A slight detour.

September 27, 2012

In my long journey to find long-term gainful employment I’ve struggled. I’ve mostly struggled with discovering something I’m really good at and especially, something that I enjoy. If only there was a job for being a sarcastic, taco, nap, TV, and video game-loving girl.

Throughout my life I’ve never had a job where I thought, “Wow… I love this! I can do this for the rest of my life.” While I understand most people don’t enjoy the luxury of doing something that doesn’t make them hate going to work, I’ve always wanted to have a job that I loved. I’m 30, almost 29 (haha!), and I have yet to find something that I really truly love to do.

I’ve worked in customer service, well… at a ski resort/water park, whatevs… I dealt with people. I’ve worked with adults with developmental disabilities and severe mental illness for many years, and while rewarding, I burned out quickly. For the passed three-ish years I’ve been calling myself a writer. I’m not a writer.

Well, I guess, I am. I can write. I’m writing right now. I write a lot, I don’t often post, but I’m always writing. Writing has given me one of my favorite jobs I’ve had so far and unfortunately, I know I’m not going back to that position (it doesn’t exist anymore). The thing with writing is unless I want to work in a virtual content mill pushing out SEO’d articles on real estate in Puerto Rico, it’s not very lucrative. Hell even that’s not lucrative, but if you’re willing to go days without sleep and write garbage, you can make some cash but a garbage truck driver probably has more fun.

So, while I’ve been unemployed I search through hundreds of kajillions of job ads every week. For a while I looked with tunnel vision. I only wanted to write, and I would only write for $XX per hour. As the weeks and weeks dragged on, I started expanding my search. I even started looking for receptionist positions at marketing/advertising firms. That bleed into any company that was hiring.

Then about a month ago (maybe more) I came across an article on Ivy League schools that were offering free classes online. I figured, what the hell? They’re free. And free stuff is usually not bad. So I looked into it. Coursera.org offers a ton of classes ranging from the history of the world to neuroethics (whatever that is…). I found a few classes that interested me so I signed up.

The next week I was going through more job ads and I noticed that there were a bunch of ads looking for a writer and programmer hybrid. Not a program writer, but a writer who knows programming languages. Many of the jobs focused on web development but some were looking for more advanced programming (well, advanced in my world, since I know nothing of programming languages and their uses).

That day a light bulb went off in my head “Why don’t I learn a programming language?” Literally everything is run by computers and the world needs programmers like they need nurses, oil and McDonald’s (those are the new 21st century necessities of life, right?). I figured, I’ve got some time on my hands to learn something new, I might as well do it now.

Now I’m currently learning Python through Coursera and the University of Toronto. I won’t earn actual credit for the class, but upon successful completion I’ll get a little certificate stating that I passed the course. The class basically teaches the fundamentals of the language. (So far I’ve only really learned how to treat Python like a calculator, but that’s cool, now I learned a more difficult way to find the area of a triangle.) I’m also taking a class on Edx.org that offers a similar course but it’s through MIT. That class is a little more in depth, but not much from what I read (it officially starts on Monday, I’ll know more then I’m sure). I figure between the two of them, which will overlap for a month or so, I should be able to get a good feel for it.

Maybe it’s something I’ll take to. Hopefully it’s something I enjoy doing, so far it’s not bad. I know what this means:

>>>def bigger(x):

return x ** x


…which I didn’t know last week. So, at least I can say I learned something new.

(For the record, that means nothing of any importance. It’s just defining some arbitrary function for the sake of an example. :-))