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Cover image for My Worst Career Decision Ever Made

My Worst Career Decision Ever Made

josegonz321 profile image Jose Gonzalez Originally published at mindbodysouldeveloper.com ・4 min read

This blog post is the longer response to a question asked at dev.to.

The question was: What's the worst career decision you've ever made?.

As I was writing my response, I noticed the size of it. I decided to summarize it and write a separate blog post for the full blown story to share with you.

My worst career decision ever made is:

Not blogging/sharing content online

Story Time

Get your cookies and milk (or coffee). Or liquor. It's 5pm somewhere, right? 😎

Timeframe: 2004-05

My (professional) first job was a teacher assistant at a .NET 3-month boot-camp. Some duties included:

  • Grading projects. Looking at the code and suggesting best practice where applicable.
  • Interviewing (phone and face-to-face) developers who applied to the program.
  • 1 on 1 tutoring sessions with struggling students
  • Assist trainers during lab week. (This is where students would work on a full project assignment and apply everything they learn.)

(Note: 80% of students = developers with 5yrs to 15yrs of exp leveling up their skill set).

Most students had no or very little HTML knowledge and struggled on their ASP.NET Webforms project.

There was the random HTML/CSS unicorn who would create something really awesome, though! 🦄

After answering the same questions over and over, I created a thorough HTML/CSS tutorial. It had explicit details for anyone to follow. I made sure of that because there was always that one student who makes your day longer than what it needs to be.

The original idea was to give the instructor the document to hand it out to his students.

But one of the instructors (and later my mentor) asked me to present it to his class.

It's your material. You should present it!

He said with a encouraging smile.

All in-house training staff attended (probably some big wigs too) to my first presentation.

I delivered.

It was a huge hit with the students, and so damn successful it became part of the school's regular curriculum. 🎆

The school had something additional to offer (HTML/CSS). The students had a project to be proud of when presenting it to potential employers.

It was a win-win.

I presented my tutorial many times during my 2-year stay. I got good, really good, at presenting.

The same instructor, my mentor, encouraged me to create a blog and post it online. He also suggested I should pursue teaching as he said I had a natural gift for it and seemed to enjoy helping others.

But I was 22-23 with huge self-confidence issues.😔

Who would read this? I'm not good enough. People will make fun of me and my tutorial.

I thought. And...

Me? Teach? Nah, I want to be left alone and code!

Nevertheless, my mentor asked for my blog URL every time he would come teach at the school. I tried to avoid him at all costs.

In Retrospect

Looking back, yeah. I should've started and continue blogging. Maybe not to the same level or detail as of that tutorial, but it would've kept me motivated and interested in technology. You know, sharpening the saw.

And honestly...I enjoyed (and still do!) helping others. Sharing knowledge and ideas. Collaborating with others for a common and greater good.

Now in 2017, over 10 years later, I believe it was possibly the worst career decision I've ever made.

My low self-confidence isn't to blame here.

No.

It was my belief, my perception inside my head, that others would make fun of me.

...and I never created that blog.

Imagine where I'd be today if I had follow my mentor's advice and suggestion on starting a blog and sharing my content.

My experiences with my current blog have allowed me to meet awesome people, and expand my horizons by leaps and bounds. Best of all, share great content with your in form of stories.

I wish I had started/done this sooner.

You're neither too early nor too late. We arrive somewhere when we're meant to get there.

That's advice from another mentor. But I'll save that story for some other time.

Take away

If you got something, anything to share, put it up online and share it!

I've found out most people want you to succeed. Others will not care and move one. The very, very few will take their time to troll you (but hey at least you got someone's attention!)

Ignore your negative thoughts.

Don't make the same mistake that my 22-year-old self did. Your mid-30s self (and beyond) will thank you.

And you never too old to get started. Trust me.

So, get blogging/writing/sharing today! :)


Originally posted at: MindBodySoulDeveloper.com

Posted on by:

josegonz321 profile

Jose Gonzalez

@josegonz321

Software Efficiencier | ENFP-T | #goofyreligion member | FP enthusiast | Life is an adventure :)

Discussion

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Agreed! Writing/blogging has been such a good outlet for me.

My first blog post was on dev.to, and it took A LOT to write it up. I had no ideas what to write, but the more I avoided doing it, the more I would (probably) regret it. And I am already really happy I did :)

 

Awesome to hear that. Yup, you will suck at blogging, but that's OK!

Blogging and having a professional online presence (in addition to Github) is the new resume, IMO.

Your blog pays dividends down the road. I should know, it's already starting to pay. :)

 

I've personally interviewed over 500 people in my career, and engineers with code (no matter the quality) stand out over those without.

I've also been interviewed in the past, where the entirety of the interview was just chatting with the hiring manager. One of these resulted in an accepted offer. After starting with the company, my manager asked for feedback on the interview. I explained that I thought it was weird to have so little technical discussion and still receive an offer. He explained that I had so much quality stuff online that he knew he'd extend the offer even before talking with me, and that the interview was more of a formality. It ended up being one of the cooler jobs I've had.

So I couldn't agree more with this post!

 

Completely agree!
Furthermore, by writing/blogging, you'll grasp/master the subject in ways you never expected.
Also keep it simple, because, as Feynman said:

If you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it

 

I was a writer in another life so starting a blog was a no-brainer for me. However, feeling like I had something of value to say consistently was a struggle. I teetered on the edge of trying to write about learning and write an authoritative piece on JavaScript and at the time, Java. I even posted one here and was told I was wrong about a thing. It was hard to hear but I took it in stride and kept writing.

Eventually, with the help of my blogging and Twitter, I ended up with a couple job offers. It worked out to my benefit.

I have been writing for my blog for three years now. I look back at the old posts and see my growth. It's really been a wild ride!

 

This is so similar to my past year and right now that it feels like a slap in the face, the good kind 😬

 

I'm glad! I hope you don't make the same mistake my young self did.

Go on and share your adventure with the world! :)

 

This!

I'm constantly looking for some motivation to start. This will be one of the pushes;)

 

Motivation and inspiration are fickle. I suggest practice. Get started today and create your first article here in dev.to!