I wanted to quit writing software for good.
Nevertheless, I coded. And I still do.
I’ve been a software developer for 3 years then. And I totally didn’t feel like getting up and going to work. I struggled with my tasks and worked much slower than I used to. I tried to look for another job but it didn’t go well. I feared that I would never get another programming job. And I didn’t want to look at the code ever again. I felt mentally and physically exhausted. Maybe even depressed.
But I’ve got a great job. I worked remotely and had time to travel. I had a supporting boss and great coworkers. But I still felt like something is amiss.
Then one night I woke up with this crazy idea: I’ll take a break from my life and go to Japan.
I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. I set up with my boss organized everything within a week and two months later I was on the plane heading for Japan. 3-months-long unpaid vacation.
It was great. The first month was full of sightseeing in Kansai and volunteering in the guest house. After first few weeks though when I already got used to living in Kyoto I started to think my life over. Where do I want to be by the end of next year (it was December, you know)? What do I want to do? I started to ask myself those questions and figured out all the stuff but work goals.
The whole vacation went by quickly, as it usually does. I came back still not knowing how to change my profession.
I never did. I didn’t even change my job. I didn’t need to anymore.
When I got back I restored my faith in programming. I ended up with an amazing project. I had some time to ramp up and gradually ease my way back into programming. I’ve got new, more interesting and challenging tasks. James, my project manager at the time, was one of those rare species that knows how to say no so I was never overloaded with work. If I ever had to pull long hours I could compensate for it with a breather later on. It all went to place.
I knew where my life was heading and I noticed that being a software developer is fun.
But there’s one more thing that really, really helped me.
I went for my first software development conference way too late. It was just a few months after I came back from Japan. It gave me quite a kick and made me wonder why was I there so late? I’ve met a whole bunch of like-minded developers. Developers sharing their stories about overcoming work, code and life-related troubles.
I’m more mindful of how I work since that year. I had time to notice, that having time and space to do something fun that’s not writing code helps a lot. It helps me to stay motivated and productive in the long run.