This is my first blog. Ever. I can tell you now that I never thought I would ever be the type of person who wrote a blog. Not in a million years. I’ve kept diaries (I’m a reader, it’s common among our kind), but I never thought I would put it out there, out here, into the world and open to opinion. To date I’ve told two friends, both of whom have reacted wonderfully, but there’s always the fear that of course they’re supportive, they’re my friends, it’s not a guarantee that what I’m writing is worth reading. I suppose this is a common fear among first time bloggers, or writers of any kind. Am I good enough? Will people laugh at my questionable grammar? Do I have any writing skills whatsoever, or was my Arts degree a total waste of time? Am I using too many commas? (Probably)
So, why am I doing this? There are a few reasons actually:
I changed my life completely last year. I quit my job at Axa to do a masters in Professional Software Development. I stepped so far outside of my comfort zone that I can’t even remember what that comfort zone felt like now. It was the scariest thing I ever did. It wasn’t something I even thought about for very long, I saw an opportunity for a funded place on a masters course and I thought: ‘Fuck it Laura. You hate insurance. Just do it.’ I applied and was accepted and ready to start within two weeks. Then I threw myself into it, since I didn’t have a life anyway, now that I was unemployed. I have been incredibly lucky, it was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I came out of it with a job, a good one, a few new, good friends that I know I’m going to keep for life, and a lovely warm glow of accomplishment.
All the while that I’ve been doing this, making these big life decisions and learning new skills, at the back of my mind there’s been a niggling thought that wondered how many other people did things like this, and were they all as spontaneous and terrified as I was? Did other people even know that courses like this existed? Software development is huge right now, a casual sift through any job center will reveal the number of jobs in IT, and it’s something that schools don’t even seem to be aware of. I didn’t do IT in school, no one even suggested that learning about computers might be a good idea when I was selecting my GCSEs, and from what I’ve heard programming skills aren’t even a part of the curriculum (that’s slowly but surely changing, but the education system has a long way to go still).
Anyway there are likely a million blogs out there with people chronicling their crazy life changes, but this one is mine and I’m pretty fond of it already.
Hannah Gale. I don’t read many blogs. I like to check in with Neil Gaiman’s journal every few weeks and peruse (I think I should share that I had to double check the meaning of peruse here. It feels like a fancy word and I’m not comfortable implying I use it frequently) the wonderful Amanda Palmer’s blog posts when I have a moment. They’re big names and I follow them on Facebook and Twitter so I’m regularly alerted via feed when they update something. The point is, I found Hannah Gale’s blog and I liked it enough to bookmark it and come back to it to check for updates. I can’t remember who shared the blog post that led to me discovering her website, but I’m glad they did because she writes well. Her writing feels familiar and easy, like a real person that I would actually have a conversation with, she uses terms like ‘obvs’ and ‘totes’ and I enjoy that because I like to use words like ‘obvs’ and ‘totes’ un-ironically on occasion (I don’t care if some people think it makes me sounds silly). More to the point, she’s a normal girl who’s made some pretty big scary decisions career wise and I respect that. So, every few days I go and have a look at her website with a cup of tea when I need a break from coding.
Anyway, a while back Hannah wrote this (go and read it now, I’ll wait). It reminded that little thought at the back of my mind I mentioned in reason #1 that I have a story to tell, a brand to build, opportunities to find. Maybe I don’t want to be a full time blogger, maybe I’m a terrible writer (maybe I’ll never publish this and it will languish on my computer forever) but that little thought at the back of my mind has been wanting to do this. And why not build a brand, tell a story and establish an online presence while I’m at it? Or try to, at least. Anyway, yeah, I sound like a total Hannah Gale fan girl, but if you’re in your twenties (or even if you’re not in your twenties) and you feel a little bit lost, or you have five minutes to spare I would absolutely recommend having a read.
Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on how body language shapes who we are. It got me thinking about how I see myself and how I portray myself as a result. It just inspired me, I started to write this the moment I finished watching it and I’m sitting up straight and smiling as I do. It’s made me realise that I need to stop thinking so much, get out of my own head and start acting. If I want to be a savvy software developer that writes a blog about her life and lets it lend confidence to how she conducts herself in her every day life, then I should start acting like it. So now I have a blog, I have a job in software development and I’m working on the being savvy part.
If you got this far, I applaud you, and thank you, really and truly. It’s nice to think that someone might be reading this and maybe nodding, or smiling or just thinking, ‘yeah, I totally get that.’