Weeknote #1: Jobs, jabs, The Long Game

I seem to be entering a new period of Covid Life, so I'm trying this as an experiment. Hopefully it'll be a weekly thing (roughly) and a nice way to pump life into this site as my schedule gets busier.

Anticipating a new job

Early in the week, I accepted an offer from an industrial automation startup based in Singapore, ending a months-long job search since Co.Lab. I'll be working remotely from the Philippines (for now, maybe), starting mid-month. This career change into tech has been a tough nut to crack; I will not forget all the recruiters swarming my email and LinkedIn only to get scared away by my background when they actually read my CV. (A career advisor told me, "recruiters are not your friends.") Naturally, the counterpoint to many failed applications for Android dev roles would turn out to be one application for a web dev position.

No magic about it though: the company happened to be looking for a junior dev in my location and everything else aligned. The interview process was unusually lengthy and time-consuming, but it gave me time to get more comfortable with React, Node, Express, etc. In the end I could see that the team was trying to push me along as far as they could. I'm very eager to do some actual, visible work and learn about this business in greater depth than I can manage on my own.

The Long Game

While between full-time jobs, I've found myself lending a (virtual) hand to Dorie Clark's book launch for the The Long Game. Dorie is one of few business types I truly enjoy (Derek Sivers is one of them, to whom she refers in the book at length) because of her disparate interests, ranging from theology to musical theater, and apparent ability to thrive at whatever she does. The book is full of great practical advice that I'm beginning to apply to my own long-term thinking, especially as covid has forced many of us into daily victimhood to circumstance. I expect it'll be a good companion to me for the foreseeable future.

Just a few of my favorite takeaways:

  • Really thinking long term. I'm not that organized in the short term and shun to-do lists, etc. with some guilt, but what I hand't considered was, instead, deliberately making serious plans with much longer time horizons. The main advantages of this are 1) being able to set ambitious goals (especially after covid killed much of my ambition), and 2) not having to know in advance precisely all the details about accomplishing those goals.

  • Thinking in waves. Anything echoing Ecclesiastes ("To every thing there is a season") is sound advice to me. This allows oneself to better direct their energy to what is appropriate at a given time, and tolerate seasons in which the fruits of their efforts are not yet apparent.

  • Optimizing for interesting. This is highly subjective, depending on what a person finds interesting – but it is meant as a counterpoint to optimizing for money. I definitely anticipate seasons in which optimizing for money is exactly the right thing to do; but for someone in the early stages of a new career, there are many other factors to consider. Until then, I'm on the lookout for "interesting."

Getting the covid vaccine

Speaking of optimizing for interesting, I'm hoping to spend some time overseas next year and have been anxiously awaiting my turn to get the covid vaccine before I go anywhere. The vaccination effort here has been slow and less than efficient (though not surprising for a country of over 100 million), involving long waits and queues. Earlier in the week, a vaccination site in my hometown announced that it was admitting 1,500 walk-ins all day. I arrived a few minutes before the scheduled start time (9:00 AM) to find that people had been in line since 7:00 AM and all 1,500 slots were already claimed.

The following morning I went to a different site and, after three hours in line, managed to get my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Despite the wait and the large volume of people, it was easy as anything here in the Philippines.

I'll be very relieved to get this whole business over and done with in another three weeks.