I cut-off my income & put my family at risk during a pandemic.

May 18th, 2020

Santa Monica Cliffs

Santa Monica, California

I’ve heard many times and have read in many places that you should always start with the why. It helps to define the story and ensures you frame correctly for the “what”, when you get there. So here we go.

Always start with the why.

Clearly defining the reasons for why you are making a change helps to keep your head above water when the long treacherous journey gets tough.

The world is flipped upside down, daycares are closed, schools have been completely shut down and the world is getting to know the true meaning of “isolation”. And here I am, doing what I’m doing because it is what I believe is right. I’m doing this because, even though there is a pandemic, where you are everyday should be where you want to be, everyday. I’m doing this because I want my kids to find what they love and not be scared to do it the rest of their lives and I’m doing this because there are others that can’t and I want to help them.

In my life, there have been many points where I could not get by on my own. Whether it was heartbreak, financial hardship or simply needing someone to talk to - there have been many parts of my life where I could not move forward without the help of someone else. Luckily, I’ve always been able to find or have received a helping hand. What I’ve learned in my life is that you simply can’t make it on your own - no man is an island. Even the toughest, fittest, most mentally stable people will come to a point in their lives where they just can’t move forward without the help of another person. And what I want to do is contribute so that we have more hands that can help. I want to help others because I know there are many that need the helping hand. I want to help others because one day, I know I will need the help as well.

Obviously, my kids are very important. I didn’t choose them, they were given to me but they are the most important gifts I’ve ever received and I love them more than I love myself. And for those that have been lucky enough to love, you know that not only do you want the best for them but, you also want to keep them away from every bad thing you’ve ever come across. In the early parts of my professional career, I wasted many years living in self-doubt. For every one reason that I had to be in a career, my brain would give me ten reasons not to be there. I turned down applying for jobs, going to school, learning new skills simply because I thought I wasn’t good enough or didn’t think I could compete with others. I want to keep my kids as far away from this kind of thinking as possible. I want them to look at me as an example and understand that, whatever it is you want for yourself in life, nothing can keep you from getting there.

This quote - once again - really hits home for me.

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs

Let’s talk about job satisfaction. In the era that we live in, you can get almost anything with a tap or a click. Instant gratification is normal and it exists everywhere. However, one of the things you can’t get instant gratification for is job satisfaction. It’s one of the things in this world you can’t simply swipe right for (or is it left, sorry, I’ve been domesticated for over a decade now). The happiness we feel for the things we do everyday, can’t be ordered on Prime. What you do and where you are everyday can’t be an accident, you have to be very purposeful and deliberate about it. In the entirety of my professional career, I’ve been hoping to accidentally fall into the dream role and magically fit in and love it. I’ve been hoping that the next role I fall into, will finally be that one that I can be proud to say the title of. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. What we need to do is find the things we love to do and continue to do them everyday. Reach for satisfaction, the job will - eventually - fall into place.

But, how?

So, how am I going to do this thing that I’m doing? It’s simple really; I’ve paused parts of my life that can be paused and said goodbye to other parts of my life that I need to say goodbye to. I’m accepting what is going on in the world and standing my ground - there is no better time than the present. If you keep using current events to delay and forego your plans, you’ll always be able find something to use as an excuse. I’m taking my family outside of the comfort zone we’re quite accustomed to and - with some helping hands and careful planning - asking them to suffer temporarily so that I can pursue this.

And finally, what.

So, what is this, you say? What is this thing that I’m doing that I’ve led you this far to read about?

I’m going to teach my kids to find what they love in this world, and to try to do that thing every day of their lives. I’m going to get myself to a point where I can start to help myself and in that, be able to help others who are going through the same struggles. While I’ve enrolled into Juno College a coding bootcamp and have finished the first week, I’m NOT in the pursuit of becoming a web developer. If I was trying to become a web developer, it would mean that there was some dividing line that would determine whether I was a web developer or not - and simply, that line is not there. Much like those who go to the gym to get “fit”, at what point can you really say that those people are “fit”. What I’m really doing is spending the next nine weeks, not with the hope that I will - after nine weeks - become a web developer, I’m already there. I’m spending this time so that everyday for nine weeks, I’m pushing myself harder to become a better web developer than I was yesterday. I’m pushing myself for nine weeks to be a better version of who I was the day before.

To all those in my cohort, and all of those just starting out - grinding away to become a developer; take pride, we’re already there! Now, let’s push each other to be better versions of the developers we were yesterday.

Written by Lawrence Hebia, a web developer from Toronto, Canada. ✌🏼