Recently I put myself back into the market: I went job hunting. I did this after a year and three months at Spatialest, in which I had the privilege of meeting kind and hardworking people that welcomed this very weird and unknown Chilean person into their lives and into their company. It was also a time of growth: I could develop some mentoring skills; I was able to become pretty good at React, and I was able to learn a bit more about multi-tenant solutions and implement my first multi-tenant platform.
On What Keeps Me Going
But I’m always aiming higher. I want to develop myself in new areas, learn new languages and use new technology. Over the years, I have discovered that I’m the kind of personality that gets bored very easily if I don’t do something new. I need that intellectual dopamine that comes from satisfying my curiosity by tinkering with things and trying new approaches. It is a doubled edged sword: it keeps me going and makes me wake up every morning passionate about all the challenges I could face today, but it can also deviate my attention to other things I consider more interesting that do not necessarily bring value to what I’m currently doing.
I think this is true of every developer in some degree. Is what makes us start a side project and never finish it. We all know that meme very well. By the time we are halfway through the project, we find something more interesting and start tinkering with that. It’s a vicious circle. Or maybe a virtuous one.
This self knowledge actually comes from a very recent realization. From some time now I’ve been thinking what is the part that I love the most about my job, and I’ve concluded is this drive to learn, to master something and to apply it successfully what excites me the most. I think it is that – and my awesome wife, who always understands when I want to spend my whole Saturday in front of a computer – what has helped me to learn and achieve so much in so little time. Sometimes I forget that I been doing this just for a little more than five years.
It is important that my future employer knows and understands this part of my personality, to ensure that they will provide me with work that is challenging, interesting, varied and intellectually rewarding; and that I provide them them in return with all my energy, time and resources to make that work bring value to the company.
On The Power of Money
Another of the things I’ve discovered is the tremendous amount of power a big sum of money can exert into coercing a career decision. It does not matter how many times I try to convince myself I don’t need more, and that money is not the most important thing; the reality is that it is pretty hard to reject a bigger sum for any reason. I always seem to want more and more.
Being mostly lacking of money for the majority of my life, I can see how much I’ve got used to it. I remember my days of being a seminary student in Texas, where I would consider myself fortunate and grateful to have a place where to sleep and food to eat every day: nothing more. In my many visits to the north of Mexico, be for awesome and long youth camps or for building houses with Casas por Cristo, I could see the most extreme poverty and need. I recall at some point I used to imagine my life living there forever, among those people in need, and be happy with the sole thought of being of some use for them. All that seems so far away now.
No wonder why Christ said that the root of all evil is the love of money. The question is: Do I love money or I see it as a tool to some other ends? How do I know for sure? Some people say: “Give some to charity” as if you could somehow buy your peace of mind with was is really and effortless action.
The problem I think is that with other sins is so easy to make the distinction: you can tell when you lie or when you steal. But, how can you tell when you love money? How does that look? How can you be sure that what you are deciding is totally free from the influence of material gain and accumulation? When do you have enough? These are things that have troubled my soul this week.
One thing I for sure don’t want to do: I don’t want to sell my talent to the highest bidder. That’s what mercenaries do, and I’m not a mercenary. I’d like to believe I’m more of a soldier: I need to give myself for something I believe will make a difference in my life and in other people’s lives.
On Making a Decision
I’ve been fortunate and humbled by the fact that out of this job hunting season pretty much every single process I started ended up in an offer or me pulling out because I did not believed I would fit in the company.
Some of these companies are truly amazing and a dream come true in terms of the kind of place I would love to work at. It is a good situation to be in, but also a terrible one. When you have soo many good options, you can have a really hard time deciding. You can end up being completely paralyzed due to indecision.
Some years ago I read a magnificent book by Kevin DeYoung called Just do Something. The main thesis of the book is that rather than figure out what is the right thing to do, we should pick a thing to do, trust God will be with us, and persevere in it. The book is pretty much a challenge of the virus of indecision that our consumerism-based society has planted in our lives. We have so many options nowadays for everything (for the love of Pete, we have like 5 different streaming services!), and all of them are really good ones. But we seem incapable to choose anything: maybe due to fear, maybe due to some buyers regret or even due to second thoughts of the kind of “What if I would have pick this or that…".
This issue hits harder when we finally decide something that does not conform to the unrealistic expectations we tried to second guess. We are easily displeased with our choice as soon as we find the first flaw in it. And this is because we spent so much time making a decision we thought was going to be the perfect one, that when the veil of idealism is torn apart and the flaws are exposed, is the hardest blow you can take. From there flows insecurity, doubts and all sorts of second thoughts.
The reality is much harsher, though simpler: nothing is perfect. Your partner is not perfect, your job is not perfect, your team mates, your house, your church, your family, etc. Embrace imperfection, and persevere in it. I think this is the true path to a more resilient and realistic way of living.
The lesson for me? There is no perfect job, and I can just go so far into forming and adequate picture of a company in a few calls and some technical tests. I’d rather pick something that is good enough and be prepared to be disappointed, resiliently rather than naively.
On My Calling in This World
Lastly, I’ve been thinking about my calling in this world. Some of the companies I’m considering are doing really cool innovative techy stuff. Some of them are helping people get a mortgage for their dream home. Some of them are providing people tools to improve their quality of life. Some of them are helping kids with learning disabilities to actually learn.
Even though a big factor in my decision is personal development, there is also the factor of feeling I’m making a difference in this world. Is of no use to develop myself personally if I do not do anything meaningful with all the thing’s I’ve learned.
When God exiled Israel into Babylon, there was a tremendous mission he gave his defeated people:
Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
~ Jeremiah 29:7
The people of Israel were supposed to pray and work for the welfare of the nation that destroyed their homes, separated their families and killed their children. Just let that sink in for a minute…
The world sometimes is a bit hostile to christians, and we are not the most liked of the people in this time of history. Maybe with due reason, because we have been far from being what we are supposed to be. Nonetheless, it would be so easy for us to entrench into our own communities and fend for ourselves with no interest of what happens in the outside world. It is a very comfortable way to live.
But like the Israel of those times, we have a mission. We ought to seek the welfare of this world and the people that live in it. We ought to work for it. We got to make a difference. And work is the means that God provided to serve other people, better their lives and make that difference. That’s why is no light decision.