Escape the Mud

Believing in your future

May 13, 2020

I opted into a voluntary separation program with my employer.

This was a difficult decision to make. I chose to leave a lucrative job in the middle of a global pandemic and economic recession 📉

But… I also chose to believe in myself. And in doing so, I shed another layer of the imposter syndrome that has been with me since I started writing software 📈

I remember the last time I left a job voluntarily

It was about four years ago when I decided to make the jump from working as a grocery delivery driver to a career as a software developer. My first step was to enroll in a web development bootcamp.

My mother wasn’t happy

Dennis, is there any way you can keep your job at the grocery store? People are always going to need food and it’s a stable job for you.

When your own mother doesn’t believe that there is a better future than the one you already know it makes it much harder to believe it yourself.

My best friend also told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. He said that website builder type applications were going to make my job obsolete in a couple years.

Contrary to their advice, I did quit my job at the grocery store. I moved to the big city and enrolled in a web bootcamp.

I entered bootcamp nervous

I was in a new city, starting a new career path that was very different from my previous path and to top everything off my mother unfortunately passed away two months before the start of the bootcamp.

On top of the emotional hardship of my mothers passing I now knew that my financial safety net had just disappeared. In my mind failure was no longer an option.

I left bootcamp nervous

I struggled through bootcamp. I willed myself through each day, dead set on passing but not taking the time to learn what I needed to set myself up for success. Although my determination got me through to the other side, I didn’t feel very confident with my skillset and abilities when I left.

It took my a long time to find my first job. I was just so shaky at interviews. I didn’t believe I could land a job.

Eventually though a good friend of mine offered me a position. I jumped at it and started to actually learn to code.

Four years later 🕰️

Fast forward four years and through incredible mentorship, hard work and a lot of mistakes I had become a competent developer. Through a series of fortune events, I had also managed to end up at a lucrative position at a high profile company.

I considered this the ultimate win. Growing up in my household, financial success was considered to be the holy grail 🏆

But, for reasons that aren’t really relevant to this article, eventually I found I wasn’t happy at work.

I worked for about six months being unhappy. I was in a pretty weird spot. On one hand I had achieved what was important in the household I grew up in - financial success - but on the other hand I knew I wasn’t happy.

Looking back, I realized it was my good friend anxiety/imposter syndrome that was holding me back.

Thoughts like, “You’re lucky to even be here” and “You’ll never get to work at a place like this again” were really common.

Eventually though, ahead of a large wave of incoming layoffs, employees were given the opportunity to opt-in to a voluntary separation package. If there was ever a time to leave this was it.

I took a leap of faith

It had come time for me to prove myself, to myself, again.

Like the last time I left my job I am choosing to believe that there is something else out there that is better for me than what I already knew.

I believe that I will be able to find it and once I do have the ability to succeed at it.

Other bits

I was cleaning up my twitter for employers recently and eventually came to my first tweet. I think it was right around when I was starting out in software. This rings true for me right now and I was happy to see it 🙂

Escape the Mud is a developer centric blog that covers a wide array of topics. Written by Dennis Marchand