Becoming a Front End Developer – Diary 3

This post has moved to a new home! If you're interested in Ivan's technology-related ramblings, please see blog.jonas.ninja!

It’s not quite a diary any more, is it? Having a full-time job sure does put a damper on things. Deliberating over whether to abandon my current job it is even more of a drag. In this diary entry, I discuss the very non-technical aspects of leaving your current job to become a Front End Developer.

I did not expect that deciding to leave my employer would be so draining. Friends and family tell me that leaving a job without another lined up is a terrible idea, and I understand all too well. The safest route would be to keep working, no matter what. I understand their fears, truly–but I also see the potential prize if I take the risk, and they do not. I know there are lucrative positions out there for those who have the skills necessary to perform well. This knowledge does not dispel my fears. And so I am in the proverbial frying pan, afraid to stay in my position (because my career won’t advance), and afraid to leave (because money has a bad habit of disappearing faster than you expect).

This diary series is not nearly as glamorous as I thought it would be. Hopefully soon I can get to the glam biz of learning technologies, frameworks, libraries, tools, methodologies, and soft skills related to being a successful frond end web developer. Instead, I find myself dealing with the difficult, dirty, serious and necessary business of making potentially life-altering decisions.

Until now, I have vacillated between three options multiple times. Leave, stay, and find some compromise where I work less and have more free time to study. Here’s a short list of the biggest pros and cons:

Stay

  • Money and security
  • Slow growth potential
  • The most employable experience is work experience, not personal or school projects
  • Just because this is a dead-end job does not mean that I need to jump ship right now

Leave

  • Fast growth potential – I’ll be up to speed in the right technologies sooner. 
  • It would be a terrific and terrifying adventure
  • Would have to find a job within 10 months, depending on how much I managed to pinch my pennies. Might have to leave Charlotte in order to survive.
  • Lots of minor perks: totally flexible schedule, can travel, visit family, visit UNC, no need for stealth job searches, I can exercise/do laundry/clean/cook any time of the day, etc.

Compromise

  • Better growth than I’d experience otherwise
  • Less work stress. More stress from having two great demands on me: work and learning. 
  • I’d be treated with jealousy and suspicion. I might be let go because I’d be considered a risky employee.
  • This might not even be a real option, and fake options are the worst kind of options.  

An ever shorter analysis: Staying would promote steady-but-limited growth and conform to adult behavior. Leaving would be reckless (or worse) but would feel great and expand the range of possibility: greater rewards and greater failure. A compromise would bring limited benefits with some risky downsides of stress and hostility at work.

Only after enduring this stress for a whole week have I made the decision to just stick with the job. However, I still retain the right and intention to re-evaluate and make a different decision at any time. Ideally, I can find a junior-level position, perhaps as a contractor, where I can both learn and earn, even if it is less than my current salary. Contracting would allow me to keep looking for other jobs openly and also take a full-time position without littering my resume with short-term salaried positions.

The next diary entry will be more exciting: I will detail the plan that I have developed for my studies. You’re gonna like it!

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One thought on “Becoming a Front End Developer – Diary 3

  1. Pingback: Job hunt and living arrangements | Thoughts From Whence

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