What a year. What a crazy crazy year. We started the year with me unemployed. I had just lost my job at HDC and I was looking while working on the side. Cate had her job at Automattic. So here we go.
Part One, The Year Begins
Our first adventure of the year was WordCamp Asia in Bangkok. We had an amazing time. I got to meet in real life dozens of people I never thought I would or could. I reconnected with people I never thought I’d see again. Cate loved the culture and the people. It was fantastic. While we were there I connected with J.C. Palmes, an old HeroPress friend. I told her I was looking for work and she said “We’re hiring at WDS! In my department! PLEASE apply!” Which brings us to
Part Two – Getting A Job!
I applied at WDS and got the job! I came in as a junior developer for a little less pay than I wanted, but it looked like I would learn good things. They didn’t have a full on project for me right away, but that was ok. I did indeed learn a lot. As it turned out, the project they hired me for didn’t happen and in July they let 11 of us go. This was my third layoff in 9 months. It makes it hard to plan for things.
Part Three – Losing A Job
So I set about finding a job again. As it turns out, WordPress isn’t hiring people like me at the moment. I picked up some side work to stave off Nirvana as my mother would say. But it wasn’t a lot. We did some math and found that if we didn’t really breathe Cate’s job could keep us in the apartment.
Part Four – Planning
I spent a fair amount of time thinking about what I wanted. Cate helped a lot with this, and greatly encouraged it. I shouldn’t simply take a job because it was there. Being unhappy, or not really making enough to get by wasn’t a good option. So I started thinking about it.
My friend Tammie helped out with some brainstorming. We talked about how I was pretty good at making short videos, and we didn’t really know anyone else doing that anymore.
Part Five – Action!
WordCamp US was coming up at the end of August, and just days before it, Tammie challenged me to start a new business around video and pitch it at WordCamp and see what happened. So with 2 days left we came up with a business name, she made me a logo and I made three incorrect blocks of business cards before I finally got one right. Then we went to WordCamp.
A big part of any WordCamp is the Sponsor area, table after table of people hawking their wares. I know most of them quite well, and they know me, and what I do. This made it relatively easy to simply walk the room, have a short conversation with each, and leave a card. I got about 80% “That’s great! We’ll talk about it at the office”, about 10% “We don’t need that, but I wish you well”, and the last 10% was “We need that, I’ll call you Monday”.
I got two contracts from that trip, one small but significant, and another slow but well paying. I was happy.
Over the next couple weeks I talked to a few other people and picked up some more contracts and things really started to take off. An old client asked me to do some significant website building as well, and that really helped.
Part Six – Decision Time
More and more work came in. In Dec 2023 I matched the highest salary I had working for someone else, and included some recurring revenue. Cate and I had some long conversations and I stopped actively looking for a job. If a great one shows up I’ll consider of course, stability is my friend. That said, employment wasn’t all that stable for me.
Part Seven – The Future
Our future is wide open. One of the reasons we didn’t do the RV thing is that with both of us working full time for someone else, it made it harder to drive around. We don’t have that hindrance anymore. Our current apartment lease ends in April, and we’re looking at a number of options, from staying where we are, or moving someplace else nearby, to getting an RV, or moving someplace far away.
Emotionally I have to say that since losing my last job my soul hasn’t been more at peace in a long long time, and it feels really great. I really love the actual labor I’m doing, it’s super enjoyable, and I’m holding up my end of the bills. That feels like a pretty ideal place to end 2023.