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i can't cut it as a professional programmer. can someone help me find an occupation?

This is a discussion on i can't cut it as a professional programmer. can someone help me find an occupation? within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; It's like telling an engineer who doesn't write very well that he doesn't write very well because he has a ...

  1. #16
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    It's like telling an engineer who doesn't write very well that he doesn't write very well because he has a bad attitude.
    The engineer who knows he can't write, but is willing to keep trying, will slowly get better at it. When he does write something better, his coworkers will notice. A bad attitude doesn't have to be the reason you aren't good at something, but it will keep you down and prevent you from getting better.

    But I don't know how to have a good attitude because I don't know how to force myself to care.
    I think you need to work out what a bad attitude is, and then focus energy on not doing those things. That's basically it.

    About caring, well, maybe stop calling it caring. Call it diligence. Are you willing to work after new things lose there cool and it's not fun anymore? How easily do you give up in adversity? Are you willing to call something that sucks the best you can do for now? I do know that diligence is something you can work on, at least. Learn time management so you have a way to be productive, if not caring.
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  2. #17
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    You don't have to believe in the system to partake in it. It is okay to have many objections and reservations about how our society and economy works. I'd consider you a buffoon without them.

    However, turning those into resentment -- because life is not fair, or does not make sense, etc -- will rot you. You cannot win here; the universe is vast, you are a tiny little blob of mostly water and you and your thoughts and feelings are mostly insignificant beyond your skull.

    It is good you are getting your feelings out, but, unfortunately, if you are looking for someone to point you to the secret door behind which all of a sudden everything is rational and reasonable, it is not going to happen, because that is not the reality of the world/society we live in. I think a lot of people go thru a long, possibly lonely, probably very depressing, period of disillusionment in their lives. It's real and it's sad, but the sooner you accept that the sooner you can stop being paralyzed by anger and/or self-pity. What "accept" means and how you act after that is something you have to work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by y99q View Post
    how about the armed forces? I'm in my late 20s and in the best shape of my life. maybe some branch of the military will take me if I successfully conceal my medical conditions from them.
    You can try. Also: I think most of the serious programming work in the military is contracted out, but I'd bet they do have a lot of operators/technicians ("like some job making pie charts using excel or creating forms with database data using access"), etc, and you have some qualifications and experience. I had a friend for a while who worked for the U.S. military doing electronics and communications stuff as a specialist; he had a college diploma and then they provided the rest of the training. You could go to a recruiting center and ask about that. No doubt, it would be an interesting experience, methinks.
    Last edited by MK27; 11-12-2011 at 02:07 PM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by y99q View Post
    'Incredible job' can mean many things. I guess you could say that doing programming for a company like Microsoft is an incredible job, but I never deluded myself into thinking that I had a realistic chance of obtaining that type of job.

    What I did think is that out of school I'd find a job doing something enjoyable. I had wished for a peaceful existence where I'd go to the office every morning, do work and feel happy and satisfied, and then come home and continue feeling the same way.

    That was my illusion. That's why I bothered going to college.
    Most people don't much like the work they do to get the paycheque, it's pretty much a fact of life.

    I worked in electronics for 35+ years, reaching the level of "Engineering Technologist" through repeated retraining and experiential learning. My first job was driving an Egg Delivery truck (really ) while I took the first block of training. My first job in "electronics" was cleaning and servicing electric typewriters for about 10 cents above minimum wage... By the time I fully qualified as an electronics technician, I was working in photocopiers and cash registers. From there I landed a job in "Pro-Audio" installing and servicing Club and Theatre sound systems. From there I moved on to 2 way radio service for a couple of years... finally ending up on Computers about the time the IBM Personal Computer made it's appearance. When my employer realized I had computer skills, I very quickly rose to the level of regional then national service manager for a medium sized international company, where I stayed for nearly 25 years.

    The moral of the story is that you cannot expect to come straight out of school into the perfect job... It almost never happens. I started my career in electronics by driving an Egg Truck. Then it was on to a string of "drudge" jobs while I proved myself and climbed up the ladder. eventually ending up in charge of a rather interesting group of people. Basically I'm telling you that you get what you earn.

    As part of my role as service manager I was in charge of computer repairs, training technicians, writing diagnostics, overseeing the programming pool, etc. It was a very challenging and interesting career. But never once did I feel happy and satisfied at work; nor did I expect to.

    A job is something you do to finance the rest of your life, the happy and satsfied part comes AFTER work when you bring home that paycheque to feed your family and pay your bills. It's about family not work. In fact, in my 60 years, I've never met anyone who would gush "My job is just so incredible, I love every minute of it"... most say the exact opposite.

    It depends on what you mean by buckets of money. $75,000+ per year? No. But perhaps a job that paid somewhere in the ballpark of $50,000/year, which supposedly was the average pay for people with academic credentials similar to mine. Now perhaps I have head up my butt but in my opinion a salary of $50,000/year, for a person who graduated with honors from a competitive 4 year university, is about right.
    I don't know how salaries run in your neck of the woods but 'round here, that kind of paycheque only comes after a few years of experience, which you won't get if you are rejecting the process by which you can obtain that experience.

    Job skills may start in university, but they don't end there... My experience is that schooling gives you concept, work experience gives you practical knowledge.

    To get the big cheque requires both.




    But then it turns out that the only jobs I could find paid $10 and $15 an hour. And then when I found the full time job (the one I got fired from) I received a yearly salary whose hourly equivalent was barely a few dollars more.

    If not shooting for the bottom of the barrel is what you understand by having way too high expectations, I can't argue with you.
    What I mean is very simply that you cannot reasonably expect to walk out of school and straight into a high paying job. You need to do what many many others have... start at the bottom of the barrel and climb your way to the top.


    And even though dreams of high salaries is not what motivated me to do well in school, I did spend a lot of time wondering what went wrong when the only jobs I got offered paid significantly less than the reported average salary for people with similar credentials.
    Trust me on this... a university degree may get you in the door but you have to earn the rest of it.

    Of course that also means you have to be WILLING to earn the rest of it, expecting it to be simply handed to you is very unrealistic.


    Bottom line.. you are mistaken in assuming that my expectations were way too high. I wanted a happy existence. Middle class life. middle class job. Go to work, come home, repeat the same drill, you know, a normal life. Now if you want to argue that it's not possible to have a satisfying job and a happy existence, then if you are right I guess I'm doomed.
    Not doomed.... just expecting way too much right out of the gate.


    Ok... so now you've had your first big brush with reality, what are you going to do about it. Seems to me your choices are to a) go flip burgers, b) keep being continually disappointed with yourself or c) understand how the real world works, regroup and get back in the game.

    Personally, I'd recommend option C.
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  4. #19
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    Well said, Tater. I took a programming job after getting my physics degree because there wasn't a physics related job to be found anywhere, was hoping to in a few years work myself back into physics through the backdoor.
    15 years later, I'm still programming for a living, though I've since graduated from Cobol and MS Office macros to Java and C++

    Do I like my job? Most days, yes. Other days, I can't wait for the workday to end and get home. The love for computers slowly turns to blind hatred as well over the years, get used to it.
    Same goes for pretty much every job. My dad loved to drive and fly, until he had to do both so much for his job as CEO of international relations that he dreaded every time he had to get to the airport (which was on average twice a week).

    My advice overall: don't turn a hobby into a job, you rapidly lose your hobbies that way!

  5. #20
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    First, don't call yourself a programmer.

    Then, find out what you want to do in your life. And do it. Try. Trying will make you happier than not trying. But don't give up or feel bad if you fail. Everybody fails. If you don't fail anymore, check your pulse, you are most likely dead.
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  6. #21
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    Why didn't you continue to master or Phd in mathmatics?

  7. #22
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Everybody fails. If you don't fail anymore, check your pulse, you are most likely dead.
    Well put.

    Failure is inevitable. Winners are winners because they learn from failure and it enables them to move on to new tasks with a whole new perspective. Losers are losers because they focus on failure and it cripples them and they cannot move on because they lose all perspective.

    This is very important because failure never goes away regardless of how many years of experience you may have. Years of experience does not guarantee success so if you let failure cripple you at any level you will have a rough road ahead of you. Fear of failure is a big reason people stagnate in their jobs. What we should ideally have is a fear of not trying. I can say one thing that is 100% certain. If you do not try I guarantee you will fail.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 11-14-2011 at 05:50 PM.

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    I thank everyone for their patience and desire to help.

    Funny how back in the day people didn't even bother talking to me because to them I was an idiot / lost case but here people try to convince me that in spite of my attitude I can get the type of job I want if I work hard enough.

    You know what's the thing that demotivates me the most?

    The knowledge that I cannot account for the years wasted and the knowledge that even if I do my part and learn everything there is to know about the job, the final decision as to whether I get or don't get the job is completely out of my hands.

    It also bothers me that people here refuse to acknowledge that the position I'm in is very tough, not only because of the lack of knowledge but also because of the time unemployed, lack of relevant experience, and the fact that even if everything goes well the hiring managers need only to call my previous employer to convince themselves that they are better off hiring someone else.

    Yes I must be very depressed if I'm the only one who can see this.
    Last edited by y99q; 11-15-2011 at 07:33 PM.

  9. #24
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by y99q
    You know what's the thing that demotivates me the most?

    The knowledge that I cannot account for the years wasted and the knowledge that even if I do my part and learn everything there is to know about the job, the final decision as to whether I get or don't get the job is completely out of my hands.

    It also bothers me that people here refuse to acknowledge that the position I'm in is very tough, not only because of the lack of knowledge but also because of the time unemployed, lack of relevant experience, and the fact that even if everything goes well the hiring managers need only to call my previous employer to convince themselves that they are better off hiring someone else.
    I acknowledge that the position that you are in is very tough.

    Did that change anything?

    Sure, you have black marks against you, but if you want us to only see that and show you our sympathy, then nothing will change. The black marks will just get worse, and you will only get more sympathy, not a job.
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  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by y99q View Post
    You know what's the thing that demotivates me the most?
    Fear of success?


    It also bothers me that people here refuse to acknowledge that the position I'm in is very tough
    Trust me, it's a safe bet that most of us have been right where you are...

    Getting fired from a job is nasty stuff... the real trick is to not let it eat away at you...

    As has already been alluded here, most successes are built upon repeated failures. The only unrecoverable failure is not trying.

  11. #26
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    It also bothers me that people here refuse to acknowledge that the position I'm in is very tough
    I don't see anyone saying it isn't tough, and honestly, I was trying to be empathetic and encouraging -- maybe you are reading (some of) us wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by y99q View Post
    The knowledge that I cannot account for the years wasted
    If you feel you are wasting your life, that had better be a separate issue than having a poor career. I've lived homeless, fer chrissake, and for a long time too. Some of that I consider a complete waste, but for most of it, honestly, even if I was not 100% happy, I did not feel I was wasting my life. I had my health and I think I made the most of it...

    Maybe that makes me a complete fool or a loser and you should ignore me, lol, or maybe it illustrates a cliched but important truism: satisfaction/happiness is not about success in your career. Success in your career may get you there (OTOH, maybe it won't -- think of how disappointing that might be). Likewise, self-worth is not about how much other people think you are worth. If that's where you get it, you are a bubble waiting to burst. I wouldn't recommend homelessness to most people, but I honestly would to a few people (which is not to say I'd condone forcing them into it)*. I think it did me more good than harm in general, but in terms of my career, lol, it was pretty detrimental. Try walking into an interview and explaining what the hell you were doing from 2000 to 2006, or why you are approaching 40 but have never held a job beyond two years.

    Yes I must be very depressed if I'm the only one who can see this.
    What I see is that it is only going to get worse unless you change something about your attitude. And I don't mean WRT the workplace. I mean something more like: stop taking this so seriously. Like I said before, you are not wrong to feel you've been cheated or that the system is not fair. However, you are wrong to feel that is the be all and end all. You're lucky to be young and healthy and free. If you step back, I guarantee you will realize that the objective situation of your life is probably better than MOST of the human beings who have ever lived. There is a lot of potential in that, even if it does not include a successful career.

    Don't give up on your dreams, but do not let them dominate your daily existence.

    * and, BTW, be nice to homeless people. It is very tough
    Last edited by MK27; 11-16-2011 at 07:13 AM.
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    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Likewise, self-worth is not about how much other people think you are worth. If that's where you get it, you are a bubble waiting to burst.
    MK27 makes a very good point here...
    If your self-esteem relies upon the opinions of others you doom yourself to walk through life feeling continuously worthless.

    There is a tragic psychological flaw called "External Validation" where people become extremely depressed if they do not receive a continous sting of compliments. They (wrongly) interpret the absense of a compliment as an insult and the hurt they feel just keeps accumulating until they begin demanding compliments in subtle ways and the demand most often evinces the very thing they fear most: negativity.

    There are only two times in life when someone else's opinion actually matters: a) When answering "I love you" and b) When accused of a crime. Other than that, you should not actually give a crap what anyone actually thinks. Your sense of worth has to come from within or people will be continuously tearing it down.

    Trust me on this one... the best compliment you can possibly get is the absense of an insult.

  13. #28
    a_capitalist_story
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    I have a question I didn't see asked here.

    Where do you live? Is it a hotbed of software development? If not, perhaps consider moving to a location more appropriate, with plentiful jobs doing what you want to do!
    whiteflags likes this.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by rags_to_riches View Post
    I have a question I didn't see asked here.

    Where do you live? Is it a hotbed of software development?
    yes.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by y99q View Post
    I guess you are right. I have a bad attitude.

    But I don't know how to have a good attitude because I don't know how to force myself to care.

    If there was a pill that would make care I'd take it in a heartbeat.


    And then you tell me to "Pick a job that suits your skill set and your 'challenge level' " and then "you won't get everything out of the gate and you must do this thing called 'work' your way up."

    I think that's more or less what I did until I got fired. You might feel inclined to think that my being unable to be a top performer at my job means that I was a spoiled child with a bad attitude. I think that's a temping logic but perhaps I got fired because I simply lacked the ability to perform at the level my coworkers performed at. it's not like I didn't suffer and didn't suffer more pain than probably all my coworkers. just because a person is okay at performing a set of cognitive tasks doesn't mean that the person will be good at performing another set of cognitive tasks. It's like telling an engineer who doesn't write very well that he doesn't write very well because he has a bad attitude. Or telling a computer programmer that he is socially awkward because he has a bad attitude. Or telling a novelist that he is not good at math because he has a bad attitude. (The reasoning being that if the person is good at something, then their not being good at other tasks means that they are not trying hard enough.) I think that's sometimes true but some other times a person's brain is wired in such a way that it can perform some tasks well but some other tasks not so well. Some people can have a nearly genius level IQ when it comes to processing visual information but average or below average intelligence when it comes to processing other types of information. You can google all this if you think that 'intelligence' is an all-encompassing, single quality that determines how good people will be at any and every task in life. That's not the way it works. It's possible for people to be good at some tasks but not so good at other tasks. Different parts of the brain process different tasks. Just because the part of the brain that processes one task performs relatively well, it doesn't mean that the parts of the brain that process other tasks will perform equally well.

    Back to the good/bad attitude dichotomy, if I had found a way to get a 'good attitude' then I would have effectively also found the cure to several mental illnesses as well as 'low intelligence', and perhaps today my name would be found in neuropsychiatric literature worldwide.
    Well, you do a good job of talking yourself out of the slimmest hope you might have. If I was going to hire someone to discourage you, I could find no better candidate than yourself.

    Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
    rags_to_riches likes this.
    I made a pair of "Braille Gloves" which have 6 vibration motors in six finger tips and vibrate in the relevant patterns. I have used this to read stuff while out walking. Given there is a fairly well defined programmer-oriented Braille encoding I should imagine it would work in this situation. Diagrams could be a pain still.

    Note: I am not blind but have learnt Braille fairly easily so for me it works quite well

    Disclaimer: I haven't tried this while driving yet...

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