Dealing with failure in 40s

AppDynamics / Other Torn up
Apr 17, 2018 56 Comments

I graduated with an engineering degree (not software) in the 90s on a scholarship. I grew up very poor (homeless at times) and was determined to have a better life than my family members (sister is currently in jail for example). I built a portfolio in web and flash, burned to disks and mailed them out to fledgling agencies everywhere. Got a job at a super fun shop. Not paid well but enjoyed the role. Got recruited into a startup designing mobile app prototypes (late 90s) bit of course that went belly up in recession.
Had a passion for games industry and found another startup that I was actually successful at. Got purchased by big game company and transferred to another location to follow my passion. Then everything went to shit. Bought a house and within 8 months Office was shut down. Stuck in another city trying to survive. Worked for numerous agencies and finally came back to big game company on west coast only to be laid off a year later (losing my home, bankrupt etc)
I have gone thru about 9 layoffs in past 8 years. My confidence is shot. I’ve never grown in my career. I’m in constant survival mode. I’m in my mid 40s and feel like a failure in life. My current job is falling apart on me. I’ve almost been homeless on two other occasions. I’ve been to the bridge a couple times at those times. I don’t want to be destitute but I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m in therapy doing meds etc. but the fundamental problem is that I am too stupid, incompetent, etc to be a good worker and it makes me want to check out. This CONSTANT anxiety is killing me. I have little in savings and there’s no chance for retirement for me. I’ll probably delete this but I feel like a complete failure and it is killing me.

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 56 Comments
  • Amazon Fr00pid
    Don’t delete please.
    Apr 17, 2018 0
  • Airbnb / Design Unicorn 🦄
    The biggest lie that you mustn’t believe is that you are alone. So often it feels that way but many of us here can relate, if not on the same type of events, at least on the premise that we have all experienced failure or a long string of failures. It’s undeniably difficult as a hope deferred can literally make the heart sick. Don’t give up friend. You are not alone. Don’t believe for a second that you are anything but amazing and worth every new day ahead. There is hope and dreams yet to be realized and we want to see you through them! Don’t delete and don’t give up!! ❤️
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • Amazon Foogle
      Amen 🙏
      Apr 17, 2018
  • New VoSi13
    9 layoffs in the last 8 years? That alone is enough to destroy me! I have nothing to offer but the sincere ask to just keep pushing.
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      It’s even more than that if I include my time before SF. The recession really hit me hard
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Amazon FekW34
    You are not a failure. Life is just messy and hard, and luck plays a big role. And who is to say your luck won’t change soon! Don’t give up — instead, figure out what inspires/makes you happy, and double down. There is a spark in you, it’s very clear — let that fuel you.
    Apr 17, 2018 2
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      I really hope so. I badly need a bit of good luck right now
      Apr 17, 2018
    • Amazon FekW34
      It’ll come your way! You just wait and see! I know this may sound a bit silly, but let go of any negative energy in your life and focus on the positive.
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Microsoft jonashun
    Such a positive thread on Blind. Who said Blind is only for trolls and humblebraggers... Keep up the good work y'all, this type of stuff can even happen to the best of us. <sniffle, sniffle>
    Apr 17, 2018 0
  • Amazon Dssa
    It's not uncommon for bad things to pile up. One bad thing happens, it destroys your confidence, and soon you get stuck in a loop where your lack of confidence leads to more bad events.

    I almost got stuck in such a loop earlier this year when I went to jail on a false allegation and nearly lost my job as a result. I can relate to the feelings of anxiety you have.

    Have you tried searching for meaning/purpose outside of the professional realm? Sometimes family or charity can be helpful here. Having purpose is more important to mental health than having comfort. Volunteering your time to help your community could be good for your own mental health. I realize it may not solve your professional problems, but it could give you that extra bit of confidence to break you out of the negative cycle.

    See if there's some way you can hit the reset button on life. I hope you make it through. I'm sorry for what you've gone through - it seems society mostly ignores the problems of this age group, especially if you're a male.
    Apr 17, 2018 0
  • AppDynamics JdyM54
    Hi, the entire AppD family is here for you. If you need to talk to someone about resources, accommodations, or just to talk, please reach out to HR@appdynamics.com. We are here for you! If you wish to remain anonymous, we have some really great resources through Cisco’s EAP (employee assistance program) - they can provide you with free therapists and various other resources depending on your needs. Please don’t be afraid to reach out.
    Apr 18, 2018 0
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Flagged by the community.

    • Microsoft jonashun
      Good on you jLaU26
      Apr 17, 2018
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      That is wonderful to hear. I’m trying to investigate other paths myself such as CS. Good luck to your wife!
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Amazon / Product Ulub72
    One advice here also - stop reading blind for a little bit. Is def hard to see when ppl evaluating offers etc when you are in a bad period of life. You start to compare yourself a lot - and all you see if failure. Been there. It’s a terrible cycle :( but later ie was surprised to learn that all my friends though I am a crazy warrior and super strong etc and everyone were so proud of me for keep going etc. all it takes is one person to believe in you and give you a job where you can shine.

    If you have a physiological support through your insurance / work i’d suggest taking to them.

    Can you ask your friends for referrals for other companies? Maybe help with resume? While many job changes are not looking good, you can frame it in a way to showcase strength and being “adjustable adoptable can easy work on any environment and can survive any shot storm” type of story
    Apr 17, 2018 2
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      I’m actually interviewing for a role that is not in PM and might be a little less stressful right now. Who knows how it’ll go but I’ve been actively looking over past couple weeks.
      Apr 17, 2018
    • Amazon / Product Ulub72
      Good.
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Apple anonp
    Hello, it's hard to give you any useful advice, but I'm really sorry that this is happening to you. As much as you can, live below your means and try to build some cushion, it will help to reduce anxiety and my help you gain some confidence. Living in a low cost of living area (think Texas) may help too. Try to interview often to keep skill sharp and see if there is a better match somewhere else.
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      Yeah I have some savings now to help and my partner has some income but I just can’t keep living like this. It’s making me paranoid and neurotic
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Amazon Foogle
    Please dont delete..

    Why do we fall?
    So that we can learn to pick ourselves up!

    You have picked yourself up in so many occasions.. just keep believing in yourself and keep working hard.

    Dont loose hope!
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      It gets harder and harder. I haven’t given up yet but this constant anxiety now makes life miserable
      Apr 17, 2018
  • CareerBuilder AgnewsHead
    Get out of gaming. It's a notoriously unstable industry
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      I did years ago. Still dealing with instability.
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Microsoft Allure
    Sorry to hear OP.

    Life is relative (we can compare) and lots of people are in same boat. Some are in way better position yes and many are in way worse position too.

    Keep the faith. 40s is the new 30s. Stay healthy (meditate, exercise, eat well) and try to around people who care for you.
    Apr 17, 2018 0
  • Microsoft SNaG74
    My prayers with you. Stay strong.
    Apr 17, 2018 0
  • Apple / Other Pizza007
    You have gone thru so much and that’s your strength.

    I would say take time to learn and practice interviews and get in a stable company. Make being stable a priority vs doing great work

    Feels like you are a US citizen/local guy, take that to your advantage. You can try Indian IT outsourcing companies like Infosys, TCS, CTS they love to hire local people to get diversity.
    Apr 17, 2018 2
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      I am a US citizen actually and love working with my Indian colleagues.
      Apr 17, 2018
    • Apple / Other Pizza007
      I don’t mean to be racist here, but if you are a non-Indian US Citizen (White or Black) you may be able to use it to your advantage when Interviewing Indian IT cos, they are pretty stable with decent salary
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Guidewire Lawn
    I’m rooting for you OP. Listen, this may sound a bit morose, but the way I see it, were all gonna die one day anyway. You may as well hold on and see what life has in store.

    I don’t know why for some people life is so hard, and not others, but I do know it has nothing to do with what you deserve. So much luck is involved in life. I wish you all the luck in the world 🌎 and for you to know that you are worthy.

    Keep trying!
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • Apple / Other Pizza007
      Well said ... Go OP
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Amazon Hiyasdg
    Happy to refer you to Amazon
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      I’ll take you up on that. I interviewed a few years ago and they said I met yahoos core values but another candidate was just a better fit. They asked me to try again in the future.
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Facebook gYse87
    I have adhd and struggle a lot.. you can code, that’s worth a lot these days.. you just need to get your meds tuned right and find the right work environment. Everything will be ok. Work isn’t life.. there are people who can help you.
    Apr 17, 2018 2
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      It’s been a long time since I’ve coded anything but I remember being happier doing that. Time to hit the books I guess.
      Apr 17, 2018
    • Facebook Fncndene
      Get meds to stabilize, no judgement (anxiety and depression is a disease - not kickable) focus on work you like -get back to coding.
      Apr 24, 2018
  • VMware
    Layoffs are normal. I have seen 5 and got impacted by 2 of them in the last 5 years. Stop doing meds and start doing Coursera and leetcode and in a couple of years you'll be fine
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      Well I’m medically prescribed for meds and have a traumatic history that requires them. Having said that coursera/leetcode seems like an excellent idea. I enjoy learning things mostly.
      Apr 17, 2018
  • Google sweetpea
    The tech industry is very stressful. If possible, take a break from it, and step back. Do you have families to stay with? Youbmight be comparing yourself with the cream if the crop. there are ppl who live paycheck to paycheck in the Bay area too. Don't be too harsh on yourself.
    Apr 17, 2018 1
    • AppDynamics / Other Torn up
      OP
      My family abandoned me a long time ago. I just have my partner
      Apr 17, 2018