Over the past 5 years, I’ve read many blog posts with similar titles. I always knew that eventually I would be writing mine (didn’t know that when the time came the choice would be so quick).
I joined my previous company 3 years ago, and was asked during my interview “Rory, what do you want to do in 5 years?” and I blurted out “Start the next Facebook”, which basically meant “Start a successful online company”. Three years later, I wasn’t much closer to achieving that. I was getting dragged out of I.T. and development(my passion) and was getting pushed into marketing. (I appreciate it’s good to cross-train and I did learn from the last few months reporting to the Director of Marketing), but I felt stagnant and I wasn’t progressing in the direction that I wanted to go.
I came across Slash Roots - Code For The Caribbean Fellowship, it looked interesting. I’ll be the first one to tell you, I’m not very civic minded so that aspect of it didn’t really appeal to me. What did though, was that I would be able to develop and craft my skills and the kicker: I would be based in the new JGX Labs incubator during the program. They had me there. I’ve applied to a few incubators before, didn’t quite work out but that’s life we continue and we strive ahead. I sent in my application and was fairly confident.
So I had the nice comfortable job, living on my own in Montego Bay, doing what I didn’t like while on the other hand I had a much more “risky” option to join this Fellowship that’s only 6 months and come December; I just figure something out.
I received an email for an interview and took a day from work, drove into Kingston and attended. The vibe was good, the interview was very conversational and I had fun with it. After that I met up with a fellow Rubyist to discuss a project and then visited the JGX Labs to check out the space. Those two meetings really helped me to make my decision, I went home that night so “motivated and inspired” to create product (and that they are other Jamaicans who are actually doing it) just being in Kingston I rarely felt like that in Montego Bay.
It was recommended that I do a PROs/CONs table, not sure if I actually got around to it, but it came down to:
Do you want to “appear to be enjoying” life ie.) Working at a big company (the largest of it’s niche in the Caribbean) feel good when telling people where I work, OR do you want to follow your dreams and then actually enjoy it. As I said three years ago, my dream is to build great online companies, sure I won’t achieve that by strictly being a CftC fellow but it’s pushing me in that direction. On my first day, we were doing Stanford : Designing Thinking Workshops - which has helped my thought process in identifying, defining problems and coming up with solutions. Currently we are identifying pressing issues affecting Jamaica and implementing solutions. The first being JUTC bus schedules. Now being based at the Lab I’m surrounded by persons focused on nothing else but building their companies, that alone is so much motivation.
Did I make the right decision?
Will I regret it?
Even if you flop and broke in 6 months?
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We all want to be great at whatever we do, whether it’s at work, at play or something in between. The funny thing is that it’s much easier than you think.
I joined the Citi Runners early last year, I’ve been jogging off and on for a little while but nothing serious. Enough of the mandatory preamble. Let’s go!
1.) Always Be Running
Sure I stole this from the ABC blog post (which is amazing and you should read after reading this).
Like most things in life, you get better by doing. Not thinking, wanting or even hoping but by doing.
I now have a strict schedule of 3 runs per week and I stick to it. If another member can’t make that’s great for them, I’m going. This has improved my stamina and pace by leaps and bounds.
<bash> Read the first technical tip of ABC for great perspective on this, however let me quickly add that whenever I take a hiatus from coding, it’s hard for me to get back into the groove of things. I have to recheck a few tutorials and documentation to refresh my memory so by ABC; I cut that out completely.</bash>
2.) Keep Pushing (the most important)
Once I gained enough stamina to maintain a respectable pace, I began to rest on my morals and coast(even though I was finishing ahead of my friends, they keep saying “Rory you can go faster!”). I thought “Well, I ain’t coming in the last batch of runners anymore. I’m going great.” Not quite.
I then noticed that I wasn’t improving, I just wasn’t crap anymore.
On one faithful Wednesday night, I decided I’m going to keep up with Mr. B. (Mr. B is ranked 2nd out of Citi Runners) That I did, it was tough. I was short of breathe for the last 10 minutes but I fought and I made it. The great thing is, after you do is once. You know you can do it again and you strive to. I didn’t stop there, now ever time I jog. I push myself. I have seen this with other runners, they were in the back of the pack and just by changing their mental state to “keep pushing” they have vastly improved.
<bash> I will keep learning new things, keep challenging myself with new and exciting projects. Take chances, get rejected! I recently applied for the Code of the Caribbean Fellowship (I normally don’t apply to programmes like these) but with my new found mantra of keep pushing I sent in an application. If I’m not successful, that’s no problem. If you can’t join ‘em, start your own (right?)</bash>
3.) Be confident
I believe this is related to #2, as I remember that faithful Wednesday night and every jog since then. I had the confidence that yes, I can keep up, I can even jog faster than these guys. Just by starting the jog with that mindset more times than not. I did just that.
<bash> I believe this will be hardest part for me, starting to believe my code is great code and if it’s not quite there yet, it would be soon. Getting the confidence in myself that even if I don’t know everything about Rails, that I know enough to get the job done and also to help others.</bash>
Honorable Mentions - Code only
2.) TEACH/SHARE- In the coming months, I will be starting a small Ruby workshop, where I teach Ruby to friends and children from my community. Very excited about the project. Quick shout out to Chris and GoRails for the inspiration.
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I’m not sure about other folks, but my mood changes rapidly. I don’t consider myself moody (other may disagree). I have my times though.
It was the morning of “pay day”, so I was in a great mood (who wouldn’t be). I had an event in Falmouth, Trelawny to oversee. I left early and while backing out of my driveway I clipped my side mirror on my wall and it falls off. Not the lovely start I wanted.
I reach to Falmouth, park in front of the Court House, I notice the clamping signs through the corner of my eye but I don’t play it much mind.
As we are about to begin, I decide best I play it safe and decide to pay the clamping fee. As I go to ask the attendant how much, I hear a knocking sound and to my dismay my car was clamped. I do what any other Jamaican would do, mumble a half hearted “so what can we work out?”. It didn’t work, I conceded defeat.
I had to leave my car in Falmouth to tend to work and return later for it. During the two hours it felt like nothing was going right in my life. I will admit it was a bit much, persons are out there with real problems and me being without a car and being broke for a few hours isn’t that bad. We all have other struggles, I believe some more than some. But we continue to strive and make it work.
By mid day, I had a great lunch; complementary of work, got paid, got a lift back to Falmouth paid my fine and I was on my way.