This post is more personal than usual, and I hope you can relate to some parts. I decided to share my struggle finding direction and goals. Let’s start with an introduction.
Hola. I am Gino. I am 27, originally from Spain but currently living in Copenhagen. I work on a not-so-demanding job that supports me and my partner in an extremely expensive city (my rent is higher than the base salary of my siblings). I have a nurturing group of friends and a supportive and attentive partner.
I workout five times a week, eat healthy enough and find joy in my hobbies. I am part of an amateur sports team, and I am performing improv on stage most weeks. I have even read more than two books a month for the last three years.
And I feel completely and utterly lost in my life.
I studied computer science and easily found my career path. A place where I could use both my passion for understanding problems and my skills in building software: Testing Automation was such an easy match.
Working in automation was a clear winner. I was able to move abroad, have a nice salary and fill a needed role; and it wasn’t extremely demanding! I really value my spare time.
What I love about my job has been evolving during the last years. I love pairing with people and bringing pragmatic points of view early on the discussion. I enjoy understanding entire systems and providing a bigger picture while working on a problem. I also like leading, both managing and empowering my colleagues.
But there are many things that are not for me in my current position. Coding is less appealing to me by the day. I miss more human interaction. I would like more manual labour or work within a team more often. And I wish I could give workshops and teach more often.
But I am aware that my career is bringing me down. Each day I feel less motivated to step out of my home. I even find so many excuses to not spend time actually doing my job. I feel lost and stuck in this situation.
I am lucky to have such a supportive partner on my side and many inspiring friends.
Something that defines my relationship is my fear of needing someone. I don’t feel comfortable when a connection is defined by necessity. I value when we spend time together because we want to, instead of needing it. I choose people because they make my life better.
Being a caregiver is also part of how I see myself. I love being useful while helping the people I care about, or by trying to make the world a better place. I can see the impact on helping some people around me. Those whom I know they are struggling. Those who just need a little push to take the reigns and change this world.
I stress too much about my relationships because I take unnecessary responsibilities, creating extra burdens.
My place in the world
I am not going to be the leader who will bring the revolution, and I am happy with it. Not everyone will change this world. And, for every leader, there is a need for a second in command. I usually fill a supportive role. I am comfortable giving my time and resources. I like enabling the people I feel will change the world.
I talk about things more than I do things. In any hobby, I am more concerned with finding the most efficient way to perform something; than performing it. I am usually a better coach or trainer than a player.
All the previous identity statements create a big internal conflict. Nowadays, many people think we are all achievers and I should aim for that, but I am actually comfortable in a supporting position. Understanding that the traits I like about myself can’t build on a career also affects me. WIll I only be successful if I partner with a doer?
Things that I’m proud of
Being a natural giver, I love the impact I have had on the people I care about. Seeing how the spark of inspiration, or just that little push, has helped them grow into such beautiful beings.
Due to my love for theory-crafting, I love endless discussions. And that makes me an amazing muse. I don’t know how to finish any project but I am amazing inspiring others and keeping them on track. I am also an excellent idea generator.
Pragmatism is something I easily bring to the table. I am quite good at offering realistic points of view. That has allowed me to plan ahead for many challenges which actually arose. I believe that if you fantasize about a situation, you will be better prepared for it.
Things that I certainly should change
Not wanting to need anyone is hindering my enjoyment of life. It blocks my ability for commitment. I can’t really lose myself in the moment. I can’t truly fight for something if I don’t believe I actually require it.
I generally take a supportive role because I see it as the only way to make an impact. It probably comes from the notion of not really accomplishing anything by myself. I take the “parental” role, supporting and nurturing others, making them grow.
Pragmatism can also lead to being too negative. Realising every way something might go wrong easily produces paralysis. What is the point of starting the problem with such a challenge? I should really be more mindful on the way I share this insight and find ways to express it in an encouraging way. “Let’s be prepared for these challenges” instead of “just be aware of these problems”.
I need stability in many aspects of my life, which heavily limits the kind of risks I am willing to take with my career and life. Unf*ck Yourself touches on the subject. If I want to grow and change my situation, my stability will be challenged; and I get really anxious by the thought of it.
What am I doing to get there?
In my career, I am looking for opportunities that are more social and less technical. Taking more responsibilities regarding people management.
Am I also looking for other incomes and toying with the idea of a less stable and more fulfilling path. There are so many skills I can learn about taking a different path.
In my life, I should stop waiting for motivation. The perfect situation is not going to come, and I will always be able to find a thousand reasons why things will crumble. But I am going to just chase opportunities. I will keep moving and inventing, and if something arises, it will be handled!
I can’t get enough of so many new activities! I never thought of them before. Activities like engaging with an audience. Or bringing playfulness to a team, with games and fun competition. Or keeping a group motivated and happy, fostering a better team spirit. I wish my career involved more of these skills.
I am also going to take more risks. I will assign a quota of resources I am willing to gamble with trying new things. Let’s spend a little bit of time building a blog, even if it will never take off. Let’s invest some money in building the prototype of an app, even if no one will use it. I have to rethink commitment as giving my all for as long as it is relevant, not the need of sticking with something till the end of time
I feel lost. Society makes me feel that I shouldn’t feel lost, but there is no denying how I feel. I didn’t have any big trauma during my childhood. I had an amazing parental example. I have never had any big problem. But I still can’t find myself, regardless of all the privileges I am enjoying.
I am ashamed of being lost, but that is nonsense. It is just part of my life. And, if you’re lost, hopefully knowing that you are not alone helping.