Recovering From Failure, Part 2

Yesterday, I spent a few minutes spilling my guts about a recent failure. It felt good to get it out there and the support and helpful words I received made it feel less painful. Failing sucks and it’s hard to swallow the truth that you’ll fail at something you think you’re good at.

Now that I’ve had a little bit of time to look back on it, I see it in a more neutral light. While I’m certainly still bummed out, it’s not affecting me like it did yesterday and the day before. Truth be told, I’m just one of many. My story isn’t unique or groundbreaking. Even the smartest of people fail at things from time to time. It’s what they do afterwards that makes a difference.

This failure event was timed perfectly. After listening to John Saddington’s first podcast show thing called Ask The Indie, it got me thinking. What am I doing to continually enrich myself, not just in my regular studies but in my career? I want to be in a better position in five years, a year, even six months from now, doing more of what I enjoy: making things that people see.

(Aside: part of the reason why I chose a self-hosted option for running this site, based on WordPress. I could used a hosted platform and I would probably enjoy it, but that’s not what I’m about.)

I made a decision last Friday that every weekday, I would spend one hour doing something that enriched my technical knowledge bucket in my head and can be used to further my career (when combined with other essential pieces). This is where the site TrueAbility comes into play. I’ve known about them for some time but always looked at them like they were just a performance/technical assessment type site for job hunters. While that’s certainly true, there’s more to their offerings.

One of the cool things they offer are a lot of “101” courses on technical matters, typically surrounding development, Linux, WordPress, and other SysAdmin-y type things. They’re free to use and if you’re looking for a job, they have listings, too. Take one of their performance tests with questions chosen by the employer and they’ll send your results straight to them and likely put you on a shortlist compared to taking the traditional route of submitting a resume.

I really enjoy their platform and how quickly one can get started. The catch is everything is done via the command line so get comfortable with SSH/Putty, Linux, and other non-Windows development processes. Did I mention the tests are timed? I didn’t? Oh, well they’re timed. Most are 60-90 minutes in length. If you’re taking a performance assessment created by a potential employer, it would behoove you to not get hung up on one thing you can’t figure out. If you spend all your time on one problem and never move on to the rest, it’ll bring your score down. Each question is not all or nothing in most cases so come back to it and complete some of the other tasks, instead. It’ll make a big difference, I promise. Getting an 80% is much better than getting a 20% because you spent all your time on the first of five tasks.

Outside of all this, the real trick is to never give up and to never stop pushing forward. The proverbial horse will always be there to get back up on, that apple cart isn’t going to leave without you, and take advantage of your support system if you have one. It’ll help immensely. It’s helping me, quite a bit.

In other news, I received contact for an interview with another company, yesterday, so that also did quite a bit to boost my spirits. In my case, there’ll be all “no” responses until I get a yes. That’s just how it is.

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