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You've Got This

June 16, 2020

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Lately I’ve been sort of thinking about a job I had in 2014, and how it is very similar to the one I have now.

Shell Shock

At the 2014 job, I felt major shock when I first looked at company codebase. It was unlike anything I’d seen in a tutorial. It felt like 40 different tutorials lumped together by 40 different engineers over the years. There was also the added pressure to “learn the code” as quickly as possible and start working on new features ASAP.

Features rolled out also had to be correctly linted, tested, QA’ed, and approved by project managers — whose job it was to keep your “dirty” work out of being merged into the big “main” branch, until you had REALLY made sure everything was correct, working and would introduce no new bugs.

Unfortunate to say, but I didn’t make it through that job. I got fired, and I hate talking about it. Yet life seems to be funny in that it always brings you back later to the thing that you fear the most. Maybe that’s a sign you need to focus in on this issue and fix it once and for all.

Insert One More Coin?

In present day, I am faced yet again with a codebase that is MASSIVE — written by dozens of engineers with different styles; a codebase that I had have to learn quickly, and had have to contribute to in the same SCRUM/AGILE process which is properly tested and screened before merging with the main branch.

It feels like deja vu, however I feel fine with my present employer.

In fact, it’s actually quite fun to be at this company. In 2014, I kept worrying about that I’d get fired because I couldn’t understand the codebase. In present day I don’t understand the codebase, but the difference is that I don’t worry about getting fired. Why’s that you ask?

Maybe my mentality changed over the years, but now I approach everything difficult as a great opportunity to learn and improve over time. I think now, I’m too busy enjoying the challenge and doing my best to get better at understanding this complex codebase in contrast to being focused and worried about being fired.

The Universe Gives You What You Want

I feel like if you focus on something too much, you sorta will it into your life. So if you focus hard on worrying if you’ll be fired, you’ll probably get fired. Tough luck lol.

However, if you focus on just getting better, and do your best — it’s hard to will being fired into your life, because others don’t sense it from you and you also show in your work that you are doing your best.

Sometimes your best isn’t enough though, and that was true for me in 2014. I thought I was REALLY good at coding — I mean I was a meetup organizer for JavaScript, plus I taught coding as a TA for coding bootcamps and I had 3 years work experience in contract web development roles.

In 2014, I just couldn’t admit to myself I needed to learn more coding. I thought I was pretty good and deserved a high paying job.

In 2021, I admit to myself all the time I need to learn more coding, even if I’m REALLY good at whatever I’m working on. There is no ceiling anymore to how much I can learn. I figure if I haven’t made a billion dollar app yet, I’m not one to talk about how cool I am at programming.

Sure I’m Good, But Am I Good Enough?

Look, I could get fired from my new job. That’s definitely a possibility and I’d hurt a lot.

But I’m ready — because it’s not about the job any longer for me — it’s about LEVELING up. I don’t tell myself I am good at something any longer, I just ask myself — “Has all this work I’ve done prior led me to being good enough for the moment I’m in now?”

It’s kinda like a martial arts or Street Fighter question. I feel like Ryu from Street Fighter — I’m walking around the earth challenging fighters to see if my skills need more improvement.

So for me, I’ll get back to the job I’m in again and again and again — especially if I keep focusing on improving my skill and completing challenges. That’s why I don’t worry about being fired any longer. Deja Vu will bring me right back to the thing I need to focus on the most — which is this current challenge right now.

So rather than focus on being fired, let’s just do the challenge as best as we can and get to a NEWER level.

Ultimately, It’s About Doing The Work

You know even as I write this, I’m not even focused now on challenges or getting fired, or even being pretending to be some kind of influencer with this blog. (I write only because I feel like I should, given people have asked me for advice and I genuinely like helping people improve themselves, so I don’t care about ever getting instagram famous — although it’d be a nice perk).

But yeah, I don’t care about the challenges or being in Deja Vu or being fired — to me, WHAT I REALLY CARE ABOUT is did I even work?

Like that’s really all it is.

Do You Even Code, Bro?

If I ask myself this question daily — and I think about my day to day — did I even code (which ultimately means to me did I challenge myself and fight through something hard), then I’m happy and at peace with myself.

I definitely feel like I’m coding now at the job I’m at — so I have inner peace, despite the storm brewing around the job. Maybe it’s the calm within the storm?

It’s such a simple question too — like something your broheim might ask you in the gym. But it’s meaningful because the ones getting the results are the ones asking that question like a broheim.

Bro— do you even code? Bruh? Bruh? BRUH??


You’ve Got This

Believe in your own ability to see things through, and ask yourself did you even code — and there won’t be any more worry about firing or job advancement or money or anything else. Just focus on getting better and will the good stuff into your own life.

The last part I need to mention — and this is my own personal secret at why I feel like I can do the work now over 2014 — is because I no longer tell myself I’m “good” at something.

I just say I’m good enough. I’ve met challenges before and overcome, so that gives me the confidence to do a new challenge. That’s really it as simple as it sounds. But you might need some more support to really feel like you are confident. Build in your own support system (aka cheerleaders who will help you get better and better).

For me, I have this meetup group, I have you the readers, I have the ones challenging me if I even code, my YouTube channel, my Udacity classes, of course my awesome job and awesome managers/co-workers, and it’s also free to study and practice daily outside of work — thank you Team Hack! So thanks to all of these systems in place — I feel like I’ve got the next challenge, and if I don’t — I’ve still got this because I’ll work back to facing it again and again thru Deja Vu— until I’ve punched through the fourth wall.

Good luck, and do you even code?

BRO! Do you even code!?
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