I have bipolar disorder. If my meds are working and the stress level is reasonable (I can accept a tight solid well defined deadline) I deliver superior work. I am a systems engineer and damn good at what I do. I have received national recognition for a system i built. I developed a software architecture that goes to sea with every Navy aircraft carrier.

But when the meds are wavering, and somebody proposes something bat shit stupid, I lose it. The manic part of bipolar kicks in and I am furious, angry, rude, throwing things, and generally being a 100% walking tantrum time bomb.

I have never held a job longer than 3 years before completely alienating everyone in the company or having a meltdown severe enough to either get fired or decide to move myself along.

I have not only burned bridges, I have nuked them. I can’t go into consulting. No people skills for politics and networking. There are pretty much only three major corporations in my area of expertise that I haven’t worked at and they do a lot of defense work. I do not want to design something that kills people and I don’t want the hassle of a security clearance.

And I have just been laid off.

I need some advice.

I am in a serious dilemma in a crossroads in my life. My dad is an old school, wealthy conservative who wants me to join the workforce like he did and slave away my life to something I don’t necessarily feel good about. I can’t spend my life in a office, I simply can’t and I know this deep inside me.

My true passion lies in one thing- Poker. I have studied and played the game since I was 13 (I’m 22 now) and I have no doubt in my mind that it is what I want to do with my life. Don’t misjudge my passion though, it is not solely in pursuit of money. I have fallen in love with the game and the people. When I sit at a table and watch and study the people across from me I feel at home. I am competitive and intelligent, and I always have had a fascination with observing people and what drives them. I also love to meet people and be social. There is no better place to see every kind of person than at a poker table.

I want to watch people and guess what they are thinking every single day of my life. I want to die on the felt.

Here is the problem: I have one semester left in college and I had to pay for it on my credit card because my dad was not happy that I failed a class. I have always done well in school, but I find undergraduate school very pointless. I have learned nothing in college and I struggled to put any focus into it- I have always spent my time reading books about succeeding at poker. I am in debt and have no money to pursue what I want to and my dad won’t help me at it because he is severely against it.

Gambling has always been an iffy career choice, but the game, Texas Hold em, has stood the test of time and feeds many, many people as a career. My dad doesn’t believe me and won’t help me.

How do I get away from my debt and embark on my true passion?

– Anonymous Poker Player