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Aria Janke
Aria Janke

Posted on

Need some advice, trying to go from NEET to professional...

[tl; dr] Trying to get my life together with mental illness, looking for guidance without hating myself back into deep depression.

So, I've been trying to get my depression under control. An idea I had was to "play/pretend professional". A sort of "I'll dedicate however long I can each day towards developing project ideas and resume building a day". I'll admit, I've no idea what I'm doing, I only know that I must try something and that something needs to change. I'm attempting to adopt a growth mindset, despite my conditioning.


So I'd like to put myself in this kind of life where I can:

  • handle hours and work load
  • live independently and be myself
  • become a contributing member, where I can do social good

Present Obstacles

When job seeking (this sound familiar to you?):

  • hardly get any communication back
  • there are very few positions which I can both physically reach and possibly have skill for (I can't afford to move!)
  • my mental health issues can make me physically unsafe in response to some postings
    • negative self talk
    • toxic attitudes of the posters (even including advice posts!)
  • may have lost support from insurance after outing myself
  • enormous gaps on my resume
  • going from being "do what I'm told" to being proactive

I'm trying not to be a victim or child, or why expose myself with asking for help? Or commit time to work to better myself? What matters to me is not fault or blame. It's what I can actually do right now. I'm not interested in "facing final judgement for my sins", but rather to grow and accept feedback, critique, and to continue that loop of growth.

What I'm Doing

I'm attempting to put together a "resume" website, where I showcase some of my work. Now I know it needs to be presentable. The ideas I've found online are concerning, since I'd like to keep it simple, easy to read, and not distracting.

Resume except here, a work in progress of course:
WIP screenshot

I'd like to do "exploratory work", and present it on the website, showing that I'm both capable of learning new tech, and skills which an employer may find useful.

My future's rather dark right now. Thanks for any guidance, and please, while I can't stop you, I ask you to consider the impact of your words. So far the community has shown a certain lack of toxicity, which I'm grateful. Thank you for reading!

Top comments (3)

naruaika profile image
Naufan Rusyda Faikar

I had been a NEET for almost a year after my graduation and just got my first ever job last month. So, I am not yet an expert at all. Neither do I have a capacity to give an advice to others. But let me share you something that hopefully can help you a little bit in valuing yourself.

This pandemic has become the main reason companies went bankrupt and thousands of people in my country lost their jobs. Even worse, I have heard such news that a five-year-old girl die for her parent couldn't afford a food during a lockdown. And many other heart-wrenching cases around here. Someone used to say, "You know, you are luckier than many people there. You still have your breakfast and breathe every day ..." That's true, but being a jobless person is another problem. It's hard for me to be grateful back then, but sometimes I need or even only pretend to be so, without anyone knowing. It taught me that luck cannot be bought.

I couldn't manage myself in a position to be proud of myself, especially when I had no job and even any routine that is beneficial to my career. Or even a routine that is only meant to spend a very long free time while pretending as busy people in front of my friends and family. Thereof, I was thinking of being the most useless person on the earth. But if I could take a break for a moment, I know that I'm not that bad. And I don't think everyone is. In reality, I was the only one who came up with this bad habit to judge myself in a negative manner. It is sometimes good for evaluating what I've done. But allowing myself to sink into guilt is a mistake in itself.

I have been working harder than anyone else in the class. Being the person with the second highest GPA and a cum laude means nothing. But what matter is that I have heard a couple of times friends of mine got their first job. LinkedIn knows better how to mess up with me. I wasn't jealous, in fact I felt happy for them. But at the same time, I felt sick. Why I have become such a useless person to date? Although not from my friends, I kept receiving some complaints in a public chat for job seeker. It's pretty much all about too much work or too little pay. Moreover, several times, I've found videos from strangers in my YouTube feed, they're talking about quitting their job at FAANG. What has happened actually? So, I realised that it isn't impossible for me once I got a job, I'll have no more problems left. It's not going to be happened. I never know what is best for me, so I will always remember every moment, no matter how difficult it was. Because there is always a lesson in every minute of life. And experience can make people wiser.

I have a your-like dedication for creating and developing portfolios for months. Unfortunately, I have repeatedly failed to maintain my motivation. Being alone without receiving any feedback from anyone is a worst deal. Something needs to change, like you've said. Do I have to change myself? Yes, of course. Whenever I face a problem, it tells me that something is wrong. Then I started to look for a feedback, despite being afraid.

Everyone have their own fear of something. I know the best what I'm struggling with, not other people. And I believe, it applies to everyone as well. But sometimes, it's not clear to me. It has never become a bad thing to ask for advice and help. People give advice based on their experiences. It doesn't always apply to my personal life. But what I got, exactly as someone has told me in public, is that ideas, solutions, and creativity arise from interacting with other people.

I have no idea how hard it is to you. But I encourage you, together, to do our best for what do we believe in, to face our own fears. If not to give a value to others, at least to ourselves.

Sorry for this long read. Have a good fight!

ariajanke profile image
Aria Janke

Wow, quite a response. Though I can't profess to having nearly the same degree of academic success. It's quite possible that'll I'll do this for months, and never receive feedback. That's not my entire goal for doing this. I'm also doing this to stay sane, and that alone I think would make such an attempt worth it. I can absolutely fail, I know this, it's the way of things and I'd rather go down fighting.

Your mentioning of "failed to maintain my motivation" resonates with me. I've seen all kinds of these sort of "motivational" videos/images or whatever from the "harsh discipline" and the gentle "you can do it" attitudes. I've been finding that in reality what's needed is far more complex than they make it seem. For me, scheduling, "building" from just maintenance of life to doing actual work, knowing my own psychology, changing environments, trying to build habits, and so much more are far more effective.

Hopefully that makes sense, a problem which is complex and all-encompassing requiring a solution which is at least equally complex and all-encompassing seems to make sense to me. I can make like four major decisions and make myself work for two hours at most a day. As less than adequate as that is, I still believe that is something I can build off of, depression is a nasty pit to be in.

It looks like it'll be a long and winding road for me to find that entry point into professional work for me, but I'm not dead yet!

Thanks for your reply and good luck out there friend!

recursivefaults profile image
Ryan Latta

Okey dokey, you'll have to excuse some self-promotion in my response here.

Identifying your goals is very important step. Too many people go into the career search without much thought and it makes the task of evaluating job postings and offers almost impossible. Goals give a direction, and that is important.

I want to make something super clear about getting a job. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with your ability to do a job.

The whole job process is a mess and I recommend treating it like a separate set of skills and knowledge. An example here might help. In an interview, you might get asked to explain the Big-O of various algorithms, but on the job you'll never talk about Big-O or use an algorithm that isn't provided by a library.

All of this can be extremely depressing and traumatic.

Where I recommend people start is their resume. Not portfolio sites, github, or linkedin. The reason is that you send your resume in everywhere and people won't look at the rest until after the resume. If you're not getting interviews consistently, your resume needs work. Even without experience, you can get a resume together that gets an interview almost 100% of the time.

From there you start applying for jobs to get a lot of practice with interviews. I published an article today about how those interviews are conducted by people who aren't trained and never had to answer their own interview questions. The most common myth here is that your coding ability is what keeps you from getting an offer, and your coding ability might represent 40% or so of what is actually important.

As you get good at the interview components it still isn't a sure thing though because we have no idea what is going on inside a company when they are hiring. They don't tell us, for example, that the job posting doesn't really reflect what they need, or that someone quit recently and they're actually trying to hire for that person, or that they actually want to promote someone from within but have to interview due to policies. So even if you're really good, you might only get an offer 1 in 3 times.

I'm going to wrap up my response here, but here's what I've got for you. I write a lot of articles on here about career stuff, so look through that. I also wrote a book on how to get your first development job in less than six months, and I just (this month) launched my first online class that covers and expands the material in the book. You can find all that stuff on my bio.

Good luck, and if you need anything, contact me.