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I quit my job last March and it was a bad idea.
745 points by mannicken on Oct 12, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 325 comments
Hey guys.

I created this (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2374271).

Well, I did quit my full-time job. I wish I could say it was 'the best single thing I've ever done' or 'why haven't I done it earlier' but I'm not going to say it. Just to offer the other side of the perspective. And because it wouldn't be honest and I don't give nearly enough fuck to be dishonest. Yeah, seriously, what do I have to lose?

It was a bad idea. I moved back with my parents, my freelancing thing barely works, I'm constantly broke, on the verge of poverty, I'm deeply depressed and contemplating suicide. I have to constantly hear my father shout what an idiot I am for quitting a high-paying job. My friends make fun of me for making a retarded life decision. I can't really do anything else, since apparently finding a new job, is kind of hard and I have to go through the whole step where I admit my failure and start over and I don't even know what I want anymore.

I thought I would become free, but I've actually become less free as a result of it.

Essentially, shit is very hard and I barely have any idea on how to get out of this mess. What doesn't make it any easier is that I'm 20, I have no college diploma, no high school diploma, no idea what the fuck is going on.

I'm an idiot, essentially. This post serves mainly as a warning for those who could be in the same position, contemplating quitting. It's not as much fun as you think. It's not like Office Space. I'm not saying you shouldn't quit, but you should really put more thought into it.

And fuck, I even had enough savings for four months after quitting. I thought a lot of things through, includes finances etc. I even managed to live by myself for the entire four months until I finally gave in and couldn't pay the rent.

It just didn't work out and it feels very painful.

It might sound snarky to NHers - but I'd suggest staying away from Hacker News too: the get-rich-quick stories have a habit of getting under your skin and making everything sound easy. But striking gold with your startup is like becoming a rockstar - you only see the rockstars, not the zillions of failures.

Though, don't forget that failing is fantastic (and painful): it means that you're trying to do something challenging, unlike the people who will give you shit about it. Failing gives you character and experience - as someone much older than 20 I can say that people with these qualities are rare to come by in day to day life!

I'd suggest staying away from Hacker News too

This may be good advice, but I think the more general form is even better advice: Don't rely on the internet for hanging out.

Make contact with real people in real life, whether or not they are hackers. You are human, you need human contact. That's a big part of the definition of what it means to be human: We're one of the most social creatures on Earth; we're designed for communication.

Depression is real. And trying to be a solo freelancer in your basement is a form of solitary confinement, and that is bad for your health.

At the very least, get ye to a coffee shop or a library on a daily basis!

Also, because every comment in this thread should really include a citation of jgrahamc: Find counseling. Seek advice. You can't think yourself out of depression. It's not like solving a puzzle.

  I'm deeply depressed and contemplating suicide
If you are having suicidal thoughts then please talk to someone about that now. There are lots of people you can talk to.

No matter where you are you can visit http://www.befrienders.org/

I lost a fraternity brother to suicide. Please find help, you have no idea how many people will miss you.

To add to that, you might also find help on reddits suicidewatch:


Wish I could upvote this more than once. For those of you who want to, you can upvote two posts now!

I can't stress enough what good advice that is.

Reposting this comment which was made by a dead account: "A few years ago I was in a really similar situation. Now I'm fine, but in that period I called those guys at http://www.befrienders.org It really helped me. (sorry for my bad english) Creativity saved me, not necessarly BIG creativity. I was helped being creative, and now I'm really fine. I hope this helps."

Did you ever see the Malcolm in the Middle episode where Lois tries to use therapist techniques such as parroting on Malcolm? (S5E15 - page 6 http://www.malcolminthemiddle.co.uk/episodes/transcripts/eng... ) There's another (S2E8) where Malcolm fakes a breakdown so he can get out of a dorky class thing by talking to the school counselor. (Ed: I don't mean this as evidence, just a comedic primer for the general idea.)

I think a lot of people who read HN are in the same pseudo-category. They're smarter than the people they'd talk to. They don't need someone to listen because they can talk/write to themselves--some people find that scary to do, and talking with others is very helpful! And for volunteer things it's incredibly likely a person on HN knows more about psychology than the volunteer and can help themselves more-so by learning about why they feel the way they feel instead of repeating stuff they already say to themselves to a passive listener who may just repeat it back. I think a lot of therapy is about helping people to introspect, but the tech-crowd members tend to do that on their own. I'd rather talk to an actual friend who physically cares (as opposed to abstractly cares like a volunteer or someone you pay) anyway.

This comment completely misses the point about depression. A person who is actually depressed is likely to need assistance navigating out of that state. Being smart etc. isn't the cure.

Being too smart for your own good can lead to depression in the first place. To get out of that trap you often do need someone to talk to that offers a different perspective. Intelligence is not the issue here. Experience is.

I agree smartness isn't sufficient for a cure, and sometimes drugs are necessary, but neither is just "talking to someone" which is what Befrienders states: "We work worldwide to provide emotional support, and reduce suicide. We listen to people who are in distress. We don't judge them or tell them what to do - we listen." I'm certain what they do is a good idea but I think it's just a cached piece of advice that works well for most people.

If you can talk to the right person, then sure, it's going to help more than talking to yourself. The right people are few and far between even among paid therapists, some of which are paid commissions on how many drug prescriptions they give, and a random person is incredibly unlikely to be the right person. Where smartness comes in handy is that a smart person can do the relevant research for their particular case.

My own opinion is that a lot of the "best practices" and so on are aimed mainly at extroverts, and similarly educational practices are aimed at whatever majority group of student-types you can describe there. (Techniques hackers would love in school don't seem to work well on the general population.)

No, just no. Having a sympathetic person listen and provide good advice can be extremely valuable. And these things do not require anything but the attention of someone who cares, who maybe has gone through the same thing. These people are not few and far between, and they are not random.

Also, therapists cannot prescribe drugs. No one with the ability to write a prescription calls themselves a therapist. And I seriously doubt that anyone who can prescribe drugs gets paid a commission for doing so. That would almost certainly be considered a massive ethics violation.

Sorry about the wrong term, though I think it was clear from context. s/paid therapist/psychiatrist practicing psychotherapy/.

If you don't believe the medical industry suffers from the same problems as the political industry, with "sales reps" taking on the roles of "lobbyists", you should do some googling. Here's a nice database: http://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/

There's a lot of difference between a therapist and a psychiatrist. There's even more difference between getting paid on commission and being wooed by lobbyists. Having doctors influenced by lobbyists is almost certainly a negative overall, but it's nowhere close to having doctors literally paid on commission for writing prescriptions.

"As part of that promotion, Allergan provided kickbacks to doctors in the form of cash, travel, and meals and held seminars instructing physicians on how to bill Medicare for off-label procedures. "


If the FBI prosecutes for it, it doesn't really count. That's kind of like saying you can't eat at a restaurant because some chefs poison their customers. Sure, but it's illegal and not the typical state of affairs.

I don't believe that kickbacks are common (I'll change my stance if evidence shows that they are wide-spread), even for on-label uses. I'm pretty sure they're still considered a serious ethics violation and probably illegal.

I'm sure you're right.

A slightly different twist: a friend of mine is a pharmacist and he was decrying the end of free lunches provided by pharma companies after he finished first year (a few years ago). The influence of drug companies may exert is a recognized problem, even where it doesn't take the cash for prescription model (that I agree with you is probably illegal but I haven't looked into it). I do think it's likely though that there are creative ways out there that drug companies have come up with to encourage prescriptions.

When someone says that they are suicidal it is imperative they speak to qualified professionals who can assess the situation and potentially avert disaster. your comment is unhelpful.

But is that advice only given because nobody would dare not to give that advice?

I was feeling really sad for you until I read this: What doesn't make it any easier is that I'm 20

Relax. Get a job at the supermarket, or anything that will pay the bills for now. Figure out your main gig slowly on the side. If you share more about your freelancing work, people here might be able to help you out.

I have to agree with this. At the moment you are under a lot of stress and not thinking straight because you have no cash and no idea what you want to do. You need something to level you, get you back to a a place where you can at least pay rent, pay some bills, and decide what you really want as a career.

There is nothing wrong with taking a position where the work doesn't really require much thought or have great prospects down the line. It doesn't sound like that's what you need right now, you would beenfit from some time and a bit more security. Then use those free eveings you have after work to figure out what's next.

I have to disagree. The fact that he's 20 does not lessen his depression. Depression comes when your status in life is drastically lowered. It comes from moving down the pecking order. It's relative. In other words, if all you've ever had is a job working as a cashier in a supermarket, you may not feel as depressed as if you had a job as an IT manager and got demoted to desktop support--or got laid off. He did have a high-paying IT job and now seems to have nothing. Yes, he's young and can get back in the game easier, but the way he feels is human tendency.

Depression comes when your status in life is drastically lowered.

I thought that depression was the result of a chemical imbalance. It might be worthwhile to seek the help of a healthcare professional to help treat it before it gets any worse.

> I thought that depression was the result of a chemical imbalance.

Lots of credulous suckers think that. Might turn out to be true eventually, but for now, we just don't know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_imbalance

Hey man, first of all get out of those suicidal thoughts , you're still young , you havent seen much, yeah life is hard , i agree , but life is more worth it, just think about your parents and loved ones , enough of it , coming to the advice revorad gave really good advice, you have just reached 20 , you got lot of life ahead of you. For now join a supermarket , if possible try joining some tech company even if its a small ,low paying job, it will help you pay your bills and being in the industry , you'll know what's going on in the market and you'll also improve your contacts.

Exactly, right? I mean, I read that and thought "I'd kill OP to be 20 again".

20... no job, no ambition, no problems.

I did quit my full-time job.

So did I. Many times. About half the time it worked out great. The other half, it sucked, just like yours does now. You are not alone.

I'm constantly broke, on the verge of poverty...

Then get a job, any job. It doesn't have to be programming. It'll get you out of the house, get you with other people, and put a few bucks in your pocket. If you love programming enough, you'll find time to keep it going on the side.

I'm deeply depressed and contemplating suicide

Don't. Contact me anytime (see my profile). When things are going well, they're never as good as they seem. When they are going poorly, they're never as bad as they seem.

I have to constantly hear my father shout what an idiot I am for quitting a high-paying job

Fathers are sometimes wrong. Yours is now. Don't listen to him.

My friends make fun of me for making a retarded life decision.

When things get tough, you find out who you're friends really are. I know it's not much consolation, but you just did. Be glad you saved a lot of time and energy. Anyone who makes fun of you was never your friend, just an acquaintence.

I can't really do anything else, since apparently finding a new job, is kind of hard and I have to go through the whole step where I admit my failure and start over and I don't even know what I want anymore.

Don't ever say "can't" because it's not true. You can. Just find any job and go from there. First you crawl, then you walk, then you run. Many of us have already been there. You can do it too.

I thought I would become free, but I've actually become less free as a result of it.

So far. What you don't see now since you are in the midst of this is that this was just one backward (or sideways) step in a long journey forward. I don't know anyone who is successful that had only forward steps. We have all had these backward steps. It sounds like this may have been your first big one. That might be why it hurts so much.

I'm 20, I have no college diploma, no high school diploma, ...

None of that matters. All that really matters is what's inside your head and your heart. Once you decide to start taking positive steps, you'll see.

I'm an idiot, essentially.

Please don't ever say that. You're not, and I have proof: If you were really an idiot, then you wouldn't have posted this here.

It just didn't work out and it feels very painful.

Thanks for the warning. You may have just saved a lot of people a lot of pain with this post.

And thanks for your story. I have been there (several times) as I imagine many others here have as well. It gets better. I promise. But you have to stop feeling miserable and take a positive step. Posting here was your first step. Talking to some of us off-line may be another. And getting out of the house and finding a job, any job, is probably your next best step.

Please give it a shot a keep us posted. We're not going anywhere and we care. Really.

Excellent advice from edw519.

I only want to add that you are welcome to contact me (I'm a pastor and a programmer :-) if you need more help with the depression and suicidal thoughts. My contact information is in my profile.

My startup is a church congregation ... which in some ways is nothing like a technology startup, but in other ways is very similar. So I understand everything you wrote.

Keep up the good work. Thank you for reaching out and shining the light,

Then get a job, any job. It doesn't have to be programming. It'll get you out of the house, get you with other people, and put a few bucks in your pocket. If you love programming enough, you'll find time to keep it going on the side.

Totally second the "any job" part. I'd go as far as to say try to do something that isn't programming. Speaking from experience, sometimes the reason freelancing isn't going so well is some degree of burnout, and sometimes it's been the fact that although I thought it was what I wanted to do, really it was the only skill I had that I was qualified to freelance with, so it felt like having a job - but worse.

If you can't find something mindless to do that provides a new perspective and a new social circle, try to switch up what you're doing daily; write a blog, draw, whatever appeals to you.

One time when I had quit, took a break, went abroad, came back home. Nothing to do, not sure what to do. Went and found work in a warehouse, lifting lumber. Paid by the hour in cash, no taxes (shhh!). Wasn't big cash, but enough to get by. Worked with a bunch of Mexicans who all roomed together making more money here non-taxed, lifting lumber in a warehouse, then they could make in Mexico.

It was invigorating because it was exercise. It was refreshing because it was mindless. I loved it. And all that usage of my core muscles to lift stuff made my poo come out better to boot. :)

Sometimes, any job, just any job, is just the ticket until you move onto your next thing.

You may also find that working in an area unrelated to computers you'll find an idea for a project or niche business that will work. There are lots of businesses that need engineers and programmers to help them but can't figure out where to look first.

This is great advice. In many industries, what you take for granted (the usefulness of software) is voodoo. Getting a job in any area will expose you to interesting problems that are begging to be solved. Your skills will be unique and valued. If paying work is in short supply, start with volunteering. At minimum, it will get you out of the house and expose you to a new network of people.

You nailed it. As an example, recently I got back into music, started playing with a band, and then it hit me - there is an opportunity to make some iPad apps to help when on stage and in the practice studio.

You can spend your life as an engineer always looking for other people's problems to solve, and always running out of motivation. When you have your own problem to solve, out of necessity or convenience, the motivation is there by default.

From personal experience, there's also this great moment of pride that comes when you hand someone a tool they've been dying for and it works exactly as they wanted it.

You are (momentarily) a genius, a god, a lifesaver. Until they find the first bug, then it's back to business. =)

I'd like to add: get a job, any job, and finish high school. It's always a good idea.

edw519 is always gold.

Also, you're 20. I'm twice your age and I've made far more serious mistakes at your age that have had minimal negative impact on my life. Don't fear life.

You're young and free, don't sweat it and certainly don't get depressed about failures. You have plenty of life left to use what you've learned from them to succeed.

One of the biggest mistakes we make when we are young (meaning, me, I made this mistake) is we think that if we don't become millionaires by 25 we are failures. That's bullshit fed to us by the media who claims only young people win in startups.

I also second the 'get a job, any job'. Adversity is a part of life. Getting rich is hard, really, really fucking hard. Trust me, I went through suicidal depressions when I was 20 too, and I wasn't living with my parents - I was living on the street. I'm not about to tell someone to just 'suck it up', but I will tell you that you are nowhere near as alone as the world is trying to make you feel.

One of the biggest mistakes we make when we are young (meaning, me, I made this mistake) is we think that if we don't become millionaires by 25 we are failures.

No shit, I am 36 and I am working on my fifth million!

I gave up on the first four!

Yes, I would give alot to have known that I could have done that when I was 20, instead of waiting til much later when the stakes were much higher.

Unless your father quit his job and successfully started a company, you can probably ignore his advice, and you certainly should not take it to heart or let it get you so down. Parental approval just doesn't have bearing on reality.

I will second (or apparently 338th) this.  I was in a similar position to you - and it took me 5-6 years to get back from being so broke I literally could not pay the admin fee for bankruptcy, to charging 1000 dollars a day.

It was not a smooth road, nor an easy one, but it is a road many of us have travelled and we can let you know about some of the worst potholes.

You are in the right profession, and you have the balls to take a leap like that while still in your teens.  The history of entreprenuers say the odds are actually in your favour, even if it does not feel like it. 

Just to let you know, at my lowest point, after months of failed "proper" job hunting, my wife told me to get out the house and get a job stacking shelves at the local supermarket.  A week later I was in the freezer section, stacking sausages.  It did not last long but it was the turn around I needed.   Don't worry about the "high status" jobs - take any job and work up.  

And Remember the wise words of Kipling - to take both Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters both the same.

Good luck, keep posting

Great advice, the best part: I'm an idiot, essentially. Please don't ever say that. You're not, and I have proof: If you were really an idiot, then you wouldn't have posted this here.

In addition of what 'edw519' just said (which btw spared me a lot of words, thanks for that), nowadays, although I can feel quite miserable and suffer a lot on this kind of situation (which I'm in middle of one right now), I usually thank my life for having it happening.

And do you know why? Because it's due to such things we grow a whole lot more with these tough moments in life, since it compels us to think about what we have done wrong, what were out mistakes to end up this way and makes us to put everything in perspective and therefore rethink our life and evolve and learn a lot from that.

See, I'm a 26 years old programmer and on Saturday (Oct 15th) will complete 1 year my mom has passed away in a totally unexpected way (and that brought me a lot of legal and heritage consequences -- and a lot of big choices I wasn't prepared to make so early) and I don't have to mention all that messed up a lot my life.

So here I am now in a middle of a crossroad, rethinking my life and deeming quit programming and start one of my others wills, like carpentry or something like that, trying to talk to friends or friends' parents who work someway with that kind of thing. So, the point is you always has options to take before really thinking of suiciding (and I could say I'm bipolar who has his depressed moments), despite I've never thought of killing myself.

And I'm almost completely broke and just moved to a new apartment with my brother, which I'm still paying for it all by myself. I must say I have some tempting job offers in front of me in my programming area, but I think now is a good cue to starting doing some new stuff (and I deem myself quite great on web programming, and my friends and former coworkers think the same).

Whenever you find yourself struggling like you're doing and kind of stuck it's time to put everything in perspective and consider doing something new and somewhat unexpected and maybe your life will present you completely exciting and new things. And it's rather important to throw your pride away and ignore what people around you are saying. It's more important than ever to hear your inner voice, your intuition and find what could make you happy or at least make you away from your current feeling of failure.

Just wanted to reiterate two points: (i) you are never as happy or as unhappy as you think" and (ii) you can contact HNers, including me for support, just so that you see that you are not alone.

I'm surprised how many people here aren't suggesting more formal education. Only about one-third of Americans have a college degree. Getting one will set you apart. I think the tech field is a bit unique in its disdain for formal education—but throughout your career you're likely work with people for which it matters.

Self-driven learning is good (essential, I'd argue), but paying money to learn is a good motivator too. It'll get you (OP) out of the house, meeting people, and challenge you in fields you might not otherwise explore. Some important concepts are easier to grok with a good instructor. (Algorithms comes to mind.)

There's the side benefit that being a student opens you up to federal grants and loans (in the U.S.). Don't go overboard with the debt (I'd suggest not more than a year or so of borrowing), but it can help get you out of a bad place. Many universities also have student jobs, so finding work in that environment might be a little easier than otherwise. They also have career centers that will help polish a resume and refine interview skills.

Figure out what you love to do. Look for a job where you get to do it. In the mean time, any job will do.

Lastly, as others have said here, you're a more than competent writer. If you enjoy doing it, maybe you've a career option there. In the meantime, keep a journal. Not only is the process cathartic, it forces you to be reflective.

Also, tinyproj, a site featured here recently, has weekly lists of freelancing opportunities. Maybe something there will help tide you over.

Everyone seems to be posting long, drawn-out responses to everything you said, but I just want to touch on one point.

You're twenty years old. Maybe quitting your job was a bad move, maybe it was a good move that you just can't see the bright side of yet, but in any event you've got plenty of time to figure out what to do.

And, bonus, you know what financial hardship is like. I know a lot of folks that won't take big risks because they're afraid of losing their savings. Not a problem for you, it happened once and you know you can survive it.

Agreed. 20 years is nothing. Assuming he doesn't have a wife and kids he has nothing to worry about. Plenty of time ahead for improvements, which mostly comes from learning more diverse things AND networking more.

I think you're being tough on yourself. You're not an idiot, you just took a risk that didn't pay off, but that's part of how we learn.

Looking back at your other post that was a shitty situation and the desire to get out of there must have been pretty strong. Maybe I'm wrong but when you're under that sort of pressure and that unhappy, any alternative can look good and it can be hard to work out what the right way forward is.

Personally I'd look back at what was happening before you quit and why you quit. Understand that, understand that decision and what you can learn from it. Then look at what happened after you quit and what you can learn from that.

Then take all that and draw a line under it. Seriously, learn what you can and move on. There is nothing to be gained by beating yourself up so take those lessons and start looking at what you do next and how you can avoid repeating the situation.

But genuinely thanks for posting this. I think sometimes it's easy to get carried away with the whole "quit, go it alone" ethos and not see the other side. The reality is that most small businesses and start ups struggle or fail, and freelancing can be tough, especially at first, so it's a realistic chance that if you go out on your own then that'll be the situation you face. Sometimes we forget that so while it's been painful for you, hopefully someone else will benefit.

Fingers crossed that you manage to take this experience and turn it into something useful.

You're 20? You have your whole life ahead of you, get back on the grind and make it happen! It may feel hopeless now, but I assure you it's not. I'd bet you have skills that other people would love to have, you just need to figure out how to better apply them.

Don't give up, hard work pays off, I was in your exact situation or worse when I was your age :) (I'm 23 now and have turned it around)

Oh, and parents say things like that, ignore or fight them, it doesn't matter, just don't let it get to you. If you have friends that make fun of you, you are either misinterpreting what they are saying or they are not actually your friends. In the latter case, get rid of these people, they are harmful to your psyche.

Get in touch if you need more help, talk to the people around you too, people care more than you expect

Contribute something he hasn't heard a thousand times from after school specials. Seriously. Harsh but necessary.

Sometimes it takes an actual person who has actually experienced this to tell you for it to actually click, I'm sorry if that doesn't make sense to you.

And it takes an actual person who has actually experienced this to tell you boilerplate "Cheer up champ! People love you! Get help!" comments are worthless. Check.

So instead we should adopt your attitude and lash out at everyone on this page trying to help? I've been in this situation as well and can closely relate to what he has said. I'm 31 now but life seemed pretty hopeless when I was 20 with few options. I also chose to move back home and went back to school for a few years and then was able to freelance and got lucky. I also had pressure issues with my Dad. These things happen to other people too. It's boilerplate because it works. Nobody is saying "cheer up", I'm reading more "hang in there" from the comments. The struggle is necessary in order to get to a stage where you are able to see the situation with perspective.

So, here's my story; I tell it occasionally when stories like yours come up.

I had no college experience, but did manage to jump right in to a good I.T. job while I was still in high school, and from there into an even better I.T. job in another state where I made more money than I knew what to do with. (I've never been good with money, and didn't understand what "savings" meant.) I worked there until suddenly one day I went on a camping trip with family, came back, and decided I hated computers. I quit that job, and the industry.

Then the dotcom bust happened.

So, at about your age, there I am, living back with my parents. They at least were supportive, but it took me a while to get my feet back under me. I took some simple jobs, took up rock climbing as a hobby, eventually became a climbing instructor, learned a whole bunch of skills but got paid next to nothing.

Eventually all of the credit I had amassed during my previous life in I.T. ran out, and I was deeply in debt with not enough income to manage it. My parents had moved away, and I ended up moving with them. Again.

Not my proudest moment.

It took months, applying to nearly every job and place of business in the area, but eventually I got a simple retail job. I lied about my past experience so that they wouldn't tell me I was overqualified to operate a cash register.

I let my bank accounts and credit fall apart. There was nothing I could do about it but start over. So I did.

Eventually, I was ready to re-join I.T. and happened by dumb luck across the perfect job opening for me -- about 6 hours' drive away. I patched up my car enough to get me there, and took with me the bag of spare change I had accumulated over a year or so.

The boss and I hit it off, and I got the job. It was one of the most challenging jobs I've ever had -- I was a one-man I.T. department for a store & restaurant that had no budget for anything fancy. All patchwork, all the time. I had gotten pretty good at that by then.

I was homeless at that point and my car barely got me there, but I happened to have some friends in the area so I stayed on their couch and made up for it by cleaning while I was at home. My first paycheck got me living expenses, the second got me the new radiator that my car needed, and so on.

Several years later, I've gone through a couple more jobs (a step up each time), started my own business, my credit is slowly rebuilding, the business is supporting two other people. It's still a struggle every day, but it's an uphill struggle. Every year is better than the last.

So, if your friends are giving you a hard time, tell 'em to knock it the hell off. Or find new friends. You've made a mistake -- maybe, you won't really know for sure for years -- but you have an opportunity to gain experiences that others never will. If I had never been a climbing instructor, I never would have developed the people skills that I needed to be an effective manager, let alone a business owner. You don't know what the future holds, so there's no sense in admitting defeat yet.

I won't try to lie to you, the next few years could be rough. Real rough. There could be an awful lot of days where you don't want to get out of bed, you don't want to do anything. Depression certainly doesn't make it any easier -- I know that from experience, too. But, if you keep trying anyway, you may discover that your best days are ahead of you yet.

Also, you're really not an idiot. People that never take a risk rarely end up in great places in life. You took a risk, it hasn't worked out so far. But, you didn't know what was going to happen before you did it. An idiotic decision is one that you know is bad when you make it. Unless you have an unusual power of foresight, you're not an idiot for making the decision you made.

Keep working on the freelancing. Keep getting better, keep making connections with other people. You have to become very aggressive now; it's not like a regular job where somebody else is doing the marketing and management for you and setting a schedule. Learn to start recognizing little victories. If you made enough money this week to pay a bill that you couldn't pay last week, that's a victory. Learn to get good at operating within razor-thin margins. Make sure you take a real hard look at all of your expenses; people that aren't accustomed to this style of living often have expenses that they believe they must have. At one point, my expenses were literally: food, and gas for the car. And that was it. I had no bank account, I got my checks cashed at the grocery store, I kept the cash in my wallet with a little extra hidden at my crash space (because paranoia), and so I knew exactly how much money I had to spend and live off of. If I had an extra $20 come payday, that was a real good week.

If you're lucky enough to be in an area with good public transit, ditch your car. Those things are money sinks. The moment you can't afford your insurance or registration, you will get pulled over. It's like magic, really bad magic. And the fines and fees just pile up, and there are no sympathetic ears when that starts happening.

Let go of everything that you think you have to hold on to -- your sense of importance, of self-worth, anything that might be holding you back or keeping you from making the hard decisions that have to be made -- and just decide that you'll buy it all back later.

Then just take your life one day at a time for a while.

"So, if your friends are giving you a hard time, tell 'em to knock it the hell off. Or find new friends."


OP: Sounds like your friends are a little insecure or uncomfortable around risk takers like yourself. They're not cut from the same cloth. Truth is, most people in our society aren't. They're play-it-safe types, and to them, stepping outside the lines is tantamount to insanity. Many of these folks will take corporate jobs, or law jobs, and lead lives of reasonably well-compensated misery. None of them will be paid nearly what his lost days and months and years are actually worth; this is felt intangibly, in the back of his mind, like a dull pain whose cause he can't quite pin down.

Learn to draw strength from within, and not to depend so much on external cues of approval or disapproval. Because guess what? Most people in your life are always going to disapprove of entrepreneurial decisions, or outside-the-norm inclinations. If you're always looking outward for validation, you're never going to get it.

Unfortunately, failure is the risk we outside-the-norm types face. We roll the dice, even if we try to roll them intelligently. And so, you failed this time. The dice came up empty. It sucks. I can't possibly tell you it doesn't, and I won't try to sugar coat it. It cuts you to your very soul, and it weighs you down. It makes you feel worthless and helpless. I've been there myself, and I know the feeling all too well. But the important thing is that you don't let a failure become failure. Learn from this one. You'll need time to get back on your feet, rebuild, and distance yourself from the emotional impact of this failure. But eventually, when you're strong enough, you're going to want to revisit it. Because you'll find quite a bit of experiential knowledge in it. When you confront your failure and really get to the bottom of it -- really understand why it happened -- you'll know what not to do next time.

The difference between people who fail, and people who are failures, is that the former learn from their mistakes. They draw wisdom from them, so they don't repeat them. That's what matters.

A risk taker doesn't sit around feeling sorry for himself. Specially at 20 years old!

Not saying it to bring OP down but get a job, any job. Get out of that house.

    > A risk taker doesn't sit around feeling sorry for himself. 
    > Specially at 20 years old!
I'm not sure if this is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but basically everyone has the emotional capacity for major depressive episodes. It's healthy.

Not sure about "healthy", but "totally normal" or "completely acceptable" instead fit. Also, responds really well to self-guided treatment like cognitive behaviour therapy.

Winston Churchill had fairly brutal depressive bouts, even through his tenure as Prime Minister through WW2

He was also an alcoholic, and high alcohol intake can cause depression all by itself, so there is a confounding factor there.

Many of these folks will take corporate jobs, or law jobs, and lead lives of reasonably well-compensated misery. None of them will be paid nearly what his lost days and months and years are actually worth; this is felt intangibly, in the back of his mind, like a dull pain whose cause he can't quite pin down.

Very poignant and well written. If you had a blog, I'd read it.

OP: "Friends" who can't respect the stones it takes to quit your job and seek your true calling, and furthermore, who insult instead of supporting you emotionally when the shit hits the fan - well, they can go straight to hell. They aren't your friends, they're asshole leeches who don't have the stones to do it themselves and instead seek to bring you down because of it.

Swallow your pride and find a (shitty if necessary) job and make new friends there.

"If you had a blog, I'd read it."

Thank you! Blog possibly to come. Actually, a lot more writing to come. (Speaking of hare-brained leaps of faith to follow our callings, I'm actually working on a novel right now).

" OP: "Friends" who can't respect the stones it takes to quit your job and seek your true calling, and furthermore, who insult instead of supporting you emotionally when the shit hits the fan - well, they can go straight to hell. They aren't your friends, they're asshole leeches who don't have the stones to do it themselves and instead seek to bring you down because of it."

While I agree with you in spirit, I think there's a crucial point to be made: if you step out of the box to do your own thing, all of your friends are secretly going to think you're a little nuts. The trick is figuring out which ones think you're crazy like a fox, and which ones think you're just crazy. Relish the relationships with the former, and avoid getting dragged down by the latter. The good news is, your friends will make known pretty early, and vocally, which camp they sort themselves into.

I'm actually working on a novel right now

Funny tidbit, the original version of my post was something along the lines of "If you wrote, a book, that snippet would make me want to read it." So yeah, make sure you post to HN, or shoot me a tweet or whatever (@jessegumm) when it's done. You've piqued my interest.

if you step out of the box to do your own thing, all of your friends are secretly going to think you're a little nuts.

Agreed, but that's no excuse to berate a you, at least if they wish to be considered a friend. It's one thing to express disagreement, it's another thing entirely to poke fun at a friend's misery.

Would also love to read it.

If you're looking for some notes or even a proof read just let me know.

totally agree !

People that never take a risk rarely end up in great places in life. You took a risk, it hasn't worked out so far. But, you didn't know what was going to happen before you did it. An idiotic decision is one that you know is bad when you make it. Unless you have an unusual power of foresight, you're not an idiot for making the decision you made.

This struck a chord with me in two ways. First, it is easy for people to pass judgement in hindsight. Let them wallow in their cesspool of after-the-fact self-righteousness. Second, it is easy to remain in a comfort zone; we do not grow and get to those great places if we remain in that comfort zone.

"People that never take a risk rarely end up in great places in life."

True - though as a condition of this truth, there are many risk-takers who end up in far worse states than if they had played it safe. If careers follow a somewhat normal distribution, for every massive startup success there are an equal number of failures for whom the risk didn't pay off.

I agree with edw519 - get a safe job for a while, at least until you can take another risk. Good luck to you. I'm 21 and involved in the startup game, and would be happy to talk at any point. Feel free to email me (email in profile).

Just wanted to point out that assuming careers and business success follows into a normal distribution is probably a poor assumption. Given the tremendous successes and wealth some people have created for themselves, the average working person is essentially just a few steps above zero. I know a few millionaires, but I don't know anyone who is personally in debt millions of dollars (although I'm sure they exist) with no hope/skills/connection to make money again, as they obviously had something going on to get in that position in the first place. There is a quote by Donald Trump, something about how during one of his darker moments in his business life, he walked by a homeless guy on the street, and thought "that guy is worth a billion dollars more than I am". Obviously that is true on paper, but the homeless guy also did not have the resources to get their in the first place, much less make it back and become successful.

This is what HN is really about, helping a fellow hacker .I'm sure that this advice can be lifechanging not just for him but for many more .

You are absolutely right, almost all of the tech communities are, pardon the expression, but a technical dick waving contest. What makes HN totally different and the reason I gave up hope on the rest of them is the positive vibe among it's members. You see it almost instantly when a new member comes on and thinks it is just another tech forum. Not in a rude way but in a way that brings about a profound realization in those new members, some stick others don't and that is what makes HN great.

As for the author, he should take comfort in the fact that he has experienced something that 99% of people never will, he has insight that is very valuable, it sucks while you are going through it but it will help form a better you, guaranteed. Failure builds character, that is one of life's few constants. He seems to be hung up on the fact that he has no formal training and is young, but neither of those are a serious disadvantage in this field.

If it where me personally I would be using the opportunity wisely, there is no better time in life to rebuild it the way you want it to be, than right after you have burnt you old life to the ground. I wish my family would have been more entrepreneurial oriented. I was never given the wisdom that the best path to Independence is to create your own future and that there is no better time to do that than when you are at home with you parents and do not have a life to maintain. Wisdom in his current situation could lead to a profound change in his life. There is not better time for opportunity than in his current situation.

"So, if your friends are giving you a hard time, tell 'em to knock it the hell off. Or find new friends."

Yes to this 100%. Most people go through life trying to pull others down to their level. Fuck them. There are also plenty of people who support each others' dreams.

Great story. You show not only great character, but great writing skills too.

Awesome answer, especially because it comes from experience.

> At one point, my expenses were literally: food, and gas for the car. And that was it. I had no bank account, I got my checks cashed at the grocery store

How much were you paying to cash your checks at the grocery store? This is more expensive than depositing the check in a bank or credit union (I think it's on the level of payday loans, gouging lower income because they don't understand the relative size of the fee).

> So, if your friends are giving you a hard time, tell 'em to knock it the hell off. Or find new friends

Knock it off, maybe. Find new friends? That seems silly. Grow a thicker skin and joke right back at them.

  > Find new friends? That seems silly.
With friends like that, who needs enemies? I mean the guy is down in the dumps, "rock bottom" if you like, and his friends are attempting to kick him while he's down to elevate their own self-esteem a bit. And you think that this is a good set of people to be around?

Also advice like, "grow a thicker skin" to someone that's in the throes of depression, might as well be advice to, "just stop being depressed."

When your credit is shot banks are really reluctant to take you on as a new account. He probably owes his current bank tons of money so probably doesn't want to deposit his only income there. Opening a new account requires a background check (when I opened mine they told me it was to verify I wasn't blacklisted from writing checks) and possibly a credit check.

Sometimes the check cashing store is your only choice. And they aren't all bad. They may get you on the check cashing fee, but a ding at a regular bank can put you in an even worse position ($29 overdraft fee, $35 NSF fees).

The check cashing stores are popular in poor areas because these people may only get $200-400/month and charge $5-20. It's a fixed cost that anyone can factor in quickly. Keeping a mental register of how much you have in the bank is harder than knowing what's exactly in your wallet.

At the time, grocery stores would cash your paycheck for you without taking any fees. I usually bought a few groceries, signed the check over to the store, and got the difference back in cash. This was 5 or 6 years ago, not sure if it's still do-able. No harm in asking though.

Check cashing places are of the devil, and a great way to prolong your financial trouble. If possible, try finding a friend or family member willing to cash your checks for you instead.

Knock it off, maybe. Find new friends? That seems silly. Grow a thicker skin and joke right back at them.

In times like these, you can barely hang on to your own skin.

Wow! Thank you for sharing your amazing story. It's very inspiring.

You sir, are an inspiration.

Please don't do anything to hurt yourself. If you need support, call 1-800-273-TALK (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline).

On another note: is it possible to get a part-time cashier job and go to community college? (I know you don't have a HS diploma but I'm under the impression that some CCs have programs for that.) An community college degree will give you some type of education certification that employers appreciate.

You seem well-spoken and you were able to hold a job at a high-pressure company before. I hope you will find greater success soon. I am rooting for you.

You're experiencing what Seth Godin calls "The Dip" - There has to be some hardship endured before you come out looking good on the other side. You really are being way too hard on yourself. If you were mature enough to take a risk at the age of 20 then it shows you're well on your way to hedge other bets in life for the long term. That's a very good mark of a successful person. Only thing is, you're giving up a little soon. Dont let things wear you down.

Success takes time.

Wish you well ;-)

PS. Just for the purposes of consolation. I went through something similar at your age. Im now 30 and while i dont feel as suffocated as i used to, i know exactly how you feel. It does get better. I assure you. I dont regret (for the large part) the decision that i made. I just wish i had had the courage to be even bolder with my choices, and sooner.

"The Dip" does seem to exist. The worst and most painful part of the long distance race is at its end but if you get through that, you feel much better. And in the end you are better after the race than before it, in all terms.

Considering how crappy your previous job sounded, I don't think the people around you really understand how bad it was.

That being said, like someone pointed out, you're only 20 and still have tons of time and energy to expend on something you truly want to work on. It's easier for me to say this than for you to do it, but you need to find something deep inside that will give you the resiliency to keep fighting and working on what you believe in. I know it's difficult to shut out the naysayers, but that's precisely what you need to have the ability to do if you want to be able to build a startup.

Honestly, if you think staying at your previous job was going to make you happier, I think you're deluding yourself. Not saying it's all flowers and sunshine on this side, but I think you can take heart in the fact that you're actually trying to pursue true happiness compared to many other people who know they're unhappy with their lives, but are too afraid to make a change because they're too comfortable with their lifestyle and the status quo. It won't be easy, but there's almost nothing in life that is easy. Take comfort in the fact that there are tons of us out there struggling like you are but are still fighting and scrapping along. Fight and don't give up. You're not the only one :)

Quitting that job probably saved your life, although I know it looks different at the moment.

Remember what it was like working so hard your body could not keep up? Well guess what, that's when accidents happen. Serious ones. Just be thankful you got out when you did.

Sounds like you're in good company here anyway.

I had a really tough job too once. Everyone in the company was at each other's throats, and management made one public decision, and the privately overturned them without informing anyone i.e. me even though I was the dept head. It was chaos beyond beleif. I got fired, It happened just before the crisis, and it turned my world upside down for a while.

I know what you mean when family and friends aren't supportive, especially if they haven't gone through what you did, and can't see why you shouldn't just be back on your feet again.

But I suppose you're here at HN because you're involved or want to be involved in start-ups or something. If you are, just keep plugging away at it. It's probably the one thing that'll really keep you sane.

This is the risk in asking for, and taking, the advice of an online forum. Especially a place where the people who hang out tend to be fast moving and with a quick, brutal approach to problems such as that you describe.

That's not outright blame for you; we're as much at fault for taking one part of the info and giving you advice on it - no one in the thread seemed to couch their advice with "but talk to your friends/family" etc. Which is probably part of the problem.

You mention the idea of freelancing as a revenue to keep you going; but it is not clear a) what your experience is and b) how much research you did into doing that sort of work as freelance. This is usually killer; I quit an OK job once to go freelance - it didn't work out because I didn't do the work.

Tell us about your skills - someone here on HN will likely have some work for you

Don't get depressed though; you're probably feeling like a failure, but realistically you were in a bad place and decided to try something radical to fix it. That hasn't worked - so try something else!

The suggestion below to go work in a supermarket while you build up freelance work & side projects is a good one. There is nothing wrong with manual labour, especially in your 20's. And if you are worried about being stuck there long term - constantly work not to be there long term.

Building a career is fucking hard. It sounds like you had a lucky break initially - a well paid job. But for a high trade off (horrible working conditions). Now you have to do like the rest of us :)

I'm guessing you were sold the "get rich quick" and "quitting my job was the best thing..." idea. This is an unfortunate side effect of HN... because it largely doesn't work - and certainly not without intense effort and drive.

Your 20; this is a setback, but it's certainly not the end. In 30 years time there is no reason it couldn't be you interviewing with Time, and telling them that this was the failure that drove you from them on - or something (note; a lot of work required!).

And tell the people abusing you to get lost; sounds like they are a large part of your pain/depression & likely what it holding you back.

Maybe volunteer for one of those charity trips - go build a school somewhere away from the people that are getting you down. Meet new people, get new ideas. etc.

You are not alone. I've given this advice to several 18-23 year old men:

Jobs are like girlfriends. I'm not trying to be sexist, I'm just speaking from my own perspective as a man. When I was in school, girls I was interested didn't seem interested in me. But then I got a girlfriend. All of a sudden, the girls who wouldn't talk to me started talking to me. It was weird. I'm not saying be a player, I firmly believe that when dating or buying gadgets, once you make a commitment, shopping around will only make you unhappy.

But not with Jobs. Just get a job. Any job. Work at a gas station or bus tables. Do something. You'll feel better about yourself and you take some of the pressure off yourself. And there is some magical aspect to having a job that makes you seem more interesting to employers, kind of like my analogy above with the girlfriend.

In addition to that, consider getting a degree. An AA would be great, a BA/BS would be better. It saddens me that a piece of paper is so important, but that's life. If you're not the type who excels in an institution then figure out ways to get real world experience. If you're a programmer I'd say do some open source development.

Do this in addition to getting a job. As the good book says, "Anyone not willing to work doesn't get to eat." (2 Thes 3:10)

1. Suicide. Everyone responded as they should. But if you meant it, this post wouldn't exist because you'd be hanging from a rafter right now. Just a thought.

2. Your job sucked. Quitting was right.

3. Admit failure at freelancing. Build character.

4. Survive. Go out and get any job you can find. It will give you focus and get you out of the house, away from the bullshit.

5. Get your head straight. Analyse what went wrong. Do it differently, or not at all.

6. Get new friends. Can't get new family, though.

There's no safe route to success.

"Suicide. Everyone responded as they should. But if you meant it, this post wouldn't exist because you'd be hanging from a rafter right now. Just a thought."

You obviously mean well, but this statement bespeaks ignorance about suicide prevention. Most but not all suicides are preceded by warning signs, and talking about it openly automatically places the speaker in the high risk category.

The intent to kill one's self begins with ideation and grows from there. At first, idle thoughts about killing yourself begin to drift through your mind at random. Driving down the freeway, out of fucking nowhere, you imagine yourself veering into oncoming traffic. Or maybe you're in the kitchen taking an Advil and the thought comes to your mind, unbidden, to just down the whole god damn bottle and chase it down with vodka.

These images are like demons, and they are not easy to exorcise. As the imagery and impulses grow more intense and vivid, some victims will say something to offer a clue to those around them or to ask for help. The problem is that this warning often doesn't seem serious because the victim is so torn between two conflicting desires: 1) the desire to end suffering, and 2) the desire to live.

You see, the crux is this: just because someone doesn't want to die doesn't mean that they won't kill themselves. If they're talking about it, then you should treat it as though they're asking for help. I missed the same warning sign because I thought just as you did, that those serious about suicide would be dead rather than talking about it. I was wrong. The only thing that saved her was luck. Luck and a responsive ER.

Take it seriously.

7. Scale down. Trim all of your expenses to bare minimums, get rid of anything that is costing you money but not making you money. You'd be surprised how little freelancing you need to do when you're running lean.

"It just didn't work out and it feels very painful."

There is a lot of good advice in this thread already, but if you were my mate and we were chatting over a beer at the pub - I would say this to you:

It sucks man, im really sorry it didn't work out. BUT irrespective of the result - you learnt some important things. Two very big things specifically: 1. you have the gusto to pursue your dreams, and 2. you have the smarts to realise things aren't working out (and admit it to yourself.. and HN)

I know that 'learning things' doesn't make you feel any better right now... but you have done something millions of people spend there whole lives dreaming about... and I for one applaud you.

In regards to freelancing not working out - it's a tough thing man.. i have personally never been able to do it (successfully) for very long, and realistically not many people can.

My advice would be to start looking for a job - but a job that you find fun. Maybe look for a startup that is doing something you find cool? Pour your heart out in your cover letter... even if they don't have a position advertised - just email them and show them your passion. I have done this twice - and some people really respect it.

good luck dude - all the best.

It sounds like you have done it wrong. Your original job sounded horrible. For your sanity, quitting was the only way forward.

However, I don't see what kind of net you put in place for when you quit. You don't appear to have lined up another job. You mentioned freelancing but you don't specify how much time you spent trying to kick start that before leaving your paid job.

At the end of the day, if you jump ship you need some sort of raft to stay afloat. Going from paid work to nothing is really hard as you loose your salary then have to spend an unknown amount of time trying to get something going. It is far better to get something at least moving before quitting a job and putting time in it.

I haven't read what the rest of the responses say here but I say stop being a pansie. Get your life together. Decide if you want to go into employment or continue self employed. Dedicate 60 hours a week to making whatever you decide work.

You are where you are, stop dwelling on it. Decide what you want to do next.. make it happen.

Or stay at home, disappoint your parents, have difficulty finding a lady friend and become a bum. Its up to you.

You seem to be surrounded by people having a very bad influence on your state of mind (insulting father, friends mocking you).

Think about it for a minute, how would you feel if the people around you where understanding and kind? You'd think you made a choice that didn't work out, and that you need to get on your feet and move on. But instead you get all this bad stress from the outside!

Try to tell them it's serious, that all this means a lot to you and you need their support. That you can't take what basically amounts to constant emotional harassment. It might help them realize they're doing more harm than good.

But you can't decide for them, they might just keep at it. So the second step is spending more time with the people who care about you and won't make you feel like crap. What you hear all day everyday has a lot of influence on your outlook on life, hang around with positive-minded people, and tell the others you don't need their hate / insults. And be sure that hosting you doesn't give your parents a right to judge you.

First, you're far from poverty. You might be poor right now, but you have a place to live and presumably food to eat. You also have the skills to make money.

With no HS or college diploma what kind of 'high paying' job did you quit? If you were good enough to get that job and make it work before, your resume should show that now. I know the job market is rough right now, but companies are still hiring people who get shit done.

You're only 20. 20! You don't even want to know all the idiotic things I did in my early 20s. You're at the age when you're supposed to make mistakes, and learn from them. Don't let this setback get you down. Just keep pushing forward. As the saying goes, 'when going through hell, keep going!'

Oh, and your friends. Dump them. They aren't real friends if they make fun of you for taking this risk. Most friendships are very short lived anyways (another thing that's hard to know at 20), so don't let them get you down.

I think I know what you're going through because my early 20's were a mess. People telling you that you're still young might sound shallow, but damn it, it's true.

The path to adulthood is different and difficult for everyone. As a human being you make decisions throughout your life, and in hindsight, some of these decisions turn out to be mistakes. You need to make these mistakes in order to find what is right for you. Find what is important to you.

The worst thing that could happen to you is that this experience somehow makes you do something against your own nature, for instance laboring away in a cubicle for the next 40 years because you are too afraid to fail again.

You are twenty years of age, you will work a many jobs in your life, you will fall in and out of love, you might get your college degree with 50, maybe you will travel Europe and open a bed & breakfast across the ocean. Who knows but you?

Get a job, any job, now. No matter how low, just get one. Flip burgers, whatever you can do and regain the most important thing that you seem to have lost, which is your self respect.

Higher paying jobs will come and at some point you'll be able to review this period from a position of strength and you'll appreciate what you learned more than you do now. Starting a consultancy business takes 3 years, you can't just stop work one day and expect to stay afloat. That's the only mistake that I think you made, 4 months is way too short.

The first year you lose money, the second you break even (but you're still below 0 because of the first year), the third year you might make some money closing the hole of the first year.

And get yourself some professional help, being suicidal is a really good reason to do so. Don't wait.

a story, my story

i quit my job, a good job, i was (web) business developer, had to oversee a few coders, code a little bit myself, tell other companies what they should code for us, talked in big meetings, had a great time with my boss and co-workers and the prospect of becoming a COO in time.

i quit, it was 2004, i was 26 and the web was in a shitty state (this was before web 2.0 and IE had 90 market share). i wanted to do something else. start my own company. i had a lot of ideas and a high quality half baked plan.

the first day of my self-employment i jumped over a wall, broke my knee, badly. i was in hospital for 2 months. i could not walk for 4 months. my mother is dead, i do not talk to my father much. i had a 6 year old child.

after this i was broke, i was more than broke.

i decided to get a job again. it was the worst job possible. i hated every second. 4 months later i quit again.

this was the worst of times - i thought my life was over.

- and -

i was wrong. i was unbelievable wrong.

it was the most important time of my adult life (so far). you can only recognize the good parts of life if you have experiences some bad parts.

Interesting. What happened next?

OP, some portable, ready-to-eat advice for you: ditch the loser friends who don't want to take risks, explain your decision to your father and ask for support, and find a job again if money is an issue.

You're 20. When I was 20 I hadn't worked a full-time job yet; since then I've been hired at a place where it didn't work out, worked my ass off, landed a dream job, and now I'm learning how to code. Life is long, and you and I have only lived a piece of it.

It hasn't. You're alive, you have your family, and there's air in your lungs. Take steps to fix this situation.

Oh, and stop being so negative. Life's hard enough already when you're NOT giving yourself a hard time.

The good news is, you're 20. You have plenty of time to recover from this experience. You can even go back to college at this point, graduate, and still only be 24.

The bad news is, 4 months of living expenses is not enough to eject from stable income if you dont have replacement income waiting in the wings. This is something that seems to be overlooked in the folklore of "living on ramen". The fact of the matter is that you need money to live, and if you are worried about where you will live or where your next meal will come from, you will not be in a position to be able to concentrate on any major intellectual endeavors.

This happens to a lot of people, especially 20-year-olds. You just feel worse about it because your job was "high paying", which is really just a quirk of circumstance and totally meaningless.

If you really wanted a soulless but high-paying job you hate, you'd be at Yale preparing for a career in finance.

It sounds like you don't really know what you want to do with your life right now. Nobody really does at 20. So I'm going to give you some advice nearly everyone here will hate: go to college.

My parents threw me out when I was 18, and I learned a few things really quickly. The most important was that in California, you can go to community college for free as long as you're poor (which I was by default as a line cook/graveyard shift baker), and knock out two out of four years of a bachelor's degree just dicking around, trying different things in different departments until something clicks.

You'll learn a ton. Most of it won't have to do with your degree. That totally doesn't matter and it's not the point.

With just a little bit of focus, you can come away with an associate's degree and a killer transfer application to get you in to a better college. Or, you can just drop out, and hopefully you'll at least have a better idea of what you want to do with your life, a little bit of experience, and a larger professional network than you started with.

I built my freelance programming and design career by teaching myself those skills while taking classes[1] and working in kitchens. By the end of the first half of year two, I wasn't working in kitchens anymore. Now my school is paying me to finish my bachelor's degree, and I'm turning down job offers every time I go to a meetup for my field, one that everybody tells me is supposed to be dying or something.

The other most important thing I learned was how to be happy while poor (not fake college student poor where you can always call your parents for more money, but real poor where you have a jar of peanut butter until pay day next week and your heat is turned off), and that poverty is worth not being subject to others' expectations and living on your own terms.

Not having money is not a real problem. Living with shitty parents who yell at you about money and wanting to kill yourself is. Get the fuck out of there and go to college. You will not regret it, as long as you don't pay for it.

I second the advice to stay off of Hacker News, because it's generally full of privileged overachievers who will make you feel worse (though not consciously) about your situation.

If you want any specific details about how to accomplish any of these things, feel free to contact me, info is in my profile.

1. Some of you are saying to yourselves, "Why were you teaching yourself while going to college? That's dumb, you shouldn't have been in college!" It's because outside of "elite" universities, programming knowledge is usually woefully out of date, and the nature of this field is such that the only one with any authority to say it's out of date is the one teaching the out-of-date course material. History, philosophy, and writing skills are much less dependent on the state of the art, and it's easier to find a skilled, accesible and receptive mentor in all of these fields than it is in programming or computer science.

Yeah, actually that is true. I've been taking community college classes for about three years or so. Dropped out of HS in 10th grade, started community college instead of 11th grade. Taking classes helped define what I like.

I thought I wanted to be a chemist, but after taking Chem 161 I realized I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT CHEMISTRY. I thought I wanted to major in math but I barely passed Calculus III and the class was a huge drag. Then I started taking art classes and realized art was awesome. I've stayed for hours before and after the class finishing paintings, going to the galleries, hanging at the galleries, it was just so fun and I stuck with art for over a year.

But then I realized there's not a lot of money in art (for me) so I started studying design (especially since I have background in web-development so that helps).

I guess I'm better off than 100 days ago (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2725893) in that I at least am somewhat more determined with goals in life, somewhere in the arts/design industry. And that comes from actually designing/drawing and enjoying it, rather than liking the "idea of being a quantum mechanics professor".

The only problem of course is that it'll never happen because apparently I'm destined to slave away at C++ legacy code all my life. Which is really what depresses me.

"....apparently I'm destined to slave away at C++ legacy code all my life. Which is really what depresses me."

Good lord, man. Do you realize how in-demand great designers who actually know how to code/talk to coders?

Even if you don't want to do web app design, plenty of people survive working in art galleries/museums or as pure commercial graphic designers/illustrators.

Lastly, you're not destined for a damn thing at the age of 20 (or any other age). I graduated with a psychology degree and worked min-wage/retail for 3 years in Anchorage, Alaska. I then worked the graveyard shift at a residential treatment facility. I've since built and sold 3 startups (one a venture-backed YC company). My dad was driving a cab at 35 and retired an SVP of Sun Microsystems (he spent lots of time with Steve Jobs, Ross Perot, and Ron Conway in his career).

If you talk to people in their 30s and 40s about what they were doing when they were 20, I think you'll find that the majority of them have reinvented themselves a few times. Figure out what you want to do and take the first step in that direction. Then take the next. You'll get there!

>...apparently I'm destined to slave away at C++ legacy code all my life. Which is really what depresses me.

Well, there's another difficult lesson there - there's no such thing as 'destiny', however much it may feel that way sometimes. Many people willingly or unwillingly follow the random wind of fate and think of it as destiny but it is just the nature of life that 'things happen'.

The good news is that knowing this frees you up somewhat - your life is yours to control. The trick is working out what you want (and you apparently have some idea now, more than most 20 year-olds) and then what steps you need to take to get there.

Some suggestions:

1) Beware the myth of the overnight success - getting where you want to go in life almost always involves many incremental steps and lots of work, yet we are surrounded by stories of companies and individuals who hit the jackpot and found success instantly. In reality that almost never happens and what we usually don't hear about are the years of trial-and-error and effort that went into building that success.

2) If C++ is your strength, perhaps you could find a way to use that to finance the transition? In the short-term, another coding job could give you the money to pay for art/design training and help you move into the career you really want. The key here is to get the best out of your free time. This is one way to avoid the 'fate' that you fear - use the lemons you have to make the lemonade you want.

3) As some other people have said, tell us what you can do and what you've been working on, and perhaps someone here will be able to offer you some freelance work to help with your cashflow.

Sorry to hear that your Dad and your friends are being so unhelpful. All I can offer there is one of the great 'aha!' moments in my life so far - when people are being persistently unpleasant to you, it almost always reflects insecurities that they hold about themselves, rather than something you've done wrong per se. You've come to a difficult point in your life and throwing blame or sarcasm around does nothing to change that, only appeases their demons for a short while. I don't know if that helps at all but it helped me to realise that I wasn't to blame for other peoples' anger - we all make mistakes and have difficult times but the constructive thing to do is to find a way deal with them and move forward, not wallow in the problems we perceive others have visited upon us (I'm referring still to your father and friends, not to you).

Enough rambling; I hope that helps and wish you the best of luck in the future.

Hey bud, not to be an ass, but it's times like these that define you as a person. It isn't when you have your cushy salaried position being the office bitch -- it's when you have to man-up and hustle your way thru. The easy times don't make you stronger, and if you're a hustler you'll learn from it. I've left two salaried positions to work on my own venture, and I've failed both times -- and I'm fuckin proud of it (I'm 20 also). Yeah you feel like shit when you're down and out, but it's only temporary. Take this time to learn about yourself.

After running out of cash on my second startup I got a job waiting tables. I took the opportunity to learn to sell and interact with customers. It's become a handy skill. Now I'm a lead engineer with a nice salary, just got a 20% raise, but guess what.. FUCK THAT. Guys like us weren't meant to live the middle path. Your dad doesn't get it, just like my dad doesn't get it. We're not here to make our dads happy. They made their life, and we're making ours. I've got my next-product that I'm working on, I have customers that I talk to, and now I'm going to leave my comfort (salaried job) to hustle some deals. Each failure is one step closer to success.

When we're 40 and homeless, we're gonna have some damn good stories to tell. Get some exercise, get your mind off your situation, watch Office Space to remind yourself why we're not some yes-man schmucks. It really does get better, trust me.

But then I realized there's not a lot of money in art (for me) so I started studying design (especially since I have background in web-development so that helps).

Most artists aren't professional artist. The people that consider themselves professional artists are a sliver of a percentage. All the artists I know have day jobs, be it bartender, office manager, public administration. So bang out the C code, clock out at quitting time and enjoy your life. Contrary to what you may read on YC, no one is ever an overnight success.

> "Living with shitty parents who yell at you about money"

Doesn't sound like Dad is doing great here, but we don't know enough to apply bad words to him. Maybe he's a jerk. Maybe he's confused about why his son doesn't value something he's pursued all his life.

We're an immigrant society, with each generation trying to improve the prospects of the next. When it works, we have the strange problem of the rising generation experiencing problems and desires the prior generation can't even imagine. This can recur over several generations. It's very confusing, because the old-school perspective often has a lot of common sense but it's very hard to transpose this into the new context created for the new-school. I'm sure a lot of good wisdom has been lost, along with the you-are-totally-out-of-date.

So, mannicken. There was a day when a high-paying job signalled security. If that is Dad's frame of reference, he likely thinks you're insane. The more someone learns about technology and change, the more they realize that corporate stability is an illusion. You're unlikely to convince Dad of this, not until you've demonstrated you can take care of yourself. So get busy figuring that out.

You quit your last job because they were jerks. Probably a good move, maybe would have been better to find the next job first but there you go. Your next job may not be ideal, but it just has to pay the bills without degrading you. Go find that, and keep working at figuring out what you're good at and getting better at it. College really isn't a bad way of doing that.

Yes, this is very hard. Do not find that surprising. This is why people hate uncertainty, and will put up with so much crap to avoid it. _You_ are not the cause of the difficulty, the difficulty is an unavoidable part of finding your way into the world. When you finally figure out your place, it will be _yours_, founded on your skill and effort and integrity. No one can take those from you, once you find them. And you will have something deeply valuable to offer your own children.

Whom you will not want living with you at twenty.

"When you're going through hell, keep going!" Churchill

I am 30, I quit my job in USA a few months ago, moved back to India, wife is still living in USA, have been living with parents since then and have been driven to madness at home with their constant advice and criticism. All of this for a slim chance to succeed in what I want to do putting all my tiny life savings into this one basket.

But you know what, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that I can do something meaningful in the next one year that I have been given. I am hopeful that I can push myself to the next level (much more maybe). I am hopeful that I can rediscover myself. I am hopeful that I can maybe make a small dent in my own universe. I am hopeful that I can feel proud about myself. The way I see it is even failure is a success for me, because I have all these hopes.

I am happy I got this chance at 30, I know I will not get this anytime later with many more commitments I might make. I often wonder at times, if I had the maturity of my 30 when I was 20, I would be so much more willing to do this again and again.

While I can certainly understand your pain of what you consider failure, I feel you are rushing to make this call giving on hope. You have another 10 glorious years before you feel you din't do enough of what you have been able to do now. Step out of home, take a couple of days break (if financially feasible), write on a piece of paper what you want and how you can get there next. Taking these chances should make you proud, cos look around you, your friends are clinging on to that so called steady income, slipping away in their comfort zone.

I've been living on my own since I was 16, I've struggled to find full time work as a designer, with no formal qualifications and barely enough experience to call myself a professional. I recently lost the first, well paying and only full time office based design job I've ever had. You know what? Fuck it, I don't care. And you shouldn't either! You're 20, you made a "life decision". Well done, seriously. You had the hangers to go for it and it doesn't matter if things didn't go to plan. Your parents are reacting the predictable way, they still care but it's their job to bitch and complain. Tell them that it's your prerogative to fuck up, and it's not theirs to make it worse.

You quit your job for perfectly good reasons, it was a crappy job and if I was in your situation I'd have done the same. Be proud you walked away.

You're going to be fine if you keep your shit together, use your friends taking the piss as your justification to succeed. Go find a crappy job that'll earn you a piss poor amount of money and then go focus on being awesome in your spare time. Make something random, see what happens. Repeat. Find other devs/designers to work with, see what you can do. Repeat. Work in the day and do crazy shit at night. Get your confidence back, build your portfolio. Get to a point where you've got your cahones back and then do something with yourself. Move to somewhere where there's cool companies looking to hire, impress them all. Repeat.

You'll get somewhere if you push for it. And if you fuck up? Who cares! You're young, just enjoy the ride.

I'll echo what a number of others have said here - you are only 20 years old, there is so much opportunity ahead of you in so many ways!

I dropped out of university at 19 in 1997 to start a .com. For a while, I was flying high, unstoppable. Then the bubble burst and I was stranded in the United Kingdom with no job and barely a cent to my name. I struggled to find a job, got huge anxiety (was puking every morning) and my confidence was entirely shattered.

After about 6 months I took a junior project management position at about 1/3rd of what I was earning the year before. And I worked my way right up to the top and then joined an incredibly successful startup and am incredibly well positioned in life.

Having read your original post, I think you made the CORRECT decision to leave that company. You were unhappy, overworked and unfulfilled - that is no way to live life no matter what your parents or friends may think.

One more thing to consider, despite having achieved a decent degree of success, I'm a bit over it all now and I'm strongly considering doing something completely different like moving to the alps and running a small ski chalet business, because I really feel I will love doing that and every morning I can look myself in the mirror and say, today is going to be a great, enjoyable day.

I think you are probably even too young to know what you want, but think strongly about what really makes you happy and then find ways to do it.

Good luck, be strong, sometimes life kicks you in the balls a bit, but we're not defined by those failures, we're defined by how we get up and move forward and you have plenty to move forward towards.

You've already done what so many don't do: admit to their mistakes.

You are right to say others shouldn't rush into quitting their day job. Anything where you have to move back in with your parents and eat your savings isn't an easy decision. It's easy to get caught up in all these success stories on TechCrunch and Hacker News, when, in reality, they are a very small percentage of people.

However, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And while it hasn't worked out for you financially, it doesn't mean you haven't learnt from the whole experience. You will be wiser next time to the process of going at it alone - this isn't a bad thing.

I quit my job at 23 to start my own company and, while it is for me, I think at our age it doesn't matter if it doesn't work out. I imagine it's the same for you: I have no kids, no partner, no responsibilities that require a stable income other than rent. There is no better time to experiment really.

I can understand you're finding it difficult to get back into the job market: what are your skills? Perhaps we could suggest a few things?

If getting your high-school diploma is important to you, think about going back to get the grades. You are older and wiser now, you will do well.

We are young enough to make these mistakes. Decide what you want to do and go for it.

It'll be OK.

I've done the same things at least twice.

At 20 you're probably not realising that by far the best bits of life are when you have to struggle; a comfortable life is a wasted life.

Couple of tips:

* When you're feeling sad, don't drink or take drugs - believe me they really don't help.

* Use a condom ;)

* Get an education (hell, you're reading Hacker News, so you probably know a lot already)

* Get a small part-time job - it'll make your dad feel better, and maybe know you don't get it, but true happiness comes from making other people feel good.

20 is young. You could do nothing for 5 years and still have plenty of time to sort yourself out, so long as you work on building up your skills.

Your previous job sounds shit. Seriously, I can understand why you quit. But if you're a developer you should be able to find new work. Freelancing is damn hard because it's not about how good you are at your primary skill, it's all about schmoozing and selling, and that's hard for a young guy to do because people are not disposed to take young people seriously.

What kind of coding do you do? If it's even slightly in demand, get in touch with some recruitment agents. Put together some kind of portfolio.

I've got a similar story to you - I have barely any qualifications, not even high school level. I was unemployed at 20 and under-employed for the next 5 years, until I got a decent coding job. From there, my salary has gone up by about 5x in 3 years. Ok, it's not going to do that again, but I'm now at a very comfortable level. I probably could have done a lot better for myself at 20 if I knew then what I know now.

Hang in there, and keep trying. You'll make it bigger and better than anyone who doubts you thinks.

A bad idea as opposed to what, getting fired whenever the company decided you were no longer needed OR better yet, being miserable everyday?

Job security is an illusion that companies dangle to motivate us to be slaves. It doesn't exist for the average person.

I am twice you age and promise you two things based on your post:

1. You are far to young to think you world has ended, it has not. - Having a high paying job isn't the only thing in this world that can make you happy. Find out what makes you happy and focus on that you have plenty of time.

2. You did the right think despite what ANYBODY says. You were not in a healthy environment for you and it does you no good to have a good job if you are killing yourself and getting sick everyday.

Give yourself some credit for making a decision and learn from it. It will make you stronger. Its better early in life than later.

Also, you need to find yourself some new friends. That's very important. Not because you want people that agree with you but so you can communicate with people that can give you some positive feedback. Like another comment says, risk takers are cut from a different cloth than non risk takers.

You tried. You failed. You move on. Life will always have its fair share of lemons.

Don't compare what you would have been (if your venture succeeded) with what you could have been have you stayed on the job. I think this is what makes you depressed.

Focus more on what you're good at. Take a different approach without losing your perspective. Always be on the positive side of things. With your latest move, at least you already have some life learning lessons that not all people would even have the luxury of knowing or experiencing. Think of it as one painful part of your life where you ultimately learned a lot of lesson.

Get your mojo back. Believe in yourself. Never stop trying. Feel better about yourself. Not everyone will do what you did - which would take a lot of courage and heart.

After you read this, go back to the drawing board. Look where you could temporarily fend for yourself while looking for the next big thing. Life is a constant change and whether you remain at the pits or keep on moving is up to you.

I would not wish you best of luck as I believe that luck is what we make of what we have and what we do.

You're 20! That's a good time for failures. Really - it's painful for you right now, but it would be devastating if you had a wife, a house to pay off and two kids. There's no other period in your life where you're allowed to make such failures. You learned your lesson, and life will go on.

Good luck with the job search! Just don't give up, these economical times are not so good for many of us.

I just read one of your replies to edw519's post, but I think you deleted it. I can't find it anymore at least. In any case, it stated you were not at all interested in programming.

I think you answered your own problem with that post.

I have seen your DeviantArt portfolio. You have real talent. It seems to me that drawing is your real passion. So go for that! If you have the opportunity to go to college and study arts, or graphical design, do whatever it takes to make that happen. If not, get a regular job and take whatever courses you can, and just keep drawing.

If you keep on drawing for a few more years to improve your technique, people will be fighting over to work with you.

You'll be able to do mainstream graphical design for websites and similar (not too exciting, but can pay very well) or you can go into some of the more interesting areas such as game concept art, character illustration, 3D modelling and animation etc etc.

Ignore what the hell your father or friends say. Your a visual artist, not a programmer. Set that as your aim, and go be it.

Yeah, perhaps the cause of my depression might be being pushed into programming from a very young age. Just like people in ballet/gymnastics, I was kind of expected to write C++ code when I was 11 even though I rarely enjoyed coding/solving algorithms.

From reading your first post I think your decision to quit was the right one. You're clearly an intelligent and motivated person who made a bold decision in pursuit of something you are passionate about and will find more meaningful and worthwhile. - Plus the fact it sounded like a shit place to work. You're still young and you're still finding your feet. Stick with it. Don't give up. Believe in yourself.

I agree with hopeless and revorad in the sense that taking any form of work to bring in some income for the time being will help you hugely and will get your father off your back. I know my father would go ape at me too. Simply use it as motivation to prove him wrong along with everyone else that makes fun of you. Work your hardest at what you believe in and money will come later.

One last thing to note - networking is key, get out and get yourself as many contacts as you can, contacts make the world go round. You'd be surprised how much and how far you can get just by talking to people.

Good luck!

To some degree it's part of being 20 - people at 20 rarely put as much thought as needed in to any life decision - it's part of the growing process. You'll be sure to put more thought in to future decisions, and you'll be better off for it.

A lot of the "I quit my job!" stories we read on HN are people quitting to move on to something better, usually that's already lined up. You were quitting more to get away from something bad. Both are valid reasons, but your move was riskier without a new destination plan in place already. That's all - you're not a loser because of this decision.

It is painful, but you'll get through this somehow. If you ever feel like talking, shoot me an email at mgkimsal@gmail.com or hit me up at 919.827.4724. I've been in deeper situations than you, looking much more stupid and with far more zeros involved, and it certainly does get better.

"A lot of the barriers are in your head ;-)"

-mannicken, 17 days ago

Also consider light therapy -- a quick look at your profile indicates that you're in Seattle, and SAD sneaks up on you pretty quick this time of year. Now is when it's starting to hit hard. Although some people get it more than most, many people are affected by it at least to some degree.

A light therapy lamp has given me the best return on investment of any product I have purchased ever. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000C15P7A/

Not to mention that Seattle is a depressing place to begin with...

Quitting your old job seems like a very sane thing to have done. Your position now is unrelated to your position before. By that I mean quitting your job was one event, and what you did afterwards was another. If the current situation isn't working out for you, it's not because you left the previous (horrible) situation, it's that you've unfortunately found yourself in another horrible situation.

In other words, deciding to quit your old job was probably a good idea. If going freelance isn't a good idea for you it doesn't invalidate the idea of quitting your job. It just means you have to come up with a new idea.

I feel for you though man, freelancing was tough. Especially if you made as many mistakes in it as I did. From what you say however, I wouldn't have stayed very long at your old company.

It's really great to hear someone follow up on a previous post

For what it's worth, I still think you did the right thing. That job obviously wasn't going anywhere and sounded pretty miserable. Perhaps your mistake wasn't the quitting but the freelancing over taking another job, and the option is still open to you.

So the freelancing thing hasn't worked out for you. Perhaps taking a full-time job, even for a short period, will be enough to get you back living independently, build up some savings, make some new contacts, have a social life, and perhaps eventually even build a product business in your spare time. Give the freelance thing another go in a year or two? You've undoubtedly learnt plenty of lessons which will help you the next time.

Obviously he did NOT do the right thing. There is nothing wrong with admitting a mistake. But it was not an entire loss - he was able to grow with the experience and realize that the lifestyle being sold isn't for everybody. Right, it is NOT for everybody. My advice is that he follows through his new found learning and tries to go back to a job. He is a more mature person now, and will be able to find one eventually.

It's still not obvious to me that quitting the job was the wrong choice. The mistake was what he did afterward in failing to find an alternative source of income. It's a common mistake to quit without an adequate plan, so that is a good lesson learned.

If you actually read my comment, you'll see I also encouraged him to go back to a full-time job.

I always find comfort in the following verse no matter what the problem. Nothing ever stays the same, were always in transition. Take a minute and think about it...

Ecclesiastes 3:1-6 A Time for Everything. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to be born and a time to die, A time to plant and a time to uproot, A time to kill and a time to heal, A time to tear down and a time to build, A time to weep and a time to laugh, A time to mourn and a time to dance, A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, A time to search and a time to give up, A time to keep and a time to throw away,

I'm old. So seriously 20 is no age, you've your whole life ahead of you. Don't do anything stupid, is there someone other than your parents you can have a chat with. It's an old cliche, but a problem shared is a problem halved.

You're 20? That's a fine age to take a risk. You should take more risks, if you can, especially since, if I'm reading you right, you don't have any student loans. Missing education is rough, but if you can write and have technical skills anyway, saving money on student loans is an advantage.

Also, I think you made the right choice in quitting, even if it seems rough now. The only potentially better option would have been to deliberately slack off without quitting, doing the bare minimum and planning your future in your spare time. But not everyone can do that and still endure the abuse you described.

Btw, some smart person once said "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem" Cross that option off hour list and get some help. Suicide hotline, nearby mental health professionals are both good options.

Contribute something he hasn't heard a thousand times from after school specials. Seriously. Harsh but necessary. -1 for anonymous quote.

Go away.

I've had to start over a few times in my life. Hitting rock bottom teaches you the best lessons. What you learn from this experience and how you eventually overcome it will put you ahead of those people who never take a risk and make fun of you. When events outside of their control hit them they will not be equipped to deal with it effectively. Normally hitting rock bottom has always been a turning point for me. It's where you don't worry about pride that much and do the things you really have to do to dig yourself out again. In most cases I was back into well paying work within a year and on top of my finances again after two years, and better than I have been before. Also, just like the experience you gain with startups failing, you learn how to fail more gracefully each time. You also learn how wrong you can be even if you think you've planned to move on through it gracefully. Next time you'll probably just look for a less unreasonably demanding job instead of trying to create one from scratch, or do it in a partnership with someone who has experience, or find a consulting job where you can start reducing your days over time. But before that is dealing with what you are going through now, the small, hard but pragmatic steps you go through to start earning some income, to start dealing with people in real life again so you feel more confident socially which leads to more opportunities, being able to pay the basic bills so you can survive until that all works out.

There are some excellent advice in here already - and I won't repeat what has been said before; nor will I go in to the full depth of my story (not because I'm posting non-anonymously, but because I don't have the time to write a novel);

I was homeless - had no roof over my head, literally had to find food to eat (though offering to scrub the toilets at fast food restaurants in exchange for food works since everyone is too lazy to do their own jobs). I was able to get off the streets, but my situation wasn't any better and lived with a handful of people in a 1 bedroom apartment. Then I made the long trek to NYC via Greyhound bus with $60 to my name and a backpack of personal items. I stayed with a friend of a friend of a friend for a few months (which it turns out it wasn't his house, he was just renting a room, and apparently he didn't tell the owners that my intentions were to move in - he figured it would just work out - luckily it did). I worked my ass off to go from literally absolutely nothing up the ranks. I went from homeless to a married man with a great job. It was rough, more than you can possibly imagine, and there were plenty of times where shit hit the fan and it looked like everything would fall apart, but if you persevere you will make it through. We are hackers - not because we are good with computers, but because we are smart people with clever ideas. Put those ideas and analytical thinking to use outside of the computer world and you will find a way to get out of your situation.

No one has mentioned this so I will. Get a girlfriend! someone who understands you and talks you through your depression, someone who is on your side as you fight with your dad, someone who makes a hot dish for you when you are hungry, someone who will massage your shoulders and feet after a long day of job hunting. It is amazing how many successful men have that someone behind their backs because they too have failed many times and its her who picks her husband up and cheers him up as he goes out and conquers the world

Getting a girlfriend is easier said that done — and probably should be — when you're broke and depressed. Dating works so much better when you're at ease with yourself.

I was in your situation, but at age 30. I took a couple of years off with plenty of savings and had no idea how unhireable I would be afterwards. (I got my degree in math in the days when no specific education in CS was required at all to easily get a job). I was depressed too, and felt less free, and didn't feel like doing a single thing, exactly as you describe.

Here's what I did: I took a crappy job working full time at a coffee shop. I started on a CS degree through night school, and treated it like fighting for dear life. I did ten times more work on school projects than required and literally got a hundred percent on everything. I practiced programming and learned about it like my life depended on it.

I put out ads looking for any programming work, that ten dollars an hour would be fantastic. I got a job doing PHP for 14 dollars an hour eventually, this was after finishing a year of courses. They quickly gave me a few raises and after two years of that I was employable again - once I get my foot in a door I know I am going to be one of the best employees any given place has ever seen - it's the selling part that is hard. I got a job at a much more prestigious place, and am now firmly back on the road toward the salary range that experienced developers get these days.

(Now I'm starting to fight the malaise again that comes with moving up Maslow's pyramid, in particular being romantically rejected by every woman I've met in two years, but that's a different story. I think in your situation you can't feel the urgency of it enough.)

After graduating college, I got a very competitive job with nice pay that had a lot of potential. I ended up absolutely hating it, to the point where I would drive into work every day with tears in my eyes.

The problem was, I was young and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, so I didn't even know where to apply. So I ended up spending all my free time focusing on things I was passionate about. I wanted to be healthy, so I cooked and worked out and got healthy. I also loved traveling and seeing and learning new things. So every weekend, I tried something new. I was in DC at the time, so I got to see all the plantations and went sky diving and learned skiing and went on a hot-air ballon ride and a lot more! Every weekend, I would do something I was passionate about. And none of these things were in any way related to my work.

Now, a few years later, I am working on a start-up with some new friends that focused on making it easier for others to get out and see and try new things.

So my advice is this. You're 20, so you probably have no idea what that one thing you're passionate about is. There are probably a few things that you're passionate about, so pursue them. They don't have to be related to anything you're "working" on at all. If you're passionate about traveling or meeting people or playing a sport or playing guitar or anything else, pursue it. It will not be a straight path to finding a job and getting out of your current situation, but it will be a step to getting there, and you never know what or who you will discover along the way. Good luck!

Looking at your description of your previous job, it didn't exactly seem like a good place to work... OK, that's an understatement. You're not an idiot for leaving an abusive employer; you would have been an idiot to stay there. I bet that in a few years, you will remember it as one of the best things you've ever done. It just doesn't feel that way right now, because quitting is only the first step you have to take to make things better.

It's not that easy to find a decent job, especially in this economy... so if all else fails, you will have to "bootstrap" yourself, get any old job (as others already pointed out), and buy yourself some time to figure out what you really want.

Parents can be notoriously annoying when it comes to things like this, but (in my experience) it's usually because they're worried. They only see part of the story; you had a (well-paying) job, then you quit, now you're broke, doesn't sound like a good decision, from their POV. When I lost my job long ago, my mom acted like it was the end of the world. (It's better than having a parent who doesn't care though.) But after a few months I found a job that was what I wanted to do (i.e., programming, in my case) and things got better from there.

A final thought: it's better to make this decision when you're 20, than when you're (say) 40 and have a mortgage, a family to support, etc.

Good luck.

Your life is essentially a series of experiences unfolding in ways you are likely to never predict with any reasonable degree of accuracy.

Steve Job's graduation commencement speech touches on this idea of being unable to "connect the dots in your life" forward, one can only do it retrospectively. It is a keen observation and is certainly worth listening to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

Try and minimize the amount of time you let your mind spend regretting a decision you made in March and focus more on looking forward and taking the next positive step in your life.

You are only 20 and are bound to make many more decisions that you may consider to be a mistake in the short-term, but you have no idea how your life will ultimately unfold.

What you once considered to be a mistake could turn out to be a great decision, even if it only serves the purpose of teaching you some lessons to grow yourself further.

Kudos on your bravery to take a risk, I'm sorry to hear it isn't working out at the moment but I assure you it is totally within your domain of influence to change things around for yourself and realize new opportunities.

Just take it one step at a time and try and frame the experience as simply an opportunity to grow through a challenge.

I read edw519's comment and he is certainly right, we do care and things are never as bad as they may seem.

The youngest self made billionaire was 23 when it happened for him, and that was with a ton of connections. Relax, you still have 3 more years before you're a failure.

When I was 21 I tried to do what you tried to do here, and I ended up living with my sister with -$83 in the bank by the time it was all said and done. I am 24 now and doing much better in life, but it was a long road to get here. I can promise you that it will get better, but you will have to work for it.

My suggestions:

- Start filling out applications for any and every job. Get a job. It doesn't matter if it's cleaning toilets or flipping burgers. Right now there are people with PHD's who are riding on the back of a garbage truck. Put your pride and passions behind you, and take any job you can get.

- Until you get that job, do anything you can to get money. Go door to door with a lawn mower and cut grass. Troll the free section on craigslist and find a way to sell the items listed there. Walk into the small mom and pop shops in your area and ask if they need any help involving IT whether it be building a website, designing a flyer, setting up a wireless network, fixing a computer, anything. Ask if you can leave your number with them if anything should come up in the future.

There's always a way to make a few extra dollars, and you'd be surprised how much small businesses are willing to help out someone down on their luck who actually wants to work. Swallow your pride, get out of the house, and get face to face with people who have succeeded where you have failed.

Best of luck to you.

"The youngest self made billionaire was 23 when it happened for him, and that was with a ton of connections. Relax, you still have 3 more years before you're a failure."


tell your dad to go fuck himself for not understanding that taking a risk for a life changing decision is something that shuold be encouraged in the young. Some people are born to never try anything, others dare and get burnt. The point is you tried, that makes you better than me. I applaud people who try and fail wheras I pity people who do not. You picked a fight against all odds and lost - ask your dad how much hes lost on lotteries. The point is you have time to rebuild. As for friends, find the funny side - that is their purpose in life. If they arnt building you up then im afraid they ain't your friends. You need tears of win my friend.

You are 20 ... no offence but your still a kid ofc you have no idea whats going on. welcome to the world, you define yourself - if your parents are being assholes you need to move out before they damage you with their expectations of you. They are only mad because you didn't do what they wanted - because you 'owe' it to them. Really they owe you an apology for birthing you if they want to own you. Doing what you did shuold show them that they did a good job, you felt ready to go out and try something. You saved money and invested it - it was a bad investment but at least you tried. If you try again i bet you will realise that 4 months is actually VERY little time. Go read about poker bankrolls and varience.

I was practically a hobo at 20, im not much now but i have created a career for myself by hitting rock bottom, looking about and saying fuck this im gonna teach myself to program and then blag my way into jobs for a few years untill i really know what im doing. 11 years later things are very different - I had no hope back then.

You're young, you took a risk and you failed.

There's nothing wrong with that and somewhere down the line you'll realize you actually learned something useful from all this.

Also, things could be much worse; for instance you could be an unemployed father or being hunted by money lenders or with a chronic disease and no insurance -- you're not the only one that experiences trouble in this economy, yet many people will live to see a brighter day.

You are also not an idiot. To succeed in this economy, smartness is only one factor. Others are luck, timing, the environment you live in and the acquaintances you have.

Get a job, any job whatsoever. Low paying jobs, like being a driver or a cashier or working in constructions, require more physical effort and a lot less mental effort. This is good, because you probably need a break from software development. Physical effort is also good when you're depressed and it helps you pay the rent too.

I would also move out of my parents' house as soon as I got a job that allows me to survive, as there's nothing worse when you're depressed to also be dependent on other people, especially parents that look down on you with disappointment; remember that they lived in different times when entrepreneurship and failure may not have been so common.

So take it easy and don't worry, you will recover.

Huh? You're 20. You tried something it didn't work. So go to school, go back to your high paying job.

And how many 20 year olds have high paying jobs to begin with?

Thanks for sharing, but if I were looking to hire someone (or recommend someone for college admissions or a scholarship). I would view trying to your own thing at such a young age as a big plus. You're all good, just ride out this bad funk and you'll be back in the saddle in no time.

I look forward to whatever company you one day create.

Based on your other post, you should have quit. You weren't happy and were subjected to slave labor. Forcefully applying more time at a keyboard doesn't make you a more productive programmer. In fact, it makes you sloppy. Despite what "everyone" thinks, they're wrong. They're wrong because they're not you. They're wrong because they weren't there. They're wrong because they probably couldn't even do what you were doing to begin with. They're just plain wrong on every level.

At 20 you're still trying to define yourself so social approval matter but these are the experiences in your life that cause you to retreat into your own mental cave to carve out and define who you've always been and exactly who you'll become.

You don't know what you need to know to be a successful freelancer. That's obvious by the fact that you went broke. Find other freelancers and ask them for their advice. Go back to school and get your high school degree. Learn about business and marketing. Take on a job, it doesn't have to pay great.

In short find yourself. Find what works. You're young and you haven't earned your freedom. Freedom comes with a price. Go pay the price for your freedom or sell your freedom for a price. The choice is yours, and it is a choice.

Regarding suicide. I've felt like that more times than I can count. Don't do it. It always turned out that suicidal thoughts were always huge indications that the idea of who I am needed to die. Meaning it was time for a massive change. Look for what you'd like to change about yourself and your life.

And...for christ's sake find some new friends! Preferably friends with a set of balls who aren't such sheep and are willing to take chances in life.

Dont worry, you made two small mistakes. And you know what they say about mistakes; you learn from them.

First mistake: You're 20. Not really much you can do about that. But in order to be successful as a start up you need experience. years of experience.

Second mistake: You could only afford to live for yourself for 4 months. You need AT LEAST 3 times that in order to make sure you have any hope of survival. Building a business is not done in 4 months.

"My friends make fun of me for making a retarded life decision."

there will always be people out there whom try to demean along the way.the reason being either they can't do that themselves so the easiest way out is to tell you to not go ahead so they will feel better. What's the risk for them in this instance? ZERO. Secretly praying hard you will not make it and take any action at all. Imagine how demotivating and powerful are those words just to make you not even start the journey.

Taking myself as an example,when I am in the process of building a new business from ground zero, the first thing these so call "friends" will say "why build this or that...blah blah..it's not possible" or "people will jump in and compete with you in the future" you get the drift. Despite all this, I pushed on and proved them its actually possible if we try hard enough, persistence is the key.

Push on,never say never,it's a tough and lonely journey as an entrepreneur especially by yourself, and I totally understand those very lows moments like yourself. It's only those who persevere through will look back after achieving the initial "impossible" and turning that into a possible.

About 8 years ago I quit my job at a great company to start a business. I had no idea what I was doing. About 2 years later, my co-founder had quit, I had not seen a drop of income from the business, I had burned through a good chunk of savings, and I felt like a failure. I was living in a studio apartment in san francisco, using my closet as an office (the desk fit in there, but I didn't when seated at it). I was so upset about the whole thing that I would wake up in the morning at 5AM, be nauseous, then be so miserable that I would go back to sleep. There was a 3-4 year period where I was working so hard, and then so ashamed, that I turned away dates because I didn't want to answer the 'what do you do' question. It was definitely the lowest point of my life.

I decided to apply to law school, and I had just missed the cycle, so it was going to be another year before I got a response. I kept working on the business because I couldn't think of anything else to do. In the next year, the business improved enough that I decided not to go to law school. It kept getting better and better. About 3.5 years in, I stopped telling people it was a failure. The truth was that by that time, it was a very good deal and I could no longer deny it.

My point is not that you should keep doing what you are doing (or that you should apply to law school). Its just that bad times get better. I think the number one thing you can do for yourself is keep moving forward. It doesn't have to be big, just a small step each day in a positive direction. One great thing you can do, in my opinion, is work out. Even if you are unemployed for the next year, at least you will be fit and trim at the end of it. You can jog for free.

Mostly, I wanted to communicate that things will get better, just keep moving forward...

Here is a formula I think might work:

1) Discipline and personal activity: wake up and jog/exercise at the exact same time EVERY DAY. Nothing too exhaustive, just 15 to 20 minutes of consistent exercise. Don't miss a day.

2) Keep a journal of plus/delta: what was good and what needs to change during the day. Nothing extremely elaborate, start with a list of things you did during the day or the day before. Take this seriously. Do it in silence and reflect at a consistent time at night or early morning (after exercise).

3) Communications and group activity: join ONE group of interest (meetup perhaps), church, temple etc.

4) Family relationship building: talk to your mother and help your father. Take initiative, do the dishes, contribute to house chores. Don't be a dead beat... seriously, I've been and seen the type. Don't be lazy, help out around the house. You will see relationship improving. "No man is an island" learn to be a part of the family. Parents just want their kids to be decent, if they SEE improvements and efforts from you, they will respond back positively.

5) Read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Mindset-Psychology-Success-Carol-Dweck... If you don't have the money to buy it, give me your address and I WILL buy it for you. Learn the change your mindset into a growth mindset.

6) Go back to basic: NO complain, NO excuses, NO negativity and NO bull.

7) Remember. You are still very young, my friend. Life is long and there is a lot waiting for you. There are thousands of people out there who are willing to help you IF you ask for their help (like the HN community). And most importantly, there is no magic formula for a good life--you'll just have to work for it like everyone else.

My apologies if I made any unwarranted assumptions. I hope what I wrote could be something you might consider. Certain things work for me but they might not work for you. Still, if nothing is working, then try something else. Keep trying until something work for you. What I really want to impress upon you is this: CONSISTENCY and DISCIPLINE. Good luck.

(NOTE: please forgive my quick notes which might contain grammatical and spelling errors. I need to start my morning exercise as I am a bit late :P)

Please, please, please go read the book What Colour is your Parachute: http://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Your-Parachute-2012/dp/1607...

I know it looks like a self-help book—at least that's what I thought—but it made a huge difference in my life. While I was never in your exact position, I was in terrible job for the last 2 years. My boss would call my office almost every day at 4:55 to make sure I didn't leave early. I endured constant criticism and had really didn't have a shred of positive feedback in over two years of work.

What Colour is your Parachute made me realize that it really was the job, it wasn't me at all. Don't get discouraged. Figure out what you really want to do with your life and work towards that. When someone recommended that I read that book, I thought it was a crock at first. I didn't think i needed some crazy self-help book. But, in reality, I did.

Just a few months later, I've left that terrible job and am working at one that I love. It's out there—don't give up on the basis of one lousy job.

ps: The new job I took pays just slightly more than half of what the old one did. I'm still extremely happy about my decision. I'm not depressed anymore, I love my job now, my home-life is better, etc etc etc.

Seriously, don't fret about this. It's stressful to not have a job, but I really don't think you made a mistake. Job misery very quickly turns into life misery. You should avoid being miserable at all costs.

Good luck and please write back. We're here to help.

///What doesn't make it any easier is that I'm 20, I have no college diploma, no high school diploma, no idea what the fuck is going on.///

So this pretty much sums it up. Dude you're 20! You just stopped being a teenager! Of course you're clueless about life and such... we all were at that age.

If you were European, Middle Eastern, Chinese or pretty much any other nationality other than American/Canadian your dad would be bitching at you until you were 45 so don't be so down on all that stuff. Pick yourself up, take some classes, study ANYTHING, read some books, go to some networking events, meet some new people... and always look for problems that need solving.

You'll have a bunch of false starts, and a single one of those at the age of 20 really shouldn't get you down all that much. I don't know how ballin’ you were before you quit your job, or how highly-paid you were, but I've got a feeling that you didn't walk out on millions in bonuses or anything so you didn't exactly make some catastrophic mistake.

If you are having suicidal thoughts I'd also talk to somebody and get some professional help maybe.

Good luck, you are only twenty. You have your whole life ahead of you, your father has lived his, its time to live your own. Be the best you can be and do your own thing, dont let other people run your life for you. If your friends are bothering you because of the choices you made. Tell them to get fucked. Really they are not your friends. One thing I have learned in life is that friends come and go, they are nice to have and great to waste time with but at the end of the day rely on yourself.

Also remember a job is just that. A job, its a way to make money to spend on things you want. It is not there to run your life.

pick yourself up, pack a bag and go check out the world, head over to Asia and teach English, go work in a factory and pack boxes (its hard work but, it is very honest) make time for yourself and try to remember who you are.

Go to a bar and pick up a pretty girl. when you have finished your break pick yourself up and start being creative, make one thing. After you have done all of this you should then look for proper work.

you are your own person, the world is a big place, enjoy it.

I've been through similar experiences, as I am 26 and started my first high paying programming gig when I was 22. You can't change the past, but you can learn from it. You can always find another job, save money, and work on the side for yourself. You should work on side projects constantly even while you are working. Even if you have to get a normal job somewhere, do it just to help you get by.

Once you can built stuff on the side, just keep building stuff and eventually you'll find the right side project that needs more of your time and has more potential. Don't just quit to quit, quit because you have a project that you truly believe in and you want to make it your job.

I just think that this is an experience that you had to go through, a learning experience. There is no reason to be thinking of suicide right now, you have your entire future ahead of you. Believe me, that job is not your only chance you will have more. Keep building your skills, keep working on your own so that when you get to an interview you can show them what you've been doing in your time off.

Good luck

It looks like you're a developer (your site says UI/UX, Web, Flash). If that's the case, it sounds like you're in the wrong place (and hanging around very wrong people). I am in London, and I hear from the manager of Stack Overflow for this region that the ratio is 3 jobs per developer. People here are desperate for developers. I take you may not be able to move easily one of the hotspots for now (not sure where you're based), but hopefully you can look for jobs (and a more positive environment) somewhere else. It sounds like a stable job would be good for you these days. If that's not an option, you may try some of the freelancing sites, like elance, guru, freelancer, odesk, etc. I hear they work well. Or some site more tailored to designers, if you do that too. Either way, you took a risk, at the moment it feels like it didn't work, that may seem different in the future... but none of that matters. What matters is what you're doing next. You'll look back and feel that you've learnt a lot from this phase in your life.

Here's something I wish I knew when I was 20.

Life is a dance. Sometimes we lead. Sometimes life leads.

When I was a kid, I thought either you were in charge or you were a putz. After all, all of my heroes were in complete charge of their life. Isn't that the goal? Don't people always say "You're either telling your own story or helping somebody else tell theirs?"

But then as I got older I realized that the important thing in this dance is to figure out whether you are supposed to be listening and adapting or leading. Out of work and need money? You should be listening. Where are the jobs? How do I need to adapt to be able to eat? Have some free time in the evenings? Then you should be leading. What can I do right now to help my own prospects in five years' time?

A lot of times we just give up and take what we get. We spend our free time plugged into a video game or the web. That's wrong. But it's just as wrong to think that you should be in charge all of the time, working hard, living large, and controlling your own destiny. That's another kind of giving up -- picturing some fantasy life that will never exist and then beating ourselves up because we don't live there.

It ain't that easy. The dream is important. It's all there is. But you gotta know how to dream. There is a difference between dreaming and fantasy.

So you got kicked in the teeth. Welcome to the big leagues, kid! Get good enough at getting kicked in the teeth and you might end up being a decent person one day.

Having said that, you also might be depressed. If so, you should find somebody to talk to. Thinking of killing yourself is not very healthy. The thing isn't that life doesn't suck. It's that life sucks and we learn to live in it and love it anyway. Sometimes that can be tough to do. Talking about it helps. A lot.

I want you to put this in perspective.

I read your previous post and you were working a shit job. I am a CEO of a tech company and I can assure you I know what you are talking about. I've never heard of such crazy hours (on a regular basis).

You're 20, so that necessarily means your job opportunities are limited. But so what? I was 24 before I got my first "real" job. And today I'm doing pretty well by any standards.

You have the next 20 years to do manifest whatever kind of crazy dream you have in your head. So go do it.

Edit: Thought maybe I would also suggest to add a few words about your location, what type of coding you like to do (languages, algorithms, domain space, w/e), and how you would rate your own level of emotional maturity. Maybe there are a few people out there who might be willing to give you a shot if it's the right fit... but be honest! Nothing could be worse than misrepresenting yourself and ending up similarly unhappy all for a few bucks. Way better to live honestly, trudge through the short-term pain, and find a long term solution that makes you really happy.

I once considered suicide too. It was for a different reason. My boyfriend of 2 years told me he got engaged to a woman his parents picked. I had just graduated from college, had no job, was still living with my parents and had no plans for the future. I just got more and more depressed..stopped eating and pretty much cried all the time. My best friend told me to "stop being a loser". My mom kept saying "why are you doing this to us?". Well, I felt like a loser and a burden to society...really, I would be doing a favor to everyone if I just disappeared.

Then one day I did try to commit suicide by slitting my wrists. It didn't quite work out. It wasn't as easy as they show in the movies :). Then I had a realization. I was looking for some external factor to make me feel better...my mom, my friends, etc. and I was very self-pitiful. I realized that if I wanted to get out of my situation, only I can do something about it.

I let go of the past and started over. I got a paid internship..moved out of my parents house and concentrated on just being self-sustaining. I made new friends and tried to be as social as possible...being around happy people rubs of on you :)

I feel like you are still in the phase where you are going over your past and keep thinking that you should have done something different. You have to stop thinking about the past. Hopefully, saying it out loud here helped you a little with that. I would suggest you to concentrate on the present. Take small steps. Do one thing each day to improve your situation.

A few more tips that helped me deal with my depression: - Write out your feelings like you did now - Try your best not be alone. Either go to the library or a coffee shop to do job applications or other work. - Don't take your friends and your dad too seriously. Most people do not know how to deal with a depressed person. They usually say the exact wrong thing :)

Best of luck!

I know how you feel...once you've hit bottom, you can only go up.

I quit my job last fall to pursue my startup full time. Similar deal--good pay, good experience, but just too much stress at my day job and things w/ my startup were gaining a lot of momentum.

Things took a turn for the worse when I wasn't getting where I wanted to be. I ended up becoming a regular heroin user. The inevitable occurred and my life became ruined.

Now I'm 26. I live with my dad. I don't do drugs anymore. My credit score is probably 300 (I don't even want to know) from defaulting on all of the debts undertaken when I quit my job and ran out of savings. I'm constantly 3 months behind on my BMW lease; taking it on was an impulsive decision that I thought would motivate me to work harder.

I spent a lot of time regretting my actions. It took a long time to accept my mistakes and failure... of course, with the help of some therapy and a little psychiatric medication.

Eventually you'll pull yourself out of your slump. Focus on yourself. Exercise if you don't already. Keep up a routine. And get out of the house. Your situation could be a lot worse. Go to the mall and ask for job applications. It's likely the easiest way for formally uneducated people to get jobs, especially with the upcoming holiday season. You'll work for peanuts, but you'll meet lots of people who are in your situation (working a shitty job as a stop-gap) who will probably be better friends than anyone you know today.

After months of self-deprecating thoughts and depression, I've finally gotten an interview booked with a local growing web company. I didn't try to improve things for months because I thought they couldn't be improved. You need to get over yourself and start to try at life. Stop focusing on what went wrong and instead wake up tomorrow and realize that you can start moving forward regardless of what's obstructing your path (usually mental barriers.)

So it didn't work out. Would you rather you succeed 100% of the time at everything you attempt ? Where would the feeling of accomplishment come from then? Contemplating suicide is very very naive. It kills all your other options as well. You're 20, for crying out loud. Just figure out what you really like to do - maybe it's computers, maybe it's not.

You're probably being too hard on yourself - you were burnt out and bored from your last job - you quit and went straight to this new thing. No gap in between to recuperate from the burnout. Give yourself a break for 20 days - forget about this ordeal during this break. When you're back from this break - then decide what you want to do in life. When you're done with that, devote 5-6 years to learning or improving your skill in whatever it is that you decide.

Take the long view. Try to master your craft. If you have, it shouldn't be really hard to land a job to keep you afloat.

You made a decision that it hasn't worked (yet). It doesn't necessarily mean that it was a/the wrong decision, only one without the expected outcome. You are only 20, really, you are still just a kid, it's kind of offensive for older guys like me to hear you say you're so depressed. Like the rest of us, you will make some steps in your life that will lead you to a dead end and you will have to go back and start over again. You are stressed now? Wait until you have a wife and kid and risk more than your lifestyle with your decisions.

Decisions that don't work out great are not bad. Decisions that harm other people are bad, like suiciding, killing or stealing. And have inmind that people that support you through whatever, are your real friends.

Quiting your job might mean that you have guts or that you are naive. In both cases, you are too young to blame and you have a lot more to try out before your life ends.

I appreciate this post. I've been contemplating quitting my job for a few years now in order to focus on my business. I'm 36 years old. I have a steady IT job, which I like. And a side business which is my love. I often think that if I quit my job, the pain and hunger would force me to launch my side business into full throttle.

However, I am able to work on my side business while I have a day job, so I've been doing both for the past few years.

It's hard to say whether my side business would have blown up huge by now. But I can tell you that dragging that business along at half throttle does wear down your enthusiasm for it.

Anyway, I appreciate the 'other' side of all the 'quit your job' rancor. I suspect a lot of that comes from people who were successful who are trumpeting that success. And the people for whom it doesn't work out... well... you don't see enough of those people talking about it like you have.

Hope it all works out for you.

Hey, do you think that you are the only one that had (has) big problems? No hell no, think of it as you are lucky, you are still young, you have your health the rest are just small things. And never think again of suicide, that's not an option, that's a way to say you are afraid of live, you didn't gave life to you, so you should not take it as well, you are granted with it. Reach out to freelancing sites, www.freelancer.com or others make an account and starting posting on each job you find lower your rates for the first couple of projects until you get some feedback. Put up a portfolio and you will see that within a month if you do this full time you will for sure get some work. Oh and yes, in the meantime you can search for a job. Waiting for stuff to pop up from no where will not happen and think of this as a life test, don't fail it. Good luck

I can really empathize with the poster. I've been through a few similar hardships and at 24 I already feel like I'm 40 with the amount of responsibilities on my shoulders.

My own father passed away at 20 and left me with a 3 bedroom house and an ill mother and almost zero cash. I've had to fight bailiffs from taking this house, stopping the state sending me to jail for paying state taxes late (tip: pay on time, the stress is not worth it)

Also graduating into the recession wasn't great and even the current job I'm doing (working at a hot internet company directly with the founders) sees me earning well below my true market value.

However, its not all doom and gloom. The OP has alot of time to recover. Here are my own suggestions:

1) Exercise: 20 minutes a day do this for 2-3 weeks your mood will lift completely

2) Do some sort of work: it doesn't matter

3) Date, approach girls, meet new people: if you can do this actively, it will really take your mind of things

4) Avoid: anyone who brings you down, this may be difficult at first but find a way around this. Bring people closer who make you happy and push those away who bring you down. Your family is not exempt here and if the relationship is toxic you need to keep it away from you

5) Remember and reflect that you are only 20. Some of the most jammy gits on HN or founders who get an exit in early 20s are lucky, jammy gits. I've read enough into the story to realize they are not all brilliant and these things happen as a matter of coincidence and good fortune. However, think about what you could learn. How did they get into that position, what was their situation, try reach out to them. Last week at work I did a v.comprehensive competitor analysis of everyone in my space and my boss said I need to know what everyone else is doing here so we can learn. And he's been in the game for 10 year.

I hope this helps, the HN community have given some formidable advice on this thread!

You have now the great opportunity to learn the best thing that you can learn in life: to master your negative emotions. Keep the ballsy attitude you had when you quit your job.

Also, check the "connecting the dots" Steve Jobs speech... you're just 20 and in the future you'll be proud of how you overcame these difficulties.

Things don't always work out. If it's the first time in your life that things didn't work out, just brush yourself off and try again.

Everyone fails sometimes. It's about getting back at it that counts. You're only 20 and you've already tried something most never attempt. Who cares if you failed. Who cares if you're living with your parents. Who cares what your friends say. As long as you learn from what's happened, it was worthwhile.

You can always find another job. Sure, maybe not one as good as the last, but you can find something. And you can always try again in terms of starting your own business. So, don't worry. You'll be okay. It's all about attitude and perseverance.

You just need to take a step back and assess what happened, why it happened, and what you can do to go from here. You're just 20 years old. You have your whole life ahead of you!

Good luck!

But it isn't over yet. ALL start-ups are MEANT to fail. What makes them work is you (and your support network: friends, family) powering through the depression and MASSIVE lows to showcase your potential in the form of a product that people love and use.

I'm probably one month behind you; the quitting job to start a new venture is straining my marriage, totally playing havoc with my confidence, affecting the relationship with my friends, siblings, parents.

BUT, I keep in mind what life working for others was like. It was safe, it paid the bills, maintained the home, BUT it gave me little sense of self-worth, no ability to realise my dreams and left me feeling like all I would ever be is a dreamer.

If you are looking for some support in getting through this and creating something you are proud of, drop me an email: rayhan@rafiqomar.com

It's not all so perfectly binary this freedom that you mentioned. One can have a high-pressure job or one can live in a tent on the outskirts of society and feel free. Likewise one can feel stifling panic in the previously mentioned situations.

The secret is to find that environment in which you feel at your optimum or to create it depending on the current social climate.

Another secret is to consider your expectations. Are you hoping to make a lot of money doing nothing and that your friends will highly esteem you? If that's the case then you'll need a trustfund from rich elders.

Try to guess what your optimum work/resources/time balance is and aim for that doing what you are good at. If what you're good at isn't what you enjoy use your resources to retrain.

And try to find new friends. The current ones sound like useless jackasses.

You're 20 you've got plenty of time.

Not everyone enjoys being an entrepreneur. If you feel like you're the kind of guy who needs stable employment, consider this: get your GED (this should be simple for someone like yourself), and take the SAT.

Then apply for college, you should be able to live off of loans while you finish and keep freelancing for some extra cash. You can get a computer science degree and be done by the time your 24.

Also if you need a little math help get this book http://www.amazon.com/Maths-Students-Survival-Self-Help-Engi...

Once again, you're only 20, you're smart, you'll be fine. Just remember that anything worth doing is hard--if it wasn't hard, everyone would do it, and it wouldn't be worth doing.

Don't listen to your family/friends. They are raised from birth to be employees (they seek security), but your desire for freedom means that you have a different personality and would be happier as an entrepreneur or small business owner. They are just crabs trying to pull you back into the trap. If you want to do this, then you need to fail many times over.. so learn to embrace failure. Failure means you have learned something.

Read (or listen to audiobooks): Robert Kiyosaki: Rich Dad, Poor Dad & Cashflow Quadrant. He also has one called "Before you quit your job", but read those two first. Steven Pressfild: The War of Art

Also, you need to start surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Ditch your old friends and make some that will inspire you to push yourself harder. Try meetup.com.

Good luck!

I didn't quit my full time job but I got fired and ironically (although it still sucks to be fired) I am happy that they let me go because now I can work full time on my independent projects. I am poor at the moment as well and live with my parents, although I have a feeling that some of my projects are going to work out and when that happens, I will be much happier to work for myself rather than at another company.

If you really REALLY are unhappy with your decision to quit your job, then why don't you just find another full time job? Sure, it wont be the same as the one you quit... it will have pros and cons for sure. You could even possibly try to go back to your old job and see what they say. Couldn't hurt to ask if you left them on good terms.

What do you mean by you can't find a job? I know many good developers having a full / part-time day job bagging groceries, serving tables at restaurants, barista at the local coffee shop, and so on while still working on their freelancing / personal business after. This is by choice.

What type of job are you trying to get?

You are 20? To me, you sound like the world is about to end and you are giving up. Don't. Learn to be patient. Get you high school diploma, get any job you can, and if you still have the time and energy, work on a startup, your own business ideas, or do some freelancing for some extra income. Also, find time to relax, enjoy friends, a hobby, and enjoy life in general. Assuming you are good health otherwise, you have a lot more life left to live.

I just want to let you know, people are here to help you out.

Start-up people (from my experience anyway) are the outcasts, but being different is what liberates us.

We stick together, help out in any way we can, and share in our successes AND failures.

I commend you for not only getting over the fear of taking the start-up leap, but also being honest with everyone on Hacker News.

There are VERY few people I know with that amount of bravery, and it is something you should be proud of.

You are not an idiot, and your father probably just doesn't fully understand what happened.

Everyone has problems, but often hide behind a false mask of growth and prosperity. Things are not always what they seem.

I'm sure the people here on HN would be happy to help you out in any way possible, including myself.

We need to stick together in the good times and the bad.

Things will get better. They will.

WTF? You expect your consulting to work from the first fucking month? Didn't you read any articles about it?

You are supposed to have some money reserves to keep you afloat for at least 6 moths. And you shouldn't expect your consulting to thrive until at least a year later.

It takes time to build client base and it takes time to build your personal brand. If you expected it all to magically just work you are just plain stupid^H^H^H^H^HH^H^naive.

In my case it was somewhat faster as we switched from a full-time job to working for the same company as contractors, but after a year, that first client was a tiny blip on our radar.

Work on promotion, hit all the meetups and conferences, meet people, release some cool open source, write a blog. THEN you will start getting clients.

The OP is already hard on himself as it is. You don't need to add to the negativity.

Your advice is excellent and thank you for saying it, but the way you phrased it — "WTF? … you are just plain stupid" — is really harsh. Reality is already harsh enough on its own. Please take some time to consider the person on the other end of the Internet.

Dude, you're only 20. Hang in there. I moved back in with my parents after losing my job in 2009 (at the age of 25). It took me a year of hard work and freelancing to get back on my feet. I moved out and then struggled to keep my head above water for another 8 months doing my own thing... and then I was able to get a job that I wasn't qualified for 2 years earlier. I was on track to be a copywriter for awhile back in 2009, and then things got shaken up. Now I'm a developer and so much happier. Figure out what you're passionate about, and everything else will follow. Even if they aren't always easy, you're fortunate to have a family to turn to. What type of work do you do now/what skills do you have?

Your honesty is commendable. And of value, to yourself and others. Take it from someone who has been in your shoes - it gets better. I promise. Falling off the horse is not the problem: it's the standing back up (ouch that hurt!), dusting yourself off, catching that horse, and getting back on that is the challenge. This is the challenge of life, and business. Setbacks are challenges that teach us that we can cope and overcome adversity. And as you have enough of these setbacks, you get better at handling future setbacks. And your confidence grows. Do everything you can to overcome this point. You will make it back onto the horse, and you will be better for it. I promise. I did, and you will, too.

As was said before. You're not alone, in any of this. This doesn't have to reflect on your value as a person.

my freelancing thing barely works

You're currently the oldest you've ever been, but you're still pretty darn young. A lot of freelancing is about the network of people who consider you a known good quantity for solving the problems that they or their contacts have. How big can your network of contacts be if you've only worked for a short time?

Failure is painful and jarring, but nobody who isn't a total asshole is going to look at a young programmer who couldn't get traction freelancing as a failed person. Hell, I would look at that as a positive thing, you're brave enough to try things that might not work.

It doesnt matter what others say you did the right thing. Just because your first try didnt work it doesnt mean nothing else. Take advices in the other comments. Get a part time job and go study arts or whatever you wanted to in your other post. Get a part time and try to start your own business not with freelancing but something else like builiding your own product. You still have a lot of time and no need to panic. Leaving slavery(your old job) did give you freedom yiu just gotta find out what to do with it. So no more feeling like a loser. Find something to give you some money to live and tha gives you the flexibility to find what you want do it! We're rooting for you!

There have been so many insightful comments that are worth considering. For inspiration, take a look at Richard Branson. Despite having a poor academic record and having dropped out of HS, he figured out how to sell stuff that people wanted. I'd also suggest reading "Think and Grow Rich." It's an old book (1937); it's out of copyright, so you can find it free online. If you can get past the older English, you'll find that many people have been in your shoes and they've made remarkable contributions with their lives. You might also want to check out Ryan Blair. He turned his life around to the point where he could write the book, "Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain."

Dude, you don't understand how young you are. At your age I was cleaning kitchen sinks in the amry. I for one would incline into hiring you for having this experience under your belt than the so-called rockstar employee in your previous company.

It's ok to be foolish.

Failing is OK as you can see from history: "Caesar served in 63 BC as a quaestor in Spain, where in Cadiz he is said to have broken down and wept in front of a statue of Alexander the Great, realizing that where Alexander had conquered most of the known world at thirty, Caesar at that age was merely seen as a dandy who had squandered his wife's fortunes as well as his own."

You'll be depressed for a while, but soon you realize that you have gained valuable lesson. Failing is something that everybody does, and it's part of everybody's life. (There is a physical reason for this: entropy* )


Simply get a job at the supermarket/fastfood or something similar. Just to get the head off of financial problems. Everyone has tough times, but its not likely that (if posted at all) those stories will be as popular as those shiny stories you expected.

You are very young. Yes there are people successful and famous and all that at your age, but that's the very very small minority. And even in 2 or 3 years, you'll still be very young.

overcome your decision and learn from it.

Quitting a Job is easy. Making a living by becoming a freelancer is hard hard work.

Also: If your friends mock you about your situation, I'd wonder what kind of friends they are. Talk to your beloved ones, you closest friends about what's going on.

Sounds like you have a lot of negative influences in your life. You should cut them out asap if that is how they are going to treat you. You made a decision. It didn't work out. You should be commended for having the bravery to try it.

Seriously though, you are only 20. You have your whole life ahead of you. People are right here to say you need to stop sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. Put that energy into getting a new job. Any job. Just get yourself out of the house. Work your ass off to build up your resume, hack projects on the side, contribute to open source, etc.

Don't commit suicide because that is just stupid and nobody is going to feel sorry for you.

You're 20 and live at home, which means you basically have no expenses. Build something. Give yourself a month and attack the project. Workout in between coding sessions to feel better about yourself. You can do it, dude. Just hang tight.

My only bit of advice from all this is to try to get support from your parents. Tell them how you feel. Tell them how they make you feel. Ask them for some support while you try to get back on ur feet.

I don't know where you live, but here in NYC you can spit and it will land on the feet of a guy offering you a job if you are a good programmer. Companies are fighting tooth and nail for good devs. Maybe you live somewhere where jobs are scarce and companies can do this.

meetup.com, look for meetups revolving around programming. I bet you will find work there. People come from other states just to find devs and try to recruit some ppl with relocation or remote work.

It's always darkest just before dawn, so do not give up hope just yet. Hang in there, you took a risk that did not pay off, so take a few minutes to lick off your wounds then move on, take it as a learning experience and do not repeat the mistakes you made.

Your story touched me as it's exactly what I am living through at the moment, its now 6 months since I quit my well paying job and being broke constantly is no fun, especially after life threw some unexpected twists my way, my dad being sick and me taking time off to stay with him the past 2 months till he got better.

Point of it all is there will be lows in life but also highs, so hold on and take heart.

I'm 25 now and can say that even in 5 years, life gets better. Your brain develops more and you'll probably find your emotions swinging less violently. I had a lot of depression and anxiety issues at that time and have very few now...I'm still an intense person, but am doing well mentally...

But yeah, being broke at that age can feel really hopeless, even though it's not...you just gotta put in the work to get yourself out of it....

Good on you for quitting, that job sounded terrible...just hang in there and get any job!

Also, keep a journal, and you'll be amazed to look back at all this intense shit later, it'll all seem so ok and you'll wonder why you stressed so much.

Cheer up, you're only 20. A lot of people will miss you. Life isn't easy. Don't make it harder on those who love you. You took a risk and it didn't work out. Get back on your feet and give it another go when you are ready.

I was working a lot throughout college and even high school when I had my own website generating income. Looking back, I wish I had enjoyed life a lot more rather than focus on money.

Get some part time job to keep you afloat.

Go back to school, enjoy being a 20 year old. You will be amazed at how many opportunities that just land in your lap while at school, interacting with your fellow classmates. Join clubs or anything where there are people around.

1. I'm from India, and most of the kids are still living with parents at the age of 20. So stop worrying about it.

2. Find out exactly what you want to do. It might take some time, but you gotta continue the search. Meanwhile at least find a part time job to pay your bills. If you're smart enough to have a good job in the first place, you'll at least find a part time job in a restaurant.

3. No one else can make things happen for you but you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, prep up the gun, and start shooting.

There's no gurantee that you'll be the next Steve Jobs, but not doing anything about your current situation is a sure shot way of failure.

All the best.

Hey mannicken,

Just wanted to share my story to maybe give you some encouragement. Between the ages of 16 and 20, I was doing freelance work. It was OK but not "amazing". An opportunity came up for a full-time job and I chose to take it. I was able to leverage what I had done freelance into demonstrating I had the resume and skills for the job I wanted. Hopefully you can do the same thing -- think "what have I achieved?" and make a resume based around that. Then, get out there and network! Tell everyone you meet what your skillset is and that you're doing a search for the perfect job. You'll find it!

I am just turning 40. You are 20 years younger than me. You have only opportunities - use them. Try things you might like, apply jobs that sound interesting. You'll find your thing again.

But, more importantly... You sound like you have a depression. Not the kind you can just 'shrug off', but the kind that requires medication (dirt cheap nowadays) and counselling (costs more, but is more effective).

This may sound nasty, and coming out of blue. But taking care of your mental health will give you the strength you need to find yourself and your place in the world again. I know this, because I had depression too. 20 years ago.

Judging from your previous HN post i take it that your reason for quitting was because you hated where you were working and were being worked out. Its difficult in such situations, but you have to be prepared to lower your expectations cause they may be set too high and that is why you are feeling bad. A lower paying job can be really satisfying, you are young and can build your skill set. Even if you were much older you can still build your skill set. Start from somewhere you can set you feet in and go from there. I would like to read a post of you succeeding in your next endeavor.

Not sure this message will find you, hope it does. You're 20 and made a mistake, that's ok. Really it is. At 20 years old there is usually very little chance of being an out the gate success, its rare. But what this experience shows is you have guts and clearly a ton of ambition. Believe me, this is a tough time but do your best to recover, its time for plan B. Go back to school if you want and look for other jobs. Once you get back on track you will truly value this experience because when you are ready to try again, you'll come more prepared. Good luck and keep your head up.

The only stupid thing you did is feeling down about a single wrong decision made very early in your life. Don't worry, you'll make much more of those in the next 60 years, and this one will pale in comparsion. And anyway, the latest one will always seem to be the worst.

Don't worry about it, at least, not too much. By worrying too hard, and blaming yourself, you only make it worse. Suck it up, and accept that you're just like any other human: we make mistakes. We then go and fix them.

So do that. You're only 20, there's a tremendous amount of time still ahead, and opportunities you don't even recognise just yet.

It sucks to read this, but I have a very similar experience to this. I quit my job after 2 years because I was ready to strike out on my own and try my hand at a startup. I failed almost instantly. I have spent the last 2 years struggling because I wasn't able to get my business going, and I didn't qualify for unemployment. The worst part was the company went under 5 months later and had I held on, I would have had 99 weeks of unemployment to use to get my idea off the ground. In my life I can count the number of regrets I have, but that is without a doubt the biggest one.

Why tiptoe through life only to arrive at death?

I was in the same position as you a few months ago, working like a slave at a startup.

You made the right choice, in quitting. Clearly you were unhappy with what you were doing.

Stay positive.

Find a mentor, read books like "War of Art" or "One minute millionaire".

Be thankful for what you do have. Your health, make sure to workout and maintain it, sleep at a regular schedule. I struggle with this as well, but if you aren't healthy you will be depressed and it will show in your work and prospective in life.

Pick up a skill, and get really dam good at it. If you are good at something you will get paid for it eventually.

I did the same; quit my boring job to try this startup thing, just to find later that I'm maybe too lazy to be an entrepreneuer. Well, I got my old job back, but quit again after few months. During that time I also messed things up with my gf. We have a young child. My parents live far away in rural area, moving there would kill my (miserable) social life so it's not an option. Oh and I'm almost 30. I feel very stressed & depressed about this whole mess right now.

OP: You are very young & only responsible for yourself (no children), things could be much more worse.

A couple things:


It's funny how fathers react to being entrepreneurial, especially if they are the one-job-for-life kind of guy. I have had the same problem in the past with my father, and he always says that I should stay where I am, in the same job, until I retire. However, on the job front I'm a nomadic person and he just doesn't understand that. But then again, I can't understand his world either.

The best thing to do is to sit down and talk with each other and try to educate yourselves on what it's like living in the other's shoes. He probably has the best intentions, but when lacking a frame of reference any argument can come off as just complaining.


Everyone gets depressed about their situation. But you wouldn't believe what kind of echo chamber you have between your ears. The worst thing you can do is to constantly listen to yourself, because you'll just churn the same though (usually bad) over and over in your head, and it never gets better. Sometimes, it takes a metaphorical slap to the side of the head (or a literal one, if that's your thing) from someone else before you snap out of it. Go out and talk to your peers. Don't talk to your parents or siblings about it, but rather people who aren't there to spare your feelings.


I completely agree that freelancing and entrepreurship is difficult. It's not something we learn in public school, and not everyone majors in business in college. That said, you're 20 so don't beat yourself up about it. From what I read, you don't have any strings attached to your life (mortgage, wife, child) so you can bounce back very easily. It'd also be easy for you to study and get those diplomas, especially the high school one.

This may sound harsh, but failing to get a high school diploma (where they only seem to hand them out these days to everything with a pulse) is pathetic. It's the single easiest thing you can do to make sure your resume doesn't get tossed in the bin. School is important. You may not think so, but your employer does. And school is one of those things where you don't realize you are using it, so it's not fair to yourself to say that you don't need to learn X or Y because it's not relevant to you right now.

This may sound harsh, but failing to get a high school diploma (where they only seem to hand them out these days to everything with a pulse) is pathetic.

No, it's really not. He already had one high-paying job without it, why on earth would you zero in on that?

Most people get their HS diploma. What good does it do them? The prerogative of schools is to pass kids. The value of a HS diploma is just about nil these days. It's only good as a divider when most of the people you're looking at are semi-literate and ignorant.

We're not talking about a semi-literate farm boy, here. We're talking about somebody who's capable of expressing himself clearly, reading and writing critically, and obviously capable of a valuable job skill as well.

Not having a HS diploma doesn't even stop you from going to college, if you value higher ed. You don't need a HS diploma to enroll in good community colleges. Many homeschoolers have gotten into great universities as a first approach, too.

ALL of the assholes in your life telling you, you made a bad decision, are the real dumbasses.

People fail to realize that the outcomes of decisions must be measured twice. Once in the short term and once in the long term.

There are many times when a decision is BAD in the short term and GOOD in the long term. Other times (like the decisions our Congress makes) are good in the short term and bad in the long term.

You might be in a bad place now, but in the long term it might be for the better. Just hang in. If you're at your worst, then it's only going to get better from here on out. Give it time.

How about make a game about your situation? You seem to be emotionally charged enough so why not channel it into something that may lead you to other ideas?

Stick with college and finish up - you might stumble onto something that fits. And if not, at least you have a that piece of paper, which I used to think it was to impress people but really it's so the glaring absence of a degree doesn't jump out.

That said, you don't HAVE to finish. It will buy you time to discover, investigate other paths.

Back to the game idea, how about make the game about the future of your next 10 years?

"My friends make fun of me for making a retarded life decision" ... You need to find some new friends. If these so called friends can't find it in themselves to show a little empathy for you, they are not your friends.

ps. Not working for the man is always a good decision. You will never starve working for the man, but you will also never get ahead. It sounds like you've got a crisis of faith. You need to ask yourself what you really want in life. If you can't stomach life without a safety net, then by all means, go back to a full-time job.

I can relate to some of your feelings. It sounds go me like you are burned out and are questioning your chosen career path. The uncertainy of freelan cing can be a lot to handle when you are already not feeling at the top of your game. Don't worry, Jou left an unhealthy environment, that was a good move. You will figure out the rest. Give youself a break, getting over burnout takes time.

Drop me a line, I run a mobile dev shop and I have a lot of well-paying web, Android and iPhone work. I provide on-the-job training as well.

You've had a lot of positive advice here.

Personally, all that positivity, whether from randoms or your mum never really helped me. Weirdly I found articles like this to bring me up for a couple of days.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405311190480030457647... How Depression affected people like Lincoln, Churchill and Ghandi.

I guess the thought that even the greats battled great adversity and resistance helps. How's that for a Nietzchian thought.

Visit http://www.befrienders.org/

Don't get discouraged. What seems like a huge thing now will be a tiny thing as it disappears in the rear-view mirror.

first, please talk to someone about your depression. it's temporary, i promise.

second, companies/businesses that require or care about a degree or diploma are usually the worst. you had a high paying engineering job? well, that should be sufficient to get you into your next job, and if you sell them on who you are as a person/potential employee, even better.

third, you're only 20, and i know how that sounds, but it's true. relax. your life is just starting, and what you think you want or know now, is mostly going to change A LOT over the next 5 years. it might help to figure out some short-term goals, and go from there. we all go through rough patches in our lives, and you actually had the balls to quit and face a challenge head-on. this is something most people can't imagine doing, so it's easy for them to criticize others for doing it, which is why they're pathetic.

if i was 20 again, i would scrape together enough for a bus ticket to the bay area (palo alto, mtn. view, san francisco, etc.), and find a job at a startup. if that's not for you, then take the advice of others and get a job at a supermarket or somewhere just to get your brain on something else. then, focus on befriending people who were more like you, and decide what is best for yourself going forward, one day at a time.

some of us have been right where you are, and some of us know exactly how you feel. it will workout, you just have to ride out the rough times and climb your way back. no one on HN is going to judge you. as you can see there's a lot of support here.

"What doesn't make it any easier is that I'm 20"

Dude! You've got your whole life ahead of you, go make MORE mistakes, lots more.

Ultimately though don't give up. If you're not sure what you want to do, go get a job (any job) and go back to the drawing board.

Want a job? Just land yourself some interviews and when they ask for an explanation of the gap in your resume, just say "I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue [insert your story], in the end it didn't work out, but I learnt a ton and am excited about re-entering the workforce".


I think the most important thing for you to do now, is to get rid of the depressed and suicide thoughts. It sure helps to talk to people about it.

I'm rather messed up as well, as I gave up several well paying jobs to pursue my own startup dreams which eventually failed and I went the freelancing route which didn't work out too.

Speaking to people about my situation lifted my mood considerably and I urge that you do the same too.

Sort out those emotional issues first, and slowly plan to get your career back on track. Suicide won't solve anything.

Get better soon dude.

Based on what I read from your original post it sounds like you made the right decision at your old job. Well I can emphasize with you on this post, the one part that doesn't make any sense is that you're only 20 years old. That's considered very young in this world, and works to your advantage.

Anyway, if you're thinking of suicide, please seek out professional help. Please!!! If there's anything you should do next, that would be it. And don't be ashamed of doing so, it's the cool thing to do.

It is entirely normal to feel the way you do at the moment. Chalk it up to learning.

Try to remember what didn't happen to you:

1. You didn't join the army and your leg got blown off.

2. You didn't work in an asbestos factory and now you are worried about getting cancer.

3. You didn't get thrown in jail and have a criminal record for life.

You quit your job, and the other plans didn't come off. That is it. The damage is monetary and can be fixed with money.

Wear your mistakes as a badge of honour, because it is what informs you of who you are.

Sit down, clear your head and a plan will come together.

Dude, don't harm yourself, it's just no worth it. Even living on welfare is better than giving up life entirely. I have struggled with thoughts like that for years myself, and I've been graced enough to know it's never worth it. My company, Bloomberg, is hiring a lot right now. Email me (http://scr.im/daveslab) at any time if you're looking for a nice place to work, even if it's just to get back on your feet again.

This might sound harsh, but hear me out.

Suicide? Come on. Really now. You can't pay some bills and are feeling lost so you want to KILL yourself?

Everyone makes mistakes. Some of them feel "stupid" in retrospect, but none of them should instill regret. You are 20 years old. You have BARELY begun to live. I speak from the RIPE old age of 29 and have experienced SO much in just the last 10 years.

When I was 20 years old, I was just about to drop out of college. I had a full ride to a private university. I just had to maintain my grades. However, I was sheltered as I grew up and was not prepared for the freedom of being able to make my own decisions. Instead of studying, completing homework and preparing for exams for a heavy 18 credit-hour semester; I went out drinking, partying and exercising my right of free will.

Long story short....my grades nose-dived. I not only lost my full ride scholarship, but the organization who was offering it made me accountable for the 3 semester's worth of funds I had already "wasted". About midway through the third semester I was in a deep depression as I felt that my 1.8 GPA was unrecoverable to reinstate my scholarship at the rate I was currently going. I was going to screw up the biggest opportunity I had going for me in my life so far. (To be clear, this was the first and only opportunity I had in my life so far.) I felt the world was going to end.

Then I made the most grown up decision I could ever make. I dropped out, moved in with my parents, got a low paying job working a call center, and started paying back my $45K in student debt and loans. I hated living with my parents.... especially when I JUST got a taste of freedom. But I learned more discipline and responsibility over the next 5 years than I did in the entire 20 years prior. (Maybe not a fair comparison, but it's true.) I STILL haven't payed back all of that debt, but I DID finally get back to school. I brought my 1.8 GPA with me. And I graduated just a year ago. Magna cum laude. (Second highest honors.) I got an internship through school which I'm still working at and making good money again. And I really think I made it this far because I took responsibility for my actions and prioritized a comeback.

Life is fucking HARD! Nothing that was ever worth doing was easy. But the lessons and experiences we gain while we try to overcome our challenges are some of the most rewarding things this life will ever offer you. You were right to quit such a slave-driving position. You're suppose to be working to LIVE and not living to work. Remember that. And persevere. Life will fly by faster than you can imagine and there are still MANY experiences left to find.

This person is the poster-child for why you get a degree AND and internship / experience in some marketable field.

People all over swear up and down you DON'T need a degree and they are right. But having a degree means that your personal safety net is higher. You don't fall back to square one if life hits you in the face all at once. Stints and Wendy's, Pizza Hut, and Best Buy are long gone. The worst that can happen is I have to go back to a white collar job in tech support. ;)

Wait a minute. He's 20?! Christ. What kind of plan did you / do you have? You say you like art, why not get in school full time? Fill out the fafsa, get financial aid, live on campus instead of driving to that little community college, and go broaden yourself for a few years!

If you need help navigating the financial aid system and seeing just exactly what you quality for then shoot me an email @ gmail. I'm a master at it.

Mannicken, your 20... Pain is what you'll experience as a result of life and through it you get growth. I'd suggest perhaps some volunteer work with those in a worse situation than yourself, such as the homeless, it's a great way to get perspective and help others, (Rather than thinking about yourself and what's only a temporary situation). Time and good judgement will fix things for you. But in a culture of instant gratification, it may not be in your time.

I'm hanging out with the homeless sometimes. It puts a lot of the shit in perspective.

I can see why you can't succeed: You are not tough enough. Come on, you are young, you have no family to feed. Why can't you fail a couple times? The majority of the entrepreneurs are very young, like you. Not because you are better than us older folks. No, not even physically. But because you got nothing to lose. And you can always start fresh.

But you got to suck it up. You got to be strong mentally. Dealing with VC or the market is 10x worse than your father or friends.

dude, you're still VERY young.. instead of crying about your lack of education, GO BACK TO SCHOOL. You whole life is ahead of you. You've lost NOTHING by taking a risk

My recommendation is to take your lumps and move on.

Can you convince your parents to support you for a couple of years until you get your high school diploma and start college? Go into some money-making career that they approve of if needed. Once in college, you can start networking and planning your next move.

Just make them feel like you are back to being a good citizen and that you will go back to earn your keep once you have your college degree.

Oh, and tell your so-called "friends" to go pound sand.

Hi Dont give up. It always leads to something good. I'm mulling on a few concepts to work on. I'm not rich, if my http://justdazzle.me idea picks up then maybe. Or the card game i invented (fucku) picks up http://acardgamewithattitude.com

Let me know hmb143 at gmail

If you want to team up then let me know we can chat to see if wavelengths match. Then we can work on an idea.

I don't understand how you think justdazzle.me will make you rich, or even make you money at all. It's just you playing the lottery and lowering your expected outcome — and the expected outcome for playing the lottery is already negative.

i did graphics work for 3 years, and got so fed up i quit my job a year ago, looking for freedom. the first few months were very nice. i then started to feel down and depressed sometimes. my initial thoughts of freelancing or doing my own thing didn't get followed through. now i'm broke and i still have some hefty loans with the bank that i have to deal with now and then.

now i learn to appreciate a job more. i had to experience this to learn that, and i can't imagine learning it any other better way. when you dont stay focused your mind tends to go bananas and that's no fun, so get a job or have something to do that keeps you focused.

and on another note, i have a 17 year old brother who was heavily depressed for a year or two, many times suicidal, but he's fine now. depressed people are everywhere, you're not alone :) just be cool about it. try your hands at different things, easily-depressed people usually are sensitive and have artistic traits, if you find your art (or whatever it is you love doing) it can bring you up big time. but again, be cool about it, depression is just part of life, and many times it goes away before the person knows what happens.

if it gets unbearable, go to a psychiatrist and get some medications, they help.

I get to hear about how stupid I was to reject a regular job at a bigco from my dad. We've an agreement for an year, where I get to try out all unconventional ways to make money(startups, freelancing, indie game-dev,etc). Everytime he comes up with a phrase starting with "you should have...", I offer to add another month to the one year promise :-)

Since I work with a remote programmer from home, this becomes quite a distraction when dad's on a vacation.

Most business don't work out. Most people have a litany of failures before they have their shining success. Your father needs to shut his damn mouth, and you need to toss your "friends" and find people that will support you through thick and thin. Most companies are scrambling to find developers so if you're a programmer I don't see you having a terrible time getting something else lined up until you're ready to give it another go.

I never really post on HN (even though I should) and saw this post and had to respond.

First, if you ARE VERY SERIOUS about suicide, please seek help as others have mentioned. I suspect you're simply very sad and venting, but please don't do anything rash.

Next, please listen to/watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI And then this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY

Perspective is the first thing you lose when you're depressed and when you're under 25, it's so easy to do. Don't put so much pressure on yourself, you took some chances, it didn't work out, life is far from over. Let me say I envy you. That's right, ENVY. You've learned at 20, what I learned at 31. You are VERY ahead of the game, and have SOOO many options because you have youth on your side and the pain today will guarantee your 20s are more productive & fruitful than they would have been had you not gone through this experience.

The most important thing you can do at this time is seek advice from someone you trust and respect, and begin taking baby steps. Don't try to tackle your whole life at once, just 1-step at a time. Surround yourself with supportive people, and strip the negativity out of your life at this time. Friends that kick you when you're down are either not real, or immature. They are useless to you at this time in your life, so stay away from them. Be honest with your parents, and tell them you need their emotional support to help you through this time. Parents make mistakes, and ultimately their emotions often get the best of them when they see you struggle, because they 'knew better'. It's important to share your feelings with them, and make them understand that you WANT to change your life and need them to support your attempts at doing so. It's such a critical step.

To share a personal story...

I graduated high school at 16. Yes, 16, and I was #9 in my graduating class. I then proceeded to FAIL out of college because I couldn't take care of myself and wasn't responsible enough to handle the freedom that comes with college. Going from 'bright all your life' to 'college failure' was an absolute low point. Suicide was contemplated frequently. The disappointment on my parents' faces was always there. Trying to get back into a different college was actually VERY difficult, because many colleges require transfer students to have a good academic standing from your previous institution, so talk about a perpetual kick in the groin. During this time, I had 2 choices. Use my brain & determination to figure a way out, or quit on life. I chose the latter.

I enrolled in the only college for 2-classes that would accept me as a part-time student for one semester, while holding down some b.s. job. It was depressing and embarrassing. The next semester, I used my 2-class semester creds. to give me 'good academic standing' and was able to apply to a better university for part-time status. During this semester, I took classes at both colleges (25 miles apart) with a 1-hr gap between my classes to allow for travel time. (That commute sucked) Exactly 1-year after getting kicked out of my university, I took my 2-semesters worth of transcripts and petitioned to get re-accepted into the uni. that kicked me out; my petition was approved, with conditions. I was placed on academic probation, and had 60 hours of 1.1/4.0 cumulative GPA at the time. I had burned through all my electives and was a Math/CS major, meaning the next 50-60 hours of class were purely CORE classes, no electives. I needed to have a 2.0 cumulative to graduate, meaning the hardest classes I had in front of me, required a 3.2 GPA average. The college I was attending was among the top 5 in engineering in the country, so turning my scholastic life around was pretty unlikely. I talked with the Dean of my college and started regularly presenting him my progress, to show I was committed.

For 2 years, I was on academic probation and thankfully had established some critical relationships to help me during this period in time. By the time I had enough credits to graduate, I was only able to average a 2.9 GPA during the rest of my time and did NOT achieve my 2.0 cumulative. I was not allowed to. My efforts to be transparent however, paid off. The Dean chose to extend a privilege to me having witnessed such a tremendous turnaround. The official name of this privilege was 'Forgiveness'. Every class I had failed I had to retake, but at this uni. grades were averaged, not replaced. 'Forgiveness' basically meant that the Dean could start wiping away F's from my transcript until my cum. GPA reached a 2.0 to graduate. It was the most ridiculous thing I had never heard of, but I some how managed to graduate from the university I previously failed out of.

It was only after this time, that I truly began to understand the value of hard work and smart thinking. You are smarter than you give yourself credit for. Surround yourself with positive energy, take baby steps, and create a plan for what you're going to try to do each week. Set realistic goals, like 'Apply to 20 jobs', as opposed to 'get a job'. You will make it through this, and please share your progress on HN. Let the community be your support system and see your progress, because your experience will help the next person that experiences similar hardships.

Good luck. Really. And if it gets too hard, watch those videos again or find other stories from successful people that never attended college. There's no set path to life. You can do this.

Damn, good story. Thanks for posting it. That's a hard landing you did at age 16. I can pretty much guarantee that would have ruined me.

Thanks for posting, a lot of what you wrote really echoed with my own life experience. And to the OP, I will add that one makes it through those rough spots.

You may be in a miserable state right now, but you've got the most important thing: your youth. I'm twice your age and still trying to find enough guts to do what you did.

Remember: Nothing, nothing is worse than being late!

  there are worse things than
  being alone
  but it often takes decades
  to realize this
  and most often
  when you do
  it's too late
  and there's nothing worse
  too late.

  Charles Bukowski

Remember that depression is just a chemical imbalance in your brain that's making you think your an idiot. Dont identify with it, and please talk to somebody in real life about this, HN will be of limited help here.

HN is a VERY VERY skewed view of the world, remember your hearing mostly just the success storys of the best of the best in this field, so dont judge yourself so harshley.

Best of luck anyway and please please talk to somebody about this in person.

I quit my $150K Info Tech job in the spring of 2009 due to extreme quality of life dissatisfaction. I was out of work a year. I spent that year learning Google's algo. Now I make 1/3 of what I once did, but I have a life again. I work 9-5 M-F to keep a lawyer on page 1 and my quality of life has gone up dramatically. I was working 7 days a week 20 hrs a day all over the world. I wouldn't go back to that for $500K a yr.

It gets better brother. I've been there. Keep fighting. You're not alone.

You've already done the hard part. You've redefined yourself as someone who works for himself. Taking a job to keep going doesn't change that - it reenforces it.

Just keep doing good work and treating your clients well. You'll get more; it will snowball. It just builds really slowly at first.

Please drop me a line anytime - george@illuminatikarate.com. We're a small group and we need to stick together.

I want to point out that your "gig" which you quit was bat-shit insane and not an environment to be in. You quit it because it was fucking awful. They made all your staff work consistently overnight and completely forsake your sanity and happiness.

You made the right move. Pivot to be happy. You tried the self-employment route. It didn't work. Get another job.

What line of work are you in? Ruby? Contact me if you want advice/work. "Bigf1sch" on Skype.

Well if it makes you feel any better when I was 20 I was a high-school drop out working in fast food and STILL living with my parents. Things got better and then they got worse, but then they got much better again. Every time life took dips I got better at dealing with them and chances are you will too.

You are young, you can take chances now and you should. Someday taking chances may not be choice you can easily make anymore.


The feeling that all doors are closed is ALWAYS misleading. There is always an open door, alas maybe you don't see it today, or tomorrow, but it's there. The one thing you should do is to find ASAP someone who never shouts at you, who is not blaming you, and who is cab listen and consider the options. THERE ARE MANY OPTIONS. YOU WILL GET OUT no matter how unrealistically it looks right now.

One of the best things I did when I was really burned out from IT was get a job at a Starbucks. The money wasnt great compared to an IT salary, but I had fun, learned a lot about process management, adaption, leadership and communication. I worked that job for a year and I only left when I was offered a job by a customer (that I saw everyday) and it was in academia, not IT. I am happier than I have ever been.

Buddy, you had the balls to take a risk. You fell on your face, but at least you took the risk. You did more good in that failure than most dreamers do in their lives. That willingness to put it all on the line will probably serve you all your life.

And all your life is what you have ahead of you. Dying at 20 would be such a waste. Especially for a lad that has balls the size of grapefruits who's willing to follow his dreams.

You did the right thing.

But it's time to move on, life is too short. Try to start again, like the Phoenix, from your ashes.

You can start a new life from what You think is a failure (it is not, because You didn't anything wrong!).

Maybe You can consider the idea of having a job in another field, maybe You should try something less stressing, and I'm saying this because I'm a developer too!

Obviously, at the beginning the money will be not too much, but why You shouldn't try?!

Let us know! :)

First of all dude, not to be an ageist, but you are 20. You are going to have so many jobs in your life, you're JUST getting started. In 10 years when you are doing something entirely different you are going to be proud of how crazy you were. Take it in stride, you'll find work, keep looking. In the mean time be a bartender or something. That is what I'd do if I couldn't find any development work.

Are you working on a startup or something like that? I think the assumption in the original thread might have been that you were, given the nature of this website. If so, your old job would have made it utterly impossible to accomplish anything. You would be better off to sweep floors or deliver pizzas 30 hours/week, if it came to that - if you're starting a startup.

What are you doing with this free time?

Hi, I'm 34 and I did the same thing two years ago. I managed to spend all of my savings and I'm now $22K in debt. I ended up giving up and getting a 'real' job- now I get to spend the next many years paying for my 'experience'. Now I have a new appreciation for 'side projects', bootstrapping and profitability from day one.

It'll get better - but go get a job, right now, it'll make you feel much better.

I think your issues are greater than the fact you quit your job. In your previous post you sounded rather noncommittal on your entire career path (coding). What other careers have you explored?

If you don't think you're going to find happiness in your occupation, make sure you try and find a job that you can leave at work. Then find the happiness in your real life.

If you ever feel suicidal please call 1-800-SUICIDE.

It's time to Pivot.

You are young, go to college (take all the student loans you need to stay on campus) and get a solid degree that you can do something with when you graduate, Computers, engineering, etc. Join a fraternity, make some of the best friends you will ever have in your life, drink some beer and enjoy life for a few years.

We all make mistakes, it's how we rebound from them that defines us.

Best of luck. You can do it!


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