. No one will hire anyone over 50 for what is considered entry-level.

    I have a free place to live in another state. I thought about just doing that, and working a minimum wage job. But since my health insurance is $440 a month, and I owe about $55k in debt, mostly to pay off my late wife's bills but also some CC debt. I have to pay at least $500 a month toward the debt. Add those up, that's more than a min wage worker takes home in a month.

    Assuming you can even find a min wage job that gives you anywhere near 40 hours a week. Or find two that will let you work two jobs and be flexible on the scheduling.

    So. It's over. I have no family, no friends, no relationships. No money and no job. Unemployable. I see a therapist and take anti-depressants, but they don't change anything. I send out 20-50 resumes a week. My rent is month-to-month, so I can pick and move anywhere. I've given up on the idea of ever retiring, owning my own home, having a relationship with a woman, or driving a car that isn't about to fall apart. I've sold everything, my musical instruments, my art, my late wife's jewlery.

    I have about enough money to pay my rent for two more months. After that, I can probably stretch it out for a couple of months until I am evicted. And then I will be homeless.

    From $200k a year to living under a bridge in about ten years. A college degree, about half of a master's degree, a published writer with an IQ of 139. None of that matters. It's over.

    My advice: Don't change careers. It was the dumbest thing I ever did.

    The math on this works out. There is no escape for me, no hope, and no way out. I doubt anyone would disagree -- that's a wrap on this life.

    Thanks for letting me vent.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2014
  2. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    My God I could have written this!
    So hello from another 59 year old on the scrap heap!
    On a lighter note, I noticed you mentioned "published writer" have you tried Freelancer?
    It might not bring in a full wage, but if you get enough projects it could keep the wolf from the door.
  3. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    Hi and welcome, just posting to say I am very sorry you are going through all of this, I can only imagine. There IS hope for you. As long as you are alive there is hope. Please try and think and look and find something you get joy from, there's more to life than feeling this way, even if it doesn't seem like that right now. See your doctor please there is no shame is admitting you need a bit of help sometimes and it may well be worth it in the end. Best of luck.
  4. Jethro

    Jethro Member


    I'm not being a smart-***, but what can a doctor do?

    I'm already on meds. They aren't helping, because I'm not depressed. I'm just being pragmatic -- there is no way to save this.

    Let's say I tell my doc that I'm serious about this, and I wind up with an involuntary commitment. Do we think THAT is going to help me find a job?

    Look, I'm open to suggestions. But I don't see any alternatives.
  5. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    No offence taken! A doctor can put you in touch with social workers who can help you find a job (fast tracked often if you're depressed), psychotherapists who can help you deal with your thoughts in a safe way. It's way too often thought ''if I say I'm suicidal I will get committed'', most often that is not the case. The doctor refers to a psychiatrist who then refers you to social workers, addiction counsellors, different kinds of therapists, housing etc.. I know from experience they have a lot of power. It took me years to get on the right medication to treat my depression it paid off in the end, I am no longer depressed. There has never been as much help as there is now for depressed folk. Try and take advantage of that....I wish you the best.
  6. Jethro

    Jethro Member

    Perhaps that's how it works in Ireland, but in Red State USA no such system exists. And I'm not depressed, so there isn't any real point in medication.

    Again, I thank you for your kind thoughts and suggestions, but they don't apply here.

    No one can help me - I brought this one myself.

    Game over.
  7. shadowonthewall

    shadowonthewall Well-Known Member

    Is there not some kind of work that you can do, even if it's a huge step down in terms of pay and qualification? I envy the fact that you've at least managed to build a highly respectable career, even if it appears to be in tatters at the moment. I have absolutely no such hope, still toiling on the lowest rung of the employment ladder past my 30th birthday (not getting paid enough even to win my independence from my parents). I've observed that a lot of number of former high-flyers start new careers in the call centres in which I've worked, in order to get a bit of income before they can find something more suited to their resume, or work their way up within the call centre. I know that you have mentioned the fact that some employers are discriminating against you because of your age, but isn't this illegal? Surely there must be employers who are not prepared to take the risk of being sued for age discrimination and would therefore be expected to have a certain number of over 50s in their employ in order to preclude accusations of age discrimination.
  8. DrownedFishOnFire

    DrownedFishOnFire Quieta non movere

    In the US the now have social workers at the hospitals. At least you have your health and keep on applying for a job. The right one will come along eventually. I'm not being an idiot, you got some skills. Not many have.
  9. Jethro

    Jethro Member

    Between my various freelance clients, I work full-time. At least 40 hours a week. But the pay isn't enough to cover my rent, let alone my other expenses. So I put everything except the rent onto my credit card(s). Which are now maxed out, which is why I've come to realize that I'm at the end of this game.

    It's impossible to prove. Unless the employer flat-out says they turn you down because of age, it's pretty easy to make the decision look like it's based on some other factor.

    Sure, some people 50+ get jobs. But they have marketable skills, master's degrees, etc. I have none of the above, having wasted my life following a stupid dream.
  10. Jethro

    Jethro Member

    And what can they do?

    I have a lot of skills: I'm a musician who plays four instruments, a hell of a chess player, a decent writer, know a great deal about film history, a very good photographer, etc, etc. All are great hobbies -- none are things you can earn a living off of. If only I'd put that effort into learning Java, I'd have been fine.

    Yeah, I might find a job before February 1st. Who knows. If I don't, I will be living under a bridge.

    For a couple of days, at least. Then all this will be over. I'm actually looking forward to it.
  11. Jethro

    Jethro Member

    OK, tonight's the night.

    I actually feel pretty relieved.

    I've been reading through some of the other posts. So many people in the same boat. Or at least, who have come to the same conclusion.

    I even tried one of the suicide chat rooms tonight. By the time I was done, the counselor pretty much agreed, there isn't really anything left to do -- once they realize that person isn't depressed, meaning psychological counseling won't do any good, they are pretty much out of tools to use.

    At least this way I go out on my own terms. Yeah, I could wait around until Spring, when I'm homeless, and wind up dying of exposure, or being beaten to death by a gang, or some other unpleasant way to go. This way, I decide when, where and how. I won't go into details, since that's not allowed, but I've worked out a plan in which I inconvenience the first responders as little as possible -- I have no desire to make anyone else's evening miserable.

    Thanks to everyone who read and responded, and thanks very much to the people who run this forum. It's a valuable resource, and I believe it will help many people in the future; I can guarantee it has helped many people in the past.

    A shame I'm not one of them.

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