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I just turned 33 and have never had a job before, due to factors outside my control. I have nothing to show on my resume, despite my age. I just finished a degree in programming, but taking the courses I decided I wanted nothing to do with the IT world. I tried to change my degree three times, but even the first time I was already too far in they told me, and besides, my local community college didn't offer anything more interesting me. I just needed to have a degree, so I could show SOMETHING to an employer. But honestly, I'm thinking I would prefer to hide it just so I don't get asked to do IT work.

Given all this, I think my prospects are remote. I mean, who would hire a 33 year old who's never had a job before? And that's all ignoring all the other problems I have that could get in the way, such as social ineptitude.

The only thing I could find was a Forbes article claiming the employers normally refuse to hire anyone over 65. I'm aware that older workers have a harder time finding work, and now that I"m getting on years I'm honestly afraid that it might be too late for me to find work anywhere. And I have it worse off since I have no prior work experience. I'm afraid new employers would assume that I'm just a lazy worthless good-for-nothing who wasted 15 years of my life instead of getting a job.

I'm about to enter the workforce and I'm scared. How can I possibly convince an employer to hire me despite the fact that I've never had a job before in my life? And I didn't do too well in college either, mind you.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Lilienthal Jan 9 at 13:45
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    You mentioned that your don't wan't to do IT work. But yet you still have a degree in it. Have you considered just knuckling down and getting some entry level IT position, even if only for a year or so? It can't be any worse than going to school for 3 years for IT right? And once you have that "1 year experience" on your resume you might find that other jobs you are actually interested in are easier to come by. Maybe a trade? Even if you absolutely hate it and that year is the worst year of your life, it will at least get you out of the rut you appear to be in. – McITGuy Jan 10 at 20:56
  • Interesting question, what do you do for a living and is job a necessity for you? Most of people i know get jobs for money and looking for what they do best and what do they want to do in order not to be miserable while earning a living – Strader Jan 10 at 21:59

17 Answers 17

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How can I possibly convince an employer to hire me despite the fact that I've never had a job before in my life?

Consider this fact - every single one of us who is currently in a career had to find an answer to that question at some point in the past. There are literally billions of people out there in the world who overcame the obstacle of getting their first job. It can certainly be daunting, but it's not impossible.

Age is only an issue if you make it one. Don't focus on the negative, focus on what you're able to control, and how those things can help you towards your goal. Take the same approach that works for other first-time job seekers:

  • Identify the type of job you actually want. Stop focusing on what you don't want.
  • Research the entry level positions posted for the field you're interested in.
  • Determine what criteria employers are looking for. The good news is, people who are hiring entry level people will not expect them to have a long (or any) employment history. That's why they're called "entry level" jobs - they're intended to give you an entry point when you're not already in the system.
  • Once you've done some research on what employers are looking for in terms of your ideal first job, make a plan to get those things. You may or may not have them currently. But that's okay - none of us were born with the skills that got us our first job.

Once you have a plan, stay focused on it. Cross things off one at a time. When you're at a point where you have a good percentage of the criteria addressed, start applying for jobs. Since you've been to school and have a degree, contact your school and ask if they have a careers program. Work with someone in that program to get practice interviewing and writing resumes. People who support students looking for their first job will be used to coaching you through how to write your "first" resume, even if you think it will be empty. Typically, this will involve focusing on things other than work experience - accomplishments you made in your classes, projects you worked on towards your degree, and so on.

The important thing is to get yourself a plan and work towards it. The steps may be different depending on things none of us know (what skills you have, what type of job you want, what employers are looking for in your area, and so on) - so we can't write the plan for you. It has to be your plan. But - again - this is a problem that gets solved every day and isn't something you need to be afraid of.

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    As an aside-- looking at what you DON'T want in a job can help to narrow down the job search, sometimes. If you know, for example, that you don't want to be out on the road regularly, that can help to narrow your search, especially if you don't know what you want yet. – NegativeFriction Jan 8 at 21:19
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    @NegativeFriction Agreed. Instead of focusing what job you don't want, it's more useful to focus on what you don't want from a job. Set your deal-breakers and then find a job like that. Try to set as few of them as possible too. – John Hamilton Jan 9 at 8:08
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    I agree with both of your comments - it is important to rule out what you don't want in a job. However, I think it's also important to devote time to thinking about positives, i.e. what you do want. The OP pretty much only listed negatives and things they didn't want, which seemed unbalanced, hence my focus on not focusing on the negative. – dwizum Jan 9 at 13:52
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I think you have two very important questions to ask yourself right now:

  1. Do I want/need a job? It sounds like you're on the fence, and the tone of your question makes me think that you're leaning towards not having a job. No one can force you to want to have a job.

  2. What job do I want to get? That's going to make a huge difference. If you want to be the CEO of Facebook, yeah, you're probably SOL. If you'd like to be an entry level employee at an accounting firm—maybe.

You mentioned your degree in IT and how you didn't want to use it in your job. That's fine, but I think it would be a mistake to leave it off of your resume. A degree conveys one very important thing: it tells people how good you are at learning complicated subjects. Maybe you're an IT guy who's looking to become an electrician. They're tangentially related, and they can use some of the same skill sets—you need to label everything that you're doing with useful variable names so that it doesn't get too confusing as your work grows, you need to be able to logically address issues in the system to debug, you need to be capable of grasping technical knowledge, etc.

Potential employers will most likely want an answer to the question "Why do you have zero work experience from ages 18-33?" You should have a good answer prepared. I assume it's something related to "I was married and a full-time housekeeper at the time." That's a valid answer. If you can keep ahold of small children and stop them from their desperate goal to eat everything that can hurt them and play with every sharp object/stick/electric outlet they can find, then you've proven yourself to be capable of handling a ton of responsibility at a time.

On the other hand, if you've never held a job because you just really liked playing video games, and Mom and Dad didn't kick you out until you turned 33… you'll want to work on a better explanation to give.

I think you can still get a job. Set realistic expectations, apply at the entry level, and be prepared for a lot of rejection. You're unlikely to get the first few jobs you apply for. You'll probably get an interview or two that you thought went really well, then never hear back from the interviewer. All of that is normal, and it does not mean that you've failed.

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    How can I not need a job? I need a source of income. I can't keep depending on my family members forever. How can I have income without having a job? I've considered some kind of self-employment, but that would require another degree that I can't afford to get. I'm at a loss as to what to do. I even looked into taking some classes on farming, but apparently that requires a whole degree to learn to do. My local community college doesn't really offer much of anything, and it took me three years to get this degree. I'd rather not spend another two. I'm too old as it is. – user8600 Jan 8 at 21:30
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    @user8600 - The good thing about employing yourself, you are also the boss, and can determine what education you actually need for the job. In other words, you don’t need to have any education to be self-employed. – Donald Jan 8 at 22:44
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    @Donald except more often than not local laws will require said business holds specific certifications held by at least one of its employees... – morbo Jan 9 at 6:35
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    "No one can force you to want or need to have a job." - uh, reality can? Unless you want to live off picking berries in the woods and build a little hut from fallen trees. – user253751 Jan 9 at 11:40
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    Sorry for the typo-- I meant to write "No one can force you to want to have a job." It certainly changed the message when i implied that no one could force you to need a job. @user8600 it sounds like you have no idea what work you'd like to do. So a few questions: Would you like to work outside or inside? Blue collar or white collar? Doing repairs or doing design? Building something or inspecting something? These are ways to hopefully help you narrow it down from everything to 1/4 of everything, and then further from there. – NegativeFriction Jan 9 at 12:53
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If you really need a job, just find it. I don't see any problem with 33 especially in IT moreover with CS degree. There are hundreds of jobs where the only thing you need is to be alive.

If you're still reading this, let me tell you a motivational story. A guy 26 years old moved to another country far from his homeland. He barely knew the language. He was alone in an foreign country, society and culture. He had about $1,000 in his pocket, and he gave 800 of it for a room in the first month. As you can see, he immediately started looking for job. And three days later, he found one, as a parker. This job was terribly paid, but he was so happy not to starve and have enough money to pay for the next month.

In short, he went through the first 2 hardest years of his life without any experience, language, money, support, even normal documents. He worked hard, learned the language, now pursues his bachelor in CS and works for the biggest and one of the best employers in his city (insurance company) as software developer. Many people asking him how he managed to get such a great job? He has nothing more to say - he has worked hard, very hard.

Some are looking for excuses, some are breaking through the walls. He is 33 now and still a student(1,5 years before his degree) and he gets every day emails about new opportunites.

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    +1 You seem to know this guy very well. – Spehro Pefhany Jan 9 at 5:50
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    "There are hundreds of jobs where the only thing you need is to be alive" That comment made my day ;) +1 – iLuvLogix Jan 9 at 9:52
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    "Some are looking for excuses" -- Sounds very much like OP. – MY_G Jan 9 at 10:35
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    “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.” -Calvin Coolidge – Old_Lamplighter Jan 9 at 14:06
  • Which company is the best employer in that city? I think there are really a lot of (good) employers here.. so I'm curious how/why you made that decision. edit: Ok, due to your website I found out. I didn't even know they have a location here tbh but I think everyone has individual POVs upon employers/companies :) Still I wish you success! – Ben Jan 9 at 14:11
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I just needed to have a degree, so I could show SOMETHING to an employer.

Cool, this was a great idea as it shows that:

  • you have the intelligence to complete a degree
  • you have the commitment to complete a degree
  • you have some basic transferable skills

I would prefer to hide it just so I don't get asked to do IT work.

Wait, what?

This sounds like you don't want to work. Period.

If you want to work then you would be prepared to do almost any work. Including IT work. People do jobs much less pleasant than IT. Why? Because they want to support themselves financially.

To expand on this point a little: I suggest that you try to find a job. Any job. It could be an IT job, it could be a cleaning job, or maybe it will be a graduate position which is unrelated to IT (there are lots of these!). Once you have a foot on the ladder you will gain confidence and experience and can look for a better job.

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    @user8600 Remember, IT is just a technical job but it is not just in technical industries. IT workers work for school district, city planning offices, nonprofits and a whole host of other industries. If you don't like tech for whatever reason, no need to ditch your skills. Just find another venue to apply them that suits you better. – ako Jan 9 at 5:29
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    @user8600 (might change depending on where you are) every job has an initial period where both you AND the company can see whether it's a good fit. This is typically 3-6 months. During this time, either side can cancel the work contract with a week or two notice. So don't be scared about falling into some scary job that forces you to do things—you have a good opportunity to see for yourself (also in the interviews before getting the job) what it's like to work there. Go get 'em. – Mirror318 Jan 9 at 11:38
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    Yes, this. Every job, no matter what it is, even a dream job, will still have some aspects that won't be fun. If you're stubbornly going to refuse to do any part of your job that isn't fun, you're not going to get anywhere - you'll get pushed into a closet and soaked for whetever it is that you're willing to do. Being assertive and handling whatever needs doing, even if it's not your favourite thing, is what gets you ahead in a job more than anything else. – J... Jan 9 at 15:59
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    @user8600 so you tell me that taking care of the IT of your local walmart or the town hall is evil? Is it evil to program controlers and displays for heavy lifting applications like reachstackers or cranes? The first thing you should do is get to know what you are talking about, before getting an opinion on it.... Plus if I had to choose starve or work for Heckler and Koch I would at least think about it. You can still find another job afterwards. – Goodbye SE Jan 10 at 8:13
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    @user8600 "because the industry is often doing things that are clearly wrong" - most likely you read too much about the few well known companies and approximated this on whole industry. 1st of all - most likely you would not get a job in those companies for at least 5 years (unless you are in the Bay or Seattle area). 2nd - as a preparation step for the interview at the company you should always try to find out what company does and how it treats employees. If the result of search contradicts your ideals you can turn down interview or offer without any explanation. – AlexanderM Jan 11 at 4:48
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The good news is that in the current US economy, if you are in a mid-sized to large city, you can find a job that doesn't require any experience or a prior work background. The bad news is that almost all such jobs will pay minimum wage, and most of them will be boring and possibly unpleasant. Convenience store clerk, sport stadium vendor, and warehouse work are typical examples. With a little bit of training (4-12 weeks) you might be able to find work as a home-health care aid or a nursing aid.

If you convince yourself beforehand that you won't find work, and therefore won't bother applying, then you certainly won't find work. If you apply, you may get lucky. The more constraints you put on the type of work you are willing to do, the less chance there is that you will be able to find work. We live in a fallen world, and most of us have to work for at least a while at jobs we dislike, if not actively hate. The folks who pick your vegetables or butcher the chicken you eat probably don't enjoy their jobs very much. Why should you be entitled to avoid this? You just have to decide which is more unpleasant: a job you dislike, or remaining dependent on your family.

It does sound like you are struggling with this, and you are in a hard situation. Strangers on the internet really can't offer very much. Have you considered getting advice from a professional counselor or psychologist?

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  • That,s sadly lowbrow. The person does have tech skills, and those are high in demand. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 9 at 7:35
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica but the OP has repeatedly stated that they do not want to work in IT. As I state in my answer, the more jobs they rule out, the more limited their options are. – Charles E. Grant Jan 9 at 7:46
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    Yes, there seem to be a great many things OP does not want to do. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 9 at 8:19
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tl;dr

It sounds like you don't want to enter the workforce.


Your concern about age is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. I highly suggest that you either ask a new question of "How to motivate myself to get employed?" or stay unemployed. Programmers don't get left in utility closets like gremlins of yesteryear; they are an integral part of a business's success so being courteous and approachable (not necessarily sociable) is an absolute must and this will be your main hurdle as it sounds like you despise people.

You have several core issues to work through and age is the absolute least of your concerns.

If you really wish to be left alone then you can find employment in a third-world sweatshop. They will happily ignore you and even deny you the ability to talk to others during your shift.

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  • You make some good points, but this comes across as really harsh. – Neo Jan 9 at 18:31
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    @MisterPositive after reading some of OPs comments, I start to feel the same as MonkeyZeus. It sounds harsh but maybe that is necessary. – Goodbye SE Jan 10 at 8:17
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    +1. I can't believe most people are ignoring the comment where OP said he doesn't want to work with others or have bosses tell them what to do (that's sort of their job tbh). He also doesn't want to work for any corporation that he considers "evil", nor does he want to do IT. It's hard to be sympathetic in this case. – Catsunami Jan 10 at 19:24
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When you are dead you are to late to get a job. All other ages, barring laws on child labor, are perfectly able and fine to get a job.

Now, what kind of job, how to find one and get it are a different things.

Try to remember that jobs are temporary ways to gain income. They can change, and often are the best way to get more of what you actually want. Be that working hours, money, location or other things. If you don't try, you will not succeed. Job hunting will get No as an answer. And very likely you will have to tell someone No.

But, this world being what it is, you very likely need a job for income. Find one that suits you. Find that one, or make it yourself.

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I've been a factory worker for 5 years. I just turned 30. Your are only 3 years older than me. I was just hired on my first programming job 4 months ago. As long as you are breathing, don't give up. I had this quote in my mind when I was on factory. It may sounds corny but here it is. "If pople don't give you experience, then give yourself experience". I don't know what job you want. But if you can do that in your spare time, people will see that you are willing to learn and is passionate about what you do.

In the end, your actions defines you not your age.

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Sorry, but this question is striking me the wrong way right up front:

I just turned 33 and have never had a job before, due to factors outside my control.

... uh, what? Are you telling me that you haven't had any control over your life, at all, up until this point? That you were physically prevented from getting a paper route as a teen, a job as a cashier during highschool, chained up and not allowed into the real world once you'd graduated high school, etc? C'mon, unless you were sold into human trafficking and just escaped recently, this simply isn't true. You may have made choices that ended up meaning you didn't have a job the last 15 years - but trying to pawn that off onto external forces that you have no control over is a terrible approach to life in general.

It's also why a lot of people are saying "the age isn't the problem in this picture." Because they're right - the problem here isn't an issue of age. I guarantee you, if you walked into several HR offices and eagerly/honestly said, "I'm looking for a starting data-entry job - and I guarantee you that I'll put in more hours and work harder than anyone else in the department."... well, I'd be surprised if you didn't get a job offer from at least one of them.

The problem is, that's not your mindset; instead, you're casting about for (external) reasons to blame a failure that hasn't even happened yet!

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I just turned 33 and have never had a job before, due to factors outside my control.

That should be more specific in the cover letter - anything from family reasons, work permit, even medical reasons are IMHO better than nothing.

I have nothing to show on my resume, despite my age.

You have a degree.

I just finished a degree in programming, but taking the courses I decided I wanted nothing to do with the IT world. I tried to change my degree three times, but even the first time I was already too far in they told me, and besides, my local community college didn't offer anything more interesting me.

This really doesn't sound good. It would be great if you would list your strengths, and not tell the story that "they told me".

I just needed to have a degree, so I could show SOMETHING to an employer. But honestly, I'm thinking I would prefer to hide it just so I don't get asked to do IT work.

Not a good idea. I really suggest that you consider a job where you have some IT work, but can switch later. This circumstance is not beyond your control.

Given all this, I think my prospects are remote.

Not if you accept partial work which partially involves programming.

I mean, who would hire a 33 year old who's never had a job before?

Everybody looking urgently enough for a programmer.

And that's all ignoring all the other problems I have that could get in the way, such as social ineptitude.

Social ineptitude? Not a big deal in a lot of jobs.

The only thing I could find was a Forbes article claiming the employers normally refuse to hire anyone over 65.

If that's really the only thing which you could find, you looked too narrow.

and many others ....

I'm aware that older workers have a harder time finding work, and now that I"m getting on years I'm honestly afraid that it might be too late for me to find work anywhere.

No, 33 is not a relevant age for this. I know several people with a similar record which got a job.

And I have it worse off since I have no prior work experience.

This can be a real problem, so I suggest not to apply to jobs which require a lot of experience, then it's not so bad.

I'm afraid new employers would assume that I'm just a lazy worthless good-for-nothing who wasted 15 years of my life instead of getting a job.

Here it really is important that you are more specific. The "worthless good-for-nothing" option may not be the worst thing what your employer can think (that would be jail time or a criminal career).

I'm about to enter the workforce and I'm scared.

Well, that's OK as long as you have it under control.

How can I possibly convince an employer to hire me despite the fact that I've never had a job before in my life? And I didn't do too well in college either, mind you.

Apply for a job which

  • you find interesting
  • matches your personal strengths (and please, focus on these when thinking about the situation)
  • partially matches your qualification
  • does not have requirements which you don't have
  • has not too much competition

Points to consider:

  • if there is no other way be ready to work for sometime in a lower level job (e.g. call center) to show that you have no attitude problems
  • if a 20 year old if your boss/supervisor, he/she/they is your boss/supervisor
  • try to make the "problems outside of your control" into "problems under your control" if that is possible, by help/support or otherwise
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One important thing is missing from the opening question and this is what the person is interested in doing.


OP mentioned a degree in IT, where getting a job is currently exceedingly easy, even with zero experience. But of course, the more you put on the table, such as experience and qualification, the better you can select your employer. This also means better pay, better work environments and the possibility to select the field at will.

For OP I see red flags regarding this:

  • They have a two year IT degree, however barely programming language experience, because they only scratched the surface of Python and C++. There are candidates entering the market with very high qualifications in these areas, so selection of a workplace with the goal of developing C++ or Python application becomes a lot more narrow (not impossible however).
  • OP also mentions, that their degree is mostly in web development and how they "like to code websites by hand, because this is more precise" (see chat discussion). To me this is nonsense showing inexperience. Web development uses arguably too many frameworks, but they are expected in the industry. When starting out with my degree, I too did want to do all by hand - best way to learn the basics. But in the industry this does not happen. If you waste time reinventing the wheel, your output w.r.t. time is poor and yet your wheel is still not that good a wheel.

However, OP already mentioned unwillingness to work in IT, so let me get to my initial criticism. There is no mention of what OP wants to do.

The list of excuses (paraphrased):

  • In IT you are forced into contracts, where you provide work that is indecent.
  • College didn't offer any other areas that peaked OP's interest.
  • College did not allow a switch, because OP is "too far in" (???)
  • Age, hence the initial question. This is absolutely an understandable concern on its own, but here is a lot more than just that.
  • Social incompetence.
  • Unwillingness to have a superior "breathing down their neck", something that most people in the workforce deal with and most do not like.

I have learned, that whenever someone has a lot of reasons for one problem, rather than a single solid one, chances are, they are making excuses.

This is exactly how I see OP. The college did not "offer them anything more", because degrees require work and in addition work after the degree is also work. OP is thinking about becoming self employed, apparently not realizing, that self employment is probably the hardest of all w.r.t. workload and time investment, even though no one "breathes down your neck". In addition self employment often requires social skills which OP claims not to possess - you need to sell your product or your service to customers, clients don't just magically appear out of nowhere.

In any case, arguing age is pointless in this context. As other answers mention, age can be overcome and this specific issue of being inexperienced at the age of 33, while being an obstacle, can be dealt with when having reasonable expectations and putting the effort in. I think there is consensus in this regard.

This does not appear to be the problem though. OP does not want to work, never got used to working and has surreal expectations regarding their future work environment. I suggest looking at this as an attitude problem and seeking appropriate counselling as to how to find motivation. Otherwise OP will likely only enter the workforce once they absolutely have no other choice, yet the longer this is delayed, the smaller their selection of employers will be.

So to OP:

  1. Look into counselling options to be able to find motivation. If you can, find additional support from family and friends.
  2. Decide what you actually want to do. If you feel you have no idea what the job you envision entails - do an internship. I say this, because from what you have written your idea of self-employment is ridiculous.
  3. Once you have decided what you want to do, put all your effort into that direction only.

Most importantly - actually do these things. If you just delay all of this, as in, "I can do that tomorrow" or "next week", these then become months and years. This is not just waiting, because you are already paying for this, just not with money but with future selection of fields, salaries and work environments.

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  • “IT, where getting a job is currently exceedingly easy, even with zero experience” Maybe where you live, but where I live, every single IT company posts jobs through recruitment companies who are only interested in checking off items on checklists and toss your resume in the bin if you don’t meet their list of criteria because none of the companies want to spend any money on training because they want you to hit the ground running because they’re terrified of turnover. – nick012000 Jan 13 at 7:17
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What about self-employment?

Do you have an interest (and at least modest skill) that you could turn into a personal business? Maybe you like technical writing (maybe even IT related?) and could freelance? Maybe you like making crafts and could sell them online? Or almost anything else. This option is likely to require a lot of hard work and may not pay a high salary, but it could be a good choice for you given your stated desire (in comments) to work by yourself. And you could ease into it while living with your family, reducing your personal financial risk. Just make sure you don't let security become a crutch that keeps you from trying hard. Set a personal goal to be living on your own within X months/years, and work as hard as you can to achieve that goal. Oh, and don't forget to use your personal network for help. Ask friends and family for suggestions on what careers might fit you well, possible good employers, references (if you go that route), etc. If you go the self-employment route and need help setting up a website, ask for it. Don't feel like you have to solve all problems all by yourself.

Bottom-line: don't give up!

Your situation is scary, but it's not insurmountable. IT may not be the field for you, but that doesn't mean there isn't something out there you could do (whether working for others or yourself) if you try hard and put yourself out there.

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  • Actually, I can make my own website. I even did have a website once where I was uploading all my work for my web development classes, but it got taken down after being inactive for a year. Nothing's stopping me from making another though, minus the $20 per year price tag for actually getting to show up in search engines. – user8600 Jan 9 at 16:34
  • Good point--I forgot that detail. :) In that case that gives you a leg up! – bob Jan 9 at 16:47
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I was in a similar boat in that I finished college at the age of 29. And prior to that I had only held low-level, unskilled jobs (fast food, call center, mail room), never really supporting myself. Some of the things that helped me in finding employment:

Consider signing up with a work placement service or temp/contract work firm. It's their job to get you a job. Even if you're unsure of yourself, theses services will try to present you in the best light to their clients. These may send you to work with all sorts of clients in various industries; with little or no experience, it can be a good way of sampling what area you would might like to focus your career towards, or expose you to industries you had never considered before.

Practice interviewing. Even if you're not the best candidate on paper, being charismatic and "faking it 'till you make it" can land you a job.

Connections help, a lot. Do you have any friends or family who could recommend you for a position at their place of work?

For me, it took about 2 years of unstable employment (temp/contract work and failing start-ups) before moving into a stable position to grow a career. So, while it unlikely you'll fall into a great job immediately, you absolutely can find an employer who will hire you with no experience. From there, it may take some time to build your experience and resume a bit, but soon enough you'll find a job you'll like and want to stay at.

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If you don't want to work in IT despite having a CS degree, be prepared to do some manual labor. Nobody is going to see your degree and try to force an IT position on you if you're applying for a fry-cook position.

I would heavily consider what your options are. You have no experience outside of programming. Think about what kind of jobs you will be eligible to do with that. If you don't think you would like a stable, climate controlled job with good benefits, no manual labor, good pay, and a competitive job market then contrast that with the jobs you will actually be able to get, because you won't get any of those things without your degree and no experience to back you.

IT world is going to start looking pretty good when you're breaking your back to make 1/3 of what you would be making by leveraging your degree.

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How can I possibly convince an employer to hire me despite the fact that I've never had a job before in my life?

One aspect that nobody mentioned yet is that you don't always have to convince an employer. One secret formula is called networking, or proteksia, colloquially.

Have people you know, or studied with, or played with as kids put in a good word for you at the place they work or with people they know. If they vouch for you then the employer may trust them and not ask to be convinced.

And I didn't do too well in college either, mind you.

As long as you are prepared to do well, then with real-world experience you will improve. I'm sure hoping that this is not an indication of a general attitude, in which case you won't last long anywhere, no matter how you got the job and which job it is.

Lastly, nobody can force you to be hired for a job you don't want to do. My suggestion is to become an expert at something you like to do, and then people will be happy to hire you for that. (You're an expert - as far as a potential employer is concerned - once you can do it "in your sleep" and talk about it enthusiastically and knowledgeably.)

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  • I'm in a similar position, never had a job (due to a disability why I now have under control) I'm good at and enthusiastic about coding but crushing fear is that they'll just turn me down with "you've never had a job before, bye" – Mark kurti Jul 19 at 17:56
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    @Markkurti - in the "coding world" you can always replace job-experience with coding experience. Put up a web site or blog pointing to some coding you've done and nobody will complain that you've never had a job. Just create an app, exe or web site that does something - from a fake car rental to a world clock. Prove that you're good at and enthusiastic about coding and you're ready to go! – Danny Schoemann Jul 20 at 7:33
  • I'm been researching this for a while now (I'm feeling insecure about the gap) and most people say the same thing. I'm going to stop and just keep working. Thanks Danny – Mark kurti Jul 20 at 13:03
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From your question, I'm unclear on the why or how you are in your current situation, presumably it doesn't matter.

To answer your question, though, focus on getting an interview and during the interview focus on a willingness to learn.

To expand on why, consider the following:

  • You don't need to list your age on a resume. Furthermore, it would not look good (and might be illegal) during an interview for someone to ask how old you are. If you are being interviewed, the focus should be on matters related to the job you will be doing.
  • I think it's good that you figured out what you don't like in school. It's less good that you weren't able to switch degrees, but whatever. There are a lot of people out there who have a degree in one thing and do something completely different. Very often, a degree matters for the purposes of showing you can focus on something long enough to figure it out and finish it. The only time a degree is critical is if your profession requires specific licensure (i.e. doctors & nurses, engineers, lawyers, etc.). A former colleague of mine has a degree in journalism, he's a sector head of marketing at an engineering firm.
  • Focus less upon finding the ideal job and more upon finding any job. There is a ton of things you learn on the job that cannot be taught in school, including but not limited to interpersonal skills, good employer practices, bad employer practices, management skills, etc. On the job I've learned had to learn how work with some very difficult people; how a bad employer will really screw me over; how to communicate with peers, subordinates, and superiors in order to determine an appropriate path forward; how to direct work that I need to oversee. Literally learned none of this in school.
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A lot of the answers already given are valid and very good.

I remember having been in that situation ( like everyone with a job! ) and it resulted in me being extremely nervous in my first interview.

I can promise you that your insecurity will shine through in an interview. Whatever you need to do to make a better impression ( for me, it was simply practicing, doing more interviews, and getting some work experience ) - do it.

Otherwise, this can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The point: At least pretend to be optimistic, and somewhat excited about your prospects. The job market is definitely good enough to land you something.

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