Life Update: My Current Job & Learning A New Skill

I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I published my last post about changing careers.

You might be wondering what’s happened since.

In this post, I’ll give you a quick update about my jobs, my new adventure, and our lives in general.

1. My current job

In December 2018, I got a word from the management that they were considering restructuring the organization, and that I might lose my job in 3-6 months. That gave me somewhat of an assurance that I might be able to hold on to my job until June 2019.

One thing you might not know about my situation is that I am currently on the H1B visa. It basically means that I am tied to my current employer, and that it’s is difficult to find a new employer that will sponsor me.

After unsuccessfully attempting to get a new position at the organization, I decided to learn a new skill – programming – and more importantly be more proactive at my current job.

Over the past two months, I have been trying to get involved in more projects in other departments (with my boss’s approval) while doing a good job in my current group.

It takes time to change careers.Β And while I’m preparing for that big leap, I need an income to support myself and my family. And I need to hold on to the job I have now my and give it my best. I don’t want my employer to have another reason to let me go early.

Early this past April, I had a performance review and ended up getting both a raise and a bonus. Although it’s reassuring to know that at least my boss thought I had done a good job, I am still trying to talk to my colleagues from another department to transfer if the management decides to terminate my position altogether.

My boss told me that they had budgeted for my position until the end of 2019, so I do hope that I will be able to keep this job until then.

Related: The Pros and Cons of A Dual-income Family

2. Programming

Over the past three months, I have been learning how to program every day. I try to code for 1-2 hours on weekdays after the hubby and kids have gone to bed. On weekends, I try to squeeze in at least 10 hours of studying.

Mr. FAF has been super supportive of me trying to become a developer. He suggested that he take the kids out for the whole day on Saturday so that I can have some quiet time to study at home.

At first I objected to the idea since I didn’t want our kids, especially our baby, out and about the whole day. However, Mr. FAF was adamant about wanting me to stay focused, so I gave in. I have to say that I get more done without having to worry about nursing, changing diapers or comforting a baby.

This schedule allows me to allocate about 15-25 hours of coding a week. That schedule, however, hasn’t been easy. After a day of work and a night of waking up multiple times to nurse and calm a crying baby, I just want to go to bed at 9 or 10 PM. There were times when I was so tired I could barely stay awake.

But then I knew that if I took one day off, that one day might turn into two days, then a week, then a month, and probably eternity. No matter how tired I am, I force myself to code for at least an hour before I go to bed. The next day I always feel tired but happy knowing that I’m not behind on my own schedule.

So far, I have finished the Computer Science path on Codecademy. I supplemented that path with an MIT course on Intro to Computer Science and LeetCode.

LeetCode is a beast! My usual state of mind when I work on LeetCode problems is either stuck or blank. But I enjoy struggling with those problems. And luckily, Mr. FAF is eager to walk me through them (when he has time).

I am currently working through the Web Development path on Codecademy. I originally wanted to focus solely on Python. But after browsing through various job postings, I realized I needed to know more about programming than just Python.

Plus, I wanted to learn coding skills that I can use to build products to show potential employers, especially since I have no Computer Science degree to show them.

That’s why I decided to learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I am building my very first personal website from scratch and will try to build some games and apps to put on that website as a portfolio for future job applications.

I have also gone to a tech conference for women and got a ton of great advice from female developers. I just can’t wait to be one of them!

Self-doubt

While I have enjoyed learning how to program, there have been moments where I seriously doubted my decision. This whole process has truly been a roller-coaster for me.

Sometimes I feel totally elated and hopeful about a new career. Most of the time, however, I just feel like I’m just not good enough even to learn coding.

Who am I to think that I can join the developer club one day when there are 20-year-old recent grads out there who know far more and are much smarter than me?

Am I wasting my time learning all this stuff? Should I just focus on my current career and being a mom rather than dreaming about something so far-fetched as building web applications?

And along comes all the regret of not starting programming sooner or not even attempting to take a Computer Science course in college. Sometimes I just feel like I am my worst enemy and critic.

When things get tough, Mr. FAF always assures me that if I keep trying, I will get somewhere, and that if I don’t learn now, other people will and will get the job that I yearn for.

And I keep trying.

3. My father-in-law (FIL) left for China

My FIL left for China in late March, so it’s been just Mr. FAF and me taking care of ourselves and the kids. We are busier than before and also more tired every day.

Mr. FAF is now in charge in doing groceries and cooking while I’m in charge of taking care of our kids at night and during the day (i.e. giving them baths, feeding them, laundry). I take the kids to daycare in the morning, and Mr. FAF picks them up in the afternoon.

We have definitely used the dishwasher every day ever since my FIL left. It saves me and Mr. FAF hours every week! We try to share the parenting and housework responsibilities to make things work.

Related: 6 Things Americans Do That I Don’t Get

4. Blog

As I haven’t published anything in two months, you might be wondering what is going to happen to my blog now that I have a new passion (programming). Some of you left comments encouraging me not to give up on blogging.

The good news is I won’t. I will keep blogging. I have thoughts and ideas I want to share with you. My blog is my outlet. I just won’t be able to publish as often.

Every minute or hour I spend blogging is every minute or hour I don’t spend coding. And since I might get laid off in the near future, it is truly more urgent for me to acquire a new skill in order to get a new job. But just know that my blog will be up and running no matter what.

Conclusion

That’s a recap of what I have been up to these past two months. Things haven’t been smooth, but we all have different challenges. And best thing I can do is to keep trying and hope for the best. πŸ™‚

Related:

What Is It Like To Be Married To A Software Engineer?

My Time Has Come: Facing A Layoff – Lost, Scared & Self-pity

How To Deal With Spousal Envy

4 Things I’d Regret Not Doing If I Were To Die Tomorrow

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33 thoughts on “Life Update: My Current Job & Learning A New Skill”

  • I was almost afraid to ask if you’ll stop blogging but this is great news πŸ˜€ there will be eventually more time in the day when the kids are a lil older and you have another job. I heard programmers get good reign on their time. I know my husband spends half of it in the kitchen/snack rooms at work chowing on ice cream sandwiches πŸ˜‚

    • Haha you should have asked me! I’d def let you know if I decide to stop blogging. When things get tough, I do dream about that life with all the free food in the world for motivation :p

  • I popped by your blog a week or so ago to see if I had missed a post. Glad you’re doing well and have just been busy. Learning a new skill can be all-consuming.

  • It’s great that your job is secure until the end of 2019. That will give you more time to look for a different position. Good luck.
    I think you’re doing very well with coding too. Just keep at it.

    • Thank you, Joe! I am really hoping for that end of 2019 mark. It will give me more time to study and prepare for a job search. Fingers crossed!

  • Wow, that’s some dedication – nice effort so far! The more time you spend with a language the easier it gets for sure.

    The web dev path sounds like a fun one for sure. The hardest part (for me at least) is to not fall into the JavaScript hole. Pretty much everything on the web can be done in JS, whether it’s the right tool for the job or not.

    • One thing I like about the dev path is that I can get to see what I create. But JavaScript is no joke! The curly brackets throw me for a loop all the time. I want to get better at it since, like you said, it’s used all over the web.

  • Ahhh! So glad you found time for a quick update here πŸ™‚ Sounds like you really, truly want it and are willing to put in the WORK to gain the skills you need β€” and that puts you miles ahead of so many!

    I am wishing you all the best in your studies, and look forward to hearing about how you’re crushing life as a female developer soon.

    • Good to see the positive things going on in your life. πŸ‘

      In my opinion, I can see why your husband was more than adamant. You supported him all the way through his difficulties and what was a very long road to his success. Now that he feels he’s more stable he wants to do the same for you.

      Having someone in your corner with unwavering faith when it’s all FUBAR makes a world of difference and allows you to keep on walking.

      δΈ€δΈεšδΊŒδΈδΌ‘ – Wish you all the best as usual. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ I’ve got probably 1 more year of grinding it out myself. πŸ˜…

      • I think you’re right, Will! When things get tough, it’s so important for you to just hear someone say that you can do it. Their few words can mean so much and will keep you going. Hope all is well with you!

  • Wow, I applaud you on already accomplishing so much with programming with all that you have on your plate. I imagine it’s not easy, so great job! I think even if the programming route doesn’t work out (which I think it will), it’s good to look at it as a great learning experience and I’m sure you are learning many new skills along the way that will be applicable in other areas (problem solving, critical thinking, etc…). I can imagine the self-doubts you are experiencing with programming might be similar to the doubts you experienced when you started blogging, but look how far you’ve come with blogging!

    • That’s def something I’ve been thinking a lot too. Even if this programming thing doesn’t work out, I’ll learn new skills which might be marketable for my next non-programming job. All I have to do is keep trying. πŸ™‚

  • I’m glad to hear that you will be continuing to blog. I enjoy your view point very much. Hope that all goes well in your work life and that you will not always have to push yourself so hard.

    • Thank you, David! The potential layoff helps with my motivation too. Sometimes I feel like it’s all or nothing for me.

  • Congratulations on your quite extraordinary efforts.I thought of you and your blog only a week ago and wondered if things were working out for you.I absolutely believe that hard work never goes unrewarded even though it doesn’t seem so at the time.Things will work out one way or another but it can be very frightening in the interim.My thoughts are with you every inch of the way which doesn’t help you physically but maybe makes it easier to know that others think of you and care about your struggle.

    • Aww thank you so much, Barbara! You’re so sweet! You just remind me why I love the reader and their feedback so much! πŸ™‚

  • It sounds like you have a lot going on right now, kudos to you and the hubs for working together! Changing careers is not easy. I recently dealt with some major employment changes as well.

    Good luck with programming, the learning curve might be steep but can have a lucrative payoff down the road!

    – Jules

  • So happy to hear from you Ms. FAF and put it the time to write an update of what’s going on with you. You have a strong determination and with your new skill in coding, I think you will find a job once you get more confident in programming because it’s in high demand right now.
    Hopefully you will hang onto your job until at least the end of the 2019 so that will give you more practice in coding.
    I’m going to take Python class online this month to see how it goes. I took a couple of SQL classes last year and really like the coding on databases.
    Good luck with everything and provide us an update whenever you can.

    • Thank you for dropping by, Kris. I will try to write an update more regularly. I still can’t believe it took me two months to finally publish this piece.
      Python and SQL are in great demand these days. Hope you’ll have lots of fun with the class! πŸ™‚

  • Good luck, Mrs. FAF! I have faith that you can learn to program. Your determination is excellent and will carry you far. Best wishes!

  • I really like how personal, “intimate,” and honest your blog is. You share the real-life challenges of FIRE adherents who have to deal with real-world problems (like $2 trash cans that lead to week-long silence treatments), budgeting in general, kids, unexpected life changes like being laid-off, etc. I’ve read a ton of FIRE books and blogs and often feel like I can’t relate to people who make a bajillion dollars and saved half of that (so half a bajillion) and FIRE’d at the age of 15 etc. Just wanted to say thank you for documenting and sharing your experiences – the good and the otherwise – and best of luck on your career change!

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