Reflecting on My Career So Far

Winding path along Victoria Peak, Hong Kong, 2010Winding path along Victoria Peak, Hong Kong, 2010

Tomorrow, I start a new adventure with a new team. I’m once again leaving the self-employed realm and going back to working for someone else. Today, I’m looking back at the past transitions to see how those transitions have been for my career path.

One of the things I’ve focused on in my career is the my part – my career is mine to own, and I owe it to myself to make choices that will keep me satisfied with that career path. It may not be what everyone else wants, but I need to be okay with my choices as I will always have to live with myself.

Committing to Education

I started the self-employment adventures in August 2011, when I decided I was done feeling stuck in a rut of writing the same types of applications repeatedly. Stepping out on my own, the timing worked well as a friend had started a coding bootcamp and needed someone to mentor his apprentices. I was able to do that part-time while juggling some code for clients. However, as situations changed, the bootcamp had a need for a full-time instructor, and I transitioned my other clients off so that I could go back to work full-time.

Why did I leave the self-employment world at that point? My kids were at a point that I could put them in daycare full-time and not be filled with eternal worry and dread. I was at a point where I was loving the classroom environment and was eager to have more time and more impact.

42nd Sadukie Squadron logo. The center is a steaming cup of coffee in a saucer. There are two flags coming out of the cup - one USA and one Canada, representing the students in that cohort. Each of their last names are in a 3/4 circle around the cup. There's a ribbon across the bottom of the mug that reads "Akron - Java - 092016"
The Logo for the 42nd Sadukie Squadron

By going full-time, I introduced many tech newcomers to the world of Java. One of my cohorts created this 42nd Sadukie Squadron logo to represent our cohort and surprised me on our last standup by unveiling this logo and shirts they had made. It was great to bring new people to the Java world. It was also great to see this shirt and realize the environment that I foster in the classroom and in the working world in general.

Working for a Potentially Great Manager

I left the bootcamp on good terms. It was a great environment; however, I needed to leave for personal reasons. The next self-employed period was short. I ran an internal bootcamp for a local software company to help onboard new employees to their technology stack. It was great, but I knew I wanted to be back writing code. I didn’t want my code skills to get rusty or stagnant.

One of my friends happened to be hiring for a senior dev role, and I was eager to work with him and for him, as I suspected he could be a good manager. Once I met the team during the interview process, I knew I really wanted to work with them.

Tiles laid out in a "build your own adventure" style. Miniature figures are on some of those tiles. At least 4 6-sided die are on the table. There is a character card with a slider tracking their health points.
Team bonding, playing Betrayal Legacy

In that role, I was able to sharpen my C# skills, learn how to work with Azure Cosmos DB, help our front end team automate our builds with their linters, and work in the DevOps realm in general. It was glorious to work with code and contribute on all aspects of the project. It was great to work with project managers who allowed me to talk directly with the business users and get everybody on the same page. Sometimes, we played board games as a team, and it was great to see how well our camaraderie as a team built over games – sometimes cooperative, sometimes not. Also, it helped that we had a CTO who advocated for us every chance he could.

Returning to Self-Employed Adventures

After that role, I moved on to an opportunity to work with my friend who created the bootcamp. He had another startup to get back into the curriculum space. It was a great chance for me to work on a React/Jest/Storybook project as well as create curriculum in the data space. However, as startups grow, cultures change. Their culture was going in a direction that didn’t work well for me, so I opted to return to self-employment.

I am thankful to my friend Carey for introducing me to a highly-accomplished technology group. I was privileged to work with them for over a year on a variety of technical projects. It was great to collaborate with other partners to deliver high quality projects that solved the clients’ needs.

While I have enjoyed collaborating with them and supporting a few other clients, the universe knew that it was time for me to talk with a company I’ve wanted to work with for many years. The timing finally felt right.

So what’s next?

I’m not going to say where I’m going, as I’ll let them do the announcing. It’s been hard to keep this quiet, as I’m very excited to be joining this crew. More on that tomorrow!

By sadukie

3 thoughts on “Reflecting on My Career So Far”
  1. I also went self employed recently and I’m struggling going back FT. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake that feeling. It’s not all about the money, I’d rather have free time instead of full time.

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