If you know me personally, in my adult life I was always the kind of person, who never settled long at one place. This was true for the places I/we have lived, also for workplaces. There are people who seek for certainty generally in life and as soon as it is given, they stay where they are, well within the comfort zone. They complain that “every day is the same” but the fear is greater than doing anything brave that would involve moving home or changing job. So they rather complain through their life.
And there are people like me. Well over 25 house moving and 15 jobs in 20 years. Always seeking the next opportunity, always ready to grow. As soon as I start feeling the monotonicity, the flame lights inside and ready to take the next step in my life. My longest lasting permanent job was 4 years and I could not stay a day longer. Even I liked my job, enough having a manager who does not appreciate the effort you make at work and that easily can kill the passion you have about your profession. I got less and less pay rise annually, not even a chance to be promoted but the expectation rose annually. I felt myself as a bird in a cage, who can fly but the space is very much limited. I was even told as a “low profile” person and I started behaving like that! Often I had a day or two weekly, when drove to the office while was crying. I did not even know why, I was just deeply saddened, anxiety took over the positive attitude.
Luckily, I was surrounded by some supporting colleagues who motivated I am capable of much more than what I did that time. Finally, I gave a chance to myself to prove and in 2016 I started my freelancing career. I got my first contract at a Scottish bank. I remember how passionate I was! Started trainings, attended on online workshops in my free time and drove to work listening loudly my favourite musics and smiled, even sang. I broke my chains, stopping being an old office furniture, I became “Mr Nagy”, THE Senior Middleware Consultant. Stopped being just Zoltan who resolves and knowns everything but he is really just a techie out of 2000 employees. Transformed myself from unknown to known. What a great feeling it was!
Went from contract to contract; loved proving to myself, wherever I go, I can self-start without any additional training and I can deal with whatever is thrown to me. There was a contract when I got a Solution Designer job what I have never done before but only on the first day I found that I was hired for a non-technical position. I ended up enjoying it and delivered that project like a pro. In an other contract, I had to migrate over 100 servers to the latest version without having any build documentation and every one of them were a custom build. The challenge was accepted and carefully managed to update every one of them without causing any outage. I must also mention how challenging it was working alone as a single Hungarian between English, Spanish and German speaking team mates. Every contract gave me a challenge and forced me staying out of my comfort zone. I grew a lot personally and financially (on the top, earned 4x more than in my permanent job!).
Then the end of 2021 came, when I realised, in the recent 6 years, I did not learn significant new technologies, those lead the market now. All my energy was spent on over-delivering my projects, traveling and keep fitting into new environments. I had my last significant trainings only 10 years ago. You know how IT is developing…even in 1 year so many new technologies can arise. I started looking for new contracts but with less success. I have decided, this must be the time to settle down and study. Must give up my freedom and this time will be a good investment I spend again in permanent employment.
Until today, I had this idea in my mind, I must give up the contractor life, I must settle down at one place and in one job for some years. Deep inside me, I knew, this will be a huge sacrifice and will be though to deal with. Tried selling myself the idea (and the people who interviewed me), I am ready to give up my free life (and earn half of the salary) in return working in a team again and being technically up to date.
Last week I had the third round of an interview series (out of 5, huh) for a permanent position. Next morning I woke up getting the e-mail that said “rejected”. For a few minutes I felt a real slap on my face. I was so into that position, started imagining it and the benefits I can get through it (full remote working, studying, working in an international team). So much effort I put into preparing (over 15 hours) and I felt disappointment. Their HR gave a brief description of why they rejected that they found a candidate with stronger technical background. I feel the real reason was behind the rejection, that I could not sell honestly I am ready to give up my freedom (I was really good technically on the interview). After speaking with my wife and my new friend Otto (always nice to have supporting, caring people around you!), I got the answer from my mind. This company gave me the opportunity now to think again, is this really I want?! Am I ready to give up my freedom? Is this the only way to learn some new technologies and up-skill? NO! There must be an other way which does not involve giving up my lifestyle. An hour later I thanked to the HR they rejected me and started moving forward.
Shortly after this realisation, I was having a late lunch in an Asian restaurant in London while a small, black bird flew in and straight came to the corner where I sat. The staff tried to catch the little fella but they could not. The bird walked to my leg and stood there, let me to hold in my hand and I released him/her outside. It was a strange experience. Later I Googled, is there any spiritual meaning such experience? I read about birds are sign of luck and freedom and often they are known messengers of angels or spirits. Spiritually birds can sometimes mean spiritual freedom or enlightenment. I take the strange appearance of this little bird as a symbol of my freedom and a sign, the Universe is supporting me and I am on the right path. I must respect my own desires and must not force something that is no longer for me.
I have now a training path to reach my goal – without giving up my freedom. I know I am capable to do it. This is my commitment now, please ask me in the end of the year with what result I finished this plan.
Never forget, if you became a Lion from a rabbit, do not force yourself to transform back! Respect your own transformation and why you became who are today. Love, Zollie