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Amateur Idiot

What Should I Do?

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I'm quite pi55ed off with my job. I'm doing IT support but it's not what I want to do. Really my background is programming and that's what I should be doing. Normally I'd look for another IT job but I need to update my programming skills before I can do that (since my skills have gone out of date whilst I did the support work). The skill requirements for a software developer are huge nowadays, because applications generally have to be browser-based & internet enabled, and there are a lot of different technologies required to develop that kind of software. It is therefore no small undertaking to get my skills up to date. Meanwhile...

Even if I manage to get another IT job doing the kind of work I want to do, the pay is not that great. I've always been very careful to live within my means, and have accumulated what should be a decent amount of savings & investments, but...

I didn't buy a house. Now it seems that all of the extra money I've saved & invested is likely to just enable me to buy the same kind of house I could have bought years ago without all of that saving (if only it had suited me to buy a house back then!). My main goal in life is financial independence. I want to accumulate enough wealth to be able to live off investment income for the rest of my life. It's what you might call retirement I suppose, but I had hoped to achieve that much sooner than the normal age. The way things are going, it seems doubtful that I'll ever be able to afford to retire any earlier than the normal retirement age (which I think of as being around age 65) despite all my careful saving and investment.

Meanwhile I read about people living on welfare getting as much money for free from the state as what I'm left with after working 40 hours per week, once all of the tax is deducted. Despite my frugal lifestyle and saving what seems like a lot of money each year, I feel like I'm merely treading water relative to house prices and the cost of living.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should just quit my job, then live off my savings & investments until the money runs out, and then claim benefits. Or maybe it would be smarter to buy a house and then claim benefits. Seems like if I have savings they won't give me any free money, but if I own a house and have no savings they will give me free money to live on (even though I would own a valuable asset in the form of a house).

I'm bored out of my mind with my current job. I really resent the way other people are getting lots of free money from the state whilst I spend a significant part of my life working only to end up with not much more than what they get for free.

Considering the huge skill requirements and the endless struggle to stay up-to-date with the technology, IT is really not that well paid nowadays. Plus there is the constant worry about jobs being offshored or cheap foreign labour flooding into the country and driving down wages. I have considered a complete change of career several times over the last 15 years, but my social anxiety rules out any "people" type job (which is most jobs nowadays), so my options are severely limited. I'm beginning to wonder what the point of it all is. Except for bankers and footballers, work just doesn't seem to pay nowadays.

I feel quite down and depressed about this. I don't know what the hell to do, but I feel like something really needs to change because I'm running out of patience with tolerating my current situation.

What should I do?

Cheers,
Amateur Idiot

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert. The above comments are just my opinions only and they may not be factually correct. If you act on any of the above then you do so entirely at your own risk. I do not accept any liability.

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I'm in much the same position. However I begrudgingly joined the rat race and got a people-person job to beat the wage vs benefit war.

Like you, I'm not that extrovert and therefore hate what I do with every waking hour. So don't give in!

Money isn't everything and you've put yourself in a position where anything other than an early retirement would make you feel like a failure.

Unless you have a family that relies on your income, stuff the plans for early retirement, how far has it got you so far? Do something you enjoy, we've only got so many years to live our lives. Concentrate on something you feel passionate about and hope to make enough to live off.

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I didn't buy a house. Now it seems that all of the extra money I've saved & invested is likely to just enable me to buy the same kind of house I could have bought years ago without all of that saving (if only it had suited me to buy a house back then!).

You'll think differently about this if interest rate rises in the US force the BoE to follow suit.

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I am lucky to have a job I enjoy that pays enough to cover the bills and more. You only get one life - why the feck would you waste it. If you really really do not enjoy your working life, unless you are being paid spoondoloicks or you have to work or die/starve, you should change.

What about seeing if you can develop a side income stream from online instruction/consulting? Then go the house buy route (assuming no mortgage) and reap benefits/working tax credits for every penny you can. Or find a charity job where you can do good work whilst the state helps with the bills.

Maybe even buy a bunch of gold and lose it in a freak boating accident if you need to have no savings for benefits calculations. Of course, that would be a crime, so I am joking.....

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I'm in pretty much the same position except i have been unemployed for 2 years.

I got 6 months of JSA but now i have burnt through £30k worth of savings and still a way to go before i get down to £6k which is the limit for means tested benefits.

I am single so would only ever get £72 a week JSA and possibly HB while i look for work.

To make the benefit big bucks lifestyle work someone would need to have a family and do the 16hr thing.

With the focus on benefit cuts / universal credit coming in etc i think the golden years are almost gone.

Read through the "Tax credit sad face" thread on the main forum and although it is outrageous at times the general consensus is that it just delays poverty in the end.

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Need more info. How old are you? What programming have you previously done? What part of the country do you live in?

My gut feeling is becoming unemployed isn't a great idea, but may be I am too old fashioned, I get the impression you need dependents for the benefits lifestyle to really pay.

Have you considered trying to get into development via your current employer?

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Forget going on benefits, as reddog says it's only tolerable if you have dependents. If not you will find yourself skint, badly housed, and forced by benefits sanctions to get a job you like even less.

Those savings do however enable you to take a year or two off or try an entirely different job that you've previously considered.

If neither of those are worth persisting with after one or two years then you can come back to the job you know; but will be much happier for the break.

And interest rate rises mean house price falls, they may be slow to climb but they have actually started for real. And the BoE always copies the Fed after a polite delay.

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I'm quite pi55ed off with my job. I'm doing IT support but it's not what I want to do. Really my background is programming and that's what I should be doing. Normally I'd look for another IT job but I need to update my programming skills before I can do that (since my skills have gone out of date whilst I did the support work). The skill requirements for a software developer are huge nowadays, because applications generally have to be browser-based & internet enabled, and there are a lot of different technologies required to develop that kind of software.

Yes, but they don't all have to be held by one person doing everything.

I run my own business building web applications and e-commerce sites, however there are still some parts that I will contract out to others with greater skills in those areas.

You're right that there is a broad skillset involved (HTML, CSS, Java, SQL, at least one back-end language like C# to glue it all together, then moving on to marketing, Google Analytics/SEO) and if you're a one-man-band you need some of everything or to find someone who can plug the gaps.

In a consultancy/web development company you'd expect to find a team of people with varying skill-sets with each focused on their own particular area. So you may be able to thrive in one of them more closely aligned to what you used to do if you can find the right company.

For instance former knowledge of VB or C would translate well into C# back-end coding at a company large enough to segment the roles like this and give you the opportunity to learn about how it all fits together, possibly sending you off on another more interesting path.

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I'm quite pi55ed off with my job. I'm doing IT support but it's not what I want to do. Really my background is programming and that's what I should be doing. Normally I'd look for another IT job but I need to update my programming skills before I can do that (since my skills have gone out of date whilst I did the support work). The skill requirements for a software developer are huge nowadays, because applications generally have to be browser-based & internet enabled, and there are a lot of different technologies required to develop that kind of software. It is therefore no small undertaking to get my skills up to date. Meanwhile...

Don't give up the day job yet.

You want to get into programming for good money, build up a profile. Start contributing to one or more big open source projects in areas that interest you. Identify things that need doing, and do them. Do a decent job and progress to the core team. Now you have a core skill, and you're known for it. Wait for the inquiries to come to you, or (if impatient) let it be known that you're in the market.

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Support is good work. You get to see everything, and keep stuff running. Development is for "one trick monkeys". And there are plenty of those, that will work for peanuts! :wacko:

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Best of both worlds: build up a side business while looking for ways to stop your current job being less of a pain. You can sack the day job eventually if need be. The book - Four Hour Work Week - while a little dated in application nowadays is still a good template for change.

With support the key is to move up the value ladder. Cut time spent hand holding by improving documentation, peer support and training, cut time on face to face training by producing more self-study stuff. Prioritise bugs/improvement requests etc by the reduction in support requests/happiness in other colleagues that will result. Be rigorous about forcing those wanting support down the path you want them to take, and spend the time saved by learning programming or whatever else you fancy on the job.

Financial independence is not an easy route to take as an employee alone (why should any employer encourage it?) And you need to make sure that any business you set up isn't simply a job where you take on all of the risk while working your ******** off.

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1. Forget benefits. For several reasons. Firstly, the only golden ticket is have lots of sprogs. Secondly, it's not a long term solution - sprogs will grow up leaving on JSA pittance and/or the government will eventually halt the gravy train. Thirdly, your aim is Financial Independence - not dependency. Develop the art of stoicism so that Tax Credit Sad Face Woman (and all the other injustices in the world) can grind your gears but not stress your heart. (It boils my piss as well - after a 'kin long time working and saving like a monk, I have enough unearned income to pay me - wait for it - the benefits cap).

2. You may be pissed off in your job but it obviously pays enough to save the wonga you do have. So you are working towards your FI goal. If FI really *is* your goal - rather than finding fulfilling work here and now - then be careful before you move. FI is about increasing income where you can as much as it is about reducing expenditure. So: think about what your actual goal is - and if it's FI then accept that it's not an easy path and may include shitty jobs. It is, however, IME, a worthy path.

3. Don't worry about house prices (which you can't control). Worry about your savings rate and investment strategies (which you can control). Besides, a house is just an asset class - with the added alluring siren of dangerously easy leverage.

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TL:DR;

You want advice on how to give up work and milk the system.

Not on my account matey.

OTOH, maybe the only way to end the system is to bankrupt it.

Personally, I couldn't live with the insecurity of social security or the sheer dependency mentality required.

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Don't give up the day job yet.

You want to get into programming for good money, build up a profile. Start contributing to one or more big open source projects in areas that interest you. Identify things that need doing, and do them. Do a decent job and progress to the core team. Now you have a core skill, and you're known for it. Wait for the inquiries to come to you, or (if impatient) let it be known that you're in the market.

This would be my advice too.

Chances are there is some open source software that you use. Start contributing to the project and get yourself a track record for coding.

This will help your move into development and could also lead to a role that's more closely aligned to your project contributions. That is more likely to be something that you are interested in, as you have started off with a piece of software that you use.

I spent 5 years in IT support and there are some real drawbacks. There are also some problems which are a real challenge to figure out and you need skills in hardware, software, networking etc to figure out what is going wrong. You won't get that variety in coding.

I once spent weeks tracking down why some anti-virus clients weren't updating correctly. It turned out that the software had a bug that was pulling in a proxy address from the OS rather than the one we'd entered in the software. I got to mess around with packet sniffers and the like to figure the problem out. The coder would have just been given a task to fix the broken string name. The grass is not always greener!

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Fellow socially anxious IT person here.

First of all, you sound like you are depressed, or thinking like a depressed person. I get the whole thing where you're angry about benefits and all that, I slip into that mindset too. It does no good; its a waste of time.

Before we get to the job side of things....are you eating a healthy diet, exercising, and staying away from the fags and booze? Health costs nothing; it saves money actually, and is very good for your self esteem. Doesn't matter if the other bloke has millions in the bank if he's a fat chain smoking tub of sh*t; you still win if you have the sense to look after your body. So start eating a ridiculously clean diet and exercise a bit if you don't already do that.

Now you've got in shape, I see you've been 'reading about people on the welfare'. Knock that on the head next. Don't go anywhere near the mainstream media's news sites or newspapers, especially the daily mail ect... who come up with articles just to make you angry.

Next...on to your current job. You say you're bored with it; probably because, like me, you enjoy solving problems and have a creative brain that needs to be engaged. So look at your current job in IT support, and think of all the little corners you can cut, all the little hacks, that can make your job easier for you. You might even write a couple of pieces of software to help automate the tasks in your job that you seem to be spending time on again and again - look into the ITIL framework and common sense things like a knowledge base and issue logs and all that. Your place of work might have all that already but even if they do, at the very least keep a personal knowledge base on something like Evernote, so that you never have to do the same thing twice.

Once you're more efficient in work, you'll be working less hours for the same money. Once you've done this, don't be a hero and beg for more work from your manager unless you think there'll be a worthwhile financial reward (there usually isn't).

You say your background is programming but it doesn't mention whether or not you've actually had a professional programming job for any length of time. I've worked as a programmer in a few companies for about 10 years now, and whilst it's nice to be writing something 'new'; this comes with it's own stressors such as long hours and customers constantly changing their minds, and management asking for the impossible blah blah blah...and most programming jobs also involve support and bug fixes of existing software anyway. So you might not actually be any happier writing new software, for similar money but doing 50/60 hours a week, than you are now - which can happen if you're unlucky with where you pick.

I'm not saying you shouldn't look for that programming job but I'd concentrate on trying to make your current life better at the moment.

As for financial independence, you need to create a 'product' you can sell; be that an external product, or your own consulting services at a high hourly rate (which of course relies on some sort of reputation that you've built). If you're just a code monkey, it'll be a race to the bottom in wages I fear, and think you'd be better off sticking with a job.

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FRpPLAW.jpg

Something not adding up here. OP has 12 posts since 2013, doesn't come back to respond to helpful replies and writes this:

I didn't buy a house. Now it seems that all of the extra money I've saved & invested is likely to just enable me to buy the same kind of house I could have bought years ago without all of that saving (if only it had suited me to buy a house back then!). My main goal in life is financial independence.​

Hmmm.

Meanwhile I read about people living on welfare getting as much money for free from the state as what I'm left with after working 40 hours per week
​Plus there is the constant worry about jobs being offshored or cheap foreign labour flooding into the country and driving down wages.

Ooooooook.

Sounds like a Poverty11Later of Mumsnet troll trying to get some vitriolic posts on what they see as some 'hot button' issues for HPC rather than the actual helpful advice that has been given. ​

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Good Spidey Sense TMT.

I suppose we were cutting some slack as they're in IT and depressed about their job so allowed for the others.

Seeing it as it actually is:

Investments: a lot of people (see the retirement thread) have done superbly well on their investments, they can buy a house for cash any time they like. Nobody's "missed the boat" by not diving in with the herd on an IO mortgage.

Benefits: they were a cushy option if you had dependents or DLA. Now for new claimants they are poor, and if you're single (man or woman), especially if you're under 35, they are very much a last resort.

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