I cleaned out my locker and handed my badge to my boss. This was it, for 2 years I had worked as a night shift technician in a clean-room manufacturing environment. This meant for 12 hours a night I mopped floors, walls and ceilings in a double-gowned clean-suit and respirator to protect me from the sporicide and other cleaning chemicals. Five years after graduating university with a 4 year degree in philosophy and here I was, enough was enough. Back in high school I was an honor student, an advanced placement student. What happened?
In my spare time I had begun to fool around with code, websites, networking protocols and the like. I was inspired by YouTube gurus sharing their knowledge. I used freeCodeCamp and other websites to build my courage. I can do this! I can work with computers I told myself. I can work 9-5 at a desk and make good money, wear regular clothes and sleep at night again.
I drove home as the sun was coming up, I hated that. I had thick black trash bags duct-taped over the windows in my apartment to block the sun so I could sleep during the day. I took sleeping pills so I could sleep between shifts. This was not sustainable living.
Two weeks later I was going to community college to get a 2 year degree in computer programming. I studied Java and C++. Fast forward to graduation, this was it! Everything was working… except for one thing. I had been applying for jobs for a year now, hoping to start working immediately after graduation. I didn’t have a single response.
Weeks went by. I didn’t understand, I was a rock-solid programmer, had a degree and everything (2 degrees now as a matter of fact). I was good too, I was qualified! Employer after employer laughed in my face, “We don’t hire without experience”. But… I’m good, let me prove it! I’ve been programming night and day for over 2 years! I have a GitHub, I have a website, I have the degree and everything!
Finally I got an offer to be a data analyst, temp job, 2 weeks… not exactly my skillset but I wasn’t saying no to anything. $15/hr… I had been making $27/hr as a production technician 2 years ago. Two weeks later the job was done.
Another month goes by, I get an offer to work in Florida for $15/hr. I was applying all over the country by now. I was pawning stuff to get by, and I didn’t have much left. A week before I’m about to move and being very stressed out and dehydrated, I got dizzy, passed out and hit the floor hard, face first, split my chin wide open, straight to the bone, woke up in a pool of blood. Drove myself to the hospital to get sewn up. Great, another bill. I took it as a sign, rejected the offer.
I’m writing letters to hiring managers on LinkedIn explaining my situation, offering to work for free, anything to get my foot in the door. I never got a response.
Finally… I give up. I made a mistake, I hate programming, I’m no good, this isn’t going to work. I try to get my old job back. No dice.
The very next week a miracle happens. A recruiter sends me an email. I get a phone interview, then a real interview. Then, an offer. And not just any offer but a really, really good offer! Finally!!
Today I’m an IT consultant, I don’t program, but I write some scripts now and then, manage user accounts, install cards, fix servers, install patches, a little bit of anything to do with IT. It’s a great job. I love it.
What’s the point of all this? I don’t know, just take it for what it is. Life is tough. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense. But hang in there, follow your heart. Miracles do happen.