I don't dare to date because of my $200 monthly salary

By Trong Tien   February 15, 2024 | 03:31 pm PT
A 38-year-old man, I have just completed my public service internship and am receiving a monthly salary of nearly VND5 million (US$204).

I was born into a poor family in a province in the Mekong Delta region. Ever since I was young, I disliked studying, which led me to stop attending school after grade eight. However, I returned the following year and completed high school before attending a vocational school. After graduating, I did various manual jobs, including working as an ironing worker and a construction assistant.

At the age of 32, I decided to attend evening classes while working at a construction site during the day. I finished the evening classes and got a university degree three years later. I then managed to get an office job at a garment company close to home, but it did not turn out as expected. Despite my competence, my poor communication skills led to a short tenure at the garment company, prompting me to apply for my current public officer position.

Seeing everyone happily preparing for the Tet Lunar New Year earlier this month made me more aware of my gloomy future. Not only is my current salary insufficient to cover a family’s living expenses, but earning so little at the age of 38 also makes me feel utterly useless and incompetent. I also have a 75-year-old mother and a sick brother to take care of, and my own health is not so good either.

I’ve thought about quitting and finding a better-paying job, but I dare not because if I fail, it will be impossible for me to start over. My mind is constantly torn between two options: on one hand, I want to quit and find a more financially rewarding job; on the other hand, I am afraid of failing. This confusion has left me stressed, frustrated, and feeling powerless as I approach old age.

Am I a terrible and incompetent man? What should I do with my life?

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