I grew up at the dawn of personal computing. I was lucky enough to have been given a Commodore 64 as a christmas present and it blew my mind.
First Logo, then Basic, and before long I was scribbling down source code on reams of dot-matrix paper my step-Father brought home from work. I created screens that brought joy to my Mum by making “Happy Birthday” flash across our television screen in glorious 8-bit. I made a database to track every delivery of every test match in the Ashes Test series from England; an application that helped organise my Mum’s recipes so we wouldn’t lose all those great dishes my Hungarian Grandmother had scribbled down on bits of yellow, tabacco-stained paper; Mandelbrot sets – taking days to render until I realised that offscreen rendering was about 100 times faster - that had my friends jaws dropping at their beauty. I even copied verbatim the machine code from some magazine so that the kids at school could use a joystick to control simple sprites moving across the screen. I didn’t really understand what I was doing but they all thought I was a genius!
Eventually I started making a living writing software for very small Independent Software Vendors. Working in small teams, we produced amazing user experiences that I am still proud of 15-20 years later. It was as though I’d managed to con the world into paying me to do something that I really loved - creating software that put smiles on people’s faces.
For too many years now though, I have not really enjoyed my “chosen” profession. Sure, I’ve had moments here and there that have been thoroughly enjoyable but I’ve also had a sort of existential crisis every 12-18 months or so. “What was I doing this for?” “I’m clearly no good at this.” “Maybe I should find another line of work?”