An American Millennial

Where are you and where are you going?
Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:19 pm

@classical_Liberal Sure, there are some varied stories, and it's easy to pick out some as examples. And I could just as easily pick 2 or 3 that are exactly how I describe as well - high income, educated, right degree. What I notice more than the inspiring stories and diversity, is the uniformity. I don't feel poor, I'm American, by default I am rich. Something living abroad has highlighted for me. As are others on this forum from wealthy countries, which I'd wager the majority are. We won the birth lottery, we get to live on easy mode and actually consider ERE. But on this forum, I'd say I'm an outlier in the net worth category. And there's certainly some reason to that.

This is all anecdotal, if someone wants to waste time drumming up numbers and counting through the journals - won't be me.

I still stand by 2017 when I said that low-earning, wrong degree, doesn't really belong here and that sort of situation makes ERE less attainable. It's certainly geared towards and seems to attract a higher earning, higher educated, wealthier group.

@bigato Sure you can. I find that posting graphs on my monthly progress is quite a waste because it doesn't really get me anything more than a feeling of, "Wow, this is moving slowly." And it gets reiterated each month. Especially when you consider it's a monthly "progress" graph. A graph on personal happiness would be more worthwhile.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:26 pm

@THF Nope, situation was we weren't 100% if we would go back or not. There were a couple months to try and find work in HK or Shenzhen. But if we did stay, she would want to stay with the same company. And then the contract decision was forced on us, so she re-signed. In hindsight, the decision was made based on "If I stay, would I want to do change jobs?" and we (she) should have instead made the decision based on, "If I don't stay, would I want to be locked into this contract?" Power to her, for being the type that can't go back on the paper and ink.

Ultimately job didn't come through (well, kind of did, but it's freelance for now). And now it's time for me to go back and find work in the US.

I'm not preparing for the difference. I'm not so worried about the difference. I already know what it's like. Moving abroad and all. The hardest will be not being with my girlfriend for 6 months and, more importantly, not seeing my cats (I kid). After 6 months she'll be rejoining me.

40 hour workweek we'll see how it goes. As it is, I already code >20/week. Last I remember, 40 hours/week meant coming home tired, fried, unfulfilled and unmotivated. That was my free time state. That's kind of how it is now anyway. I teach, then code, code, code. And eventually my brain says it's done and I watch TV shows with girlfriend, play football, or try a computer game (I get bored super fast of computer games, though). We'll see what happens.

Biggest changes to adjust to will be:
- workweek
- no girlfriend/cats
- US less convenient
- culture shock

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:27 pm

I reached out to my network on LinkedIn and FB (which nobody seems to use anymore). Targeted software engineers/devs. Told them about moving back to US and either searching Denver jobs remotely in LA, or moving to Denver and searching while local. Got a ton of good advice. As well, my self-taught dev community, where I've been the last few months I wasn't posting here, net-wise, has been extremely helpful.

This girl spent 60 hours/week on her job search for 1 month.

Sabaka
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Sabaka » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:03 am

Just been rereading your journal and came across the post when you first started considering learning to code. To get to the position you're in now, with people offering you jobs, is a fantastic achievement mate! :)

Also, just to add my two cents on how attainable FIRE/ERE is, I'm in complete agreement with you. Coming from someone with no degree and no other valuable skill-set, the path to FIRE/ERE looks an increasingly difficult one. And at some point, you have to ask yourself how many years' sacrifice is it worth to achieve this goal, which you cannot be certain will instantly give your life meaning. Of course, for some people the 9-5 isn't a sacrifice and therefore it is good to crack on towards whatever the financial target is.

When I read your journal, it reads as the journal of someone who has taken every opportunity they can get to explore their present life to the fullest. Supermarket jobs, insurance work, teaching. It's all part of the journey. I firmly believe you cannot truly know what you want your life to look like until you try these different things, which you have done. Regardless of where it puts you on the journey to FIRE/ERE, judging by the fact that you say you have not regretted any of the decisions for the last two years, it has worked out for you :) .

I guess what I am trying to do is to adopt more of your mindset, which is difficult for a few reasons. 1 being that I am naturally a quite conservative guy, who likes routine and dislikes change. And also, partly due to ERE, I have become somewhat fixated on a financial target. For the past 3 years, I have just worked, not been happy and have just focused on an increase every month in my NW. Now that I've finally taken a decision (I'm going to go to Russia for 3 months), which will mean going into deaccumulation mode for at least 6 months, I actually feel excited (and also super nervous and afraid) for the future.

TL;DR: Congrats on the coding, and personally I find your journal very inspirational.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:53 am

Ya, it's pretty sweet, but there's still a lot more to go. For example, this freelance gig is potentially just 1 job, and who knows when it will actually come through. Small company, dealing with the owners directly, who are busy... It took them more than 2 weeks to get back to me about my take-home project. It's been over a week since I agreed to doing a freelance one.

Good luck in Russia. It's always a rush moving abroad. I've got like 7 more days here. Crazy. Glad I inspired you, that's all I really hope to get out of this journal. No ragrets. Not even a letter.

This friend on LinkedIn gave me such good advice for the job search. But it's going to be tough. I think I'll check back in in a few months.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:11 am

I’m in California. It’s pretty nice. There was an earthquake.

The culture in the US is so obviously different. Luckily there’s pickup games just a couple blocks from my house. Lucky I have family to stay with right now.

It’s been two and a half weeks or so I think. Spending is pretty low. I have no rent or car so food and soccer fees is all I pay right now.

Ive applied for 29 jobs. I’m taking care to write cover letters and send them to the people working there in addition to filling out their online application. I’ve put an ad on a freelance website as well. In the meantime, I’m finishing up a coding cohort this week. Then I’ll have more time to work on other things coding-wise.

I haven’t gone to any networking events yet.

I’m spending about 4 hours/day during the week on my job search online, but I’m getting faster. Sometimes I code in between each job or cover letter or email. Sometimes I use something I heard Elon musk does where he spends 5 mins on each task. It works pretty well but I still only do it for the 4 hours. Other times I just start a timer, work as long as I want, pause the timer, relax, and by early afternoon I’ve still worked about 4 hours.

Anyways. My sister comes home from Texas in about a week. And I’m sleeping in her room right now. So I’ll have to figure things out soon. But I’ll spend some time here either way since I haven’t seen her in over a year.

Really satisfied with the food. Cost, quality, etc. And of course the air. So easy to take it for granted. But it’s so nice to have worrying about it off of my mind.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:13 pm

Just took a programming test for a job interview or part of their process. The test had Python, SQL, JavaScript, and HTML. The HTML question was pretty easy, using semantic tags. JavaScript was ok, there was a question asking for recursive function, which I don't use ever, but I was able to write one anyway and passed the tests. SQL was easy, even though I haven't written an SQL query since last Fall. Python is a bit longer of a story.

Since filling out job applications, according to various articles, is allegedly a poor way to find a job, a recent Youtube video sparked my curiosity. Because, this video showed a guy writing some Python code to auto-like tweets on Twitter. So I went ahead and downloaded Python and started coding something to automate online job applications. It's actually almost finished, but it looks like I may need to use Google Chrome instead of Firefox, since the website I'm applying on doesn't seem to work on Firefox. Anyways, around this same time I watched this video, I received the test invitation for this company which just so happened to have Python listed in their job requirements. Today was the last day to submit the test, so I started it this morning, having only more or less copied, pasted, and modified one Python script before.

So the 2 Python questions actually went ok. One I got right, woo! And the other I couldn't pass test cases, but the function I wrote did what I wanted it to do, so probably didn't understand the question (which probably has to do with not ever studying Python).

Anyways, this morning I also finally got an inquiry back from a company in HK that I had interviewed with back in May. They sent me a couple mock-ups (1 mobile, 1 same page desktop) and asked for a quote.

Plan is to rewrite the Python app for Chrome and auto-apply for newly posted jobs each morning. Start working on this freelance job. Attend some sort of meetup for professionals if the occasion arises and not too busy.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:57 am

I just got my first interview for jobs in CA. It will be later this week. It's on the low-end of the spectrum for pay. But that's just me getting ahead of myself.

Small snag in the Python script since the job website I was using has captcha on the actual submit button as well. I think next thing to try is either a) having it open each application so I can come in a fill out the last parts/defeat captchas or b) have it compile info from its search into a spreadsheet for my review. It will probably become a combination of these in later iterations.

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler » Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:23 am

Dude you're kicking ass. Congratulations on it.

I find your progress very inspiring as it gives me hope that I can get another kick ass job once my current gig dies down. Plus, I love the mental stimulation progeamming provides.

How are you feeling happiness wise after your cultural shift living in China? I hear culture shock can be worse going back than coming to Asia in the first place.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:54 am

I'm feeling pretty good. Sometimes I'm a little bummed, just miss my girlfriend and my cats and friends. It's been almost a month now. Actually, I think it's been just 3 weeks, but it feels like longer. I don't really get to bad of culture shock. Grocery stores, supermarkets, those are kind of awkward since I feel like I can't be myself in public. Whereas in China, I could talk about my butthole itching or drop the f bomb without a second thought, here I can't because everyone understands me and people look at you and stuff.

Also the customer service here is a little awkward at times. It's really fake. I like the real clerks that don't really smile and are more straight-faced.

My neighborhood borders a sports complex with 15+ soccer fields and there are 2 different meetups playing there Mon-Thurs nights. So 2/week I can go there and that's a ton of fun. It's what I was doing in China, playing football a lot, and it costs about the same. That helps with culture shock as well.

Recently I've just got a little lonely. My mom is on vacation and my sister isn't home yet from Texas. After the football game last night, even though everyone is really friendly and welcoming, and it was a good game, I was just a little lonely on the jog home and after my shower. But I think that has a lot more to do with my current living situation and being away from my girlfriend and cats for the first time in a long time. This is also day 3 of my mom's vacation, so I've been pretty starved of human contact. There are no people outside too here.

I don't live in downtown L.A., but sometimes I wonder if maybe living downtown would feel a bit more like China. In the suburbs, it's like a ghost town. I see someone else outside about as often as I would see a foreigner in Shenzhen.

I'm so happy with the food, though. And the air quality.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:07 pm

This morning I got a job offer for Chicago. I will start next Wednesday. This is pretty exciting and still a little surreal right now. It's hard to imagine that next week I'll be coding in a professional environment as a salaried employee.

It does mean the next several days are going to be really busy. In addition to packing, finding a place to stay, and buying a plane ticket, I also have a project due by Monday. It's a ~15 page website for a company in Hong Kong. The first draft is due Monday, but ideally the first draft won't require too many revisions. It is only front-end, but this company's design challenged by CSS/HTML skills last time and this one probably will as well.

My idea is to find a room share on Craigslist. They seem to be appropriately priced. I want somewhere close to work/public transportation that I can stay until around December/January. Around that time, my girlfriend's contract will be finishing and we'll want to find our own place that's big enough for us and the cats.

Scott 2
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:29 pm

Congratulations! I think you'll do really well. The self directed growth you've done over the last year will be a huge asset. A lot of developers struggle with finding their own way.

I looked back at your first post. Big changes in only three years.

Cheepnis
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Cheepnis » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:30 pm

That's awesome! I'm glad the transition back to America is going swimmingly.

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:50 am

Congratulations Viktor! You're kicking ass.

I'm seriously proud of you man. You've come so far from your online coding classes. You're now in America with significantly more income. Literally the role model for learning self directed programming.

How do you enjoy the work? From what I remember, you're doing mostly back end work on web sites. I really enjoyed the puzzle and customization portion of programming.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:24 pm

Thanks Scott! I think you're right about the self-direction potentially paying off as time goes on. Since I have 3 new frameworks/languages to learn before next week especially!

Yep, going pretty well @cheepnis. I had zero expectation that I would land a job in under a month of getting back. Seeing post about applying for 300 jobs and getting 1 interview had me thinking that it would be the end of the year before anyone bit.

Thanks a lot slowtraveler! I think having so much free time, a very supportive girlfriend, friends, family, and online communities, and then just a bit of desperation early last year to really get me committed to the path all made this easier than it could have been otherwise. But the next 6 months will be the real telling point. It's going to be difficult to actually code now 40/week and not get overwhelmed! But I think I can do it, and I'm really happy with the company I ended up with, at least from what I could see in the interview and pre-interview.

Work hasn't started yet, so can't be sure. But as for usual preference, I like the front-end the most. The back-end for me so far has always been simple things and almost always the same. Create a database entry, retrieve a database entry, update a database entry, and delete a database entry. Outside of that, I haven't done anything interesting on the back-end.

However, front-end is a lot of fun, especially when working with a cool design. Because I have a bit of a creative bone, and when you work on the front-end you get to see the website come to life from your code, which is really satisfying for me.

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Re: An American Millennial

Post by unemployable » Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:24 pm

Viktor K wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:07 pm
This morning I got a job offer for Chicago. I will start next Wednesday.
Nice, what part of town?
My idea is to find a room share on Craigslist. They seem to be appropriately priced. I want somewhere close to work/public transportation that I can stay until around December/January. Around that time, my girlfriend's contract will be finishing and we'll want to find our own place that's big enough for us and the cats.
Be careful with the timing on this. The apartment market is DEAD DEAD DEAD in the winter. No one wants to move in -30 wind chills.

For some reason an outsized number of leases in Chicago start on October 1, with a smaller peak on May 1. This means November 1 is a great time to move into a new apartment, because you get all the landlords who couldn't fill their places for October trying to keep the place from going vacant all winter.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:52 pm

That's really interesting, I didn't know that, but it does make sense. If that's the case, I might want to live in a roomshare just starting out. But move in to an apartment sooner rather than later...

I could get an apartment by myself of course. I could afford it at least. But my financial goals moving forward are to maintain an emergency fund and pay off my loans.

Having 1 year expenses to fall back on has made money a non-issue after leaving China and moving back to the US. That's been really comforting. So I don't want to pay off my loans ASAP if it means digging into my savings account.

Either way, I should have a positive net worth within the next year. Things could always change of course. This job is going to be really challenging, I think, but in a good way.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:11 am

In Chicago now, staying in a hostel. Pretty expensive as far as hostels go, and there wasn't much to choose from AirBNB/hostel wise going into this weekend, and I made my reservation last week.

Realized yesterday this weekend is Lollapalooza, so that probably has something to do with it.

Checking out apartments this week tomorrow and Thursday evening after my first day.

Start Thursday. My hostel is downtown, a few blocks from the office.

Hostel reservation ends Saturday. Will probably have to book something else unless the apartment search goes ridiculously fast.

Public transportation here pretty good, even rivaling Shenzhen I'd say. I heard food was expensive but prices on produce (all I really eat) < than what I saw in LA/Irvine.

Studying all day pretty much to try and learn as much as I can on this company's tech stack before starting. They literally use nothing that I studied before. Python/flask back-end (I learned node.js/express.js), postgresql (I learned SQL but only used in 1 project and haven't used since outside of my test for this company), and Vue.js front-end (I've been using React for the last 8 months or so, never touched Vue).

Cray in Aug I'll be pulling some $4k after tax

Miss my girlfriend and cats tho

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K » Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:22 pm

Love my new job. And got an apartment that I love the area around and checks all my boxes for housing. Thank god, got the move in early in the morning, just in time because I have to move out the hostel in the morning too! Perfect timing.

Net worth down like $2k USD from June. Gonna dip more with first month's rent, but then we on the way up.

Damn, loving life. How the hell did I get here? Feels like a dream. All these things that I've wanted for myself, that I somehow felt I was owed or deserved or was capable of achieving. But god I miss my babe and babies. If I died tomorrow, no regrets. Just one: this is the only Aug 2 2019 me and my girlfriend will ever live. And we're not together. That sucks.

Gotta get furniture...

slowtraveler
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:23 pm

It's awesome to hear you so happy. You worked hard for it all. You studied your ass off to get your work situation in place. You really earned it.

Is it a studio or a room in a shared apartment? It sounds like you're planning to stay a while now. Congratulations on your success Viktor K.

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