Tech is emotional.

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Photo by Leanna Cushman on Unsplash

Once upon a time, my career was in its infancy.
I was asked what I wanted to do in 1, 3, and 5 years.
That question felt impossible.
In retrospect, my guesses were pretty good.
Honesty was all it took.

Once upon a time, I remember leading team projects.
I enjoyed my work.
I had lots of opportunity.

Once upon a time, my opportunities fell off a cliff.
Pain overtook most things.
I stopped believing in happiness at work.

Just over a year ago, it all came crashing down.
I was “broken”. I quit.
I fell off the horse. …

My negative thoughts would have killed the interview.

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Photo by Max Baskakov on Unsplash

This morning I woke up… and didn’t get out of bed for a while. I just drifted in and out of consciousness for an hour or more, pondering my future.

I thought about a phone interview I would have tomorrow. Lots of negative thoughts crossed my mind. “Working in tech hurts.”, “I don’t feel like studying for this.”, “I don’t want to work there anyway.”…

I imagined myself returning to tech and participating in a panel conversation of some kind… Somebody would ask me if returning to tech is like getting back on a horse after you’ve been thrown off. I’d reply that it’s more like getting back into a fenced area with an angry dog that wants to chew my leg off. …

Living on my own terms

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Photo by Daniel Reche via Pexels

The longer I remain unemployed, the further away I drift from the employee I once was. I’m barely plugged into my old social circles anymore. I’m forgetting how to be “one of them”.

When I think about the negative aspects of this change, I worry about not fitting in anymore. I worry that in interviews I’ll no longer be sending nonverbal cues to signal that I “belong” in tech society. I’m forgetting what normal tech behavior looks like. …

A period of grief and anger

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Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Two weeks ago, I was an incredibly optimistic person. My future looked bright.

I could see myself at a new, wonderful job. I’d be able to work from home. I’d receive amazing pay and benefits — including generous maternity leave when that time comes. I’d probably spend 2 weeks in San Francisco for my initial onboarding. And then I’d learn a new tech stack — a refreshing challenge. The company feels ethical and has an amazing culture — which is a rare thing.

Everything seemed so wonderful. My life was taking shape again. My time of uncertain unemployment would be over. …

A rising tide lifts all boats

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Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

When I first started writing stories behind the Medium Paywall, I didn’t appreciate how one successful story can elevate all my other stories.

I’d publish a story. If it didn’t perform well, I would write it off as a dud that would never make money.

My thinking was wrong.

Last week, I published a successful story with 21K views and counting. My 15 minutes of fame have had the following effects on my Medium stats:

  • That story has earned over $68 so far.
  • I’ve more than doubled my follower count from roughly 20 to 49.
  • I’ve witnessed a subtle boost in traffic for many of my other stories — even my oldest stories. …

Can you kill excitement in 25 minutes?

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Photo by burak kostak via Pexels

I watched the Ford Mustang Mach-E debut live on YouTube earlier this evening. The most exciting part about it was the countdown before the show started. Thousands of people were waiting in the online lobby and ready to go. You could feel the excitement waiting to boil over.

The main reason I watched the unveiling at all is because lots of pictures were leaked online in the days leading up to the event. The tech specs made me drool over the car. It’s what I want in my next car. It’s in our budget. It meets our needs.

Years ago, I told myself I’d buy an electric Mustang if they ever made one. I could hardly have been more excited for a car unveiling. I waited for it to…

If I return with the attitude I have now, I won’t be able to survive

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Photo by Fabien Bazanegue on Unsplash

When I quit my last job as a software engineer, I was very clear about one thing.

If I ever return to tech, I need an attitude change. I don’t know exactly what it consists of, but if I return with the same attitude I have now, I will continue to be miserable. I won’t be able to survive.

Apart from lots of reading, lots of journaling, and lots of day-dreaming, I had no particular plan for how to discover the nature of that change. I don’t know of anybody else who has come to a similar conclusion about their career — including other women in tech. …

YouTube videos are good therapy

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Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Speaking up has been a problem for me for as long as I can remember.

Too Loud, Too Quiet?

It started when I was a young child.

My dad would tell me to say “Hi” to passersby in a clear, carrying voice. It was the polite thing to do. I hated getting those words out of my mouth. I usually was too quiet.

On the other hand, my mom would call me a “bull in a China shop” (something she doesn’t remember doing). The gist of it was that I would loudly proclaim my opinion on stuff — in a way that would hurt other people’s feelings. …

Here’s how I went from experiencing dread to relaxation.

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Photo by Robin Benzrihem on Unsplash

After I quit my job a couple months ago, several changes kicked in:

  • I had all the time in the world to think about whatever I wanted.
  • I dreaded what people would think of me.
  • Our income as a couple got slashed by more than half. For the first time in my life, I no longer had health insurance.

Before I quit, I absolutely and definitely needed some time off. I was exhausted.

For months, I had been jealous of the characters in Jane Austen novels whose lives are so slow that they can visit people for several months at a time. …

The internet is a precious place.

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Photo by Darrel Und via Pexels

It’s easy to see people as numbers. 5 readers for one story. 200 readers over the course of weeks, etc. But it’s nice to remember that these people aren’t robots. They are humans.

Today, a story of mine took off. When I woke up, it had already been read by more people than I expected. It had already been curated.

My day was full of dopamine shots. Every time I refreshed the Stats page, I felt *awesome*. I performed many happy dances.

Today, I own a story that got 1.2K views in 12 hours. In my world, that’s a lot. For context, my second-most popular story has only accumulated 309 views over the past 3.5 …


Ceyla Ponders

Anonymous writer, software engineer, gardener, and wife.

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