Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Searching for Direction

I'm sure a lot of people have experienced it, the feeling of being adrift, directionless. Just living your life day in and day out not knowing where you're going or why. Maybe not everybody though, as I've met quite a few people who seem quite content with the monotony of their lives, doing the same thing day in and day out, never bothering to overcome the inertia of their daily lives. Lately, I've been afraid that I've already become one of those people. My current lifestyle, such as it is, has been quite satisfactory for quite a while, and I could comfortably live the rest of my life this way. I see no need to change directions or shift gears.

Lately, a friend of mine mentioned that he would probably move to another company soon. That got me thinking again about my own career plans, about whether I would even consider moving to another company. And the conclusion I came up with was “Where would I go?” Moving to a different company isn't really a change of direction if it was still the same line of work. I've actually already mentioned it before to the people who give me my performance reviews: if I ever leave my job, it would probably be when I decide to go out and do something new. What kind of “something new”, they would inevitably ask. And my answer has been the same for a while: I don't know.

I like to read all these lifehacks, self-help, etc. stuff hoping it would help me decide what I want to do with my life, but so far I haven't found my answer yet. The default path is of course to just stay the course, keep working in the company (or at least in the industry), and move up the corporate ladder or something. But there's always that yearning to break away and to do something for myself; something outrageous, wild, fantastic and / or that will cause people who know me to question why I would throw away a perfectly good, safe and stable career.

The answer is “Because I want to be a rogue.” I want to walk the road not taken. I want to blaze my own trail. I want to leave something behind and be remembered for it.

I just wish I knew what the hell that something is.

It's not that I can't think of something I'd want to do. There are actually a lot of things I want to do. But I don't have time to explore the options and figure out which one is the best one, the one I'd enjoy the most and hence the one where I would most likely be successful.

What is it holding me back? One thing is my job of course. As a friend of my said, somehow I've already planted quite a bit of roots there. But I would be willing to risk leaving it behind, if only I was sure what I would be leaving it behind for.

Anyway, that's my resolution for this year, right? “To find direction.” So I have until the end of the year to try to find time to explore my options and find my direction.

When I started to write this post I meant to end it with “And if I can't pick a direction by year's end, I'll just choose one and GO!". But truth be told, I want to stay with the company a bit longer, to watch it grow. And to be honest it's really still a valid option to stay, as I genuinely enjoy the work and would probably like to stay at least a while longer to hone my skills in this industry. (And I like the people in the company too) The only real problem with the job is that I don't have much time to pursue other avenues of interest. Therefore I allow myself the safety of deciding that my direction would be “Stay for a while and see what happens.”

Will I choose an ordinary life or a daring life of adventure? Or try to pursue both ends, working as a mild-mannered programmer by day, and writing my own destiny by night?

Well… this post didn't end quite like I'd hoped. That happens sometimes…

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Roy Tang is a: is a personal site, an E/N site, and kind of a commonplace book; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.