The past year was very difficult for me both with my tech career and beyond. I experienced burnout for the first time after switching to a company where there was a lot of added stress and pressure. While I am grateful for everything I learned the combination of switching managers three times and switching teams twice in addition to all my responsibilities and the beginning of a global pandemic was just too much.
I also discovered, through TikTok constantly recommending me ADHD videos (and then discussing it with my therapist) that I probably have ADHD. I noticed that I was having a hard time focusing and forcing myself to complete assignments, especially if the work wasn't interesting to me. I have to admit its pretty crazy to think you could have had something affecting you your whole life and you only find out about it in your 30's, but apparently it happens with women and ADHD a lot. In fact after beginning to talk to more of my women friends in tech I discovered a lot of them have it.
Also turning 30 made me think that there is more that I want to do with my life that I haven't gotten to do. In particular, I've always loved art and done a lot of drawing and painting growing up.
So I decided this year to make a lot of big changes.
The first was to leave my corporate tech job and become a part time web development bootcamp instructor for a fully remote program.
The second was to enroll in a year long mastery of art program that teaches you to become a professional artist.
Both decisions have done wonders for my self esteem and overall health. I love teaching students and passing on the knowledge for them to succeed. As a self taught developer myself it feels great to work with other people coming into tech from non traditional pathways. I'm also filling in all the gaps in my technical knowledge and feeling more confident because I can explain concepts I used to struggle with more.
Because my job is part time, its not overwhelming to add on a program like the Milan Institute Mastery of Art (even though its still intimidating as a year long program with an expected commitment of 20~ hrs a week). I don't necessarily plan to become a full time artist but the thought that I can finally express myself creatively and create a lifestyle where I can work in technology but also explore my other passions is a huge difference.
Actually since starting the Mastery of Art I have been experiencing a rekindled passion for coding and web development that I had started to lose over the past few years. When we spend so many hours of our week just doing one thing and then we are too tired when we get home to do anything else, it can certainly sap us of our passion. That is what I have learned and I think many of us don't learn it or are too afraid to take a leap of faith because of fear and outside expectations.
This year really challenged me and there were times when I really thought I might quit coding for good. I suppose by quitting the corporate tech sector some people might think that I quit, but that does NOT mean I quit coding. I still love to code. I think no matter what life throws my way, even if I stop working as a bootcamp instructor, I will always have coding in my life. Maybe I will create my own app and sell it. Maybe I will just make fun games like the ones I made in the past on the side. Regardless I will always knows I have my coding skills to lean back on if I get into a bind financially. I feel so lucky that I have this skillset where there are so many jobs and opportunities - part-time, remote, freelance - everything.