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I'm Begging for Work (brokedev.tumblr.com)
497 points by brokedev on Sept 10, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 336 comments

I'd suggest the following,

  active twitter account
  completed Linkedin profile
  active github account
  active website (Github Pages allows free static hosting)
For a remote job search, sign up for a free RSS site (I recommend https://newsblur.com/) and add some remote-only feeds,

Other good remote job sites are,

Finally, setup a profile on https://hired.com/ and https://www.smarthires.io/ which are dedicated to linking candidates and companies in a more selective manner.

Hope this helps and good luck.

In addition, this is a fairly comprehensive list though maintained manually:


Having an online presence where you talk about dev things is really useful, often in interviews I'm often surprised when they ask about projects I've put up (though shouldn't be - that's the whole point of my blog).

Why Twitter?

[rant on] Because in this filter bubble here you are not worth a dime, if you can't brag about how friggin' awesome you are - thats what twitter is for. [rant off]

Imho he should apply for jobs, apply more and even apply more. Having studied literature, I have jumped ships from publishing to tourism (marketing analyst) to being a full time data analyst via doing the work and having a resume to show it.

Having an application, that differentiates one from the competition did maybe help a little bit.

If @brokedev would like, he could shoot me a mail and I would show him, what I had for an application. Helped me get a lot of interviews - in the end I could choose between jobs.

[edit on] Have just updated my profile - seems to be cached. In some minutes my email should show there. [edit off]

No, Twitter isn't for bragging in this case. It's to follow other RoR devs and find out what they need help with. It's about leveraging Twitter to help you find jobs. Bragging isn't going to impress anybody, you have to let your Github do the bragging.

Well OK - whenever I tried to put twitter to some good use the ration between signal and noise just threw me off.

But maybe I just wasn't able to find the right strategy.

To be fair, Twitter is filled to the brim with noise. And I'm just as jaded as you are WRT to the massive scale pandering to Twitter-mobs going on in current society.

With that being said, Dev communities tend to be quite different on twitter.

I'll have to take the plunge as well, so I'm speaking to myself as much as I'm speaking to you, make an account _solely_ for your developer persona.

I think my problem with Twitter is, I have no idea what I would tweet about. Do you just use it to follow things and post replies to people looking for help? I have skipped Twitter for years because I didn't feel a need to micro-blog (esp publically), but now I regret that and don't know where to start. I'm worried that maintaining my feed (?) would be a huge time sink.

I like your suggestion about my "developer persona". Do you have suggestions for tools or tactics for making sure the signal to noise stays high?

>I have no idea what I would tweet about.

That's essentially why I don't use the service in a nutshell, and find it in its entirety much ado about nothing.

However, I mentioned I need to follow this advice as well because I often meet developers from other companies, and many in my local area are involved with each other on Twitter. Particularly, the UX and RoR communities of my area are both quite strong on Twitter (I'm a C#/Python guy, but it still applies). In sum, They are much better aware of what's going on and where to find a new job, should they need one.

I'm in the same boat as you - in order to further develop myself I'll inevitably have to cave and make a Twitter account.

> Do you just use it to follow things and post replies to people looking for help?

In a nutshell, yes. Or dev jokes, or your current project(s), or really anything that builds up your following. The metrics are available....use them! "Retweeting" other developers you follow should help as well.

> I'm worried that maintaining my feed (?) would be a huge time sink. > Do you have suggestions for tools or tactics for making sure the signal to noise stays high?

It is a huge time sink. But unfortunately the "powers that be" place a premium on having both an online presence, and online "clout." While a Github profile and personal website is certainly more important for reputation as a developer, your Twitter serves as a mouthpiece for your work and is (again, unfortunately) ultimately the first _and_ last thing looked at.

Maintaining your feed, I guess, would be easy as a developer. You have normal user level things - ie: only follow the accounts in your developer sphere - and you can also use management systems and third party software to filter out more of the noise. Hell, you could even write your own and use that same tool to build up your following! I believe most of the timesink in that aspect would be front-loaded - once you're up and running, you don't need to put much more work in.

It does not have to be a huge time sink. Like anything, it will take some time to get your bearings. But the messages are short and the way it works is very favorable to popping in when you feel like it. It is as much of a time sink as you are willing to make it.

I tweet mostly about new things I learn, interesting designs I see, etc.

This has the added benefit of being able to look stuff up if I forget about it.

If Twitter is too noisy, it means you're following too many users or the wrong users.

apparently lists can help, though that hasn't been my experience

very helpful... very, very helpful.


I really love this passive aggressiveness.

Fellow literature student here.

I'm very curious how you managed to shift to data analysis.

I've made a successful shift to marketing, but technical work still eludes me.

I had always a knack for the technical stuff. While in school my main focus where natural sciences. You could say, I always had two hearts beating in my chest.

So when the chance arose, I first started doing some web analytics. As the data grew more and more (esp. in our internal tools) I needed more then excel. So I tried to learn a little bit of (in my case) python to help crunch bigger numbers.

From there I got to manage the technical side of an ad server, did a lot of project management and via a gig in online marketing as a "pure" web analyst I came to work in a digital agency as a so called data analyst. Most work is "classic" web analytics, some is work on bigger datasets (growing part of my work).

So basically I had a knack for math, science, empirical stuff, statistics and tried some programming (bad code, but code non the less) and that way I was able to jump ships. One day I will try to incorporate my love for literature/texts into the mix - maybe NLP or some things like that might be fun. We'll see.

There's a lot of luck involved, and just persistence over a long period of time. But I figure you also just have to start doing what you want to do. This is amazingly possible in the developer world in a way that's hard to imagine in any other industry.

I was a music major in university (and planning on an English lit or creative writing minor) -- then I took an intro compsci course halfway through, and had a bit of a shock; it was an entirely new thing for me, but I really had a knack for it, and enjoyed it as well. It was a bit late to change my major... but I just fit in as much compsci as I could, and also just starting building things outside of coursework. I managed to get a software dev job right out of college based on a bunch of interactive online drills I wrote for the music department, plus I had very solid communication skills and academic recognition.

The software dev job was doing custom dev on lots of different kinds of projects (that was good), and in my spare time I turned the interactive music stuff into a site that's still a side income stream. It's languishing somewhat these days, because 5 years ago I started as a developer at a UK-based startup (working remotely from France; long story) and gradually became the CTO -- mostly just from looking for the hardest, riskiest problems we had and chasing them down one at a time, and being easy to work with.

It's hard to abstract any of this to general advice -- maybe just that mastering anything requires a good deal of focus and just time. If you want to do technical work (huge range there) you need to be doing it -- making mistakes, finding your way to solutions (good ones and bad), paying close attention to what's hard and why. It's probably worthwhile building something other people use, and can look at, etc. -- plus (whatever your focus is), mastering the context of working with customers, colleagues, competitors is valuable. If you build and support something all on your own, you're forced to learn a lot about all that.

literature major here, just chiming in to say it can be done! (I'm a founder/CEO now.) Follow the things that challenge you and that you can learn from, that intersect with things you have some strength in. Maybe marketing in the context of developer platforms?

Hey Greg,

whenever you scale to Germany, please shoot me a line. What you are building seems to me the ideal service to use. So many use cases shooting through my head...

Greetings from the old world Sven

thanks -- will do!

I studied literature as well, and made the jump to being a developer by doing a bootcamp.

Mostly because many job sites (greenhouse.io and lever.co) ask for a twitter link along with LinkedIn and Github. I've found the more interesting you can make yourself when applying, the more likely you will get a follow up interview.

You don't need to be a 140-char Shakespeare, just follow some influences and projects you're interested in, re-tweet things you find useful and if you have anything of substance you've created (github, blog post etc) post it.

It's not so much showing off as it is showing you're on-top of new ideas and trends in your field.

My problem is that I tweet a lot, but seldom about technical stuff that would actually be interesting to an employer, so when I do tweet some neat new devopsy thing, it's buried between four tweets about how I'm scared of the police and mad at the Phillies for trading somebody. It's really tough for me to find a balanced tone on this thing, because I can never decide if it's a personal or professional feed.

Because he can use it to follow RoR devs and find out what they are working on, having problems with, and may need help with. That can lead to work.

Because that's all where the (rich) hipsters are. you never know who you need to meet.

ecliptik, great list todos and remote hiring sites. Thanks for this.

Thanks for the list, I appreciate it.

It's close to impossible to get a remote job by the sheer amount of people wanting them. And no place will let you negotiate less salary for a job. :-/

I find myself as the same place as the the dev who wrote this. I don't even need a "dev-salary", we could live on the 44k a month and I would be happy with that as long as it's remote. Could go less, but it has to be a job that exists in ~5 years.

I could also quite easily live on $44k per month.

You have a profile? CV?

These are all great tips. While you are looking you can also get paid to hear job offers at http://www.joinjune.com

1.) The best time to find a job is when you already have one. Next time, find another job before you quit or make an ultimatum.

2.) Don't spend so much time thinking about why your company is screwing you. People job hop every 2 years, because it's the only way they'll get a 20k raise. Your salary will eventually hit a plateau as you move up, but early in your career, you shouldn't stay too long at one place.

3.) Don't reek of desperation. It's a turn-off to dates and it's a turn-off to interviewers. Ranting with a throwaway account is fine, but don't mention your situation in an interview.

4.) Use your rails skills and scrape indeed's listings for rails jobs in your area. Make a private rails app and filter out all the recruiters and IT staffing firms. Why? A lot of them are just doing arbitrage with the existing listings, and they don't have exclusive access. Do direct applications first, and if you're still not getting hits, then go to recruiters.

5.) Do research on data.jobsintech.io, glassdoor.com, crunchbase.com, and angel.co for company information. Message past devs on linkedin. Oh, and half of all glassdoor reviews are fake and from the HR departments. If they don't talk about negatives or give weak ones, it's usually fake.

6.) If you haven't already, look into your county's social services for any benefits you might qualify for. Your daughter might be eligible for disability benefits, and in the meantime, your family needs to eat.

Right, blame the guy for being exploited like so many others.

1/ He did not quit or made any ultimatum. He acted on what was promised, nothing wrong with that. But right you should always lower your head and submit to the startups and their heads.

2/ Typical protection of abusive companies by telling employees who are being openly screwed : "Deal with it". Such a healthy advice, lets not question the ethics and working of most of the tech sector who all have been dipping their toes in shady hiring practices.

3/ Easy to say when you're not living paycheck to paycheck and you see your dream slowly crumble before your eyes because of a company's unacceptable behaviour (acceptable to certain on HN though who probably think the CEO was right).

WHile 4 & 5 are valid, your first advices put the entirety of the blame on OP, when in fact that blame lies entirely on the CEO and startup in question. If I were in his position I would have made sure that their name are public and known to prevent others from being exploited.

I think the CEO's a sociopath, and I could care less if he gets shamed like that dentist that shot Cecil the Lion. But the OP is supporting a wife and 4 kids, so I'm giving him tactical advice.

>That I’d been told $75k was reasonable, and that I would have to look for work elsewhere if it was going to be $44k.

That sounds like an ultimatum. The problem is he's bluffing. He gets his bluff called, and then what? He's out on the street, in a worse place then he started from. My advice is not to bluff. Get a job first, don't look back. When you take a counter-offer, you also run the risk of having them get resentful, and firing you the first chance possible.

>2/ Typical protection of abusive companies by telling employees who are being openly screwed

This is based on what I've seen. I think companies should pay their employees market wages. But most companies will only give you a 5% raise, not a 20k one. If you know how to consistently get companies to give you a 20k raise, please share.

>3/ Easy to say when you're not living paycheck to paycheck and you see your dream slowly crumble before your eyes

I'm being realistic. Companies don't like hiring people who will take any job. He doesn't have to walk in there like Don Draper. Being nervous is fine. A lot of people get anxious. But going in there with a sob story isn't going to help his case. Even if they don’t turn him away, they can still use his living situation to lowball his salary.

He wasn't bluffing, he was being honest. Being naive. Against a sociopath boss. He "would have to look" elsewhere; it's announcing an intention, which is honest, but also a bad idea against an evil boss.

His honesty is a sign of loyalty, which is clearly unwarranted with a boss that's only looking for ways to screw you. The problem is that a single developer has no power over an asshole boss. The only thing we can do is protect ourselves with exactly this kind of tactical advice.

But by all means, also protest for better worker protections to prevent people from being abused like that.

I feel like asking for naming and shaming the bad company so others can steer clear, but that's probably going to bite you in the ass. Suck it up, and name and shame them in 5 years, after you've got your life back on a solid road and well out of his reach.

"I think the CEO's a sociopath, and I could care less if he gets shamed like that dentist that shot Cecil the Lion."

I do care. I want him to be shamed. I want his entire business to fall apart, so that the CEO finds himself in the same position as this guy.

I tihnk he deserves as much, but will it really help the OP?

While you are right to point out that the OP was being exploited, it also doesn't matter in this case. Nothing you posted will actually help this guy get a job.

The reality is, that this is the market that exists. All great and valuable to rally against bad practices and push back where possible. Even better to start your own shop and create a better environment. At the end of the day though, you have to do whatever it takes to make things work - regardless of how fair or equitable things are.

What this man needs is good career advice and smarten up about life in general not some downward spiral of focusing on being victimized. I symphatize too but that's close to worthless if not straight up harmfull in this situation.

> If I were in his position I would have made sure that their name are public and known to prevent others from being exploited.

I respect and agree with your points, but do not agree 100% with this advice. Exploiters are the default. (Just the higher up you go, the nicer face they show you. Because you can hurt them more.) I only agree with this advice if you can do it without suffering serious blowback.

I try to carefully assist non-dev coworkers screwed by their bosses. This includes talking with crying coworkers who swear revenge because their boss humiliated them and thieved money — and they can't just quit because the next company may be even worse. One thing that helps is understanding this is an institutional problem. Not necessarily a "bad boss", nor their fault. Even with completely different people, the overall functioning would be pretty much the same. (That's why I keep recommending books like "Disciplined Minds".)

Then we take effective steps to make their resume look good, increase their bargaining power, learning tech/PM/etc skills, start winning internal company politics...

That's a valid temporary workaround to an institutional problem. And of course, someone with family in a dire situation needs just that, not to be a martyr for whatever is "right". But generally speaking, I wonder what solutions rather than workarounds would be, or at least small steps towards them. In the end, I see no reason to believe that exploitation doesn't just waste a whole lot of resources and time, while also utterly destroying untold amounts of human dignity; and the more people put up with it, the harder it gets for those who resist.

This is not intended as a slight against your or anyone's advice here, seriously. But I chose my nick for a reason, and when I read things like scrubbing one's online presence from anything that suggests the sun doesn't shine out of one's butt 24/7, the hair on the back of my neck does stand up a little bit. The idea most people involved in such... theatre?... might actually be a great person "privately", but just feel forced to "play the game", makes this even more unsettling. If nobody feels responsible for causing it, who will fix it? The people who suffer a lot from it are too busy suffering or even dying, the overlap between finding this unbearable and having the means to fight it seems rather small.. sorry for ranting, but I guess with so much solid advice already given I thought I might as well :)

Oh yeah 100% agree with you!

I think the solution is "activism" but most people don't actually know what it means. (We associate it with screaming people or individual actions.) It's just about solidarity: teamwork. People learn how to act in teams under a boss. But not the arts of self-organizing, consensus [1], how to treat your teammates with respect [2], sharing knowledge/confidence to both lead & follow, etc.

[1] Starhawk writes good books on consensus meetings.

[2] Respect's often ridiculed as "political correctness": not using slurs; remembering that not everyone can afford a nice laptop; certain things can suddenly trigger painful memories and therefore create obstacles to lucid decisionmaking; etc.

This is not how I understood the parent. He doesn't put blame, he just gives advice (which is great btw).

"If I were in his position I would have made sure that their name are public and known to prevent others from being exploited"

Because what an unemployed, self-taught person with a non-working spouse (and four children, one of whom is special needs) is a defamation lawsuit on top of things? I assume the poster is US-based and their are just certain realities of the legal system. Even if the suit is ultimately overturned, what kind of representation is he going to be able to afford if he is borrowing from family and his family is skipping meals?

The state of corporate ethics or even the particulars of who is to blame in his former job is completely orthogonal to his current situation.

I agree. As tempting as naming and shaming sounds, it's only ever going to hurt people. Hopefully most of that will be on the boss (who richly deserves it), but some of it may land on the OP, and he really has other things on his mind right now.

Accept the shitty boss as a learning experience and get a better job at a better company.

Maybe if the boss has a superior to report to, or there's some neutral person at the company where you can address these things, you could try going there, but it doesn't sound like it's that kind of company, and it's unlikely to lead to a job with a raise, and that's really all that should concern you right now.

Yes, it helps to briefly skim the book "Getting to Yes". (For those who can't spare the funds, it's at libgen.) Fear signals a weak bargaining position, and bosses are trained to take advantage of that instinctively. Really, it's their daily job (an aspect they unfortunately often find fun).

One must have backup plans. If you're privileged enough to be a dev, always try to have jobs lined up. (Especially going into a negotiation, where it's an option to follow through on the firing threat.) Show your face at local usergroup meetings if you can. Feel the safety of knowing there's multiple companies who'd hire you the next day.

Bosses often don't give a shit about your productivity per se. They do fear losing perceived "irreplaceable" devs... but you generally have to be one of their first hires, or somehow release some big projects alone which other devs would rather not maintain.

[Edit] Professional mask: see "Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System that Shapes their Lives" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disciplined_Minds

Bosses are just people, and taking a bad attitude with them is likely to get one back whether they are good are bad people. It's just elementary game theory to take good attitude with them and it's healthier for you.

Time to get your game face on. I'm a CEO, we're hiring but not in your skill area. Having interviewed a lot of candidates lately and looked at many more, I wanted to give you my 2c on getting into extremely hirable shape fast:

Update your LinkedIn profile as someone has mentioned already. Sweeten it up, get a great looking but professional profile pic up there, get kudos from friends, etc.

Do the online profile cleanse. Make sure everything is very professional looking. Remove any controversial political views or disparaging remarks about previous employers. Looks like this blog post is anonymous. Keep it that way and make sure that email address isn't associated with anything. Employers will google your email address. They'll even drag your profile pic into google image search, so the cleanse includes anywhere that appears.

Get code into GitHub asap and make your profile there sound like you're a team player, super positive, super keen, all that good stuff.

Stop blogging about how tough your life is and don't ever mention it in conversation. Whether you like it or not (personally I don't), that idiotic quote in American Beauty from the motivational tapes is true: "In order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times.". Yup, that came from the real-estate King himself. Seriously douchey and seriously true.

What employers care about is that you're going to be a great addition to the team, make the rest of the team happier and more productive and be super productive yourself. That's pretty much it besides not being a liability or a risk. Hence the profile cleanse, positivity, demonstration of ability by getting your code into GitHub and so on.

Then go forth and market the hell out of yourself with tons of positive vibe. What I'm telling you here is pretty much to do very much the opposite of what you're doing. Absolutely don't beg. You may get charity but I don't think you're going to be happy with it considering your salary expectations and family situation. You're going to want to land a job earning $75K upwards with excellent benefits in a stable and growing business. That means they need to think that you're awesome, so make yourself awesome and go and kill it.

Best of luck!!


> get a great looking but professional profile pic up there, get kudos from friends

Really? as a CEO those are signals for you? the profile picture is debatable but the endorsements are just a joke and everyone knows it, people just exchange them like they do with twitter follows. If anything, too many of them would be a negative signal for me.

Completely agree with the rest of your comment though.

Hiring is a filtering game. With 100 candidates, first thing you do is filter out 80, I wish more candidates would understand this.

Using something like "professional-looking LinkedIn picture" as a filter is just throwing out candidates for the sake of getting the number lower. Any company that would be this lazy as to potentially throw away their best candidates in the first round of filtering on criteria that has such little actual signalling is not one that I would want to work for anyway.

>Using something like "professional-looking LinkedIn picture" as a filter is just throwing out candidates for the sake of getting the number lower.

Who said hiring is fair?

>Any company that would be this lazy as to potentially throw away their best candidates in the first round of filtering on criteria that has such little actual signalling is not one that I would want to work for anyway.

For most companies (not talking Facebook and Google level stuff) it doesn't really matter -- and they could care less if you would work for them or if they get top talent or not. Any decent-ish programmer can do the work they require, so they are OK with being lazy in hiring.

People looking for jobs are usually far more motivated than managers looking to hire (or worse, people who aren't going to work with directly with the employee).

Even the CEO, who has skin in the game, won't be entirely dependent on making the best possible hire (hopefully).

Most job seekers are terrible at job seeking. What does that say about how good managers are at hiring?

(Also, managers has to look at hundreds of different candidates.)

I doubt people get filtered out solely on their profile picture. Yet when you have two similar resumes, things like this might (and probably will) decide who'll be filtered out.

Pro-tip: no one wants to see a Nikon in your profile picture and no one cares about your photography hobby on your resume. I'm talking to you, half of the tech community on Linkedin!

People are filtered all the time for BS reasons, e.g. there's a fairly well-known "I only hire lucky people" filter where a random half of the application pile is tossed out without a glance.

That "I only hire lucky people" is clearly parody. Noone actually does that in real life.

I agree that many of the filters that people use are bullshit.

Fair enough. Though I still can't help but think there have been people out there who read the fable and then said, "That's a good idea, I'm going to try it."

(You've most likely also read https://web.archive.org/web/20120501193533/http://raganwald.... too, a point in which is that other BS filters act just like the toss-half one in that they aren't really useful when your qualified applicant proportion is small.)

>Noone actually does that in real life

You'd be surprised. Might not be so explicit, but randomness (ie luck) plays a huge role in filtering process.

You might be throwing out the lucky ones if your company is a bad place to work.

Come on, it's a fact that ugly people get longer prison sentences, it sucks but that is how our brains are wired. Deal with it.

Just out of curiosity, where do you work as a hiring manager that you get so many candidates to filter out? At the company I work at it's been somewhat difficult to find suitable candidates to even interview with us -- the few that do come in for interviews are usually so-so (and we do pay quite above average). Also, anecdotally, during my own job search I was the one filtering out companies to apply to (nearly all the ones I applied to accepted me in the end), so at least that's consistent with the developer shortage my company is currently facing.

I am very curious how the balance of power can be tipped so drastically in the other direction in some places.

Why not filter out those 80 with a dead-simple (fizzbuzz level) online quiz?

In my experience it was enormously difficult to find qualified candidates, especially if HR or recruiters were allowed to pre-filter candidates using relatively superficial judgments. A fizzbuzz test easily eliminated more than 80%.

I'm very aware, my point is being an endorsement collector will put you in the group filtered out, at least if I'm doing the filtering, but perhaps I'm the minority.

Off the cuff, I agree with you, but I also wonder if it isn't an approach only used by a minority of people involved in hiring, primarily those with a technical background. This is the sort if matter on which I would love to see an empirical study based on real data from the industry, not stimulated hiring experiments, unlikely as it may be to happen.

I agree on that one.

I imagine that e.g. the average Rails job listing gets maybe 1/10th that many candidates.

Certainly one wants an edge, what I find confounding is that none of the advice dealt with proving actual ability as much as being shinier and flashier than the next candidate. I guess I was naive in thinking that kind of superficiality had diminished relevance in this industry.

You can filter out the candidates who DO use LinkedIn.

I'm sorry, but if you're using shit like "LinkedIn photo" or "LinkedIn endorsements" for filtering, you deserve the crappy workforce you get.

As a hiring manager myself, I would say those kudos/recommendations are nice-to-have and I am not paying too much attention to the contents. However these testimonials tell me a candidate has basic social skill, talks to colleagues, and able to get along with others (yes, people won't write testimonials to someone they don't get along).

Endorsements don't mean much, but they do show that people know you and think you don't suck, which is still better than nothing, especially for someone with very limited work experience.

I guess beggers can't be choosers, but you're describing an employer I would never work for.

> Remove any controversial political views or disparaging remarks about previous employers.

If a person keeps their stupid political views to themselves while at work, it's really not any of their employers business. As far as disparaging remarks go, if it's an awesome company to work for, there shouldn't be anything to worry about.

If your employees have to be as fake as possible to get hired, maybe you're doing it wrong.

It's not so much "fake" as presenting one's best face in a professional context. Most of us present different faces in different contexts every day.

I often pick my nose, scratch my ass, tell rude jokes, love wearing sweatpants, and don't have a problem with embarrassing-to-most sexual conversations. Do I engage in these things on a first date as I might on a day to day basis with friends? No.. I dress up a bit, smell a bit better than usual, steer clear of politics and sexual jokes. So it goes when seeking a job.

> It's not so much "fake" as presenting one's best face in a professional context.

That's what I take issue with. I think for most people, the majority of their internet use isn't in a professional context, and I see no reason it should be used to judge them professionally. My Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and even GitHub accounts aren't professional things. I'm an adult, I know the difference between work and non-work, and I only work for companies that also know the difference.

And one day when every activity done outside of your home is recorded, will you agree that you shouldn't do any of that except in the private of your own home? Or would you say that if you run to the local market at 8PM in your jammies, your professional reputation shouldn't take a hit. Would you say that if you were seen flirting with a date (or SO or spouse if dating/married) while at some restaurant, it shouldn't be used against your professional reputation?

Ah, but the problem is that everyone in the business world has already agreed what "your" "best face" should look like.

If you present a pretty good face that isn't the expected one, it won't work-- frequently they want the drone.

Workplaces are intensely political. Corporations are huge donors to political campaigns.

Of course, politics goes beyond the pageant of professional politicians we call elections. (For example, saying "corporations are illegitimate entities" is political. Or "corporations are structured as dictatorships, and that's where you spend much of your lives". What would we expect a corporate gatekeeper to do, upon seeing that?)

My haunch is that most donations by corporations are strategic and don't have an ideological bent.

Yes, there are plenty of hiring managers who let their ideology get in the way of making decisions that benefit the business. The companies that have a lot of those won't be around very long. But if you make any political comments online, just pretend that you're on TV and everyone can hear you. In other words, don't be an ass.

Yeah, the fact that political views are an issue for this CEO is a sign that I'd never want to work with this CEO.

Yeah, but you're not unemployed with 4 kids.

You're a CEO, and would hire the Real-Estate King, if he could code?

I have a few websites. They don't produce much income, but some guys offer their services for hire; thinking I might hire them if they say the right things? I tell them up front, I can't afford to hire them, but some are very persistent.

They send me their resumes, even after telling them I'm a struggling website owner, and I don't make a living doing this work. From my perspective, it's so easy to spot the Real Estate Kings? This one guy wanted me to join his companies, exclusive website forum. He was going to put in a good word, so the the other Winners would let me in. Well, I went to the forum, and it was just this guy and me. Every article was written by him. Every comment on the site was written by this guy. I couldn't belive the verbage this guy was throwing around. His favorite phrase was "Are you interested in monetizing? Followed by "You need to scale!" It's was almost like he memorized that movie about Facebook? And yes, he had a professional, cheesy profile pic. with a tie, and head cocked. Call me old school, but I wouldn't put his picture into Google Image search, but that same cheesy picture came up at least a couple dozen times just in just Images. He used the same portrait pic. in every website--ever created? My point is I had this guy figured out pretty quick. I think, if he didn't try so hard to sound professional, I would have loved to kick around a few ideas I have? And yes, if we meshed, I have a small bank roll I would be willing to risk.

I thought hiring in tech was about abilities? I don't care what a person looks like? It's so easy to spot "The Real Estate Kings" of Coders; I couldn't imagine trying to hide who you are? Yea, scrub the web, if you can, of anything controversial, but be honest? Honesty used to go along way? Do you really need that Starbucks fueled, go, go, save world with my app, never sleep, positive vib in order to get noticed for employment?

Maybe it's just me, but I'll take the well rounded individual, with some finished projects over a Cheerleader?

Your liberal use of the question mark has created a very unique narrative style in my head.


"As a general rule, the information obtained and requested through the pre-employment process should be limited to those essential for determining if a person is qualified for the job;...employers should not ask for a photograph of an applicant. If needed for identification purposes, a photograph may be obtained after an offer of employment is made and accepted."

It surprised me when you attached any importance to "a great looking but professional profile pic", since it's such an obvious way for discrimination to work, so I checked if that was allowed. I don't recall being asked for a photo pre-employment in 30 years.

They're not allowed to actively discriminate on it, but people naturally make choices based on gut feeling and having a good photo can really help.

They're not allowed to discriminate on whether your resume contains the right collection of trendy buzzwords either, but that's what HR systems sit and do every day.

You play the game that exists, not the one that's written in statute.

"They're not allowed to discriminate on whether your resume contains the right collection of trendy buzzwords"

Aren't they?

I'm not surprised that candidates put their photos on resumes or their information sites.

I am surprised that a CEO publicly declares photos to be useful. A photo is clearly bullshit - there's no useful information in a photo (unless it's "here I am accepting $PRESTIGOUS_AWARD last year") - and it raise risk of discrimination claims.

>there's no useful information in a photo

There's lots of useful information in a photo.

A talented HR/CEO can size up a lot of things from it, even from the way the candidate is dressed in the photo.

"Hmm, too old, too quirky looking, doesn't look a good fit for our culture, fucking hipster I hate them, too slopilly dressed don't like working with such guys" etc.

I'd wager half of the observations of this "talented HR/CEO" are illegal.

I'd wager it depends on the country, plus it doesn't matter, they'd do them anyway and there's not much anybody can do about it.

As a fact ugly people get longer prison sentences. It sucks but that is how our brains are wired.

Aren't you describing all of the things that you should be trying to see through, to see past? Anyone can fake being an uncontroversial, positive, "team player" in the interview process. Anyone can take a nice headshot. Anyone can censor themselves on social media and not have an opinion. But surely you're trying to gauge their qualities past that superficial level? You didn't even really describe any technical requisites besides having an appealing GitHub profile.

It sounds like I've been wasting my time trying to be a better software developer or hone my skills; the big bucks are waiting for me as soon as I choose to project an artificial persona. My entire life thus far is starting to make a lot of sense.

This is great advice for anybody seeking a job. When I'm going to hire somebody I'll stalk them online until I'm comfortable I've unearthed as much detail as I can before pulling them in for an interview.

Another quote is "act as if" - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-robbins/the-law-of-attrac...

Like Mark said, your attitude is at least half as important as your ability to code.

For anyone interested in improving their profile pic, this is a good article:


Read all the way through, as he points out that it is not the equipment that matters, its the setup with the reflectors, which can easily be improvised...

This is good advice, don't get me wrong (I read the article), but you don't absolutely have to have a pro photo. What you do need is a good, clear headshot. Advice like yours is necessary because I've seen a lot of really bad, unprofessional LI photos:

1/ Don't use your Facebook profile photo

2/ Don't use anything blurry: photo should be well lit and clear

3/ Don't use a photo that isn't a headshot—make sure your face is clearly visible and smiling

4/ Don't use anything where you're engaging in unprofessional behaviour

Obligatory XKCD: https://xkcd.com/137/

Not that your advice is bad -- it's about the same as any college advisor would give -- but to those with whom such fakery leaves a foul taste, just remember the tech industry still has plenty of opportunities where that's unnecessary.

Thanks. And glad to read this. Got a job with an very holidayish image on my professional resume (me climbing in Greece). Got my job having a personal site with quite left wing blogposts.

Got a job in a great environment with great colleagues - without having to constantly denying myself.

For me these things work as a filter for companies, where I would not want to work. But for the OP I would first say - get any dev job at all and after that look for a great job to then jump ship.

Is it worth it to go to a photographer? Or does that signal narcissism?

Personally, I'm freaked out seeing a LinkedIn profile that is complete, but in a way that signals they might have actually paid someone to make it look that way. I've seen great profiles that really give me a good feel for what someone is up to, but others, like with a cheesy school-photo, just seem like marketing material.

Dude, you got shit on, but your entire post screams unprofessional. If you want to be a professional, and be treated like a professional, you need to act professional. Harsh perhaps but that's the truth.

If this is a serious job solicitation and not just catharsis you are doing it all wrong. Starting with how desperate you are, how proud you made your mom, and how shitty you've been doing and been treated does not make the hirers of desirable jobs want to hire you. If nothing else, go google "just-world hypothesis."

I'm not in a hiring position right now (although I know plenty of hiring managers itching for referrals) but if I were I wouldn't touch you with a 10-foot pole even if on some level you make your plight sympathetic. Why? Because your post radiates "danger, high risk, unprofessional, possibly unstable individual who does not know how to behave in a business setting."

Scrub this and start over.

I don't think he was wrong to post this at all. Stories of bad actors in the CEO space ought to be exposed, and it sounds like he was treated very shabbily indeed.

But I'll quickly qualify that by adding that it can really only be a one-time catharsis. He can't afford to make a habit out of this kind of post. In that sense, I agree with you. Professionalism is important in terms of him getting out of the hole he's in and getting a proper gig, but if he had been professional with this post I'd never have seen it or read it.

Brokedev: My advice would be to follow the recommendations given by "ecliptik" above. Work on your professional development: your resume, LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. Then market yourself like crazy with a good personal blog (showing what you're doing, learning, and experimenting with) and Twitter. Follow programmers you admire, and use Lists on Twitter to create a custom list of RoR developers so you can check out what they're working on and filter out noise. That won't be hard to do. Then keep at it. Make sure you're programming every day. Get involved in an open source project, and get your code on GitHub.

I felt this way at first, but not after reading the entire post. Yes, it was emotionally driven and certainly goes against a lot of rules for job solicitation.

But I actually think he's shown himself to have good character here. He isn't attempting to sabotage the company even though he could. This happened very recently so you'd expect some of the emotions to be raw. I don't think this person is "high risk" if firing them after abusing them means that they're still loyal enough to you to not reveal your identity publicly. It sounds like this person was a trooper right up to the very end and is in fact pretty much the opposite of high risk.

He blackmailed his boss, used f* f* f* in a conversation with him and you think "hink he's shown himself to have good character here."? Holy Batman.

I shall never utter the dreaded F word to my boss. I will to my boss be true and faithful and love all which he loves and shun all which he shuns.

Also please explain where he 'blackmailed' his boss?

You can do what you like, but if you swear at me and call me f* I'll not hire you.

That's ridiculous.

Good managers let their employees vent, when necessary, and don't take it personally.

Insecure ones get all uppity about things like that.

Since the world is full of pretty poor managers "don't swear at your boss" is pragmatic advice. It'd be nice if all managers had the skill to recognise that a bit of venting is probably healthy.

"Don't work for managers you can't swear at," would be my advice to the world :D

That's good advice for people who are in a position to chose who they work for. Is OP in that position?

Yeah, but there's a lot of insecure managers out there, and if you're desperate for a job, you need to take that into account.

He used the f* word in a specific context. And can you answer when did he blackmail his boss?

Where is the part where he blackmailed anyone?

@nilkin "You give me more money or I leave." vs. Just walking away from the negotiation. From my experience if you give in to "You give me more money or I leave" 6 months down the road it will be another "You give me more money or I leave" and then another.

Wikipedia: "Blackmail is an act [..] involving unjustified threats to make [..] cause loss to another unless a demand is met."

It sounds like you've had a bad experience with a former employee, but this is not blackmail. That's just standing up for himself. The OP was working there contingent on his boss's promise of a raise, and both parties knew this, including the boss. In fact, the OP was remarkably generous towards his boss by doing something very foolish: knowingly taking an unlivable wage out of trust that the boss would live up to his word.

Regarding your Wikipedia quote, leaving a job in which you are abused and underpaid is not at all unjustified.

It sounds like you have done this in the past, and it is blackmail.

And I understand that you don't want to see yourself as a blackmailer.

"I'm more worth than that" and leaving is standing up.

"Give me more money or I leave" is blackmail.

"Regarding your Wikipedia quote, leaving a job in which you are abused and underpaid is not at all unjustified."

Leaving is not the blackmail part, threatening to leave is the blackmail part.

Blackmail is a crime in many jurisdictions whose legal systems derive from England. The precise definition varies, but a classic example would be if I knew you had committed a crime, and threatened to report it to the authorities unless you paid me. See for example 18 US Code 873 - https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/873

No one would ever be found guilty of blackmail for simply saying "Give me a pay rise or else I'll resign". (But, "Give me a pay rise or else I'll report your illegal activities to the authorities" would be blackmail.) The essence of blackmail is demanding money for an illegitimate reason - money which you are not legitimately due - and there is nothing inherently illegitimate about demanding a pay rise. It simply means that you put a different value on your own labour than your employer currently does, and if you and they cannot reach agreement on that value, you'll look for someone else with whom you agree more.

Have you never negotiated anything? This isn't blackmail. He's leveraging an asset (his talents) for compensation. If Netflix is negotiating licensing rights to a movie and the owner of the rights says "We want more money or we won't license this to you." that's not blackmail. It's negotiating a deal. In this case the guy is saying "I want more money or I won't work for you any more."

It is absolutely the correct call. He was being taken advantage of. He used his only point of leverage to get a fairer deal.

First, blackmail is about information, so if anything it would be extortion.

And it's not extortion because the "threat" was not wrongful; the boss is not his owner nor is he entitled to his work.

The word you're looking for is haggling, and it's a common part of negotiations.

But "give me more money or I'll leave" is a bad way to go about haggling, and is likely to lead to the employee leaving. "I'm worth more than you're paying" is better, even though the employer and employee both know that "and if yu don't pay me more I'll leave" is an unspoken part of that sentence.

HN regularly mentions the book "how to win friends and influence people" or talks about hacking various interpersonal processes.

This is just an interpersonal hack. Saying "give me more money or I'll leave" causes many - but admittedly not all - managers to respond with "go ahead and leave then", even when the manager knows that replacing the leavig employee will require a higher wage than the employee is currently getting and some expenditure on the recruitment process.

People are not rational and they do mot make rational decisions. We know that management, and recruitment, is very broken.

Oh, for sure, it's not a good negotiation tactic, no argument there.

"Give me more money or I leave" is not blackmail. That is called an "ultimatum".

Blackmail is defined as a demand for money in exchange for not revealing compromising or injurious information.

"Give me more money or I will publish these naked photos of you" is blackmail.

One of those is illegal. The other one isn't.

Think of it like that Jaba the Hutt/thermal detonator scene in Star Wars episode 6:

"This bounty hunter is my kind of scum, Fearless and Inventive"

When dealing with sociopaths,, to negotiate from a position of strength; you need to have an offer in hand from another employer, because it is very likely that you could be fired on the spot when you confront this type of individual. The sociopath doesn't care, and will just find someone else to exploit.

You have absolutely no idea what the word blackmail means.

What he did was give his boss an entirely reasonable ultimatum.

It's called negotiation.

I can see how it might seem threatening to someone who feels threatened by the thought of an employee standing up for himself.

"Give me more money or I leave" is negotiation (specifically, an ultimatum), and is a perfectly legitimate tactic. Standing up and leaving is throwing a tantrum (or a last resort if the ultimatum fails) - doing so without first telling the other party your problem and giving them a chance to fix it is completely unprofessional.

WRT your definition of blackmail, I'm getting "the action, treated as a criminal offense, of demanding money from a person in return for not revealing compromising or injurious information about that person." It's a VERY specific term having to do with hidden information.

What you cited seems closer to the definition of extortion ("the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats"), but frankly, as long as what you're threatening to do is legal, that's business.

Your relationship with your employer is first and foremost a business relationship - they are not your best friend, your family, or your surrogate father. You have no obligation to play nice with their feelings.

I understand your impulse to not give in to an employee that demands like this, but you need to drop the moralizing BS - what you're saying is "they know what they're worth and I can't afford to pay that, so I'll only hire employees who don't know what they're worth". Sound accurate?

> threatening to leave is the blackmail part.

That is bs, leaving is the only leverage you have as an employee. If you do't use it, you might have a problem, because you lack the ability to negotiate. The age of feudalism is over you know...

To be fair, this could have been wrapped up in some better language, like "I don't think my salary is reflecting my talents", but in the end it all boils down to leaving for a better opportunity

No, it's not blackmail. It's a salary negotiation.

How is that blackmailing? It's negotiating salary. If you can't pay me a livable wage- or a wage that I am worth- I'll look for a job somewhere else.

After being strung along (he was lied to) for months he made a totally justified ultimatum to be paid what he's worth or he'd go somewhere that would.

A manager who knows someone is worth it but would still rather let me go than pay market price for their labor (because he doesn't like negotiating when he's not in a position of absolute power) is probably doing so because he can't man up and negotiate with someone his own size figuratively speaking. The stereotypical "I'm not letting a woman tell me what to do." sort of insecurity/attitude.

Employees have been "on the bottom" in the traditional work relationship for so long, it can seem "unfair" to employers to have to deal with employees on a more level playing field.

If I was offered that much I would say the same thing. Although, I might try to have something else lined up first.

Paying an employee for work and services is not "a loss". It's an exchange.

I'll go further and say it's an investment.


that's exactly how salary negotiations work. If I don't do a good enough job, you demote or fire me. If I do a good enough job AND the market says I should make X, then X - Y isn't fucking good enough, and you should be warned that I'm happy to find an employer that WILL pay me what I ask for.

I'm sure a large part of his emotionally charged reaction has to do with the fact that he has a family.

Sounds like he gave the job his all, but given his situation in life, I don't know how else he could have reacted to this. Added to that he doesn't really have the support of his wife since she doesn't yet know.

My point is that a lot of factors are at play, so labelling him as unprofessional is a bit unfair to him at the moment. He's in panic mode.

I would just like to point out that OP didn't put his name, and he didn't mention the name of the CEO or the company. I think he acted very professionally, maybe until the point where he was fired (in a very unprofessional way). I think we all have a point where we stop acting unprofessionally if we are being treated badly.

The important thing is that he's just venting, and trying to use his bad experience to his advantage. Let's say you get a resume from a web developer with some factory experience, some design experience and an internship. If you check his references you might hear that he was fired and that he acted unprofessionally. Maybe that he had "unrealistic salary expectations", or that "his personal life got in the way of work". (Because the CEO clearly was an ahole).

He had some bad luck, tried to do a good job and now he's in a tough spot. I think that's easy to sympathize with.

Well, that's a pretty terrible and vastly incorrect thing to say.

As someone who actually hires people, allow me to assure the poster that nothing about his story says anything of the sort.

It screams "person of good faith who got taken advantage of by an asshole."

I hear where you're coming from, but if he had scrubbed all of that from this post and gone with "professional" -- "I am a self-taught web dev looking for work, I am familiar with Ruby and have recently been doing API work, I want to work remotely and can start immediately" -- would it have gotten anywhere near the front page of HN?

In my corner of the industry, all attention is not good attention.

All attention is monetizable. Maybe you become the finance guy who may have laundered money for the narcolumbians, or maybe you become the lawyer that kept the mob boss out of jail. But that's perception, not necessarily reality. In any case, you're the guy that gets to charge more because you have more clients.

I'm kind of curious, if you're willing to give a general corner of industry. I can't think of anything that doesn't have "bad boy" characters. Seems like any federal agent kind of person would attract attention from the CIA. A doctor maybe? Still seems like someone willing to write off-topic prescriptions would command more salary.

It's actually kind of tough to think of a profession that needs to be perfectly ethical, and also appear to be perfectly ethical. Aerospace designers kill test pilots. SEC agents that appear to be on the take probably get bribed more often than the squeaky clean.

Maybe there's some corner of insurance that having a reputation would endanger your employer somehow. Everything i can think of right now implies higher salary.

I mean, I take his point that some kinds of attention are really bad. I knew mchurch at Google and that whole debacle was a pretty up-close look at just how bad they can be.

I just don't think this case is analogous. mchurch became instantly infamous with all Googlers, which made him radioactive in a big swath of the upper tier of the software industry, not just in NYC but also CA and other tech hubs. In contrast, this guy posted one thread to Hacker News that (from what I can tell) is fairly anonymized. Maybe folks close to him will recognize that this is his story, and maybe in his local dev community word will get around that he wrote it. But he's looking for remote work, and I think it extremely unlikely that he'll go to apply for a remote job a year from now and they will somehow connect him to this post.

I'm not sure that he intends this to be the cover letter he sends out with his application. It's important to have a venue to vent too.

Wow, a lot of replies.

Just want to clarify my meaning here. The intent is really a more frank and critical version of mmaunder's advice above.

When I say he is unprofessional, I'm not talking about per se what he did at work, how he left (involuntarily), or his reaction. That was more amateurish, which isn't exactly "professional," but not unprofessional. He should have set expectations and negotiated better and harder earlier. He should have done a job search on the DL so he had something lined up before giving an ultimatum; the writing was on the wall anyway. Woulda shoulda coulda. Well, coding and negotiating skills are not correlated. Join the club. Hopefully he will learn and do better next time.

What is unprofessional is posting a pseudonymous rant to Hacker News with your email address and "begging for work."

Posting a pseudonymous "My shitty employer shafted me" story to HN would be spot on. But turning that into a job solicitation is a huge, unprofessional blunder. Yeah, he touched a nerve and got bumped up the page. Yeah, he's probably going to be inundated with offers. Charity offers for weak positions of the kind he left. Maybe he won't be screwed over hard, but he won't be treated like a professional and get the terms he could if he were working from a position of strength, competence, confidence and success. He'll get an offer consistent with desperation. Do you want to work at a company that seeks out desperate candidates as your colleagues?

The fact is, if you want $75K, you have to find someone who thinks you are worth $75K. If you don't have a degree or a distinguished resume, you've got a lot to prove even in a tight job market for engineers. The way you do that is show that you kick ass on the front end and can lay down code with the next guy, and communicate your worth and expectations with confidence.

But yeah, those of you who think a self-pitying rant about starving in a trailer and getting fired from his first glorified internship in a winning career strategy, you do what works for you.

This is harsh advice, but it's also some of the best advice in this thread (along with mmaunder's comment). OP should definitely take heed.

> Scrub this and start over.

What does that mean?! Erase the tumblr post?

Of course. What else would it mean?

And start over, not with another tumblr post, but with a legitimate career hunt.

Your entire post screams "employer I wouldn't want to work for."

From my point as a hiring manager for quite some time, I can only second "danger, high risk, unprofessional, possibly unstable individual who does not know how to behave in a business setting.

Based on your comments I don't think you've ever been a hiring manager. Or if you have, your organisations must really be hurting. Your comments read like a power fantasy.

1. Tell your wife. Trust me you'll feel better afterwards.

2. Keep looking for new opps. Get your CV out to as many places. Keep your hopes up. Spend time with your kids in the mean time. Kids are great company when you are "present with them".

3. Note for yourself: get numbers in writing before making changes to your life about opportunities.

4. Never use the word Fuck or any other expletives or crass language in any communique where you have the moral high ground. That just makes you look like the guilty one. Don't give the fuckers that chance.

Good luck bro.

Dont spill all the beans to your wife, she's gonna bring it up in a fight later one. ask me how i know.

If that's the only thing you optimize for, you gonna have an even harder time if she catches you lying..

And she will, sooner or later.

Don't listen to this advice. Be honest. Don't ask me how I know.

Be honest. I'm happy to answer questions as to why I believe this is good advice.

Oh I see. Sorry. I didn't mean it to come across like that. Just had a recent personal situation I'd rather not go into on a public forum that would have turned out a whole lot better if me and the truth were more in alignment, sad to say : / Anyway, one lie begets another. Just tell the truth, less cognitive overload, less trust issues. Easier said than done I know; we all want to save face, we all have our shame to hide.

I'd say if you can't trust each other in a long term relationship, you have no business being in that relationship. You're in it to support each other. This is a situation where you need support.

I never said don't be honest, i just said don't spill all your beans. you'll see later what i mean.

My email is blowing up. Sorry I haven't answered anyone, I really didn't expect much of a response and this on top of everything else is overwhelming.

I really can't post my personal account names publicly, that would give away the company and, as I've said previously, I do really like the dev team. My team leader has a kid as well and works his ass off, and I want to see that pay off for him when they get through some of the deals they're working on. There are other devs there who are really good people, including one whom I consider a friend. They all depend on it as well. Who am I to fuck with their livelihood to screw with a guy who's going to be rich regardless?

Hell, I'm not mad at the CEO either. I don't really understand if he's just forgetful, but he claims in the emails that he never said any of that about my salary. He's been running around to meetings, so I get why I'd be the last thing on his mind.

To those wondering about the financials, I know that one of their rivals (with what I consider an inferior product) is in the billion dollar club, and they're set to be profitable very soon.

Don't make excuses for the CEO. He didn't forget because he's a busy guy. He straight up exploited you.

"I don't blame my boyfriend, he only beats me when I deserve it."

You learn many valuable lessons on that first job. One of them is that if they pay you cheaply initially they will almost never see you as "valuable" after that. It's just human nature. Another lesson is that the best way to get a raise is to switch jobs.

HN's patio11 has perhaps the most awesome blog post on salary negotiations. http://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/

Good luck and stay strong bro.

> You learn many valuable lessons on that first job. One of them is that if they pay you cheaply initially they will almost never see you as "valuable" after that.

I remember at my second job, I discovered that a co-worker who worked there longer, made less money than I did, and I considered myself underpaid. And that was actually a pretty nice company with decent founders. The co-worker started there as a student I think, and maybe he was never assertive enough in asking for raises, or maybe a bunch of 5% raises still don't amount to much if you start low enough.

Whatever the case, I learned through personal experience that the best way to get a raise is to switch jobs. For some reason, it seems you have more leverage with a prospective employer than with a current one.

I had the same experience except it was my 3rd job. My colleague dropped out of MIT to work there and was easily 2-3 times the coder that I was and had written all their software. I'm positive he was getting paid less than I was. (Our boss/the owner was also great.)

The good news is that when I left I they gave him a huge raise, I think they doubled his salary.

Some people think being supportive means being nice, but I think you may be legit and I need to give you some harsh feedback: 1) Don't lead with "I fucked up bad" when begging for work. It doesn't make me want to hire you and many workplaces are still require professionalism and cursing is going to mean you're not getting hired or going to be fired in pretty short order (debating the merits is pointless because you need the work and their money is green) 2) I wish you luck but I don't see how this gets you any leads. I don't know where you are and have no idea about how good you are. You are self-taught so I have to assume the worst absent a portfolio or references. Obviously you can't link to either here for reasons you mention, so it just seems unproductive. 3) You have poor people skills and you don't seem to realize it. Seriously, stop using the "fuck" at work RIGHT NOW. Full stop. Don't curse at all. You have four kids and a nonworking spouse, and being edgy is a really unwise indulgence. Also you were an intern without a degree in the field and really misjudged your leverage and value. Your exchange with the CEO after being let go was in very poor judgement and probably burned bridges that might be valuable to you now, regardless of what you think of him. 4) Why aren't you submitting resumes to every temp agency in the area? In your financial situation and given what your prior salary was, why aren't you applying for any retail job that you can? 5) The financials of your ex-job are uninteresting and irrelevant. Knowing them does nothing for your situation, and you have made it absolutely certain you will never work there again. They fired you, so it doesn't really behoove you to put them in a good light. 6) Your wife is going to find out about this so you should tell her.

edit: I wrestled with bringing this up, but you mention several times what kind of laptop you had versus what kind your coworkers had and that you bought an unaffordable laptop for a part time internship. You can usually find passable used laptops on craigslist and such that are very inexpensive. Getting by on one of those is a lot more impressive than a loaded out Macbook, so why should this have mattered to you?

If I were on a team of developers, and every new team member got a loaded Macbook Pro, and I were stuck with Ye Olde HP from 2007, I would feel pretty slighted. It's patently unfair that other devs would be seen as valuable enough to have excellent hardware, while I were consigned to the dregs. Even more so that he was expected to bring his own, rather than have tools provided by the employer, especially given that then were already doing that for every other one of his peers.

Of course, being an experienced developer, I know that the way to remedy that is not with complaints about fairness -- decision makers might not even have realized that was what I was using. Rather, pointing out the productivity benefits of having hardware similar to other devs usually seems to suffice. (Spec out a machine, propose it, etc.) It's not your machine, it's the company's, and it lets you be a more productive resource.

Maybe I misread, but I thought he bought a new computer WHILE he was interning. Not to back the company overall, but if he just bought a new computer I can understand why they might not spend the money on a new one for him when they extended the job offer - they know he just bought one, basic business sense.

You should have tried to get a new job before you asked for the salary increase. Then if he didn't give it to you, you could take the new job. OR if you couldn't find a job that paid what you thought you were worth, then you could just keep gaining valuable work experience.

Hi. Your post read like a blast from the past. I started out in a Ruby on Rails shop with an internship making $10 an hour. My laptop was an old HP, with fans that whirred (for some reason HP can't make/procure fans to save their lives). Everyone else had sleek new equipment. I built a couple great features, squashed tons of bugs, and learned a lot along the way. Near the end, I talked with the founders about raises a couple times, but it's clear what they needed was a way to save money on development for as long as possible. And what I needed was the experience of working with a real software team.

We all got what we were looking for. It's just a question of when you don't need that basic training anymore. Sounds like that time came for you around the same time it did for me. I can tell you - at that point, the only way up is out. You are much, much more employable now. Don't "beg for work" ... present yourself well and ask for market-rate. You said that's $75,000 in your area? Better yet, say you're looking for a range of $80-90k and see what they say.

I've got a question for you, and maybe an idea. Did you sign a non-compete agreement beyond just your term of employment?

Even if you did, it might not be enforceable in your state. Go to the billion-dollar rival and tell them how you've got almost a year of domain expertise under your belt working on a similar product. You're looking for that next step - full-time Software Engineer, and a chance to build on what you already know. You're able to make clear comparisons between the two offerings, and I bet you have some ideas about how theirs could be the best of both worlds. Oh, and when they ask you...

"Why did you leave your previous job?"

Don't panic. 18 story points on your last week, remember? You're a sharp web developer who rapidly rose in value - far faster than your perceived value to a CEO who forever saw you as "the cheap intern." Since you couldn't reach an agreement that met your salary requirements, you parted ways. Now you're able to devote more of your time to the search. That's all you need to say - so practice saying it with confidence.

Email real people at the target company (email is the new cover letter) or start asking questions on Twitter - don't just drop your resume in an upload. Start a conversation. Get your Team Lead and as many coworkers as possible to jump in with recommendations, when they ask for references.

My next offer after the internship was a real one, at market salary in Silicon Valley. There's light at the end of the first-job tunnel. It's tough now, but please believe me when I say it does get better.

Your ex-CEO is a liar, don't make excuses for him. I've been there a couple of times before. Bosses like that thrive on nice people giving them the benefit of the doubt. You don't have to speak ill of him, but stop protecting him for acting like a dick.

Holy shit. I'm going to send you some mail and see if I can help you out directly in about a minute, but I'd like to comment on your situation here too.

This is the third time this month I've heard of a startup "CEO" screwing their employees out of pay and/or benefits, specifically exploiting 'interns' or severely low-balling entry level hires who don't know better. Startups are hard. They're supposed to be hard - you're trying to build something big without the resources of a big company. That means you can't pay what a big company would pay. That doesn't mean you get to screw people over.

As a founder you have three options:

- Do tons more work as a founder. Fill in the gaps you can't hire for on your own, until you can pay to get that help. That's why you get the equity, and that's how you build your founding team.

- Be up front with people about what they can expect in terms of pay, especially early on. Let them know about the risk. Hope your idea and the state of the company so far excites them enough to join anyway. Work your ass off to improve their situation and get them to stay.

- Lie to people, obscure expectations, and basically screw up people's lives because you want to be the next Steve Jobs.

The first two are not only ethical, but pragmatic. Being able to do things on your own is a prerequisite to being a founder, and it means you need to take on less investment, you get to keep more of the company. Being able to put your ass on the line by letting people know the real risks is the way to build a strong, loyal team of tough people.

If you're going to be a founder, mull that stuff over. Accept that this is hard. You don't get to pretend it's not, because that will bite you in the ass a hundred different ways.

I'm not a dev per se (I'm a sysadmin), but I perfectly know how it feels ...

I didn't graduate from a uni either, and always get passed. But that was years ago. I'm lucky to have the recent two companies I work with are awesome.

I hope these will help you out:





Being in the US helps a lot for those remote jobs. Many "remote" companies only want people in US timezones.

As an expat, this has been very frustrating for me recently since it excludes seemingly 75%+ of remote positions. I went from generating tens of millions of dollars of revenue for startups to being unable to get a reply from startups when applying for their remote positions.

The "being unable to get a reply from startups when applying for their remote positions" part is 100% true. I'm in such a position now and it's amazing how many companies complain about there being not enough good programmers and at the same time don't do a basic courtesy of responding to their candidates.

> it's amazing how many companies complain about there being not enough good programmers

I've heard this complaint before; it's absolutely ridiculous. You can get plenty of developers for nearly any technology as long as you stop offering pathetic wages. It's a seller's market, deal with it.

It hits close to home, too, because you'll see YC-funded startups posting the same job ad on HN for months. One I saw repeatedly was even for a "founding" engineer or something similar. Literally what are you doing on a daily basis if you don't have your initial engineer(s)?

Thanks very much. I just filled out an application on weworkremotely and in the meantime this post just blew up...

You mention healthcare as a concern for your family--make sure you look at your state & federal healthcare exchange (healthcare.gov, etc.). Losing your job, for any reason like quitting or being fired, is deemed a 'qualifying event' that can let you get healthcare at a very low rate. In some states it's even subsidized completely if you have no income.

Unfortunately there are some states that have refused to setup the exchanges and take federal funding. The best advice there is to move out as soon as it's financially feasible. It's an awful situation and I wish you luck.

edit: Also contact everyone you worked directly with (find them on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) and ask if they know anyone hiring, have contacts, etc. Anything to get some leads or get your foot in the door somewhere.

Also, I just realized: My employer is looking for Rails people, among other things. Remote workers are more than welcome. I am one myself. More information: https://attachmatehr.silkroad.com/epostings/index.cfm?fuseac...

.silkroad.com? wat...

Not that one. It's a recruiting platform... don't try to buy heroin from anyone on there.

Yeah, I know. It's not that silk road. At least, I don't think so...

man this post made me cringe

Best of luck, brokedev. The only piece of advice I have is that you should see remote work as a long-term goal, not an immediate solution to your problem. Remote jobs are generally harder to find, usually pay less, and are almost always more competitive. The easiest way to get a remote job without years of experience is to perform well enough at a non-remote role that they trust you to work from home full time.

(About your former boss: I know that in most states, employers can fire you at any time for any reason, but generally you'd expect them to actually fire you, not just delete your slack account. Makes me wonder if he was planning on telling you at all or if he instead intended to just stop payment on your paycheck and hope you'd figure it out for yourself. What an asshole.)

I second this. Pretty much a lot of tech workers prefer remote jobs over onsite job, for good reasons.

The only ones that get remote jobs are either very senior, have proven track record or they are free-lancers. So I'd say keep looking for it every once in awhile but focus on getting a local job.

And always be learning. Always try to work on side project. It will help learn and also may turn out to be an income source.

I'd recommend adding some kind previous work examples (Github maybe?).

You also don't state which city/location you're in; that could be useful for potential employers.

It may also be worth checking out if there's anything in last weeks HN Who's Hiring post to see if anything suits you: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10152809

I'm not saying this makes sense, but the perception of an employee wanting to leave a company goes from "terminable flight risk" to "an asset worth fighting to keep" as soon as you get an offer from another company. This is why employees never share that they're looking for work until they've received an offer, which allows negotiation. It's a strange reality I think.

My condolences that you're going through this. You did good demanding what you're worth. contact any tech headhunter in your area, and you'll find work in no time.

"the perception of an employee wanting to leave a company goes from 'terminable flight risk' to 'an asset worth fighting to keep' as soon as you get an offer from another company."

This is so true. An offer changes the dynamic of the negotiation totally. I think the psychology and economics goes like this: If there is no counter offer, then the company would pay just more for the monthly asset they will likely have any how.

However, if there is a direct offer they are competing with, it means there is on the balance an acute need to find and train a replacement - one whom might actually cost more than the current employee is paid. Also, the value of the employee is validated by his demand in the job market.

The emotions, which will be present but subdued in a professional setting, are also different. Without a counteroffer, the employee will just sound greedy. With a counter offer, the employee is actually generous by offering the current employer a chance to save in hiring and training costs (unless the new wage is ridiculously high).

Silly and strange world we live in.

What a bastard!

Sorry for the language guys, but guess we all know someone like that boss!

It's not that hard when you're single but the things are totally different when you had a family and kids. The situation can drag you to any point when it comes to a hungry brother, sister or children. I know, I've been there (thank god it's a history now).

But the good news is, you are really valuable. I mean, you are a ruby developer. You'd be having £400/£450 per day if you were a contractor in London/UK.

So don't give up yet! Check the links other users provided and open a linkedin account as suggested as well as job site accounts and upload your CV. Just hold on couple of weeks and I am sure things will be better.

Hacker News is a great community. So keep us updated and let us see what we can do about it.

Also it might be useful if you can tell us where are you based (I may have missed that if it's already in the article).

I hate to break it to you, but if you are making £400/£450 per day as a Ruby contractor in London with less than 1 year of development experience, you are either insanely good or insanely lucky (probably both).

Although I'm working on contract in Japan at the moment, I spent the last 2 years working in London and interviewing people for positions almost every day. Entry level for a good Ruby dev is £30-40K for a full time position. Some companies pay higher (some significantly higher), but they will only hire one in 1000 applicants, probably. There are still people in London making £22K per year as a full time Ruby dev.

And, no, you can not live on £22K per year in London :-P

It's not an entry-level salary certainly, however you probably only need 4-5 years of experience to achieve it. Skill-level, signalling ability and confidence are all you need.

Entry-level for a good junior engineer is what you say it is, however senior/lead probably reaches around £100k for particularly impressive candidates, and finishes at around £60-80K for other engineers.

Contracting on the other hand seems to top out at about £650 pd. There £300-400 is entry-level, £400-450 is mid-level or low-end senior, and £500+ is high-end senior, architect or lead. Generally you get more if you work for financial institutions and have a skill that is extremely difficult to recruit for. Basically it's generally not about how good you are - that is the wrong frame. It's about how cleverly you have fit a pain point within the market.

My numbers might be a little wrong but it should give a general feel.

It's certainly unfortunate that there are engineers that are only making £22K but ultimately in many cases it's low confidence in testing the market. They can get more.

Your comparing permanent and self employed temporary jobs. Contracting jobs pay a lot more, even for juniors. They're paying for the ability to easily get rid of you, paying no employee crap(NI, etc) etc So it is justified.

400 GBP is low end dev. Companies such as Accenture rent out juniors for a lot more than that.

> Sorry for the language guys, but guess we all know someone like that boss!

No, I don't. I mean, I've had a seriously awful boss before, but even he wasn't this sociopath.

I really wish posts like these could mention the startup, so I could make note to never do business with them.

No matter what transpired between the OP and his boss, that is not how you fire someone with a family. Period.

You can hate the guy. You can think he's terrible. You can wish him all the ill in the world, but if there's a family involved, you give them notice and you help them move on.

Anything less than that, you're just a selfish asshole.

OP, I have been in a similar boat as you.

Back in 2013, my daughter was born and within 2 days I was laid off from my position as IT Manager at a small MSP in Dallas.

No college degree at the time, no savings, wife and I were not working. The one thing I did have though (fortunately) was experience in the industry - about 8 years of IT experience (dev, systems engineering, architecture, management).

I freaked out initially - the stress of a new kid, no money kind of ate at me. For not only was I a dad (a young one at that), but also now my family has no income (wife was on maternity leave).

The first thing I did was head to a local coffee shop and busted out my laptop.

I hadn't edited my resume in a few years. I deleted everything and started over. I knew this crappy employer wasn't going to dictate my families future. I also knew what I was worth.

I immediately got on LinkedIn and started connecting with everyone I knew/asked for references and then started connecting with hiring managers at prospective companies.

I created a burner phone number (google voice number) and used this on my resume - then created a Monster, Dice and Careerbuilder accounts (to attract headhunters) and filled out those profiles entirely.

Having not spent a lot of time in a few years looking at salaries in different segments of IT, I spent a few hours figuring out what in the hell I wanted to do - and what would make me some $$$.

I found that in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (at the time), Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and VMware were heavily searched terms by recruiters on LinkedIn and Indeed.com.. I started looking at what I could do to leverage my current knowledge/skills and find a lucrative position.

After spending a few hours researching, I found that I could leverage my systems (Windows/*Nix) administration experience and help developers deploy their code. I was pretty good with Python and was interested in learning Ruby.

Bingo - DevOps!!

I found what interested me - the best of both worlds and I started targeting my job searches/applications towards that.

By the end of the day, I had a call from a local recruiting agency looking for Cloud and DevOps engineers. By the next morning I was on the phone with the hiring manager - and by the end of the day (3 phone interviews later) I had an offer in my inbox ($90K more than my last job).

In summary: What you went through completely sucks. Don't beg. Show people that you can get shit done. Do the work, be the prize.

Wow man - amazing story.

I am a single dude with no family of my own, but I will say a few things:

A) When you are looking for a job - make friends with headhunters. Do everything you can to get unsolicited phone calls/emails from them as much as you can. Post your resume on Monster and make a really good/clean profile. I also recommend doing this on StackOverflow and Indeed as well.

The whole point is to get these headhunters to work for you. Yeah you will eventually start getting 20-30 emails a day from them and the same number of phone calls. A lot will be for jobs in completely random cities. Filter them out, anything that looks pretty good - follow up on it. (For the love of god, use a burner number, you will regret it later if you don't)

B) Use LinkedIn and Indeed to your advantage. With Indeed for instance, you can setup a profile as a company and search key terms in specific geo areas looking for talent. As someone looking for a job - you can do the same thing. Make your employee profile, then make a profile for "your" company and see where you stand in the listings.

On LinkedIn, I highly recommend upgrading to a Job Seeker paid plan (if you can do it - they sometimes have a free trial too). That will give you access to see who has viewed your profile (for longer periods of time), where you stack up against other candidates for LinkedIn job posts, plus you get a few InMail credits to use.. USE them! Find companies in your area - from startups to big corporations and just start connecting with anyone you can. When you get to a Director of IT, or VP of Engineering, start asking about potential opportunities within the company. Develop a connection with them and the folks in HR (actual internal recruiters). Polish your resume, your CV and LinkedIn profile. Don't be afraid to send messages (shit have a form message ready to go if you need to).

Lastly, don't ever give up. As other posters have said - you can get a job, if you make it your fulltime job. A big part of finding a job is hustling.

If you have less than 2 years of dev experience, I highly recommend brushing up your GitHub account, maybe working on a small coding project to showcase your skills.

I don't know where you live, so it is not fair to comment on salary - as that is super variable according to where you live.

Holy shit dude. My comment is OT but holy shit. That's a hell of a story. Good reminder to many of us that putting in active work on profiles (linkedin etc) will probably pay off even in normal scenarios. Thanks for posting this. I hope brokedev (OP) saw/sees it.

I can't be the only person who wants to know what company could have abused an employee like this, if only to never apply to them or help support whatever godawful business they're trying to run.

Honestly I don't think they're bad. I have a lot of respect for a lot of the dev team and the product itself, which is why I'm so vague on details. Like I said in the post, I'm fairly private and didn't bring much up with anyone until the end, so I don't think anyone understood the situation.

Actually one of the things that was encouraging during the past few months was remarks from former employees that [CEO] is a dick, but [Company] pay is what makes it worth it.

If I were a dev there I would start looking for another job -- a CEO that can string an individual along like that probably has no qualms about screwing other people. It is only a matter of time before (s)he does it again and fires someone for being "disloyal" So don't look at it as a fault with you as you just happened to be the person it happened to on that day.

Also for a laugh / attitude change take a look at this flowchart [1] which is geared to graphic designers who always get asked to do work for free. In your case substitute "intern" in there and "reduced salary" for free. You've got a lot of valuable skills and people should pay accordingly.

Don't be afraid to ask for a reasonable salary, even if it was 2x what you were making before. While this sounds easy to do, practice doing it with some friends in a mock interview. You want to be prepared when going in for an interview and not asking for the right salary is a big mistake a lot of programmers make as they want to avoid confrontation. Become comfortable with asking it and you'll get what you want.

[1] http://shouldiworkforfree.com/

Any startup with a CEO that you're describing (and how he treats people) is a startup that I don't want to support, regardless of product.

It's totally possible there are many excellent people working at that company, but the boss is pure evil. It's pretty clear to you too that he's the one being disloyal, and a lot more than just that. He screwed you because he could, and he lied to you about it for months. Feel no loyalty to the guy.

That said, revenge can only hurt you. You need a job, and unless you have a legal case against him, there's nothing you can do about him right now. You need to think about you and your family, not about the shitty boss.

If you don't name names you might as well be condoning what happened to you, and damning other people to the same fate. The only way to stop this sort of thing happening is for CEOs to realise there is a very big downside risk of being outed as an unethical business.

That's great if your life doesn't hang in the balance. Maybe if he gets another job first, but naming names, even if it is for great justice is not going to help him one little bit right now.

For the record, your boss there is a psychopath, which means he's physically incapable of feeling remorse or guilt, and has no conscience.

That's why he was able and willing to screw you over like that.

Here's a brief overview: http://www.sociopathworld.com/p/portrait-of-sociopath.html .. but the rabbit hole goes pretty fucking deep.

While I sympathize with your situation, it serves as a good reminder to others that you should put off having kids until you're financially secure.

On a more positive note, just "fake it till you make it", and everything will be alright. There are plenty of dev jobs out there.

Remote diagnosis of people is not advisable.

It's good to be aware of these facts, sure. Reading a one sided three paragraph description is not sufficient evidence.

One central reason for why psychopaths are having such a great time in the world is that we keep giving them the benefit of the doubt.

In general, it's good to be "rigorous", but in this case, it's not.

I'm not comfortable in general about the idea of labeling people based on their neurological makeup, unless one is in a therapeutic/psychiatric setting.

In a relationship or work setting, people should be mainly judged by their actions. Hurtful things should not be ignored and people should be made responsible for their actions. I agree it's good to be aware of typical pathological personality types so people who end up in relationships with them have some framework to work with their problems and even identify a bad case and leave.

Sure, taking advantage of people is a thing that comes easily to psychopaths. But there are lots of other personality disorders and ways to act like one.

Was the CEO actually lying or just trying to squirm out of an emotionally uncomfortable position for as long as possible? The situation sucks for the OP and there are absolutely horrible employers, even psychopaths out there - but really, there's not enough data to make those claims even if you are an experienced therapist or a psychiatrist.

> I'm not comfortable in general about the idea of labeling people based on their neurological makeup, unless one is in a therapeutic/psychiatric setting.

The setting you're in has no bearing on whether people actually differ greatly based on their neurological makeup, though, so I don't see how that matters.

We're not on the same page here, but that's to be expected, even if you're actually not a psychopath yourself.

But what the world really needs to know is that because the difference between humans and psychopaths is so counter-intuitively vast, even seemingly small things are strong signs that someone is a psychopath.

For example, if someone keeps talking over you, he's probably a psychopath. Because he has no respect for you as a human being, he'll just casually interrupt you whenever he feels like saying something.

An actual human being wouldn't do that, because he naturally respects you as another human being.

Psychopathy is a medical definition in a psychiatric handbook with specific clinical guidelines for diagnosis (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy).

You can't tell that someone is a psychopath without having actual psychiatric credentials and actually performing diagnostics on the patient.

"For example, if someone keeps talking over you, he's probably a psychopath."

I'm pretty sure that it does not suffice as evidence.

You're focusing on the wrong thing - on the specific action and not on the feeling it generates. A non professional individual seldom has enough experience on personality disorders to tell what exactly is wrong. This means collecting anecdotal evidence has little value unless one knows the subject really intimately. But one can trust ones feelings.

The key to identifying difficult people is first realizing that the interactions with the person leave you mostly feeling worse. Not in a single interaction, mind you, but over time. That is probably a good time to read a "how to deal with difficult people" guidebook and assess ones situation.

The diagnostics part should be left to professionals.

> The key to identifying difficult people is first realizing that the interactions with the person leave you mostly feeling worse.

But you're not a psychiatric professional so how could you possibly identify "difficult people" like that? :p

Even if it happens over and over again with some specific individual, you're still not in a position to conclude anything based on that, because you lack psychiatric credentials!

How was he abused? He got a reasonable salary for someone with no prior experience or education.

He was led on with the promise of a better salary.

THIS right here is the part that drives me up a wall. Earlier in my (admittedly still pretty short) career, I'd probably have done dev work for free, if only to get some "official" experience and work with some devs I could learn from. But it's an entirely different situation when someone is working for far less than they're worth because they're being lied to. That's not a CEO giving someone a leg up despite lackluster credentials, that's just a CEO stealing labor under false pretenses.

If you're really desperate for job, create a LinkedIn account. There are literally thousands of headhunters there, judging from my inbox looking for just about anybody.

this is a good suggestion, increasing the chances to get an offer or anything is certainly good, but:

It seems to me that a lot (most?) of the head hunters on linkedin use a "shotgun approach" to recruiting where they basically just send you a message if you have a random matching keyword in your profile, ignoring actual details of your skills, ability to relocate/location, seniority, wage expectations etc. So you might easily get a full inbox, but going from that to a real position might not be trivial.

This. As far as experience goes, if you list a skill once, several years ago, you'll get solicited, so current Rails experience should do wonders.

You can't simply fuck around with your boss without having, at least, a second source of monthly. Next time try to get some freelancing gig before making such a dangerous move.

I don't approve your ex boss behaviour but sometimes companies struggle to get your pay check at the end of the month, it really depends on companies.

One advice: Being "good with computers" does not means that you're worth a 75K wage. When someone in India does Rails apps cheaper, you need the skills to prove 75K and even more. Having a college degree proves that you've learnt the basic toolset to be able to solve problems, however you can learn it on your own. Your challenge is to prove you posses those skills without a diploma. It's possible, I'm a drop out myself, but it's takes time, effort and networking to get there.

Hey brokedev,

I can help with your CV. That's something you can improve right now (besides active Twitter account/Github/Blog) to start shooting for jobs. I haven't been in your situation before but have dealt with such management, so I understand the feeling. Let me know if I can help. My contact is in my profile, or you can reach out to me via Twitter @rebyn.

Cheers, T.

Doesn't this person deserve some form of severance or the equivalent of?

It's kind of ridiculous that he was "cut out" from a job like some kind of child who was no longer part of the "club". It's grossly unprofessional to disconnect an employee without any due process or policy.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised given the events leading up to the situation.

> It's grossly unprofessional to disconnect an employee without any due process or policy.

In the US, it depends on what state the company is headquartered. Many are "right to work" states, which means any employee can be fired so long as it is not for reasons such as age, sex, weight, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.

In those states, an employee literally can be fired for a reason such as "you upset the owner" with no further obligations.

Why do people confuse "Right to Work" with "Employment At Will"?

Right to work means that you can work for an employer without having to join a union or pay union dues. Right to work is used in conservative states to keep unions from forming.

Employment-at-will means your employer or you can terminate the employment relationship for (most) any reason whatsoever. If you are an employer, you can fire someone for wearing the wrong color shirt (This really happened). If you are the employee, you can say "I quit" and leave with no notice for not having coffee available in the workplace (also, really happened at one of my previous employers).

The problem with employment-at-will is that the employer has more power because the employer-employee relationship is asymmetrical.

We need to teach this stuff in high school civics so everyone can see how disgusting employment-at-will really is.

> Why do people confuse "Right to Work" with "Employment At Will"?

You are right, I used the wrong term (Right to Work) where I meant "Employment at Will." Thank you for pointing this out as they are different.

While 22 states practice Right to Work laws[1], Employment at Will appears to be much more prevalent:

  Virtually all states are employment at
  will states, meaning that all states
  uphold the Doctrine to some degree. To
  what degree states uphold the Doctrine
  regarding employers' rights to discharge
  employees varies by state.

1 - http://employment.laws.com/right-to-work-states

2 - http://employeeissues.com/at_will_states.htm

49 states are at-will in various degrees. Montana is the exception: it practices "Just Cause" like the rest of the developed world.

Just because you can doesn't make it more professional imo.

Actually I don't think sexual orientation and definitely not weight are 'protected classes' against discrimination with hiring and firing. Sexual orientation might be protected now with some of the recent Supreme Court rulings, but weight is sadly something employers can discriminate against with no repercussions.

States where sexual orientation or gender identity are protected are still in the minority in the US

Welcome to the US... employees have no rights, even to sick time.

Professionalism is a concept that serves mostly to keep employees orderly. There's frequently no real professionalism in one-way relationships.

depending on the existence of a contract, not if he lives in a right to work state. 'Right to work' generally sucks like that.

Take a look at September's edition of whoishiring: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10152809

You can search for keywords like "remote" and "rails".

It's not too late to add a post to the "Who Wants to Be Hired" thread, either: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10152811. Worth a try. Good luck!

The remote positions really need a "timezone" flag added to tbem. Most recruiters only seem to want UTC+7, plus or minus a few.

In my country we say "Dios aprieta pero no ahorca" which translates to something like "God will hurt you but won't kill you". I wish you all the best , and I'm sure you have a great future coming your way.

I hate to be that guy, but....

"That I’d been told $75k was reasonable, and that I would have to look for work elsewhere if it was going to be $44k."

That was a dumb move. Why tell the boss anything? He should have thanked the boss, gone back to work and started interviewing while he had a job. He let his pride get in his way.

Seeing this on the front page, gives me hope he'll be helped with all the exposure. I'm not in a position to help, but good luck to you and I wish you all the best.

You really need to detach yourself emotionally from work. You need act less with emotions and more rationality.

When people promise something x in the future, without any official contract I automatically assume that its not going to arrive. It's just carrot. Expect the worst, and be a bit stoic. In many ways less gain now, is better than larger potential gain later because of the risk you take.

Don't try to forcefully negotiate, or use ultimatums without any BATNA. When he broke his promise, don't say anything. Find another offer, come back and say I have offer x now, bye. Maybe he will give a counter-offer if he really cared.

I've learned this from experience.

> When people promise something x in the future, without any official contract I automatically assume that its not going to arrive.

This was a painful realization I had to make, and I've pretty recently acted on it even though my employer probably had genuinely positive intentions. It was a short-term change that I'd have loved, but they wouldn't put anything in writing -- even an email -- about a long-term commitment that this would be my new job. I had to not believe them.

The whole notion of loyalty is insane. It's a contract. It's not a romantic relationship. Any employer that even mentions loyalty deserves to go out of business.


I really wish employers would stop talking about "our culture" also. "Culture" and culture-worship are just another attempt at enforcing loyalty in a world where everyone knows loyalty is dead.

As already stated add links to Github and LinkedIn. Also see




Do you have good experience with Upwork? Like every project having 100+ bids, most of them very low.

As a freelancer I've had pretty good luck with Upwork. The art in getting hired is crafting an apt proposal, being personable and accommodating. This might require doing a bit of research on the client (not necessarily easy to figure out), learning about their vertical, understanding what they are actually asking for, etc. A lot of this is common sense but often overlooked. However, many of these details are gleaned from an initial interview.

A few notes

- Obviosuly, don't apply to jobs you lack skills for

- Similarly, don't apply to jobs you wouldn't be a good fit for

- Keep your Upwork profile up to date

- Use the Github, LinkedIn, etc accounts integrations. This helps clients verify your experience skill-set

- Don't be afraid to adapt your profile to the job you are applying for

- Be sure your rate matches your experience. If you're billing $100/hour but can't prove your skill-set, experience or the value you provide you won't get hired.

Since 2010 I've worked from a few hours a week, to part-time and in full-time capacity on Upwork. Its gotten me connected to a lot of great startups (mostly SF) and recurring gigs. However, it was very difficult getting started.

All this being said if you're based in the US and can verify your skills you have a lot better chance of landing quality gigs than your international counterparts putting in very low bids.

Sorry to double post in this thread, but I just realized something. You should consult an employment lawyer. Your former boss may actually be liable for improper dismissal. It really depends a lot on the situation and the laws in your area.

Any good lawyer in this area will give you a free consultation. This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer. A qualified lawyer will be able to determine the possible merits of the case. It is not unusual to sue your past employer in these kinds of cases. In some areas it is very common.

Please see my profile and email me your resume and GitHub. I run a small Rails firm and all of our devs work from home; happy to share details with you if you contact me via email.

Welcome to the modern IT world. First dude, you will need to cheer up, since many of us had been in the same position. As a matter of fact, I've been there couple of times and that is the path of The Professional (learning things on your own skin). Here are couple of my own remarks:

1) You are good dev and teamplayer, as other respected you, just that other guy steal the day somehow. Who knows, maybe he is someone closer to CEO or he managed to sell himself really good (CEOs often think like this: this new guy is expensive, have shiny CV, hence it is good. BMW is expensive and shiny, hence BMW is a good car).

2) I'm sorry you used the word f* during the talk, but it's not bad, this is your first real work after all. To be honest, your destiny has been determined long time ago when CEO started to look for alternative, so no matter how polite, honest or hard working you were, you would get fired at some point.

3) As others mentioned here, don't beg for work. Make your profile/blog looking professional, remove that post we all read here and write about Rails tricks you learn on daily basis. Write about it in weekly or bi-weekly span. Use blog to write about life, your kids and family (under different tag), so recruiters can see how positive you are (also CEOs and recruiters looooove devs with family as they can be easily locked within the company).

4) Start your own small business. You do have experience with plastics plants, go to your previous employer and ask to create a web page or a management tool for him. Offer it for free or a small fee; offer free support. You will see that people will start calling you after some time.

Be patient and the work will come. And good luck!

"And no one started at $40k. The general consensus was that maybe I hadn’t gone to college, but I had proven myself in the past 8 months. I deserved the same starting salary as everyone else, which was about $75,000 "

Holy fuck. I work as a full time C++ developer with a couple years of experience now and I make $30k/year. And I have a first class Masters Degree in compute science. Games industry man.

> Games industry man.

It's a small market with a zillion people who want to work in it. They benefit from "paying" people with "working in the industry they love." That said, $30,000 for 40-hour weeks is now literally less than minimum wage in some states. Seems suspiciously low.

Do you have a github or any other publically available code/projects?

Dude, get your stuff together and stop playing a victim. Just.. stop! It's embarassing.

Having a daughter that you can't provide for adequately can be crushing. I'd say 'stop playing a victim' may be ok. But saying it's embarrassing is bit too much.

I'm sorry, didn't mean to be a jerk.

Well, that sucks for you, and you're stupid for putting emotional baggage online. Its not you boss' fault that you felt entitled for double pay, that you didn't communicate properly, or that you have 4 kids, these are things you just have to deal with now and learn from. Yes your boss was a dick, deal with it.

If you want a job fast use linkedin and recruiters to your advantage. There's loads of recruiting companies that are waiting for people like you. Getting a job with some IT skills is very easy, don't expect a well-paying job as a junior ruby tester though and make it clear to recruiters what you need.

I can't really add anything that hasn't been written in other answers except good luck. This is a really unfortunate story and I hope you get the job you deserve.

I'm sorry, but brokedev did EVERYTHING WRONG here, NOT the CEO. You don't get paid based on what you think you are worth or what other employees think you should be paid. Your salary is set by market forces. And from what I read, this CEO took a chance on brokedev in the first place. He gave him a job doing something that brokedev had no background in and has been compensating him not just with salary but also with work experience that would be hard to get otherwise.

I mean really, coming back less than a year later and demanding nearly TWICE the salary? Come on.

If brokedev really thought he was being underpaid, he should have tried to silently get another job while he was still employed. Then he could see the market realities for what a programmer with 8 months of work experience is really worth. If he could find a job that offered him $75k, then he could go back to the CEO and say: "I am worth $75k because someone else is willing to pay it, but you were the one who took a chance on me so if you can match the salary I would rather stay with you."

Then he wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

It's sad how self-righteous some people are these days. No sense of honor or dignity for themselves or the people who try to help them out.

I am really bothered by your comment esp. since you call yourself "anonfounder", which I assume means you are also a startup founder.

I agree brokdev did many things wrong, namely not communicating concretely what he expected his salary to be. I've been in that position before where, because of in my case were insecurities, I did not communicate clearly what pay I was expecting. Secondly, I agree he should have looked for another job before things came to a head like that. Thirdly, he may have been lucky to get that job opportunity initially, although I'm not too familiar with tech hiring markets.

However, you clearly say "EVERYTHING", and I think that the company too did things wrong. Just as he did not communicate, the CEO did not communicate what he was projecting. The CEO should have, in my opinion, given a ballpark range at least. I think that it is reasonable otherwise for brokedev to have expected comparable salary to his coworkers, unless something is missing from this story.

Secondly, for the CEO, I am bothered that he did not buy the equipment for the guy. How much is 1.5k for company to spend, consider they spend it on every other employee really? That in my opinion is very disrespectful of them.

Thirdly, and again I'm giving brokdev the benefit of doubt in how he portrayed the story, the way the CEO handled the firing was in my opinion very unprofessional.

Just because a person is in a situation where maybe they do not have a lot of options, doesn't mean that you should take advantage of them. I think brokdev was taken advantage of. Maybe you think same which is why you make throwaway account for your post?

to brokdev, my 2 cents: - You should have communicated your salary requirements clearly, even though it might be scary to hear no. Better to get the no sooner rather than later. - Doesn't do much for you but good luck! I unfortunately don't know any positions atm.

To me, the takeaway lesson is this: Never work under unclear conditions. Make sure you have a contract that spells out the conditions you work under and the salary you will be paid. The second you start giving your labor away for free, you've lost the only leverage you have.

But a raise to 44k? Seems unheard of...

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