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Ask HN: I am 30yrs and never had a full time job, now suicidal. Any life advice?
80 points by tevlon on Nov 27, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 80 comments
Hi Hackernews,

i am seeking for life advice. Right now, i don't know what i should do with my life. I feel trapped. Forgotten. Not part of society. And the part that worries me the most : i have become suicidal.

Context :

I am almost 30 years old. I studied Bioinformatics, still doing my masters. That is one of the main reasons i never worked. It took me 10 years to study and i feel my life doesn't progress, while others buying cars or getting married. Even though i only have to attend 3 more exams, with my current depression, it feels sooo hard to even pass one of them. The reason it took me so long was, that i had to work next to my studies. I am broke as hell, in fact, i have a debts of 20000€. I am based in germany. I applied for 20 jobs so far. Already got 4 rejections.

I feel unwanted and even though germany has a social security net .. i imagined my life not to be so bad.

I feel like, i can never "start a life", because i studied so long and no one wants a quitter .. at least in germany. I don't know what to do. I am in a unhappy place and i can't get out :(

You are almost 30 years old, will soon have a masters degree from a university in a first world nation, have worked several jobs on apart-time basis and do not have a wife whom you do not love, or kids you can not support to tie you down. You owe a miserly Euro20k in debt which you can quite easily pay off ( for instance by not buying a car in the next 1.5 yrs).

You are young full of promise, healthy and educated. You are determined and hard working and only going through a temporary (and normal)period of self doubt.

I'd say you are not in a bad place.


1. You should see a therapist to check you out for depression as someone as pointed out.

2. Keep on applying for jobs. 4 rejections is nothing.

3. Be thankful you live in this era, the greatest time to be alive .

On 2.

Yeah, 4 rejections is nothing really. Remember, even in Germany, companies are run mostly by very busy people that have bad moods and not enough sugar in their coffee when they review your application. They may have lost a contract and no longer have money for the job, they may be racist asshats or smug know-nothings, there are a billion legit reasons, and a trillion stupid ones. I know it seems so very personal to you to get rejected, but there are millions of jobs in Germany that you can do still and need someone to do them. You WILL find a job, and it may take a LONG time, but you'll be a lot happier and better off when you find the RIGHT job for you. A lot of it is luck, but if you keep applying, eventually you'll hit the jackpot. If it helps, I applied for 2000+ jobs in ~2009 before getting a single email back, and I found a job that I loved and was a good fit for. So, it does happen, even if it sucks right now.

great advice! Thank you for saying this clearly.

well said

Hmm, let's see mate...

I'm 34 years old, with a stupid Computer Science diploma that worths absolutely nothing, unemployed since July 2015, forced to live with my parents as I have no other choice, I'm totally broke, not married, no kids, no one is hiring me because I have experience as a technician and as assistant systems administrator (thanks "cloud" for making me completely unnecessary), and I owe more than 200,000 euros in debt.

Am I suicidal? Nope. Should I have been? ...why? :/

The point is mate, most of the times we are forced to do things that go against our will or our dreams.

Right now I feel stuck as you, I have no one by my side, not a single friend and I mean it when I say not a single one, but you see the point is to enjoy something you have that others lack.

What I often do is to browse on YouTube and seek for motivation. I look for people with disabilities or whatsoever that thirst for life and are always positive.

If I was born able-bodied, why not appreciate it with all my heart and embrace this given gift and hope for a better day?

We fall, we rise, and that's how life is mate.

If you need to chat, I'm here.

Keep your head up, safe your dignity and your pride, and move forward.

Life is short, enjoy it now you can.


I'm also mid-30s, no degree, still no career, employed part-time, barely scrape by w/ nothing in the bank, not married, no kids, extremely few friends (in other countries), still trying to figure out what my skills are.

I'm not suicidal per se (don't think I'd ever attempt it), but I do wonder why I'm here, in the larger sense. If it weren't for my undying love of learning and of the examined life, I'd have gone off the deep end decades ago.

Think of depression as a cloudy sky, whether that's Portugal cloudy or London cloudy, the point is to remember the sky is not actually cloudy, it's forever blue, you just can't see it at the moment. Keep looking, you will.

Not what you meant but not having actual cloudy skies helps; living in the south of europe (PT/ES) instead of north (NL/UK) made hard times a lot easier. Somehow it does not seem important but when your month sucks you do not want to wake up in cold, rain and clouds. Opening your window and feeling warm sun does a lot. It is just the bit of lift you need sometimes.

That's certainly a view I hadn't applied to myself until now, but yeah, I've been living in sunny climes for the last several years (BR/PT).

Yes true, a lot of people like myself are affected by seasonal affective disorder.

Thoughts of suicide are a medical emergency, and you deserve medical treatment.


Immediate help is available around the clock at the telephone counseling under the nation-wide free phone number 0800 - 111 0 111 or 0800 - 111 0 222 and in the Internet under www.telefonseelsorge.de

Sofortige Hilfe erhalten Sie rund um die Uhr bei der Telefonseelsorge unter der bundeseinheitlichen kostenlosen Rufnummer 0800 - 111 0 111 oder 0800 - 111 0 222 und im Internet unter www.telefonseelsorge.de

I was in a similar situation. Graduated with a PhD in computational biology in 2009. Applied for hundreds of jobs. No one was hiring. I was 36 years old, in debt, with no work experience, and I missed my window to get work experience and I've been unhireable ever since.

First get some help, there's medication that can help with anxiety. Right now you're in a death spiral: You can't sleep which causing stress, which is causing you to loose sleep. Some medication will calm you down enough where you can start to get a grip back on reality. This dread you are feeling is stress induced so you need to deal with that first.

Second, you want to think about finding a lifeline, something to give you some stability. You don't need to shoot for the stars on a dream job right now. Maybe that includes doing some lab-assistant work at the university. See what kinds of clubs there are in your school, maybe consulting clubs or investment banking clubs, or entrepreneur clubs.

$20,000 may feel like a lot of debt, but many Americans have hundreds of thousands in debt when they graduate. Just make sure you dial back and live under your means.

Finally, you still have time on your side. I didn't start my PhD until I was 30 and while I felt my life was over at 36 when I graduated and I resented the years off sacrifice for no payoff, there are opportunities out there. I took a very low paying job to get back on my feet, and eventually I founded a startup that has had some minor success so far. What'a important to turning the corner is to find a ray of hope. If you can do that, whatever you're going through today doesn't feel that bad.

From all of this I also met my wonderful wife and I can't imagine my life without her. I would have ever met if life had 'worked out' as I had planned. Sometimes these hard roads bring you to the place you really need to be. Stick with it and I promise you that you'lol get back to being in a good place. This is just like having a cold or the flu. It will pass.

Hi Tevlon;

Talking about this type of stuff is okay. You took a chance in writing this up and no doubt it took a lot of effort. Please don't be embarrassed. You have taken the right first step.

If you want a way to self-measure/reflect on how you got to this place, then please read https://opensource.com/business/15/12/avoid-burnout-live-hap... but unfortunately in your current position/state it's not going to be possible to be self-aware/objective. The internet isn't the right avenue and this isn't the first time you have brought up this topic [1]

PLEASE start listening to yourself and make the change you need in your life happen by picking up the phone and seeking medical advice. If they don't handle this matter with respect, care and compassion needed, then fuck those guys. Pick up the phone again and find someone who will listen and that wants to help you get through this. You got this; if you can ask a bunch of strangers for help then you can ask a medical professional. No excuses. Asking a bunch of strangers for help without anonymity takes guts.

Burnout is often difficult for some to self-diagnose (typically as they always find other reasons to justify their symptoms) but the good news is when you have experienced burnout; you can often see it in other people. When you do, you should step in and help. Get through this, then you can help others because you have been there and can recognise the signs.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/submitted?id=tevlon

You really need to seek out a therapist. I don't know the expense of that in Germany but it can be life-changing.

It sounds to me that you might be depressed. The thing about depression is that it's possible to manage -- but you have to reach out. You've posted this, and that's a good first step, but now you need to tell a professional.

Personally there were many times when life was quite bleak and it all felt like a dead-end. I think that with a little help, you can move past this point, and later you will look back at it and be glad you did.

Exercise! It's been repeatedly shown to be a huge contributor to mental health (as well as physical). Take a walk in a park, ride a bike, go jogging or have a swim. All are cheap to do. Start slow if you're not fit, but make time for it every day (at least half an hour). It's more important than almost anything else you might want to do more. And definitely get help for your suicidal thoughts.

As everybody has said, go seek professional help. You should have 0 shame about this. In the last year, I've discovered that some of my co-workers and friends I most admire have struggled with depression. It is probably more common than you think.

I also think I may be able to relate to your situation of being 30 without a career.

When I turned 30 I wasn't working. I thought I was taking a few months off, but couldn't get back into the work force. I was unemployed for almost 2 years, taking the odd job I could and volunteering (which I recommend).

I hadn't discovered programming or product management (truly) yet, which would become my profession by my mid-thirties. Ten years on, I work for a leading research agency, surrounded by amazing and brilliant co-workers and get to learn and experience more every day.

So, my point is, many people are just getting on the path at 30. You're not the only one, and I felt the same way you did at the time. I felt I was lost, I sought help. It was terrifying to think that I was left behind, that this is all my life would be.

The rejections from jobs you want can hurt, I know that, and each rejection gets more painful, and more scary.

I don't believe I have any contacts in Germany, though I could be wrong. Feel free to add me on linkedin (my name is same as my username here) and I'd be happy to help where with connections if I can.

PS, though 20000€ may seem a massive insurmountable amount, and it is a large chunk, you can pay that down in a few years if you're careful.

All is not lost, and this test will make you stronger. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

You literally have your whole life ahead of you, you didn't miss nothing.

Whats the rush? You will get married, get a job, buy a house, have a career and all that its not like you are 80.

Its all in the head just change something, start going to the gym, get out more often, anything really that you have not been doing.

And also on what metrics your life isn't progressing? You don't have a job because you chose to study and you feel behind your peers? There's time for that and for everything as i said previously. Think about it.

Chin up.

EDIT: Typos

Hi Tevlon,

You're actually a very fortunate person and regardless of your circumstances, you have the ability to get out of it all and still feel happy. You're also an important individual with a mission to fulfill.

Similar to you, I also was in a financial struggle. I often looked to others and questioned why me - I had a full time job, I was studying for my Masters and I also had to manage our family mortgage.

The fact that you're doing your Masters already shows what a well accomplished academic you are. Not many people can say that they have the good fortune to study or have the ability to get as far as you so congratulations.

I'd be happy to chat with you further about my experience getting over my financial difficulties but the bottom line is as you continue to persevere, you will be able to break through everything! And I mean everything! I also sought a lot of encouragement from Buddhism and kept my spirits up with people's experiences.

I applied to hundred plus jobs and had about 90 rejections but honestly, it doesn't matter because all you need is just that 1 employer to accept you. And funny as it is, it will be the right job for you.

Cheers. You have a magnificent life ahead of you. What you're going through now will only create a strong foundation for who you're going to be in the future.

My grandpa had to eat crackers and bread for most of his lifetime in Argentina and he didn't find success until his late 40s as a farmer... Said suicide was the easiest path but after suffering for too long it'd be like training for war and surrendering when you hear the drums.

20 job applications and 4 rejections are NOTHING!

I know each application/rejection drains you emotionally, but be ready to multiply that number by 10 in order to get a few decent interviews. The key to survival is "detachment".

(From personal experience, and feedback of my friends)

Hi, I read your comment with pain. I know what is to spend 10 year in lab and does not have house, nor car etc. However I would like to advice you to:

1) Forgive yourself. When we are in problems we tends to put the guilt in ourselves. However, even if this was true, we can forgive ourselves.

2) List you skills. Go ahead without afraid and knock door asking job. Do not worry about the "NO", but worry to keep calm and search again.

3) If you do not get the ideal Job, seek jobs in such manner you get some money to pay you bills.

4) Be thankful for what you have. I can say that because you are in Germany. If you were in Brazil (I am from Brazil) or in Siria, the thing was really bad. For example, we are worry because our water is finishing. Do you have water? If yes, be thankful, because our water is finishing. Here in northeast Brazil there are months without rains. I think that more one or two months our cows will die without water. Is vary sad when you have cows and see them asking water feeling the death near. Here in Brazil, many Phd are jobless, because of corruption (of politics), the projects were canceled. Today I am working hard as programmer to have some budget, now I have only $4 in my bank account. My mother and my mother in law are feeding me for a while. I cannot go out Brazil because the visa is not easy and cheap. You can go out Gemmany, you have all the EU to go, but I cannot do that.

5) Sincerely, I would like to help you. But the situation does not allow. However I would like to recommends that if you feel alone, search a friend. Speak about the situation and put all bad feeling out. Recharge yourself and go fight.

6) Try to sleep well.

7) Try to get some solar light to improve you D vitamin.

8) Make physical activities.

9) Drink water (water is like gold) and not alcohol (alcohol will make you sad).

10) Go out home and help a street children, an old person.

11) If you have strong suicidal thinking, please, search some help. There are professionals that will help and you will see the life great again.

Finally, excuse my English. Please, if I write something and you misunderstand forgive me. I am willing to help as I can.

Go ahead. You will reach.

Let me just emphasize that you need to get professional help. I had been dealing with some stuff and I started getting some professional help and it's amazing the difference just dissecting your problems in a constructive environment does.

As for your job situation I'd mirror what dbg31415 said. Keep your chin up. Just to make you feel a little bit better let me share what I went through when first looking for a job. I applied for 120 positions when I started and only 3 got back to me and 2 wanted to hire me. I took an internship and worked up from there. I made connections and used those to branch out.

1. Try to get ANY job, even not related with your study. Never stop to looking for a new job.

2. Work with people, be with people, help them.

3. Fall in love, get married, have a baby.

4. Go to a psychotherapist or go to support group meetings.

5. Go to a church. God wants to help you but you have to ask Him first. Doesn't matter if you believe in God or not, God helps atheists too.

Hi, I was in similar situation (though no suicidal thoughts) and can advice a few things:

1) you had a plan when you started your studies - any plan requires consequence and you are the only one who can consequently execute your plan. So don't give up when there's only 100 meters away from finish! Last 100 meters always feels worst but look back at whole marathon you are just finishing!

2) don't worry about job hunting, your end result will greatly depend on luck and how you structure your CV. In your situation any work-related experience (even if it was scientific coop, volunteering or teaching) is useful and everything depends on how you put this together. I can help with your CV (though I don't speak German, I can share nice video about CV writing)

3) you are under strong emotions now and obviously you are aware that any decision made under emotions is a bad decision. Step back, have a break, have a sleep, have ice cream, have chocolate, watch sci-fi movie from 70's, play a computer game, do whatever helps you relax. Focus since you are close achieving your goal!

4) this is not a big dept, you will pay it back in no time once you get a job (and you will get one, that is with no doubt since German economy is the strongest in Europe)

Hi there,

my better half is finishing her PhD in biology and is now 31. She is still a student and has the exact same fear that you have.

All of our friends all have bought a house and are starting to have kids (a friend of mine already have 3) while we are both of us on one salary while she finishes her PhD.

This is a normal feeling. The fact that you don't have any job experience makes it scary for you as you feel you haven't been participating in society like most people around you do.

It is normal to experience several rejections before being accepted - we all have this issue.

I think that the biggest issue on your side is the fact that you feel old. Older than the rest of the people around you who are "advancing in life" and you feel you are not.

I will say : don't worry too much about it.

If you are competent enough (and I am sure you are), you will face several rejections before being accepted in a position and everything will start to unlock from there. Sure you have some debts but most of us do too and we are all doing fine.

Try to expand the companies you are reaching to include smaller or bigger companies depending on what you feel is the right environment for you.

Sorry for any mistakes as english is not my native language.

Take care and stay strong, you'll see that everything will start to unlock soon.

Edit : also, what you feel right now will make you more experienced and, later, you could take advantage of having lived this to prevent others from happening. I feel confident for you and I am sure in the end, you will enjoy your life like you should.

Sorry to hear that. It's easy to look at other people's lives and become envious but you are seeing the ideal part of their lives. The parts they want to expose. Everyone has their own problems - this does not belittle your problems but you have to understand it.

I think you are not in a bad position in life. Comparing you to myself you are more educated in a really interesting field and you are probably a lot smarter. You speak two languages perfectly and you have worked which was more than I had when I got my first job.

20k of debt is not too bad. When you do start working, you will be able to put money towards paying that off and it will be gone in two years if you're able to budget correctly.

I doubt my reply will really help you though. You need to power through this depression and pass your exams. You will eventually get a job and then you will look back and think "well done self, I did it".

I just got my masters a few years back, also close to 30, and had a similar experience. as in, I went through a period of applying for jobs for months. Hundreds. I got phone screens from maybe 15. Got second stage phone interviews from 10 or so.

Eventually I had 3 on-site interviews lined up, all with companies I loved in positions that matched my skills. Success seemed guaranteed!

I was rejected from all of them. Crushed. Scared. I had to ramp up applying again and go through the same 3 stage interview process all over. On top of that, I was running out of money. Actually, running out of credit cards was more accurate.

At this point I had been out of work for months. I had graduated school and immediately moved to a hot market, thinking I could land a good job right away. Now I had no money and a three month gap in work history, and no support system to fall back on within 1000 miles.

I started driving for Uber. The only job I could think of that wouldnt look bad. It sucked. I had a ton of student loan debt, a masters, and I was doing a job you can do without graduating highschool.

Eventually I got another round of three on site interviews setup.

In my second round of interviews I got an offer from all three. What changed? No clue. In the depressing down time I got some cool stuff on GitHub, spent an inordinate amount of time making my resume perfect, and studied lists of stupid cs interview questions for days. Going through so many interviews also taught me how to interview to some extent.

It was still a crap shoot and everybody goes through the same unless you've got something like Harvard on your resume.

It's gonna suck but you can do it. It will probably take 50-200 applications to land your first job. It's mostly a numbers game.

At my last company I was part of the hiring process occasionally. About 100 people would apply to one position. 15-20 would have the desired skills and experience listed on the resume. 5 of those would pass the phone screen questions. All of those would come in for an interview and we hired one.

It's a personal example but I feel like it's a pretty average hiring process. From there you can figure out your own odds average case. So on average to get a job: apply to 100 places, get 15 phone screens, around 5 on sites. At this point 50% of the average candidate would get hired.

Keep strong, once you land something this will be behind you

If doing the ordinary and correct things is leading you to despair, then try something adventurous and radical: sail the ocean, climb a mountain, become a monk... use your imagination!

(Here's a secret: ten years from now, no one will know or care whether you have that master's degree or not.)

You CAN finish up your studies, and you CAN get a job!

To help put your 20 application in perspective, the last time I was job hunting I was trying to send out batches of 30-40 applications at a time! I would round up many positions I could do, categorized them by the type of cover letter they should have, used a few different templates for my letter and customized it a little for each position.

I know the feeling you are having right now, but the feeling is TEMPORARY, and you're almost done!

You need energy for one final push and then you are free to pursue a lot of exciting, wonderful opportunities. Hacker News needs more sharp people like you.

Cant wait to see your update posts next year when you tell us how great your new job is :)

I know this might sound weird, but try volunteering.

First I would say, call that suicide hotline. Get some emotional support, whether through confiding in family or friends, perhaps a therapist --- but there is a lot of questionable psych advice out there. Be careful. If it doesn't make sense, don't just blindly accept it. Keep seeking more and more truth in your life, though. (If you think reading might help, I like any book by Dr. Chris Thurman.)

But yeah, volunteering can help at least some people. It gets your mind off yourself and likewise helps make a difference in another's life. That is the centerpiece of meaning in nearly everyone's life: making a difference in the world.

Hi Tevlon, thanks for reaching out. It's clear that you are suffering a lot in your current situation. I hope that some of the advice and support here on HN brings you hope and peace. I'll add some thoughts of my own, based on personal experience in a similar situation. I recently left a stressful PhD program, about 1.5 years from completion of a 8 year program, after becoming suicidal.

I found that listing out all my options helpful in combatting feeling trapped or suicidal, and I would read over the list frequently. Some options may include sitting through your 3 final exams, leaving the program, or taking a break for a year or two. You could join a volunteer organization and travel. You could take a week off. You could find a job in another sector. You could spend time pursuing your hobbies or dream job. Be creative when you brainstorm what you could do. Once you have a list, it's easier to see alternatives, whether or not you decide to pursue them.

There are a number of activities that I tried over the course of several months to get myself back to decent mental state, including: meditation, long walks, reading, exercise, spending time with friends and family, opening up about my situation to friends and family, seeing a therapist, changing up routine, and volunteering. I encourage you to try a variety of activities, even if you don't initially feel like doing anything. For me, getting out of my apartment at least once a day was critical to turning myself around.

Be thankful you can wake up everyday without needing help, you can feed yourself, you can go for a jog, you can go to the library, you can cook an egg. You have choices and life is not fair and no matter even if you had a great job you will still have debt and probably always will. I quit my job making $100K (US) no benefits and no savings to start a company and we just started paying ourself after 2-1/2 years of little to no pay. I am 40 and I get to wake up everyday and build my company and know that I can make an impact everyday. Hang in there because we have all wanted to take a rather dark path at one time or another but people care you just have to give them a chance. You will get through this and if you want to work for a Startup in the US with little to no pay I am sure we could have you help us out doing something. You have knowledge which nobody can ever take away from you and just as you were not educated overnight, you can't expect all your problems to be fixed overnight. Take 1 bite of the elephant at a time. Make a list of 3 things/goals that can be done and start working on them. As my grandfather said "Never miss an opportunity to smile at the sun". Go outside and take daily walks to start and stay hydrated. Happy to talk more but I swear to you that life gets better.

Focus on your physical health. It's no panacea, but it's the basis for feeling better about the world.

People who discount you? Fuck them. Move on, before their attitude can infect you about yourself.

It's taken me a long time, myself, to start to incorporate this into my own sense of being. I was always the "nice guy" who went out of his way to accommodate others. To pro-actively fix problems even when doing so caused me more strife than thanks.

Feel better about yourself. People respond more positively to that than to anything else. It makes you seem "safe" to them.

I know, it's a chicken and egg situation (which comes first?), to some extent.

But most of my disappointments come from not taking care of myself, and people's responses to that.

Also, my biggest regrets.

So, make sure you are getting good physical activity. Explore medication if you believe it helps. (And, again, from personal experience, often it doesn't -- at least not a particular medication.)

The world basically wants you to take care of yourself, first. Whatever is said -- whatever! This is the truth of the matter: Take care of yourself, to gain acceptance from others.

And, the rare friend who accepts you for who you are, warts and all. They are indeed rare -- but they do exist. You take care of yourself for them, too, because you find yourself wanting to be a positive factor in their life.

Hang in there. And find somewhere where you fit. Whatever that is. You deserve and need to make yourself happy -- content, at least. The rest follows from that.

If you turn it around, make X goal -- particularly if X is making you miserable -- the pre-requisite to being happy? That is the recipe for failure.

Best wishes!

P.S. I struggle with social connectedness, as well. Yet it is the single thing that brings me the greatest happiness and peace in life. And you know what? It does not depend on any title or position. Not the connections that matter. It does both gain from and feed feeling better about yourself.

If it's lacking, add it to the top of your list.

Life first. Career and all that bullshit, second.

Sometimes depression is situation based and sometimes it isn't. As a general rule there are 3 aspects/areas of your life:

1. Home life: How our your living conditions, bills, people you live with. Are you comfortable?

2. Work life(e.g. Work/Study/Job hunting): Do you enjoy what you do and is it a good working environment?

3.Relationships: How are you getting on with Friends, Family, boyfriend/girlfriend e.t.c?

If one of these area's is off then it's ok and you can usually cope if two or more are off then you definitely need to try and change something. Alwyas talk to someone about these feelings/situations as it's very hard to think clearly or logically during these times you definatley need a second opinion. And somethign to be aware of that a lot of people don't seem to know is imposter syndrome which most people deal with at sometime or other. When you have the idea that although you can do something your actually just fakeing it and eventually wil be found out: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/nov/09/imposto...

A) I got my first full time paid job at age 41. Let me recommend the book "What color is your parachute?"

B) It sounds like you are having an identity crisis because you are nearly done with school. You know how to be a student. You don't know how to be an employee.

I went to college basically for that reason. I did the employee thing for over five years. I now do freelance work. I like it better.

Point being: you need money. That doesn't necessarily mean you need a job.


being rejected 4 times is not uncommon. How do you apply to jobs? Make sure you apply in massively parallel, statistically you increase your chances. contact a recruitment agency, they are can help you get in touch with a company. contact many recruitment agencies. increase your chances. go to interviews, you'll get practice doing interviews, you learn what to say and what to ask. //you must learn to speak the words recruiters wants to hear.

look outside your comfort zone, challenge yourself---consider relocating to a different country//EU made that simple for us.

school is nice, but heh, not super important. it helps to get your through your interviews.

your life experience is your greatest asset. you sound like a hard worker. keep trying and never give up.

life is a series of rejections, your job is to put those behind you always look forward. future is ahead. who knows what wonderful things you will achieve?

your life is precious. not just to you but also the people around you, strangers, families, old friends. you might not know it, see it or be aware of it, but be certain that you are important.

keep trying, but be ready for change.

I had a similar background, but in the U.S. I even lived close to a few big biotech companies, and I could not even get an interview, even when applying for entry-level jobs. Then I would hear from my friends and relatives that so-and-so with just a high school diploma got a job at one of those places. I got very angry and bitter. I had given up TV and video games for an entire decade to focus on my learning and education. I was never suicidal, but was finding it more and more difficult to get out of bed by 10 a.m. I think what helped me most of all were the stories of people that were much worse off than me, and experienced more tragedies, and yet were so kind and positive. I started thinking about these people more than my seemingly unfair situation, and life became much easier to cope with. So try focusing on inspiring stories. They will make life easier to handle and will give you an attitude that is much more attractive to employers.

I tried to kill myself once. I had lost all my coping mechanisms and convinced myself that not only was killing myself the only way out, but that no one would care if I did. I am not ashamed of what I did but I regret it immensely. It's hard to reconcile the fact that I would have lost so much with the feeling at that time that I would lose nothing.

I don't know what I can say that will have any meaning to you, insofar as I dismissed everything said to me at that time in my own life, but I'll say this: believe it or not, you have exclusive control over whether you have the opportunity for your life to improve. All you have to do is give yourself the opportunity by whatever means possible. All you have to do is wake up tomorrow morning.

Hey Tevlon. I feel a bit the same. I just graduated (2.5 late). I have $27K USD in student debt. Spent a year working on my startup idea and it barely is generating revenue.

We've all been there. If you feel not a part of society, go out to some meetups of stuff you are interested in. There have to be some groups that meet weekly/monthly. Hang out and meet new people.

You are not a quitter. You are about to finish your masters! That's big achievement.

I say:

1) Find out something that will make you happy (job, traveling,etc) 2) Go out there and start working towards getting that.

Hope this helps. Hang in there!


Figure out anything, no matter how small to make you feel like you are progressing and moving forward. If you can't find a job, find a project, consult on a project, explore an idea you find interesting and set a goal to create a product result or deliverable. A little bit of momentum will go a long way.

A few years ago, my sister had just graduated from university with a degree in chemistry and was considering medical school, but was unsure whether that was right. Like you, she felt like it would take too long before she would be out of school and would be in debt. She couldn't decide and started to stagnate. It quickly became demotivating and she became suicidal. So, I asked her to do me a favor and had her come and work at a company I own as a low level office manager. Despite it being something that probably wasn't her life goal long term, being active, working with people, accomplishing tasks, and seeing clearly what she didn't want to do was very motivating - very quickly. Within 4 months she made a quick decision and moved across the country to work at an animal sanctuary as a volunteer (it was tight for her financially) and eventually got a job full time. She left after two years, but it transformed her life.

I had a similar experience right before founding my current company. I felt like I weren't progressing and became extremely depressed and suicidal. I decided I had to do something and it didn't matter what as long as it was different. So we adjusted course, set a goal and moved forward. Is it a happy result? I don't know, we havent had any real results because the plan will take time, but at least I feel like I am moving forward.

Also, don't worry about where you are in the "progress of life" like having a car, being married etc., or otherwise compare yourself to others. First of all, those things don't necessarily bring happiness; we all know plenty of people that have a house and spouse and are miserable. For all you know, if you had those things now, you would feel trapped. Right now you can explore or pick up and do anything you want.

Do something, anything, and see what happens.

For a start I would like to say myself a student I sometimes lose hope about college,hobbies and everything but that is not a reason no to push yourself more . If you like what you study or do you can start doing projects it's great way to track your progess and move forward another option could be to go trough an extensive tech niche why not go trough a web program (a nanodegree or course) about something you find interesting and want to explore not only that will give you an alternative way to find jobs but the learning phase will help you get more active in communities meet new people and so on . And remember never stop exploring yourself and enjoying life .

I'm the same age and very happy (not married, no car). Everybody suffers. Life is about the journey not the destination.

Project Happy: Remove negativity from your life including negative people, tv news, news papers. Cut their drama. Visit humor/comedy sites instead.

Project Job: Make recruiters work for you, create a LinkedIn profile. Let them do that shit while you watch movies.

Project girlfriend: Find a place to connect as there aren't many woman in tech companies or tech university. Tinder, Dancing class (great excuse for meet/touch). Mail-order bride (if you are in a hurry).

Project Car: this is a project that can be done only after project Job.

This interview with James Murphy helps me when I feel a similar way - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYCz06bS380

Agreed, I knew exactly the one you meant before I even clicked the link. I think about things mentioned in this interview all the time.

Hi tevlon,

You say "bioinformatics" and you already look incredible to me. That's it, for real !

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by life, and it's important (as you do with this post) to step back or aside, and ask for help. All we can do is point to you how your life isn't as horrible as you see it, and is better than many. The path to walk is yours.

20 jobs, and 4 rejections, for a french developer without a "engineer degree" this is a daily routine, no kidding. I already know that saying it won't make you feel better about what rejection means for you. Quite annoying, yes.. , quite frustrating.... yes! But not that harsh to consider, after all. Why? Because most people will judge.. before anything, and trust me, you don't want to work for this kind of persons. Some will talk to you, and choose not to keep you. And with those guys it'll be fine to ask why they didn't want you. And as you'll ask them, you'll realize that you were in competition with other guys, feeling as overwhelmed as you do, and among them was one guy who was a better fit than the others for the job.

Keep pushing ! Not being the best fit for one context doesn't mean being a waste. But that kind of thoughts is for everyone to deal with, each one of us keeps pushing. And you already pushed quite hard with THIS post.

In martial arts we say : "Being afraid is good, driven by fear is bad. Fight fear, but do not kill it... for it'll save your life more than once."

There is a little comic strip that will help summarize everything : http://www.viruscomix.com/page528.html

What is feels like... What it is.. The correct word for your situation is "perspective". And any advice asking you to seek for help is a good one.

As for perspective means "changing the point of view"

Keep pushing:https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/df/53/de/df53...

Hello! First take a deep breath. Then establish backup life plans which are temporary until you can start working in the field you studied at university. Having multiple plans gives flexibility. Find one person you trust and talk with them about whatever you're comfortable with sharing. Temporary work occupies the mind and allows you to work toward your goals so don't disregard it. At this point, focus on building confidence and mental stability. Debt will always be with us but you control it no matter how much you feel it controls you.

There is a place for you. You are not forgotten. Just hang in there. It's okay to feel like shit when things are obviously going like shit. It's okay. One day at a time.

I remember graduating right when the dot-com burst. I could not find a job. It was one of the worst times to graduate.

A friend I graduated with was here in the US on a student visa. He had an even harder battle than I. But he sent out 2,000 resumes and did find a job. You have to stick with it. Or as I picked up from Derek Sivers, you have to say YES to a lot of opportunities when you are just starting out.

Definitely seek some professional help, but don't give up on life. There are tons of opportunities out there.

I was in your position 10 years ago while I was studying Finance. I wanna be a successful trader so bad then but have no clue how to achieve it. After college, I went to military service for almost 3 yrs. I have nothing then but I told myself never give up my life.

After that, I became a trader and the $ I earned was way more than the friends who got into the market earlier than me can earn.

Don't give up , then you will have everything you want in your life later.

You have depression, and it's warping your thinking whenever you think about yourself. A sample size of 20 is tiny, and you can adjust your CV/resume.

It may be helpful for you to imagine a friend who is in your situation, and to think about what advice you would give them. It's a quick hack to get around the way that depression localizes on the self. So, pretend I had posted this, instead of you, what would you tell me?

> I feel like, i can never "start a life",

Are you familiar with Cognitive Therapy? When you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel.

The best book on this subject is Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns. Here's an interview with the author > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33G1Aue4cP8

I'm sorry you are in this situation :|

For now, maybe you can consider suicide watch. I know it sucks but it might save your life.

My other advice is that when you have a little energy you could look into Stoicism. It's a coping strategy and it really helps! You might be able to live a full and fulfilling life under stoicism practice despite of your current situation / future situation.

I wish you the best. Stay strong <3

Thats okay, you have one life. Its precious. Its never too late to start. A guy I know started working at 35 and was a millionaire at 45

> now suicidal

Call a suicide hotline.


Not sure if that number will help him in Germany...? I posted a link to some German hotlines below, but the "he mentioned downvoting and/or Christianity, must downvote" zombies got to it. :/

Universal Basic Income is almost getting real and reverse aging is showing great promise. which means if you just hang on for another 1 or 2 decades you may live forever with lots of leisure. Create universes(simulate in video game) and play god or explore universe. The point is chances are we are at the brink of utopia. Think about it.

Germany can be very depressing. Making and keeping friends that can keep you up, pretty much impossible. Screw jobs, take a vacation semester, go travel a bit, doesn't need to be expensive. You'll meet nice people, then finish your studies and look for a job with some positive attitude. I've been through this, believe me

Why do you care about society? You seem much smarter than them. Or do you want just to be a slave of your physiology (genes) like most of the people? Otherwise see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWbRO1rWB9M

Don't give up on finding a job.

You're probably going to need to make hundreds of applications to generate dozens of interviews to lead to a job. The majority of places won't even bother rejecting you. It's stressful, but you've already gotten a start.

This won't be popular on HN, but my job is to speak the truth and eat the downvotes if necessary. :)

First, the truth is that God loves you and doesn't want you to end your life. I don't know what you believe, but I am firmly convinced that that is the truth. And being so, it overrides everything else in life. No matter how bad things seem, no matter how bad things actually are, this life is not all there is, and if we wash our sins away and live faithfully, we will inherit eternal life. Not only does that give us hope for the distant future and in the next life, but it gives us hope here and now, today, because God loves us and wants what's best for us. Note, this is not a prosperity gospel--what God wants most is for us to be faithful, and so he does not promise us an easy life, material wealth, or even good health. But he does promise to give us what we need.

Secondly, from a worldly perspective, there are people who have overcome much worse circumstances than you are in right now, to achieve their dreams, prosperity, success, or just plain happiness. So there is empirical evidence that you have hope for the future.

Thirdly, try to take a step back from yourself and your current feelings. Try to recognize that how you feel right now is not necessarily how things actually are. We humans are funny creatures, and our minds can run away from us, leading us down dark, hypothetical paths that may bear no relation to reality.

I don't know more than what you have said, so it might be that you have felt this way every day for a long time, or it might be that you have good days and bad days. Either way, you may feel differently later today, tomorrow, next week, etc. Sometimes a good night's sleep is all I need to snap out of a blue mood I find myself in when I get tired and stressed. It used to be that I would spiral further down and down, but sometimes now I recognize that I'm not being rational, that I am tired or hungry or stressed, and that I'll probably feel differently tomorrow--and I usually do.

So it might be that, at this particular moment, you are at an acutely low place, but it might be just a few hours until you're at a more even place. Don't be too hard on yourself. Give yourself some time. Take care of yourself. Eat a good meal, go to bed early (like, several hours early, give yourself plenty of time to get extra sleep), and give yourself the best chance at tomorrow.

One of the easiest patterns to fall into when depressed is to focus on oneself. It's really easy to do this when you're alone. It may help to envision the future life you would like to have, the future family you would like to have, etc, and think of yourself as preparing to live that life, preparing to serve those people. That means that you need to take care of yourself now so you can take care of others in the future. You have many years ahead of you and can do much good in the world. You can make many others' lives better with your time, body, and mind. Think of yourself as a potential force for good in the world, and consider yourself in training to serve.

Finally, if you have gone so far as to make plans for ending your life, you are at the point that you need help immediately. I don't know anything of Germany's social systems, but I'm sure there is a hotline or something like it that you could call or reach out to for help. Stop what you're doing and make that call right now. You owe it to yourself and those whom you will serve in the future to save your life now. It won't be easy, but it's the right thing to do, and you are strong enough to do it. I know you are, because you've already reached out here. Don't think about it, don't rationalize about it, just do it. All the other stuff can wait and can come in time. Take care of yourself now. Take a step back and consider yourself a friend in need of your help, and do what you would do for a beloved friend.

Here is some information I found for Germany. Please go here and reach out to one of them now: http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/germany-suicid...

I hope some of this is encouraging to you. I will be praying for you. Let me know if you'd like to talk privately out-of-band, and I'll be happy to correspond via email, etc.

Some of the comments in here are making me feel bad... if anyone in the Calgary area wants to hang out and talk, feel free to reach out to me.

Good luck buddy, it gets better. Its nice to see all the people in this thread being supportive.

Never think about such things! Consult a psychiatrist

Suicide does not solve anything, it just transfers your pain to your family.

The problem is whether people like to admit or not is that it does work. And as someone who thinks about killing themselves often, ironically one of the only things that keeps me going is knowing suicide is always option if I can't fight anymore.

I'll also mention a lot of people don't have close family/friends and either way in my opinion it would be selfish of them to want me to continue living and suffering just so they don't feel bad.

If the main reason your not ending your suffering is because you don't want someone to feel bad then I'd argue you're dealing with depression in a completely unproductive way.

> The problem is whether people like to admit or not is that it does work.

It seems to be impossible for me to admit anything when you are dead. What I wanted to express that suicide is a selfish act and does not lead to anywhere. On the other hand, I agree with you and admit that there could be situations when your pain is so unbearable that suicide is reasonable, but imho OP's is not in such circumstances.


Your post is incredibly cruel in the context of someone who has disclosed suicidal intent.

Having been through some of the stuff the guy wrote about... I don't think coddling is the right tone. If you let someone who is depressed tell you how bad and horrible their life is... and you agree or buy into that... things look bleak. The last thing you want to do is validate that shit-spiral that sinks a person deeper into despair and helplessness. If you tell them to cut the bullshit self-pity and take action, that leads to them getting on a path where they don't feel the way they do.

Suicide... clearly not something to joke about, but I have to believe the original author came here for advice. Wrote what worked for me. Some people may embrace the touchy-feely stuff more... for me personally that was all just a time sink. Depression is something you fix yourself, by taking action. Small actions lead to bigger actions lead to better feelings.

For anyone who is depressed I would recommend the first three steps:

1) Take a hot shower, shave, put on clean clothes.

2) Go for a walk. Don't take electronics with you. Just walk. As far as you can and tell your feet hurt. Take a minute to celebrate how far you walked.

3) Get a good night of sleep.

Use the time walking to think about a game plan for things you want to accomplish. Start small. Be honest about what you like about yourself, and what you want to change. And remember a goal without an action plan is just a dream. Work on plans. I will do A, then B, then C and check my results at each step of the way...

If you need a few days to just contemplate how worthless you are, do that while walking. Take all the time you need, don't beat yourself up for feeling that way. But make sure you are exhausting your body each day. Rinse and repeat as needed until you feel like doing something more productive.

A friend of mine was once told "toughen up" by a psychiatric nurse while on suicide watch.

Another nurse, on the same watch, gave him a bottle of sleeping pills that she never retrieved.

He's dead now.

Um...I would put the blame squarely on the second nurse.

> . I don't think coddling is the right tone.

There's a difference between not coddling someone and "toughen up, cupcake".

Your advice is likely to kill people. It is bad advice. You should feel bad for talking bollocks about something you clearly have no training in.

In general, when you have no fucking clue what you're talking about you should just shut the fuck up. That is especially true when you risk killing people with poor advice.

Here's one particularly stupid example:

> Take a hot shower, shave,

"You're suicidal. Go find a really sharp blade".

I think you're overreacting. His advice was very practical, and in no way can you reasonably say that his advice "is likely to kill people."

Telling him to take a shower, shave, and put on clean clothes is probably very good advice. When it comes to human beings, function often follows form; or to put it another way, to a large extent, we feel how we act. If a person has been depressed and cooped up for some time, it's likely he hasn't been taking great care of himself, and so if he looks in the mirror, it's likely he isn't presenting his best self--which further contributes to the downward spiral. Cleaning himself up will have an immediate positive effect on his self-image.

Your comment about the blade is rather silly. Obviously, if he's a grown man, he's going to have a shaving implement in his bathroom, whether a safety razor, an electric shaver, etc. It's most likely in plain sight on the counter. Are you going to tell him to not go to the bathroom because he might see his razor? Are you going to tell him to not open his kitchen drawers because he might see a knife? I think that kind of fearmongering would push him further down the spiral. Treating him as if he is on a hair trigger is more likely to put him on one, because it trains him to think of everything around him as a potential threat to himself.

When people are looking to others for support, they largely act up to the expectations they have of themselves. If we treat them as if we expect them to harm themselves, it's more likely that they will. If we treat them as if we expect them to recover and take care of themselves, it's more likely that they will.

Of course, this depends on their state of mind: if they are past a certain point, they need to be watched constantly and protected from themselves. But I don't think this is the case with him. He's calmly come here to ask for help. He needs encouragement and help retraining his thought processes; he doesn't need to be treated as if he's a lost cause who needs to be taken away in a straightjacket. That would surely make him feel worse.

This is great advice.

Thanks, it was nothing original. I will pass on your compliment to all the hundreds of authors of self-help books and articles I've read, various shrinks, coaches, physical trainers, Priests, Rabbis, Comedians, and dog-groomers who gave me advice over the years. (=

Just want to comment on this real quick:

> Do not, under any circumstances, bitch to your friends about your personal problems. That's not what friends are for, that's what you pay a shrink for.

There is some truth to this. Not everyone is equipped to help friends who are suffering from depression. Some may be too selfish, some may just not know how, and some may be dealing with too many issues of their own at the time. If one indiscriminately reaches out to "friends" for help with serious issues like this, one may come away more disappointed and discouraged than helped.

However, there are people who are able to help, and sometimes one is lucky enough to have one as a friend.

So I would recommend being careful which friends one reaches out to, but I would not say that one should never reach out to friends. :)

Friends are too close to you, and typically buy your bullshit. When you are down, your narrative is highly skewed by your perspective. You need someone a little farther away for objectivity. Someone who realizes that anything you say is probably your shit-side talking, and has no real basis in reality.

If you can't afford a shrink... or are traveling... I've found that your nearest Rabbi or Catholic Priest will generally do in a pinch.

Your friends... well maybe your friends are better than mine, but since I don't know what my friends can take, and I don't want to burden them with stuff that I carry in my head. When you are depressed you aren't yourself -- not the you that your friends recognize anyway.

I personally don't like showing my friends that side of me... over the years I've found that the whiney neurotic insecure blob I turn into when I'm depressed isn't able to maintain friendships and scares people away. I used to blame them, but really it's just a lot to process. Now I find it better to just segment that part of my life away from the people who care about me. I like having friends around when I'm good, and having them around helps me from slipping back into depression... but friends can't cure depression. It's gotta be a choice to not be depressed any more and take the appropriate actions... easy to conceptualize, but feels like lifting Mt. Everest when you're going through it.

I agree with you. When I needed encouragement and support the most, my closest friends did the opposite: pulled out of my life completely, one of them quite abruptly and abusively, taking some others with him. It hurt.

But, since then, I have other friends who have been there for me. And there are some friends whom I have been there for, because I know what it was like. So it's not impossible. :)

It's wise to be careful in choosing whom you try to lean on. Maybe it's not possible without a hard learning experience first. And it's made harder by not being in the most rational state of mind at the time.

Also want to add to make sure to SLEEP WELL. Just as there's advice to have a waking routine, have a sleeping routine too. Sleep at a set time with no screen use for ah hour before. Additionally drink green tea and focus on a plant based diet.

Excellent point.

I sleep in a cool room without any electronics. Every night -- when I'm up or down. I have an alarm clock, and that's it. I leave my laptop in my office, and my phone plugged into a charger in the kitchen. The body will try and heal itself, you have to give it the right resources to do that... clean food, lots of water, and plenty of sleep.

Don't know about the rest of it, but when I'm at my worst (and that happens a bit these days), a good solid night of sleep can work wonders. It's no substitute for professional help when you need it, but it can help get things in perspective for long enough to get the help your friends and family NEED you to get.

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