I’m in my mid-twenties and I’ve found that whenever I start a job, after a few days or so, I start feeling trapped and stuck.

I fear the regular routine of the job, being stuck in the 9-5 (or whatever my hours are) and being forced to work for the money versus doing something I love with a mission I care about. I’ve tried working for things that I believe are doing great things for the world (kid-focused startup and working with kids, which I’ve learned I’m not good at) and I still feel like that. Any kind of job with routine (even varying retail jobs and the like) scare me and thinking about applying to a job with more challenge in it (not getting that out of my current job) but that same routine worries me that I’ll be stuck there for a year or two working on building my skills for the better but still trapped inside a prison even if it is at a well-funded startup.

I’m an INFP programmer who loves logic and hopes to start my own startup someday as I get frustrated with not being able to make my own decisions. I’m not sure if I should go forward with my plan to find a job with that routine while I get great to build my skills for my own startup someday or if I should try to find something without that routine and if so, what? It doesn’t feel like most people have that same reaction to the stability of doing the same thing every day. About the only thing I know is I’m sick of not having money and I need to find something that allows me to have that. What should I do?

I was wondering if you had any advice at all about how you overcame eating disorder/ other problems when younger? 

Because I’m 21 and bulimic and kind of like a failed university student, as in I’m meant to be in my fourth year now of Arts/Law in Sydney, but I haven’t completed a single subject this year and have a history of withdrawing from subjects/ only doing part-time loads because I essentially feel afraid that I’m not going to do well enough so I don’t even try.

And I’m kind of at a point now where it feels like my life is over, and I have no future in anything, and I’m fat, and can’t seem to do anything and that I’m completely alone (even though I somehow have a really lovely boyfriend, but we are currently fighting because I keep feeling like he doesn’t want/ like me because I don’t feel worthy and he feels really upset that I don’t believe his words/ actions that are apparently evidence that he does like/ want me.)

I am on the 6-8 week waiting list to go to a residential/ inpatient psychiatric hospital to try and deal with the Depression/ Bulimia. But still, until then, and even after then, I just don’t understand how/ what I’m meant to do?

I am a 41-year-old single mom who needs to change the direction of her working life as a matter of mental survival. I’m a classic ENFJ kind of person and have been working behind a desk in isolation (I work in a suite of offices but the nature of our work is to remain quiet and alone) and it’s been wearing down my sanity.

I am absolutely in love with advertising and have always been but when I was young I didn’t choose to study it; it was too intimidating for me then. I’d love to be an ad account executive someday but getting started seems impossible from where I’m sitting. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on (marketing, too – it’s much drier but important to understand the basics) and bothering ad people for advice on how to get my foot in the door.

I have about two years to update my skills (before my daughter graduates from high school and I can focus on a career and/or live wherever I need) but very little money in which to make that happen. I can’t be a full-time unpaid intern; I have to pay bills and feed two people. I can be an evening and weekend person who is poorly paid, but with the abundance of free labor out there it’s tough.

I have a BS in Psychology, an MSW in Social Work and a strong background in writing and research. By nature I’m a collaborator, diplomat, convincer and intuitive, but those qualities can’t be put on a resume. I am not stubbornly stuck on working in advertising; something that is stimulating in a similar way would be wonderful, as long as it’s focused on people and ideas.

If you have any thoughts or advice for me I would very much appreciate either.