What is your greatest strength? What about your greatest weakness?
If you've been to an interview, chances are that you have heard this question at least once.
I'm going to tell you a secret:
I hate it
It's Not A Bad Interview Question
I feel as though it is important for me to preface this by saying, I don't hate it because it's just a bad question. I hate it because my greatest weakness is also my greatest strength. For me, I believe this is my "all or nothing" personality.
What does that even mean, Ronnie? Well, for the longest time I didn't realize it - but I'm incapable of just "dipping my toes in". Regardless of if the subject is video games, cooking, or coding - I go, for lack of a better word, H.A.M.
Going so overboard on just about any topic that really catches my interest gives me a lot of obvious benefits.
- I am able to really focus on the topic at hand
- I end up learning a lot, from a large variety of resources
- I learn at a very accelerated pace
In fact, if I hadn't been this way, I likely wouldn't have been able to make the career change from my seven years at Walmart to a professional developer in under 6 months. Since I was so hyper-focused and well, obsessed, I was able to give up a lot.
- I have been a huge gamer since I was around 7, and I gave up gaming for that 6 months
- I spent all of my free time studying and practicing.
Work -> Family Time -> Code
So, what's so bad about that? Sounds like it worked out pretty well for me, right? I succeeded in making the career change, and now I'm working for an awesome company doing something I love.
- At some point, you start to forget who you are
- It gets easy to become so focused, it starts to interfere with other responsibilities
- It can become unhealthy
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Let's start from the top, "forget who you are"?? Yes.
Forgetting Who You Are
In fear of sounding dramatic, at some point you can get lost in what you're doing at lose track of who you are. As I said before, I was, and still am, a huge gamer. Video games for me, like many others, have been an awesome way to escape. When things in life weren't great and when I just needed a little distraction or an experience, games were always there.
When I made the dive into coding and making this career switch, I gave that up.
- I forgot to take breaks sometimes. (Those are really important.)
- It became more difficult for me to cope with my manic depression
Interfering With Other Responsibilities
I am a father of two beautiful girls, and I am lucky enough to have met a woman that I intend on spending the rest of my life with (shhh 🤫, I haven't proposed yet). So, what does that have to do with anything?
Well, when I became blinded by my ambition and desires, I neglected some of my other responsibilities.
- I was not spending enough time with my daughter (my youngest hadn't been born yet)
- Sammie and I sacrificed our time together as a couple, and sometimes she sacrificed her spare time to take care of our oldest so that I could get more studying in.
This is a big deal, and it's something I will forever be thankful for. I wouldn't have made it this far without the help and support I received from Sammie. Now, I do my best to make up for that lost time and try and not get so blinded in the future. This could have easily cost me my relationship.
It Can Become Unhealthy
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah - I know. This is probably stretching it for a lot of you. As I said though, this is my experience and has a lot to do with my own addictive personality.
- I stopped eating regularly, and definitely wasn't eating as healthily - only food that allowed me to get back to studying as quickly as possible
- I stopped exercising, or really anything that would take away from the limited time I had to study
- I sacrificed as much sleep as I could while still maintaining the ability to minimally function
I made cuts the same way a corporation does. I sacrificed anything that took away from my ability to study and saw it as something that just wasn't important right now.
It's Okay To Be Passionate
Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.
~ Haley Michael (an old friend of mine)
I'm not trying to say it's not okay to keep your nose down and really give something your all.
That's a wonderful thing to do, and it is a great way to accomplish your goals! Just be conscious of what you're doing. Not everyone gets this obsessed with things, and most are more than capable of drawing that line for themselves.
This is just simply my greatest strength and weakness.
What is your greatest strength and greatest weakness? I'd love to hear what you have to say.
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Thanks for reading! 👋🏻✌️
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