I never thought I would ever have such a thing as a "career". I got my first real job at 18, and quickly after that I moved out of home. I tried getting a degree, but I had to choose between that or paying the bills, for my own sanity.
All I had left were unskilled jobs. Telemarketing. Mall stores. Diners. Office assistant. Receptionist. Phone sales for crap people don't wanna buy. I did them all, and for a good while. I eventually managed to get better-paying jobs in tourism, due to being bilingual. I developed high-level customer service skills, and those granted me a decent experience as a premium credit card concierge (yeah, that specific).
Fast forward to February 2017. I was working a good job, the best pay I ever had, and Corporate decided to reduce our office staff to literally only a handful of people. Our manager spent the whole morning firing the team. I packed my desk, smoked a last cigarette in front of the building, called my wife, and took the train home. All in my tears. I got home and began searching for a new job. Still in tears.
Let's say that the job openings I saw that day didn't help with the tears. Nor the ones I saw over the following month. One thing I remember my ex-boss said while firing me was "I think you should keep working on those videos!". My wife and I had created a YouTube channel to talk about random stuff (like everyone was doing back in the day). We recorded from our cellphones and she edited.
But no, this is not a story on how I became a YouTuber or a digital influencer. This is about how I ended up working for them (and how I'm throwing everything away. Spoiler alert).
We decided to try freelance jobs in the audiovisual market. She would do the technical stuff (recording and editing), and I would sell and keep the business running. A friend tagged me in a post looking for video editors, I spoke to them and closed the deal. Our first client!
The first batch of raw files came. And we quickly found out my wife didn't have the time to edit them. She already had a job, I was the unemployed one. So, I naturally decided to learn how to do video editing. She sat with me and showed me Adobe Premiere's interface. The pay was low enough for my beginner skills, so those four raw files were my homework. It took me a whole week, but I did it. The client was happy, and we were together for one year, when I decided I was skilled enough for how much they were able to pay.
In the meantime, my mother-in-law gifted my wife with a 3-month intensive filmmaking course. And my lovely wife would wake up at 6 am, work all day, study at night, come home after 11 pm, and teach me everything she learned, every day. That's how I learned how to be a filmmaker.
We got better clients, a good portfolio, even some nominations in small festivals. She left her job to work with me full time. Our lives got slightly better. And - surprise! I finally had a career!
I won't bother you with the details of an industry that has nothing to do with technology, but trust me: there's nowhere to go from here. I'm frustrated, this is not the highest achievement I want for my career.
And I've been secretly frustrated for a while now. Back in March, I wrote about how I was learning Python and I didn't know what I wanted from that, but was having fun.
Turns out I knew, I just didn't want to say it out loud. I had two little devils, one on each ear (sorry, no angels). "Go and become a professional dev, for f*s sake! You love it since you were 12 and all you say is this is just a hobby. THIS CAN BE YOU CAREER, idiot", yelled the first one. The second one was crying on my shoulder. "After EVERYTHING you did, this is how you end? Throwing everything in the trash? Don't you wanna be a big fancy filmmaker and win an Oscar? Where are your dreams?"
I happen to love a bunch of things. More than loving things, I love making things. And I can be happy when I code the same way I'm happy when I cook. Or when I produce or edit a film. Or when I paint. If I tried woodwork, I know that I would be happy. Making is my passion, and those are mediums - mediums that I do love, too. But mediums. Ways of making things.
Realizing this is both painful and liberating. But it helped me in my decision. Allow me to make a small drum-roll right now.
I'm officially a freshman for a software developer graduation.
Yes. I know. People say you don't need a tech degree to work in tech. It's your portfolio that matters. I know how many times I told myself that. But I'm tired of being self-taught. I learned a second language by myself. I learned a profession by myself. Everything I know I learned by myself. I'm allowed to want a resume that I'm proud of, not one that comes with an explanation.
I sent my application and went to bed with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I had insomnia that day. But I have to trust my gut. My 29-year-old gut, that has seen a lot and done a lot. This is it. I'm officially switching careers. I'm not a dreamer as I used to be, but I'm excited about the future.