Companies with noteworthy other costs include Zynga/Groupon, which both spend absolutely gobsmacking amounts of money on advertising (and, depending on how you count revenue/expenses, their revenue share deals with Facebook and merchants respectively).
Server/hosting expenses tend to be heavily sensitive to what you're actually doing: Zynga and Dropbox pay a lot relative to their revenues, but at a 37Signals-esque company they're chump change.
Legal fees are typically rounding error. Ball up all administrative overhead and that's in handful of percent region.
Your physical workspace can be a fair chunk of change, depending on where you are, how you came by your space, and to what degree you optimize for having a prestigious address or office space.
For a typical $500K seed round, here is my breakdown for 12 months of expenses. Feedback welcome.
2 founders + health insurance + taxes = $10k/month
2 engineers + health insurance + taxes = $20k/month
1 p/t designer = $5k/month
...and you've burned through $420,000 of your $500,000 in 12 months.
As for the other $80K?
Legal Fees: $10K (or $800/month);Space: $30K (depending on where...around $2500/month);Accounting/Finance: $10K ($800/month);Server Costs + Hardware: $12k ($1k/month);Miscellaneous Expenses including random contractors here and there, marketing expenses, SWAG, a party if you want, some travel to a few conferences, food, etc.: $18k ($1500/month)
Hope this helps.
1. Salary/Benefits.2. Marketing/PR/Sales.3. Rent/Utilities/Facilities.
Everything else is likely a variable cost you can pay with customer money, aka "revenue." (Anything from direct sales to ad-based monetization)Once you can in addition pay the above three from revenues, you should probably stop taking investor money and look for liquidity.
You shouldn't be. Here's what happened:
You thought your ex-boss wasn't an asshole. You were wrong and you found out the hard way. Now that you're in business, sad to say that it's probably not the last time that will happen.
You were a gentleman and he was a jerk. Please don't let this experience keep you from being a gentleman in future business dealings.
I would not cancel the offer. Carry on.
Best wishes to you both. Keep us posted.
Is it okay to bring ex-coworkers to your startup? Yes, but as long as you tell the absolute truth. Don't lie to them and don't sugar-coat, and make sure you're operating in their interests, not yours.
Extending an offer is not the same thing as "poaching". You're not doing anything unethical as long as you don't lie about your company, its prospects, or your friend's role in it.
Remember though that your job (ethically speaking) is not to sell the position to your friend. It's to extend another option so your friend can make the best decision for him (which may or may not be to join you).
Take pride in poaching, it's a net gain for society. However, try not to poach too many employees from the same company or you might really screw them (and their employees) over.
I think you need to think through things before acting on your nice-guy impulses. You have definitely ruined your relationship with your ex-boss for no good reason.
At this point you want to keep your guy and not have your former boss sue you over it (even if you have a strong case he will make you sink money in legal costs, so avoid court if you can). You can do this by convincing your former boss that your new guy did not know about his options until after he quit. Don't get into a wrestling match with him, even if you are right.
Like the other commenter said, you did a dis-service to yourself by notifying your ex-boss, especially given your wording (face-palm).
I do not have a company and have never been in this situation. But that's kind of what it sounds like to me.
If you're doing a startup you're in a competitive environment where you need to do whatever you can to get the best people aboard. People are what make or break startups. You're committed to your startup, not your former employer - rest assured that he if he is any good at what he does he would have done the same thing.
And good luck with your new venture :-)
Just be mindful of this in the future. Karma can be a bitch.
But as numerous people have said, you probably shouldn't have sent the mail you did, and certainly not in the form you did.
Longer answer: it's case by case, depending on the relationships of the individuals involved. Formally, you don't owe your ex-employer anything, and unless you've explicitly signed an agreement that you're breaking, there are no worries. Of course, it's probably more complicated than that, so use the old put-yourself-in-the-other's-shoes principle. Do you feel like the way you're approaching it is wrong?
As you've explained it, the guy quit and your ex-boss is childish. You're all grownups and are free to make decisions. No point putting yourself out to protect someone who likely doesn't care about you or your business.
Keep the high ground and you'll do just great.
One of my co-founders was a guy that I worked with for years and I only approached him after he left the company that he was working with, afterwards of course we got a lot of flak but I could easily prove that I had not approached him until after he quit and that was that.
Of course legally you're on solid ground either way, but it's a small world and word does get around so it is better to play it safe and clean rather than legal.
It's a bit sad that I didn't write a line of code until I started university despite mammoth computer time.
In fact, I'd recommend that everyone's first language should be a functional one. It would make my life, convincing everyone that referential transparency and immutable state are good things, so much easier.
Aside from that, I'd love to be further ahead with geospatial python and statistics than where I am now.
I would suggest spending a few hours every week studying the stock market so that you can at least understand things that are going on, fluctuations that take place etc. I also recommend (my father pays for) Stock Market Mentor. He is a really brilliant guy and although his service is expensive it will be made up for by the knowledge you gain. That knowledge (both relevant to actually picking stocks AND learning to pick your own) will stay with you forever when you have even more money to invest.
I would suggest spending a few months listening to him and doing your own research. Find some stocks you like (or sectors) and follow them. You could test the waters with ETFs because a lot of the stimulus money will be entering the market soon. Right now the market is quite low by historic levels - that doesn't necessarily mean it will go up, but the chances are better.
The market is extremely volatile now. Just be careful..invest in LEARNING and then test things out. Good luck
Without knowing more, I would say a 3-year Certificate of Deposit (CD) or bond funds are your best bet.
Stop caring and continue working on your product, YC is not the be all and end all of a successful outcome for you.
Although, with the community around here, I'm surprised nobody has made a browser extension to manage HN tabs ;)
(For bonus points, the extension would have to integrate HN search and comment scores)
I was going to post something like this yesterday, but then I thought it was probably redundant.
So did I. Many times. About half the time it worked out great. The other half, it sucked, just like yours does now. You are not alone.
I'm constantly broke, on the verge of poverty...
Then get a job, any job. It doesn't have to be programming. It'll get you out of the house, get you with other people, and put a few bucks in your pocket. If you love programming enough, you'll find time to keep it going on the side.
I'm deeply depressed and contemplating suicide
Don't. Contact me anytime (see my profile). When things are going well, they're never as good as they seem. When they are going poorly, they're never as bad as they seem.
I have to constantly hear my father shout what an idiot I am for quitting a high-paying job
Fathers are sometimes wrong. Yours is now. Don't listen to him.
My friends make fun of me for making a retarded life decision.
When things get tough, you find out who you're friends really are. I know it's not much consolation, but you just did. Be glad you saved a lot of time and energy. Anyone who makes fun of you was never your friend, just an acquaintence.
I can't really do anything else, since apparently finding a new job, is kind of hard and I have to go through the whole step where I admit my failure and start over and I don't even know what I want anymore.
Don't ever say "can't" because it's not true. You can. Just find any job and go from there. First you crawl, then you walk, then you run. Many of us have already been there. You can do it too.
I thought I would become free, but I've actually become less free as a result of it.
So far. What you don't see now since you are in the midst of this is that this was just one backward (or sideways) step in a long journey forward. I don't know anyone who is successful that had only forward steps. We have all had these backward steps. It sounds like this may have been your first big one. That might be why it hurts so much.
I'm 20, I have no college diploma, no high school diploma, ...
None of that matters. All that really matters is what's inside your head and your heart. Once you decide to start taking positive steps, you'll see.
I'm an idiot, essentially.
Please don't ever say that. You're not, and I have proof: If you were really an idiot, then you wouldn't have posted this here.
It just didn't work out and it feels very painful.
Thanks for the warning. You may have just saved a lot of people a lot of pain with this post.
And thanks for your story. I have been there (several times) as I imagine many others here have as well. It gets better. I promise. But you have to stop feeling miserable and take a positive step. Posting here was your first step. Talking to some of us off-line may be another. And getting out of the house and finding a job, any job, is probably your next best step.
Please give it a shot a keep us posted. We're not going anywhere and we care. Really.
I had no college experience, but did manage to jump right in to a good I.T. job while I was still in high school, and from there into an even better I.T. job in another state where I made more money than I knew what to do with. (I've never been good with money, and didn't understand what "savings" meant.) I worked there until suddenly one day I went on a camping trip with family, came back, and decided I hated computers. I quit that job, and the industry.
Then the dotcom bust happened.
So, at about your age, there I am, living back with my parents. They at least were supportive, but it took me a while to get my feet back under me. I took some simple jobs, took up rock climbing as a hobby, eventually became a climbing instructor, learned a whole bunch of skills but got paid next to nothing.
Eventually all of the credit I had amassed during my previous life in I.T. ran out, and I was deeply in debt with not enough income to manage it. My parents had moved away, and I ended up moving with them. Again.
Not my proudest moment.
It took months, applying to nearly every job and place of business in the area, but eventually I got a simple retail job. I lied about my past experience so that they wouldn't tell me I was overqualified to operate a cash register.
I let my bank accounts and credit fall apart. There was nothing I could do about it but start over. So I did.
Eventually, I was ready to re-join I.T. and happened by dumb luck across the perfect job opening for me -- about 6 hours' drive away. I patched up my car enough to get me there, and took with me the bag of spare change I had accumulated over a year or so.
The boss and I hit it off, and I got the job. It was one of the most challenging jobs I've ever had -- I was a one-man I.T. department for a store & restaurant that had no budget for anything fancy. All patchwork, all the time. I had gotten pretty good at that by then.
I was homeless at that point and my car barely got me there, but I happened to have some friends in the area so I stayed on their couch and made up for it by cleaning while I was at home. My first paycheck got me living expenses, the second got me the new radiator that my car needed, and so on.
Several years later, I've gone through a couple more jobs (a step up each time), started my own business, my credit is slowly rebuilding, the business is supporting two other people. It's still a struggle every day, but it's an uphill struggle. Every year is better than the last.
So, if your friends are giving you a hard time, tell 'em to knock it the hell off. Or find new friends. You've made a mistake -- maybe, you won't really know for sure for years -- but you have an opportunity to gain experiences that others never will. If I had never been a climbing instructor, I never would have developed the people skills that I needed to be an effective manager, let alone a business owner. You don't know what the future holds, so there's no sense in admitting defeat yet.
I won't try to lie to you, the next few years could be rough. Real rough. There could be an awful lot of days where you don't want to get out of bed, you don't want to do anything. Depression certainly doesn't make it any easier -- I know that from experience, too. But, if you keep trying anyway, you may discover that your best days are ahead of you yet.
Also, you're really not an idiot. People that never take a risk rarely end up in great places in life. You took a risk, it hasn't worked out so far. But, you didn't know what was going to happen before you did it. An idiotic decision is one that you know is bad when you make it. Unless you have an unusual power of foresight, you're not an idiot for making the decision you made.
Keep working on the freelancing. Keep getting better, keep making connections with other people. You have to become very aggressive now; it's not like a regular job where somebody else is doing the marketing and management for you and setting a schedule. Learn to start recognizing little victories. If you made enough money this week to pay a bill that you couldn't pay last week, that's a victory. Learn to get good at operating within razor-thin margins. Make sure you take a real hard look at all of your expenses; people that aren't accustomed to this style of living often have expenses that they believe they must have. At one point, my expenses were literally: food, and gas for the car. And that was it. I had no bank account, I got my checks cashed at the grocery store, I kept the cash in my wallet with a little extra hidden at my crash space (because paranoia), and so I knew exactly how much money I had to spend and live off of. If I had an extra $20 come payday, that was a real good week.
If you're lucky enough to be in an area with good public transit, ditch your car. Those things are money sinks. The moment you can't afford your insurance or registration, you will get pulled over. It's like magic, really bad magic. And the fines and fees just pile up, and there are no sympathetic ears when that starts happening.
Let go of everything that you think you have to hold on to -- your sense of importance, of self-worth, anything that might be holding you back or keeping you from making the hard decisions that have to be made -- and just decide that you'll buy it all back later.
Then just take your life one day at a time for a while.
I've been in a similar spot. The problem wasn't that I quit my job (in that instance I was laid off when a startup collapsed)... it was that I quit my life.
Whatever plans you've had for the last year, you didn't throw yourself into them. In those four months, were you looking for another job? Were you freelancing? Whatever your plan was for making money, if it didn't work, did you find another? Or did you quit it? If it was marginally working, why didn't you ramp it up more?
You had one high paying job, you can get another.
At the same time, you have to believe in yourself. The problem is, I think maybe you think of yourself as a quitter.
You gotta recognize that last job was a bunch of assholes. A hot startup, or a team effort where you had equity? Maybe something like those hours could make sense. But not having equity, that's just abuse. You've got to accept the fact that that job was worth quitting. (if you haven't already.)
Sucks being at your parents, right? I'm at my parents right now too. I sometimes hang with them when starting a new company... but we get along well and they're supportive. Your father is probably trying to get you motivated, just using bad form in doing it.
He's got the right idea though. IF you're angry at him, let that motivate you.
You're 20. I'm more than twice your age. I promise you, things will be a lot better soon.
Figure out what YOU can do, that doesn't involve anyone else. Do that. Make a little money, but make it consistently.
Then come up with something else and expand it.
I used to buy things from Woot and then sell them on Amazon.com for a profit. I did ok with that and started looking for other places for supply. I did this when I was burned out on programming and wanted to make some money.
Whatever skills you've got, use them to make money. Don't worry about whether it was a mistake or not-- that isn't known yet. You've lost a year... that sucks. DON'T LOSE ANOTHER ONE!
Screw last year. What are you going to do this year? How are you going to make more this month than you did last month. And the month after that? Just focus on that.
I think thaumaturgy did a better job than me, and I agree with what he said.
One thing that's brought me a lot of comfort over the years-- I've always known I could get a job at McDonalds. No matter what, I had that to fall back on. IF you need to fall back on something like that, remember, there's absolutely no shame in slinging fries. People act like there is, but those are people who are lazy.
There's no shame in any job.
And if the job sucks, work to find a better one.
If you're off the path you need to be, work to get back on it... but if you need to leave your parents house, sling fries. Then use that to get a slightly better crappy job.
Work your way forward. If you're doing better right now that you would if you were slinging fries, well, you're well ahead of the game. Just keep working on that.
I'm deeply depressed and contemplating suicide
No matter where you are you can visit http://www.befrienders.org/
If you really wanted a soulless but high-paying job you hate, you'd be at Yale preparing for a career in finance.
It sounds like you don't really know what you want to do with your life right now. Nobody really does at 20. So I'm going to give you some advice nearly everyone here will hate: go to college.
My parents threw me out when I was 18, and I learned a few things really quickly. The most important was that in California, you can go to community college for free as long as you're poor (which I was by default as a line cook/graveyard shift baker), and knock out two out of four years of a bachelor's degree just dicking around, trying different things in different departments until something clicks.
You'll learn a ton. Most of it won't have to do with your degree. That totally doesn't matter and it's not the point.
With just a little bit of focus, you can come away with an associate's degree and a killer transfer application to get you in to a better college. Or, you can just drop out, and hopefully you'll at least have a better idea of what you want to do with your life, a little bit of experience, and a larger professional network than you started with.
I built my freelance programming and design career by teaching myself those skills while taking classes and working in kitchens. By the end of the first half of year two, I wasn't working in kitchens anymore. Now my school is paying me to finish my bachelor's degree, and I'm turning down job offers every time I go to a meetup for my field, one that everybody tells me is supposed to be dying or something.
The other most important thing I learned was how to be happy while poor (not fake college student poor where you can always call your parents for more money, but real poor where you have a jar of peanut butter until pay day next week and your heat is turned off), and that poverty is worth not being subject to others' expectations and living on your own terms.
Not having money is not a real problem. Living with shitty parents who yell at you about money and wanting to kill yourself is. Get the fuck out of there and go to college. You will not regret it, as long as you don't pay for it.
I second the advice to stay off of Hacker News, because it's generally full of privileged overachievers who will make you feel worse (though not consciously) about your situation.
If you want any specific details about how to accomplish any of these things, feel free to contact me, info is in my profile.
1. Some of you are saying to yourselves, "Why were you teaching yourself while going to college? That's dumb, you shouldn't have been in college!" It's because outside of "elite" universities, programming knowledge is usually woefully out of date, and the nature of this field is such that the only one with any authority to say it's out of date is the one teaching the out-of-date course material. History, philosophy, and writing skills are much less dependent on the state of the art, and it's easier to find a skilled, accesible and receptive mentor in all of these fields than it is in programming or computer science.
Though, don't forget that failing is fantastic (and painful): it means that you're trying to do something challenging, unlike the people who will give you shit about it. Failing gives you character and experience - as someone much older than 20 I can say that people with these qualities are rare to come by in day to day life!
You're twenty years old. Maybe quitting your job was a bad move, maybe it was a good move that you just can't see the bright side of yet, but in any event you've got plenty of time to figure out what to do.
And, bonus, you know what financial hardship is like. I know a lot of folks that won't take big risks because they're afraid of losing their savings. Not a problem for you, it happened once and you know you can survive it.
That's not outright blame for you; we're as much at fault for taking one part of the info and giving you advice on it - no one in the thread seemed to couch their advice with "but talk to your friends/family" etc. Which is probably part of the problem.
You mention the idea of freelancing as a revenue to keep you going; but it is not clear a) what your experience is and b) how much research you did into doing that sort of work as freelance. This is usually killer; I quit an OK job once to go freelance - it didn't work out because I didn't do the work.
Tell us about your skills - someone here on HN will likely have some work for you
Don't get depressed though; you're probably feeling like a failure, but realistically you were in a bad place and decided to try something radical to fix it. That hasn't worked - so try something else!
The suggestion below to go work in a supermarket while you build up freelance work & side projects is a good one. There is nothing wrong with manual labour, especially in your 20's. And if you are worried about being stuck there long term - constantly work not to be there long term.
Building a career is fucking hard. It sounds like you had a lucky break initially - a well paid job. But for a high trade off (horrible working conditions). Now you have to do like the rest of us :)
I'm guessing you were sold the "get rich quick" and "quitting my job was the best thing..." idea. This is an unfortunate side effect of HN... because it largely doesn't work - and certainly not without intense effort and drive.
Your 20; this is a setback, but it's certainly not the end. In 30 years time there is no reason it couldn't be you interviewing with Time, and telling them that this was the failure that drove you from them on - or something (note; a lot of work required!).
And tell the people abusing you to get lost; sounds like they are a large part of your pain/depression & likely what it holding you back.
Maybe volunteer for one of those charity trips - go build a school somewhere away from the people that are getting you down. Meet new people, get new ideas. etc.
Relax. Get a job at the supermarket, or anything that will pay the bills for now. Figure out your main gig slowly on the side. If you share more about your freelancing work, people here might be able to help you out.
Self-driven learning is good (essential, I'd argue), but paying money to learn is a good motivator too. It'll get you (OP) out of the house, meeting people, and challenge you in fields you might not otherwise explore. Some important concepts are easier to grok with a good instructor. (Algorithms comes to mind.)
There's the side benefit that being a student opens you up to federal grants and loans (in the U.S.). Don't go overboard with the debt (I'd suggest not more than a year or so of borrowing), but it can help get you out of a bad place. Many universities also have student jobs, so finding work in that environment might be a little easier than otherwise. They also have career centers that will help polish a resume and refine interview skills.
Figure out what you love to do. Look for a job where you get to do it. In the mean time, any job will do.
Lastly, as others have said here, you're a more than competent writer. If you enjoy doing it, maybe you've a career option there. In the meantime, keep a journal. Not only is the process cathartic, it forces you to be reflective.
Looking back at your other post that was a shitty situation and the desire to get out of there must have been pretty strong. Maybe I'm wrong but when you're under that sort of pressure and that unhappy, any alternative can look good and it can be hard to work out what the right way forward is.
Personally I'd look back at what was happening before you quit and why you quit. Understand that, understand that decision and what you can learn from it. Then look at what happened after you quit and what you can learn from that.
Then take all that and draw a line under it. Seriously, learn what you can and move on. There is nothing to be gained by beating yourself up so take those lessons and start looking at what you do next and how you can avoid repeating the situation.
But genuinely thanks for posting this. I think sometimes it's easy to get carried away with the whole "quit, go it alone" ethos and not see the other side. The reality is that most small businesses and start ups struggle or fail, and freelancing can be tough, especially at first, so it's a realistic chance that if you go out on your own then that'll be the situation you face. Sometimes we forget that so while it's been painful for you, hopefully someone else will benefit.
Fingers crossed that you manage to take this experience and turn it into something useful.
On another note: is it possible to get a part-time cashier job and go to community college? (I know you don't have a HS diploma but I'm under the impression that some CCs have programs for that.) An community college degree will give you some type of education certification that employers appreciate.
You seem well-spoken and you were able to hold a job at a high-pressure company before. I hope you will find greater success soon. I am rooting for you.
Despite all that I still believe quitting was the right thing to do. Those jobs were not right for me and were driving me towards burn out. The upside of keeping either of those jobs for longer would have been literally tens of thousands of dollars more in my pocket and a lot less financial stress. But it almost assuredly would have gutted me on the inside. And the downside of that would probably end up being the destruction of my ability to operate as a knowledge worker at the level I'm capable of which easily translates to millions of dollars of lost revenue over the next few decades. So on balance I think I made the vastly better choice.
As far as your condition, it's not so terribly bad. You're young, you have low expenses (living at home). You seemingly have a lot more skill and talent than most folks your age. So you've hit a rough patch and maybe your resume is underwhelming and you don't have any good connections and you can't find the work you want. So what? Swallow your pride and go find any job that you can get. Washing dishes. Working retail. Manning the fry-o-later. Income is income, and being able to know that you are capable of supporting yourself no matter what can actually be a huge boost to your own self-image.
When I was in my late 20s and found myself out of work (during the dark days of the first dot-com bust) with a shitty resume and no connections I ended up working as an overnight stocker at a grocery store (I ended up losing 15 lbs in 3 weeks just due to the intensity of the manual labor at that job) for a while and then doing data entry for nearly 2 years after that. Quite quickly I was able to get to a state where I could live alone, pay all my bills, and had money in my pocket to spare. It wasn't easy but it was very rewarding. And eventually I got to a state where I could start looking at moving back into technology, each job I got increased my skillset and improved my resume.
I know a lot of people who make a decent living in tech without a degree, at every level (from IT and tech support all the way up to senior developers). Even so, you've got plenty of time to acquire one should you deem it important. You've got the whole world and your whole life ahead of you, you're not nearly as behind in the game as you think. All you need to do is apply yourself enough, get over the fantasy that the world will deliver your dream job to you on a silver platter at age 20, build up your skills and your connections bit by bit, and start making solid steps towards your goals.
First, if you ARE VERY SERIOUS about suicide, please seek help as others have mentioned. I suspect you're simply very sad and venting, but please don't do anything rash.
Next, please listen to/watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoIAnd then this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY
Perspective is the first thing you lose when you're depressed and when you're under 25, it's so easy to do. Don't put so much pressure on yourself, you took some chances, it didn't work out, life is far from over. Let me say I envy you. That's right, ENVY. You've learned at 20, what I learned at 31. You are VERY ahead of the game, and have SOOO many options because you have youth on your side and the pain today will guarantee your 20s are more productive & fruitful than they would have been had you not gone through this experience.
The most important thing you can do at this time is seek advice from someone you trust and respect, and begin taking baby steps. Don't try to tackle your whole life at once, just 1-step at a time. Surround yourself with supportive people, and strip the negativity out of your life at this time. Friends that kick you when you're down are either not real, or immature. They are useless to you at this time in your life, so stay away from them. Be honest with your parents, and tell them you need their emotional support to help you through this time. Parents make mistakes, and ultimately their emotions often get the best of them when they see you struggle, because they 'knew better'. It's important to share your feelings with them, and make them understand that you WANT to change your life and need them to support your attempts at doing so. It's such a critical step.
To share a personal story...
I graduated high school at 16. Yes, 16, and I was #9 in my graduating class. I then proceeded to FAIL out of college because I couldn't take care of myself and wasn't responsible enough to handle the freedom that comes with college. Going from 'bright all your life' to 'college failure' was an absolute low point. Suicide was contemplated frequently. The disappointment on my parents' faces was always there. Trying to get back into a different college was actually VERY difficult, because many colleges require transfer students to have a good academic standing from your previous institution, so talk about a perpetual kick in the groin. During this time, I had 2 choices. Use my brain & determination to figure a way out, or quit on life. I chose the latter.
I enrolled in the only college for 2-classes that would accept me as a part-time student for one semester, while holding down some b.s. job. It was depressing and embarrassing. The next semester, I used my 2-class semester creds. to give me 'good academic standing' and was able to apply to a better university for part-time status. During this semester, I took classes at both colleges (25 miles apart) with a 1-hr gap between my classes to allow for travel time. (That commute sucked) Exactly 1-year after getting kicked out of my university, I took my 2-semesters worth of transcripts and petitioned to get re-accepted into the uni. that kicked me out; my petition was approved, with conditions. I was placed on academic probation, and had 60 hours of 1.1/4.0 cumulative GPA at the time. I had burned through all my electives and was a Math/CS major, meaning the next 50-60 hours of class were purely CORE classes, no electives. I needed to have a 2.0 cumulative to graduate, meaning the hardest classes I had in front of me, required a 3.2 GPA average. The college I was attending was among the top 5 in engineering in the country, so turning my scholastic life around was pretty unlikely. I talked with the Dean of my college and started regularly presenting him my progress, to show I was committed.
For 2 years, I was on academic probation and thankfully had established some critical relationships to help me during this period in time. By the time I had enough credits to graduate, I was only able to average a 2.9 GPA during the rest of my time and did NOT achieve my 2.0 cumulative. I was not allowed to. My efforts to be transparent however, paid off. The Dean chose to extend a privilege to me having witnessed such a tremendous turnaround. The official name of this privilege was 'Forgiveness'. Every class I had failed I had to retake, but at this uni. grades were averaged, not replaced. 'Forgiveness' basically meant that the Dean could start wiping away F's from my transcript until my cum. GPA reached a 2.0 to graduate. It was the most ridiculous thing I had never heard of, but I some how managed to graduate from the university I previously failed out of.
It was only after this time, that I truly began to understand the value of hard work and smart thinking. You are smarter than you give yourself credit for. Surround yourself with positive energy, take baby steps, and create a plan for what you're going to try to do each week. Set realistic goals, like 'Apply to 20 jobs', as opposed to 'get a job'. You will make it through this, and please share your progress on HN. Let the community be your support system and see your progress, because your experience will help the next person that experiences similar hardships.
Good luck. Really. And if it gets too hard, watch those videos again or find other stories from successful people that never attended college. There's no set path to life. You can do this.
Don't give up, hard work pays off, I was in your exact situation or worse when I was your age :) (I'm 23 now and have turned it around)
Oh, and parents say things like that, ignore or fight them, it doesn't matter, just don't let it get to you. If you have friends that make fun of you, you are either misinterpreting what they are saying or they are not actually your friends. In the latter case, get rid of these people, they are harmful to your psyche.
Get in touch if you need more help, talk to the people around you too, people care more than you expect
I was so messed up that I thought I didn't want to work in IT any more. I tried to get jobs in other fields; retail, even. It's harder than it sounds. Eventually my money and my credit ran out.
I got pretty lucky; I come from an I.T. family and my dad (a mid level IT manager at the university) was able to get me an interview with a guy who used to be one of his student interns who now had a fairly successful company, so I ended up working through the dot-com dump in my chosen field.
So yeah. some advice:
1. use all your contacts to their fullest extent.
Seriously, I know it feels weird to do it, but ask your family and all your friends if they know people who have the ability to hire someone with your skillset. probably 80% of the full time jobs I've gotten (oddly, only maybe 10% of the contract gigs I've gotten) came through knowing someone.
2. if you want, sure, apply to lower-skilled jobs. But don't stop applying to jobs in your field.
Unemployment in the unskilled sectors, at least in America, is ridiculously high. This is much less true of the more skilled sectors. Also, working a unskilled job, while it can get you out of the parent's house, still counts as unemployment as far as getting your next skilled job, which brings me to 3, which may be my most important point:
3. build a resume excuse for the unemployment.
It's extremely difficult to get a skilled job after a long period of unexplained unemployment. Most of the time, resumes from people who are not currently working are simply round filed. Picking good people is /hard/ and picking bad people is /expensive/ so hr people tend to behave a bit like sheep and mutual fund managers; if nobody else wants you, the reasoning goes, there is probably something wrong with you.
This is where your side business comes in.
You now work full-time for your side business. Consulting, web design, what have you. Doesn't matter if you actually pay the bills working at the piggly wiggly, as far as your resume and your on-line identity is concerned, you are running your own company.
This works best if you actually do work on your personal company. I would advise giving your services away for free, but from experience, it's actually often easier to sell your services than to give them away (don't be ashamed to accept below market pay if you can't get market pay. Of course, try to get market pay, but there is a 'shadow IT' industry that pays little more than retail... don't be ashamed to work there if you need to; it might not pay much but it does count as IT on the resume.)
First, as everyone else suggested (I never did but...) talk to someone about your depression, suicidal thoughts isn't something you should keep to yourself and you should find someone close to you that you can share your feeling with right away.
Back when I was 18 just out of high school I got a job at a mortgage company as a loan officer, I made tons of money in the range of 15-20k/month on average which was normal for my office and location. I purchased a 450k home through financing when I turned 20, had two high end cars and a third (money pit) project car that I barely had time to work on.
Long story short, I was your age (20) at the time and I did what most 20yr olds do, bought whatever I wanted no matter the price. I thought life like this would last forever, with no care for the term "housing bubble", I didn't care to know what the worst of it would mean.
When 2007 came around and I saw lenders severely restrict guidelines and homes start appraising at an incredibly devalued price from what it once was, that was when I started to panic. Eventually I had to short sell my home, turn one of my cars in because I owed more then the value of it and go from 15-20k to basically nothing.
So I ended up moving to Miami beach for two years staying with a relative, and spent all of my money pretending to still be/do what I once was/could until i ran completely out of money. Then I sat in depression for the rest of the two years I was there. Things really got bad after my second car got repossessed.
Anyway, the story is of a person (me) falling from high up all the way to rock bottom which it sounds like is where you are. After the two year period of depression I got a second chance through moving back to Illinois and staying with my parents, going back to college and programming again. Now I have three partners working on a new product, face time with VC's that have shown interest when its completed, introduced to business owners (through friends) that have agreed to test our product. Things are going great.
There is one thing that happened to me which changed my outlook on life when things weren't going so well(im not saying you should go and do this by any means at the moment), I had a son and so far he has been my inspiration in pulling through.
Right now I am 25, my plan that I set for myself when I was 16 was to have over $1 million by the time I was 25, you can laugh at that if you want but i was serious and it was definitely possible at the rate that I made money as a Loan Officer. You still have a shot at achieving either the goal of stability or creating your own job by the time you are 25. Figure out which route you want and make a plan to get there, i.e. "Get a GED. 4 months, goto community college/university for CS or whatever 2-4 years." By that time you should have a side job and a nearly completed BS in CS.
You have time, you have talent. Make a goal, define a path and start going down it. The longer you wait and sulk in your depression the more depressed you will get being 21,22,23,24,25yrs old and in the same situation you are currently in. Don't do that.
You'll never find out what you have to look forward to if you never attempt to look forward, so dont look back, move forward.
i quit my job, a good job, i was (web) business developer, had to oversee a few coders, code a little bit myself, tell other companies what they should code for us, talked in big meetings, had a great time with my boss and co-workers and the prospect of becoming a COO in time.
i quit, it was 2004, i was 26 and the web was in a shitty state (this was before web 2.0 and IE had 90 market share). i wanted to do something else. start my own company. i had a lot of ideas and a high quality half baked plan.
the first day of my self-employment i jumped over a wall, broke my knee, badly. i was in hospital for 2 months. i could not walk for 4 months. my mother is dead, i do not talk to my father much. i had a 6 year old child.
after this i was broke, i was more than broke.
i decided to get a job again. it was the worst job possible. i hated every second. 4 months later i quit again.
this was the worst of times - i thought my life was over.
- and -
i was wrong. i was unbelievable wrong.
it was the most important time of my adult life (so far). you can only recognize the good parts of life if you have experiences some bad parts.
Success takes time.
Wish you well ;-)
PS. Just for the purposes of consolation. I went through something similar at your age. Im now 30 and while i dont feel as suffocated as i used to, i know exactly how you feel. It does get better. I assure you. I dont regret (for the large part) the decision that i made. I just wish i had had the courage to be even bolder with my choices, and sooner.
Life is a dance. Sometimes we lead. Sometimes life leads.
When I was a kid, I thought either you were in charge or you were a putz. After all, all of my heroes were in complete charge of their life. Isn't that the goal? Don't people always say "You're either telling your own story or helping somebody else tell theirs?"
But then as I got older I realized that the important thing in this dance is to figure out whether you are supposed to be listening and adapting or leading. Out of work and need money? You should be listening. Where are the jobs? How do I need to adapt to be able to eat? Have some free time in the evenings? Then you should be leading. What can I do right now to help my own prospects in five years' time?
A lot of times we just give up and take what we get. We spend our free time plugged into a video game or the web. That's wrong. But it's just as wrong to think that you should be in charge all of the time, working hard, living large, and controlling your own destiny. That's another kind of giving up -- picturing some fantasy life that will never exist and then beating ourselves up because we don't live there.
It ain't that easy. The dream is important. It's all there is. But you gotta know how to dream. There is a difference between dreaming and fantasy.
So you got kicked in the teeth. Welcome to the big leagues, kid! Get good enough at getting kicked in the teeth and you might end up being a decent person one day.
Having said that, you also might be depressed. If so, you should find somebody to talk to. Thinking of killing yourself is not very healthy. The thing isn't that life doesn't suck. It's that life sucks and we learn to live in it and love it anyway. Sometimes that can be tough to do. Talking about it helps. A lot.
2. Your job sucked. Quitting was right.
3. Admit failure at freelancing. Build character.
4. Survive. Go out and get any job you can find. It will give you focus and get you out of the house, away from the bullshit.
5. Get your head straight. Analyse what went wrong. Do it differently, or not at all.
6. Get new friends. Can't get new family, though.
There's no safe route to success.
You're 20. When I was 20 I hadn't worked a full-time job yet; since then I've been hired at a place where it didn't work out, worked my ass off, landed a dream job, and now I'm learning how to code. Life is long, and you and I have only lived a piece of it.
It hasn't. You're alive, you have your family, and there's air in your lungs. Take steps to fix this situation.
Oh, and stop being so negative. Life's hard enough already when you're NOT giving yourself a hard time.
Higher paying jobs will come and at some point you'll be able to review this period from a position of strength and you'll appreciate what you learned more than you do now. Starting a consultancy business takes 3 years, you can't just stop work one day and expect to stay afloat. That's the only mistake that I think you made, 4 months is way too short.
The first year you lose money, the second you break even (but you're still below 0 because of the first year), the third year you might make some money closing the hole of the first year.
And get yourself some professional help, being suicidal is a really good reason to do so. Don't wait.
That being said, like someone pointed out, you're only 20 and still have tons of time and energy to expend on something you truly want to work on. It's easier for me to say this than for you to do it, but you need to find something deep inside that will give you the resiliency to keep fighting and working on what you believe in. I know it's difficult to shut out the naysayers, but that's precisely what you need to have the ability to do if you want to be able to build a startup.
Honestly, if you think staying at your previous job was going to make you happier, I think you're deluding yourself. Not saying it's all flowers and sunshine on this side, but I think you can take heart in the fact that you're actually trying to pursue true happiness compared to many other people who know they're unhappy with their lives, but are too afraid to make a change because they're too comfortable with their lifestyle and the status quo. It won't be easy, but there's almost nothing in life that is easy. Take comfort in the fact that there are tons of us out there struggling like you are but are still fighting and scrapping along. Fight and don't give up. You're not the only one :)
With no HS or college diploma what kind of 'high paying' job did you quit? If you were good enough to get that job and make it work before, your resume should show that now. I know the job market is rough right now, but companies are still hiring people who get shit done.
You're only 20. 20! You don't even want to know all the idiotic things I did in my early 20s. You're at the age when you're supposed to make mistakes, and learn from them. Don't let this setback get you down. Just keep pushing forward. As the saying goes, 'when going through hell, keep going!'
Oh, and your friends. Dump them. They aren't real friends if they make fun of you for taking this risk. Most friendships are very short lived anyways (another thing that's hard to know at 20), so don't let them get you down.
In the short term it may make things difficult financially.
Get excited about something, what are you passionate about that can pay the bills in the future?
A college degree is good, I would recommend getting some type of technical degree, computer science. Calculus is tough, a lot of people struggle through it, don't get discouraged.
Art appreciation is great, Art as a career or even as a degree not recommended (if you enjoy programming/solving problems).
That said a degree isn't 100% necessary, just nice to have.
If you are creative and enjoy programming and web design. Do not give up on web development/freelancing.
There is so much opportunity in this area.
Stay at your parents as long as you can short term, thank them for letting your stay, help out around the house.
Find a support network and take care of yourself (Find people who put you in a positive mind set and spend time with them, spend time outdoors, exercise, eat right)
Find a Job any Job (Try to find something that interests you and relates to technology: Computer Repair Store, Apple Store maybe even Barnes and Noble).
Keep Freelancing (Take on every project you can find, approach local businesses and restaurants about creating or updating their websites, Take on difficult projects, that test and improve your skills)
Keep Learning (PHP/mySQL, jQuery, Create a Web App, Create an iOS app, HTML5, CSS3, Ruby on Rails)
Learn more about startups and businesses in general (Listen to David Heinemeier Hansson's startup school talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CDXJ6bMkMY. Start listening to the interviews at http://mixergy.com.)
Meet Like Minded People (Ditch your friends that aren't supportive, make new friends)
Talk more with your family (Build a better relationship with your parents explain how bad your previous job was, admit that maybe you should have stuck it out, tell them about your new plan, keep them updated)
Money (Use credit sparingly, do not buy things on credit cards unless you can pay off the balance monthly, check out Rich Dad Poor Dad, just take in the overall message don't follow all his advice to the letter and Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover to build good money management habits now while you're young.)
I would push you to plan on (or at least think about) having your own business (eventually).
Freelancing or working for a company is only going to take you so far. Salary isn't everything but when you have a wife and 2 kids, mortgage, college tuition, etc money won't go as far as you think.
Working for someone else your salary will hit a ceiling, same with freelancing/consulting you only have so many hours to sell and you'll constantly be chasing new projects.
You currently have a job, consulting, and are learning all you can about web development.
Let's add one more item to the mix, your side project.
Your side project will be the start of your company.
Your goal is to create a website, web application that provides reoccurring revenue.
SaaS (recommended)Mobile AppsAffiliate SiteContent Site with Ads
Since you are young you can explore all these areas, figure out where your passion is and go from there.
If everything is going ok living at your parents use this time to build your side project(s), along with your job and freelancing/consulting.
If you feel like you need to get your own place then you're going to have to start looking for a better day job.
Basically balance your job, consulting and keep your side project(s) moving forward.
You are young so you have a lot of time to get a business off the ground if that's the direction you are headed.
There are lots of ways to make money building online businesses.
Business is not easy, you will have failures and successes, stay positive.
Save money to give yourself runway when you decide to quit your day job and depend on your side projects that have turned into your primary business(s).
Keep an open mind, be on the look out for new business/website ideas, keep learning, keep up your support network.
If you aren't passionate about consulting or running your own business, pick a career you like and will enjoy day to day, then look at your starting salary and long term salary ceiling and setup your lifestyle below those levels, including money for savings, travel, kids, college.
Enjoy the ride.
The path to adulthood is different and difficult for everyone. As a human being you make decisions throughout your life, and in hindsight, some of these decisions turn out to be mistakes. You need to make these mistakes in order to find what is right for you. Find what is important to you.
The worst thing that could happen to you is that this experience somehow makes you do something against your own nature, for instance laboring away in a cubicle for the next 40 years because you are too afraid to fail again.
You are twenty years of age, you will work a many jobs in your life, you will fall in and out of love, you might get your college degree with 50, maybe you will travel Europe and open a bed & breakfast across the ocean. Who knows but you?
Working on my own started out as a total mess. Been broke, more than broke. Lost friends, relationships. Stuck with it because I too made some decisions that I couldn't back out of and it was my only way out, so I had to make it work.
My life is now not a mess. It gets better every day. Now, I have friends working for me. I have 15+ years of business experience before I'm 35. I worked my ass off in my 20's to get 20 years of experience in 10. You could say I had my quarter life crisis early.
I'm going to braindump mind can't easily convince you into thinking it's impossible, or worse, you think that there's some kind of short coming in you.
It's hard to find anyone to relate to when you're young and in business. It's a luxury to feel understood sometimes.
Things to consider:
0) UNTIL YOU ARE HARDER, LIFE CAN BE GENERALLY HARD. HARDEN YOURSELF LIKE CODE.
Whether you work a job and get stuck in the politics trying to move up, or business, it's hard. Sorry. If you accept it, it just becomes easier because you can get over it and get to it. No one's going to do your shit for you in a job, or your business. No one's going to be more motivated in your business than you. You are the lynchpin, so it's about developing yourself to be the best you can be, and improving/ getting people to help you with your weaknesses.
1) YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Your problems in business or freelancing aren't new, or special. Recognize that and accept it, it will make you so happy. You can learn your way out of them. Out read your problems.
They don't teach running a business in school. We're taught to work in other people's businesses, not have the careers or lives of our dreams often enough. My business self-education is from a lot of books and I've had to read more out of school than I did in school. So, if you don't know how to do it, go to a book store or library. I read 5 times as many books after school than when I was ever in it. I had tech talent, not business talent.
2) KNOW WHERE YOU'RE AT AND WHERE YOU'RE HEADED.
Looking back the most important thing that dragged out 2-3 years of learning into 10 was not knowing what stage I was in. There are different things that you need to learn and go through at each stage.
I started as a freelancer, then became a contractor (people tell me what they need), then became a consultant (I tell customers what they need and do it) and now finally into web based products, because it's what I tried to do 10 years ago (the first time the internet became cool) and it failed.
Each of those stages require different skills and you get business in different ways. Freelancing is a bitch. You constantly have to get new and more work. Contracting can be nicer because you get to sometimes work on ongoing projects, say, building software that runs a company. Consulting is even nicer because you can have a say in how to help build the software that builds a company. If you get into the business of helping businesses solve their problems, you get a ton of experience in a lot of different industries solving the same problems, guess what you end up with... PRODUCT IDEAS BUSINESSES WILL PAY FOR.
3) SEEK AND SECURE MORE STABLE SOURCES OF INCOME.
Get through freelancing as quickly as you can into contracting and consulting.
4) DISCIPLINE IS SUCCESS AND FREEDOM.
When you look at anyone who's successful, be it academic, professional, physically, financially, its because they've worked at becoming disciplined to always be improving and always learning to do the best things before they're needed.
Building discipline, commitment is the single most important thing we can learn and always work on. Being able to find what we need to do, learn how, then do it is what fixes our problems.
5) YOUR BELIEF IN YOURSELF HAS TO BE GREATER THAN OTHERS BELIEF IN YOU.
Like every day you shower so your body doesn't stink, brush your teeth so your breath doesn't stink, you have to wash any crap off your mind and feelings every day. Motivation isn't one time, for life to me. Motivation is like taking a bath every day. If I don't do it, My thoughts and feelings smell worse than my body does and I'm the only one who can smell them the most.
I don't care if you meditate, pray, yoga, breathe deeply, do tai chi, work out, but whatever clears your thoughts and feelings insides as well as your outside is something you need to remember who you are every day and why you're doing it.
6) THERES NO ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR LEARNING BUT YOU.
You decide if you take the positive from everything, or the negative. It's hard to do when the bank balance is low, all the time. Been there, did it for several years. You learn to tune it out and get shit done anyways. That's what I learnt, no matter what situation I'm in, I have to do what's needed for it to be better in the next 30-60 days.
7) SELF DEVELOPMENT IS YOUR SALVATION.
Don't think for a second you're ever done learning. Whether you did or didn't go to school, with, or without a degree, if you as a person stop learning, you're dead and losing value every day. Too many people think their degree will make something of them, when in fact, it's more about what they make of their degree. When your education is self-directed you have to get better at finding the right things to learn and teaching yourself. There always has to be time in your life to learn.
In tech if you're not reasonably up to date with what's going on you're a dinosaur. Examine your self-development.
You have to find peace in knowing you won't ever know anything and believing in your ability to get to the bottom of things and do what's needed.
9) YOUR EXPERIENCE IS PROOF WHY VC'S DONT WORK WELL FOR YOUR FIRST GIG.
You need to learn how to make, keep money in a business. Next to your talent, there's no other more important skill. Knowing how to create value and having people pay you is something you learn one project, one customer at a time. It's doable. I live in a city of 1 million people.
10) LONG TERM CUSTOMERS ARE POSSIBLE FOR YOU.
I generally have had most of my customers now for 4 years. Some as high as 12.
Many of my clients are now online and I've never met them. But we talk on the phone and screen share has taught me how to get anything done, anytime, anywhere. Because I needed to learn how to make money when any opportunity came up until I could pick.
11) JOB SECURITY IS A JOKE.
There is less job security in jobs than freelancing imho. All freelancing does is expose how quickly any job could really end. Your job is to learn how to create security for yourself, the only real security there is.
People have their own insecurities and worries. As a parent, a big worry is seeing you become self-dependant so they can rest easy that their child is now an adult. Generationally each sees a different way to do it. Create that job security.
12) IGNORE THE ZEROES, FORGET THE NEGATIVES.
It's always good to know who your friends are. Some friends of mine in Uni didn't understand what I was doing and cut back dealing with me. They went out into the working world to learn what I already knew, that I'd hit this moment of "that's it?" in a unfulfilling job with poor prospect of moving into better work.
It took well into my late 20's before my friends started paying attention to me and saying hey, why's he been working (ha) on his own so long, maybe that's not bad after all. Now, I have friends working for me. I have 15+ years of business experience before I'm 35.
I hope at least this has given you some food for thought in actions you could take in addition to the support you've received here. Your heart is your compass, you have to learn to read and chase after it for your happiness using the skills of your mind. Always be learning, and stay hungry and foolish* enough to keep moving forward while you're at it.
Keep moving, create, create, create.
-mannicken, 17 days ago
I think you answered your own problem with that post.
I have seen your DeviantArt portfolio. You have real talent. It seems to me that drawing is your real passion. So go for that! If you have the opportunity to go to college and study arts, or graphical design, do whatever it takes to make that happen. If not, get a regular job and take whatever courses you can, and just keep drawing.
If you keep on drawing for a few more years to improve your technique, people will be fighting over to work with you.
You'll be able to do mainstream graphical design for websites and similar (not too exciting, but can pay very well) or you can go into some of the more interesting areas such as game concept art, character illustration, 3D modelling and animation etc etc.
Ignore what the hell your father or friends say. Your a visual artist, not a programmer. Set that as your aim, and go be it.
And how many 20 year olds have high paying jobs to begin with?
Thanks for sharing, but if I were looking to hire someone (or recommend someone for college admissions or a scholarship). I would view trying to your own thing at such a young age as a big plus. You're all good, just ride out this bad funk and you'll be back in the saddle in no time.
I look forward to whatever company you one day create.
Remember what it was like working so hard your body could not keep up? Well guess what, that's when accidents happen. Serious ones. Just be thankful you got out when you did.
Sounds like you're in good company here anyway.
I had a really tough job too once. Everyone in the company was at each other's throats, and management made one public decision, and the privately overturned them without informing anyone i.e. me even though I was the dept head. It was chaos beyond beleif. I got fired, It happened just before the crisis, and it turned my world upside down for a while.
I know what you mean when family and friends aren't supportive, especially if they haven't gone through what you did, and can't see why you shouldn't just be back on your feet again.
But I suppose you're here at HN because you're involved or want to be involved in start-ups or something. If you are, just keep plugging away at it. It's probably the one thing that'll really keep you sane.
For what it's worth, I still think you did the right thing. That job obviously wasn't going anywhere and sounded pretty miserable. Perhaps your mistake wasn't the quitting but the freelancing over taking another job, and the option is still open to you.
So the freelancing thing hasn't worked out for you. Perhaps taking a full-time job, even for a short period, will be enough to get you back living independently, build up some savings, make some new contacts, have a social life, and perhaps eventually even build a product business in your spare time. Give the freelance thing another go in a year or two? You've undoubtedly learnt plenty of lessons which will help you the next time.
The bad news is, 4 months of living expenses is not enough to eject from stable income if you dont have replacement income waiting in the wings. This is something that seems to be overlooked in the folklore of "living on ramen". The fact of the matter is that you need money to live, and if you are worried about where you will live or where your next meal will come from, you will not be in a position to be able to concentrate on any major intellectual endeavors.
In other words, deciding to quit your old job was probably a good idea. If going freelance isn't a good idea for you it doesn't invalidate the idea of quitting your job. It just means you have to come up with a new idea.
I feel for you though man, freelancing was tough. Especially if you made as many mistakes in it as I did. From what you say however, I wouldn't have stayed very long at your old company.
A lot of the "I quit my job!" stories we read on HN are people quitting to move on to something better, usually that's already lined up. You were quitting more to get away from something bad. Both are valid reasons, but your move was riskier without a new destination plan in place already. That's all - you're not a loser because of this decision.
It is painful, but you'll get through this somehow. If you ever feel like talking, shoot me an email at email@example.com or hit me up at 919.827.4724. I've been in deeper situations than you, looking much more stupid and with far more zeros involved, and it certainly does get better.
Here's what I did: I took a crappy job working full time at a coffee shop. I started on a CS degree through night school, and treated it like fighting for dear life. I did ten times more work on school projects than required and literally got a hundred percent on everything. I practiced programming and learned about it like my life depended on it.
I put out ads looking for any programming work, that ten dollars an hour would be fantastic. I got a job doing PHP for 14 dollars an hour eventually, this was after finishing a year of courses. They quickly gave me a few raises and after two years of that I was employable again - once I get my foot in a door I know I am going to be one of the best employees any given place has ever seen - it's the selling part that is hard. I got a job at a much more prestigious place, and am now firmly back on the road toward the salary range that experienced developers get these days.
(Now I'm starting to fight the malaise again that comes with moving up Maslow's pyramid, in particular being romantically rejected by every woman I've met in two years, but that's a different story. I think in your situation you can't feel the urgency of it enough.)
Jobs are like girlfriends. I'm not trying to be sexist, I'm just speaking from my own perspective as a man. When I was in school, girls I was interested didn't seem interested in me. But then I got a girlfriend. All of a sudden, the girls who wouldn't talk to me started talking to me. It was weird. I'm not saying be a player, I firmly believe that when dating or buying gadgets, once you make a commitment, shopping around will only make you unhappy.
But not with Jobs. Just get a job. Any job. Work at a gas station or bus tables. Do something. You'll feel better about yourself and you take some of the pressure off yourself. And there is some magical aspect to having a job that makes you seem more interesting to employers, kind of like my analogy above with the girlfriend.
In addition to that, consider getting a degree. An AA would be great, a BA/BS would be better. It saddens me that a piece of paper is so important, but that's life. If you're not the type who excels in an institution then figure out ways to get real world experience. If you're a programmer I'd say do some open source development.
Do this in addition to getting a job. As the good book says, "Anyone not willing to work doesn't get to eat." (2 Thes 3:10)
Suicide? Come on. Really now. You can't pay some bills and are feeling lost so you want to KILL yourself?
Everyone makes mistakes. Some of them feel "stupid" in retrospect, but none of them should instill regret. You are 20 years old. You have BARELY begun to live. I speak from the RIPE old age of 29 and have experienced SO much in just the last 10 years.
When I was 20 years old, I was just about to drop out of college. I had a full ride to a private university. I just had to maintain my grades. However, I was sheltered as I grew up and was not prepared for the freedom of being able to make my own decisions. Instead of studying, completing homework and preparing for exams for a heavy 18 credit-hour semester; I went out drinking, partying and exercising my right of free will.
Long story short....my grades nose-dived. I not only lost my full ride scholarship, but the organization who was offering it made me accountable for the 3 semester's worth of funds I had already "wasted". About midway through the third semester I was in a deep depression as I felt that my 1.8 GPA was unrecoverable to reinstate my scholarship at the rate I was currently going. I was going to screw up the biggest opportunity I had going for me in my life so far. (To be clear, this was the first and only opportunity I had in my life so far.) I felt the world was going to end.
Then I made the most grown up decision I could ever make. I dropped out, moved in with my parents, got a low paying job working a call center, and started paying back my $45K in student debt and loans. I hated living with my parents.... especially when I JUST got a taste of freedom. But I learned more discipline and responsibility over the next 5 years than I did in the entire 20 years prior. (Maybe not a fair comparison, but it's true.) I STILL haven't payed back all of that debt, but I DID finally get back to school. I brought my 1.8 GPA with me. And I graduated just a year ago. Magna cum laude. (Second highest honors.) I got an internship through school which I'm still working at and making good money again. And I really think I made it this far because I took responsibility for my actions and prioritized a comeback.
Life is fucking HARD! Nothing that was ever worth doing was easy. But the lessons and experiences we gain while we try to overcome our challenges are some of the most rewarding things this life will ever offer you. You were right to quit such a slave-driving position. You're suppose to be working to LIVE and not living to work. Remember that. And persevere. Life will fly by faster than you can imagine and there are still MANY experiences left to find.
There is a lot of good advice in this thread already, but if you were my mate and we were chatting over a beer at the pub - I would say this to you:
It sucks man, im really sorry it didn't work out. BUT irrespective of the result - you learnt some important things. Two very big things specifically: 1. you have the gusto to pursue your dreams, and 2. you have the smarts to realise things aren't working out (and admit it to yourself.. and HN)
I know that 'learning things' doesn't make you feel any better right now... but you have done something millions of people spend there whole lives dreaming about... and I for one applaud you.
In regards to freelancing not working out - it's a tough thing man.. i have personally never been able to do it (successfully) for very long, and realistically not many people can.
My advice would be to start looking for a job - but a job that you find fun. Maybe look for a startup that is doing something you find cool? Pour your heart out in your cover letter... even if they don't have a position advertised - just email them and show them your passion. I have done this twice - and some people really respect it.
good luck dude - all the best.
However, I don't see what kind of net you put in place for when you quit. You don't appear to have lined up another job. You mentioned freelancing but you don't specify how much time you spent trying to kick start that before leaving your paid job.
At the end of the day, if you jump ship you need some sort of raft to stay afloat. Going from paid work to nothing is really hard as you loose your salary then have to spend an unknown amount of time trying to get something going. It is far better to get something at least moving before quitting a job and putting time in it.
I haven't read what the rest of the responses say here but I say stop being a pansie. Get your life together. Decide if you want to go into employment or continue self employed. Dedicate 60 hours a week to making whatever you decide work.
You are where you are, stop dwelling on it. Decide what you want to do next.. make it happen.
Or stay at home, disappoint your parents, have difficulty finding a lady friend and become a bum. Its up to you.
I've done the same things at least twice.
At 20 you're probably not realising that by far the best bits of life are when you have to struggle; a comfortable life is a wasted life.
Couple of tips:
* When you're feeling sad, don't drink or take drugs - believe me they really don't help.
* Use a condom ;)
* Get an education (hell, you're reading Hacker News, so you probably know a lot already)
* Get a small part-time job - it'll make your dad feel better, and maybe know you don't get it, but true happiness comes from making other people feel good.
It's funny how fathers react to being entrepreneurial, especially if they are the one-job-for-life kind of guy. I have had the same problem in the past with my father, and he always says that I should stay where I am, in the same job, until I retire. However, on the job front I'm a nomadic person and he just doesn't understand that. But then again, I can't understand his world either.
The best thing to do is to sit down and talk with each other and try to educate yourselves on what it's like living in the other's shoes. He probably has the best intentions, but when lacking a frame of reference any argument can come off as just complaining.
Everyone gets depressed about their situation. But you wouldn't believe what kind of echo chamber you have between your ears. The worst thing you can do is to constantly listen to yourself, because you'll just churn the same though (usually bad) over and over in your head, and it never gets better. Sometimes, it takes a metaphorical slap to the side of the head (or a literal one, if that's your thing) from someone else before you snap out of it. Go out and talk to your peers. Don't talk to your parents or siblings about it, but rather people who aren't there to spare your feelings.
I completely agree that freelancing and entrepreurship is difficult. It's not something we learn in public school, and not everyone majors in business in college. That said, you're 20 so don't beat yourself up about it. From what I read, you don't have any strings attached to your life (mortgage, wife, child) so you can bounce back very easily. It'd also be easy for you to study and get those diplomas, especially the high school one.
This may sound harsh, but failing to get a high school diploma (where they only seem to hand them out these days to everything with a pulse) is pathetic. It's the single easiest thing you can do to make sure your resume doesn't get tossed in the bin. School is important. You may not think so, but your employer does. And school is one of those things where you don't realize you are using it, so it's not fair to yourself to say that you don't need to learn X or Y because it's not relevant to you right now.
Your parents are probably foreigners who do not understand the concept of pursuing your hobbies and making decisions that make you happy. You seem to be getting no support from anyone around you, and that sucks. I've been through it, and am going through it now.
My father never supported any of my hobbies. In junior high I knew I wanted to get into CS and business. I would watch TechTV on a daily basis, fiddle with my computer, etc. I loved it, but dad didn't give an ounce of fuck, pushed me to pursue a more stable field, and now I'm in grad school with years of work ahead of me that I will likely hate. I'm trying to make the best of it, but it shouldn't have happened. And when it comes to other personal areas of my life, they are still incredibly unsupportive.
So I've learned something that you should too, and it's that you need to only rely on yourself for drive and encouragement. Your parents will die soon and you'll be left alone. Your friends will move away and leave you behind. You'll find yourself relying on yourself to make it, so learn to be self-driven and to not give a single fuck about what your father or friends have to say.
Although you're not getting any support from those immediately around you, know that you've got tons of support here from people who've been and who are where you are now.
People might respond defending your dad, but don't listen to them. Parents often forget about the huge level of influence they have on the development of their children, and the lack of support and encouragement can really fuck with a person's self-esteem and drive. Shitty parents really rub me the wrong way.
For parents reading: encourage and motivate your children.
Think about it for a minute, how would you feel if the people around you where understanding and kind? You'd think you made a choice that didn't work out, and that you need to get on your feet and move on. But instead you get all this bad stress from the outside!
Try to tell them it's serious, that all this means a lot to you and you need their support. That you can't take what basically amounts to constant emotional harassment. It might help them realize they're doing more harm than good.
But you can't decide for them, they might just keep at it. So the second step is spending more time with the people who care about you and won't make you feel like crap. What you hear all day everyday has a lot of influence on your outlook on life, hang around with positive-minded people, and tell the others you don't need their hate / insults. And be sure that hosting you doesn't give your parents a right to judge you.
Hit me up, firstname.lastname@example.orgMaybe we have complimentary skill sets? Can we make this work? Or let's just bitch. Do not kill yourself.
There's nothing wrong with that and somewhere down the line you'll realize you actually learned something useful from all this.
Also, things could be much worse; for instance you could be an unemployed father or being hunted by money lenders or with a chronic disease and no insurance -- you're not the only one that experiences trouble in this economy, yet many people will live to see a brighter day.
You are also not an idiot. To succeed in this economy, smartness is only one factor. Others are luck, timing, the environment you live in and the acquaintances you have.
Get a job, any job whatsoever. Low paying jobs, like being a driver or a cashier or working in constructions, require more physical effort and a lot less mental effort. This is good, because you probably need a break from software development. Physical effort is also good when you're depressed and it helps you pay the rent too.
I would also move out of my parents' house as soon as I got a job that allows me to survive, as there's nothing worse when you're depressed to also be dependent on other people, especially parents that look down on you with disappointment; remember that they lived in different times when entrepreneurship and failure may not have been so common.
So take it easy and don't worry, you will recover.
What type of job are you trying to get?
You are 20? To me, you sound like the world is about to end and you are giving up. Don't. Learn to be patient. Get you high school diploma, get any job you can, and if you still have the time and energy, work on a startup, your own business ideas, or do some freelancing for some extra income. Also, find time to relax, enjoy friends, a hobby, and enjoy life in general. Assuming you are good health otherwise, you have a lot more life left to live.
1) Discipline and personal activity: wake up and jog/exercise at the exact same time EVERY DAY. Nothing too exhaustive, just 15 to 20 minutes of consistent exercise. Don't miss a day.
2) Keep a journal of plus/delta: what was good and what needs to change during the day. Nothing extremely elaborate, start with a list of things you did during the day or the day before. Take this seriously. Do it in silence and reflect at a consistent time at night or early morning (after exercise).
3) Communications and group activity: join ONE group of interest (meetup perhaps), church, temple etc.
4) Family relationship building: talk to your mother and help your father. Take initiative, do the dishes, contribute to house chores. Don't be a dead beat... seriously, I've been and seen the type. Don't be lazy, help out around the house. You will see relationship improving. "No man is an island" learn to be a part of the family. Parents just want their kids to be decent, if they SEE improvements and efforts from you, they will respond back positively.
5) Read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Mindset-Psychology-Success-Carol-Dweck... If you don't have the money to buy it, give me your address and I WILL buy it for you. Learn the change your mindset into a growth mindset.
6) Go back to basic: NO complain, NO excuses, NO negativity and NO bull.
7) Remember. You are still very young, my friend. Life is long and there is a lot waiting for you. There are thousands of people out there who are willing to help you IF you ask for their help (like the HN community). And most importantly, there is no magic formula for a good life--you'll just have to work for it like everyone else.
My apologies if I made any unwarranted assumptions. I hope what I wrote could be something you might consider. Certain things work for me but they might not work for you. Still, if nothing is working, then try something else. Keep trying until something work for you. What I really want to impress upon you is this: CONSISTENCY and DISCIPLINE. Good luck.
(NOTE: please forgive my quick notes which might contain grammatical and spelling errors. I need to start my morning exercise as I am a bit late :P)
It's not that easy to find a decent job, especially in this economy... so if all else fails, you will have to "bootstrap" yourself, get any old job (as others already pointed out), and buy yourself some time to figure out what you really want.
Parents can be notoriously annoying when it comes to things like this, but (in my experience) it's usually because they're worried. They only see part of the story; you had a (well-paying) job, then you quit, now you're broke, doesn't sound like a good decision, from their POV. When I lost my job long ago, my mom acted like it was the end of the world. (It's better than having a parent who doesn't care though.) But after a few months I found a job that was what I wanted to do (i.e., programming, in my case) and things got better from there.
A final thought: it's better to make this decision when you're 20, than when you're (say) 40 and have a mortgage, a family to support, etc.
I was homeless - had no roof over my head, literally had to find food to eat (though offering to scrub the toilets at fast food restaurants in exchange for food works since everyone is too lazy to do their own jobs). I was able to get off the streets, but my situation wasn't any better and lived with a handful of people in a 1 bedroom apartment. Then I made the long trek to NYC via Greyhound bus with $60 to my name and a backpack of personal items. I stayed with a friend of a friend of a friend for a few months (which it turns out it wasn't his house, he was just renting a room, and apparently he didn't tell the owners that my intentions were to move in - he figured it would just work out - luckily it did). I worked my ass off to go from literally absolutely nothing up the ranks. I went from homeless to a married man with a great job. It was rough, more than you can possibly imagine, and there were plenty of times where shit hit the fan and it looked like everything would fall apart, but if you persevere you will make it through. We are hackers - not because we are good with computers, but because we are smart people with clever ideas. Put those ideas and analytical thinking to use outside of the computer world and you will find a way to get out of your situation.
Also, I think you made the right choice in quitting, even if it seems rough now. The only potentially better option would have been to deliberately slack off without quitting, doing the bare minimum and planning your future in your spare time. But not everyone can do that and still endure the abuse you described.
Not everyone enjoys being an entrepreneur. If you feel like you're the kind of guy who needs stable employment, consider this: get your GED (this should be simple for someone like yourself), and take the SAT.
Then apply for college, you should be able to live off of loans while you finish and keep freelancing for some extra cash. You can get a computer science degree and be done by the time your 24.
Also if you need a little math help get this book http://www.amazon.com/Maths-Students-Survival-Self-Help-Engi...
Once again, you're only 20, you're smart, you'll be fine. Just remember that anything worth doing is hard--if it wasn't hard, everyone would do it, and it wouldn't be worth doing.
I dropped out of university at 19 in 1997 to start a .com. For a while, I was flying high, unstoppable. Then the bubble burst and I was stranded in the United Kingdom with no job and barely a cent to my name. I struggled to find a job, got huge anxiety (was puking every morning) and my confidence was entirely shattered.
After about 6 months I took a junior project management position at about 1/3rd of what I was earning the year before. And I worked my way right up to the top and then joined an incredibly successful startup and am incredibly well positioned in life.
Having read your original post, I think you made the CORRECT decision to leave that company. You were unhappy, overworked and unfulfilled - that is no way to live life no matter what your parents or friends may think.
One more thing to consider, despite having achieved a decent degree of success, I'm a bit over it all now and I'm strongly considering doing something completely different like moving to the alps and running a small ski chalet business, because I really feel I will love doing that and every morning I can look myself in the mirror and say, today is going to be a great, enjoyable day.
I think you are probably even too young to know what you want, but think strongly about what really makes you happy and then find ways to do it.
Good luck, be strong, sometimes life kicks you in the balls a bit, but we're not defined by those failures, we're defined by how we get up and move forward and you have plenty to move forward towards.
But you know what, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that I can do something meaningful in the next one year that I have been given. I am hopeful that I can push myself to the next level (much more maybe). I am hopeful that I can rediscover myself. I am hopeful that I can maybe make a small dent in my own universe. I am hopeful that I can feel proud about myself. The way I see it is even failure is a success for me, because I have all these hopes.
I am happy I got this chance at 30, I know I will not get this anytime later with many more commitments I might make. I often wonder at times, if I had the maturity of my 30 when I was 20, I would be so much more willing to do this again and again.
While I can certainly understand your pain of what you consider failure, I feel you are rushing to make this call giving on hope. You have another 10 glorious years before you feel you din't do enough of what you have been able to do now. Step out of home, take a couple of days break (if financially feasible), write on a piece of paper what you want and how you can get there next. Taking these chances should make you proud, cos look around you, your friends are clinging on to that so called steady income, slipping away in their comfort zone.
You are 20 ... no offence but your still a kid ofc you have no idea whats going on. welcome to the world, you define yourself - if your parents are being assholes you need to move out before they damage you with their expectations of you. They are only mad because you didn't do what they wanted - because you 'owe' it to them. Really they owe you an apology for birthing you if they want to own you. Doing what you did shuold show them that they did a good job, you felt ready to go out and try something. You saved money and invested it - it was a bad investment but at least you tried. If you try again i bet you will realise that 4 months is actually VERY little time. Go read about poker bankrolls and varience.
I was practically a hobo at 20, im not much now but i have created a career for myself by hitting rock bottom, looking about and saying fuck this im gonna teach myself to program and then blag my way into jobs for a few years untill i really know what im doing. 11 years later things are very different - I had no hope back then.
Don't compare what you would have been (if your venture succeeded) with what you could have been have you stayed on the job. I think this is what makes you depressed.
Focus more on what you're good at. Take a different approach without losing your perspective. Always be on the positive side of things. With your latest move, at least you already have some life learning lessons that not all people would even have the luxury of knowing or experiencing. Think of it as one painful part of your life where you ultimately learned a lot of lesson.
Get your mojo back. Believe in yourself. Never stop trying. Feel better about yourself. Not everyone will do what you did - which would take a lot of courage and heart.
After you read this, go back to the drawing board. Look where you could temporarily fend for yourself while looking for the next big thing. Life is a constant change and whether you remain at the pits or keep on moving is up to you.
I would not wish you best of luck as I believe that luck is what we make of what we have and what we do.
1. You can have two paths in life as it currently stands; one doing C++ and one not doing C++.
The C++ route will probably pay well but won't make you happy, but the right kind of job doing C++ might be something you can bear. Also become more social and better at it; Michael Feather's book is your friend, start to hang out on stackoverflow etc. Perhaps go and work in one of the cooler places to work like media etc. so the feel of the place makes you feel differently. iPhone development?
The not doing C++ route, without any kind of education diplomas in this current financial climate will probably not pay well. If you're not someone who feels they need a lot of money then you're likely to be happier, but have fewer choices.
2. If you chose the latter of those then sorry to say this but like a lot of people under the age of say 60 you probably need some set your expectations lower (I'm 36 and have done and I'm happier). As it currently stands I'd say earning enough for a house, a cheap Japanese car and 1-2 holidays a year is reasonable. Mansions, Ferrari's and supermodels are not.
3. Now go and do research on jobs that you think would keep your interest on a day to day basis potentially for the rest of your working life. Those people who change careers later in life fall into two camps; lucky genius b!stards, and those who earn less than people who are 15-20 years their junior. You probably wouldn't be one of the lucky genius b!stards, so put some real effort into it; go onto forums etc. and ask people about how their jobs are etc.
4. I'm guessing you're from the US, so your education opportunities are somewhat limited by a lack of funds? If so, go abroad. There are plenty of good universities from around the world that will give you pretty much all of the education you would get in the states (some better, some worse) at far lower cost. Google is your friend.
Although what you're experiencing now is very distressing, it actually won't last forever, and at 20 you're far from being unemployable. When you're in your 40's and you do this its a different world for sure, so better to take the risk now, reboot and set yourself on the right path for the rest of your life.
So you could possibly do another crappy job for 6 months, save as much as you can and then go to university in a foreign country, and then graduate in whatever field you want and get a job in 3-4 years when there's no recession.
You could look for the more bearable of the crappy C++ roles and go with those knowing that what this buys you is time to replan, refocus, recover, have fun again, not feel responsible, and know that its not forever because you're putting things in motion to be a better candidate for the next better role.
PS. Start working out too; preferably weights.
At 20 you're still trying to define yourself so social approval matter but these are the experiences in your life that cause you to retreat into your own mental cave to carve out and define who you've always been and exactly who you'll become.
You don't know what you need to know to be a successful freelancer. That's obvious by the fact that you went broke. Find other freelancers and ask them for their advice. Go back to school and get your high school degree. Learn about business and marketing. Take on a job, it doesn't have to pay great.
In short find yourself. Find what works. You're young and you haven't earned your freedom. Freedom comes with a price. Go pay the price for your freedom or sell your freedom for a price. The choice is yours, and it is a choice.
Regarding suicide. I've felt like that more times than I can count. Don't do it. It always turned out that suicidal thoughts were always huge indications that the idea of who I am needed to die. Meaning it was time for a massive change. Look for what you'd like to change about yourself and your life.
And...for christ's sake find some new friends! Preferably friends with a set of balls who aren't such sheep and are willing to take chances in life.
You quit your job for perfectly good reasons, it was a crappy job and if I was in your situation I'd have done the same. Be proud you walked away.
You're going to be fine if you keep your shit together, use your friends taking the piss as your justification to succeed. Go find a crappy job that'll earn you a piss poor amount of money and then go focus on being awesome in your spare time. Make something random, see what happens. Repeat. Find other devs/designers to work with, see what you can do. Repeat. Work in the day and do crazy shit at night. Get your confidence back, build your portfolio. Get to a point where you've got your cahones back and then do something with yourself. Move to somewhere where there's cool companies looking to hire, impress them all. Repeat.
You'll get somewhere if you push for it. And if you fuck up? Who cares! You're young, just enjoy the ride.
don't attach to it. you don't have to "admit" failure. Life is not a test.
There may be someone in need of your tech skills that you don't even know, and you just missed making that random contact at the coffee shop you always go too because she was stuck in traffic that day.
your freelancing thing barely works for two reasons: not enough paying clients, or clients that never pay. so go get new/more (paying) clients! advertise! be creative! spread your wings! get out of house and hustle, or write emails to prospective clients. work for free (temporarily)to get in the door if you have to!
change how you do things so it doesn't hurt anymore. don't take the fact that it hurts personally, take it as a clue.
when I contemplated suicide at that age (and since) I always come back to a wonderful realization. the reasons for suicide are satisfied in death... but they are also satisfied if you give up believing in those reasons. you will still be hungry when you have no food, but your reasons for suicide don't have to control you...
you can live whatever silly life you like for whatever silly reasons you like. your parents may not pay for it, but that's ok. Just another part of the post suicide adventure!
or as steve jobs said: â€śRemembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything â€" all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure â€" these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.â€ť
also, suicidal thoughts probably have underlying biological components. Therefore:
eat well, not too much, mostly plants.get exercise. your body and brain are connected and need to move around. go outside. it will make you feel better. interact with people. we are social organisms. sleep well. the more your learning the more sleep you will need.set learning goals. those goals are what should be getting out of bed every day. if your vision and goals don't get you out of bed, then change your goals.
I'm gonna make a guess that your parents want you to be happy. They also want you to be self-reliant. But they don't see either one happening now. so try some new things and see if either one improves.
You don't have to admit failure to try something different. Or to do something in addition to the free-lance thing. Or you could just kill the free-lance thing because it doesn't work.
It's difficult being a CEO. Sometimes you have to tell the new division it isn't making any money. Maybe the CEO has to pivot the business into a new direction. Maybe the division can hang on for 3 more months if it can meet new sales targets. Maybe the division must be shut down. In a shutdown, a good CEO will try and take the smart people from that division and puts them somewhere else where they will get a better return on their investment. These decisions are always complicated.
Your the CEO. So wear the hat and act like it.
Try to remember what didn't happen to you:
1. You didn't join the army and your leg got blown off.
2. You didn't work in an asbestos factory and now you are worried about getting cancer.
3. You didn't get thrown in jail and have a criminal record for life.
You quit your job, and the other plans didn't come off. That is it. The damage is monetary and can be fixed with money.
Wear your mistakes as a badge of honour, because it is what informs you of who you are.
Sit down, clear your head and a plan will come together.
You've already done the hard part. You've redefined yourself as someone who works for himself. Taking a job to keep going doesn't change that - it reenforces it.
Just keep doing good work and treating your clients well. You'll get more; it will snowball. It just builds really slowly at first.
Please drop me a line anytime - email@example.com. We're a small group and we need to stick together.
You are right to say others shouldn't rush into quitting their day job. Anything where you have to move back in with your parents and eat your savings isn't an easy decision. It's easy to get caught up in all these success stories on TechCrunch and Hacker News, when, in reality, they are a very small percentage of people.
However, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And while it hasn't worked out for you financially, it doesn't mean you haven't learnt from the whole experience. You will be wiser next time to the process of going at it alone - this isn't a bad thing.
I quit my job at 23 to start my own company and, while it is for me, I think at our age it doesn't matter if it doesn't work out. I imagine it's the same for you: I have no kids, no partner, no responsibilities that require a stable income other than rent. There is no better time to experiment really.
I can understand you're finding it difficult to get back into the job market: what are your skills? Perhaps we could suggest a few things?
If getting your high-school diploma is important to you, think about going back to get the grades. You are older and wiser now, you will do well.
We are young enough to make these mistakes. Decide what you want to do and go for it.
Fun fun fun eh.
"There will always be obstacles in life but, they are only stepping stones to a great future" -me
" The Man who thinks He can!If you think you are beaten, you are: If you think you dare not, you don't! If you'd like to win, but think you can't, It's almost a cinch that you won't.If you think you'll lose, you're lost. For out in the world we find. Success begins with a fellow's will; It's all in the state of mind!If you think you're outclassed you are; you've got to think high to rise. You've got to be sure of yourself before you can win the prize.Life battles don't go always goto the strongest or fastest man;But sooner or later the man who wins Is the man who thinks he can!-a poem by Wlater D. Wintle taken from "Launching a Leadership Revolution"
"If you wait for all the lights to turn green before you set off on a cross-country trip, you'll never leave."
"If we feel afraid, it isn't what we don't know that frightens us, it's what we think we do know. The problem is.... our ideas about what we don't know."-Allen G. Johnson
"Our purpose in life is to find purpose in life"
"Every man should be embarrassed to die until he accomplishes something great in this world" -Douglas MacArthur
"Whether u think u can or u think u can't u r right" - Henry Ford
"Seek... the counsel of those who have achieved the goal for which you strive: for in all matters, the words of the one who has prospered are far better then the words of one who has not." -Author Stevenson Willis
"Study while others are sleeping: work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing." -Willam A. Ward
"A leader is driven to change the status quo...." -Chris Brady
"Nearly all men can handle adversity but if you really want to test a man's character- give him power" -Abraham Lincoln
"To become a leader worth following you must give time and attention to the inner man. To leave a legacy that goes beyond accomplishment alone, a leader must devote himself to matters of he heart." Andy Stanley
"What counts is not the number of hours you put in, but how much you put in the hours." -"Anonymous
"We don't control where we start our journeys, but we do control what we do once we've started"
"Success is always located on the other side of inconvenience"
"Remember, no one one ever does anything worthwhile for which they are not criticized."
"Great leaders learn to find defeat in every victory, and victory in every defeat." (There's always room for improvement, always!)
my freelancing thing barely works
You're currently the oldest you've ever been, but you're still pretty darn young. A lot of freelancing is about the network of people who consider you a known good quantity for solving the problems that they or their contacts have. How big can your network of contacts be if you've only worked for a short time?
Failure is painful and jarring, but nobody who isn't a total asshole is going to look at a young programmer who couldn't get traction freelancing as a failed person. Hell, I would look at that as a positive thing, you're brave enough to try things that might not work.
You are young, you can take chances now and you should. Someday taking chances may not be choice you can easily make anymore.
Your previous job sounds shit. Seriously, I can understand why you quit. But if you're a developer you should be able to find new work. Freelancing is damn hard because it's not about how good you are at your primary skill, it's all about schmoozing and selling, and that's hard for a young guy to do because people are not disposed to take young people seriously.
What kind of coding do you do? If it's even slightly in demand, get in touch with some recruitment agents. Put together some kind of portfolio.
I've got a similar story to you - I have barely any qualifications, not even high school level. I was unemployed at 20 and under-employed for the next 5 years, until I got a decent coding job. From there, my salary has gone up by about 5x in 3 years. Ok, it's not going to do that again, but I'm now at a very comfortable level. I probably could have done a lot better for myself at 20 if I knew then what I know now.
Hang in there, and keep trying. You'll make it bigger and better than anyone who doubts you thinks.
Can you convince your parents to support you for a couple of years until you get your high school diploma and start college? Go into some money-making career that they approve of if needed. Once in college, you can start networking and planning your next move.
Just make them feel like you are back to being a good citizen and that you will go back to earn your keep once you have your college degree.
Oh, and tell your so-called "friends" to go pound sand.
If you've ever gotten new tires for your car, you know that the auto shop charges $3 to $4 to dispose each of your old tires. The auto shop charges you because it usually costs them the same amount to get the tires disposed.
The large auto shops usually have agreements with a tire recycling company for picking up the scrap tires on a scheduled basis. The small auto shops have to either take the tires to the recycling facility themselves or store them at their shop until they've gathered enough quantity to meet the pickup requirements of the tire hauling company.
The problem for the large and small auto shops is that most states have very strict rules on storing the tires. For example, the tires cannot be stored out in the open where rain can fall on them and possibly create a breeding ground for mosquitos. So naturally, to avoid hefty fines, the auto shops want to rid themselves of the scrap tires as soon as possible. Having a reliable 'company' come pick up the tires within a couple of hours of making a phone call would solve the problem, however, as most auto shops will tell you, finding reliable tire haulers is not easy.
That's where you come in. If you have access to a truck that can hold 100 scrap tires, you can make at least $200 per trip to the recycling facility. Most auto shops will be happy to pay you at least $3 per scrap tire. Many recycling facilities will charge you $1 to take each tire off your hands. This means you get $2 for each tire and for 100 tires, you get $200.
If you don't have a truck but do have a large enough place where you can store up to 100 tires and keep them dry, you can have the recycling company come pick them up.
In order for this business to be feasible, you need to have enough small auto shops in your area to regularly supply you with the tires or you'll need one large auto shop that is not satisfied with their current tire hauler. In either case, you'll need to be a registered business in order for the auto shops to legally supply you with the tires (otherwise any Joe can pickup the tires, collect the money and dump the tires somewhere).
You also need to have a tire recycling facility close by to keep your costs contained. Here's a list of scrap tire facilities in the Tri-state area along with the amount they charge to come pickup the tires from you. If you deliver the tires to them, the prices will be slightly lower.
Once you can built stuff on the side, just keep building stuff and eventually you'll find the right side project that needs more of your time and has more potential. Don't just quit to quit, quit because you have a project that you truly believe in and you want to make it your job.
I just think that this is an experience that you had to go through, a learning experience. There is no reason to be thinking of suicide right now, you have your entire future ahead of you. Believe me, that job is not your only chance you will have more. Keep building your skills, keep working on your own so that when you get to an interview you can show them what you've been doing in your time off.
My own father passed away at 20 and left me with a 3 bedroom house and an ill mother and almost zero cash. I've had to fight bailiffs from taking this house, stopping the state sending me to jail for paying state taxes late (tip: pay on time, the stress is not worth it)
Also graduating into the recession wasn't great and even the current job I'm doing (working at a hot internet company directly with the founders) sees me earning well below my true market value.
However, its not all doom and gloom. The OP has alot of time to recover. Here are my own suggestions:
1) Exercise: 20 minutes a day do this for 2-3 weeks your mood will lift completely
2) Do some sort of work: it doesn't matter
3) Date, approach girls, meet new people: if you can do this actively, it will really take your mind of things
4) Avoid: anyone who brings you down, this may be difficult at first but find a way around this. Bring people closer who make you happy and push those away who bring you down. Your family is not exempt here and if the relationship is toxic you need to keep it away from you
5) Remember and reflect that you are only 20. Some of the most jammy gits on HN or founders who get an exit in early 20s are lucky, jammy gits. I've read enough into the story to realize they are not all brilliant and these things happen as a matter of coincidence and good fortune. However, think about what you could learn. How did they get into that position, what was their situation, try reach out to them. Last week at work I did a v.comprehensive competitor analysis of everyone in my space and my boss said I need to know what everyone else is doing here so we can learn. And he's been in the game for 10 year.
I hope this helps, the HN community have given some formidable advice on this thread!
I agree with hopeless and revorad in the sense that taking any form of work to bring in some income for the time being will help you hugely and will get your father off your back. I know my father would go ape at me too. Simply use it as motivation to prove him wrong along with everyone else that makes fun of you. Work your hardest at what you believe in and money will come later.
One last thing to note - networking is key, get out and get yourself as many contacts as you can, contacts make the world go round. You'd be surprised how much and how far you can get just by talking to people.
Either your father and your friends are complete assholes, or your depression is causing you to interpret things in the worst possible way. Odds are that your father and friends really love you and want you to succeed. They may not express this well, and you're probably pulling further inward in your depression. When the fog of depression lifts, you'll see the world and your options much more clearly.
What doesn't make it any easier is that I'm 20, I have no college diploma, no high school diploma, no idea what the fuck is going on.
Oh, dude, you're actually in a great position! You're young, and college loans are still quite easy to come by!
Here is your plan:
1) Get some help for your depression. You don't have time for therapy right now, just go for the drugs.
2) See what financing options are available to you. Financial aid? Loans? What schools can you potentially get yourself into? People will tell you that a loan for school is a mistake, but if you go into a technical, reasonably difficult field, this is simply not true.
3) Go to school. Get your degree. You will almost certainly emerge into a better economy, and you'll have a pretty good time doing it.
Remember, in getting through this situation, you are becoming a stronger and more resilient person. In one year, you'll have a greater appreciation for your life, and of what you are capable of enduring.
Remember: Nothing, nothing is worse than being late!
OH YES there are worse things than being alone but it often takes decades to realize this and most often when you do it's too late and there's nothing worse than too late. Charles Bukowski
I was in the same position as you a few months ago, working like a slave at a startup.
You made the right choice, in quitting. Clearly you were unhappy with what you were doing.
Find a mentor, read books like "War of Art" or "One minute millionaire".
Be thankful for what you do have. Your health, make sure to workout and maintain it, sleep at a regular schedule. I struggle with this as well, but if you aren't healthy you will be depressed and it will show in your work and prospective in life.
Pick up a skill, and get really dam good at it. If you are good at something you will get paid for it eventually.
When I was your age, I was 23 stone, had never kissed a girl, was working as office monkey and was depressed. I was in your position (including thoughts about ending it). I was scared of Math. I spoke only one language. My confidence was shattered through 9 years of being bullied.
Now I'm 31. I'm 10 stone lighter. I'm married to the girl I met when I was 21. I've leant to love Math. In addition to English, I speak fluent Dutch. Heck, I live in a different country (UK to Netherlands). In a couple of weeks I'll be starting at a new, better job. That's going from a previous good job :)
Freelancing at your age is a joke. You'll just be taken advantage of. You don't have the experience to be able to demand a decent rate. You'll be better off investing in your education than working for crap freelancer rates.
Focus on education, education, education. It looks like you're interested in UI/UX. Focus your education to improving it. Miss some Math? Grab the Dummies books. Read them. Follow the MIT lectures. Then put the knowledge to use in a personal project. Write a flash Thrust clone. Or Mario clone. Write a charting library.
Don't try and go straight into IT. You don't have the experience. Get that experience via the side routes. Start as office monkey. Then help colleagues with Excel. Build them a database. Grow.
Don't get hung up on formal education. In IT it's not that important. The field moves much faster than other professions - continuous learning is more important than having done a specific degree.
Take my example. I know more, and am better at my craft than my university-educated coworkers. Why? Because I've worked harder than them. I've been coding for a similar amount of time, despite being 15 years younger (started at 11). I read like crazy. I've taught myself a lot (with a bit of help from MIT's open access scheme). I'm a perfectionist, and that drives me to improve. Constantly. And ultimately I love my field. I love learning.
My highly educated coworkers are lazy. They use their degrees as an excuse not to invest in their skills. Sure, they spent three years studying computer science in the 80s. But a lot has changed since then. They know little to nothing about software engineering. They never think about how to improve themselves. They hide behind a Phd or MSc.
If you need to talk to someone with similar experiences who can give you tips, then drop me a line.
If you really REALLY are unhappy with your decision to quit your job, then why don't you just find another full time job? Sure, it wont be the same as the one you quit... it will have pros and cons for sure. You could even possibly try to go back to your old job and see what they say. Couldn't hurt to ask if you left them on good terms.
I don't know where you live, but here in NYC you can spit and it will land on the feet of a guy offering you a job if you are a good programmer. Companies are fighting tooth and nail for good devs. Maybe you live somewhere where jobs are scarce and companies can do this.
meetup.com, look for meetups revolving around programming. I bet you will find work there. People come from other states just to find devs and try to recruit some ppl with relocation or remote work.
Then one day I did try to commit suicide by slitting my wrists. It didn't quite work out. It wasn't as easy as they show in the movies :). Then I had a realization. I was looking for some external factor to make me feel better...my mom, my friends, etc. and I was very self-pitiful. I realized that if I wanted to get out of my situation, only I can do something about it.
I let go of the past and started over. I got a paid internship..moved out of my parents house and concentrated on just being self-sustaining. I made new friends and tried to be as social as possible...being around happy people rubs of on you :)
I feel like you are still in the phase where you are going over your past and keep thinking that you should have done something different. You have to stop thinking about the past. Hopefully, saying it out loud here helped you a little with that. I would suggest you to concentrate on the present. Take small steps. Do one thing each day to improve your situation.
A few more tips that helped me deal with my depression:- Write out your feelings like you did now- Try your best not be alone. Either go to the library or a coffee shop to do job applications or other work.- Don't take your friends and your dad too seriously. Most people do not know how to deal with a depressed person. They usually say the exact wrong thing :)
Best of luck!
You made the right move. Pivot to be happy. You tried the self-employment route. It didn't work. Get another job.
What line of work are you in? Ruby? Contact me if you want advice/work. "Bigf1sch" on Skype.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-6 A Time for Everything. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to be born and a time to die, A time to plant and a time to uproot, A time to kill and a time to heal, A time to tear down and a time to build, A time to weep and a time to laugh, A time to mourn and a time to dance, A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, A time to search and a time to give up, A time to keep and a time to throw away,
I decided to apply to law school, and I had just missed the cycle, so it was going to be another year before I got a response. I kept working on the business because I couldn't think of anything else to do. In the next year, the business improved enough that I decided not to go to law school. It kept getting better and better. About 3.5 years in, I stopped telling people it was a failure. The truth was that by that time, it was a very good deal and I could no longer deny it.
My point is not that you should keep doing what you are doing (or that you should apply to law school). Its just that bad times get better. I think the number one thing you can do for yourself is keep moving forward. It doesn't have to be big, just a small step each day in a positive direction. One great thing you can do, in my opinion, is work out. Even if you are unemployed for the next year, at least you will be fit and trim at the end of it. You can jog for free.
Mostly, I wanted to communicate that things will get better, just keep moving forward...
The problem was, I was young and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, so I didn't even know where to apply. So I ended up spending all my free time focusing on things I was passionate about. I wanted to be healthy, so I cooked and worked out and got healthy. I also loved traveling and seeing and learning new things. So every weekend, I tried something new. I was in DC at the time, so I got to see all the plantations and went sky diving and learned skiing and went on a hot-air ballon ride and a lot more! Every weekend, I would do something I was passionate about. And none of these things were in any way related to my work.
Now, a few years later, I am working on a start-up with some new friends that focused on making it easier for others to get out and see and try new things.
So my advice is this. You're 20, so you probably have no idea what that one thing you're passionate about is. There are probably a few things that you're passionate about, so pursue them. They don't have to be related to anything you're "working" on at all. If you're passionate about traveling or meeting people or playing a sport or playing guitar or anything else, pursue it. It will not be a straight path to finding a job and getting out of your current situation, but it will be a step to getting there, and you never know what or who you will discover along the way. Good luck!
Anyway, if you're thinking of suicide, please seek out professional help. Please!!! If there's anything you should do next, that would be it. And don't be ashamed of doing so, it's the cool thing to do.
I guess you don't have depts and children who depend on you yet. And that's the thing which makes your situation easier.
People fail to realize that the outcomes of decisions must be measured twice. Once in the short term and once in the long term.
There are many times when a decision is BAD in the short term and GOOD in the long term. Other times (like the decisions our Congress makes) are good in the short term and bad in the long term.
You might be in a bad place now, but in the long term it might be for the better. Just hang in. If you're at your worst, then it's only going to get better from here on out. Give it time.
second, companies/businesses that require or care about a degree or diploma are usually the worst. you had a high paying engineering job? well, that should be sufficient to get you into your next job, and if you sell them on who you are as a person/potential employee, even better.
third, you're only 20, and i know how that sounds, but it's true. relax. your life is just starting, and what you think you want or know now, is mostly going to change A LOT over the next 5 years. it might help to figure out some short-term goals, and go from there. we all go through rough patches in our lives, and you actually had the balls to quit and face a challenge head-on. this is something most people can't imagine doing, so it's easy for them to criticize others for doing it, which is why they're pathetic.
if i was 20 again, i would scrape together enough for a bus ticket to the bay area (palo alto, mtn. view, san francisco, etc.), and find a job at a startup. if that's not for you, then take the advice of others and get a job at a supermarket or somewhere just to get your brain on something else. then, focus on befriending people who were more like you, and decide what is best for yourself going forward, one day at a time.
some of us have been right where you are, and some of us know exactly how you feel. it will workout, you just have to ride out the rough times and climb your way back. no one on HN is going to judge you. as you can see there's a lot of support here.
You are supposed to have some money reserves to keep you afloat for at least 6 moths. And you shouldn't expect your consulting to thrive until at least a year later.
It takes time to build client base and it takes time to build your personal brand. If you expected it all to magically just work you are just plain stupid^H^H^H^H^HH^H^naive.
In my case it was somewhat faster as we switched from a full-time job to working for the same company as contractors, but after a year, that first client was a tiny blip on our radar.
Work on promotion, hit all the meetups and conferences, meet people, release some cool open source, write a blog. THEN you will start getting clients.
I read your previous post and you were working a shit job. I am a CEO of a tech company and I can assure you I know what you are talking about. I've never heard of such crazy hours (on a regular basis).
You're 20, so that necessarily means your job opportunities are limited. But so what? I was 24 before I got my first "real" job. And today I'm doing pretty well by any standards.
You have the next 20 years to do manifest whatever kind of crazy dream you have in your head. So go do it.
Edit: Thought maybe I would also suggest to add a few words about your location, what type of coding you like to do (languages, algorithms, domain space, w/e), and how you would rate your own level of emotional maturity. Maybe there are a few people out there who might be willing to give you a shot if it's the right fit... but be honest! Nothing could be worse than misrepresenting yourself and ending up similarly unhappy all for a few bucks. Way better to live honestly, trudge through the short-term pain, and find a long term solution that makes you really happy.
Also remember a job is just that. A job, its a way to make money to spend on things you want. It is not there to run your life.
pick yourself up, pack a bag and go check out the world, head over to Asia and teach English, go work in a factory and pack boxes (its hard work but, it is very honest) make time for yourself and try to remember who you are.
Go to a bar and pick up a pretty girl. when you have finished your break pick yourself up and start being creative, make one thing. After you have done all of this you should then look for proper work.
you are your own person, the world is a big place, enjoy it.
Maybe having people yelling at you on a regular basis is not the best thing for your (mental) health.
Have you considered moving to a different city, as far away as possible from your depressing past (your post about your job also doesn't sound that much fun)?
So this pretty much sums it up. Dude you're 20! You just stopped being a teenager! Of course you're clueless about life and such... we all were at that age.
If you were European, Middle Eastern, Chinese or pretty much any other nationality other than American/Canadian your dad would be bitching at you until you were 45 so don't be so down on all that stuff. Pick yourself up, take some classes, study ANYTHING, read some books, go to some networking events, meet some new people... and always look for problems that need solving.
You'll have a bunch of false starts, and a single one of those at the age of 20 really shouldn't get you down all that much. I don't know how ballin' you were before you quit your job, or how highly-paid you were, but I've got a feeling that you didn't walk out on millions in bonuses or anything so you didn't exactly make some catastrophic mistake.
If you are having suicidal thoughts I'd also talk to somebody and get some professional help maybe.
I'm probably one month behind you; the quitting job to start a new venture is straining my marriage, totally playing havoc with my confidence, affecting the relationship with my friends, siblings, parents.
BUT, I keep in mind what life working for others was like. It was safe, it paid the bills, maintained the home, BUT it gave me little sense of self-worth, no ability to realise my dreams and left me feeling like all I would ever be is a dreamer.
If you are looking for some support in getting through this and creating something you are proud of, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In hindsight, it's easy to correct your mistakes. Life isn't clear cut and obvious. You know now what it takes to do something that most people in the world have never done. Even if it isn't the right thing for you.
Life is about experience and I think what you've done has given you some pretty damn good xp :)
Dude! You've got your whole life ahead of you, go make MORE mistakes, lots more.
Ultimately though don't give up. If you're not sure what you want to do, go get a job (any job) and go back to the drawing board.
Want a job? Just land yourself some interviews and when they ask for an explanation of the gap in your resume, just say "I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue [insert your story], in the end it didn't work out, but I learnt a ton and am excited about re-entering the workforce".
If you don't think you're going to find happiness in your occupation, make sure you try and find a job that you can leave at work. Then find the happiness in your real life.
If you ever feel suicidal please call 1-800-SUICIDE.
Job security is an illusion that companies dangle to motivate us to be slaves. It doesn't exist for the average person.
I am twice you age and promise you two things based on your post:
1. You are far to young to think you world has ended, it has not. - Having a high paying job isn't the only thing in this world that can make you happy. Find out what makes you happy and focus on that you have plenty of time.
2. You did the right think despite what ANYBODY says. You were not in a healthy environment for you and it does you no good to have a good job if you are killing yourself and getting sick everyday.
Give yourself some credit for making a decision and learn from it. It will make you stronger. Its better early in life than later.
Also, you need to find yourself some new friends. That's very important. Not because you want people that agree with you but so you can communicate with people that can give you some positive feedback. Like another comment says, risk takers are cut from a different cloth than non risk takers.
Since I work with a remote programmer from home, this becomes quite a distraction when dad's on a vacation.
Starting out on your own is hard work, and even harder when you don't have positive and supportive family and friends to help you through the rough times.
Don't worry about it, at least, not too much. By worrying too hard, and blaming yourself, you only make it worse. Suck it up, and accept that you're just like any other human: we make mistakes. We then go and fix them.
So do that. You're only 20, there's a tremendous amount of time still ahead, and opportunities you don't even recognise just yet.
What are you doing with this free time?
Good luck with the job search! Just don't give up, these economical times are not so good for many of us.
However, I am able to work on my side business while I have a day job, so I've been doing both for the past few years.
It's hard to say whether my side business would have blown up huge by now. But I can tell you that dragging that business along at half throttle does wear down your enthusiasm for it.
Anyway, I appreciate the 'other' side of all the 'quit your job' rancor. I suspect a lot of that comes from people who were successful who are trumpeting that success. And the people for whom it doesn't work out... well... you don't see enough of those people talking about it like you have.
Hope it all works out for you.
i was basically not delivering quality, so my customers weren't happy and i had to realize that i should call in someone else to help finish assignments. i had to change my position and my title.
when you work as an employee, you may just be fine for that job, being a freelancer or a company owner, you have to produce exceptional quality, and you may still be in trouble collecting payments in time...
so it is very important to know yourself and your skills before making a decision.
try figure out what you're good at, and until you do, you can still help out here or there for some coins or food.
let me know if you need ideas...
Decisions that don't work out great are not bad. Decisions that harm other people are bad, like suiciding, killing or stealing. And have inmind that people that support you through whatever, are your real friends.
Quiting your job might mean that you have guts or that you are naive. In both cases, you are too young to blame and you have a lot more to try out before your life ends.
You're probably being too hard on yourself - you were burnt out and bored from your last job - you quit and went straight to this new thing. No gap in between to recuperate from the burnout. Give yourself a break for 20 days - forget about this ordeal during this break. When you're back from this break - then decide what you want to do in life. When you're done with that, devote 5-6 years to learning or improving your skill in whatever it is that you decide.
Take the long view. Try to master your craft. If you have, it shouldn't be really hard to land a job to keep you afloat.
 I think you know what speech I am refering to.
Start-up people (from my experience anyway) are the outcasts, but being different is what liberates us.
We stick together, help out in any way we can, and share in our successes AND failures.
I commend you for not only getting over the fear of taking the start-up leap, but also being honest with everyone on Hacker News.
There are VERY few people I know with that amount of bravery, and it is something you should be proud of.
You are not an idiot, and your father probably just doesn't fully understand what happened.
Everyone has problems, but often hide behind a false mask of growth and prosperity. Things are not always what they seem.
I'm sure the people here on HN would be happy to help you out in any way possible, including myself.
We need to stick together in the good times and the bad.
Things will get better. They will.
what does your resume besides the company you quit look like?
do you have a degree? are you looking for jobs but having a hard time getting interview invitations?
I also have some "plan" on what I'd do afterwards, but in the end they are just plans. So I'm a bit worried, especially after reading your post. I'll definitely need to think about this more.
I hope what comes to me won't be as bad as yours. And best of luck in recovering.
Also, check the "connecting the dots" Steve Jobs speech... you're just 20 and in the future you'll be proud of how you overcame these difficulties.
Everyone fails sometimes. It's about getting back at it that counts. You're only 20 and you've already tried something most never attempt. Who cares if you failed. Who cares if you're living with your parents. Who cares what your friends say. As long as you learn from what's happened, it was worthwhile.
You can always find another job. Sure, maybe not one as good as the last, but you can find something. And you can always try again in terms of starting your own business. So, don't worry. You'll be okay. It's all about attitude and perseverance.
You just need to take a step back and assess what happened, why it happened, and what you can do to go from here. You're just 20 years old. You have your whole life ahead of you!
do not afraid to fail early. i did it a lot - it is fine (although i never had situation where i was not able to pay taxes or rent, but this might be luck :)). With each fail you learn and it is better to learn it at twenties and become successful businessman in thirties, than start learning in thirties. :)
there are few exceptions from the rule, who become successful "overnight" (think facebook-type businesses), but most "overnight" success takes years of work, dedication and... failures.
You are not alone.
You might be able get some financial help to get a GED ?
When the job market sucks, stick to school.
Seriously though, you are only 20. You have your whole life ahead of you. People are right here to say you need to stop sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. Put that energy into getting a new job. Any job. Just get yourself out of the house. Work your ass off to build up your resume, hack projects on the side, contribute to open source, etc.
Don't commit suicide because that is just stupid and nobody is going to feel sorry for you.
But yeah, being broke at that age can feel really hopeless, even though it's not...you just gotta put in the work to get yourself out of it....
Good on you for quitting, that job sounded terrible...just hang in there and get any job!
Also, keep a journal, and you'll be amazed to look back at all this intense shit later, it'll all seem so ok and you'll wonder why you stressed so much.
I quit a job for sillier reasons and ended up in a bad spot - no money, no job, no food, et cetera. I was living in a foreign country for university and wasn't able to move back in with my parents. I bummed off friends and found various odd places to sleep for awhile. I was pretty depressed too [understatement]. I was/am about the same age as you. It sucked for quite a few months. but it got better. short term (months long) "failures" are necessary. hang in there.
You are very young. Yes there are people successful and famous and all that at your age, but that's the very very small minority. And even in 2 or 3 years, you'll still be very young.
overcome your decision and learn from it.
Quitting a Job is easy. Making a living by becoming a freelancer is hard hard work.
Also: If your friends mock you about your situation, I'd wonder what kind of friends they are. Talk to your beloved ones, you closest friends about what's going on.
You'll be depressed for a while, but soon you realize that you have gained valuable lesson. Failing is something that everybody does, and it's part of everybody's life. (There is a physical reason for this: entropy* )
Personally, all that positivity, whether from randoms or your mum never really helped me. Weirdly I found articles like this to bring me up for a couple of days.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405311190480030457647...How Depression affected people like Lincoln, Churchill and Ghandi.
I guess the thought that even the greats battled great adversity and resistance helps. How's that for a Nietzchian thought.
" The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html
You are stronger than you think.
ya things haven't worked out so far, but so what, at least you're not putting in 60 hours a week. what good is money if you don't have the time to spend it. what good is life if all you do is work and never get to enjoy it.
from what i can get, you were a flash/C++ programmer at your previous job.
right now you're trying to find a job. piece of advice, you're really not going to find one (or at least a good one) looking in the paper and/or on job sites... you need to network.
my advice, join a user group for flash, there are many:
start hanging out in the flash message google groups and helping others:
get on github and start doing some open source flash stuff and participating in the community:
what i'm trying to tell you is this: a lot of programmers that i know live in a bubble and all they do is program and keep to themselves. the secret in life in getting ahead, being happy and sharpening your skills is to network with others. ever heard the expression, "it's who you know", well it's true.
right now you're so depressed that you forgot this basic life lesson. you need to get out if the rut and jump in head first back into life. you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. not only will networking help with you professional life, it will also help you in your personally life.
i'll tell you this. one of my best friends was in the same situation that you're in, having a hard time finding a job. we both work in an obscure language that most people would laugh at (ColdFusion). for a while now i've been telling him to start doing exactly what i'm telling you do. since taking my advice and finally getting involved he's finally finding quite a bit of free lance work and even has found and applied to a permanent ColdFusion position. opportunities are out there my friend, there not going to present themselves unless you go looking for them.
TLDR: start networking in the flash/c++ communities.
I've been twenty too, some time ago. Don't worry, you've got a lot of life ahead of you. You can do anything.
Your story touched me as it's exactly what I am living through at the moment, its now 6 months since I quit my well paying job and being broke constantly is no fun, especially after life threw some unexpected twists my way, my dad being sick and me taking time off to stay with him the past 2 months till he got better.
Point of it all is there will be lows in life but also highs, so hold on and take heart.
But, more importantly... You sound like you have a depression. Not the kind you can just 'shrug off', but the kind that requires medication (dirt cheap nowadays) and counselling (costs more, but is more effective).
This may sound nasty, and coming out of blue. But taking care of your mental health will give you the strength you need to find yourself and your place in the world again. I know this, because I had depression too. 20 years ago.
Stick with college and finish up - you might stumble onto something that fits. And if not, at least you have a that piece of paper, which I used to think it was to impress people but really it's so the glaring absence of a degree doesn't jump out.
That said, you don't HAVE to finish. It will buy you time to discover, investigate other paths.
Back to the game idea, how about make the game about the future of your next 10 years?
It'll get better - but go get a job, right now, it'll make you feel much better.
ps. Not working for the man is always a good decision. You will never starve working for the man, but you will also never get ahead. It sounds like you've got a crisis of faith. You need to ask yourself what you really want in life. If you can't stomach life without a safety net, then by all means, go back to a full-time job.
I quit my job last fall to pursue my startup full time. Similar deal--good pay, good experience, but just too much stress at my day job and things w/ my startup were gaining a lot of momentum.
Things took a turn for the worse when I wasn't getting where I wanted to be. I ended up becoming a regular heroin user. The inevitable occurred and my life became ruined.
Now I'm 26. I live with my dad. I don't do drugs anymore. My credit score is probably 300 (I don't even want to know) from defaulting on all of the debts undertaken when I quit my job and ran out of savings. I'm constantly 3 months behind on my BMW lease; taking it on was an impulsive decision that I thought would motivate me to work harder.
I spent a lot of time regretting my actions. It took a long time to accept my mistakes and failure... of course, with the help of some therapy and a little psychiatric medication.
Eventually you'll pull yourself out of your slump. Focus on yourself. Exercise if you don't already. Keep up a routine. And get out of the house. Your situation could be a lot worse. Go to the mall and ask for job applications. It's likely the easiest way for formally uneducated people to get jobs, especially with the upcoming holiday season. You'll work for peanuts, but you'll meet lots of people who are in your situation (working a shitty job as a stop-gap) who will probably be better friends than anyone you know today.
After months of self-deprecating thoughts and depression, I've finally gotten an interview booked with a local growing web company. I didn't try to improve things for months because I thought they couldn't be improved. You need to get over yourself and start to try at life. Stop focusing on what went wrong and instead wake up tomorrow and realize that you can start moving forward regardless of what's obstructing your path (usually mental barriers.)
I think the most important thing for you to do now, is to get rid of the depressed and suicide thoughts. It sure helps to talk to people about it.
I'm rather messed up as well, as I gave up several well paying jobs to pursue my own startup dreams which eventually failed and I went the freelancing route which didn't work out too.
Speaking to people about my situation lifted my mood considerably and I urge that you do the same too.
Sort out those emotional issues first, and slowly plan to get your career back on track. Suicide won't solve anything.
Get better soon dude.
People all over swear up and down you DON'T need a degree and they are right. But having a degree means that your personal safety net is higher. You don't fall back to square one if life hits you in the face all at once. Stints and Wendy's, Pizza Hut, and Best Buy are long gone. The worst that can happen is I have to go back to a white collar job in tech support. ;)
Don't get discouraged. What seems like a huge thing now will be a tiny thing as it disappears in the rear-view mirror.
But you got to suck it up. You got to be strong mentally. Dealing with VC or the market is 10x worse than your father or friends.
Here's the youtube linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA
Drop me a line, I run a mobile dev shop and I have a lot of well-paying web, Android and iPhone work. I provide on-the-job training as well.
You are young, go to college (take all the student loans you need to stay on campus) and get a solid degree that you can do something with when you graduate, Computers, engineering, etc. Join a fraternity, make some of the best friends you will ever have in your life, drink some beer and enjoy life for a few years.
We all make mistakes, it's how we rebound from them that defines us.
Best of luck. You can do it!
Let me know hmb143 at gmail
If you want to team up then let me know we can chat to see if wavelengths match. Then we can work on an idea.
More importantly, in the next few hours, some more people are going to be hired. One of them can be you.
HN is a VERY VERY skewed view of the world, remember your hearing mostly just the success storys of the best of the best in this field, so dont judge yourself so harshley.
Best of luck anyway and please please talk to somebody about this in person.
First mistake:You're 20. Not really much you can do about that. But in order to be successful as a start up you need experience. years of experience.
Second mistake:You could only afford to live for yourself for 4 months. You need AT LEAST 3 times that in order to make sure you have any hope of survival. Building a business is not done in 4 months.
And all your life is what you have ahead of you. Dying at 20 would be such a waste. Especially for a lad that has balls the size of grapefruits who's willing to follow his dreams.
When I was 21 I tried to do what you tried to do here, and I ended up living with my sister with -$83 in the bank by the time it was all said and done. I am 24 now and doing much better in life, but it was a long road to get here. I can promise you that it will get better, but you will have to work for it.
- Start filling out applications for any and every job. Get a job. It doesn't matter if it's cleaning toilets or flipping burgers. Right now there are people with PHD's who are riding on the back of a garbage truck. Put your pride and passions behind you, and take any job you can get.
- Until you get that job, do anything you can to get money. Go door to door with a lawn mower and cut grass. Troll the free section on craigslist and find a way to sell the items listed there. Walk into the small mom and pop shops in your area and ask if they need any help involving IT whether it be building a website, designing a flyer, setting up a wireless network, fixing a computer, anything. Ask if you can leave your number with them if anything should come up in the future.
There's always a way to make a few extra dollars, and you'd be surprised how much small businesses are willing to help out someone down on their luck who actually wants to work. Swallow your pride, get out of the house, and get face to face with people who have succeeded where you have failed.
Best of luck to you.
The feeling that all doors are closed is ALWAYS misleading. There is always an open door, alas maybe you don't see it today, or tomorrow, but it's there.The one thing you should do is to find ASAP someone who never shouts at you, who is not blaming you, and who is cab listen and consider the options. THERE ARE MANY OPTIONS. YOU WILL GET OUT no matter how unrealistically it looks right now.
now i learn to appreciate a job more. i had to experience this to learn that, and i can't imagine learning it any other better way. when you dont stay focused your mind tends to go bananas and that's no fun, so get a job or have something to do that keeps you focused.
and on another note, i have a 17 year old brother who was heavily depressed for a year or two, many times suicidal, but he's fine now. depressed people are everywhere, you're not alone :) just be cool about it. try your hands at different things, easily-depressed people usually are sensitive and have artistic traits, if you find your art (or whatever it is you love doing) it can bring you up big time. but again, be cool about it, depression is just part of life, and many times it goes away before the person knows what happens.
if it gets unbearable, go to a psychiatrist and get some medications, they help.
Steve Job's graduation commencement speech touches on this idea of being unable to "connect the dots in your life" forward, one can only do it retrospectively. It is a keen observation and is certainly worth listening to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA
Try and minimize the amount of time you let your mind spend regretting a decision you made in March and focus more on looking forward and taking the next positive step in your life.
You are only 20 and are bound to make many more decisions that you may consider to be a mistake in the short-term, but you have no idea how your life will ultimately unfold.
What you once considered to be a mistake could turn out to be a great decision, even if it only serves the purpose of teaching you some lessons to grow yourself further.
Kudos on your bravery to take a risk, I'm sorry to hear it isn't working out at the moment but I assure you it is totally within your domain of influence to change things around for yourself and realize new opportunities.
Just take it one step at a time and try and frame the experience as simply an opportunity to grow through a challenge.
I read edw519's comment and he is certainly right, we do care and things are never as bad as they may seem.
Do make sure you get sleep, good food and exercise because this fuels your brain and that is your greatest asset.
Time to level up on your life. Do what it takes and you will be amazed by your new capabilities a year from now.
Leaving job because you read, "Leaving my job was best thing" is rat-race-y.
Remember, even if your friends are dicks and your dad is abusive, you've got dozens of friends on HN who believe in you :)
Print the responses on this thread, and read them out to yourself every morning before and after you go for a jog. The perspective that will provide you will help.
I think you should go somewhere else away from your father, whatever happens. You tried something and it didn't work. There's no reverse gear on life. Your dad reveals himself as someone who does not support you.
Ok that changes the context of what you said. I thought you were like 30 or God-forbid 40.
You know all that bullshit about "you can't succeed if you don't take risks?" It's true. It's SO true. The world needs people like you, and me - I am your 40 year old rocky-road-to-success-story.
I know it looks like a self-help bookâ€"at least that's what I thoughtâ€"but it made a huge difference in my life. While I was never in your exact position, I was in terrible job for the last 2 years. My boss would call my office almost every day at 4:55 to make sure I didn't leave early. I endured constant criticism and had really didn't have a shred of positive feedback in over two years of work.
What Colour is your Parachute made me realize that it really was the job, it wasn't me at all. Don't get discouraged. Figure out what you really want to do with your life and work towards that. When someone recommended that I read that book, I thought it was a crock at first. I didn't think i needed some crazy self-help book. But, in reality, I did.
Just a few months later, I've left that terrible job and am working at one that I love. It's out thereâ€"don't give up on the basis of one lousy job.
I work with software and I did quit and it was great. I just completed my first freelance project and it worked great. I'm not looking back yet. Although I notice it is hard to stay disciplined, but I'm working on it.
It's ok to be foolish.
Read (or listen to audiobooks):Robert Kiyosaki: Rich Dad, Poor Dad & Cashflow Quadrant. He also has one called "Before you quit your job", but read those two first.Steven Pressfild: The War of Art
Also, you need to start surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Ditch your old friends and make some that will inspire you to push yourself harder. Try meetup.com.
The secret is to find that environment in which you feel at your optimum or to create it depending on the current social climate.
Another secret is to consider your expectations. Are you hoping to make a lot of money doing nothing and that your friends will highly esteem you? If that's the case then you'll need a trustfund from rich elders.
Try to guess what your optimum work/resources/time balance is and aim for that doing what you are good at. If what you're good at isn't what you enjoy use your resources to retrain.
And try to find new friends. The current ones sound like useless jackasses.
2. Find out exactly what you want to do. It might take some time, but you gotta continue the search. Meanwhile at least find a part time job to pay your bills. If you're smart enough to have a good job in the first place, you'll at least find a part time job in a restaurant.
3. No one else can make things happen for you but you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, prep up the gun, and start shooting.
There's no gurantee that you'll be the next Steve Jobs, but not doing anything about your current situation is a sure shot way of failure.
All the best.
I was working a lot throughout college and even high school when I had my own website generating income. Looking back, I wish I had enjoyed life a lot more rather than focus on money.
Get some part time job to keep you afloat.
Go back to school, enjoy being a 20 year old. You will be amazed at how many opportunities that just land in your lap while at school, interacting with your fellow classmates. Join clubs or anything where there are people around.
Just wanted to share my story to maybe give you some encouragement. Between the ages of 16 and 20, I was doing freelance work. It was OK but not "amazing". An opportunity came up for a full-time job and I chose to take it. I was able to leverage what I had done freelance into demonstrating I had the resume and skills for the job I wanted. Hopefully you can do the same thing -- think "what have I achieved?" and make a resume based around that. Then, get out there and network! Tell everyone you meet what your skillset is and that you're doing a search for the perfect job. You'll find it!
OP: You are very young & only responsible for yourself (no children), things could be much more worse.
Hang in there Bro...there are many like you and who have been like you out there!!
Most people in my college class joined at age 20...
But it's time to move on, life is too short. Try to start again, like the Phoenix, from your ashes.
You can start a new life from what You think is a failure (it is not, because You didn't anything wrong!).
Maybe You can consider the idea of having a job in another field, maybe You should try something less stressing, and I'm saying this because I'm a developer too!
Obviously, at the beginning the money will be not too much, but why You shouldn't try?!
Let us know! :)
We have to stand up to depression, zero support, family abuse, eating crackers...and gut-wrenching despair.
All because we believe in ourselves.
Stand up brother. Your path has not ended. It has only begun. Learn. Live. Try again.
expand your skill set; build your resume by doing something interesting/possibly valuable to future employers; connect with local small business/startups to find work (while taking on a shitty job somewhere if you have to)
you've got some time start using it and stop beating yourself up
you should also consider getting a GED
p.s. You're terrible at writing. Please stop.
At 20, you have better things to worry about.
However, I believe you were asking about those that want a more 'structured' university-like approach.Although these exist, I'd certainly say there's room for the 'google of education', or the 'wikipedia of programming' etc.
The most VITAL factor for structured learning is the result at the end. How will the world know that I'm any better than when I'd started? Any organization that can serve as a single authoritative credential node, to be referenced in my bio, would certainly be sought after. Much like the MCP, Cisco certifications etc.
I'd imagine an initiative quite like stanford giving out certificates for its AI (&other) online classes, would be interesting. Or perhaps similar to paul wilmott's CQF certification for quants.
To sum it up, there's tons of free content that can be used. What's important is structure, and being an authoritative, well-respected provider of credentials. Also, the organization should have strong credentials themselves, and build awareness constantly. Tests would certainly feature heavily in the process. They could leverage startups and other universities to get there quicker~
The easiest way to teach yourself is to BUILD SOMETHING and figure it out as you go along. Don't worry about what to learn, just go do something and when you run into a roadblock then seek out the answer. Repeat until you're skilled.
One of the oldest website: http://www.w3schools.com/ However, they're not always good according to this interventionist website: http://w3fools.com/
Would be cool to have a basic SMS altert app that can connect to many web services.
You can build a demo with Nexmo.com, the wholesale SMS API with gobal reach and direct to carrier model. (disclaimer: I work for Nexmo)
Almost 26% of the staff is admin/management (20/78) which also seems very high.
Anyway, I would suggest picking a small area to fiddle with at a low level, and come up with a small project as a goal for learning it. Maybe just AI at first... text graphics, but create agents that wander in a virtual world. Or maybe just start with a basic 3D scene and try getting lighting going. Think about what seems the coolest to you, then just try to work that little part out and build a proof of concept.
I might try the Open GL books to get started with graphics. I would look around for books like these: http://www.amazon.com/Game-Engine-Architecture-Jason-Gregory... (although I haven't read that one, so I can't vouch for it's quality).