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I graduated from Computer Science this summer and so far I've been unemployed for two months due to a health issue that prevents me from performing properly as a programmer. I even had secured a job and in the end I couldn't take it because of this.

I mentioned 4-5 in the title because I honestly think it could take that long in the worst case scenario.

Consider that I'm a CompSci new grad.

Is my career screwed? And how do I make up for this?

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    Most of the other questions are about longer gaps. 4-5 months doesn't sound that bad to me. Check the other threads related to employment gaps for more information - e.g. workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/18616/… – Brandin Oct 2 '15 at 11:27
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    4-5 Months is nothing. Do not worry about it. – Ed Heal Oct 2 '15 at 11:30
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    The health issue is a pretty legitimate reason for a gap. Besides, it's only two months so far. Don't get too far ahead of yourself :) – Jane S Oct 2 '15 at 11:33
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    I'd agree that 4-5 months isn't a lot - a lot of graduates don't get a job at all immediately (roughly 10%), and of those who do get a job, a large proportion (1/3) get non-professional, unrelated job, and another chunk get an unrelated graduate job or internship, go on to more education or training etc, or just take a time out and go travelling etc. It's really not that unusual - a lot of my friends took a year or so to find a job, and nothing is thought of it. – Jon Story Oct 2 '15 at 11:41
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    I didn't end up working at all until about four months after graduating, and that was a short term job at a hotel before finally starting my career two months later. You've got nothing to worry about. – grfrazee Oct 2 '15 at 11:56
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Partial answer: Once you're healthy enough, immediately start actively learning or enhancing an important skill.

One option is to work aggressively towards a certification. Another is to volunteer part-time for a non-profit and do meaningful work directly related to your field, so you have hands-on experience. A third option is to start teaching others what you know, perhaps via high-quality video tutorials, showcasing your knowledge and communication skills. A fourth option is to take-on a few paid short-term consulting projects (if they're remote and you're up for it, consider traveling somewhere while working, which creates an easy-to-understand reason for not immediately securing full-time employment after school).

All of these help fill-in your post-school resume with useful experience, and move the gap you're concerned about further and further behind you.

Otherwise, I'm not qualified to say how you ought to respond if someone specifically asks about the gap you currently have, other than to say lies have a way of being discovered, so it's best to avoid them. Good luck!

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You'll be fine. Over the course of the next 10-30 years, 4-5 months is nothing.

It wouldn't/shouldn't really be an issue, for whatever reason, unless you were in jail or in recovery for substance addiction, or something else like that.

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First priority should be to get well again. Everything else is only secondary.

A year from now, do you think anybody will say "with a five month career gap I would have accepted him, but that 6 month gap is really one month too many"? That will not happen. However, if you don't recover properly, you will have problems for much longer, maybe even the rest of your life. So relax. You cannot change it anyway. Concentrate on a recovery. Not on a quick recovery, but on a good recovery.

If you cannot use your CS skills right now, but you do have time to waste, maybe brush up totally unrelated skills. CS is seldom used on it's own. We always work for some industry. Maybe you can get some skills in an industry you'd like to work in. Financial? Business Administration? Project Management? Heck, if you want to go into that industry, even Chemistry or Biology might be helpful. But remember: that is secondary. It can wait. Do not let this get in the way of your recovery.

Being healthy and happy is a key skill that will outshine any "month" or "skill" in your personal life. And employers like to have happy and healthy people, too.

  • Thanks a lot bro. I can't vote up because my account is new but I want you to know that your words mean a lot to me. – Eugenberk Oct 4 '15 at 15:10
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I really don't think you are going to have to worry. The answer I would give a perspective employer is the truth. Tell them you had some health issues (hopefully all resolved now) and that you were unable to work at the time. Remember that not telling them the truth will get any job offer revoked and if employed is grounds for termination in almost all companies. Today with social media and the interwebs its painfully easy to find out whatever you want to know about someone.

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