Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. –Helen Keller
I previously wrote about my Ecuador trip:
Today, I finally get around to part 3. First though, there are two thoughts that have been on my mind lately:
- You should structure your finances so that you can leave work at the earliest possibility.
- Work is the key to happiness. A life without work is hell.
On the surface. those thoughts are contradictory. I’ll get back to them in a bit…
Life is Good
I’m fortunate in many ways. It’s no understatement to say that I’m thankful every day for my fairy-tale life. Near the top of the list is finding something I enjoy doing that pays me (the old-school term for this is work). It wasn’t easy for me to figure out.
At the age of 23, much to the dismay of my family and a girlfriend, and despite being an honors student, I quit pharmacy school. I loved the organic chemistry and pharmacokinetics, but knew that working at Walgreens would be vastly different.
My decision to quit happened very quickly. I had wanted to drop out for a while, but needed a catalyst. This came in the form of a conversation I had with a computer programmer roommate in 1998. It went something like this:
- Me: I don’t like pharmacy, but I don’t know what else to do with my life.
- Roommate: There are loads of computer jobs with Y2K coming up.
- Me: I’m not excited about going back to school for 3 or 4 years. I only have 2 more years of pharmacy school to go.
- Roommate: You don’t have to. DePaul offers a 30 week class in mainframe coding. It’s a great program and if you get through it, you’re almost guaranteed a job.
I made the decision on the spot to quit pharmacy school. It felt completely right and I never questioned it.
After 20 weeks in the computer program, I had gone on 10 interviews and received 8 job offers. I took one of them and coded into the sunset.
However, I haven’t been doing much coding in my current job; more systems administration and support duties. In Ecuador, of all places, I rediscovered how much I enjoyed coding. Continue reading