Ask an expert

25 Jul 2006

Am I crazy,just lazy, a bad person...??
Dear Cybershrink,
After much self interrogation, I find myself perplexed as to what "condition" I'm actually suffering from! Let me start at the beginning:

I'm now 42 years old and have up to now had a rather mediocre and dicey life history....
1. At school I was always just there or thereabouts. I passed all my standards, played sport for the 3rd or 4th rugby teams and was always a mediocre person, never did anything outstanding.
2. Then I went to the army and again tried to do as little as possible, wherever I could. I was always in trouble for being so slack, but it never inspired me to do anything about it.
3. After the army, I was too lazy to study, so I went to work at the bank as a junior clerk. Here I again tried to get away with doing as little as possible (story of my life!)I was required to write the banking exams, but again, due to laziness, never studied much and never even went to write the exams. I became a teller after doing a course and throughout the time at the bank, I hated working there and was regularly in trouble for different things I did, to the point where the manager wanted me to resign.
3. I resigned and started working at an insurance company, but due to being slack and lazy, never sold anything and about 3 months later resigned and went to a large corporate short term insurance company as a junior admin clerk.
4. I started here and actually managed to work my way up to claims clerk. I received a few bad evaluations from my bosses for being slack, but all in all I actually managed to stick around for a year or so!
5. After getting married, I resigned here and moved to another town, to become a car salesman; a job organised by a friend. I again tried to get away with doing as little as possible, but managed to sell some cars.
6. A family friend of my in-laws then approached me to come and be a rep for him at a truck mounted crane company, which I did. I worked here for a few years, again, not doing much work, but rather driving around aimlessly through my area, really only doing sight seeing and very little in the line of work. I was asked about 2 years later to resign due to very low sales. (You are starting to see a pattern here?)
7. I went back to my previous company but as a truck sales consultant and actually was sent on a cadet training course where I did very well; 1st in the entire class. Back at the dealership though, I again went back to slacking and doing a s little as I could. At this stage, there were already some financial problems creeping in, due to no or very little commission being earned. We had our first child and had bought a townhouse, but battled to make ends meet. Not even that could spur me into action! In stead, I managed to get a job as a truck sales consultant in Cape Town and we moved there with much assistance from my and my wife’s parents.
8. It was an expensive move and we had to move to a little town 75Km's out of Cape Town, because we could not afford housing in Cape Town. We had to sell the house in Welkom at a loss, due to the market that was saturated and the economic situation with the gold mines in Welkom. Luckily I got a fancy company car and petrol, so that was sorted. Work wise was again the same story, with me doing very little selling and more sight seeing every day. Financially we battled and my wife had to find a job in Cape Town as well, which caused us to have to leave every morning before sunrise to get everyone to work and crèche. Even after seeing and experiencing this struggle, I was unmoved, unmotivated and continued to be lazy. My wife on the other hand, has a very strong personality and is very motivated, thank goodness and she quickly managed to get a good job. We moved a few months later and found a fantastic flat in Cape Town. I kept on going through the motions and kept on making debt to survive, because of low commission. After about a year and a half and many call in’s to the manager's office about no sales, I was retrenched in a head cutting exercise at the company under the auspices of "last in, first out".
9. I then sat at home for about a month, trying to get by on unemployment cheques, until I found sort of a job through an ex colleague of my wife, but again that only lasted for about 3 months with me basically being fired from here, due to slacking.
10.My dad, through his business connections managed to find me a job as car salesman, back in our home town. By this stage we were in severe debt that had been building through the years, so much so, that my dad had to help me do a "friendly" sequestration. After moving back, we lived with my parents, not having any furniture or assets left after the liquidation.
11. I worked at the dealership for about a year, still un moved by my situation, still doing as little as possible, still sponging from my parents, still getting all hell from management for my non performance. A while later we actually managed to buy a house, after loaning the deposit from my father in law. (Still never paid back!)
12. I resigned from this dealership and went to another as car and truck salesman, yet another favour called in by my dad. Here I carried on the same, familiar slacker routine, getting by with the bare minimum, doing as little as possible. Still I thought I was doing alright and never questioned myself or did any self assessment to try and improve. I was asked about a year later to resign, which I did.
13. Being a small town and already having a reputation, made it impossible for me to get yet another job in the motor trade and I spent the next 2 - 3 months semi working as a clerk / reception / parts salesman at my dad's business at a minimum wage.
14. A friend introduced me to his manager at an office automation firm and I managed to get a job here as a sales rep. This was my most successful period, which lasted around 6 years, with some highs and some successes. All in all, I made relatively good money and actually got promoted to sales manager.
15. But, alas, this was not good enough! I wanted more! I was actually offered a position as senior sales consultant at another rival company, but in Port Elizabeth. They would pay all expenses of my move, etc. I actually took up the offer, but was called in by my previous director and made a fantastic proposal to be a branch manager at a smaller franchise, which I declined and so moved to PE as senior consultant, with a fair salary and perks. This lasted exactly 6 months and due to slacking and ignorance, I was again asked to leave.
16. As fate would have it, the director of the company that made me the fantastic offer, knew the director of another company in PE, where I applied to for a sales management position and I got the job, nice big salary, perks, the lot! I almost immediately started slacking and doing very little and this director LET ME HAVE IT! Worst of all, he did not fire me, he kept me there and due to the person he is, started breaking my personality down. I was shouted at, told what a loser I was, told I was "just going through the motions", un motivated, have no influence, due to my pathetic personality, etc. The biggest joke of all was THAT HE WAS RIGHT! After this barrage, I was even more de motivated, but now I was depressed on top of everything else! Coward that I am, I kept working at the company, but was demoted to sales rep and later was asked to go and work from home as an agent, with no basic salary! How pathetic! Not even this could spur me on and I basically sat at home, running up a huge telephone bill by surfing the internet on a borrowed computer! By this stage we had bought another house and had been in it for about a year.
17. After applying, I got a job back at the local branch of the firm I previously worked for for 6 years. Due to ongoing financial problems, we were sued for arrears bond payments and subsequently lost the house. Still no drive, no motivation, no "shit I must get off my ass and WORK!"
18. I spent the next 2 years at the company with so-so success, apart from the odd getting called in and shat upon! Then another bee in the proverbial bonnet! I saw a job for sales manager in a related industry, applied and after a short deliberation, took the job. One thing to remember is that by this stage, I was very adept at bullshitting and telling people what they wanted to hear! I had blown my own abilities up so much that people offered me jobs on what I told them about myself - all lies of course!
19. I worked at this company for exactly 3 months; being my trial period, before they asked me to resign! I did not even take the time to try and make it look as if I wanted to work there! (What is wrong with me?)
20. For the next 2-3 months I floated between part time work as an agent (never selling anything!) to thinking of hair brain schemes to make money. I tried to run an agency selling fruit juice during this time, but soon gave up, as it proved to be too much work!
21. I saw an advert at an employment agency for office automation sales, applied, went for the interview and got the job (actually convincing them to pay me more basic salary than the other reps!) Immediately after started working there, I started slacking again!!!! I was given a computer allowance, with which to buy a laptop computer, as required by the company. I made debt, bought the laptop and promptly started going to work just to sit and surf the internet, day in and day out! I was called in to revue my performance and managed to bullshit my way around a termination by citing the time of the year (December / January) which I told them were difficult months. They backed off and I was again free for the next 2 months to surf internet all day long, undisturbed! That was until one day the manager happened to walk past my desk, while I was writing a letter to Edgars for debt extension. He immediately called me to his office and fired me on the spot for not selling and general poor performance. The letter was just the last straw!
22. I left without anywhere to go and in a panic phoned a few companies until I got a job as a sales consultant with a R3000 basic salary. This later turned into no basic salary, but high commission; 50% of profit. This is where I'm at this moment. I still come to work every day to sit and play and surf on the internet and will only on occasion do some work. Due to the very relaxed atmosphere here, there’s no pressure to work, so I don’t! I am in VERY severe financial trouble. We've been kicked out of a house we rented and I'm being sued for over R25 000.00 in arrears rent. The house we are currently in is also on the verge of eviction, as we are more than 2 months behind in rent and water and lights. I was placed under administration in 2003, but not being able to pay that, I think it is in the process of being rescinded, which will cause massive repossessions, attachments and law suits.

I'm currently sitting with only a small amount of commission due to me- not nearly enough to cover our expenses and liabilities for the month, I'm too scared to answer my phone, because it might be a creditor and STILL, I'M NOT DRIVEN OR MOTIVATED ENOUGH TO TRY AND WORK MYSELF OUT OF THIS MESS!

In the past 6 months I've probably sent my CV to a thousand companies, trying to look for a salaried job, but to no avail. All I can do now is to make the best of what I have, but I cannot bring myself to doing it! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???? Am I crazy, why can I not see what I'm causing? Why can I not drive myself! I even came across this web page by just sitting and surfing the net!!!!!!!

I went to a psychologist for a while, who treated me for depression, but that’s not it! I’m not depressed, I’m dead inside! I have no feelings about the situation. I worry a lot and would wake up in a sweat at night. I know I’ve got to do something, but before I can act, I will find a way of not doing it! I’m starting to believe I’m a psychopath! I’ve also been caught for shoplifting, because I could not afford to provide for my family, I had to steal food!

Please tell me what to do, where to go! What treatment, besides telling me to go to a shrink who’ll probably diagnose me with depression and put me on Fluoxitine, do you recommend?

What about electro shock treatment or hypnosis? What about rittalin? I’M DESPERATE! If I don’t get my life together, I’m going to have to kill myself…..You know after typing that, I’m not even shocked! I’M DEAD INSIDE!!!!!!!!!!


PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!
Answer 461 views

01 Jan 0001

Whew ! After reading that, I had to go for a walk round the gaden to get my circulation going again. Intersting that no other reader has chosen to respond. I see no reason why prozac or any other antidepressant would help. ACT certainly wouldn't help, not would hypnosis. These methods dont' work miracles.
You seem to know, judging from your long, long story, exactly what you do wrong, but seem to lack the will to bother enough to do something about it --- to have the simple discipline to get things done which you know how to do. How could any shrink have wasted 30 sessions with you, simply prescribing Prozac ?
What would be most likely to work, would be to see a strict and businesslike counsellor working with the CBT format, to work with you on a program to get your mind off surfing and sight-seeing, and down to work.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.