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I apologize in advance, but I mean every word.

What kind of entitled bullshit is this?

> Quit blaming the economy.

The simple truth is that it's difficult to get money in this economy without either an established job, and established home, or a reserve of cash from which to build something. Just because the tech sector is doing well doesn't mean that all sectors are doing well.

> Quit waiting to be hired.

What do you suggest? He build a company from the public library, while living out of a homeless shelter and eating in soup kitchens?

> Bring the locus of control inside. Put in on you.

I don't even know what this is supposed to mean. It sounds like something you'd hear at a bad self-help seminar.

> Go to the public library and start learning.

The man in this story was trying to get a degree (granted, humanities isn't one of the more employable degrees). He couldn't afford it; a public library is a poor substitute to a school.

> Make yourself valuable.

With what? He is lacking in resources from which to build his future.

> I make sacrifices, I toil, I struggle, but I make it work. Why can't they?

What makes you think they are not? Would you have been able to make it if you had been dropped from college halfway through your bachelors degree with no money? Would you have been able to get VC funding without the contacts you made in college, or even a home address?

Why do you think you're smarter than he is, and not just luckier?




Why do you think you're smarter than he is, and not just luckier?

Did you read his entire comment? Assuming he didn't edit it after your post (and it appears he didn't, since he starts off admitting that half of him feels that way,) he concludes that "maybe I was just luckier."

He admits being torn on the subject, but that doesn't change that many able-bodied, mentally sound people can do more than they're necessarily capable of realizing while in the throes of despair.

"Pick yourself up by your own bootstraps" may not be the sort of advice that someone is able to grasp while depressed, but on the off chance they are able to hear it, it's sound advice. There's little doubt that many people, if not most people in the world could be trying harder than they do. It's also easy to get carried away with being down on your luck.

I don't disagree with many of the points you've made, but they also don't necessarily discount the points of the poster you responded to either. Self-teaching from a library might be a poor substitute for a proper university, but it's still miles and away better than sitting on your ass waiting for your situation to change.

Anyway, I'll apologize as well, because your knee-jerk reaction spurred one of my own, and I don't mean to seem harsh, but I think the criticism to the parent was unnecessary, and I feel like perhaps you missed the part where he bares empathy.

Edit: I completely blew my cool there. I don't think my narrative-voice was yelling, but it was definitely speaking in harsher tones than I like to, and for that, I owe you another apology.

I think I'm generally fed up with how unnecessarily mean HN has become lately, and how knee-jerk everything seems to be. This is me adding on to that, and for that I am genuinely sorry. I would like to ask though (of myself as well), in the future, if you could take 10 seconds and re-read a post before blasting its author, it would make a huge difference over all.


Saying that "maybe I was just luckier" at the end is a pretty lame cop-out after spending the remaining 90% of the comment belittling the person for not being so lucky.

Personally, I see someone who is constantly applying to jobs and working as much as they can in the jobs they are able to get as having hoisted their bootstraps as high as they can reach.

Frankly, if you're looking for mean posts, look at those belittling people in dire straits before blasting those that have the temerity to rise to defend them.


I'm not AVTizzle, and can't speak for the tone and timbre of his post, but I feel like you took it completely out of context, as he appears to question his own feelings on the matter.

Regardless, I was acting out of frustration, and you're of course welcome to read it however you like, however wrong I might feel that it is.


AVTizzle's post was, to me, so ignorant it was bordering on bigotry. So it's not just falcolas who was offended by it.

I tried hard not to respond to it as the hateful screed I felt it was. I had to cut lots from my post before I felt comfortable sending it. But, really, come on. Anyone posting paragraphs of "they just don't work hard enough" and "I took control" in response to personal stories of homelessness is going to get posts from people with different life experiences saying just how wrong that post is.

Re-reading AVTizzle's post now I am still angered by it, but I don't think it's hateful. Just ignorant.

{META} I agree that HN can be needlessly harsh, and I welcome people who work to avoid that. Normal advice is to save a post to drafts and go back to it later for sending. That's not easy on HN - there isn't any save to drafts (unless you use a script or weird text editor interface) and there's pretty big time pressure on posting. The guidelines are a good start to describing acceptable behaviour. I'm not sure about a good way to remind people of them. And recently there have been many 'hot button' ('shallowly, but intensely, interesting') topics, so maybe some over-enthusiastic posting has carried over from those.


And in all fairness, I think that the tone of your response was a hundred times less inflammatory than the post I responded to (and sadly, far less inflammatory than the post of mine you are responding to).

In an ideal world, more HNers would temper their reactions to start crying 'bullshit' and put more effort into treating each other like human beings. If more did exactly as you'd done, HN would be a far better place than it currently is.

AVTizzle's post may or may not meet that definition, as he hasn't responded to clarify his position, but he also isn't speaking directly about a particular person in general, rather, he's speaking about his own mindset about a group of people, and he's been blasted for it.

Thanks for the extra data point -- I'm a little amazed that we interpret the reference post so differently, but I thank you for clarifying.

Regarding the harshness, I didn't mean to imply that I felt this was a very recent phenomenon. And in fact, the HN of many years ago had perhaps far more in the way of pissing matches, but they were more academic in tone. I think it's that precedent that encourages the head-butting we see now, but either because people have 'settled in', or the community standards have lowered, there are less people who can say "No, I think that you're wrong -- here's why," without resorting to pejoratives and insults. I realize how potentially futile change is, but the idealist in me hopes it isn't.


Bigoted against what?


Against the homeless. I'm not sure what your question is.


So nobody can criticize people who are homeless without being labeled a bigot? That doesn't seem productive.


"a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigot)

You can criticize the poor and homeless, but too many completely reject the idea that their struggles can be something other than self-imposed. That rejection turns criticism into bigotry.


We're all walking the tightrope. Its an important part of our mental gymnastics that we regard those who fall as 'deserving it' or at least that its their own fault, that we'll avoid their error. Otherwise we'd all clutch and panic.


No, I think it's far more honest to just clutch and panic.


I didn't get that sense from the OP at all. In fact, they even mentioned that it may be related to luck after all. I'd be more careful about throwing the term "bigot" around in the future if I were you.


About luck: in the final sentence, they mention luck. But even that is just I'm lucky I'm not lazy, I'm lucky I was born with the gift of hard-work and determination, rather than I'm lucky I've avoided the external forces that send people homeless.

They write a long post about how people who are homeless "don't get it".

They say things like "go to the public library", and "quit blaming the economy".

They say things like "I make sacrifices, I toil, I struggle, but I make it work."

I've edited the OP a bit - maybe this explains the bits I concentrated on.

"I can't tell you honestly why [...] I would be so driven. Why [...] I would be curious enough to seek out the books, essays, podcasts, and blog posts that have shaped my entrepreneurial character.

Why was I drawn towards the heroes and role models that I was - business and technology leaders, instead of rock-stars or athletes - who inspired me towards a particular path?"

It feels to me like it's hateful, obnoxious, vile writing. (Other people disagree, and that's fine.) People who are homeless do not have entrepreneurs as role models? People who are homeless do not have intellectual curiosity? The economy has no affect upon a person's ability to gain employment? People who are homeless did not struggle hard to make things work before the rug was pulled?

I sincerely wish AVTizzle never has to experience homelessness. But perhaps they should temper their remarks about homeless people until s/he's met a few or been in that situation.


Well, it seems like a nuanced issue. There are both homeless people who are lazy and unlucky and rich people who are lazy but lucky. I think the OP has a general disdain for lazy people, regardless whether they are rich or homeless. I rather doubt he'd be praising some trust fund baby who's also lazy.


I'd be more careful about checking that the person you're replying to said the thing you're replying to. I was offering a definition and a criteria for distinguishing between criticism of the poor and bigotry against the poor. I haven't called anyone a bigot.


Sorry, my mistake. I'd be more careful about defending someone's poor use of the word "bigot".


I wasn't defending it.


Upon re-reading your post I take back what I said. I was really taking issue with the user who originally called the OP a bigot. Sorry bout that.


All is forgiven.


No, you can criticise people who are homeless.

What you can't do is use your lucky situation to cast all homeless people as feckless, lazy, stupid, inflexible people who deserve to be homeless because they just don't make enough effort.


What would you self-teach yourself at a library that would land you a job later? It might work for programming, but not for that much else? "Hi I'm your new physician, I learnt how to operate reading books in the library" :-)


Since you asked, there are a variety of jobs that fit the criteria of not requiring a college degree and that are learnable from books, practice and practical experience alone.

Sales, Software Development, Blogger, Author, Administrative Assistant, Fire fighter, Telecom engineer, (think Comcast/Verizon installers) Appliance Repair, Personal Trainer, Dietary Advisor, etc.

None of these may be a person's 'ideal' job, but the majority of them pay well and can be gotten with learnable education, practice, or a good interview.


Blogger, author, and administrative assistant do not pay well in the vast majority of cases and cannot be gotten easily -- decently-paid positions in those fields are very competitive.

Sales is usually commission-based.

Fire-fighter requires physical fitness. Appliance repair requires appliances. Personal trainer and dietary advisor... are those even real jobs outside the tiny enclaves of the very rich?


They are. Personal trainers typically work at gyms and are 'for hire'. Dietary advisors are probably less common, but I was just looking for a few example fields for things you could learn from the library, for which I think that fits the bill.

You're not wrong that there are barriers to these jobs, but that's true of anything. As IT professionals, we're used to seeing "minimum 10 years practical experience + portfolio + FizzBuzz tests" as job requirements, but almost every job has some barrier to entry, whether it be related experience, references or what have you.

Construction jobs (in boom times) are more plentiful, but require physical fitness, tools and the ability to be handy. Pizza delivery generally requires a vehicle, insurance, a clean driving record, etc.

There is no magical place that people can go to become employed, but I tried to pick fields that had learnable skill sets or (in the case of the first few, definitely sales) jobs where one's pluck and enthusiasm could go a long way towards landing. I've worked with a LOT of salespeople over the years, and it's all personality-based at the entry levels, if you can convince the person to give you the job, you can get the job. It isn't until one tries to progress in sales that past performance even becomes that big a deal.


Could pickup some more standard IT skills which would help you doing admin type work?


Carpentry? Sewing?


Carpentry learned in a library! Wow, no wonder that people make ignorant "just pick yourself up by your bootstraps"-type comments. Complete and utter disconnection from reality.


Tell us, what are the things you could learn at a library that could translate into earning income?


I don't recall saying there was anything that you could learn in a library that would translate into earning income. Though if I were in a situation where that was my only option, I'd personally pick web programming. That probably has the lowest barrier to entry of anything you could actually learn by just reading a book.


Would you hire a carpenter who had 0 experience but had read a lot of books at the library when you could alternatively hire a carpenter with actual experience?


Is sewing still a viable source of income? There are a few shops where I live, but they all seem to be run by old people with immigrant background (no offense, it just might indicate that they are willing to work for little money).

Carpentry takes years to learn the official way where I live. And you need tools.


It's the AVTizzle's that make things difficult for the young people in the article. He's right about one thing: it's not about money or jobs. It's about attitude.

The top poster has the right attitude.

But many people who are in a position to help others cannot because, while they may be able to manage many things, they cannot manage to adopt the right attitude. They will never be generous. They will never help the less fortunate.

I don't know how to define success in the general sense that it is often used in the context of careers (As the great New Orleans songwriter Allen Toussaint asked: What is Success?), but in my view generous people are successful. They have succeeded in adopting the right attitude.


Who are you to define the "right" attitude? And how do you know that AVTizzle isn't a generous person who doesn't help the less fortunate?

_β€œIt is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ― Aristotle_

Considering your place in the world, why you are more/less fortunate then others and your purpose in life is as natural as breathing for people. To be able to see validity in both sides of the coin signals to me that AVTizzle is likely an individual who is very generous in life. I don't know him/her personally but your assertions sound completely misplaced and simply projections of what you think someone is like onto AVTizzle.


The "right" attitude is an expression, a figure of speech. There is no universal definition. It is a way of stating an opinion of approval. But many people might agree on a similar definition based on a set of facts. Some might disagree. It's up to you, not me.

As for AVTizzle, you could be right. Then again you could be wrong. He wrote what he wrote. He chose a certain tone. I interpreted what he wrote. And I drew conclusions about his attitude.

As one would do with any comment, such as the top one.

You can either agree or disagree with my conclusions. As I can with yours.

Regardless of whether my mind is educated, I've followed Aristotle's idea. I've entertained the thoughts in your comment, however I do not accept them.


i could not have said it better myself. even if he is smarter and not just luckier, so what? the fact of the matter is, in sheer production terms it's becoming increasingly unnecessary for everyone to have a job; it's just that the "working and 'making your own way' is the only right/moral/ethical/deserving way to live" mentality is so deeply ingrained in people that they are unwilling to face up to the fact.


I am in this exact age group, and my circumstances are almost similar. I got lucky, my family is very close knit so I'm able to live with my mother, and up to 3 relatives have given me opportunities to move in if my mother couldn't handle me playing parasite.

I made the dumb mistake of going to a small private college for CS. There were only 2 professors in the department and at most around 8 seniors, so we had an insanely good professor to student ratio. Problem is, the career center had no connections in the tech industry and as a result I have been trying to solo my way into a software job having graduated in 3 years with my bachelors with a 3.3 gpa and no internships since the year I was planning to have one in the summer, I found out I could graduate early so I took the chance.

Then I found out almost every intern opportunity requires an active .edu email or some other validation to show you are an active student. So I'm in the awkward position where I'm working on FOSS projects whenever I can, while playing homemaker for my mother to "earn my keep", and trying to get a leg in.

But the real getter is that I am not some rock star coder. I'm not really good at it, at all. I don't have great recall of the myriad of algorithms (I know what A* is, but would have to Google a proper implementation). Same with with a spline or a rope. If I write software, I usually end up spending a few hours on ~300 lines just debugging it into a working state with a standard library reference open the whole time. I understand the languages I use - I can write regexes, I know locks, etc, but I usually just hit some gap in my knowledge snag that gets me caught up for a while. For example, I was trying to use Python subprocess to do some calls into nvidia-settings and various other fan controllers(I was writing a script to intelligently control my machines fans since the default Linux fan controls kind of suck). Took me 3 hours to figure out that the best way to get standard out was to use subprocess.check_output because temp files as pipes didn't work (at least for me).

So all my interviews so far have basically gone the same way - I don't produce perfect code from memory, and as a result I don't get consideration (there are more reasons than that, but I get the impression), especially without any past employment experience and only 2 personal projects (which are really just scripts) across github and gitorious. I also have an awful personality most people can't relate to - I'm an introverted cynic. Even if I can try to fake behavior around others I always crack and act like myself again at some point. I have a really hard time making small talk and being chummy, for example.

So I can relate to the large portion of the population that isn't an Elon Musk super-genius entrepreneur or some John Carmack coding god whose every line of code reads like prose that five hundred years from now professors will read off to CS students like Shakespeare. I'm not even particularly average, because I have very little concrete experience - I just have a gigabyte of source files for homework and projects from school, a few commits to various FOSS projects that changed a line or two. I'm trying to make something I can show off but I lack the imagination to come up with something novel that I can realistically build by myself in a month or two (since I'm always worried I might end up just like the kids in this article, out on the street).

Sorry for the rant, I just feel like the guy two posts up is kind of lucky to be talented.


Why even bother with internship? I think this kind of system where you have to work for free just sucks...

Also it sounds to me as if you are actually a pretty good programmer. Not many people would be able to stand debugging their code for hours. And frankly, I think it is normal that it takes this long to get a complex algorithm running. That is why in most programmer jobs, you don't implement any fancy algorithms at all. You use libraries for that, and only do primitive CRUD operations using some framework.

Personally I would have to Google A* again, too, and I have never heard of "rope". Spline only rings a bell, I think it is used in graphics programming, but I wouldn't know what algorithm is behind it.

Reading further, I think you are also picking tasks that are too hard, like hacking around with NVidia device drivers? Why not experiment with a nicer and cleaner environment like HTML5? I must admit your choosing NVidia device drivers would seem a bit like a red flag to me, like a failure of judgement - why would you pick something horrible like that. Which is of course a bit insane, because we need mad hackers to drive forward technology. I am just saying...

But I think you underestimate your coding skill by a wide, wide stretch. Most people couldn't even begin to hack on NVidia device drivers. (Or maybe not device drivers - not sure what you were trying to do, but it sounds like low level stuff).

Wondering what you would charge for implementing a small project?


`nvidia-settings` is a commandline utility to control graphic card configuration. It's used to set things like SyncToVBlank, FSAA level, Vibrance, multihead positioning, and even GPU and Fan speed, since you can also query temperature.

Hacking the original nvidia drivers is pretty much impossible, they are closed source after all :)

One of the first things I've implmeented when I learned programming was mapping ACPI events of multimedia buttons to various calls to XMMS. Having something physical to relate to while coding is a big help for me, and makes a lot of sense. I assume that's one of the reasons a lot of people get arduino, rPi, beagleboard, etc... If it moves or interacts with the environment, it's easier to wrap your head around it, and more rewarding when you get it to behave as you want it to.


> Hacking the original nvidia drivers is pretty much impossible, they are closed source after all :)

You don't just open binaries in hex readers and see the program running before you like Neo in the Matrix? :P


> But I think you underestimate your coding skill by a wide, wide stretch. Most people couldn't even begin to hack on NVidia device drivers. (Or maybe not device drivers - not sure what you were trying to do, but it sounds like low level stuff).

It isn't hacking device drivers, its just using the binds to control the fans and monitor temperatures on gpus from nvidia-settings. It is the nvidia frontend configurator for the proprietary driver. That is why I brought it up, it really is just these two lines:

nvidia-settings -q gpucoretemp nvidia-settings -a [gpu:0]/GPUFanControlState=1 -a [fan:0]/GPUCurrentFanSpeed={}

But they weren't even the problem, I'm talking about a python standard library implementation of what is effectively execVP in Python. I tried a half dozen ways to get standard out from that thing. Makes me feel dumb.

> Why not experiment with a nicer and cleaner environment like HTML5?

I struggle a lot with CSS for one. I can't remember all the different modifiers on tags, I don't remember hex colors, and I keep messing up ids, selectors, and classes syntax when I try it. I'd get to know Bootstrap if push came to shove on that front. I'm pretty fine with html, understand the syntax enough that the Mozilla Developer Pages + a lot of Google lets me structure a web page well enough. I've done some Django to try to build up my resume, but never built anything real serious on it besides tutorials mainly due to that lack of imagination for the "what novel thing can I make that is really useful?" problem. Worst of all is the most I've done in Javascript was the Code Academy track and the Jquery track. So I can read JSON and do the most basic JS stuff, but my interactions in a web app barely go beyond GetElementByID.

> Wondering what you would charge for implementing a small project?

I have no idea. I currently make some side cash just playing tech support in my town. I have never even tried contract work, mainly on the basis I have no portfolio of real serious projects besides school ones. I've only been out of school for a few months, and usually spent my summers taking classes to graduate early (I did try applying for Summer of Code my Sophomore year, but I can't blame my applicantee for thinking rewriting a garbage collector in a new language might be a little much for someone who had less than 6 months experience with C).

One problem is that my tools experience is practically non-existent. I know and have read lots of books, read some code samples and projects, read a lot of dev blogs, on a lot of languages - mainly because I like all the different paradigms. So I can look at C, C++, D, Python, C#, Java, Javascript, Bash, Regexes, SQL, and even a smidgen of Perl and Haskell, and understand what is going on, write something easy. But since I haven't landed a job yet in any major discipline, and because I am mainly interested in the lower level stuff, I haven't really specialized enough to tackle contract work. I imagine I'm around a hundred or so development hours away in any one language from being able to truly sell myself as a candidate for such.

I'm currently implementing keyboard shortcuts in Firefox Mobile for hardware keyboards, if you want an example of what I'm doing. I use my TF700 a lot on the go, and with the keyboard dock it is annoying not to have a lot of the desktop shortcut functionality. I just started today though, but I found the implementation of keybinds from desktop Firefox, and once I find the skeleton keybinds they already have in mobile (they do have a few) I'll just port over the major ones that are missing, with a check to only use them when a physical keyboard is in use. But that might take a week to flesh out, commit, etc. And when you are an unemployed college graduate, a week is a lot, and that is small!


"I tried a half dozen ways to get standard out from that thing. Makes me feel dumb."

Sometimes real world programming is annoying like that. I still stand by my point: you seem to be able to autonomously dig through API documentations and look up algorithms on Google. That makes you a good programmer.

"I can't remember all the different modifiers on tags, I don't remember hex colors, and I keep messing up ids, selectors, and classes syntax when I try it."

All these things can be looked up, also I think it is good to keep CSS hacking to a minimum (don't apply too many tricks). Using something like Bootstrap should eliminate most of the need for that?

I think we will wake up in some time and realize that with CSS we have created on of the most unwieldy programming constructs ever. Once they'll introduce scripting (which is planned I think), it will be real hell. The problem is that everything has so many intractable side effects.

As for contracting: I know the feeling of not knowing anything well enough to sell yourself as a specialist. I think the solution could be to just take on a small project (like a web site) and not be too specific about the technology.

Firefox Mobile keyboard: see, most people wouldn't even know how to start doing that kind of thing.


I'm in the same boat. 2 yr degree and 3 yrs experience (one employer). Reading through your comment I imagine that many people are in this boat. The part that is most frustrating around HN is it seems like everyone has ideas and is a rock star and many successes and jobs are falling from the sky.

It can be discouraging when you have none of that. Most discouraging is when people say things like "Just move here and you'll have jobs flung at you daily!" Relocating isn't something I can do on a whim.

I know that given the chance I can excel but no employers want to give it. It seems almost like a fix when the same positions are left open week after week but you've already been turned down (with and/or without an interview).

For me ideas are hard to come by so what I've been doing is finding things that annoy me as I do them. Can I do anything about that? Most of the time I can't but recently I've stumbled onto a couple ideas that I can.

So this post is slightly relevant: I believe many people, including some of the ones that seem to have it all figured out, are just like us. Continuing to learn and having to research to get things to work; not machines.

Edit: nobody here has said this but many times it's the tone I read it in.


3 years experince sounds like a lot from this side of the fence. Every rejection letter mentions the lack of any industry experience.

> It seems almost like a fix when the same positions are left open week after week but you've already been turned down (with and/or without an interview).

I have gotten the impression after about a hundred cover letters that a lot of these open positions are not meant to be filled by candidates fit for them, but they exist as HR's always available gap for the rock star with 10 years experience in every language to come and apply for so they can get a third the salary they can get elsewhere. Like they just leave positions open in case a genius feels dumb enough to take it.

> For me ideas are hard to come by so what I've been doing is finding things that annoy me as I do them. Can I do anything about that? Most of the time I can't but recently I've stumbled onto a couple ideas that I can.

I mentioned in another post but I do the same. Currently am implementing desktop keybinds in Firefox Mobile if you have a hardware keyboard connected, since I use my tablet + keyboard a lot and having no ctrl-t, ctrl-w, etc is annoying. Started today on that project :)


I agree 3 years is more than many. A pitfall is it was with a small company so everything I learned (I learned a lot on the job) was the way they ran things and going from what the more experienced programmers said a lot of that was not how things ran elsewhere.

Even with 3 years though it seems that companies now want 5+ or more (it always seems out of reach).

Good luck with your project! What you described is completely foreign to me and I would feel much more lost than you I'm sure (more of a web but not mobile yet guy).


I wouldn't worry too much about web vs mobile. Give it 5 years and mobile browsers (on Android at least, the other two platforms are in lockdown) will be beefy enough to run webgl + html5 applications so I imagine a lot of people will start switching from apps to bookmarks of their favorite games.

Especially if internet service (and in particular the wireless) in the US gets less shitty.


"It seems almost like a fix when the same positions are left open week after week but you've already been turned down (with and/or without an interview)."

I've heard that some companies even post fake job offerings because it makes them look good economically (look, we are growing and can't hire fast enough).

What about going to networking events and user groups and reaching out there?


I've heard that a lot of it has to do with "We have to advertise the position but someone on the inside is moving up." or something like that.

I've been meaning to look into meetups but haven't had much success in finding anything in my area. I did find a Ruby one recently that I could go to but I know nothing about it. Where I live it doesn't seem there are many (if any) for developers. Starting my own is just my idea of a worst nightmare.

When I get done with the projects I've picked up lately I will look into it some more as a lot of times it isn't about how well you could do the job but who you know that can get you the job.


I'll echo other people's sentiment in that it sounds like you actually probably are a very good programmer, but just a very harsh critic of yourself. That can be a good thing because it can vault you ahead of other people who have falsely inflated opinions of themselves, but it can also be a bad thing because it will prevent you from putting yourself out there.


> I don't even know what this is supposed to mean. It sounds like something you'd hear at a bad self-help seminar.

The locus of control is a psychology term[0]: "referring to the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them."

I've had many peers growing up who had an entirely different attitude from me regarding what was within an individual's control and what was not. Many people hide behind the circumstances that they have been dealt without acknowledging that it is possible to change them. They simply give up and choose to see no path forward.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locus_of_control


But do you realize that this (subjective) locus of control is also, at least to a degree, part of your skill set. I have problems with statements like 'they give up and choose to see no path forward', because it seems to imply that somehow they're lazy, or dumb, or whatever. It's a step away from 'poor people are poor because they're lazy'.

I am very 'entrepreneurially-inclined', but I have no illusion that this is all my choice or doing. I just happened to have certain personality traits, and the right ones have been developed through my unconventional upbringing and schooling.

I understand what you are saying, but for some people pointing this out doesn't do much. They need to be taught and encouraged to understand that they have more control than they think.


On waiting to be hired: if market doesn't need my skills I can either wait for market to change... or I can work on my skills.

If you have no other options, learning in public library will get you much further than doing nothing and pitying yourself.

Parent post concludes with similar thought as yours: maybe he was just luckier at birth. Being better educated, feeling smarter and more driven might all be consequence of that.


> On waiting to be hired: if market doesn't need my skills I can either wait for market to change... or I can work on my skills.

True. However, it is impractical to learn many valuable skills from a library (particularly a busy library where regular access to a computer is unlikely). A library is really good at one thing in particular - teaching you to think. It's not so good at teaching you to weld, to be an EMT, a dental assistant, or even to be a secretary. All of things require either a employer willing to teach you as they pay you (which is sadly uncommon anymore), or some form of formal education (which costs money).

I'm not saying that you should give up and not work on your skills, I'm just pointing out that it's not that easy.

> Parent post concludes with similar thought as yours: maybe he was just luckier at birth. Being better educated, feeling smarter and more driven might all be consequence of that.

It probably doesn't hurt. It's also easy to look on hardships you have not personally endured and say "If you only did this..."


I grew up in a developing country in a small town, I had to drop out of high school since it was becoming unaffordable, with access to a small library where most of the books weren't even in English. I learned electronics from those books, but most of it covered PNP transistors which were rare instead of NPN transistors which I could easily strip from old broken radios. I learned about computers from those books, and taught myself programming, where the books were mostly about the Commodore 64 and I was learning BASIC while the world out there was using PCs with C and Pascal. I taught myself enough to assemble my first PC from broken parts, and developed enough skills to allow me to move to a city, then to move to the UK, and other countries.

Was I lucky, or better educated? I also have that question of why do people who live in developed first world countries with free high school education and large libraries (containing books in the best language for information, and computers) don't see themselves as extremely lucky already. Why, with the massive head start they have that I didn't have, don't they go and make something of themselves and their lives?


Because they don't have destitution motivating them to grab on by the skin of your teeth to any income whatsoever.

But, I want to note, that's a good thing. One of my college classmates is a severely messed-up person from being raised by abusively money-hungry and careerist upwardly-mobile parents from India. Having the fire of destitution in your belly is how you breed Goldman Sachs investment bankers, not good citizens of a developed society.


I agree that it can be a really bad thing. Just as your upbringing can influence you to become curious, willing to learn and self-motivated, it can also teach you the wrong kind of motivation. I have seen people come from a background where wealth was considered more important than anything, where opportunism and exploitation are acceptable means to a materialist goal, and saw these people turn out as criminals and con men.


> Having the fire of destitution in your belly is how you breed Goldman Sachs investment bankers, not good citizens of a developed society.

no way. Its greed and not destitution that breeds these investment bankers to exploit whatever they can to make money.


But that's the issue. People who grow up poor learn to be greedy.




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