A year to decide, and a lesson in focus

Ok. So, many many many more career thoughts to report. Sometimes I feel like I’m being redundant with these posts…but figuring out your life’s work is neither linear nor straightforward. I think we’re allowed to go in circles a bit. So I present to you, another right turn.

I got my shit together this weekend, as promised! Did some laundry, cleaned the — out of my desk, and even bought a new [used] office chair. If I can create a comfortable, ergonomic desk area, then in theory, I will actually sit at said desk area. Once at said desk area, we might as well learn some code, no?

FullSizeRender (5)Say hello to my new chair friend, a used Steelcase Leap. This chair has an apparent cult following, and has been described to me as the “Rolls Royce of chairs.” This thing better be good!

Yesterday after work, I randomly got to talking to boyfriend about all the different career directions that I still find myself deciding between. Last week, I found out about a scholarship through Women Who Code Portland for a bootcamp in SF, which got me thinking about programming boot camps in general, which got me thinking about development as a career. Simultaneously, I was officially moved off of our customer support team and onto our data team (finally!). After a week hiatus, I got back on the HTML/CSS course horse, and started reading Principals of Beautiful Web Design by Jason Beaird in my free time. And now I’m writing about it, and posting respectively and consistently on my Instagram account (follow me @raql_ita!).

Web developer. Web designer. Writer. Which one is it? Which one will it be?

And then, just as I thought I had tossed away the idea forever, boyfriend brought up the UX Researcher possibility. Just what I need—another potential track. ugh

I mean, really this isn’t a terrible problem to have. I should only be so lucky!

So, while talking through some thoughts out loud, it became painfully clear to me that my problem lately has been focus. I’m so easily distracted by the prospect of 4 different career directions, and I’m so eager to try out each one as quickly as possible, so I can get on that track if it turns out to be it.

But how can you know it’s the right one, if you only devote 5 seconds to it??

I always always always do this. I get really excited all of a sudden, go full force into 8 different activities, and quickly become burnt out. Then I fall into a dangerous “I’m so bad at this, I can never be good at this, I can’t even bring myself to finish this!” spiral.

Now, as of yesterday, I have unofficially decided that by July of next year, I want to have picked a track. Which means, I have one year to fart around and see what interests me most.

Here’s the difficult part. I am going to (tryyyyy) and force myself to focus on just. one. thing. at a time.

GASP

shit

Here’s the tentative trajectory I’ve come up with. Perhaps 2-3 months for each phase?

PHASE 1: Web Design

-First things first, I will finish this CSS/HTML course. This is the web design portion—yes? And I will complete my friend’s wedding website, whether it comes out shitty or not.

-continue reading Principles of Beautiful Web Design.

follow up with The Design of Everyday Things

PHASE 2: WEB DEVELOPMENT

Up next, a Javascript intro course. Continue working on said wedding website. Maybe add some cool functionality to it through JavaScript.

Javascript pique my interest? Continue with follow up Javascript course.

PHASE 3: UX RESEARCH (??)

After that? Not sure yet. I’m thinking probably a UX Research course. Any recommendations out there??

Writing will, of course, be interspersed throughout, as I will continue to document my thoughts and struggles on this blog. A part of me feels bad for saying it, but writing is kind of a “come back to” path for me at this point. In part, because I am working in a tech job, and would have to drastically change course if I decided on this route, and likely find a job elsewhere. But I know I am a good writer, and I know that I can start moonlighting on freelance sites like Upwork.com if I really wanted to build a portfolio, so this seems like the path with the lowest barrier of entry. And before I arrive at this point, I want to really have given Phases 1, 2 and 3 a fair try.

Cool! So, we have a plan. Plan subject to change, as always.

Oh. I will try video editing in my fre-er time, when I have the energy and patience, lol. So, you know, maybe never. And I have given up on the idea of fashion blogging. In reality, I don’t have the desire or discipline to be consistent about taking fashion selfies. That doesn’t meet I won’t lace this blog with some clothing posts every once in a while…but in reality, I don’t quite have it in me. Plus, despite the lack of that type of content, I feel like I’m still building an exciting blogging and Instagram community, and it’s been interesting to see what’s come about from that after the first 2 weeks or so of participating. (I’ll write a different post about that later!)

~*~Toodles~*~

Thanks for listening!

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