Jane and Jim are in the prime of their careers. They both work hard and are successful. But only one of them leaves breadcrumbs.
Jane writes code. She’s been writing ruby the last 8 months, and she has joined Coursera, Codecademy, and RailsTutors to help her further her knowledge of ruby/rails while broadening her horizons to the world of backbone.js, a deeper grasp of jQuery, and even dipping her toes in iOS work. She blazes through lessons, and even though she has no particular use for them right now, she will in the future.
Jane meditates every night, and in the mornings she does yoga. She prides herself on her superb health, and has a strict regime she created for her body style. Her collection of teas, herbs, and natural spices are formidible to anyone who might enter her kitchen unawares. Others ask how she maintains her beautiful womanly figure while working in a seditary lifestyle, and when she answers, she often forgets some of her major points.
Jane recently went to Spain, which was to her delight because she can speak Spanish fluently. She was able to haggle shopkeepers, and find her way around, quenching her thirst for an exploratory vacation. All those nights of studying Spanish paid off. But her knowledge of languages doesn’t end there, as Jane can speak 7 languages, and 5 of those fluently. Jane loves travel because it makes her feel accomplished. It makes her feel like her love for studying languages is worth her while.
Kind of an expensive way to feel accomplished.
Jim has worked in a startup the last four years. It is the single most gratifying thing he’s done in his whole life. The last four years have been coding, coding, and more coding. He loves it, but it’s hard. While he pushes himself to learn more every day, it is easy to forget what else life has to offer, but Jim had the foresight to leave breadcrumbs.
A photograph can capture a moment, and while Jim doesn’t have the time to always go through his photos, he certainly took the time to set up photosharing between all his devices, and sometimes his iPad will show him a photo that he has forgotten, and for an infinitesimal moment, Jim pulls his eyes away from work and takes the photo in, faint smile on his lips.
Jim has 58 GB of music on his playlists, which he tends to listen to on shuffle. Last week, an audio file played that Jim hadn’t heard in 7 years. It was when Jim was working for a popular radio station in his home city as a radio personality (before he became an engineer and moved to San Francisco). He hadn’t practiced his radio voice in years as it wasn’t a great passion of his, but Jim was truly pleased to hear how talented he was.
Last Christmas, Jim’s hard drive failed, and in the midst of going through his backups, he stumbled upon a 1000 page manuscript he wrote 10 years ago. His jaw dropped. A lot of life can happen in ten years, and while reading those 1000 pages of swords, sorcery, monsters, and heroes, Jim cried, and Jim laughed, and Jim leaned back in his chair, eyes dazed and lost in emotion. Jim learned a lot about himself, about how much he had changed. That breadcrumb captured his thoughts, his emotions, who he was.
Jim knows how important it is to have reminders of previous accomplishments, big or small. When he goes hiking, or snowboarding, or vacation, he takes his camera. He might even take a picture of a really good cup of coffee. When he writes a snippet of code that he thinks is neat, he puts it on github. When he learns something, he writes it in his today_i_learned.md document. Laugh-out-loud moments go in funny_shit.md. When he wants to share something about life, or himself, he blogs about it, and leaves breadcrumbs.
Two weeks ago, Jane quit her job as a QA automation engineer to focus on the final leap on becoming a full-fledged developer, and while blocked on a particularly difficult engineering task, she became disheartened, and questioned if all this work was worth it. Worst, she questioned herself. Where were her accomplishments? Hours of sorrowful emotions later, after having to be reminded by her five closest friends all the goals they have seen her acheive, she was motivated again enough to complete the task. But what about the goals she reached that her friends had not seen? It’s difficult for her to remember all her accomplishments when she doesn’t leave breadcrumbs.
And sometimes, usually around the holidays, he likes to take a breather and take a look at his life in retrospect, more importantly his accomplishments. There they are, easy to find.Sharing is caring -
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