My 10-year professional programming career has entered a new chapter. Getting laid off not once, but twice in the first half of 2023 was a wakeup call. It made me realize that I want to be the captain of my own ship.

During this time, a lot has happened. I’ve traveled around as a digital nomad and worked on some really cool stuff at Airbrake. I’ve learned a bunch about programming and life in general. I got married, and now I’m a dad to a lovely daughter. Also, there’s been some really tough stuff going on. There’s a war in Ukraine, and it’s gotten even worse since 2022. I had to leave my home because it’s not safe there anymore. At any moment, there could be danger, like rockets exploding in the city.

However, while the year 2022 has changed my life forever, the year 2023 has opened my eyes to my career prospects. In January 2023, I got laid off without any warning.

It hit me hard emotionally. I couldn’t fathom that all the effort I’d poured in didn’t seem to count for much. We had a solid team, but with the constant change in ownership, the vision for Airbrake kept shifting. I felt like a lone seagull adrift at sea, uncertain of which way to turn. It all happened so swiftly and unexpectedly that I began job hunting right away. It was just hard to grasp: I found myself without a job.

After I lost my job the first time, I immediately reached out to a former colleague who had mentioned a possible job opening. The feeling of being jobless was eating me inside. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned. It was really surprising and a bit disheartening.

A couple of months later, I landed a job at a startup. I really put my nose to the grindstone, working tirelessly to prove my worth. I pulled long hours, from morning till night, especially because I was dealing with some knowledge gaps (like my first experience with Hotwire). It was quite a challenge, as I had to figure things out mostly on my own.

However, history repeated itself. Just a couple of months into the job, I received a request for a “quick call”. It turned out I was being let go due to budget constraints. It was painful. Not as devastating as the previous time, since I had developed thicker skin from that experience, but it still stung.

I’ve often found myself wondering: why does it seem that every time I pour my heart and soul into something, it ends in disappointment? Back when I interned at Bugsnag, I was consistently the first to arrive and the last to leave. I turned down social events, like gatherings at the Twitter office or talks by Matz in San Francisco, all in the name of proving my worth. With Airbrake, I played a pivotal role in revitalizing their Ruby gem, leading to its ongoing success. Each time, I set the bar high for myself. And yet, it always seems to culminate in pain. Why does it have to be this way?

This experience, along with the struggles of finding a new job, made me think long and hard about my career. It became clear to me that if I wanted to pursue a path that truly aligned with my goals and values, I needed to take control of my own journey.

I’ve stumbled upon the indie development culture, the art of building in public, and the idea of releasing quickly until something finally “clicks” and sparks hope. I am embarking on an indie dev journey 🚀

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