Musings of a Career Changer (2 Part Series)
“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht”I started the year off with renewed passion and determination to try to leave ITOps behind and start my journey into development. I was studying using resources like freeCodeCamp CodeAcademy and Egghead.io. I had set up a regimen of studying, applying for jobs and doing projects. I learned just enough React to set up a personal website and started building my brand. I began networking with different people in the development community, looking for mentors, etc. 2020 was going to be my rebuilding year!
In February I interviewed for a engineering support position with a remote company. I passed the interviews and programming test and they were going to extend an offer. I was ecstatic for my first job involving code in 8 years! A week went by, then two, three weeks later they told me hiring was on hold for an unnamed reason. I dusted myself off and interviewed locally for a few positions that were a mix of Ops and development. I got extended an offer from a company to do in house hardware support/user admin but also dabble in in house app development. It paid pretty well and they were going to send the info through the agency that I was working with by the end of the week. A week went by, then two.. hiring freeze. This was mid March and all the leads I had started to dry up. The agency I worked with shuttered and I got really depressed.
I did accept two offers for contract work which have helped provide some kind of structure to my day but all the steam was taken out of my sails. I could not get my brain to focus on code long enough to finish my multiple side projects. I sat on blog posts for months and struggled with feeling unproductive. I became very disillusioned with finding ANY work, let alone one for a 40 year old entry level developer. I am scared and don't want to be forced to enter the job market where I have to go into an office right now. Every day I'm seeing people far more experienced than I am being let go from their companies.
I'm coming to grips with the fact that I kinda froze for a few months right as things started going downhill. I've never lived through a pandemic and never been this affected by a pending recession/depression before. I see tech "influencers" peddling motivational porn but for a lot of us this is a harrowing experience; it's not just a break. Do what you need to survive. Give yourself space to rest and do nothing if thats all you can do.
I recently got my second wind and started applying for jobs again. My contract work has given my days structure again. My improved mood has renewed my interest in finishing side projects and certs. I meditate every morning and started doing home workouts. I'm waiting to hear back from a company I interviewed with a month ago who insists that I am a preferred candidate. Things are slowly looking up again but I'm cautious against optimism. It took longer than normal for me to recharge and thats OK.
If you need to take a break please give yourself permission.