A Slow Start

A Slow Start
red queen in watercolor

I made a conscious choice to start slowly as a software developer. When I graduated, I didn't move to a tech hub. I didn't peacock for a FAANG. I went home, to a lower cost of living place, and spent some time with my family, nearly 7 years.

I didn't know exactly what I wanted out of life but I new what I didn't want. I didn't want to live a life speed running through lifestyle creep. And I didn't want to pigeonhole myself into a scenario where I wouldn't be able to work remotely in the future. My anti vision was a life not killing myself with stress and not going into excessive debt while still being able to live a good life full of good food, a loving family, and regular travel.

I've pretty much accomplished that and have so far navigated the red queen dilemma pretty well. I love this theory because it describes why you have to keep running faster and faster just to stay in the same place, humanizes the whole experience, and lets you know that you are not alone in that feeling of running in place.

Through short bursts in grinding leetcode and doing side projects, I was able to become location independent and transition into a remote role about 3 years ago, which was about 3 years after my debut in my career. My mornings are much more comfortable, and I was able to move to a new city here recently and meet more like minded people.

Along the way, I've tried to start various businesses because I have always felt a need to create something or provide value to some people along the way, but nothing ever really worked out. And I've tried a lot. Things like designing websites, planning trips, writing articles, drop shipping, print-on-demand products, and day trading. Nothing ever stuck because I always have the opportunity cost running in the back of my mind and the fear of one day becoming irrelevant in my field if I don't stay up to date. I'm starting to jokingly say that my side hustle is studying for a better job or to do better at my current one at this point. That seems to be a common theme amongst other developers because there is so much money to be made at the high levels in this field.

Sometimes I look back and wonder how my life would have been different if I had tried to jump straight to the top, but honestly I don't regret any of my decisions. I also believe that progress is happiness, so as long as I have something to progress with in some way, I'll likely be happy.

And from studying the creator economy and watching some of my favorite Youtubers, I've found that I might be able to keep studying as my side hustle and turn it into an income generating vehicle by sharing my story and career growth online. So hopefully my story and the experiences I'll share will provide value to other software developers, people working remotely, or really just anyone interested in learning something new.

Cheers to a slow start and a strong finish.