The last year has been relatively hard on the anxiety. It started to occur to me that the anxiety started really appearing shortly after my last puff on a vape pen. It wasn’t long after that the company I worked for decided to relocate their support department to another city and I wasn’t prepared or willing to uproot my life at the time. I would come to realize later that I had grown comfortable at that job. More comfortable than I should have been. We’ll get to that though.
It didn’t take long to get a new job. A job that paid more than I was making before, even if only by a little. One of, if not the largest companies in the computer field. In the last couple years they had bought and were merging with another company. I came in at a time of chaos and disorganization in the merging of brands and internal systems and with the knowledge that my desire to once again be a customer facing support representative was non-existent. I had spend the last few years working beyond that. I was better than that. I hated the idea of it. I won’t deny that maybe my ego had grown into something else, but there was still some honesty in the feeling. It took three months though. Three months before I quit because my anxiety forced me too. I was in a position I didn’t want, doing work I didn’t want to under a manager that I knew, not think, knew, was incompetent. It’s not just you when before you start a job somebody is referred to as Chancellor Palpatine because your co-workers have “no confidence” in your ability. But quitting that job. The day I left my computer in the managers office and walked out the door. Life hadn’t felt that fresh and free in a long time. It was a chance I took, but I still had a couple months of severance that I would try to live off of.
I tried to focus on my own Linux Academy during the next few months. In doing so I think I burned myself out. Over did it. Too many different subjects in too little time. I needed a step back. I needed a little more structure. I needed something to make me feel accomplished. Something to rebuild my self confidence because depression and anxiety and played a large part in the last year of breaking that down. While I was still looking to find a job that was worth it, I found myself enrolling in college curriculum. A Bachelor’s degree could do the trick. Around the same time I was offered a position, that while still customer facing, was a substantial pay increase, less chaos and management that seemed to care about their employees. Information Security was actually a new field for me, aside from cleaning up malware on a home desktop system. These were corporate appliances, capable of detecting zero day signatures in some cases. It still wasn’t for me, but it too would last three months. It helped me get bills caught up. Likely I would still be there if it wasn’t for the opportunity I currently have. Again, we’ll get there.
WGU is setup to help you use experience and even certifications to account for courses they will give you credit for. They transferred credits from previous schools and gave me credit for one of my certifications, the Linux Essentials. It took me 5 months though to get through courses I could have passed on day 1. The one certification that I have had for almost 20 years. The A+. They considered that I got it in 2000 being too old. Even though they took college credits received in the following year. A large part of my career was built on that certification which means my experience also could take care of the first three courses. The ones scheduled for the first semester all focused on the same level of technical know how as that one certificate that I already had. It was having to take a certification that I already had, that never expired that frustrated me. I set on two courses I could have taken over a couple days, which I did in the fifth month, but selfish pride made me not want to do it. So I sat on it. In the last month I worked to at least get through it, not only finishing the two parts of the A+, again, but also finishing a introduction to programming course in two weeks. Now I’m on term break. Focusing on online courses for AWS and Python to help me progress in my current career.
I had what I would consider a great opportunity fall into my lap that I couldn’t pass. It was risky though. I would be contract for a minimum of two months with no guarantee of being hired on full time, and I wouldn’t have health insurance for that time. However, the hourly rate was phenomenal and the chance to reach new heights and achieve new skills. And it offers so many directions for that growth. I spent a lot of time on Linux Academy before and the rising prices made it difficult to keep up and not having a focused direction was as I said, over-whelming. Now, I have a company account with Linux Academy, access to Linkedin Learning and focus on a specific goal. I also don’t feel rushed to get it done. Not that I’m going to work hard to learn and grow, and maybe I shouldn’t find myself getting comfortable but most of the anxiety is gone, controlled my medication and as of now I’m full time, with health insurance and a marvelous team that seems eager for people to get better.
The thing is, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year questioning myself, questioning my choices, fighting against pride I feel I have reached a place I not only belong, that I can reach new limits. I have also learned not to get too comfortable though. Before I might have stayed in comfort getting paid less than I’m worth. I’ve learned not to accept too little. I’ve learned to continue to better myself, but I’ve also learned focus. While I’m taking a term break to focus on work related applications, I haven’t given up on the Degree or the this job. And in a sharp contrast to any job I’ve ever had, for the first time I feel like I have a little bit of control in my future.