Budget Cuts | January 21, 2024


With the economy in the toilet, everyone is making budget cuts, including me. At this point in time, I'm unable to afford the VPS that runs this site. My domain is going to expire in about a month, and I can't even afford to renew that. Due to these financial constraints, there are some changes.

I've found a free hosting provider, surprisingly a good one, that I can live with for the time being. Currently, I have Cloudflare forwarding all my requests from the old domain over to the new one. The idea is that the traffic I get will move over, and the transition will be mostly seamless.

My world the past few months

The past few months have been a bit of a rollercoaster. I've had possible career prospects dangled in front of me, only to be ripped out of my hands once I thought I caught them. I'm not letting that get me down, nor am I going to let that stop me. I just need to keep searching. There is something out there for me, and all I need to do is sniff it out.

My holidays were fine. I have a nice network of loving friends who refuse to see me alone and struggling. Nothing much to report here. I just wanted to point out the change in hosting and domain.

What Happened To Me | November 21, 2023

Back in Action

If you know me, you know that this blog is something I have been working on and wanting to start for years. Due to various reasons (laziness and lack of motivation), I dragged my feet on it. After a bit of soul-searching, I finally came back to finish off the site and actually use it. I have had a bit of inspiration to get back into the things I used to love—a bit of a rekindling of the flame for my passion in general tech stuff. To start off, I'm going to go into why I left, what I learned in my sabbatical, what helped to stoke the flames, and why I have decided to return.

Why I Left

This is the easiest to explain, and I imagine that I am not the only one who has had this experience. It all comes down to just plain burnout. I'm not going to blame my last job for this, as it was purely me burning out, and I also don't want to be that guy. Life got to a point where the things that I enjoyed about work, I stopped enjoying at the time. So work became just that—work. When you lose the passion that once drove your success for the job, things start to fall apart. I was trying to climb the ladder to the top, but with no drive or motivation to get me there, it was inevitable that I was going to fall. I also had a boss, while his intentions were pure, was willing to give me enough rope to hang myself. And hang myself I did. With burnout at its peak, I was put into a position that I was unprepared to take on. So I fell, and I fell hard. Every hand that you step on climbing the ladder of success is just patiently waiting to tear you back down. After such an embarrassing defeat and my lack of passion, I thought that maybe, just maybe, this IT stuff ain't for me.

What I Learned

When all of this initially started, I didn't want to take responsibility for what had happened. I had the victim complex. It's not my fault I burnt out; the job sucked and made me burn out. I did everything I could, and it wasn't enough. The other guy was... Yeah, the excuses were many, and I was making all of them. The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was first my mindset. I wasn't going anywhere, just spinning my wheels, being pissed off, blaming everyone but myself.

What started to change my mindset was a book that my loving brother recommended to me: Power of TED: The Empowerment Dynamic, by David Emerald. I'm about to poorly describe this book, so buckle in. The book is a short read that can be knocked out in one or two sittings. If you are like me, you will get the audiobook and listen to it while driving. The book is applied stoicism. If you are familiar with Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus, then this book will seem like a modern synopsis.

The point of the book is that things happen to us, both good and bad. It's not what happens to us but how we respond to what happens. Those with the victim complex will blame the world for all of their problems and do very little to overcome any challenge—the woe-is-me-why-try mentality. The book tries to come up with a mindset that is the opposite of this or the opposite of the victim. David Emerald calls this The Creator. Being a creator means being proactive to things that happen to you. It's an understanding that you can't control everything, and being negative about it is fruitless and at worst, life-ruining.

Being a creator isn't necessarily a forced positivity. It's more of a neutral stance. The past is the past, so no point in dwelling on it, and the future has yet to happen, so no point in worrying about it. Live life in the present, each day at a time. It's a great book, and I recommend it to anyone who may be feeling stuck in life. This lesson took a while to apply. It's one thing to know and another to actually do.

With the creator mindset, I wasn't done. There was still some growing up I had to do. At this point, I was unsure of where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I had the right mindset, and the car was in drive, but I had no real destination. I wasn't going backward, but I was far from where I needed to be. This is the part where the soul searching really came in. I still had no passion or motivation. This was something I knew, and with that knowledge, I decided to work on myself a bit. It was time to fix the other problems that I had.

I might have the technical abilities, but the soft skills were lacking. I had to essentially learn how to be a normal person. I worked blue-collar jobs, and I can tell you that you do not want to go into those jobs with an I'm smarter than you attitude. There was a humbling working these jobs. I went into these jobs with the assumption that unskilled laborers are idiots, and that couldn't be further from the truth. I met brilliant people at these jobs, some arguably smarter than those working technical jobs.

Working these jobs is what gave me the ability to talk to and befriend anyone. I learned not to be so stuck up. Yes, this was something I had to learn, unfortunately. Humbling myself really helped me with communication. I used to dread going to the mechanic or the small talk at the grocery store. Now I have no problem with it, to the point where I'm usually the one initiating the small talk. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Being able to talk to anyone with confidence goes a long way. It's a skill I wish I had picked up 15 years ago.

Stoking The Flames

At this point, I have matured a bit as a person, but I'm still not where I need to be. Back to the car analogy I used earlier: I'm in drive but I have nowhere to go. I need my passion back. This isn't something that can be forced. No one can tell you how to get your passion back; it's purely a personal journey. For me, despite always having some sort of tech or programming project, the spark never came back. Was I done with tech forever? This was a serious consideration and one that prompted an even scarier question. If I'm out of the tech game, what do I do instead? If I'm being honest, I don't think I have a straight answer for both of these questions. I'm not going to get into the weeds of what I want to do in the future; that is for another blog post. For now, I think I can safely say that my passion for tech has come back to a small degree, enough for me to jump back into the fray.

The first thing to really kick-start my passion was helping other people with tech. Normally, this is something I avoid (and still do). A good friend of mine decided to take a Unix class. He did this with pretty much no knowledge of Unix. He had an eagerness to learn. Knowing my background and experience, he asked me to help him with this class. I had no objections. This man has done a lot for me, so it was the least I could do. Each week we would have a call and discuss his class, going over what needed to be done and what he needed to learn. While helping him, I found myself enjoying it. Seeing him pick up Unix really reminded me of myself learning this stuff back in the day. Another great thing is it showed me how much I actually know that I just take for granted. Helping him opened my eyes to how much knowledge I had accumulated over the years. Little things that are second nature to me, like editing text in Vim, seemed like a massive feat to someone just learning. It gave me an appreciation for the little things that I have picked up and the learning journey that I had taken. It's small, sure, but it was enough to motivate me to do more. It's exactly what I needed to get my rear in gear.

The other stuff that pushed me was looking for little personal projects to keep myself fresh. As I said earlier, I was always working on something. It really wasn't until recently, very recently, that I started to enjoy the projects that I have been working on. I think the big thing is that the projects that I have been working on recently have meaning to them. One project was a command-line tool to look up Bible verses from the LSB translation of the Bible. I was going to use it for another project that I never really got around to. The LSB tool is just a simple web scraper. It sends the verse you put in to lsb.org and returns the verse by scraping it from the webpage. I still have stuff I wanted to do with it. It's a simple Python script that you can download here.

Another project was this site. While I always had it up, I never really did anything with it. So I made the decision to change that. A few years ago, I wrote the site to be pretty basic, a simple page-building class that let me add new pages easily. I wrote it in PHP and made it dead simple to update. I even wrote the very basic version of the blog. It just read from text files. It was line by line. That was it. If I was going to use this blog, I needed to make it better. I updated the blogging engine to now take markdown files. Now when I want to write a new blog, I just write using a premade template and drop that file in my blog. The new post pops up automatically. It still needs some refinement, but it works pretty well as it is. The reason I'm using markdown for blog posts is that it integrates really well with my note-taking system. I'll have to explain my notes system in another post.

The Fire is Roaring

With all of that said, I think I'm back. I'm back but renewed. I have new experiences. I have learned from the mistakes of my past. I will not make them again. I'm only going to move forward from here on out. This time with the knowledge and experience that I didn't have before. Join me on this journey as I discover more about myself.