I have something of a chip on my shoulder about this; I chose my career. I am an intelligent, creative resourceful boy with a pretty good aptitude for most things I set my mind too – with the definite exception of maths (I get confused by shop keepers asking me for the extra coins to round up my change sometimes, numbers muddle in my mind like words do for a dyslexic, and I really do try). So it’s true what people have said to me in the past - that I could be doing great things. But let me ask you this, what is not great about doing something that makes you happy? I’m not any less great because I research things for pleasure and do a job that I enjoy. It’s possible I am a little bit Marxist in this view, my choice of career should be treated as equally as anyone else’s – it’s my choice after all.
Unfortunately I don’t get any enjoyment out of it these days. Partly my perceived view from the world, partly just the jaded mindset of 15 years of the same job (mostly anyway). There are also the shift patterns. I work in a job now that has good core hours and if I didn’t have a 90 minute each way commute then the shifts wouldn’t be a problem, but I do so they still are. I see less of Lizzy Face than I would like because I lose between 3 and 4 hours of my day on travel. I have been on the precipice of senior management for a few years but have always resisted as, though the money is right (the jumps in hospitality are pretty exponential) I know full well that there are weekends and evenings and travel and all the tedium that after years of putting my own life second, I really cannot stand any longer. I want a job where I can have a good balance, I don’t want to get home and take calls about sickness, or shift changes or issues with the bread delivery or any of the rest of it. So I cannot make the jump into the next level, because the idea of it makes my very soul weep.
So why move into web development? Seems like a massive jump right? Well the truth is that I think, had I spent less time trying (and failing) to be cool and done what I actually wanted I would have started out here when I was very young. I’ve always been a bit of a secret geek and wish I had just embraced it as a teenager. The clarity of hindsight eh? I wish I had known then, that now, aged 30 I don’t even know those people whose opinion I was so worried about.
It’s not too late though, like in vanilla sky ‘every passing second is another chance to turn it all around’. Indeed, very profound. And while I think there is a lot of truth in this (look at my very good friend Mr Johnstings, who decided to become an occupational therapist at the age of 27, and has now graduated and started his first job and has a wife. Amazing – we are all very proud of him) it is now very difficult.
I am using a lot of my spare time to try and train myself. I’ve learned a lot, but it’s very difficult to find the time. Between working, commuting, being a father and being (for all intents and purposes) a husband I am not left a lot of time for me. And with the time that I do have Pappa needs some down time, of course, no-one can be operating at 100% all the time. So progress is slower than I would like; hence the crowdfunder. I expected it not to work of course, why would anyone donate money for a stranger to take a work break?
Lizzy of course is a major motivation in this change too, I want to be able to work around her so that we can spend time together and I can be active in her life – a high paying job and a miserable absent father is not, I suppose as much good as a medium paid job and a dad who is around, but id like to try and achieve both. I want to do something I love so that she can learn to follow her passions (and not worry about such arbitrary things as ‘being cool’ which she won’t learn, as teenagers are the same everywhere and everywhen).
I’ve got an online portfolio, the projects aren’t quite finished and the uploaded sites aren’t the most developed (I have an offline server on my laptop so I am developing them there) but I need more projects to help me expand and learn things that I haven’t thought of yet. Soon I will be submitting this portfolio to the many and varied intern schemes I have found to try and get some real life practice and support but who knows how long it will be until someone takes me on – if ever.
I keep trying though, spend my lunch hours and my commute sat on my own plugged in, I try to get some done in the evenings if there’s nothing me and Fergotron want to watch. I took it on our holiday and got some good stuff done but really, the hour here and 40 minutes there isn’t what I need. I need big blocks of time, to really get into things and solve the problems. And unfortunately if you want to be a good father and a good husband, time is not your friend.
But I keep trying to think of Del Boy’s infamous catchphrase “this time next year we’ll be millionaires”