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Ask HN: How to survive as a homeless engineer?
181 points by homelessdev on June 15, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 174 comments
TL;DR I'm about to get evicted because I ran out of money and can't seem to land a job. I'm also in a bit of a rush, so i apologize for any grammatical errors.

I have been a web developer / software engineer for 15 years (fullstack, 5 languages).

I am living in Colorado with my wife -- I quit my job In Jan due to issues I had with the way our company was treating customer data. This turned out to be a foolish move as it has proven difficult to find a new job (I had something lined up when I quit, but it fell through).

I did land a contract between then and now, but in order to survive I had about 1.5 months to find a new job and that hasn't happened.

I was 3 days late on my rent this month and now have to appear in court to explain why i haven't paid. I fully expect that to lead to an eviction.

I've never had an issue finding a job prior to this so I'm quite frustrated with myself.

I don't own a good laptop (i use a desktop) and have about $400 to survive on. I've tried upwork but can't drum anything up quick enough / at all. I have multiple interviews lined up but I'm not hopeful at this point. I have things I can sell but I'm not sure how quick I can turn them around. My wife has a job but its only a couple days per week so not enough to survive on... she has another interview on monday but no clue how it will turn out of course. We own a car and are currently planning on a shelter (car is second plan).

The questions I have for HN are: what are my best options for survival? any pro tips on how to live on the streets and still land an engineering job?

Thanks in advance guys

I've been in the kind of spot you're in. I survived it. There's nothing so special about me. You can do it, too.

Every day make a careful, accurate inventory of the things that are under your control and the things that are not. Don't worry about the things that are not under your control; they're none of your business. They're like the weather: they come and go as they will.

Focus on the things that are under your control, on finding out what is the best thing you can do about them. Do it as well as possible.

You can survive the loss of a job. You can survive losing a place to live. You can survive diagnosis of a debilitating, incurable illness. You can survive the loss of the future you thought was ahead of you. I survived all of these, and went on to do things that I judge to be good and worthwhile.

Like I said, there's nothing so special about me. What I can do, you can do.

Some of the other comments have good ideas and good advice. Take those and use them.

Some comments are unhelpful. Forget those.

Remember: I lost my job, my family, my home, my career, and my health. I'm still here. I still do things that I think are good and worthwhile. Some of the best things that have ever happened to me happened after my great catastrophe.

I did it, so you can do it.

I wish you the best of luck.

so... stoicism, basically.

- Public libraries can help with the job search if they offer free internet access

- If you don't mind camping, its an extremely cheap way to live, and a gym / YMCA will help before interviews.

- If you have any friends / family, ask them if you can crash. Have a friend who lived this way for ages.

- If it comes to it, there are often abandoned structures that are reasonable for keeping rain off. Lived in an abandoned office building for a month at one point. That one was really lucky. Had a gym, water, and electricity still!

- Apply, apply, apply. Set a goal. X applications a day, where X is probably 3+. Beat that goal every day.

- Be humble, but not desperate. If its reasonable and will pay bills, worth it.

- Be willing to move. Frankly, CO is really expensive. People scoff at AL (cur. loc.), but it has NASA, Army, most 3 letter agencies, and every gov't contractor known to man. Also, rent is $400-600 and a house can be found for $30000-40000 if you're not picky.

- Sell all your stuff. Flea markets, craigslist, ebay, whatever works.

- If you get a job - save. There is no reason to lose a job and then only have $400.

- Send me a msg (email in profile) if the AL thing sounds reasonable. Used to be in software and a contract mgr., can at least look at whats around. Can't promise, as I left to walk the earth a while back.

> Send me a msg (email in profile)

FYI, your email is not displayed in your profile. The "email" field in your profile is only visible to the moderators. If you want to publicly share your email address, it needs to be included in the "about" field.

Thank you. Was not aware. Figured if I included it in the info it was viewable. Changed.

Just to add on to this, Huntsville, AL is the fastest growing market in the United States for technology jobs.


Average rent for a 2br is somewhere around $800, and about 3 hours from Nashville and Atlanta.

Sidenote: how does a place like AL have so much government money poored into it?

I can't really speak for the rest of the state but, in the late 50's / early 60's, Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal army base ended up as the home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, as well as many of the post WW2 German rocket scientists. I think that over the decades, the focus on aerospace & defense has simply snowballed as more employers and workers are attracted to the area.

Maybe some government decisionmakers decided to spend money there as a deliberate matter of social policy, others saw it as a good place to get certain property and services that the government wanted at low cost, and maybe some legislators were good at getting procurement and grant preferences for their home state?

Its like gravity. You make a divot in spacetime, and things being to roll downhill toward the divot. Mass collects, attracts other mass, and soon you have a significant planetoid. Leave it alone long enough, you have a star, or in the case of some places, a black hole.

In HSV case, several significant divots. NASA MSFC, Army Materiel Command (Logistics), and the Missile Defense Agency. Caveat on living here, if WWIII happens, we will get nuked.

I like the gravity analogy. Sounds like you live there.

What is the life like there? Professionally and outside of work?

Apparently my post has been flagged for some reason. I attempted to post the following last night but kept getting a message that I was posting too fast:

Questions / answers thus far:

there's been a lot of good advice in this thread thus far and a few understandable questions.

I'm going to answer them all here as I can no longer edit the main thread.

first off, great suggestions - some of these were already on my mind (gym, library, camping specifically) and seeing them reinforced via comments is encouraging.

to answer some questions that have been raised:

1. > homeless in the USA? Just cannot understand how this would happen

I'm still trying to piece this together myself. I failed multiple job interviews that were very difficult, ran out of unemployment and am now facing eviction. it takes 6 to 12 months to get into government housing in colorado. unless i get a job before that, its the car, the woods or the street.

> 15 years full stack

I don't get it either.

2. > How resonable is the person/company you rent from to secure an agreement to stay on despite the late rent?

zero reasonable. they filed after 3 days and after i explained that i'm having health issues.

3. > Have you applied for unemployment?

yes, i was approved as my reason for quitting was appropriate, however it ran out quickly as rent is extremely expensive.

4. > Built In Colorado job

I am aware and use it, however yes the process is slow

5. > if he were a brilliant engineer he probably wouldn't be on here with this post

Define brilliant. i certainly haven't claimed to be brilliant, but i do claim to be an excellent employee, extremely fast learner and someone who has never been fired and who has always excelled at their job. I suspect some people think i'm brilliant and others do not.

6. > Why would 3 days late on your rent involve a court date and eviction?

Denver / Colorado is harsh as fuck, apparently.

7. > It'd be really shocking to me if this happened in the US without some prior history/grounds for eviction

then be shocked, my friend. its happening and i've never been evicted in the past nor has my wife. nothin but smooth sailing in my past. this is denver

In all of this i also forgot to mention that I was diagnosed as being bipolar which has helped wreck my life.

8. > How have you been an engineer for 15 years and still: Rent an apartment, Don’t have a few laptops lying around, Don’t have any savings while having no kids

This series of questions assumes that i have made sound financial decisions over the years. i have not. it also assumes i do not have a child whereas I do from a previous marriage. also, it assumes i've never owned a house, i have... doesn't mean i still do.

People aren't being very fair to you here and I'm flat out embarrassed by HN.

The most relevant thing is that you're going through something terrible. If I had anything, I'd give it to you, but I've had a very tough year.

The best I can offer is that I'm genuinely sorry. Not only for the way you've been treated here, but for everything that has happened.

I've had some good friends go down the homelessness path and the one thing I've heard from all of them is that, no matter what, you've got to have some sort of fixed address. Over the next few days, you've got two big priorities:

1.) Finding shelter.

2.) Finding someone who will let you get your mail sent to their address.

I wouldn't normally suggest this because it's rather manipulative, but there's a technique called door in the face persuasion. Your first ask is going to be, "Can we stay on your couch for {{period of time you'll stick to}}?" And, if you hear no or see a pained expression on that person's face, your next ask is, "Can I change my address to yours so I can keep getting my mail?"

Vast swaths of North American culture assume you have an address. It's amazing how hard things will get when you no longer have one.

If you're in the Denver area, check out the Denver Voice. It's a street newspaper and street papers are a great way to make money!

>People aren't being very fair to you here and I'm flat out embarrassed by HN.

Me too, it probably the just world hypothesis at work.

Hang in there and don't listen to the negative talk.

They cannot possibly understand what you are going through, because they aren't going through it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis

What about a PO box? Would that work?

I have never been homeless, so my experience and perspective are severely limited here.

A PO box would work in a pinch, but I can see a couple of issues.

The first one is that PO boxes can be expensive and temporary homelessness is already very expensive. Realistically, to stay in a state of temporary homelessness, you need to be in a situation where you can apply for jobs, go to interviews and hop online or on the phone for quick calls. That requires things like a gym membership (for a shower), car parking/maintenance/gas, food and other basics. The example I always like to give is to ask a question. How confident would you feel going into a job interview looking like you slept in your clothes because you did?

Temporary homelessness is also very time consuming. Simply finding a place to hang out is almost a full-time job. With a PO box, you've got to keep paying the rent and find time to go to your box, pay rent, etc.

The second one is one of human contact and love. I've never been homeless but I have some good friends who have been. The lack of pride is already immense. But, apparently, it can also be incredibly lonely, particularly if you're mentally healthier than the mean. Having someone from your past who meets up with you once a week and gives you your mail is a powerful bit of human contact.

I'm a cto in denver by union station and would be happy to treat you to a lunch and chat with you and give you pointers about how to present your current eng. experience. The denver job market is a fickle one, with some astoundingly poor hiring practices. I can try and help you with navigating those and i also know a few companies around who are actively seeking skilled engineers.

Feel free to reach out and we can do lunch sometime. you can get to me via: ben at meetmindful.com

Any chance you could move out of the state? If you have 15 years experience then the valley or Texas would be a better way. Granted 400 usd doesn't net you a shoebox, but if nothing else sleeping in a car in California is a lot nicer than in colorado and it should put you closer to the jobs.

I'm a little late to the post but wanted to add - if your car is eligible look into signing up for uber/lyft. Also look into task rabbit/wag or their equivalents if you can. Won't be a ton of money, but at least with uber/lyft you can be up and driving within two weeks with the option to 'cash out' each day's earnings (overnight transfer to your bank account).

The flexible hours are great to work around interviews and you can make enough to feed yourself and find a place to stay.

Good luck.

I feel very bad for you about the bi-polar diagnosis. You can get disability for this though. It's truly debilitating.

Just wanted to chime in, I'm in Utah and can totally relate. (My car will be repo'd next friday if I don't have enough, and we're struggling w/ eviction possibilities too.

For me, I had an employer not pay me 2 months of wages.. 14k. The CEO is a corrupt scam-artist, and me and all other devs/ex employees have filed wage claims, but he went to jail for check fraud, and I'm assuming he's poor too, possibly a drug abuser according to one dev, so yeah--I'm probably never seeing the 15k I'm owed :( ...

It's been a real struggle, the depression has made it so for about 2 weeks I couldn't get out of my chair, I just felt if I move it would be to jump off a roof or something. It gets better though (i think)...

My saving grace is reddit.com/forhire -- 90% of my freelance clients have come from there, it's a great resource. I just got 2 clients this week, so hopefully they pay and I can knock out their things fast enough to build up my security net a bit.

My advice look at the for hire posts for devs, find the one that sticks out the most, copy their layout, replace the content with your details, and post it.

Do this once per week -- Monday at 7am eastern seems to be best / most trafficked time according to a reddit stat's site I checked out.

Then just keep posting other places too, and following up. Hopefully you find something. I know how hard it is though, good luck!

The subreddit link is www.reddit.com/r/forhire

I've also got a multi-reddit for jobs, careers, and freelance: https://www.reddit.com/user/zvive/m/jobs_and_freelance/

This sucks! I'm so sorry to hear man. I've spent a lot of time with people who are homeless, which has caused me to think about this very question though I haven't had to put any of this into practice so grain of salt.

- Get a membership to a cheap gym so you can use their shower (and potentially wifi) if the shelter doesn't work out. In many areas it's possible to get a membership for $10-20/month. Clean your clothes in the shower with you.

- Try really hard not to feel desperate during interviews. We make worse decisions when desperate. Easier said than done :(

- You may need to buy a laptop, which will suck, but hopefully you can find something good enough and very cheap on Craigslist? If you can't get a laptop, consider public library or internet cafes (if those exist there).

- Food is going to be tough. Canned beans will become a close friend. Also canned soups/stews. Peanut butter, cheap produce. You may be able to find edible plants nearby. Free samples at grocery stores? Bulk sunflower seeds are cheap. Lifted most of these food ideas from a thread on reddit btw.

I'm not convinced that OP needs a laptop but a $100-150 old Thinkpad or low end Chromebook will get you pretty far these days.

A chromebook is not good. A cheap t410 or t400 would be best.

T420 on eBay with 8gb ram and SSD has been $100-150 for a while now.

Why is a chromebook not good? Battery life is excellent and if crouton is setup, make an excellent low end dev machine.

its like trying to code on an ipad, it can be done but that doesn't make it the best choice.

You can install a real os (linux or windows) on it, and they tend to be much cheaper than other laptops (the tradeoff is that they have little disc space and a slow processor).

Second the T4. I got a t420 refurb. (2 years ago) for $150. Solid machine.

> Lifted most of these food ideas from a thread on reddit btw.

Do you remember which thread it was?

I'm not GP, but there are often good suggestions on /r/EatCheapAndHealthy [0] ... also, I'd bookmarked this response from the SA forum [1]

Of course, lots of these suggestions assume that a reasonably equipped kitchen and storage is available, which may limit OPs options. Hope it helps anyway.

[0]: https://www.reddit.com/r/EatCheapAndHealthy/

[1]: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=34...

You can also do your laundry in a self-service laundromat. Usually just a few cents plus the detergent.

They tend to be $1 for the smallest and up to $7.50 for the largest machines. What I'd consider a normal load at home costs about $3. Then, dryers are .25 cents for 5-10 minutes, so it's usually $.50-1 per armful of clothes. That means it can easily cost $15 to do a couple's weekly laundry including sheets and towels, plus consumables.

Also, you have to get to the laundromat and spend over an hour there. Not a huge expense, but not really a few cents. On the positive side the best laundromats I've found supply WiFi, multi-game arcade emulators and free coffee.

I'm in Colorado and I have a laptop I'd be willing to give to you (its a little older - 2011 but works fine and has a fresh linux install on it) if you would like

Shit does happen. I've been there. #1 get some sort of income coming in. Keep looking for an engineering position, but find another job that gets you some $ but leaves your days free for interviews and phone calls. It would suck to give up a 4 hr shift for a BS screening interview. And at this point it does not matter what you choose. You are not looking for your one true forever job. You are looking to exchange your time for money.

Target, Home Depot are hiring. Consider 2nd shift and third shift type work. It sucks but it leaves your days open for interviews during normal business hours. Gas Station/Convenience stores are always looking for people to work the graveyard shift.

Warehouse/logistics distribution centers are ALWAYS looking for 2nd shift workers. If you can read and pass a drug test you can be hired. Double points if you are actually legal to work in the United States. Usually there will be a staffing agency who does the actual hiring.

I once worked for a business interiors company. We installed cubicles and such for businesses. The work all had to happen after hours. Paid pretty good too. Since you are in Denver that may be an option.

Consider too grocery store/bakery. Access to food that is still fine but can't be sold is a great way to stretch your dollars.

As to your engineering job search. Please tell me you are not doing everything yourself. Get IT staffing recruiters working for you! You are a easy candidate. An IT worker with skills and experience who can start TODAY! Don't be picky! If you can land ANY sort of professional work, you can stabilize your life and keep looking for that Forever job.

Well, it is summer, so there's that. Your compute situation is unfortunate but your rental situation is surprising. Three days, court, eviction? I was always under the impression that there were some number of weeks involved with a legal eviction having some process before the sheriff can come knocking. Clearly I'm mistaken and/or there's a longer story there.

You have to keep the faith and cannot allow yourself to spiral out. Find grit. It is frustrating but you're going to have to temper that. You seem to be doing the right things so do keep on keeping on. If homelessness is truly a risk then you and your spouse will need to dig deep, reach out to friends and family if possible, identify any root that you have and cling to it. Maybe that's just each other but hold onto it regardless. You're already taking inventory so you're already planning and adapting. Camping seems like a good suggestion. Reach out to some agencies if you haven't already. The more people working your case the better your chances will be. RH got my foot in the door after a (not so) nice five month shutout that started early in Sep. 2001 when myriad opportunities locked down tight literally overnight. I was at the end of a nice, well earned six week vacation from tech after our startup shut down. Just lying around. I regretted that little timeout for the next few months, to say the least. The money was about done and stress was running pretty high for a small family. You'll pull out, man, keep your chin up, your eyes peeled and don't balk if an offer comes up short. Find a comfort zone and shore up. You'll need a way to keep your comms open, for sure. I think that's all I've got. Good luck and god speed.

I know the feeling, in fact a little over two years ago I posted something similar on HN and got 0 responses. It’s always empowering to finally acknowledge that there is no safety net.

Forget computers and engineering interviews, start looking for any and all work that pays. If all else fails, go to McDonald’s and work there until you save up a little. Once you have an income restart your job search.

If you go homeless that becomes a social stigma that’s hard to come back from, so do EVERYTHING in your power to avoid that.

Oh, and find an apartment you can afford.

If you want someone to talk to, you can give me a call (send message first to morgan@wilde.work).

"McDonald's" will not hire just anybody. I lived in Seattle for almost 8 months before finding a low-level wage job. The McDonald's argument is what entitled people say to poverty stricken people who are suffering.

Also "find an apartment you can afford" is hilarious and patronizing. I make enough money in the industry I have worked in for over a decade to not really be able to afford a 140 square ft efficiency.

Anecdote, possibly no longer relevant because of political changes (especially 9/11):

I've been in the US for six months, back in 2000. A few days before my visa expired, I was in a fast food and started talking to the guy selling me food. (Not a McD.) Turned out he was the owner :) One thing led to another, I told him I was bummed because my visa was expiring and I had to leave; he said "you speak English very well, I will hire you - none of my guys here have a visa". I didn't want to take him on, the company I was working for at the time had promised me they would try to bring me back (they didn't) and I didn't want to overstay since that would have been an automatic rejection.

The worst thing was... the company I was working for (as a programmer) was paying me around $15 / hour. He offered me $17 :)

Anyway, back to your point. That event had also led me to believe that finding a job in fast food is incredibly easy... I'm surprised to find out it's not.

Totally agree re: "find an apartment you can afford". My parents we're laughing their asses off when I told them "it is not easy to find a room for $600 in NYC with a month-to-month lease".

They thought I was brain dead. It just turns out that they haven't apartment hunted in 30 years.

Talked to a local business owner here. He started a small restaurant because, after having moved here and looked for a job for a year, he couldn't get hired. Big box stores, grocery stores, other restaurants. He's ... probably early 50s, and was looking to just be a good employee someplace, clock in, clock out... and could not get hired. He's always been a hustler, and that probably comes through in the interviews, and they pass on hiring him. So... the "go get a job flipping burgers"... isn't always as easy as it's made out to be in many regions. For the record, he's now flipping burgers in his own burger place (made his own job, basically).

To add to this, if you are applying to McDonalds, try to dumb down your resume so that they don't think you are a flight risk.

I.e. remove really technical stuff and leave high school education.

They will in today's job market (which isn't typical). Hiring for unskilled labor is incredibly tight.

"Just go to mcdonalds" may not necessarily be a strong argument, but "look for any job, not just a cs/eng job" definitely is.

"Go work at McDonald's/Walmart/whatever retail for a few weeks/months" is generally not great advice.

Hiring is an investment at all levels and oftentimes restaurants (especially chains/corporations) and retail stores don't want to invest in training someone with higher level skills out of the fear that they'll just leave immediately when something that more closely matches their skills comes along.

Not to say that food/retail jobs can't be found, but in my experience you need to a) not go try at a chain and b) make a more personal connection with the person doing the hiring, not just filling out an application.

If OP is able and has a bike or car (and doesn't mind doing non development work), food delivery through postmates/caviar/whatever has a lower barrier to entry and doesn't require certain models the way ridesharing apps do.

0. Save your money for laundry and storage.

1. Food pantries will provide food. “I have a food emergency.”

2. Call the local homeless shelters, mental health clinics - anywhere that deals with indigent populations.

3. Recognize your bravery for putting ethics over money.

4. Work your way into a low-income housing situation. Many ethical thinkers live this way.

5. Don’t get paranoid or angry. You have dignity.

6. Join a church which is full of intelligent and relaxed people. I recommend Catholicism.

7. If you have to ask for something, ask for it with a smile. People want to help each other.

8. Family sticks together.

Sincerely, A programmer who lived homelessly for years

This is literally the only helpful post in this thread. The rest of the posts are nothing but, “Sorry, but...” posts.

There's some good (and other) advice already posted in here, and I can't think of anything to add to that, so I won't belabor the point...

but if you run out of other options, and can find your way to the Annapolis, Maryland area, I've at least got a relatively empty basement that you're welcome to occupy until you get back on your feet.

This would also put you in commuting range to Annapolis, Baltimore, or DC, which are all fairly ripe with job opportunities for talented engineers.

How resonable is the person/company you rent from to secure an agreement to stay on despite the late rent? You have had a job before and based on your background clearly have the potential to be earning again soon. It’s not like the situation is hopeless for them, if they can wait it out you will be able to pay. Is moving in with family or friends temporarily possible?

I actually spent the better part of 2 years homeless and/or living in a car etc. I made heavy use a local college campus lab computers by copying student ids off sign in sheets which were used for login. Also used a lot of discarded free meal coupons given to new students.

Took random contract gigs from IRC, elance style sites, and Craigslist. Also did telemarketing, and random day labor jobs off and on. Eventually a startup gave me free room and board in exchange for programming help. Saved and relocated to an area with more jobs after that startup imploded.

Found an abandoned trailer some property owners agreed to let me squat in. Got to tap their electric line in exchange for helping out with deliveries and tech work for their tractor store. Kept up with random craigslist tech gigs etc and started my own consulting company bootstrapped with retail work income and help from friends from IRC for bigger jobs. One of the random contracts I took let me code with free reign and ended up keeping me on as a full time software engineer and gave me several years of experience making custom prototypes and doing pentesting for fortune 500 companies as well as angel funding for a startup of my own.

Never had a problem getting work since.

Be relentless and don't limit yourself to tech work until you have some buffer in the bank. Be willing to relocate if the market is dry in your area. Never ever stop learning marketable skills and taking interviews you are not qualified for until you are. Most of the "mandatory" minimums on job postings are optional if you have some quality open source code to prove your capability.

> I was 3 days late on my rent this month and now have to appear in court to explain why i haven't paid. I fully expect that to lead to an eviction.

wow that's harsh. I own a house in the UK when the tenants lost their job but promised one was lined up. They didn't pay for 2 months, then the tenancy agreement was up and I told the estate agents to not renew it as I cannot afford to pay for these people to live in my house for free whilst covering the mortgage.

They refused to move out. Had to wait another month before could start the eviction process. Took 4.5 months to get them out, then they stole much of the furniture that was in the house and perhaps not "smashed" the house up, packed their things up and very hurriedly damaging the house (pulling curtains off + rail etc).

I refused to give them the deposit back, they went to court to get the deposit back and won lol (have to laugh about this otherwise would cry)

I think what happened to us in the UK was too much the other way, but kicking you out after 3 days is harsh.

Don't you have friends and family to borrow the money from?

Just..wow. How did they manage to get the deposit back? I'm sorry for your experinces with assholes. Makes the world a worse place.

How did they win their deposit back with that situation?

Sorry I am not helping. But 15 years full stack. Sounds at least 15K RMB/month here in China Chengdu. homeless in the USA? Just cannot understand how this would happen. sorry again for not helping. Maybe after you get better, some day in recent years, move to China?

Yeah, there is plenty of English teacher types, if OP has a degree there is always China.

Sorry but I meant dev work... if you still think only English teacher, then I am speechless.

(throwaway because electricity is out and I'm on mobile, no access to password database)

I'm surprised you're surprised. We get similar stories on HN from time to time and they are almost always developers in America. I'm not passing judgement but it seems OP was not able to save much month to month. Earning doesn't automatically scale with years. As most here suggest, OP should resort to contacting everyone they can expect to care. If that support network falls through then they are really left alone. It is very rough to "fall off the tracks." Homeless aren't all drug abusers.

Personally I think programming is not necessarily a safe career choice here.

the parent stated they were in China. Whilst I am making a huge generalisation here - I have found it to true from extensive travel. Lots of people from non-western countries have a mythical view of the west and especially the west. Most of this will come from stylised tv / films where everyone lives in a mansion, doesn't have work problems and live is just perfect and the roads are lined with gold.

I remember when my now wife came to the UK for the first time "wow you have poor people too!". She had been brought up seeing postcard perfect depictions of quaint little village hamlets. But the misconception is both ways. Many people from the UK are shocked to find out that in the tropics you have rainy miserable grey overcast days - as we are brought up with postcard perfect Caribbean seas, palm tress, blue skies and full sun...

Anyway I digress, I can quite understand why someone from China would be surprised at homeless and poverty in the US

- Not have conections with old customers/employers? You could try to ask if wanna some help. Is surprising how often work come from old work... or just people that barely remember you

- Customer support and/or pc maintenaince or similar is seriously in need for a lot of small-medium companies. This can lead to coding very easily. See around where you live and note how many companies are. ALL OF THEM NEED SOMEONE LIKE YOU. Not all of them will say yes, but well, you could try!.

- Do you have other abilities san coding? Having any job look like is more important than having the job you want.


I don't know how things are in USA but where I live (Colombia) is kind of easy to survive - and VERY well- selling street food. One time, I make a bit more than my prior jobs selling tasting meat (was not unemployed but wanna get a bit more). I know someone in California that sell spicy food in jars and live very well.

My mother is Chef and have helped some friends in bootstrap a food bussiness around easy-to-made food. One of them, sell Hogao (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogao) in jars and made to support his family just with this. Their situations was even more desperate, for sure.

You could put to advantage you/wife extra amount of time. As my naive understanding of the USA situation, nobody have time!. Can you provide a service like prepare lunch boxes, take care of pets, clean houses, or anything similar?

PM me your info (my email in my profile) and I'll mail you some gift cards to your local grocery store.

I have a T240 with 8gb of RAM you can have.

There is a lot more said here so I won't repeat.

I'm struggling to to find a job in my area as a c++ dev, but I can help out another human being.

If you ever get to Upstate NY you and your wife are welcome to stay with us. We live on a lake with lots of trees. Might eliminate some stress while you rebound :-)

Doh I am so sorry to hear that :(. Do not blame yourself for not finding a job, guilt/blame is just going to hurt you here. Be confident when you do those interviews and submit those applications, just because you have gotten unlucky so far in finding a new gig does not in anyway reflect who you are.

Do you have anyone you can borrow money from to cover you for a while? Family or friends? That would be the first option I would suggest.

Do you have family or friends who have a spare area you can crash to sleep at least?

Can your wife drive for uber/lyft while she is looking for a job, that can bring home some money and if you own a car that might work. That could help you get back on step 1 possibly. You might also look in Boulder, as there are a ton of jobs here she could get instantly and then quit once she finds something closer to Denver to avoid the commute.

There are some good resources here: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-human-... *It might not hurt to call and see what options they have. There might be some city programs in this situation to get you in something for 30 to 90 days until you are back on your feet.

Another option is to camp and use the shower system someone mentioned. A tent is cheap and it is a warmer time of year to get away with that. I hope it doesn't come to that.

I salute your ethics in quitting the last job, but I would urge you next time to build a safety net and put ethics second to "survival". I can understand if they were killing or hurting people, but customer data is just a modern day problem we don't know what to do with as the definition of privacy evolves.

Have you applied for unemployment? State benefits may not fully pay the rent but should help. You'll likely need to supply proof that you're looking for work but that sounds like your plan anyway.

With some exceptions (hostile work environment, etc.), unemployment typically won't pay out if you quit a job.

unemployment approved me as the reason I quit was valid (HIPPA violations)

perhaps these were symbolic breadcrums after you revealed your allegiance with the people instead of the corporation?

if true, this helps explain why you have a hard time finding an IT related job.

if true, this insight may help you find a job by selectively applying for IT work at civil right-ish places (EFF, small civil right-ish law firms, etc ...) as they may be less prone to discriminate on your past "offences", with the upshot that you might feel more at home in such a job than elsewhere?

Sadly unemployment was very low and I already chewed through it in under a month

> I was 3 days late on my rent this month and now have to appear in court to explain why i haven't paid. I fully expect that to lead to an eviction.

This is strange. If you paid, why are you going to court?

Normally, if someone does not pay on time, they may be served a late rent notice. This is an official warning and has a deadline by which a payment must be made. If you miss that payment, the landlord can file an eviction case.

You paid. Why would the landlord take you to court?

I am not a lawyer, but even if the above is true, it seems that a judge would not allow an eviction based just on a single 3-day late rent payment.

You have a bit more time to get yourself together.

The laws vary greatly by state regarding eviction in my experience.

Lots of good advice here already. Some of what's below repeats what others have said. The main thing is avoid becoming homeless. I can't stress that enough. However, if you really can't do that, then here's some advice:

1.) Don't Panic!

You're about to have an adventure. Make it fun. You're not crazy, you don't have face tattoos(?), you've got skills. You won't be homeless for long, if at all. Keep your attitude in check.

2.) Head West before Winter!

If you're still out and about by then (unlikely) do not mess with that Colorado Winter. Brrr! Come out here to CA, OR, or WA. I didn't used to believe in seasons, not really. Growing up I saw them on TV, of course, but they were something that happened to other people, like tiger attacks. I spent a Winter in CO once. Once. Fuck that.

3.) Go camping.

You can camp for free in National Forests https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:National_Forests_of_C... This is a huge country and much of it belongs to you. Take advantage of that.

4.) It's really hard to starve in America.

I mean it's really fucking hard. There are food banks, Churches, and other places that serve meals or give away food. Usually there's a list that you can get from a local homeless aid group or something. We throw away huge amount of food too, I know there are "freegans" in CO.

5.) Ask for help.

You're doing that here, now, but keep it up and ask everywhere and everyone. Being too proud is a stupid way to stay homeless. You've got to have some friends or family, eh? If my friend had no place to go and didn't ask me for help (that I'd be glad to give) I'd be pretty sad when I found out.

6.) Avoid drugs and drug users.

You cannot trust a meth-head. At all. They will steal your stuff and sell it to get drugs. Don't let them in your car, don't let them watch your bag while you pee, etc. No matter how nice or cool they seem, nor how much they seem to have their shit together you cannot trust a meth-head.

One weird idea: Consider starting a blog so we can all follow along and root for you and send help. ;-)

(And for goodness' sake, when you're back in the green, save 10% of your gross and put it in index funds, you silly man!)

I haven't read very much of the answers, just enough to know that a lot of people are not exactly being supportive. I'm a little surprised, though perhaps I should not be, that with 164 comments, apparently no one has hooked you up with any of my websites:




But let me suggest that it sounds like you still have a little time. It is best to not end up on the street if you can avoid it.

Call 211. Find out what kinds of support are available locally.

Collect recyclables.

Start selling stuff. You probably can't take it all with you anyway. If it helps you make rent, awesome.

The Pocket Puter link includes a link to a Google Doc listing freelancing platforms. I'm having trouble accessing it from my phone, but one of the listings, probably towards the bottom, is for something with Moonlight in the name. It is a YC company. That might work better than Upwork.

Ignore whatever negativity you are getting here. The world is full of classist jerks who think it can't happen to them. It absolutely can happen to anyone.

In spite of all the good news about low unemployment currently, there are still a lot of systemic issues.

Best of luck.

I know it's not the main focus of your question, but since the eviction hasn't happened yet, it may be worth continuing to work on making it not happen, by consulting a tenant lawyer familiar with Colorado law. There may be legal resources available to you at low or no cost that could improve your chances of a favorable outcome in court.


http://theactioncenterco.org/program-services/tenantlandlord... (although "helpline navigators do not give legal advice" it sounds like they might help with some of your questions and might also be able to help you find legal help)

After you get back on your feet please work toward an emergency fund with 6 months living expenses in it.

My wife and I own a catering business in Denver. In the short run, you could do some deliveries. It’s easy work in the short run and pays decent on an hourly wage for a couple hours a day so it wouldn’t keep you from interviews since I t’s only during lunch hours.

That being said, I manage several software engineering teams in Denver around Union Station. Currently, I’m hiring for several positions, mostly server side in Ruby and Node. If you’d like to chat a bit about your experience, I could take you to grab some coffee. If your experience doesn’t really fit with that, I can help provide feedback on how to improve your chances in interviews. Feel free to reach out via the email in my profile (it works... just trying to protect against spam).

It doesn’t help now, but in the future please do not quit a job because the company is behaving unethically. It will eliminate 80% of employers.

If they're forcing you to do something that you know is criminal (e.g., stealing from a customer, tax fraud, etc.) it's much better to quit your job immediately than to risk going to prison.

If they're not asking you to do something criminal (merely something that you find unethical), start looking for a new job and quit when you have a firm offer lined up.

The strategy here is: solve the short-term crisis first, so you can buy time to find a good job.

Some ways to buy time in the short-term are:

- Get a lower paying job even if you are overqualified. Not necessarily development. Work on ridesharing or delivery if you have to.

- Raise money, ask for donations (e.g.: gofund.me page).

- See if you qualify for welfare benefits.

- Sell things.

Remember, all of the above is just a temporary, short-term compromise.

Then, once you are stable enough, take the time to look for a better job, but do it in a less committed way, e.g.: your wife first then yourself, or something like that.

Also, just to make sure, you know about the Built In Colorado job board right?


I worry their process will be slow but I want to throw that out there. I also would just mention that you quit your last job because your manager was bad, I would not mention you quit because of data privacy concerns as that can raise red flags I would imagine.

Please apply at www.WindwardStudios.com. We're looking for a brilliant senior full stack developer.

> We're looking for a brilliant senior full stack developer.

How about just a "solid, hard-working senior developer"? When you say "brilliant", most good, competent developers think of a truly 1 in 1000 brilliant developer we know, and think of how short we fall from that.

In truth, unless you're doing some kind of advanced machine learning or cutting edge software work, you likely don't need a brilliant developer. And indeed, looking at your site, you probably aren't doing anything of the sort.

Instead, a company like yours requires a dependable, competent, team-player.

Why not ask for that?

Edit: Jesus H Christ, is this really that controversial to merit 4 downvotes in the first 5 minutes? OK, have at it all you brilliant devs. I remember being in my early 20s, too...

Also, have you geniuses considered that the job post above is addressing a man who's a bit down on his luck at the moment? Perhaps putting up a post asking for a "brilliant" developer isn't the best approach? Unless, of course, the OP isn't the actual target of the comment, but instead he's advertising to HN at large (which is my guess).

>How about just a "solid, hard-working senior developer"? When you say "brilliant", most good, competent developers think of a truly 1 in 1000 brilliant developer we know, and think of how short we fall from that.

no one thinks that because it's pr speak. i've never met anyone deterred by "brilliant" or "ninja" or "10x" or etc.

> i've never met anyone deterred by "brilliant" or "ninja" or "10x" or etc.

I'm deterred from such job ads. But in fact you're right, it's not because of what I wrote above. Instead, it's because I've found a high correlation between those job ad keywords and dev work doing nothing but CRUD apps under the micromanaging eye of dysfunctional management.

But I tried to explain that in a more rational, diplomatic way, rather than just assume his company sucks.

No one? Never met? Well then, nice to meet you!

Yes, such terms in a job description - or in my case, in initial contract meetings - are red flags for me. Red enough to either never apply or show myself out with some excuse. Because my definition of "brilliant" may not match their definition of "brilliant" in terms of capability or efficiency, and I don't want to find out how high the expectations are after the agreement's signed.

The point of the interview is to sync up those expectations. If you're wondering what's their definition of brilliant, that's the perfect time to ask.

this is a good response, if he were a brilliant engineer he probably wouldn't be on here with this post. Or he's a troll and then is possibly brilliant somehow??

That's not necessarily true. There are plenty of brilliant engineers who don't have special pedigree or flashy work history so they appear average and it's only when you start working with them that you realize that they're actually brilliant.

These people have a hard time because they might have started programming from a young age and have been learning and refining their skill nonstop for over a decade but they never got a lucky break in their careers.

You're spot on, the attitude displayed in the parent is toxic. HN is pretty rough when it comes to pro-employee sentiment from my experience. Wear the downvotes with pride.

I'll try to respond to all points in this reply.

1. I asked the OP to apply - I assume he is really good.

2. I use the brilliant as a shorthand to say we need people that are very talented.

3. We need very talented people because the code we have, while it looks simple, is very challenging. I was on the Win95 core team at Microsoft - our code is more challenging.

4. We don't do brain teasers in our interviews, they are not an indicator of how effective you'll be (read Word Rules). We mostly have you walk us through your code. And we'll ask you to walk us through how you would approach certain problems.

5. Any workplace is not for everyone. We try to be upfront with applicants as to what they'll be doing here and what the culture is like here. This includes a final "interview" where I go through what they'll be facing here and answer any question of theirs I legally/ethically can. So they come in knowing what to expect.

And hey, if we're not the right place for you that just means you're looking for something different. Never let a job interview define you. And never let a series of no's get you down.

Thank you for letting OP know about the opportunity. I do hope your interview process is more streamlined than some of the horror stories we hear about on HN. OP is probably not going to be benefited by having to jump through many hoops.

> jump through many hoops

this right here is why i don't have a job yet -- suddenly being a good programmer isn't enough, you have to be a good algorithmic competitive programmer. Code challenges with intensely difficult algorithms (i'm talking 3 to 8 per interview) are making all of you employers pass over good devs, and making me homeless. This is the new brainteaser and 5 years from now people will look back and realize its a terrible judge of someone who will be programming a fucking website.

edit: i'm not going to post my resume or portfolio here, but if you saw what i'm capable of and where i worked in the past you would be shocked that i'm having issues finding employment.

also i should note: i'm 36... but i'm sharper and know more now than when i was being paid 96 to 105k in my 20s.

I want you to know you're not alone. I've been programming for 30 years and I cannot find work. I have hundreds of hours of video showing what I can do and it doesn't matter. Because I don't approach toy problems on the whiteboard like companies expect, I'm a loser.

This is something the HN community should really start paying attention to. You may be employed now and it may be great but something rotten is happening in the industry and it's only getting worse.

I have a MacBook Pro from circa 2013 I can donate to you if you need it. I'll make sure my email is in my profile. Otherwise, if you'd just like to speak with someone who understands (some) of what you're going through, let me know.

Cashflow: you want many of them, things that have royalties or residuals that add up over time. Better having a bunch of gradual passive incomes instead of one big income. Making software that is sold in an App Store is a way, but also offering your web dev services on a month-by-month basis (subscriptions) may be a potential way to leverage this idea. Longterm you want a way for money to continually keep finding you, and the quantities don't need to be huge but the trickles should be many. Start with something that scales and get it working. Other things that can help you make a passive income are: writing books (after you have a life worth of experience to write about or very strong philosophy or understanding, or simply colorful use of language), create music and sell albums or songs online (i am breaking into busking, myself), create or invent something that kicks back a small percentage but frequently. It all adds up, so small things ... don't shy away from them. What's your ideal vision for job and house and squad situation? Visualizing where you want to be without stressing so much the "how" can be really beneficial because we are naturally pathfinders in a rapidly changing world, sometimes we need to focus on the honeypot and the rest falls into place.

How much is your rent? How much short are you from paying the due rent?

If your rent is at low-end for your area, then I'd try to avoid getting evicted. Getting evicted could trigger more expenses (moving costs, new deposits, etc.). Putting you deeper in the red.

I'd first sell everything non-critical. If you get evicted a big pile of possessions is going to be a burden anyway.

Put your resume on dice.com and other contracting sites. There are a ton of recruiters there who need people. You probably won't get paid well and the work won't be glamorous but it should be fairly quick to find a contract somewhere in the country. Wherever you find a contract you can rent a room cheaply and send money home.

I was in a similar position post divorce. Drove away from the family home with next to nothing and was sleeping in the car. That was actually not as bad as it sounds - I worked out and showered at the gym, and spent a lot of time in the office - sometimes sleeping on the sofa in the break room if I thought I could get away with it. I remember one guy came in one morning and joked with that old chestnut "you been here all night?" - I would laugh, but little did he know!

Then the company went bust almost overnight - VC pulled the plug...

It was then a lot tougher. I moved to Thailand and lived on my credit card. I got some remote work with a borrowed Windows laptop, and did some marketing work for local companies. I then moved to Malaysia and became a dive bum. Best time of my life. I was lucky.

All I can say is hang in there, things have a way of working themselves out...

OP asking for survival tips. Avoiding the crisis is best, sure. But if that doesn't work right off, keeping body and soul together needs food. Studied this a bit when I thought we might be looking at an economic meltdown on a large scale. YMMV, this is result of reading and practicing from comfort. Most canned foods are very low on the calories per dollar scale. On the other hand they need no refrigeration and most can be safely eaten without preparation, being already fully cooked. Sites like Survivalblog are a wealth of staying alive info. There are many sites about surviving homelessness too. Find a LDS cannery in your area and ask if they sell to the public. Most will. A six pack of #10 can filled with oats or pasta or dry milk goes a long way for very little coin. They have a pragmatic mission to help folks before a crisis. Get a wide-mouthed thermos bottle or two. In goes a half cup of oats, a pinch of salt, dab of butter if you have it. Flavor to taste and ability. Add a cup of boiling water, seal and let sit 5-10 minutes. Ta-da, a hearty breakfast for a few cents. Thank Kurt Saxon, regardless of his politics. If you still have a roof and electrical power, consider a thrift-store bread machine. A few practice runs with some recipes off the 'net or from the library. '5 minute a day artisan bread' works well. A rice cooker is another great tool for keeping well fed on the cheap. Add a wok and you can work up a near infinite variety of stir-fry tasties. Look at 'Eternal Soup' for how some of our ancestors made safe use of all nutritional calories that came their way in trying times. If you are looking at longer term low-cost food intake, remember complete proteins and micronutrients. Vitamins. We can get by for quite a while on body reserves but the symptoms of deficiency won't help an already tough situation. Healing slower, getting sick more easily, worsened depression, insomnia, and the ever-popular teeth falling out. Sprouting beans, wheat berries, getting a few ounces of ascorbic acid for doctoring up the bread dough... do a bit of homework. Keep a healthy mindset.

Blessings to you and yours.

I'm surprised (or maybe I didn't read through all the posts in detail) that we aren't trying to solve the root cause - finding you a job by clearly and correctly understanding your skills as an engineer. I honestly want to help and I have a few ideas but I'm not very good at this mode of communication (I have always used hackernews in readonly mode and this is the first time I am commenting here - I actually had to create a new account). If you'd be willing to reach out to me (systemicdent at gmail dot com) I'll do whatever I can to help you get out of this situation.

If you haven't talked to your landlord, talk to your landlord. If they sent you a summons after three days, I don't have high hopes, but it's worth a shot. Explain your situation and see if there's anything they can do for you. Maybe they'll let you stay until they can rent the place.

Are you someplace you can drive for Uber or Lyft? It's not great money, but you can probably earn enough in the month you have left to buy a cheap laptop and pay for food, a cell phone, and a gym membership after you get evicted, which should improve your ability to keep applying for jobs.

First, sorry you're in this spot. I hope you have friends/church group/family support to help you in this time.

If it were me, I'd probably have both myself and my wife take whatever 'second' jobs we could (Wal-Mart, fast food, etc.) for nights/weekend income. I'd reserve my 9-5 hours for a full-press job search.

Good luck to you. Your skills are in demand, so hopefully this won't last long.

Doesn't the eviction process take at least a month? How long will it take you to land a new job? It seems pointless to have to be homeless if you're able to land a job within a month or 2.

Are you in a position to borrow money? Maybe even an online lender like bestegg.

You could setup a bitcoin wallet and livestream yourself coding, I feel like a person in your situation is a kind of person I would be willing to donate to.

Having been in this situation, I'd recommend against borrowing money. Only family and friends will lend it to you, and you know you can't pay them back anytime soon. Unpaid debt puts a strain on any relationship, and OP is gonna need all the support they can get.

Sorry to hear about your situation.

Please share your email / Upwork profile, also feel free to email me (contact in the profile) - I might be able to help you.

Breathe, it may seem like the world is falling apart, but you will be OK. You should be able to start a low-skill job to make ends meet. If you're in a city, start driving Uber and Lyft! The hours are flexible so as to give you time to apply. Also, do you have any friends or family you can stay with instead of staying in a shelter or your car? Now is the time to call in any favors.

Good luck!

Can you link to your Upwork profile?

Have you tried https://www.gun.io/ ?

Have you used Gun? If so I'm very curious about your experiences, as I've heard very mixed reviews.

+1 on linking to the Upwork profile.

Find a cheap laptop on craigslist, thinkpad or chromebook would be good.

Write a selenium script to automate applying for jobs.

Find a spot with wifi and run the script.

Just wanted to say that I'm very sorry that this is happening to you. I hope that you and your wife find a way out of this.

I’ve been there. Transition to your car, but find someone or some place to stay before worrying too much. You’re off the grid, so look and plan where to start again. In the future, always plan for this. But for now your life will be reset. Just go with the best you can.

Once you can think, stop and do so. Acknowledge you are a SJW and as a result, lost a standoff with your previous employer when you brought it up. That company isn’t going to risk the livelihood of its employees, even if you might and did.

What did I do? Living in my car there’s few options, so I took a job canvassing for causes I believed in. It paid nothing, but I got out there doing my SJW stuff and felt better.

When I got off the streets, stayed with relatives, found a tech job and moved out, I learned somethings.

I never have enough info. Social justice causes are fine, but if you don’t have all the info, you’ll lose. Support agendas only with all info.

Second, make commitments and stick to them. I agreed to work for an employer, so to accuse them of bad data practices is not the right move. If the company bothers you, leave, stop trying to ‘change the world’.

Finally, be prepared. Jobs can be lost at any time. Apartments are not yours, be prepared to move at any time. And stop spending. Buy what you need. Adults do not need workstation computers, they need laptops. Not toys, Legos, Funkopop dolls, etc. Those are for kids.

Yes, after 15 years most have saved or diversified. Improve your handling of money.

Some turn spiritual at this point and pray your body stays healthy. It’s a strange journey called life!

> I agreed to work for an employer, so to accuse them of bad data practices is not the right move.

It's the ethical move. Just because you agreed to work for an employer doesn't mean you have to accept everything they demand from then on.

No, it’s not his company. He needs to leave.

He’s naive if he thinks they need his ‘extra advice’.

Sure, make judgment calls without all the info. Get fired. Your choice.

If you get desperate enough to live in your car, this might be a useful resource: https://www.reddit.com/r/vandwellers/

There are a lot of lifestyle/travellers on there, but also people doing it out of necessity.

I feel bad for you man. Why don't you apply for a temporary job at local coffee shop or a grocery store until you get a proper tech job again? ~50 hour per week even at minimum wage in CO ($10.2) should cover your rent, right? You will have Sundays and night time to apply for developer jobs.

I don't have direct advice, but I might suggest trying to sell the desktop and buy a laptop. You can probably use a library computer or, as a last resort, a phone, as a backup in between selling and buying.

1. Borrow money from trusted source.

2. Buy time with it.

3. ...

4. Return that money.

Don't let finance bring you down in your life, ask for help from people around you. Good chance someone will be able to help you.

This Ask HN is a good start, so I think you're on a good path back up already.

Good luck.

I just went through the worst job search in my life but it ended up well for me in the end, it just took awhile. Don't give up hope! Keep doing the interviews, something will work out for you eventually!

Check out this group community/forum. Many people getting along in life with similar circumstances.


If you want to send me an email with some more details about your experience, etc I'd be happy to reach out to some recruiters I know and see if anyone has anything going. jaye at claruscomputers.com.au

Step 1: Setup a Go Fund me so people can help you out.

Step 2: Get your resume on linkedin, ziprecruiter, indeed.com and msg all the tech recruiters you can find on linkedin.

Step 3: Reach out to family if you have any to let you stay with them while you are doing a job search. If not see if a good friend would do that. If not see if you can at least put your wife up with one of her friends so she is safe while you look for a gig.

Also look on craigslist for part time programming jobs. Not great money but it is something. Ask for half up front so you don't get stiffed.

Apply to everything here: https://www.indeed.com/q-Computer-Programming-l-Colorado-job...

Step 1: Setup a Go Fund me so people can help you out.

Number one reason why I don't use Go Fund me. Step 1 should be getting your shit together not relying on other people.

bwb on June 15, 2018 [flagged]

We are supposed to be an American community, not a bunch of people who don't lend a hand when someone makes a misstep or hits a wall.

I am disgusted how selfish such a huge chunk of this country has become... half this country can't remember what empathy is, and they have slowly destroyed our social safety net. I want the government to do more to help people in this type of position get back on their feet so that they can live a good life, and contribute to our country and tax base. I want my taxes to go UP to pay for that, in conjunction with lowering the massive defense spending we have.

If you are lucky enough to have parents or family who can help you out awesome, but not everyone has that.

If you are lucky enough to never make a misstep so deep you can't recover on your own, awesome for you, not everyone has that.

What do you want him to do? Build a time machine, go back in time, and not make a series of mistakes that helped lead here?

> half this country can't remember what empathy is

Not that I disagree with your overall point, but while I might be being overly sensitive here, I think it's implicit that 9 times out of 10, when someone refers to "half the country", what they mean to say is "the half of the country not affiliated with the political party to which I am affiliated."

Yes, there are selfish people, but largely, that selfishness is not evenly divisible by party line, and the castigation of "the others" should be minimized, in my opinion, as most Americans, left, right, or center, are honestly trying to do what they feel is right.

As it sits, Republicans are statistically quite charitable[1][2], to the point that 9 of the 10 most charitable states are red states.

Yes, perhaps they see a different role for government than you do, and yes, I think that the parent to your comment was indeed acting selfishly, but that doesn't necessarily conflate to partisan beliefs, nor should we attempt to correlate individual behavior to partisan causation.

[1] - https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/19/giving-back-_n_378...

[2] - https://www.nationalreview.com/the-home-front/which-politica...

bwb on June 15, 2018 [flagged]

I don't like either political party, but that doesn't mean they are equal in how terrible they are, too many people try to equivocate.

We absolutely should do more to castigate people by party line, especially when their beliefs are based on propaganda. The Republican party is destroying the future of this country. The Republican media and formal political party have convinced the majority of its members that people who need help are lazy welfare queens, and that government can't do anything efficiently. It is a great narrative, and it is not factually true.

Charity is ineffective, have you looked at how they spend their money and how much goes to fund-raising and operations? Very few charities actually do anything meaningful. Government is what does the hard work that keeps states and the country running. Not to mention the number of funds given to charities with dubious missions, such as convincing women not to have abortions, or megachurches trying to buy a jet so that Christ comes back and the world ends...

Charities are badly run band-aids that are trying to hold the country together. It isn't a good thing, it is another sign of how far we have sunk in taking care of our people. That is money that should have been collected via taxes and actually deployed to help educate people, help them afford health care, etc etc.

I would urge everyone to start castigating people by party line before it is too late.

There are Republicans who agree with you on healthcare. Let's not forget that Obama's ACA was a rehash of Romneycare. There are Republicans in favor of gay marriage. The attorneys in US v Windsor, which overturned the Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by Bill Clinton, were Republicans.

There are Republicans who support charity, a strong social safety net, and taking care of their friends and neighbors.


You're not going to win friends with this kind of belligerent talk.

Why don't you stick with the approach you took in your other top-level comment, which I thought was pretty great:


That was meant to be funny :), but also make an important point. Too many of us have become afraid to say it like it is, we equivocate and in doing that we give power to evil beliefs that are rising up in this country and being nurtured by the Republican party. Start calling a spade a spade.


It's not alt-right. They're white supremacists. Fascists. Let's not mince words when it comes to the beliefs that absolutely destroyed the world once already. Americans came to a bunch of places (eventually) to help fix that, and now they're letting it happen in their own country. Frankly, it is a disgrace.

and then they talk about all that and go out and vote for people who support none of those things.

Actions speak a lot louder than words. If you vote republican you absolutely stand behind those things.

Republicans actively try to destroy any sort of reasonable social safety net. I really don't care how partisan you think I'm being, the republican viewpoint on this is cruel and wrong and I think extremely low of anyone who supports it.

Extremely low.

If I were making six figures for the last 15 years, I don’t think I’d deserve (or want) charity unless there are some very unusual circumstances.

The OP wasn’t asking for charity either.

>What do you want him to do?

Probably what I’d do. Go get ANY job. Landscaper, McDonald’s, whatever pays the bills.

I would suggest you consider leaving Colorado if your job prospects are that poor there. I'm located in DC and constantly get hounded by recruiters looking to fill positions.

I am surprised about this. A cloudy future. Is this the future of web programming? Expecting downvotes.

This story does not make sense

which part?

Don’t worry about the haters. Focus on getting things like you want them.

holy f*. this is the best advice I've ever read on the internet

How have you been an engineer for 15 years and still:

- Rent an apartment

- Don’t have a few laptops laying around

- Don’t have any savings while having no kids

Each item above, on its own, is normal but all together doesn’t make sense.

For the last 15 years you should have been making 60-200k and you obviously didn’t sink it into a house, computer hardware, or savings. Where did it all go?

That’s why this doesn’t add up, to me at least.

I’m not saying you’re lying, but that I can’t figure out how you got to this point.

There are any number of life circumstances, from a failed startup to poor health, which could account for this.

None of which, I'm eager to add, are any of your goddamn business.

So many things could have happened, not everyone is able to save up. Also, it's irrelevant - either you want to help or not. Discussing the "impossibility" of his situation is not yours to judge, seriously.

I’m not judging.

A cautionary tail could do a lot of good here.

Why not let something good come out of the discussion that could prevent others from ending up in this situation?

A postmortem of sorts.

I could have ended up like this guy, but I found personal finance religion when I was 28. After making six figures for six years all I had was monthly payments equal to my paycheck and not much to show for it.

It’s pathetic how many people here leap to pity. The OP wasn’t asking for it.

Yes, a cautionary tale would be good. It's just the way you phrased it that was bugging me.

Also, I was not gunning for pity, nor was OP, true. Still, in such moments kind strangers on the internet who wish you well still feel good I believe.

Thanks for clearing it up!


Can you get your old job back or is that bridge burned?

I see several offers for laptop and other assistance, so you need to create an email address for this (if worried about getting found out, embarassed etc with using real email address) and put it in your about page right now, so that these kind folks can get in touch with you, and you can get a head start and try to avoid going homeless....

Who knows, you may even be able to get some short contract from someone here and stay afloat for a few weeks / months.

Wishing you the best!

Why has this been knocked off the front page all of the sudden?

It appears to have been flagged. I think it should not be flagged regardless of the OPs post as the information in the comments is very useful.

Email in profile. I am in Denver / Boulder area and would like to help you.

Why would 3 days late on your rent involve a court date and eviction?

If I recall, the last few leases I signed had clauses like a $25 late fee for up to a week overdue. And as a landlord, at least here in NH, if somebody doesn't pay immediately, and you want to get rid of them, you have to deliver a written demand for rent, which allows X number of days for response, before you can commence eviction proceedings.

It'd be really shocking to me if this happened in the US without some prior history/grounds for eviction. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I'm pretty sure most states have pretty pro-tenant laws when it comes to these sorts of things.

OP- if this is nothing but 3 days late on rent, check your lease and your local laws. I can't imagine many places in the western world allow eviction from an actual residence over something like this.

Unfortunately, Colorado's eviction laws are not as pro-tenant as California's or other Western countries'. Based on a cursory search, it doesn't take more than 30 days between the missed payment and a judge ordering a sheriff to evict you in person.

But a late payment (only 3 days!) rather than a missed one. A court appearance seems very heavy-handed to me. I'd hope the judge will see that.

The thinking probably goes that it's only a late payment if the tenant makes an agreement with the landlord, in which case the landlord wouldn't be giving them notice to vacate. If it has gotten that far then it is a missed payment because the tenant couldn't (or didn't try to) reach an agreement in time and it resulted in the tenant breaking the lease. I think many leases include provisions for late payments for this reason, even in states with pro-tenant laws.

Damn. My bad for not reading the post carefully. One would hope there would be other recourse than negative online reviews.

stop saying the reason why u quit in job interviews



It takes an unbelievable asshole to reply like this. I am disgusted by this and you should he ashamed of yourself.

Sometimes shit happens. When shit happens, the last thing anyone needs is some individual bragging about how they've saved a lifetime of living expenses in seven years of working...


> I'm based in a third-world...

The cost of living is much much lower there. Without relatively exorbitant rent and insurance costs, many people may be able to save a 'lifetime' of expenses. Many of us in the US are stuck with high costs of things. Moving to different parts of the country can help (assuming you can afford the move), but moving to other countries is usually out of the question for most people (especially with a spouse or family). So... "free" healthcare in other countries is something we can't easily avail ourselves of, for example.

There are many pros to being in the US, but there are pros in being in other countries too.

Agree that it was harsh response. One definitely don't get evicted for 3 day late rent, I think OP's question is his eventual homelessness. But its hard to tell from OP's question why he is getting evicted for 3 day late rent.

Under Colorado law people do get evicted for being three days late on their rent.

Under Colorado law, if landlords have not received rent, they can file a three day notice. During those three days, a tenant can either fix the breach or leave the property. If the tenant has neither fixed the breach nor vacated the property after three days, the landlords can terminate the lease and start the formal eviction with the court.

I guess some of us suck at finding jobs; I'm asking for less than 3x our minimum wage (which is quite low, compared to our cost of living) as a Python dev with 6 years of experience, and companies are treating it as an extraordinary amount. I only managed to make some real savings working abroad.

Are you talking about yourself? I can hardly see someone with 40k karma in hn charging less than $100/hour.

Stop selling yourself short.

Yes, I'm talking about myself :) I know I'm worth more, but that doesn't help if the buyers with money to afford it aren't here. I'm exploring remote, we'll see what happens.

I’m not sure why I’m getting downvoted. With your writing skills, you can sell articles. I did that when I started and didn’t have enough connection to get real programming gigs.

Articles pay range from $150 to $500. It’s not difficult to get an article per day done if you have enough commitment.

The second way is least profitable short-term but more rewarding long-term. Start a blog. You’d be surprised how many random people contact you through your blog looking for devs. And some of them are very good clients.

I can't even imagine where I would get enough content to write an article a day. I gave up on my blog after I failed to manage a rate of one article a month, simply due to being bereft of inspiration.

By the way, who buys such as articles at those rates?

Where are you based?


Can you relocate for six months to a year to Ireland? The market there is absolutely nuts. I've been hired (a couple of years ago) as a Python contractor for 450 euros a day (~300 after taxes), after expressly telling them I don't know Python. ("Are you willing to learn?" "Sure." "Great, you have plenty of experience, you'll figure it out in no time. Sign here.") Sure, for someone from the US that's low, but I'm from Eastern Europe.

I just came from a year in the Benelux, that's how I managed to save a bit, but now that I have a buffer I'd rather stay put for a while.

Still, even your €450/h is less than csomar's $100/h, which they are apparently earning in a third-world country.

Yeah, that's beyond my capabilities at the moment. Besides Upwork, I have also used Toptal - when I find contracts (not very often) it pays quite well, and remote beats relocation (especially since I have children in school).

Just want to point out that even for someone in the US 450EU/day is not really that low. Granted there's $100+/hour some are charging bu it's not really a regular for > 6 months contracts. Salutare!

I'll be harsh too - it seems that despite travelling to a dozen countries your experience seems to be limited.

Although on paper the earnings in developed countries may seem very high, the structural and unavoidable costs of living may make it difficult to get by.

I've experienced this myself - I moved from an Eastern European country where I had a regular comfy software engineering job to Belgium and financially-wise I'm way worse. On paper I earn than I did back home, but high rent, living costs, various fees and exorbitant taxes eat up most of what I earn. I am able to save much less that I was able to save back home (both relatively and in absolute monetary terms).

In case someone asks: I have moved to pursue a way more interesting job than I could find at home. Money was not a priority for me and I don't complain - I wrote this just to explain how sometimes you can be better off financially living in a less developed country.

Your example actually confirms that - I don't think many people anywhere in the developed world would be able to build up a lifetime of savings in just 7 years of working, even if living very frugally (which you claim not to do). Aren't you getting very well paid relative to local standards?

It's called a 3 day or quit. After you tell the judge you can't pay, they allow the landlord to file for eviction and then you get 25 days or so until you are evicted. Maybe you can ask the judge to consider your security deposit as an agreement to let you stay longer. The OP might also find a church or some local community org to help with the rent for a month. Sometimes the state/county will help to prevent eviction in the short term.

There’s no use for such a condescending reply especially when admittedly speaking from a place of ignorance.

Not everyone wishes to live in a third world country and yes - OP did mention a health condition.

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