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Create Forward Momentum

Travis

Travis

Front End Engineer

Failure can be a great driving force. Desire only goes so far, much like motivation. It's been almost a week since my previous post already and some self reflection this morning while driving home from an "interview" with Sonic seemed to help some points click.

Interview For Practice#

While I'm not against working at a fast food restaurant, and have in the past, it's not where I'm trying to be these days. One major push away from that life was a customer who once told me "I used to do pizza delivery too!" (I wasn't a pizza delivery driver) "Oh yeah..?" "Yeah, then I went to school and got a real job." That hit so hard! I worked so hard to go from entry-level to store manager and I was proud of that. This one old man knocked that down quick hah. I'm still proud of how far I went with such a short time, and to be clear, there's nothing wrong with people who want to be in the field. As COVID has shown, the service industry is quite necessary and important. I don't believe it's fair to look down on anyone, in any role. We all contribute in a way that our skill level, mental and physical capacities allow. But I digress.

I interviewed this morning at Sonic. Before taking the interview, I had one goal and one goal only. To practice. Maybe I also wanted to see how far I could get. I applied for an assistant manager role, knowing they have a general manager and multi-unit manager role open, and knowing my skills and experience could push me up to at least general manager. What I wasn't expecting was for the interviewing manager to be out when I came in, and to be interviewing with one of the assistant managers. While she was a friendly person, she clearly hasn't had experience interviewing candidates, but you have to learn some how! With that, I was able to take the lead and guide the interview, flip the script a bit. It was a fun experience and a great way to learn about the other person. I don't know what the outcome of that interview will be, nor am I particularly interested at this point. I believe the biggest take away is, no matter the position or situation, take it seriously, practice and build connections when you can.

The Joy of Being Outside#

The other benefit I grabbed from this meeting was an opportunity and reason to go outside. Though lock downs are long gone (for now...) I still do not get out much, outside of errands and groceries. COVID is picking back up severely in my area, where no one takes it seriously, so caution is my goal. I know there are various views to it, and to each their own on that. I simply see it as "why risk it" if I don't have to. That being said, it was nice getting out of the dungeon and seeing a bit more of my area than just the apartment parking lot. The drive gave me time to meditate and think on my current situation and how I've handled it. There's something to be said about the benefits of a commute. Not that it should be a regular, daily event. The occasional drive is nice though. If you haven't been out of your little zone in a while, I highly encourage just going for a drive for an hour.

Creating Forward Momentum#

While I've been silent for a week in blog posts, I've taken time to start creating forward momentum in various areas of my life. The time on my drive this morning helped me better compartmentalize the process and how I want to move forward. As it stands, I am officially committed to this slightly dreaded call center tech support job. As dreaded as it is, it generates some income while I get things running and helps me lock down my schedule.

Pre-Employed Schedule:#

Beforehand, my schedule was sporadic. I'd contribute some hours to a couple startups without a clear end goal in mind and no guarantee of pay. In fact, I haven't been paid for any of it so far. With my colleague, he did offer to pay me a small fee for what I have done, but I can't justify accepting that offer. The other one though, I'm fairly disappointed in the outcomes and ending to it. Back to the point though, before being "locked down" to a work schedule, I contributed a handful of hours here and there to these startups. Some days I'd spend an entire day on one specific project for one startup in order to complete it as soon as possible. I'd also contribute some time looking for and applying to jobs, adjusting my resume, my cover letter, networking, watching tutorials, taking notes and studying, working on projects and so on. It was all over the place and a bit overwhelming. Okay. It was more than a bit overwhelming. I would frequently crash and binge on games or just staring into the void. So, to break it down better:

  • Startup Contributions: 2+ hours a day
  • Apply to jobs: 1-3 hours a day
  • Adjusting resume: 1-2 hours a day
  • Writing cover letters: 1-2 hours every few days (I personally hate cover letters but will do them for the right company)
  • Networking: 1+ hours a day (mostly reaching out to old contacts, keeping up with current ones, trying to build relationships)
  • Watching tutorials: 3+ hours a day
  • Studying/note-taking: 1+ hours a day
  • Working on projects: 3+ hours a day

Off this list alone I would spend a minimum of 13 hours a day either doing each thing on the list, or just one specific thing on the list. Anything else was spent doing house chores, making sure my wife was taken care of and prepped for work herself, making sure my dog is taken care of etc. Any free time outside of the daily necessities got wasted playing games or staring into the void. There was little to no structure. I wouldn't wake up at a set time no matter how hard I tried. Some days I may be up at 6am and others I may be up at 12 in the afternoon. Honestly I wouldn't mind it if I knew I had reliable income that didn't depend on a set start time. There's something nice about just waking up when you're ready to.

Employed Schedule:#

My job officially started yesterday, though all that it entailed was setting up the equipment they provide, which I had already done. The first half of today was for tech support to help those who needed it with their equipment, which is why I was able to go to the interview and follow that up with working on this blog post. That being said, I've got a set schedule for focused, dedicated, paid work, with plenty of time in the morning and evening to work on meaningful things. This prompted my morning drive thinking meditation session to target down how I want to schedule my free time outside of this work. The goal is to alternate morning work while keeping a fairly solid evening schedule. We'll have something similar to this:

A Days:

  • Blog post, article research, prep and writing.
  • Networking, client follow ups
  • Client sourcing if time allows for it
  • Work
  • Planned subject study and application
    • Study a specific subject, resource, tool etc. then apply it
    • Document process to generate content for blog posts/YT videos
  • Start initial filming of YT videos in prep

B Days:

  • Finish up filming of YT videos in prep
  • Edit videos and finalize for upload
  • Client follow ups if time allows for it
  • Work
  • Planned subject study and application
    • Study a specific subject, resource, tool etc. then apply it
    • Document process to generate content for blog posts/YT videos
  • Start initial filming of YT videos in prep

Just a general layout. There may be a "C Day" in there somewhere as we move forward, dedicated more to creative work. The goal is to keep it fairly simple, keep learning and building, documenting what I learn and do and share it, all while still contributing to my side gigs. As the process fleshes out and habits build, we'll see where it goes. I've never been one for calendar use. It never worked for me. With this though, I feel more inclined to try and see what happens.

I've already begun creating forward momentum by writing more consistently and reaching out to more potential clients. We have an Upwork account setup, but I'm trying not to use it too much as it's an extra cost I'd like to avoid for the time being. I've started working out our sales and marketing material to start funneling more clients in. I've started reaching out to my network to see if there are any available clients or projects within my network. I hate that it's taken getting locked down to a "regular job" to dig my heels in more, but if it works, so be it, I will utilize it to my advantage and get as much done before I can officially break away and build on my businesses.

Until next time my dudes, cheers.