Today begins a new chapter in my life. It is the first day in my professional career that I am out of a company’s employ. I was laid off. Our parting was on good terms, but the reality of the situation before me is deep, and harsh.
My life must change. The thought invokes thrill, fear, raw exhilaration, worry. It fully calls upon the support of my strength, family, faith, and reason. It tests me.
My skills are rarely seen – Python, Linux, Open Source, Agile development – they catch the eye of others, recruiters especially: it interests them. But the companies that use these skills are as unique as I am. The search is difficult, the opportunities rare; every resume and cover letter becomes a finely crafted shot bound for an elusive mark.
Others have offered to open doors, but to cross through them I must give up some of what makes me unique: I must forsake Python, and Linux, and find myself a place in the brave world of Microsoft’s .NET. My friends have faith in me, in my skills as a Software Engineer, and I thank them greatly for it, but to give up the path I have forged these past few years…
This part of Canada, Southern Ontario, is based on big business: manufacturing, finance, and commerce. Only a faint glimmer of the Silicon Valley startup scene shines here. Globally, perhaps 60% of programming is done with Java or .NET: here, 90% feels more accurate. Vancouver, on Canada’s West coast, is different. It feeds off of the fervor to the South. But to move out West is to leave my family, my wife’s family, the place where I grew up, and for what? A computer language? A dream? An ideal?
The weight of it, my family’s well-being, rests squarely on my shoulders. My wife is at home, and cares for our children; it is a decision we made together, one we truly believe in, and I will fight for it until the bitter end. I am responsible for what comes next.
My life must change. And it is never easy.