Reflections on Doing More

Note

This post originally started off as something on how I’m trying to learn more. It meandered into Dear Diary territory, but there’s a certain flow to it, in my opinion. I’m keeping it as it is, and releasing it without edits.

I have been struggling to do more lately. It has become really hard to sit down and study, for example. I have been the sort to learn and study to improve myself, but truth be told, I have always felt I can do more.

I have an uncle who believes those of us in the technology world are entitled, that we aren’t contributing any real work to the world. I am slowly distancing myself from him because I don’t need that sort of toxicity in my life. That’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it, pun unintended.

I want to do more, though. Not because of what he said. I’m doing so much better than almost my entire family in terms of my career, but I am constantly feeling like I should be doing more. I felt the same at Visa, and it’s a weird sensation.

I thought I did more at GKN, and I’ve recently had a chance to speak with my old boss. He asked if I wanted to return, and I remembered why I left immediately after spending an hour talking to the man. I loved working for him, but it was a silo. I don’t want to work in a silo anymore. I want to work with a crew, with tools that empower me. Money isn’t the only bargaining chip in this world. Sure, we are paid far better than most other people.

I have since found great people to work with, just by being in touch with them, I’m learning so much. I am realizing that the sheer amount of knowledge in our domain that is happenstance is so strange. You learn because of a casual conversation. You learn because a colleague comes over to your desk and sees you using history | grep -i <something> and is astonished that you don’t know CTRL-r and fzf. And that leads you down a path where you learn to customize your shell to make you bleed productivity.

And that’s a problem somehow. You have been optimizing productivity so much that you are now empowered to do work. You feel like you’ve been given superpowers and you don’t have a problem to solve. You feel crippled by the fact that at work, you’re not solving hard problems. You’re relegated to solving problems which are… trivial in your eyes. Things that others should be solving. Your powers could be put to use solving some other things.

You later realize that you’re never going to be solving such problems in the real world. You should instead focus on trying to do these things on your own time. But the creative exhaustion of working in tech is real. You get burnt out. Yet, you want to do more.

It’s odd, really. I once thought that if I had a job that was easy and paid me more, I’d be satisfied. I guess that’s the naivete in me.

I feel more troubled by the fact that I don’t have a challenge at every workplace I’ve been than I have ever been. It’s odd because at a factory, I felt like I had things I could improve, and a chance to do so, albeit without the superpowers I have now. Software is such a strange place to be because you get to do things with minimal cost. Writing code isn’t going to cost you anything - atleast that’s what you tell yourself. Perhaps so.

I am currently stuck where I am, mentally speaking, because I am unable to focus on anything really. I have had a hard year. I enjoyed none of it. I bought a car and immediately had an accident that nearly killed someone. She lived, and is well now. My family contracted Covid-19, and my mother went to the hospital. I thought I nearly lost her. My sister got married, and while most people consider that a celebration, I do not do well in crowds. The sheer level of disappointment I had in my family and the way they treat me became too hard to bear. I cannot stand them. I am the black sheep in this family, and I will never belong.

I moved to a larger house (with my parents), adopted a second cat, and I changed my job. I lost someone I considered a dear friend, because he was trying to use me for a patent on something I was working on with other colleagues. I also became really aware of how alone I feel since I don’t have anyone in my family that I relate to.

2021 has been ugly to say the least. It is my least favorite year in my life, and I cannot wait for it to end. Yet, I want to get to the bottom of why I don’t have the energy to do more.

I feel… like I’ve not accomplished anything. I impulsively buy things I do not need, and do not have much in the form of savings. I need to save more money, but it’s so hard to stop myself from buying things, especially technology-related. I feel strong anxiety whenever I take an interview, mostly because I feel I’ve not prepared enough. Especially data structures and algorithms rounds. I’m lucky to have landed the jobs I have besides that, of course, but I want to face this fear.

I tried therapy earlier this year, to try and examine my lack of focus, as I considered it. I ended up talking about all the things that happened to me, in the 3 sessions I had this year. It wasn’t an easy year, and I couldn’t find the answers to my lack of energy to doing more.

I hope to find that answer, and that focus soon. I have so much I want to do, and so much more.

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