It’s never easy.
When I thought about writing this post on the morning of my first day at my new gig I was filled with so much joy. The sky was brighter, birds sang louder and “she” looked even more radiant than usual.
But sitting at my desk at the close of day one, I realized afresh just how hard it is to start anything over again. No, I did not just realize it, but I had somehow forgotten. The worst part was having to look the dummy as everyone traded ideas and lingo I do not yet grasp fully. on Day one I spent hours just trying to set up a workflow in which to carry out my tasks – “Learner!”.
And really, is it not that fear that keeps us rooted. The fear of being in uncharted waters. of being a “Learner”. Many of us have experienced the feeling of utter helplessness that comes with being thrust in the deep end of the ocean and we run far from it. We end up doing the same things over and over again, year in, year out while the things we long to do the most slip away from our grasp a little more each day.
I’ve always loved software development. Since I was a teen playing with Microsoft FrontPage with my childhood best-friend. We dreamed at the time of building a website to connect teens all around the world.
From those early days I was hooked. The feeling of making things happen with a few keystrokes and clicks was intoxicating. I saw how lives had been changed and whole systems altered across vast geographical spaces because some people somewhere thought, typed and made magic happen. I wanted to be a wizard too.
But somehow, someway, life happened. I ended up in Arts Class in Secondary School. And if you were a brilliant and eloquent kid like I was (yes, allow me this one toot of my own horn, it’s been a long day) then there was only one path from Arts – Law.
So off to study Law I went. And yet even in school, the thrill of technology drew me. I remember starting a side hustle that involved sourcing movies and cracking Nintendo Wiis and PS3s for busy working class folks looking to save some stress and some money. After Law was done, I knew without a doubt that practice was out of the question for me, so while my mates went off to Law School I started a transport business and a dry cleaning business, made some nice money and just as promptly went out of business.
Realising that perhaps I needed to broaden my horizons and become a man on someone else’s payroll, I decided to get a job. I had always been intrigued by the Co-Creation Hub ever since I’d heard of them immediately after leaving school. The thought of being at the forefront of tech in Nigeria seemed at once so near and yet so far. How to begin? Where to start? What skills to learn?
Luckily, being less creatively challenged than average, I was able to leverage what little drawing skill I had into a job at a mobile game design company as a Graphic Artist… I was in!
From my short stint at mobile gaming, I moved on to Head Media and Marketing and subsequently Head operations at an online shopping company. (Worst working experience ever, but moving on). After that, I got lucky to be part of a great little start up with big dreams first as Community Manager and later on as Programme Director. (Best working experience so far – shoutout to Truppr!).
It was a great period with lots of growth both personally and in terms of skill. And yet, at the back of my mind the germ of an idea had begun to form… could I not be a software developer? This thing which called my name, which filled me with joy each time I did it, could I not make a happy living from that?
All my waking hours for the past 18 months that were not spent on work, family and loved-ones has been spent learning this fascinating craft. I’ve spent countless late nights and early mornings and lunch breaks trying to get myself hireable. And here I am – Hired!
Two months ago I made the decision to pull the plug, stay home (read: become unemployed) and focus full time on software development. The strain on me between what I wanted to do and what I was doing was getting too much to bear. I am glad I made that decision because from nowhere came the opportunity to join a small but fast paced team where I can learn and earn under a good balance of stress and eustress.
It’s been a crazy less-than-one-week but every day when I wake up I know I made the right decision. The crazy buzz in my head asking – “What new thing are we going to learn today?”.
So I am not afraid to start over. To start again. To be the newbie, the novice. From Team Lead to Team Rookie. As hard as it is, for once I have no fear because I am doing that which I love and which makes me happy. Ultimately, the lesson I want to take away from this life experience is not just technical coding skills but the epiphany that it’s never too late or too hard to start again. Here’s to the power of dreams…