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Thread: Losing it...

  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru OfficeOfTheLaw's Avatar
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    Losing it...

    <rant>
    Well, I've been out of college a year now, and the question that has popped up is, "was it worth it?". I'm not quite sure it was unfortunately. I DO have a job, however I make $.50 less an hour than I did after high school (with alot more responsibilities and a project list that goes on forever), and let's just say the work just doesn't feel rewarding.

    I've sent out resumes to companies all over, even wasting $300 on a resume specialist to help me spice my resume up. I have no problem getting interviews, but no matter how well it goes, how much I try, or even if I bring a very impressive collection of programs I have written, the end result is always the same... "We are sorry, but we have opted to go for another candidate with more experience". I had 10 interviews this past month alone... ALL OF THEM HAD THE SAME DAMN ANSWER NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRIED, OR THE FACT I DROVE 8 HOURS FOR ONE OF THE INTERVIEWS!!!! >

    My bills just seem to be getting higher and higher, the creditors are screaming for my blood over my student loans, and, well, my bank account is always either very low or in negative numbers.

    I guess I'm just frustrated beyond belief. We went to college because we were shown all these charts that showed us that the average college grad makes this or that, or we go to college because we dream of having a nice sized house some day (not a mansion or anything, just a nice house). And most importantly, we often decided to go to college just because of the notion of improving ourselves. Unfortunately, the only end result I've gotten from college so far is that I have a huge debt amassed and employers act like I'm some uneducated oaf that doesn't even have a GED. (BTW, I don't walk into interviews with this type of attitude, I'm just blowing off steam).


    I AM SICK AND TIRED OF PEOPLE TELLING ME ABOUT THE MARKET BEING IN A "SLUMP" OR THAT EMPLOYERS ARE VERY PICKY ABOUT WHO THEY HIRE. HOW CAN I GET EXPERIENCE IF EMPLOYERS REFUSE TO HIRE ME BECAUSE THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT I HAVE ENOUGH EXPERIENCE!? I WASTED 5 YEARS OF MY LIFE IN COLLEGE STUDYING MY *** OFF, AND IT WAS NOT TO BE TOLD THAT I AM A DUMBASS (which is what they are essentially saying in more polite terms).

    I guess what I'm getting to is, any advice for college grads (and no do not even SUGGEST doing work on rent-a-coder type sites... those projects are too little and not something that would help advance my career) having trouble in the job market? I'm not expecting to make millions or something, I just wish that my friend from back home who stayed at the same factory I worked at before college couldn't brag that he makes more than I do, or I wish I wasn't still driving my 95 Tercel from highschool.

    So what exactly is the reward from going to a 4 year university supposed to be?
    </rant>

    James Carr, Software Engineer


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  2. #2
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    I know how you feel James. I graduated from a pretty good school (U of Washington) and it was hard to find a decent paying job in the area because the makret was saturated with programmers (seattle area). Starting salary for a lot of graduates was around 30k.. I made that while I was waiting tables putting myself through school. I wondered..like you.. what the point was.

    It took me moving halfway across the country to get a really good job..or one that I figured paid as much as I expected or more. Where exactly are you located (not sure where quincy is)? People may be able to offer specific advice based on where you live. If you were willing to drive 8 hours for an interview, I'll assume you are willing to move for the right job.

    I got a few job offers after school for around 25k.. I turned them down. Instead I started focusing on building my portfolio and trying to get freelance projects. I landed a few and then I was more marketable to employers because I had more real-world experience.

    I know it's discouraging, because yes, you are taught that you should make much more once you received your degree, and then there's quite a letdown. But, you just need to keep trying. make the most of your current job and try and learn as much as you can. If you aren't having any luck finding new jobs, try and make opportunities for yourself. I wouldn't suggest rent-a-coder sites at all. Start networking. Create business cards for yourself and start attneding conferences or meet and greets. Its a great way to get a new job.

    Sorry you feel stuck.. It does eventually get better.
    Sara

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    SitePoint Guru Marubozo's Avatar
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    You're preaching to the choir, I was exactly in your boat just out of college. Poor job market, little demand for new kids out of college, everyone who was hiring wanted experienced people (3-5 years). Which is a wonderful catch 22, people want to hire those with experience, yet there are thousands who can't get any experience because nobody will hire them. It sucks, I know.

    It also doesn't help that you are in one of the most saturated markets right now. Everyone in the late 90's wanted to get somewhere in the IT field, so here we are about 5-6 years later with all of these college grads wanting to get into the field, yet, there aren't enough jobs to support everyone, especially after the tech bubble burst.

    You have a few options. You can suck it up and keep looking for work while making minimal pay, or you can do what Sara said and work on building a portfolio and do some work for yourself. It isn't as glorious as in the mid 90's when you graduated college and you had a dozen offers to pick from. That doesn't make your degree and less worthwhile, you are just in a position where there is limited need for fresh college grads in the industry right now.

    I've been out of college for a few years, and never could find a job relating to my degree. (started out in computer engineering, then switched to landscape architecture) I went on to just make money myself, started a business, and used some of my spare time to get an MBA. Now, fast forward to today, and I'm a financial advisor. If you asked me 5 years ago what I would be doing, I would never have even considered being anywhere even close to where I am now.

    Anyway, things are always changing, what isn't in demand today, may be in high demand tomorrow, or because of this setback you might stumble upon a project that takes you places you had never dreamed. Best thing you can do is just keep at it and make the best of the situation.

  4. #4
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    It also doesn't help that you are in one of the most saturated markets right now. Everyone in the late 90's wanted to get somewhere in the IT field, so here we are about 5-6 years later with all of these college grads wanting to get into the field, yet, there aren't enough jobs to support everyone, especially after the tech bubble burst.
    No kidding. It seems ever other person I meet now adays wants to get into web design. I just roll my eyes, its such a dead end.
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    SitePoint Guru OfficeOfTheLaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    No kidding. It seems ever other person I meet now adays wants to get into web design. I just roll my eyes, its such a dead end.
    D'oh... don't get me wrong, I may be doing web development at the moment, but it isn't exactly my field of interest. My interest lies in writing some heavy duty applications in C++ or Java. Although doing web application programming and design has been fun, it's just not exactly where my interests lie. Who wants to spend all day fixing their layout to compensate for obscure IE bugs?

    James Carr, Software Engineer


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    SitePoint Addict Miraculix's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I remember one of your earlier threads:
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=221228

    Entry Level College grad resumes usually run about half of what you paid. Did you get anything besides the resume, speaking cover letter, thank you letter, distribution etc.?
    Would you mind posting or pm'ing me a screenshot of the revamped resume and the name of the company who did it for you?

    You said you had 10 interviews within the past month. Who did you interview with? Recruiters? HR? Employers directly?

    What type of positions did you interview for?
    Software Engineer? Programmer?

  7. #7
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    You all rant about earning too little, not being able to get good job after univercity, etc... its pathetic. What did you expect? Get out of univercity and start earning 6 figures? Get real.

    Noone would pay big money for something that everyone can do. In univercity you learn to do the same as thousands of other students so univercity isn't a magical solution (unfortunately vast majority don't understand it and then rant). If you want to earn good money then learn to do something that everyone else can't do. Learn something else. Invent. Create something new. And then you'll be earning big money.

    Resumes... Sending resumes to hundreds of companies is useless. Everyone can send a resume. It takes no skill. And no company offers any good position to resume senders. All good positions are for experienced people only that get hired by recommendations. If you want to be hired by a company and earn big then do something that is needed to that company and everyone else didn't think of. Then you'll get a good job and they'll be paying you big money.

    And don't blame your problems on market saturation and outsourcing. Blame it on your lack of imagination.

    When I understood that simple concept I dropped out of univercity myself, learned new tricks (it took few more years) that aren't tought in univercity and right now I earn much more than vast majority of programmers in my area. Forget about univercity degrees. Learn yourself, invent and you'll be earning much more than others.

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    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Yes, of course you want to make a good salary after graduating. And you want to make more than you did before you went. I really don't beleive that is an unreasonable expectation, if you're willing to take risks.

    But you are right on some points. There are thousands of others like you out there and you need to stand out from the crowd.. be that with a kickin resume, an innovative idea, life experience, etc. Whatever it is, use it to your advantage.
    Last edited by ses5909; Jul 23, 2005 at 19:13.
    Sara

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    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    Welcome to the real world. What you describe is exactly why I think college is an expensive waste of money in many cases. I really feel bad for people graduating from college who got conned by all the charts and marketing hype . Now, people like you have a ton of debt and working for the same money as someone with a HS diploma.

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OfficeOfTheLaw
    D'oh... don't get me wrong, I may be doing web development at the moment, but it isn't exactly my field of interest. My interest lies in writing some heavy duty applications in C++ or Java. Although doing web application programming and design has been fun, it's just not exactly where my interests lie. Who wants to spend all day fixing their layout to compensate for obscure IE bugs?
    Why don't you create an application (whatever scale you're comfortable with) in your spare time (if you have any?), and then work on marketing it and making money off of it. That way, you (hopefully) get some money off of it (who knows, maybe it'll be huge, and you'll end up making a whole load of money) -- and either way, you get that much needed experience on your resume. If you create a handful of applications, your resume should look much more appealing, even if you don't have "real" jobs on it.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Guru OfficeOfTheLaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberAlien
    univercity
    Well, I think attending a university really helps in a lot of areas, like spelling. But I do agree about the recommendations part of your post, it seems networking is the best way to go about a job hunt.
    Last edited by OfficeOfTheLaw; Jul 26, 2005 at 10:36.

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    SitePoint Evangelist Andrewaclt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OfficeOfTheLaw
    Well, I think attending a unviversity really helps in a lot of areas, like spelling.
    Apparently it didn't help you.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru OfficeOfTheLaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrewaclt
    Apparently it didn't help you.
    Ack, I mean university... typos.

    Anyway, hats off to ses5909, she got in touch with me and let me know of a government contractor she knew that was hiring, and today I got an email from them offering me a job! Seems being a member of the Sitepoint community does have it's perks after all.

    James Carr, Software Engineer


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    SitePoint Addict smittenbite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberAlien

    I dropped out of univercity myself.
    it shows. haha just playing no harm intended...but seriously..come on, don't tell people that school is a waste of time and money if you can't even spell. and i know that isn't a typo.


    i don't think going to school is a waste of time at all. i'll be in school till i'm 32!!! =)

    yeah things are tough looking for a job and just graduating though. i know a lot of people in that situation. yeah it doesn't take school to come up with something new that can boost you, but what if you can't? just think how much worse it could be if you didn't go through that?? yeah you might've made more being a waiter or doing whatever else before, but would you do that forever? at least with school you can land an interview. if you didn't have that they probably wouldn't even give you the chance to make an impression in person at all!
    nothing.

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    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lil_Red
    Now, people like you have a ton of debt and working for the same money as someone with a HS diploma.
    At the beginning of their careers maybe, but let's take a look at them ten years down the line when the differences are a little more apparent.

    Remember, most have about 40 yrs of earnings time ahead of them. Just looking at the short term will result in long-term damage.

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    SitePoint Addict smittenbite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tke71709
    At the beginning of their careers maybe, but let's take a look at them ten years down the line when the differences are a little more apparent.

    Remember, most have about 40 yrs of earnings time ahead of them. Just looking at the short term will result in long-term damage.
    yeah thats true you gotta look long term. plus people just graduating now or recently arent the only people who had this problem i'm sure. the people who might be getting the jobs that you are applying for probably had to deal with the same crap when they first graduated, they had to go through this junk too in order to get those years of experience that landed them the job. like i said you might be making more than some people just out of school being a waiter or having another job like that, but would you wanna be stuck there forever?
    nothing.

  17. #17
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    You should consider yourself lucky. It took me until half-way through a PhD program to figure out how useless a university (or however you want to spell it LoL) education is if you want a good future.
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    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    The secret to college is that you do it for yourself.

    A lot of people try to push the salary gap and so forth as reasons to go to college. There's probably some truth there, but the real point is for yourself to become more educated.

    College should change the way you think about issues, refine the way you ask questions and how you come to conclusions. If you walk away from college with those elements of yourself improved, consider that cash well spent. If college isn't catalyzing those sorts of revelations, run - don't walk - away. Go to a different institution or do something else, but don't stay because yes indeed, you are wasting your time.

    I can totally sympathize, though. For me it was about 2.5 years of being out of college before I had a position that I would consider to be commensurate with my education.
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    SitePoint Guru biggazillakilla's Avatar
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    tke71709 just posted what I came back to say--it's quite common to take a hit, not just in earnings, but in the opportunity cost of college, by opting for school.

    The difference is the huge earning potential you now have. You may not want to do this for the rest of your life, and trust me, a four-year degree in just about any subject will put you ahead of the pack come time for you to advance your career.

    Also, I strongly believe that people should study what they love and do it for the sake of learning itself. I know many people go to college just so that they can make more money in their careers, but the whole experience can be incredibly rewarding.

    That said, I agree with what others have said--why don't you freelance a bit or develop a tool or product. I know that there are coders who are swamped with work and have to turn people away just because there is such a great demand from webmasters for quality, reliable, and affordable coders.

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    SitePoint Guru Marubozo's Avatar
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    I'm surprised this hasn't been brought up yet. Getting a degree will rely almost entirely on what you want to do for a career. But, going to college for 4, 5, or even 8 years is mandatory for some careers. Granted, there are a lot of career paths available that don't require a degree, or you can always work for yourself without a degree and still make well above the average in salary.

    But the main point is, if you want to be a doctor, you can't just not go to school and become a doctor. You can't become an architect without getting a degree. You can't become a pharmacist, investment banker, FBI agent, teacher, zoologist, university professor, dentist, lawyer, economist, or any of these without a degree.

    Even in my industry, in the financial services, it used to be something that anyone could do. They didn't care if you made it through high school, they just wanted people who were interested in money and investments and were good at working with people. But even this is now changing. It is very hard to get an interview for these positions if you don't have a degree, and starting in 2007 I believe it is, you won't be able to work as a financial planner without a 4 year degree.

    Anyway, the point is, there are a lot of things you can do where a college education might not make any difference in your career or earning potential. For example if you want to be a web designer, or work for yourself in graphic design, or even open up your own store, there is nothing saying a degree will help you make more money. But at the same time, there are a large number of career paths that you can only enter if you get the degree, and many others that don't require a degree, but can have a huge impact on your success.
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    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    JC, I'm glad it worked out for you. I echo alot of the sentiments here. samsm really hit the nail on the head by saying college has to be for YOU. The reason I joined the navy after high school instead of going the college route is I knew I wouldn't get much out of it. I needed to do it on my own time, with my own money.

    I eventually did and I made the most out of it. I took every opportunity to learn I could. I USED my professors for their knowledge. I mean, how often would I get the chance to pick some good programmers and business people's brains -- at no additional charge.

    I was the student who always asked questions if I didnt know something. I paid for it and I wanted to make sure I got my money's worth.

    It was one of the best things I did.
    Sara

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    Massimiliano Bruno Giordano sid egg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by someonewhois
    Why don't you create an application (whatever scale you're comfortable with) in your spare time (if you have any?), and then work on marketing it and making money off of it. That way, you (hopefully) get some money off of it (who knows, maybe it'll be huge, and you'll end up making a whole load of money) -- and either way, you get that much needed experience on your resume. If you create a handful of applications, your resume should look much more appealing, even if you don't have "real" jobs on it.


    Someonewhois hit it right on the head.

    Make something. A website, an application, whatever. Sell it, market it, make money from it SOMEHOW, then, you have the addition to your 'folio, and possibly a good money maker, if not a good money maker (then you have to put more time in to it ) you've still gotten an addition to your portfolio, something 'real world' to show, something that looks good to your potential employeers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrewaclt
    Apparently it didn't help you.
    Quote Originally Posted by smittenbite
    it shows. haha just playing no harm intended...but seriously..come on, don't tell people that school is a waste of time and money if you can't even spell. and i know that isn't a typo.
    Both of you assumed that I'm in USA or UK or any other english speaking country. But I'm not. So errors like that are acceptable for me.

  24. #24
    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samsm
    The secret to college is that you do it for yourself.

    A lot of people try to push the salary gap and so forth as reasons to go to college. There's probably some truth there, but the real point is for yourself to become more educated.

    College should change the way you think about issues, refine the way you ask questions and how you come to conclusions. If you walk away from college with those elements of yourself improved, consider that cash well spent. If college isn't catalyzing those sorts of revelations, run - don't walk - away. Go to a different institution or do something else, but don't stay because yes indeed, you are wasting your time.

    I can totally sympathize, though. For me it was about 2.5 years of being out of college before I had a position that I would consider to be commensurate with my education.
    Yep, that's exactly how I went into college. I think of it as a time to learn as much as possible before being thrown into the mundane day-to-day job. You can learn on the job, but the exposure to tons of different things that you get at school is priceless.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberAlien
    Both of you assumed that I'm in USA or UK or any other english speaking country. But I'm not. So errors like that are acceptable for me.
    I think "understandable" might be more appropriate here than "acceptable".

    As in... "It is understandable to make a minor spelling error in a language you don't natively speak, but unacceptable to pretend you have some diplomatic immunity from spelling and grammar just because you know another language."
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