Building to Enrich My Life


Over most of my life I've struggled with weighing both sides of an argument and trying to find which is right or wrong. Over the last year or two I've been humbled in to recognizing that going forward I'll enjoy life more by focusing on personal projects that enrich my life as opposed to enriching the life of others or trying to takes as much money from as many people as possible.

What does that mean

The last twenty years of my life have been spent balancing whether I should be enriching myself and my life or whether I should be working on get rich ideas or on changing the world. I plan to spend the next twenty years of my life working on projects that enrich my life and the people around me.

I want to build and work with small local or niche communities and be a part of experiences that are more geniune and help me more. Making it to earn large amounts of money is usually equated with large amounts of responsibility and work when you were born of humble beginnings like myself.

I look forward to these experiences as well as hopefully earning enough while doing this to be able to afford law school. My new goal is to become more involved in local and law is a perfect way to do this.

My background over-explained

Growing up a more rural area there aren't really a lot of jobs available. I found the best paying I could by working an at automotive factory as my first "real" job. Within a relatively short period of time and at a relatively young age I found myself moving around in my career given titles such as "Project Manager for North America Region" and "Continuous Improvement Manager".

Working in factories on process improvement projects was something I really enjoyed, mostly because every day there were new challenges and you had to work as hard as you could to solve them and get production going. The teams were small, our work made the job more fun (in my eyes, and the people who I helped at least), and you were a team who had to work together.

On the flip side there was the fact we were working as hard as we could to mass produce goods that people probably didn't need. From steering columns to mechanics tools to water bottles these weren't really helping make the world a better place.

On top of that the pay was terrible. A programmer working in a factory works 10+ hours of overtime a week to be lucky enough to pull in $50k a year and that's working with 20+ year old technology and programming languages at best. For me I was in management so I was lucky enough to do programming there as well as have a decent salary but the salary came at a cost of 60 hour weeks and 1.5 hour commutes each way at one point.

I just wasn't enjoying life and I never had any real ability to build up a savings. Giving up on any enjoyment in life just isn't an option, it's not worth saving money for me to do that. I had been doing development of different languages for a few years already so I took the plunge, quit my job, and started learning JavaScript and HTML every day for 10 hours a day. Imposter syndrome be damned as about three months later I finally got an offer well above my previous salary as a mid-level developer.

As a developer for a small healthcare SaaS company it's easy to believe in the project when you are literally helping change healthcare and the way doctors analyze their patient populations. The problem comes when big bad IBM comes and swoops up your company. When IBM acquires a company they call the one year period "Blue Washing" where they basically go through and politely coerce people in to hiring people to replace them. Each employee is assigned a serial number as they are assimilated into IBM. It's quite disgusting.

From company to company I jumped realizing each time that the grass wasn't greener on the other side. Every better opportunity in your career has a bad side as well. One of my favorite projects I've worked on with some of the coolest people was a project where we had to take your financial data and do a bunch of fancy machine learning on your spending habits to decide which ads to show you. It was so much fun to work there but the work felt so wrong.