Advice for today: sticking to the plan when everything is going wrong

Winston Churchill once said – 

If you are going through hell, keep going.

When I came back from Lisbon, from WebSummit in November I had my head full of hopes and dreams, but especially I had a promise. A promise that I made to myself – not to lose any more time. 

Therefore I flipped the table:

well-paid job, that provided me with secure living, but no real satisfaction with an increasing feeling of safety (which at this point in my life I consider a threat)
approaching the search of what I REALLY want and jumping with both feet inside a rabbit hole.

This ax-like act gave me refreshment, power, and happiness. I was in control. I was on a highway to success, so I thought. The plan was simple:

  1. Learn as much as I can,
  2. Graduate from the programming course,
  3. Find a remote job,
  4. Go on traveling,
  5. Live happily ever after.

Programming seemed like the perfect match. High income, good prospects for further growth and most of all – geographical freedom.

It has been three months of intense job hunting. I am stuck on the corner of “sorry but we will not proceed with your application at this time” and “we have chosen someone with more experience”. I’ve sent my resume to over 100 companies, from which I got around 40 replies (‘no’ or ‘no’ after going through all or some stages of the recruitment process). It’s easy to lose faith when you repeatedly hit the wall. And the clock’s ticking.

Am I not good enough yet? Should I keep pushing? Maybe change direction slightly? Quit?

If you find yourself in a similar position when nothing is going as planned. When you are on a crossroad, or when you no longer enjoy life or feeling the need for a change. I recommend below procedure:

Take a step back 
Focus on what can be controlled 
Rethink priorities 
Analyze the options

It got me thinking deeper about what I desired and I managed to draft three paths that seemed to be a match for me.

After all, you are the only person that can make you happy. You will face the consequences so why make anyone, other than yourself, decide about your future (unless you don’t want to take responsibility for your actions, but that’s an issue for another time).

I always envied those who had one dream about who they want to be when they grow up, it was so simple for them cause they could focus their energy on this single mission.

I wanna be a pilot.
I wanna be a musician.
I wanna be a graphic designer.
I wanna be a war correspondent.

I could never decide on just one thing. How could I if there are so many exciting opportunities to pursue? I realized two things:

  1. Being good at something doesn’t automatically translate into the obligation of doing it – fun is important!
  2. Don’t have to settle with one. Leonardo da Vinci could pull off being an engineer, inventor, painter, sculptor, architect, mathematician, astronomer, writer… To name a few. Squeezing two or more professions in a lifetime isn’t abnormal.

The thing that I needed to remember was that some activities were meant to remain a hobby and distinguishing them from possible career choices was crucial.

Where I see myself then?

  • Data scientist/programmer (remotely) while traveling the world,
  • Back to aviation, work abroad near a good university and do master studies and Ph.D. in this field,
  • At Zipline. (if you don’t know them – I encourage you to check them out, it is amazing what they are doing)

I’m not fearless, but one thing I’m definitely not afraid of is that I won’t make it. All three of these options give me chills, I would be thrilled doing each of them, maybe I will manage to do all of them – who knows?!

When I am writing this, I am still looking for a job while learning new things every day. Still not sure if the decisions I am making are the best possible actions towards what I want (newsflash: Nobody knows!), but I’m willing to take the risk. Maybe I am on the edge of a breakthrough, or maybe I will need to step back again before moving forward, that’s OK! Being persistent is easier when you know where you are heading – it just feels right.

Where’s the actual advice in all this? Catch:

Know yourself.
Know who you want to become.
Figuring out how to get there is actually the easy part.

And remember the following:

optimist [optuh-mist] noun.
A person who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a CHA-CHA.

Good luck!

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