I don’t know how many of you have changed careers at 40 (years old, not Km per hour).
It’s not only scary but also hard. Every morning and I really mean every f. morning I wake up with the same thoughts. But before to start with that let me explain how I ended here in the first place.
My background. I am nobody. I don’t have a degree with excellent grades, nor I became a billionaire at 12 with my first business.
For family reasons I had to start working before finishing my studies, but I’m very grateful for everything I’ve accomplished. I am a self-taught, simple guy, who had survived all along.
During the past 18 years, I’ve worked as a waiter, cook, photographer, retoucher, CGI artist, graphic designer, and some art direction for small and not so small advertising agencies, with some freelancing in between. I’ve even worked for some big brands, in the automobile industry.
None of this did matter in the past three years when my mother got really really sick, and I had to choose between helping her or my career. Obviously, I had to help her. I moved back to my old town. A small city with fewer job opportunities than a swimwear store in the desert.
For two years I was divided between looking for clients and hospitals because of my mother’s illness. I failed miserably my attempt to get new clients. Do you know what a freelancer without clients is? A factory of absurd and disparate ideas. But above that, it’s a target for predators. I was so desperate to get clients that instead only got worst gigs ever in my entire career.
On August 1 (2018), started my vacations and at the end of the month and after not being paid for two months of my work with a client that was more trouble than benefit, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t stand the situation anymore. Thanks to not having wasted money in these years I had enough savings to stop freelancing. I really needed some time off. Here, my penultimate post on Instagram as a Graphic Design Studio.
A few weeks after and a lot of thinking I realized that all these years I was valued not only for my graphics skills, or my taste for typography or branding knowledge (probably the image above is not a good reference) but because I was good with computers too. For example back when I worked as a CGI artist, I helped the sysadmin to set up the render farm. And even more, I set another render cluster using the office workstations, 24 beautiful Supermicro machines ready to be uses as a backup for fast rendering at lunch or during the nights when the main render queue was collapsed with jobs.
With those thoughts in mind, the idea of coming back to my old path and finishing what I couldn’t while I was younger started to grow inside. I remember how in the first week of September I was installing WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) on my windows machine. And days after using one of the SSD in that machine for Linux alone (I needed the real thing! ).
I installed my first Linux distribution back then in 1998, and after so many years out of the loop, when the installation finished, it felt like I had found something that I had lost a long time ago. It’s silly because I use a MacBook most of the time. But that simple act of rebellion returning 20 years back in the past was like opening an album of memories and at that moment I knew that I did not know if I would get a job as a developer, but I had to try!
Alright, alright. Enough background introduction. I want to keep these posts short. In the next part I will talk about past months recycling myself, my crusade deciding what to learn, how to learn (Books vs Screen casts vs video tutorials). Procrastination and how to keep yourself motivated!
Thanks for reading!
Cover image by Ronak Jain @unsplash