Today I ‘finished’ up at my day job. Why the quotation marks? We’ll get to that. But first, a little context, as this is a day I have been working toward for five years.
I have always been a restless employee. Despite working in great environments and on cool projects, I was constantly chasing the technology dragon. I always had a side-project or two on the go outside of work.
Often I had lofty ambitions for these side-projects; I wanted to create a business. My business. Something I could control and direct, something that would allow me to find a greater purpose.
When pursuing a startup or business, thoughts of fortune, fame or freedom are often lurking in the back of one’s head. During each side-project I would think, ‘This is the one, this is how I will catch that elusive break’. But it never happened - all I appeared to do was notch up an impressive collection of failures and setbacks.
It wasn’t till a couple of years ago that I realised that each new opportunity I picked up was a direct result of a quirky side-project. Irrespective of how I felt I had failed, I would land a new gig and get to work with new technologies alongside even more skilled people. But I was still chasing the technology dragon. It wasn’t enough. There was always ‘the next tech’ to use and another bunch of talented people I could be learning from.
I wasn’t notching up failures. I was slowly ‘grinding’ and levelling up on a strange massively multiplayer online game called professional software development.
With this epiphany, I decided to dig deeper into my own startup dreams. Was having my own business what I wanted? As it turns out, no. I was after the freedom to create.
I hinted a year ago, I have an interest in exploring monastic engineering experiences. I want to bang away on my keyboard and create, just for fun, without any distractions. Not to create a business, not to make products that people want, not to discover something new, not to publish a paper. But to indulgently explore oddities that perhaps only I find interesting.
So I have set myself a goal to build one project a month for twelve months. The only rule? I must be able to build it in a month. If I manage to build twelve projects, only to have someone ask, ‘Clinton why on earth did you … ?’ and my only answer is, ‘Because I could’, I will have achieved what I set out to do.
Armed with my insight and plan, I went to my boss to try and resign. When he heard what I was doing, he looked me in the eye and offered me a job. “Will you stay on and work casual for me?” My boss made it sound like I was doing him a favour, but it was the other way round. He was offering a safety net to work as much or as little as I needed - why? Because he is a bloody good boss, and was starting me on my journey. He was removing a distraction, the fear of losing a somewhat valuable career.
Phew. It has been a ton of work to get here. To get to the beginning; a long summer break before starting my project-a-month pursuit of programming nirvana in the new year. I have no idea what will unfold, but it is going to be fun finding out.
To everyone who helped get me here. Thank you.
Hi! Subconsciously you already know this, but let's make it obvious. Hopefully this article was helpful. You might also find yourself following a link to Amazon, Lego or eBay to learn more about parts or equipment. If you end up placing an order, I make a couple of dollarydoos. We aren't talking a rapper lifestyle of supercars and yachts, but it does help pay for the stuff you see here. So a massive shoutout to everyone that enables this place. Thanks!