It’s been awkwardly quiet here for the last two months so I feel like I should say something. Thing is, I don’t have all that much to say. If you’ve been here before you are probably wondering why am I no longer posting? Or more importantly, why am I no longer offering my infamous article writing gig for 5 bucks a pop?
The reason is pretty simple
Life has forced me to stop trying to keep my head above water by freelancing and get a regular job instead. And so I am working 12 hour night shifts 16 days a month. The other 14 days of the month I’m way too tired to do anything productive so I just spend my free time watching Youtube videos and sleeping way more than I should.
To be honest I am not entirely sure which is worse: waking up every morning, going online and desperately trying to find a new gig or simply shutting down my brain doing repetitive and degrading work while getting a regular, albeit tiny, paycheck once a month.
I guess they’re both equally bad. Yeah, work sucks! Especially the kind of work that you know doesn’t mean anything. It’s not giving anything to the world. It’s the kind of work a machine could easily do. The kind of work that literally fries your brain and makes you dumber. I can already feel it happening.
What kind of work do I do?
Well, I’m a gas station clerk. Most of my every-day vocabulary consists of “hello”-s and “have a nice day”-s. It’s funny because standing behind the counter all night and smiling to all of those people kind of makes me forget who I am. And for now it’s actually a good thing.
Why did it happen?
If you’re in a hurry you will get your answer when I say I overestimated my value and skills. If you’re not in THAT much of a hurry I would like to dissect the topic just a little further.
Ready? Here goes.
With countless API-s, plugins, SDK-s, Frameworks and whatever-the-fuck-you-call-them’s, readily available to anyone, it takes something else to be a successful developer. And obviously I don’t have “that” something.
- Am I creating innovative technology? Nope.
- Am I figuring out new and more efficient solutions to current problems? Nope.
- Am I the guy who writes Frameworks? No. I merely put them together in different ways, like the Lego pieces that they essentially are.
I’m just a guy with an internet connection and a bit of curiosity to learn stuff within the niche that is dear to me. But I’m nowhere near the point where I could call myself a developer. If anything, I’m just a hobbyist. Nothing more. In these modern times even a 10-year-old can build a website from scratch over the weekend. So… who am I trying to fool here?
I suck at promoting myself
Another interesting fact that I realized about myself is the fact that I totally suck at marketing. I haven’t a slightest clue how to let a potential customer know that I’m THE guy for them.
This became clear when I failed my last job interview. Miserably. At the end of the interview, when we both knew that this wasn’t going to work out, the manager said he’d never met a more honest and to-the-point kind of guy in his entire life. That’s cute, but did that help me land a job? No.
Luckily he was kind enough to tell me a few things about how to pass a job interview successfully in the future so it wasn’t a completely useless disaster. Thank you sir whatever-your-name-was. I genuinely appreciate the effort. I really do!
I could have easily found a step-by-step guide for this on the internet beforehand, but I was just so overly confident in my skills that I thought none of that small talk was important. I merely looked at the facts:
- I needed more money
- I was good at programming
- A job offer as a web developer was available
Not so much…
Turns out I said all the wrong things in the book!
For example when the manager asked me if I had any questions about their company all I could say was “no”. Which was the truth, of course, but I could have asked about the lunch break for goodness’ sake! Or better yet, fake my interest in one of those Friday night get-together events among co-workers. It would have shown that I was interested in learning more about the atmosphere of the workplace.
Things got even worse when he asked about my recent achievements. I started stuttering and ended up talking about the one thing that came to my mind: a 4chan threads crawler script that I had written a few months ago. Seriously? You bring up 4chan in a job interview?
Later, when he asked about why I was there, I just said that I’ve sent my CV to at least 10 different companies every day for a week and you are the only one who invited me for an interview so it’s only natural that I came. Which was the truth, again, but certainly nothing a manager wants to hear from a future employee.
I’m an introvert…
And a bad case of social anxiety is like the cherry on top. I have been in a mental hospital trying to cure it, but obviously this isn’t something you can magically get rid of. Nope. This is something that you ignore and hope it’ll go away! *sarcasm*
Being a socially awkward introvert makes it very hard for me to boast about my achievements. Sure, I could have talked about how I love developing Virtual Reality games or how I’m really into WordPress and writing plugins/templates for it.
I could have turned my rather mediocre portfolio (let’s be reasonable, it’s nothing impressive) of casual stuff into something shiny and big like a true salesman, but I didn’t. I can think rationally about this all day long, but when it’s actually happening I just freeze and act like a monotonous humanoid robot.
An introvert cashier?
Of course the job interview I mentioned above wasn’t my only failed attempt. I had plenty and I was turned down in all of them. The local gas station was actually the only one who finally took me in and even that happened only thanks to a family friend who said a couple of good words on my behalf. I got the job without an actual interview, which was nice.
You’d think that an introvert would suck at being a cashier. And you’re probably right. After all, I have to keep smiling and be a friendly face for the entire company. And when I look at how my co-workers interact with clients, it’s pretty clear that I’m not really cut out for this kind of thing. But at the very least it’s helping me cope with people. It’s helping me realize that people are fine… and this is kind of new for me.
If you’re not a socially anxious introvert you can’t possibly know how I felt before my first night at work. I couldn’t sleep, I lost my appetite, I thought I was literally going to have a heart attack and drop dead. I was already imagining how they pull me away on a gurney with all the customers watching and thinking I overdosed on drugs.
It took me more than a month, but I finally got over it. I can finally sleep and relax (even at work, lol). And that’s pretty damn impressive.
And there you have it
The reason ynef.net has been so quiet for the last two months. I’m sure I’ll get my shit together one day, but right now that day seems way too far to even fantasize about.
This is my current situation. This is My reality. There’s a part of me that still can’t believe this has actually happened. I fell into the never-ending cycle of living from paycheck to paycheck, eating leftover food from work just so I can pay the rent and maybe, just maybe afford a nice meal every once in a while.
It sure feels like working for Negan from The Walking Dead. Only in real life Negan is the landlord, the government, the tax man. Heck, we’re all Negan now.