You’re Allowed to Succeed
You don’t need anyone’s permission to succeed, especially mine. I’ve wasted too much time waiting for the right time to start projects that I cared about, because I was holding off until I was ready. My education subconsciously trained me to wait for that moment of readiness, but at some point it was just holding me back.
Looking back at my life and education, I realized that I was constantly waiting for someone else to tell me I was ready to move on and start the next level. From elementary school to high school, I learned that I couldn’t move on to the next grade until I adequately finished my current grade level. In the world of Academia, this mentality works, but once I left Academia and entered the workforce, I was lost.
No one knows your purpose.
No one can tell you you’re on the right track.
No matter how much you research, there’s always going to be something you don’t know. That’s the fear that always held me back. After graduating college, there were no more required classes to take or any real direction on what to do. My life until graduation was laid out.
Go to school. Get a job.
Up until I got a job, I could see the path ahead of me. After that, it got harder to see a clear path. There were so many options and things I could do, I got paralyzed thinking about all the possibilities. What did I really want to do? After all my schooling, I still wasn’t sure I was on the right path for me after there was no clear goal anymore.
I spent hours, days, and months trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. All that time, I spent it thinking about what my calling was. There were so many things I thought I could be doing that would make my days more fulfilling. But in the end, I was still only thinking about it.
If you know the basics, you can start.
You might as well start as soon as you can.
My main problem was I wasn’t taking action. I kept on waiting for something or someone to tell me that it was okay to try a new venture. Even if it wasn’t what I learned in school, it would be okay to try something new.
After all the things I was looking into, programming was the consistent theme that kept my interest. It took me two years to finally make the decision to learn how to code full-time, leaving behind my architectural career. During that time, I spent nights and any free time I could coding and practicing logic problems. With the amount of free online resources, it was simple enough to pick up the basics. I still took more time learning, because I never felt ready.
While I did make a successful career change from architecture to my current engineering role, it had to start somewhere. I had to make a move.
Everything you’ve learned is a point of reference.
It’s not a waste.
There’s a fear of admitting that you were wasting your time for so long if you make a career change, but that thinking is problematic. There are very few people who know what they’re meant to be doing in this life and start out doing it. The rest of us are just figuring it out. And that’s okay.
Just because you make a career pivot, doesn’t mean you’ve wasted time. You have valuable skills from your experiences so far that can be applied to where you want to go. Even if you’re new direction ends up being another thing you want to pivot from, you’ll have even more valuable skills from those experiences.
My experience in architecture actually complimented my web programming. I was able to see the structure of the websites I was about to create so I had a clear plan with a great foundation. There is no waste here. What I have now is more experience and different perspectives I can use to find new solutions to problems. I’m not one thing, but a culmination of the lessons I’ve learned along my path.
If there’s anything I hope to leave you with, it’s this:
Get out there and start figuring it out what you want for yourself. No one else is going to do it for you.
Best of luck on your journey, and I wish you the greatest of successes!