Life

 

It’s the last day of the year! 2016 was okay for me. Mostly it was all about keeping my head down and working hard. Things finally paid off near the end of the year, and I breathed a little sigh of relief before I got back to the grind. It seems like it was a harder year for the people around me. I saw friends and family go through a few really tough transitions – moves, lost jobs, illnesses, divorces… And even if your personal life was fine, just on a global scale 2016 was a dumpster fire of a year, which is depressing.

I did meet my modest goals from last year:

  • Finish my program and find a job (aka the BIG goal) – Check. I finished Flatiron oh only about THREE months after my “worst case scenario” due date for finishing. I took a month off to study for interviews, then went full throttle through two months of interviewing to score my first programming gig. Things didn’t go down at all like how I’d hoped or imagined, but I’m pleased with the final outcome.  I like my new job a lot, and I feel really lucky that I get to code all day long with nice people. So yay, career change.
  • Network with the San Francisco dev community – Check! In January I met other Bay Area folks in my program, and they’ve been a great support group throughout the year. We had a few happy hours, study groups and even went down to Netflix to watch a documentary about computer science and minorities. Oh, and we went to our first hackathon as well. We got nothing accomplished, but it was so much fun. I also attended 2 conferences this year: ForwardJS in SF, and RubyConf in Cincinnati.
  • I also eased my way into the programming meetup scene. Favorite events: Women Who Code’s Beyond the Basics nights, FreeCodeCamp’s weekly study group, Code for San Francisco’s Weekly Hack Night. I went to so many events that I finally started recognizing people!
TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon with my Learn buds
TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon with my Learn buds
  • Redecorate apartment – Check! There were lots of little changes here and there, but most notably we totally redid the little room, making it into a study and guest room.

img_1612

  • Maintain and grow close relationships. – The new guest room got a fair bit of use. My mom visited several times, my cousin came for a weekend, Ryan’s brother stayed with us, and a few other friends and family members stayed as well.  I mentioned in one of my last posts that I was a major hermit for the summer and fall. That’s not great, and I can’t say I’ve been way better since starting a new job, but I’ve been trying to keep in touch with friends online at least.
img_5245
House of Prime Rib. The smallest person gets the most meat.
img_1810
My aunt Charlene was Woman of the Year!
  • Stop looking like crap – The jury is still out on this one. My company is very casual, so I don’t have much of an incentive to look nicer than normal. I’ve been having  a lot of luck with ThredUp, so at least I’m not spending much money while I try to figure out a new style.

2017 Goals

Given all the crazy sad shit happening in the world, this sounds selfish… but in 2017 I’d like to focus on self care.

  • Read daily – I renewed my subscriptions to The New Yorker and The Economist, and I’ve figured out how to listen to audiobooks from the library.
  • Drink tea daily – I am not sure how, why or when I stopped regularly drinking tea, but I’ve rebuilt my tea stash, and now I’m back in the game. TEA LIFE.
  • Do yoga daily in the morning
  • Drop some big $$$ on dope skincare – Yep, it’s finally time to upgrade to the good stuff. Serums! Retinol! Hydroquinone! Let’s do it!
  • Visit friends and family. Be more in touch.
  • Travel – Beyond seeing friends and family, I’m interested in Scotland, Cuba, Nepal, and oh yeah, going on a cruise, preferably one of those old people cruises they advertise on NPR.
  • Work – Keep learning and working hard to be a decent software developer. Be a thoughtful coworker. Hit up 2 programming conferences. Continue going to meetups.
Life

via GIPHY

During my last post I was so busy pondering my summer/fall hermitage that I forgot that it was my 2 year code-a-versary. And today marks exactly a year since I quit my agency job to study web dev full-time! Time flies!

I already covered most of my personal growth in my previous post, but now I can check another thing off the bucket list – I scored my first software development job!

Career change?? CHECK.

I’ll be starting on the 14th, right after I get back from RubyConf. I’m pretty nervous about the transition, but at the same time incredibly relieved and excited. I honestly didn’t know how long it was going to take me to find a dev job, let alone the right fit, and this job and company are pretty ideal for my professional goal of growing as a developer.

So, what will the next year hold? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that things won’t slow down.

Life

Last week I visited a friend for lunch. As we were catching up, I apologized for not being more available. I’ve been a hermit this summer/fall. To be honest, I hadn’t been out and about because I’ve felt embarrassed that I wasn’t where I wanted to be professionally by a certain timetable. For some reason I was determined not to show my face again until “X” happened, and I would have some sort of good news to share. In the past it was “I’m not seeing anybody until I finish my program.” Now it’s “I’m not coming out until I get a job.”

My friend said that that was silly because why would my friends care? Friends are there to support you. I don’t know, I felt ashamed, and shame is a strange motivator.

This feeling applies to blogging as well. I’ve been reticent to blog about what’s going on in my life because I’d like to have positive news to share. All I’ve been about is coding, and hey, I have an entire other blog for that.

At any rate, here’s an update on my life.  I finished my program at the end of July. Sweet relief poured over me for about a day, then it was on to the grind of finding a job. Given my freshness, I just didn’t feel “ready” to start applying for jobs. So I set up coffee meetings and studied up on algorithms and data structures. After about 3 weeks I started applying.

I’ve been job hunting for about two months now, and it’s been a trip for sure. At the beginning I was anxious and afraid that no one would take me seriously. I just didn’t know what to expect. I was cautious about taking that first step – applying to a job, or contacting someone cold on LinkedIn or via email, or approaching people at meetups. Now, several months in (and one month-long intensive technical interviewing course later…), I have forced myself through so many uncomfortable situations that I had no choice but to grow.

I’ve gotten over approaching people, both at meetups and online. Meetups are still hit or miss, but I go to several per week, and I’m starting to recognize people, which makes me more inclined to go. People have generally been very friendly, and the few times when it has been awkward I just ate the free pizza and left.

As for contacting people online, I’ve tried to get away from the feeling that I was “bothering” somebody. What else is LinkedIn for besides the professional game? If people didn’t want me to contact them, why would they put their contact information online? HMMMM?

I can’t say that I’ve gotten over my nervousness during interviews (whether it’s phone, tech screen, or onsite), but I can say that I’ve let go of the emotional baggage that comes with the process, including rejection. Being rejected doesn’t mean that you’re not a good developer. It may mean that you had a bad day, or you didn’t study enough on a particular topic, or maybe you didn’t build good rapport with the interviewer. Or on their end… maybe they had already decided to hire someone internally, maybe they lost funding, maybe they’re looking for someone with slightly different skills. I’m trying my best to move fast and embrace rejection.

One thing that has helped is keeping detailed notes about each interview, usually noting specific questions asked, thoughts about my performance, and opportunities to improve. For the coding challenges that ask me to spend 1 – 3 hours of my time, I’ve tried to spin it into at the very least a post for my coding blog. And if I’ve had a positive interaction with an interviewer even if they rejected me, I’ll still ask to connect on LinkedIn. I like to think of my LI network as a blob that is slowly engulfing San Francisco.

Besides job hunting, the other major thing that I’ve had going on has been dogsitting. I have an account on DogVacay, and since May or June, I’ve had the privilege of being paid to care for dogs. While it is work, the puppy therapy has been wonderful for my mood and general health (so… much… walking). Surprisingly I’ve gotten enough “regulars” that I don’t advertise anymore.

I mean look at these guys. So adorable. <3

img_4169

img_3431

img_4933

img_4125

img_4053

Other things coming up… Right now is one of my favorite times of year. I’m loving the autumn chill, crunchy leaves and the pumpkin spice (although Trader Joe’s kind of went overboard). No Halloween plans yet, but I would like to get the boredom scared out of me. In November I’m going to Cincinnati for a Ruby Conference.  Then it’s my birthday, and then it’s the holidays, then it’s 2017. Damn!!

Travel

Los Angeles / Pittsburgh

Based on my recent posts, it must seem like all I do is travel. Nope!

All I do is code, day in and day out, as I finish my program’s final projects. Traveling is the only thing that has seemed remotely blogworthy  in my life. Here’s a two-fer super gigantic post with lots of photos from my recent trips.

Continue Reading

Travel

I tried uploading some trip photos to WordPress from my phone the other day, and ended up accidentally posting a blog post, so sorry if you saw my garbled mess of photos in your feed!

Despite having even less of a plan than I did in NY, I was pretty excited for the Philadelphia leg of the trip. We went by bus since it’s so close, and being at Port Authority was like New York saying “Get the hell out!” It was just miserable, mostly because I walked in on a lady in a bathroom stall (door wasn’t closed, let alone locked).  The cleaning lady didn’t warn me at all as I was walking by her (she totally knew)!  In general the terminal was gross and depressing, but aren’t all bus terminals? I did spot a blog celebrity, which was exciting, but then I felt kind of embarrassed for recognizing the person at all. I should get off gossip sites and read more.

Continue Reading