In 2017 I was miserable. I had a good paying full-time job as a programmer at a big consulting company. My coworkers were really nice and at the beginning I got two months paid further education of programming. I traveled a few times to cities I’ve never been, and I loved to explore new cities. So why was I miserable?
Because the work itself sucked. And I have to tell a thing about myself: I hate wasting time.
So, wasting time at work for a project that probably will not work or would take a lot of useless time was a nightmare for me.
I struggled with my choice for a few months but then I got close to a depression, so I quit.
You can read the whole story here in my other article.
But what you want to know now is: what am I doing since then? And what did I learn the last few years?
The biggest thing: I’m not miserable anymore
There were bad times since then, for sure. But at the moment I’m happy with my life. Right now, I’m starting I’m in a part time job next to my studies and it helps me to have a fixed schedule. It’s still not perfect, because there are still times where I’m wasting time at work because there isn’t much to do but I have to sit off my hours. And that’s the reason I’m starting with my side hustle now of writing and soon publishing online courses.
“The best investment you can make is in yourself” – Warren Buffett
Self and mental development
I started studying again from the beginning. I started with my Bachelor’s in Architecture, and it is a lot of work. But because of getting myself out there and outside of my comfort zone, I learned a lot. I learned how to work in a team, how to say my own opinion, do time management to get everything done on time and how to talk in front of people. In the Architecture studies there are a lot of presentations and preparing posters and presenting your ideas and getting feedback.
I guess everyone is afraid of speaking in front of people as a child, and so was I. I was shy, or still am, I don’t know. But I’m definitely an introvert. And learning how to speak in front of people was one of the best things I learned. Especially presenting my own ideas and projects is really important.
And through the stress of semester projects and exams at the same time, and getting feedback additionally, you learn time management and how to stay calm and ready.
Project management and leadership
The biggest thing that happened in the last five years is that I started volunteering for an international student organization called IAESTE, and it changed my life and my view of the world. I never saw myself leading projects or teams. But I just took the opportunity of the safe space where I can learn it. Since then, I was the project leader of our big career fair with over 40 companies, I led a team of over 10 student volunteers, and I’m the president of the organization right now and organizing and leading meetings with over 20 people.
If I would tell that now to my 19-year-old self, she would be really afraid and would think “never ever”. I can take this knowledge and experience now into my work and my online writing.
Failures but I kept going
“Failure is success if we learn from it.” – Malcolm Forbes
I failed one semester project. It was nerve wrecking. Me and my partner submitted everything they wanted, but at the end the project wasn’t good enough for them. We spent over 200€ on this project and got nothing. That’s what we thought. Thinking about it retrospectively we learned a lot by failing it. First, we asked for feedback. Then we moved on with our studies. We just moved on. We accepted it and in the next semester we redid the semester project. And because we had to do this project twice, we learned so much more from the second time which helped us to develop more than we thought possible. This time our project was one of the best, we always asked for feedback, and we now have a better project for our portfolio.
It taught me that failure is just one step in developing in something better. You shouldn’t give up. Just get up again and try it again.
As an architecture company you will lose a lot of competitions, because there are a lot of competitors, but you learn from each failure, and you just need one win to build one project.
Money and trying out different jobs
At the beginning after quitting my job I had a lot of savings to help me do my studies full time. And thankfully my parents also gave me a little bit of money each month. But after a while I had to figure out a new income because I shouldn’t live from my savings. So, I looked for jobs. I was a tutor at the university for a first semester class and for children which had problems with math. I worked in a small architecture office for a few hours to do 2D drawings and office stuff.
It taught me that if I need money, I could always get it somehow. There were always possibilities coming up to get an income. None of the jobs were forever but I got some income.
I learned how to spend less money and how to handle money.
Last year I found the job I have now through my network from my student organization and it gives me enough to live here in my beautiful Vienna in Austria.
Time Management and what’s important
“Time is relative; its only worth depends upon what we do as it is passing” – Albert Einstein
There were stressful times where I had to juggle my job, my university project, and my big volunteering project all at once.
It was a lot, I had to separate it and I had to manage my time efficiently.
The biggest thing I learned from that: everything works out at the end somehow.
At the end I always have enough time to finish the tasks from the project. At the end some problems solved themselves or got solved from someone else.
“Time is Relative” is also what I learned there. You just have to figure out what are the most important tasks right now and then you do those.
I wanted to go to bed at 11pm, so that was my time limit and I (almost) always managed to finish the stuff I needed to finish until then. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it was enough to be ready for the next day.
When I quit my job I got a really nice goodbye card from my coworkers and that was also my motivation for the last years:
So now I wrote a lot about my last 5 years, I’m looking forward to writing about more detailed topics from these years, like for example my time management workshop I’m doing at my student organization right now.