Putting Up My Shingle

Published on December 13, 2021

Aaaaaaaaaaand, we're back! Lots of updates, lots of changes, lots of big new exciting things to talk about. So grab a beverage of your choice, settle in, and lets get down to it.

SELF MARKETING AHEAD If you or anyone you know is in need of some web development, please don't hesitate to reach out! I'm looking for work, #OpenForBusiness, as LinkedIn would put it. You can find me at mike@mikebowman.dev END SELF MARKETING

Ok, with that out of the way, lets talk about the biggest and most obvious change, this website. I'll have a post in the next little while telling a bit of the story of how I built this new site, and what inspired me to make the change. For now, suffice it to say that this is a fully hand-built custom site. I used Gatsby and TailwindCSS, and I'm really happy with how it's turned out. It's open source, so you can take a look at it on Github if that's your bag. But, like I said. More on that another time.

The main reason I wanted to sit down to write today was to talk about my evolving career path. About 6 weeks ago, I left the corporate world. I'd been working at PagerDuty for about 8 months, but I decided that I wanted to strike out on my own. Blaze my own trail. Be my own boss. Put up my shingle, as my good friend Nick described it. So I did it. I left. It was hard, scary, exciting, nerve-wracking, and liberating, all at the same time. No longer did I have to get out of bed at a certain time. No longer did I have regularly scheduled meetings, or work projects I was expected to help out on. No longer, most importantly, did I have a steady paycheque finding it's way into my account like clockwork on the 15th and the 30th. That was freaky.

In spite of the freakyness of it all, the most appropriate word I'd use to describe my current situation is liberating. I am officially now responsible for every aspect of my career. The lack of structure is a bit unnerving, but ultimately I'm excited about the possibilities. For me, right now, it feels like the possibilities are endless.

So how have I spent the past 6 weeks? However I've wanted! I've had a few personal projects I've spent some time on (this website included!), I've been learning more React and Front-End development (thank you to Wes Bos for the sweet resources and courses), I've started searching for contract/freelance work on LinkedIn, HackerNews, and places like Upwork, and I've been working part-time as a Web Development Mentor at Lighthouse Labs but mostly, I've been feeling comfortable and balanced. I'm free to pursue what interests me, what excites me, and what motivates me. That, in itself, is the most valuable thing I think i've gained in the past several weeks. I'm excited by the possibilities, and looking forward to seeing what's out there.

So, more concretely, what are the next steps? As I mentioned, I've been working part-time as a mentor, which is a pretty cool position to be in. Ever since I finished my own boot camp, almost 6 years ago now (holy smokes where does the time go???), I've thought it'd be cool to work at a boot camp. I've always liked teaching and helping others learn, and in this job I feel like I'm giving something back to the tech world that has given me so much these past years. It's fun to see students progress, it's rewarding to watch as they grasp concepts that are completely new to them, and it's cool to see the potential in them as they learn.

On the work front, things are a bit different. I've started looking for freelance or contract work, which is something totally new to me. I've never done this kind of thing before, and to be frank, self-marketing is not something I've ever considered a strength of mine. But it's an important skill, and it's something that I want to improve on, so the grind begins. It's a slow process, but I'm absolutely certain that it's what I want to be doing, and I'm confident that it will work out for me.

Well, this whole writing thing feels a bit odd. I think I'm rusty. Hopefully, reader, you'll excuse my somewhat scatterbrained musings, but I think it's important for me to try to get back into the swing of writing a bit more regularly. I hope you find some interest or value in it, but I thank you with all my heart for making it this far anyways. If all goes to plan, my next update will come more quickly than this one did. On that note, I'll sign off. Until next time!