Getting Over Career Fear

Technology will always have a place in my heart. Always. But I recently realized that the only reason I started working in tech to begin with is because it is safe. Well, not necessarily safe as in you could never get fired, but safe as in it pays well if you’re willing to put in both the time and the work, and you can (usually) find a job in some area of technology within a few months with close to zero experience, having built up your experience through learning within those few months.
 
I love creating. Anything. And when I was building my first blog on WordPress some 10-odd years ago, I found that I had a lot of fun with it. Though I wasn’t serious about it until 2017, I’d continued to dabble in web development, building things for freelance clients here and there, not fully understanding the world of code, but knowing my way around it enough to be okay at it.

Now that I’ve had experience in the corporate tech world, I never want to go back. There is no bone in my body that wishes to return to that overly competitive, non-diverse place, but it’s the only thing I have actual working experience in.

So what now?

I’m not alone in being a late-blooming career-changer. There are many people, like me, who gave up their dreams for financial stability just to find themselves wanting their dreams back. Maybe they had a near-death experience and know that, if they don’t live their dream, they’re not really living. Maybe they found their current career to be so oppressive that they’d rather starve than to continue working in it. Or maybe, like me, the universe threatened to kill them if they didn’t write the damn novel. Maybe they’re somewhere in the middle. Maybe they’re none of these.

At the end of the day it’s up to us. No one else can make the decision for us. Many people choose to stay in their current careers and push through by working on their dreams during non-working hours. Ain’t no shame in that. I wish I had that ability when I was working for my previous employer, but we came out with new products and features every year, over 100 of them, so my non-working hours were spent learning those new products and features.
 
It was fun while it lasted, but something called out to me that needed to be set free, and here we are.

Some might say that my point of view is an entitled one. I’d have to say that I disagree. My point of view comes from experience of both good and bad, both with their relevant lessons. I won’t be standing on a cliff screaming that I only deserve the best, better than what people who’ve worked hard for that same thing deserve. In fact, deciding to go back to writing requires that I start at the bottom, unless I’m believed in enough to be given an opportunity to start higher. It’s the idea that in order to be and do something great, we have to suffer doing something that we absolutely hate, something that makes us miserable just to make a living in the meantime that I really despise. Or getting into a field because of how lucrative it is, not because we find purpose and value in the work.

Do I think I’ll ever become so desperate that I’ll try for a tech job again? I’d have to say nah, I don’t think so. I’ve reached a point in my life where I can’t put up with BS anymore, BS being doing something because of fear. All of my decisions are now based on love – love of myself, love of my dreams, love of my freedom, and love for the world. The world deserves us at our best, does it not?
 
∞ Aminah Jamil

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