Being fired was a tough blow (spoken about in Chapter 5). Although I was on the verge of quitting many moments before, the choice was taken away from me. I did suffer from a knock of confidence. Of course I did.
With my schedule suddenly cleared, and more time on my hands than I cared for. I decided to act on Steve’s advice (from Chapter 5), and threw myself into the project of building something with my hands. I realised at this point just how shoddy my laptop had become, it was slowing my down to a crawl as I surfed the web. I decided to build a new computer.
Building a PC from scratch was completely alien to me, but I did have some cousins my age who had already gone through the process. That gave me confidence.
I spoke to my cousins for some guidance, and they pointed me to some guides that I could use to understand the different components I needed to build the PC, before I sourced those parts myself by researching different retails outlets.
It felt good exploring a completely new path for myself, whilst having the confidence that the path I was treading had been well trodden by many people before me. I found lots of guidance on the internet, and found that many of the points I got stuck on were also the bits that other people struggled with.
One thing I found a challenge, which is something that only I could decide on, was how to manage my budget for the computer. I had to make comprimises in certain places, and I spent many a minute debating with myself on whether I should buy a stronger graphics card or to go for a better processor instead.
Eventually, I ordered all my parts from a few different websites. When they arrived, it felt like Christmas morning.
I received all of my parts at around the same time apart from the battery, which had been delayed on its shipping route to me.
I knew then what God must have felt like when he had receieved all the limbs needed to assemble his line of human beings, but “Amazon Above” still hadn’t delivered his order of hearts yet. There was no motivation to put the thing together if you couldn’t see it light up.
Eventually, I did get the battery.
Building the computer felt good. I was really cautious and nervous of damaging the parts, but I was handholded through it by the different manuals of each of the parts.
Eventually, it was done. My cousins came around towards the end of the process to help me finish off the internal wiring.
It felt so good to have built something from scratch. I felt a sense of accomplishment, even if my career had reached a screeching stand still.
Pro tip: Steve was right (in Chapter 5). When you find yourself with some spare time in your hands or have gone through a bit of a dampening experience, do something productive and throw yourself into a welcome distraction. Go camping to actively relax (funny phrase I know), start writing a blog (it feels great writing this one now), or build a PC from scratch.
I decided that if I wanted to build Project C out at some point, I would have to be the one to get the process started -independantly. Just as Nelson had for One Minute London (Chapter 2), I decided to teach myself some coding.
I had already taught myself HTML using Code Academy in the past, and this time I was moving onto learning some CSS. I got through it well enough, but I hit a brick wall when I tried to learn Java. There were some bits that I found pretty challenging to understand, and even diving into forums and information from other outside sources wasn’t helping. I soon found my motivation wavering, learning to code just wasn’t something I was finding enjoyable anymore.
This is something that I now know that all professional coders have experienced. Many of them would advise that learning to code takes A LOT of persistence and also patience in failure, it’s like many things in life, but stumbling was probably a more common occurence here.
Some coders I’ve spoken to are frustrated by the sudden uptake in coding by the new generation or wannabe entrepreneurs or people looking for a career change. They see coding as something that is easy to jump on to achieve their goals, whereas like most skills it takes consistent practice and a willingness to keep pushing even when faced with a brick wall.
Pro tip: Learning a new skill as a means to an end is often infinitely harder than you might anticipate at the start. You either need an exceptionally strong “WHY” behind learning the skill, or you need to want to learn the skills for the sake of having THAT skill.
You don’t learn guitar to become a rockstar, or learn French to pick up more dates, you learn those things because you really want to learn how to play guitar or how to speak French in general.
An exception to this might be have that really strong “WHY”. For example, if your grandpa was an incredible guitar player and was the only person you knew to speak French, and after his death you wanted to do everything you could to keep his memory alive.
My WHY wasn’t strong enough, I didn’t have enough emotional investment in learning to code for the sake of getting Project C off the ground. Also, if I didn’t want to build Project C, I was unlikely to have taken up coding in the first place.
I have a friend who taught himself how to build guitars whilst transitioning between careers. He didn’t do it because he thought selling guitars was a way to get an extra pay cheque, he did it because he genuinely enjoyed the craftsmanship of working with wood to create something beautiful.
Whilst trying to teach myself how to code. I also really struggled a bit with keeping myself on the move and productive for most of my day. I’ve learnt things since that help me, for example I’ve written a few chapters of this blog in consecutive days during my Christmas break as I’ve written up a schedule for myself and set time aside each morning to work on this.
Back when I had all the time in the world, I also found it easy to waste all the time in the world. That’s a trap you don’t want to fall into, if you ever face a similar situation.
When it came to my parents, they had quite different reactions from each other to my sudden unemployment. My dad was patient, and was OK to give me the time to figure out my next move.
My mum was less forgiving.
She did and always does want what’s best for me, but her efforts to help me were often misguided. On the days I did make significant process with my coding, she would be upset about the time I spent on my PC. For her, learning any digital skill was equivalent to wasting time playing computer games. It’s a generational thing.
She also would tip me off about jobs that were available in the local Tesco. “Why don’t you get a job at Tesco, X’s son Y is working in Sainsbury. Why don’t you do that?”.
One minute she’s on my case to be a lawyer, the next she’s annoyed that I’m not trying to become a supermarket careerist. I just couldn’t win.
I don’t have any pro tips about this, your relationships with your parents are personal. Just know that if you ever feel misunderstood, or the pressure of being a disappointment, you’re not alone with that -keep pushing on.
As long as you have something you’re aiming for, and you’re taking actual steps towards it, it’s OK for you to focus on guiding your own path. Don’t listen to the h8ers, even if they’re people who love you too.
Not to be too overdramatic here. But this FB post changed my life.
I wasn’t actively looking to jump back into work, but I was still tapped into the different sources of news in the startup world -FB groups, email newsletters, prominent job boards, Twitter accounts etc.
Although it was posted in April, I came across this post in one of the startup FB groups I was a part of after leaving LOVESPACE in August. Maybe someone I knew had recently liked the post at that time.
Anyway, the term Facebook Advertising was something that caught my attention. To be honest, at the time I didn’t know exactly what it referred to, it just sounded cool.
In 2014, FB ads were significantly less prominent and so I paid almost no attention to them.
The post also showed that Glow worked with some BIG brands, and that they had a global client base.
I googled Glow and found their website.
On there, I saw that they actually had a training programme for new graduates and people making a transition in their careers. They were going to have an assessment day soon to find people to join them on the training programme.
It was called “Glow University”.
It was the first and only job I ended up applying for after LOVESPACE.
Fortunately for me, this was the start of a new chapter. See what I did there? ;)