Techie talks about life of lies ... and recurring need to leave

'This is a really bad hobby, likely due to mental issues, but I continue doing it.'

techie

Have you ever worked with a programmer or an engineer who one day just up and disappeared? No notice, no good-byes, no contact information, nothing. Poof, gone. Never to be seen again, even by his friends and family.

If so, you just might recognize the anonymous subject (who fears being recognized) of this disturbing question-and-answer session with readers of Reddit's popular IAmA section. In it the man describes a life driven by "mental issues" and built around adopting a false identity, landing a six-figure tech job, establishing personal relationships, and, after a period of a few months or years, abandoning all of that by simply vanishing ... only to repeat the cycle in a new city or country. There's no way to know for certain that his story is true - the only proof he can offer is this photo of what he says is his currency stash, passport and safe taken in a storage facility - but if it's fiction it's convincing fiction.

Here's how he introduces himself and the topic to his Reddit audience: "I am under 40, have been running away from life and people for over 20 years. I live a very comfortable life, hold a job, in a relationship, have friends, but I will disappear again soon. I start over every few months to years, like a bad video game. This is a really bad hobby, likely due to mental issues, but I continue doing it. I do understand this is not normal behavior. To do this you become slightly criminal, immoral, and alone."

It's a long, rambling read - and, again, a disturbing one, in no small measure because it's so easy to see how his actions hurt others and himself -- so I'll excerpt just a few of the passages that have to do with  his finding gainful employment despite his "sketchy" background.

I work mainly in tech, think programming and engineering. It pays well in both developed and undeveloped countries. Other skills help though. I find having a blend of (white-collar and blue-collar) skill-sets, along with a willingness to do anything, get you quite far.

A Redditor asks: "When you apply for jobs, do you ever stress out that you may not be qualified for it? Have you ever sat at your new desk at a gig thinking 'WTF am I doing now?' But since the salary is amazing, you learn quickly, or do you bluff it for about a year?"

HAHA! This has to be the most honest question regarding work in this thread. Yes, I freak out all the damn time. Considering I lie my way into jobs, you have no idea how many times I have paid others (to do my work). I mentioned odesk.com earlier; I may be getting paid $60/hr for a small gig. I'll go on odesk, hire someone at $7/hr, get them to code what I need while I sleep, wake up, fix the code, done. Yes, very unethical, but it works.+ They see my turnaround time, I get more work.

I think one guy caught on a while back, my comments in code were in engrish, I had to learn to really spend more time making it look like me.

His sources for job leads are about what you'd expect, but not so his answer to the question of whether he prefers an office gig or telecommuting.

I find tech work in a lot of ways, Dice, craigslist, odesk, word of mouth, etc. I find it easier to find work in an office 9-5, with some travel. They are able to trust you more when in person, even though you are lying. It also helps with social skills and meeting other people who may lead to another job or side work. The side work is where I try to focus as well. Once they trust me, I start the process of running away, but still doing some work for a place remote. This gets really complicated at times. But to answer the question, I look for work the same way everyone else does. I do recommend learning an obscure skill-set. I only find work so easily because I focus on small areas no one else does. Search job sites, try to pick out words or tech you have not seen before. Study it, add it to a resume.

That might seem like perfectly sound advice ... in a different context.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Now read: Getting grounded in IoT