Skip to main content

What Do You Really Want To Do?



Front End Engineer

I had full intention to post something yesterday. It ended up being quite a busy day though, and took me through some turns I didn't mentally prepare for taking. It was insightful though, albeit a little scary/depressing/insert-other-feelings-here. What was meant to be a discussion about prepping finance models for one of the startups I started working with turned into the CFO challenging me to rethink myself, my views and simply put...what I really want to do.

Meeting With the CFO#

So, I'm working in some capacity for two start ups at this time. One has been pushing boundaries really quick and is exciting and intense and I wish I could be there with them and be more hands on and contribute more. The other is going a bit slower and has thrown me into a role I know I need to pick up on to advance my career the way I want to, or so I had thought, and is challenging me to learn some new skills with little to no direction.

In comes meeting with a CFO. At the first startup, we hired a CFO a couple weeks back. She's very smart and talented and so kind. I reached out to her about getting some general information on creating a finance model, understanding terms and looking for some solid resources to get my learning on the right track asap. She asked to schedule a meeting about it to discuss it more and I was happy to oblige. This meeting came up yesterday. It started off with some general questions about the company, what they're trying to achieve, what direction they're heading, their source of income all the way up to "How are you going to get paid?"

That first question, hearing it from another source rather than just myself chatting with the bossman of this company, sunk in more this time for some reason or other. I started stumbling over my words explaining that at this point it's solely commission based, and as clients become regular I would move to a salaried position. It's questionable and difficult, but hey I need some source of income and some work to put on my resume, so I was excited to take the offer to begin with. I had spent that morning learning what a RFP was, where to find them and how to structure the "P" of RFP. It's a slog, and maybe an article for another post.

The conversation quickly went from explaining this to "Are you really sure that's something you want to be doing?" I froze. I honestly wasn't expecting that question, particularly as it was supposed to be a conversation around straightening up the company's finances. To be honest, I didn't know how to answer that. I don't know if it's what I want to do. I haven't really experienced it so I don't know if it's something I enjoy or not. I told her I felt like it's something I just have to do at this point. I'm clawing my way through trying to generate income as I'm on the longest unemployment streak I've ever been on and it's terrifying me how dangerously low my reserve cash is getting. I've moved past the stage of "Look only for work that I want and enjoy" to "Do anything you have to just to stay afloat and support yourself."

With that, she challenged me to write out what I enjoy doing and think on it for the time being. I started to dive into tech, general IT type work that I "enjoy" doing. I say it that way as she questioned even that, which got me second guessing myself even more. Do I really enjoy tech the way I think I do? Or is it just because it's what I've grown up knowing? As a kid, I used to break things down to see how they connected and worked, then I'd rebuild them and hope I did it right so they'd still work. It's something I enjoyed then, and I imagine to some extent still do now. I built my first computer in 2016 and it was exciting getting to dig into picking the right parts, piecing them together and troubleshooting when it wouldn't boot up the first time.

A Meeting With A Mentor#

After that call with the CFO I had another call with someone offering to be a bit of a mentor. He typically mentors vets but came across a post of mine on LinkedIn and reached out to offer his thoughts, reviews and advice. He spent an hour on the call with me yesterday, which is so kind considering he did it of his own free will with no motivation other than to help. It's refreshing to see the kindness that does exist out there. But let's talk about the start, and how wild the coincidence of yesterday's path was. It started off with "What do you really want to do?" God, if you are above, is this your way of telling me I need to change my direction? Back to back with this! Granted I suppose with this one it was more appropriate considering the situation. He weeded through my admitedly not so great resume, explained the impression it left and how it seemed like I don't know what I want to do or where I want to take my career, how my resume points it out in that I have such mixed experience it's not clear I'm applying to be a developer or IT/tech support. He mentored me on ways to structure my resume, how to break it out into multiple resumes for different applications, how to improve the wording so it's not some unexciting, regular tasks. He's brilliant really! We went through some low level tech questions and how to answer them and went about our day. I appreciate the time he took to talk with me.

The Start of Today#

All of yesterday's events in questioning what I want to do, whether it actually makes me happy or not must have sunk into my brain-soil over night because I woke up not feeling myself. Paired with averagely-late nights (like 12:00 bedtime), and waking up at 6 as I try to restructure my body clock and get myself back on a schedule of some sort, everything came crashing in on me and a moment of the dark-void of unhappiness hit hard. I couldn't focus on resume improvements or seeking out clients or anything I had planned for this morning. All I could think of is..."Should I really be doing this?"

The answer of that is still...I don't know. I simply don't know, and I'm accepting that and trying to be okay with it. Growing up I imagined having a successful band, traveling the world and playing shows to large crowds, entertaining the masses. Back then I used to also love doing magic tricks for my classmates. Really thinking back on myself growing up, I used to bring my "magician tools" to school and do tricks for class, at lunch, at recess, anywhere really. I enjoyed entertaining everyone and seeing their reactions when I did a trick right. It was fun. All the way up to high school I would do these things. Something else Miss CFO had said to me was that I am a people person. I don't know how she came to this conclusion with the limited interactions we have had with each other, but I guess as I sit writing this reminiscing on my childhood, the things I loved to do and what I imagined I'd be when I grew up, it makes sense. I like to believe I'm introverted but deep down I absolutely enjoy entertaining people. Maybe I just need to push on with blogging, start uploading videos, buckle down on music and see what happens.

In the meantime, I still need that $$$, I got bills to pay. It'd be pretty cool if employers could accept the fact that a lot of us are working for them because we need a paycheck, not because it's our only mission in life to make sure Sally has her site operational in two days and we just got the design material for it this afternoon. I'd love to find a company where I'm just deadset on their mission and am excited to be there, but I'm content with going to a place where I can just actively contribute meaningful work while growing my skills for a few years as well.

I'm rambling at this point. Cheers to better years friends.