Dealing with failure in 40s

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.

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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.

    • 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

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