Staying The Course

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When I moved to United States In 2000, one of my goals was to be independent and to find a good job as a designer. I was 19 years old, young, full of energy, and had very little money. I had previously worked as a junior graphic designer in Brazil and I ran a small shop with two friends. I knew that moving to the States, with no English, would delay my plans of working as a designer because I would need to find a temporary job to pay the bills since my English wasn’t good enough for a design position.

I’ve had many jobs since I arrived in the United States. I’ve worked as dishwasher, cook, carpenter, landscaper, waiter, bartender, and many more that I don’t even remember but I stayed the course through all these years. Despite all the things that seemed impossible to achieve, I stayed the course to what I wanted to do with my career.

Fast forward 15 years, I’m working as a product designer (the title changes rather rapidly if you’re working on the web), I learned HTML, CSS, Javascript, how to build websites, I even pitched to investors, and I founded a startup with two friends. I learned about sales, venture capital and finance. My journey has been a great one and it was mainly possible because I stayed the course.

Friends often come to me for career advice and I meet with them regularly either online or in-person. I give them advice on what they should do to get a job as a developer or a designer. I tell them what they should learn and focus. I connect them with people who changed careers. I tell them they don’t need a four-year degree to work on the web, in fact, great developers/designers don’t have a four-year degree in web development. I help them pick the right bootcamp for them. I tell them that they have the potential to make really good money but I also tell them that it takes hard work and focus. I tell them that instead of partying or playing video game on the weekend, they’re going to have to stay home coding and studying. I tell them that it takes discipline and determination but the hard work pays off if they stay the course. Most of them feel overwhelmed because they think they suck at math or drawing. I explain that they don’t need to be great at math to learn Javascript or know how to draw pretty pictures to be a designer. I warn them that in the first few months they’ll feel useless or totally incapable of learning but that’s normal, and in fact, I felt the same way. I tell them to stay the course.

So far I’ve helped a few people change careers. All of them have been successful in changing careers. They’re working as either Javascript developer, Ruby on Rails developer, or web designer.

Staying the course is very important in accomplishing our goals. I’m constantly reminding myself to stay the course. It’s not easy but it’s totally doable. With patience, discipline, determination, and staying the course you can accomplish your goals.

Stay the course.

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