The First Time I Really Gave a Shit About My Career


When I graduated college (OMGWTFBBQ is that… so lucky…) I wasn’t completely sure what I was going to do with my life. I had a few job opportunities but also had experience working on my own projects and doing contract work. “Entrepreneurship” wasn’t even part of my literal vocabulary though.

Ultimately I made one of the worst decisions of my life, career-wise at least, took some terrible advice and accepted a full-time role in a NOC working on Cisco routers. I was fired in less than 90 days (thankfully).

During that hellish period I got married (on September 3rd) and decided to create a new company called September 3 Design Studios. Hah. Looking back it’s hilarious to think that I was mostly doing software development and less “design” but called it a “design” studio…

I kept that small independent company “open” for a few years thereafter, did a few projects here and there, but nothing that could ever fully pay the bills and I ended up moving into the corporate sector pretty hard.

A few nights ago I was cleaning out some old (physical) hard drives and stumbled upon one of the original designs above; a flood of memories swallowed me. I can remember where I first put that design together (nothing more than a combination of text treatments really) and how I felt about my technology career.

It was a strange mix of hope and absolute fear. I had just come off of a terrible experience and was about to walk into another one (I didn’t know it yet, of course).

We were also going to receive the wonderful news of my wife’s pregnancy only a few months later too and thankfully the 2-bedroom apartment that cost me $890 a month (we were too ambitious here… we should have started in a much smaller place) was going to become full.

Eww... rugs...

Eww… rugs…

I can remember sitting on the floor of our bedroom and not being able to see the future very clearly. I can distinctly remember feeling hopeless.

I can remember the confusion and especially the feeling of “weight” as I now shouldered a lot more responsibility as a husband and soon-to-be father.

I can distinctly remember feeling under-qualified, if not completely unqualified at being a grownup. I can telling my wife that I wasn’t ready to be an adult.

But here I was, taking a very important step in my professional career. I had decided (whether I knew it or not at the time) to take my own career and future into my own hands. I started the process of building something for myself and for my family. And there sparked a small but potent feeling of hope.

And, I think, for the first time, I really gave a shit about my work and my “career,” if you will. It was all so personal now and the pressures of being a provider for my family were now all very real. I had to and I didn’t have a choice anymore. Sink or swim.

Since then I’ve come to realize, at least for me, that this is the only way that I can live and be whole. I have to deeply care about my work and those that I get to work with. And, I want to be an amazing husband and father (or least go down swinging in my attempts). It feels impossible, most days, but I don’t mind battling dragons.

And this molotov cocktail is exactly how it should be… I’m still trying to learn what it means to be an adult though.