Saturday, May 4, 2013

Career Crossroads

Here the most important post I've written yet. There are no keywords because it's kind of a letter to myself, not in the form of a lover addressing a lover or a parent addressing a child - more a boss admonishing an employee. It's a warning to myself.

I'm trying to figure out what I'm really good at and what I what I want to be. Mainly this has to do with one's career, how you make a living, how you pay your rent and how you attract a mate, but a lot of it has to do with something I feel is a central question in life:
Who do you want to be? How do you want people to remember you when it's all over?

So what are my choices? Here is my real resume, with no buzzwords and no expectations of a manager of anything considering me for a job or gig at all. Here is what I'm good at:

1. Developer
2. Post Production Professional
3. Musician
4. Writer
5. Artist

So let's break this down one at a time:

* Developer
This is the job everyone insists on telling me, this is what you have to do, this is how you're going to make money and prove to your family and woman that you're a man. It's the new doctor/lawyer. And indeed, it does appear to be the only way a guy like me could make anything resembling a nice living, almost to the point of being rich (in my world, $40 per hour is rich. That's a low level paycheck.)
But my issue is, I am feeling no passion for it. Sometimes when I create something like my "walking dude" on my homepage, I get a rush of adrenalin, but overall, to quote my hero Frank Zappa, I'm only in it for the money. Perhaps headhunters and hiring managers and that ilk smell it on me. Perhaps that's why it's tough for me to get a job, when I live in an area that has a wealth of open JavaScript jobs and UX jobs and all that good stuff, and I get passed over time and time again.
What does that leave?

* Post Production Professional
I've done this. I love it, and people tell me I am great at it. There are some problems - like the fact that directors such as the Coen Brothers do it themselves - and all the jobs, like writing, are on the other side of the continent. These are still not excuses when again, I live in the other big city in the world with a huge market for editors and audio/motion graphics professionals.
* Musician
Well, my rockstar days are long behind me - not that that's a bad thing. And there seems to be people who make a pretty good living doing the kind of music that I love and have some aptitude for playing.
Or I'd like to think I have aptitude, that is. That's until I record myself on CD and play it back in my car, and I'm disappointed. To put it mildly. I'm sure everyone who's listening to my CD in cafes, restaurants and places where weddings are planned feels the same way.

* Writer
Again, not the loser job it's been made out to be by a long shot, but again, the worst of the worst for me. My work is dreadful, or at least it looks that way to me. People who know better and have no call to lie to me have had very kind things to say about it.

* Artist
Love it. Terrible at it. Bla bla bla, you get the picture.

So what are the issues that need to be addressed here? This is not a light issue, this is life and death.


I have to know, deep in my heart, that I am awesome at something because the only way anyone will ever pay me to do it. And the only way I ever get the paycheck, if freelancing has taught me one thing.
I have known forever I need to focus on one thing, which means sacrificing the other things I love.
My compromise is having a 9-to-5 job, and a weekend job, obviously for creative and "Passion" work. So the above first two choices are the 9-to-5 then the last three are obviously the creative choices.
But that still leaves me with only two of these that I must focus on all costs. And it's hard to say goodbye.
Some of you will say, "But Mario, it's important to explore and weigh your choices and explore life and.."
Those days are over. At a certain age you have to make hard choices and you have to focus on the future, especially when you now have measurably less future than past. Not to be morbid about it or anything.