May 24, 2023

Why you should NOT hire me.

Breaking free from the 9-to-5: A candid rant on why I refuse to seek traditional employment.

Table of Contents

  1. My Background
    1. ADHD comes to play
  2. The last few years
  3. So… it’s not you, it’s me
    1. Limitations
    2. Business vs. Production
    3. The Market:
    4. Keep learning
  4. What now?

My Background

I’ve mentioned this a couple of times already, so I’ll try to summarize it here.

I’m a 28-year-old developer from Brazil who started learning programming back in 2010 when I was 15. I began with PHP and MySQL.

During that time, we used something called Fireworks MX to design web pages. We would slice them into squares and export them to Dreamweaver MX to create tables. Yes, websites were basically tables with images inside.

A few years later, the famous ‘web 2.0’ or ‘tableless’ approach emerged, which is a primitive version of what we have today. We used a lot of floats to make things more fluid. From there, things progressed rapidly: Bootstrap became a sort of standard, then AngularJS introduced the concept of single-page applications (SPAs), followed by React, Vue, Svelte, and so on.

My career transitioned from being known as ‘that kid who knows how to make websites’ to a ‘programmer’ when I was 18 and started working for a startup while studying Publicity at a university. It feels like that was a decade ago… wait…

ADHD comes to play

I quit college after a year and a half into the course. I’ve always been (and still am) a terrible student. The traditional educational system simply doesn’t work for me, and for 21 years, I couldn’t understand why. That is, until I learned about something called ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Throughout my life, I was always regarded as a ‘super smart kid who needs discipline.’ I could never sit still for too long in school; I always found something more interesting to do (or at least I thought so) than what I was supposed to be doing.

Jobs, romantic relationships, friendships, hobbies—nothing seemed to last more than a couple of months before I grew bored and quit. It’s no wonder I constantly felt like the biggest imposter. I was always pushing myself to the limit, forcing my brain to try harder.

There was a time when I resorted to taking caffeine pills to pull all-nighters, attempting to force myself to focus. It worked for a short while, but obviously, it wasn’t sustainable.

The last few years

Now let’s catch up on the last five years of my life. I moved to São Paulo, the biggest city in Brazil, and it opened up a world of opportunities for me. I had the chance to work on various exciting projects, both in startups and big corporations. I even taught programming at a school for a while.

It was an incredible experience. I met a plethora of amazing people, some of whom were true geniuses, while others were the kindest individuals I’ve ever known. Of course, there were also a few not-so-great encounters. Nevertheless, these experiences provided invaluable lessons during my early twenties.

However, especially since the onset of COVID, I have found myself unemployed. And it’s largely been by choice. Over the past five years, working with different companies, I’ve come to understand what I like and dislike about workplaces. I’ve discovered the types of projects in which I thrive and those that become arduous struggles for me.

During this time, I occasionally took on freelance gigs, and in the past couple of years, I made the decision to focus solely on freelancing (which hasn’t been financially lucrative, I must say). Unfortunately, I entered a vicious cycle:

  1. I found myself broke and needed to quit freelancing to secure a steady job.
  2. As soon as I secured a job, freelance opportunities started popping up.
  3. I became dissatisfied with my job, leading me to quit and focus on freelancing.
  4. I experienced a few months of happiness until the freelance gigs started dwindling.
  5. I found myself broke again…

Fortunately, my girlfriend has been gracious enough to let me live with her without contributing to household expenses, but it still feels terrible. Not being able to pay bills or even buy something as simple as a piece of candy is disheartening.

And, of course, there’s the classic scenario: debt with banks, credit card companies, and a terrible credit score. This cycle of getting and quitting jobs continues. It persisted until I finally made the firm decision that the 9-to-5 lifestyle simply isn’t suitable for me

So… it’s not you, it’s me

Being a programmer without a degree or any formal proof of “qualification” is a privilege that, in my opinion, most careers don’t offer. I find myself in a very privileged situation where I can choose not to work.

However, throughout my decade-long experience, certain aspects of traditional jobs have always bothered me.


Companies require certain limitations to function properly. I can only imagine the chaos that would ensue if there were no safeguards in place, such as restrictions on database access. However, I personally despise these limitations from the core of my being.

It could be attributed to my ADHD or my personality, but the need for a daily meeting just to keep track of what others are doing, the requirement to request permissions for access, and the necessity for approval from superiors for every little action—all of it makes no sense to me. You hired me for my expertise, and then, after I accepted the position, I’m expected to transform into a completely different person to fit within your imposed limitations so that your company can function smoothly? It simply doesn’t work for me.

Business vs. Production

In almost every company I’ve worked for, there has been an ongoing battle between the demands of the business and the needs of production. Programmers want to do one thing, while the business demands something else. I’m oversimplifying here, but there always seems to be something hindering progress in most companies, and that can be incredibly frustrating.

At times, it felt like being hired as a programmer for a 9-to-5 job meant being treated as mere “arms.” They hired me to type the code they wanted, not to contribute my opinions, experiences, and expertise as part of the package.

The Market:

Oh, don’t even get me started on this issue. So apparently, I have to learn certain technologies (yes, React, I’m talking to you) because “the market uses it”?

And when did we decide to disregard a decade of separating HTML, CSS, and JavaScript into their respective domains, only to now have everything centered around JavaScript? Don’t get me wrong—I love JavaScript, but the idea that an entire application should be written solely in JavaScript doesn’t make sense to me.

Well, at least they’ve somewhat moved on from Redux. That was a terrible experience.

Keep learning

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy reaching the end of things. In video games, for example, I love being overpowered and obliterating everything in my path. However, in programming, this desire for an ultimate solution seems impossible. There’s always something new, a “better way” that I must learn because the company I work for expects it.

This is precisely why I have always been drawn to freelancing. My clients don’t really care about specific technology stacks or the latest trends in the market. They simply want something done, and done well. It needs to work well enough, be efficient in performance, and have a degree of future-proofing for a few years. That’s all that matters to them.

As a freelancer, I have the freedom to choose what I believe is the best solution for each client. Sometimes, unfortunately, it may involve building a React application, but thank Odin, there are more instances where React may not be the most suitable choice, and something like Svelte (we love you, Svelte) come into play.

What now?

What now? When I started writing this post, my intention was to discuss why the 9-to-5 work model is not suitable for me, but it seems to have turned into a rant, and I’ll let it stand as it is. As a writer, I excel in programming, so I appreciate ChatGPT for the revisions.

So, what’s next? Well, my mind has been gravitating towards game development lately. The imposter syndrome is hitting me hard, and the constant financial struggle keeps me up at night. However, I realize that I need to pursue something I genuinely enjoy, purely for the sake of enjoyment, without any other motives.

I still manage to secure some freelance gigs here and there, occasionally enough to pay a bill, but I have faith that things will eventually work out.

Thank you for taking the time to read this little rant.