“You’re wrong and you’re crazy, but I fully support you.”
My co-worker Valarie was joking and serious. I had just told her I was ending my state job to start a new career as a software developer.
Now I realize how crazy that might have seemed…
A State Job
In general, state workers’ number one value is security. With many government positions, you can attain civil service status. This means after a certain amount of time you would always have that position (unless you did something incredibly stupid to get fired). That’s why many covet the state job. You’re virtually unfireable.
Not only that, but the benefits in California are amazing: healthcare and a generous pension. If you value security and benefits above all else, then you might find yourself at home in government position. To leave such a sacred position was blasphemy.
I was blessed to have a state job.
Though I could not help how strongly I was called to programming. After work, I took night school classes at my local community college. The classes inspired me to create a program for my state job. I spent weekends and all my free time coding. I knew this new program would save the state money and my co-workers a low of hassle. Management loved it and so did my co-workers.
I was hooked.
I was so hooked that I asked the state if I could have a leave of absence to focus on my education. They were hesitant at first. Though from all the value I brought the state, thanks to the classes I already completed, they to allowed me a semester of time off work to get my Associates Degree in Computer Programming.
During this time, not only did I attend college but I also created my first Android game. My friends and co-workers were impressed.
I had found, what Dan Sullivan calls, my unique ability: something I like doing, I’m at good doing it, I get better each time I do it, others would pay me to do it, and time stands still.
One friend mentioned how he took a programming class in college. He explained how didn’t have the patience. I shared with him how I’ll stay up nights coding: it doesn’t work, doesn’t work, doesn’t work… till the sun rises. Finally the program works. At that point I’ve reached the mountain top. I’ve crossed the finish line. All to do it again when I wake up for another piece of the program…and I LOVE IT.
I can’t stop coding. It feels like music pouring out of me. The more I learn, the more I want to create. The more value I can add. I’m inspired. I feel blessed to be pursuing my passion for programming.