Effort - This Changes Everything
Early 2004, I was unemployed, without transportation (in a city with no public transportation), in debt, partying like a poor college student except I wasn’t in college, going through stretches of homelessness. My life was not going as planned, until I discovered effort.
The first time I traveled outside of the country, I was 26. Hell, the first time I traveled outside Oklahoma, I was 23. Growing up, I barely left my room. Much of that was due to that I didn’t have any money (and neither did my parents), but the rest was that I had no drive to do anything.
Don’t misunderstand. I had dreams, lots of them. I wanted to see the world, party like a rock star, really love what I do for a living, reside in a high rise building overlooking a major city. I wanted to be proud of what I did and who I was, but when you’re poor and lazy, every day looks worse than the day before.
After a little growing up and a lot of unhappy days, in mid 2004, I started working 16 hours a day, if anything just to get my mind off how much I didn’t like my life. The side-effects were what some might call The American Dream.
At the beginning of 2008, I was a full-time employee at Denny’s (I had a job!), part-time web developer for a medical company, about to finish my Bachelor’s degree, intern at a radio station, freelance writer, and gym enthusiast. Upon graduation, my computer science degree helped me land a job as a web dev for a startup in Oklahoma, which led me to the Federal Aviation Administration as a software engineer, during which I kept my part-time work. About that time, I dropped the radio thing and the writing thing and went full throttle towards programming, which led me to a San Francisco startup, which led me to Eventbrite.
Besides helping change the online event registration industry, I am surrounded by brilliant people, people who passively push me to better my career (because I like to learn from people who are good at what they do). I am in the epicenter of where the world’s software is created, and it’s even more intoxicating than I could’ve imagined.
None of this was easy. I’m never happy with the amount of work I get done, or the quality of code that I write, and, therefore, I am in a state of perpetual motion, always trying to improve, and learn more, and do better.
My weekdays have looked like this for the last 8 1/2 years (s/programming/studying/g for my college years):
- Wake up feeling depressed because my face still looks the way it does
- Coffee and news
- Coffee and programming
- Programming and social interactions
- Social interactions and beer
- Go home and programming
- Take a break to learn something new, like product research, or different kinds of programming
- Late night programming
- Fall asleep thinking I’m getting better looking every day
Those 16 hours a day didn’t stop when I landed a job that I loved. If anything, those hours were even more justified.
The side-effects of so much effort are missing out on what some might call chewing the fat with friends. Truth be told, I never liked chatting, small talk, or gossip. Don’t misunderstand. I still do that, but only long enough not to be rude, because my passion lies elsewhere. My best friends are the ones who complement my ardor for success, as it matches closely with their own ambitions.
I’m writing this blog from my high rise apartment overlooking San Francisco from Twin Peaks to the Bay, thinking about which country I want to visit next (because I’ve already taken care of all the countries I really wanted to see), sniggering at the memories in Vegas I had with my coworkers as we partied like rock stars. I don’t dream much about goals these days. I’m too busy doing them.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m a little behind on programming for the day.Sharing is caring -
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