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Thread: Don't know what makes sense anymore?

  1. #1
    Gold Member Delacrank's Avatar
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    Don't know what makes sense anymore?

    Just to add some context. I graduated with a degree in computer information systems back in 2014, at the time I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life and didn't take my degree that seriously. Fast forward a year I quit my job (at citibike) and started getting very serious into programming. Initially, I wanted to do game programming, building game engines in low level programming languages. However, my school didn't teach me much about that, and I was mainly teaching myself learning c++ and game programming libraries from text books. After about a year and a half making progress, but not enough where I felt I was confident I switched over to doing web development with php.

    In about 6 months, I made more improvement learning web development then the year I struggled learning game programming. Partly, this was because all that c++ made me a better programmer, but also because web development doesn't have that steep of a learning curve. Along the way I pursued some internships and joined this consulting company. Two years after I graduated college I finally started to put together a resume and go on interviews, partly because my school didn't really prepare me, and partly because I hadn't taken it seriously enough.

    It was around this time that I thought I was a good programmer but basically I failed almost every single interview I went on. I think it was close to 5-6 interviews all in person interviews and this is when I really started to feel bad about myself. I couldn't figure out if I had imposture syndrome or if I really just sucked at programming. I felt like I did everything I possibly could, reading multiple books and building applications from the ground up. All the while the industry is advancing and new frameworks and technologies are coming out that I haven't been keeping up with.

    I think it was around 2018 that I finally decided to start going to meetups, this is when everyone was going to programming boot camps at this time. I had spent the better part of 3 years in my room just teaching myself how to program and feeling terrible about myself the entire time wondering what I was doing wrong and why no on would hire me. Eventually, I met someone in the industry who started giving me advice on what I was doing wrong and what I could do to better my situation.

    Long story short he told me to focus on 1 thing, explaining that I was spreading myself too thin, trying to learn too many different types of technologies. It was also around this time that I realized I was actually really advanced in programming relative to many of the people attending some of the meetups and wondered how it was possible that many of them were getting jobs after only attending a boot-camp for 3 months and a few more months of self study. Then, it finally happened I got a job offer and I accepted it. After 5 years of studying the moment I had been waiting for finally happened.

    Guess what, I quit after 3 months. That's how much time it took me to realize that I would be bored at this place and decided instead to focus on doing enterprise development with java. Next to game programming, enterprise development was like this boogieman to me. By this time, I was a much much better programmer than I was when I graduated college and I was surprised at how much I improved by, I actually was confident for the first time and started mentoring people.

    Fast forward to a year, I burned about 2 months learning: c, directx, win32 api. Another 3 months learning algorithms along with Java EE. And finally close to 4 or 5 months learning Spring and Angular. I am feeling really burned out at this point, to be honest I probably wouldn't have made this much progress if I wasn't already as advanced as a I was. I think it would have been a daunting task for the average person out of college, but its probably expected in my industry.

    I am feeling really depressed at this point, many of the phone calls with recruiters have not went well, they keep telling me the same thing, not enough experience and I guess I am not talking very confidently on the phone either. I am a 34 year old who still lives at home, but I am feeling like I am literally running in quick sand at this point. Most of my problems stem from the fact that I don't get along with people well.

    Had I made more of an effort to put myself out there earlier and more often, I think I could have landed a job years ago. I realized that many of the people who got jobs out of bootcamps had really developed networking skills and weren't afraid of rejection like me. Has anyone experienced something similar, and how can I stay calm. Also, note my parents put pressure on me to leave the house and get a 'real' job (I currently work as a bike courier). This makes my situation even more stressful.

    Sorry this post is so long, but this has been pent up for a very long time.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Guess what, I quit after 3 months. That's how much time it took me to realize that I would be bored at this place and decided instead to focus on doing enterprise development with java.

    This is really where you need to grow up. Sorry to be so blunt but...wow...really? Here is a memo from the adult world - chances are that your first job is not going to be all that but you pay your dues and use it as a stepping stone to move up, show that you can do the actual work and move on to find a better job in a year or two. Like it or not, you show up and do the work every single day. If you want to entertain yourself or advance your skills, you don't quit the job, you do that stuff on your own off time.

    You had good advice that worked in terms of how to get a job and you already know that if you use that advice you can land a job. So get on that and this time around, STICK WITH IT. In other words, stop chasing rainbows. You don't need more learning, you need a job that actually pays rent and you've already proven that you can get it when you take advice and focus. Also, the recruiters are correct - you have zero experience. You need to be looking for entry level work regardless of what skills you have or how advanced they are - nobody is going to hire you into a more senior position when your resume is empty, aka you haven't proven that you can actually show up and do the work.

    Your other option to boost your resume is to go to places like upwork and pick up real projects and do a good job on them and start getting some references and portfolio under your belt. You never know, sometimes companies will hire freelancers when they prove to be good and the company grows. Again, your problem is showing you can get work done.

  3. #3
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    Dancing fool said it beautifully. Could not agree more. Maybe especially at this time when Iím working my behind off given no school for my child and exponentially more time on house cleaning and cooking and shopping - I mean seriously what gave you the idea you didnít have to pay your dues ? I have nothing more to add to what dancing fool wrote. I got my college degree in 1988 and my grad degree in 1994. I would say I spent at minimum 10 years mostly paying my dues and proving myself - and then after 7 years at home full time with our son I had to start from square one at age 49 looking for someone to take a chance on me. I spent well over a year proving myself - and this isnít even a job with promotions. Please reconsider your mindset and perspective.

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    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    I had to start as a warehouse worker (bottom rung of the ladder) at age 48. Yep, 48. Because I'd chosen to leave a prestigious and great-paying job to move out of state to get my lame butt away from an ex I couldn't leave alone. Stupid, yes, but necessary for my emotional health.

    Today, five years and a bit later, I am a manager. I worked my way up. Yeah, I could have said "but I have over 20 years experience in the workforce! You should make me a manager immediately!" But it doesn't work that way.

    Get a job in your field and prove yourself. So what if you're bored or the job doesn't cause you to leap out of bed from pure joy every single morning! You have to work your way up like everyone else. And yes, learn to network. Stop putting down those who attended "boot camp" because guess what, they found a way to get the jobs they wanted. So why put them down?

    You're young enough to build an awesome career but you need to stop getting in your own way.

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  6. #5
    Gold Member Delacrank's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DancingFool
    Guess what, I quit after 3 months. That's how much time it took me to realize that I would be bored at this place and decided instead to focus on doing enterprise development with java.

    This is really where you need to grow up. Sorry to be so blunt but...wow...really? Here is a memo from the adult world - chances are that your first job is not going to be all that but you pay your dues and use it as a stepping stone to move up, show that you can do the actual work and move on to find a better job in a year or two.
    I appreciate that you took the time out of your day to read my inquiry and respond so soon. Actually, this is the general advice that most people give me. I feel like I should clarify some things. First the job I acquired was about an hour and half commute sometimes two from where I lived, so that factored into the decision. Additionally, it was a toxic environment where workers constantly complained and this affected my moral and my ability to stay excited over period of time I worked there.

    Additionally, it isn't that I don't have experience as I have had other programming related jobs which I put on my resume, rather I don't have experience in this domain (i.e. java, enterprise development). I would probably still be in the same position where I am in now had I stayed there for longer, meaning that passing the technical interview would require me to understand knowledge relevant to the technology stack. However, to non technical people (i.e HR, it would look promising). I am not trying to come across as disregarding any of the information which has been shared, and I can at least acknowledge in so far that I had unrealistic expectations in terms of my intellectual fulfillment and trying to acquire that from a 9-5.

    That being sad most of this occurred in the past tense so giving me this advice now doesn't really help me in any way. This is generally my experience with this forum thou.

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    Originally Posted by Delacrank
    I appreciate that you took the time out of your day to read my inquiry and respond so soon. Actually, this is the general advice that most people give me. I feel like I should clarify some things. First the job I acquired was about an hour and half commute sometimes two from where I lived, so that factored into the decision. Additionally, it was a toxic environment where workers constantly complained and this affected my moral and my ability to stay excited over period of time I worked there.

    Additionally, it isn't that I don't have experience as I have had other programming related jobs which I put on my resume, rather I don't have experience in this domain (i.e. java, enterprise development). I would probably still be in the same position where I am in now had I stayed there for longer, meaning that passing the technical interview would require me to understand knowledge relevant to the technology stack. However, to non technical people (i.e HR, it would look promising). I am not trying to come across as disregarding any of the information which has been shared, and I can at least acknowledge in so far that I had unrealistic expectations in terms of my intellectual fulfillment and trying to acquire that from a 9-5.

    That being sad most of this occurred in the past tense so giving me this advice now doesn't really help me in any way. This is generally my experience with this forum thou.
    Of course it helps you -the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

    I can't wrap my head around your expectations - you want an "ability to stay excited" as a standard as to whether you quit after three months? And didn't you know about the commute going in or did the office relocate after you accepted?? Many offices have workers who constantly complain -that too is unfortunately typical - you learn to tune them out and to meet people who don't complain and or just put your head down and do your work. That doesn't sound toxic. Toxic, to me is if there is racial/sexual harassment or similar. I worked at a company like that. I lasted for about a year, started interviewing and then my mentor invited me to leave the company with him and go elsewhere so I did.

  8. #7
    Gold Member Delacrank's Avatar
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    No the office was always a far commute. There was a three month probation period which was contingent on my performance. I think after I passed that marker, much of my excitement died down. In terms of what it means to be fulfilled, the only explanation would be to be giving tasks which I found were challenging.

    Not solving the same problems over and over and over again. Iím not saying this isnít a common problem in the industry, Iím just saying for a person like me who needs to be challenged and motivated to go to work everyday, we look forward to those feelings.

    In terms of the toxicity, it really just came down to money. Other programmers feeling under valued and not being compensated and listening to them moan and complain every freaking day. It was a lot for me to deal with, this was like my first corporate job where I got to sit at a desk and work with people who I thought were supposed to be really smart and professional.

    I guess much of what your saying is true thou. Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it, I am also just struggling with a lot right now living in NYC. And staying home for long periods of time. So my anxiety levels are ramping up and I have no outlet for all of this stress.

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    "Iím just saying for a person like me who needs to be challenged and motivated to go to work everyday, we look forward to those feelings. "

    Me too -what you wrote is typical. What's atypical is quitting so soon for the reasons you stated -you are working for an employer -your first priority is to improve the employer's bottom line -do what you're paid for, basically.
    I think what you're describing is not toxic. What might be is your penchant to quit/cop out too soon and to tell yourself stories about what it's supposed to be and how you're some special creature who loves the feeling of being excited and motivated. Do you think for example parents are always excited and motivated about being parents and look forward to those feelings to the extent that they'd ship their kids off to foster care or boarding school because they weren't excited enough about being a parent and their child was whining and complaining too much? Think about it some, ok?

  10. #9
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I agree with what others are expressing, but just to approach this from a different angle: Do you actually want to work in programming? I ask because I'm just trying to figure out what might be behind the instinct to back out of jobs so quicklyóif maybe it's less about craving something immediate that you're not getting (challenge, motivation, etc.) than just not wanting to really do it in the first place.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Delacrank
    No the office was always a far commute. There was a three month probation period which was contingent on my performance. I think after I passed that marker, much of my excitement died down. In terms of what it means to be fulfilled, the only explanation would be to be giving tasks which I found were challenging.

    Not solving the same problems over and over and over again. Iím not saying this isnít a common problem in the industry, Iím just saying for a person like me who needs to be challenged and motivated to go to work everyday, we look forward to those feelings.

    In terms of the toxicity, it really just came down to money. Other programmers feeling under valued and not being compensated and listening to them moan and complain every freaking day. It was a lot for me to deal with, this was like my first corporate job where I got to sit at a desk and work with people who I thought were supposed to be really smart and professional.

    I guess much of what your saying is true thou. Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it, I am also just struggling with a lot right now living in NYC. And staying home for long periods of time. So my anxiety levels are ramping up and I have no outlet for all of this stress.
    It's not a toxic environment. What you are describing is pretty much typical office. Your expectations and illusions of what a workplace should be like is exactly why most employers do not hire people without at least 1-3 years of proper job experience. It's too much of a gamble on whether you'll figure it out and work or run away.

    Many 20-something fresh out of college grads think the same way you do - should be this, should be that. Reality hits them broadside - petty office politics, whiny coworkers, incompetent managers, unreasonable deadlines, stress, mundane routines, working insane hours for little money, a hole clients - learning how to deal with all that and succeed is what paying your dues is all about. Motivation is your paycheck in that if you don't pay your rent, you'll end up on the street.

    Dude, you cannot sit here and expect the world around you to change and live up to your expectations of how things should be. It's on you to adjust and adapt and learn how to deal with what is and succeed doing it.

    Since you conveniently ignored my advice earlier, I'll repeat - what you did to get that job, do it again. Follow the advice that already worked for you. When you get that next job, suck it up and learn how to deal with it. It's on you to learn how to ignore whiny people, it's on you to learn how to handle mundane tasks, it's on you to figure out how to make yourself happy elsewhere or even at work, despite all the bs you are surrounded with. You are an adult, so it's up to you to stop blaming people around you and start taking responsibility for yourself. Your employer is not a spiritual guru there to provide emotional succor and inspiration. You are there to do a job, they are there to pay you for it. That's it. It's a business transaction. For all your other needs - challenge, entertainment, etc - it's why people have hobbies and things to do outside of work. Work does nothing more than provide the means to pursue things that are fulfilling for most people out there. Even for those whose work is their passion, there is still plenty of bs to deal with, plenty of things they hate that have to do as part of that. There is no utopia.

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