Life reboot

My employment ended yesterday, I am officially unemployed. Interestingly, I am suddenly much more aware of the good sides that my job had - my work was easy, my boss was smart and I got along with her really well, there was an informal, friendly atmosphere in the team, and time to chit-chat. The wonderful feeling of security from a steady income was not too shabby either.

Oh boy, why did I leave? Have I made a huge mistake? No, these are just the usual dirty tricks my mind is trying on me. I wasn’t satisfied and I had good reasons to leave. I knew that it meant a period of uncertainty. That is the price I have to pay for the hope for change.

Now it’s about making sure that this is not a change for the worse. Finding some work in the Czech Republic would not be too difficult, but I don’t want that. I want to move to Spain. However, the Spanish job market has its “specifics” and I don’t believe that I could find a good job there (I’m also more selective now and don’t want to go back to the kind of jobs I was willing to do in my twenties).

I considered the option of going on a real adventure and trying workaway, where you travel and work in exchange for accommodation and food. I could look around Spain and find a place where I could make friends and put down roots. By the way, as a boy, I really liked the Czech book Wandering Wanderers about two friends doing Wanderjahre; what a shame that tradition has died - to travel the world and earn money and learn new things along the way, that sounds like a dream to me.

The problem, however, is that workaways are usually physical jobs. After years of sitting at a computer, I would even be tempted to try to work with my hands for a while, but my back problems are thwarting this plan. It’s slowly getting better, but every time I lift something, I feel all kinds of stinging and cracking in my lumbar area. I wouldn’t dare to work on a farm or something like that, not even for a few weeks. When I imagine going out into the world with just a backpack and getting stuck somewhere with lumbago…

So I have to either find some fully remote work or build my own little online business. And do it quickly, because I have savings for a few months of living.

Getting fully remote work is still not entirely easy, but after the pandemic, companies are more open to it, so I see some hope here.

When I was in college, I had a part-time job in a small firm that did data analysis for huge telecommunications companies. It was owned by the professor who supervised my bachelor’s thesis. I learned a lot from him. He used to take me to meetings with managers of giants like Eurotel, where I developed the ability to look intelligent while sweat ran down my back under my suit. I also learned a bit about the practical applications of data analysis.

I am not a person who looks back and thinks “what if”, but here I am getting to one of the few things that occasionally gnaw at me - halfway through my Master’s degree, my then girlfriend and I went on a holiday to the UK and, as life sometimes goes, the stay stretched to almost three years. I never returned to school or to a career in data analysis, even though I thoroughly enjoyed both.

Well, too late. However, I have an analytical mindset and a decent knowledge of statistics. Playing with data has never stopped being fun for me, so I’ve managed to stay somewhat in the loop, and now I’ll try to quickly catch up. I can’t compete with someone who has 20 years of career in the field, but in combination with other things I can do… maybe I’ll be of use to someone.

Another path I’m considering is to try to create a web application that is useful enough for a few thousand users to pay a few dollars a month.

Actually, I have several such applications half-finished already. I started learning Spanish, I made a simple app that helped me a lot. I made another one for analyzing training data, because I like to play with data, and apps like Strava don’t satisfy me. These are my “quick and dirty” solutions, but I could polish them up and turn them into user-friendly apps in a few weeks.

I tried to work on some pet projects before, but creating something after work isn’t easy, even if your job is not that hard. I admire people who have managed to do something like this, but it just didn’t work for me.

I would dive into something, make a lot of progress fueled by the initial enthusiasm, then I would be busy for three weeks, then I would come back to it and need three hours to understand the code I had already written, I would work on it for another two weeks, then one of those occasional hard weeks at work would make me feel tired enough to just watch a movie instead of pushing on with my project… and it gradually fizzled out.

Now I have that free time. It’s all up to me, undisturbed I can focus on anything I want. We’ll see what I can make use of it for. If I can make use of it. I’m quite sure that things won’t go as I imagine them now (they never do), but if I believe in something, it’s that I can improvise and learn quickly.

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