I ask my local tech community this question, In regard to tech, what does this quote mean: “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do?” The following is a curated list of their answers.
Get the job that you can get. Learn all that you can from doing that job. Learn all you can about the tools/languages/frameworks that are used in that job. Don't forget learning the life skills and intangible wisdom from your senior developers that are willing to help you. THEN you take those skills and do what it is that you want to do. The odds of getting a dream job without experience are extremely low, but once you build your experience it becomes those odds increase greatly. Another thing that happens along the way is that your dreams evolve, and you may come to realize that the things that you thought were important in the beginning aren't so important to you.
I think this saying means you have to pay your dues in one way or the other. Your attitude toward paying those dues determines if you can do what you want to do later. My family motto is “We work”. It's simple but in this context we prioritize working now, so we can do the things we enjoy later.
For me, this reminds me of when I first start learning a new technology. It feels impossible at first until I research, practice, fail a lot, and then eventually succeed if I just keep trying. And then I can build cool stuff!
It also reminds me of the “gotta learn the rules before you break them” saying I always heard from art teachers.
It also reminds me of when I was learning to code again... I was working two jobs to support myself and going to Tech901 classes. And I know plenty of people who had to support families while learning and working. It definitely requires some sacrifice of time, mental energy, etc. in order to reach your goals.
Sometimes you have to do what you do not want to do. Maybe it isn't fun, maybe it is a headache, maybe it is hard. But once you make it through, you can do the things you enjoy! Like right now, I am having to learn new languages to work in. Pretty rough, but once I am done, it will be smooth sailing and less stress!
It means that people usually don't miraculously wake up one day with the job of their dreams without going through some stuff beforehand. Whether that means pursuing a degree or working a job you don't love while learning the things you need to be able to do what you do love, getting into the tech field requires work.
This reminds me of one of those adages from my mother: “Son, anything worth having is worth working for”. In other places I've seen it as “Nothing worth having comes easy”. There is so much to be said and so many practical applications highlighting the benefits of the journey. We're often so focused on reaching a goal and showing people how great we are, we can miss the beautiful moments of growth that happen along the way. Do what you have to do for me means for any status in life, goal, or achievement I desire, if its worth anything, there is a requisite amount of work to get there that often a. isn't what I want to be doing b. isn't that fun c.may feel like a complete waste of time This is process, this is the way. I'm reminded of young Daniel-san trying so hard to receive martial arts training from Mr. Miyagi and finds himself waxing a car. We've all seen the movie. We all understand the metaphor. But when do we take the time to ask “What is the wax-on wax-off practice in my life that will make me a master of my craft?” It's a question worth exploring!
My coach always said “if you want to shine you gotta grind.” You put in 6 days work, to play like its easy on Friday night. Same with anything though, sports, work, etc. People don't usually see the grind part, but the more you grind the more you will shine. That's the goal. It may not be fun, and it's going to suck along the way, but when you get to that end goal, that's where you can do what you want, and see that it was worth the late nights studying, the extra hours getting things done.
Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.
No matter what tech job you have, take advantage of that opportunity to learn everything you can. This includes the technical skills, non-technical skills, business administration, and everything in between. Everything learned becomes experience you can use later or increase the odds to get the dream job you want.
Learning a new skill is about researching, practicing, failing, and eventually succeeding. This become even more difficult when you have to support a family, work several jobs to pay bills, or attend classes while working. No matter what, you do what you can now so you can do what you want later.
No matter the goal, its important not to miss the beautiful moments of growth you have along the journey. Anything worth having requires a certain amount of work to achieve it.
Let's end with the motto, “Preparation + Opportunity = Success”. To be successful you must prepare (it's not fun and it's hard) so you will be ready for the opportunity (what you want to do).