Is my programming/IT "career" dead? Should I do something else for a living?
I really liked the programming that I did in college but I hated the type of programming I did at my last job and the job itself.
I worked for one of those medical recordscompanies that still use semi-proprietary programming languages that look and feel 20 years out of date. I was not doing development. I was responsible for writing custom changes, fixing bugs, retrofitting code. The coding involved was very gentle. No algorithms or complicated code. The difficult part was keeping track of the flow of things and balancing so much info in my head at the same time.
I wasn't good at my job and after a few years ended up getting fired.
The reason given was that I did not work on side projects and did the minimum I was required to do.
That's true. I hated my job and not only could I not concentrate but I literally felt sick every day. If I didn't quit the job is because I preferred to suck it up than be unemployed.
Six months after becoming unemployed my doctor suggested that I visit a psychiatrist. I followed his recommendation and visited a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist told me that I have attention deficit disorder. I was taken aback by the news since I did well in high school and college and other than my social awkwardness no one ever seemed to notice that I had a problem.
I have been on ADD medications for almost half a year and I'm currently taking a .NET programming course (since my programming experience appears to be pretty useless and limited to a very tiny number of companies) with the intention of eventually obtaining a job doing .NET programming.
I don't expect to get a $70,000/year job. More like what I was making at my previous job ( low 40's) which is okay with me as long as I get to work with current technology and work in a stress-free environment.
The thing is, when I started the .NET programming course I noticed that the ADD meds still haven't really solved my problem with concentration. When I am listening to a lecture or reading the book my mind is always wandering from random topic to random topic. My psychiatrist has changed my meds many times already but nothing seems to work.
Frankly, and I know that many people here will just call me a loser, but given the difficulty I am currently having concentrating and getting work done, which is almost the same I was having before I got fired from my job, and given that the meds failed to provide a sufficient amount of help, I can't help but wonder if I am wasting my time pursuing a programming career.
The psychologist who assessed my intellectual abilities earlier this year (I saw this person after I saw the psychiatrist) suggested that I pursue a career in programming or engineering, in spite of having ADD. That tells me that that person didn't take me for an idiot.
But even if he is right and I am not an idiot, maybe I don't have the mental clarity necessary to succeed as a programmer and maybe the psychologist didn't have a clue about what a programming job actually entails?
I mean I can blame my failure at my previous job on a variety of legitimate reasons: an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness, a stressful job environment, a job that I simply hated, outdated technology that drove me insane... but then again, maybe I just sucked.
Assuming that my best bet is to scrap the career I have been trying to obtain since I graduated from college 5 years ago, is there any other type of IT job that I might be able to do that I might actually enjoy? Something like CAD design or something like that? Or am I likely going to have the same problems should I decide to study CAD and pursue a career doing that?
Almost a year unemployed and I still haven't sorted out my problems. I wonder if I'll ever get hired again. not to mention that I can't mention the true reason I left my previous company. I have to lie and say I was laid off. But then the people interviewing me often tell me that as far as they know that company hasn't had any recent layoffs. At times I feel like my psychiatrist is just giving my false hope so that I can at least enjoy a small period of my life in relatively peace before the inevitable despair knocks on my door.