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So, I grew up on the US/Mexican border, in a city where saying there's no opportunity is like saying the Titanic suffered a small leak on its maiden voyage. There were two kinds of people in said town: Mexicans trying to find something less shit than juarez and white trash reveling in their own failure. I came from the latter, for whatever that's worth.

I graduated high school when I was almost 16 years old. Parents couldn't really afford to support three kids and pay the rent on the latest in a long line of shit holes we migrated in and out of. If being a serial eviction artist is a thing, my family were savants.

I applied to college and got accepted only to be told by my father that he didn't see the need. Turns out the only reason he'd helped me graduate early was so I could start working and help pay his bills. I said okay, turned around and tossed a bag and my shitty af spare parts computer into the back of the junkyard Vega I generously referred to as a car and moved cross country. Car died on arrival, so I was basically committed.

Pulled shifts at two part times and what kids today call a side hustle to pay for school, couch surfed most of the time. Sleep deprivation was the only constant.

Over the first 4 months I'd tried leveraging some certs and previous experience I'd obtained in high school to get employment, but wasn't having much luck in the bay area. And then I lost my job. The book store having burned down on the same weekend the owner was conveniently looking to buy property in Vegas.

Depression sets in, that wonderful soul crushing variety that comes with what little safety net you had evaporating.

At a certain point, I was basically living out of the campus computer lab, TA friend of mine nice enough to accidentally lock me in on the reg. Got really into online gaming as a means of dealing with my depression. One night, I dropped some code on a UO shard I'd been playing around on. Host was local, saw the code and offered me a job at his firm that paid chump change, but was three times what all my other work did combined and left time for school. Ground there for a few years until I got a position with work study at LBL that conflicted too much for it to remain mutually beneficial. Amicable parting of the ways.

Fucking poverty is what convinced me to code for a living. It's a solid guarantee of never going back to it. And to anyone who preaches the virtues of it and skipping opportunity on grounds of the moral high ground, well, you know.

Comments
  • 10
    Thanks for sharing your story 👍🏽 Your struggle is motivational...
  • 17
    @Anakata
    Haha, I wish it were a struggle. Struggle implies direction and goals. Mine was more like "stubborn refusal to die."
  • 5
    I'm very impressed with your tenacity. That's a very inspirational tale.

    Thanks for sharing.
  • 3
    This is a good success story
  • 3
    American Dream.
  • 2
    Thanks you shared :) and good luck
  • 3
    That's nothing short of amazing. Getting from pretty much nothing to where you are today isn't something many people are able to. You can definitely be proud of yourself!
  • 3
    There are folk who like the virtues of poverty ?
  • 4
    > Host was local, saw the code

    > and offered me a job

    So moving to a more lucky place worked !

    Similar for me, but it took 50 years to find a lucky spot..

    Related link:

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...

    I thought the online world was supposed to help us network better and solve these kinds of issues ?

    But it appears geography often wins out in the end.

    In my case, I ended up back at my parents several times when things went pear shaped.
  • 4
    @Nanos
    Yes. Though being an undergrad at Berkeley didn't hurt either.
  • 2
    @aviophile I wouldn't use the term dream...

    @SortOfTested chapeau bas!
  • 6
    @jotamontecino well she seems to be a self made person. Every country has miserable population but climbing the ladder is the easiest in USA compared to Zimbabwe or even Europe.
  • 1
    @SortOfTested

    I'm reminded of repeating trying to get into university, always the money problem came up at some point.

    Now, even if I got into university, by the time I graduated, I'd be retirement age, and I imagine then, getting a job will be pretty difficult !

    And somewhat unnecessary..

    I sometimes look back and wonder, did I do the right thing trying for all those years to get into university when I could have been doing something else with my life.

    Even if that something else didn't get me anywhere either !

    It just seemed a good idea at the time, that the shortest route to success was to go to university..

    Then it became not such a short route..

    Then a long route..

    Then a very very long route !

    Then it became impossible to do so. (It was either work, or study, there wasn't time for both.)

    Now it is possible again, but is it worth 20 years of effort..
  • 0
    @Nanos true I am in my field after completing master degree. and I guess I can be early even after graduation :(
  • 0
    Real inspiration.
  • 5
    This is poetry. Maybe at some point I’ll post my story, much messier than yours, but your writing is beautiful.
  • 2
    Inspirational stubborness. Never give up on yourself. Be a beacon of hope for others to see what can be done if you put your mind and effort to it.
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