Struggling to find a job after 3 years of working as an engineer

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to vent a little during this unemployment time to find anyone who has advice, leads, or in the same position.

I've been working as a software engineer for about 3 years in a few different startups now. I quit my last job in July of 2022 because I honestly wasn't doing much - my CEO was disregarding a lot of my questions and didn't really have clear expectations on what I needed to do. I was pretty depressed.

A lot of my connections from work are not really helping for finding a new role either - a lot of people still work at the companies I worked at before and they aren't hiring.

I see a lot of AI companies, and have interviewed at a few, but I always get denied for lack of experience, or a lack of ability to program during the interviews. It's been hard.

I don't find a lot of motivation to get better at programming, because I'm not sure if this is what I actually want to do long term.

However, I also have no idea what to do instead because all my work experience has been software engineering so far.

It's been rough for sure - I almost took a job at Office Depot but thought about how much I hated standing on my feet all day. Almost did dog walking but didn't think that would be a good long term solution either.

Anyway - I feel better just typing this out - but definitely been a struggle looking for jobs. LinkedIn sucks. And I don't know where else to keep looking. Any thoughts?

Thanks a bunch Elpha community. <3

Hello! Thank you so much for posting here and very sorry to hear that things have been very hard for you :( you're for sure not the only one to experience this. I also totally see how challenging this is because you're at some sort of an impasse where you aren't sure you want to continue as a SWE. I would probably ask you if you've reflected a bit on this though. Like are you not sure about SWE because you really don't like it OR because your experience looking for a role has been difficult and now you're burned out and resent the role completely? It might be useful to remember the reasons you went into SWE first. After that, I have always found it useful (in all my career transitions) to think more about what made me happy and the most excited about each role. Sometimes it's just that I don't like the company / the people but I actually love the nature of the job, or it's because you genuinely do not like any aspect of the function of SWE. There's certainly a number of things you could do though coming out of SWE if you have strong technical skills such as technical PM. As for places to look for roles, there's actually a ton of job board you can leverage, including,,, (this is NYC focused but they have it for other cities too incl LA and SF) and of course i really think you should focus on leveraging your network vs blind app!
Curious if you've looked into contracting roles? Given the market and general reduction in roles, I wonder if that's another avenue you can look into. Try this community for example for contract gigs for startups for cash and/or equity:, just want to say that, you've absolutely done the right thing to leave your old role given the circumstances and your level of unhappiness! So, while things may be challenging now, know that your decision last year was one that really served YOU and what you needed. 🩷
Hi there @Catrice41, job search can be difficult, but you absolutely can master it with the right guidance. If you're having any challenges with job searching, I suggest 1) having a support system to help you (coach/mentor/peers/community), 2) balancing your time across key activities like networking with professionals at target companies, joining professional events, producing thought leadership, researching target roles/companies, and measuring/reflecting/pivoting on a weekly basis, 3) having an accountability plan -- set goals per week, 4) consider how many roles/industries you are applying to (if you’re pursuing multiple directions you may want to reconsider which path is the best fit and makes the most sense for you to pursue), and 5) do self-care activities to make sure your mindset is resilient. Here’s some resources with more guidance: and, I’m Rachel. If you want to discuss further, check my profile to book a call to dive deeper into your goals/challenges.