As I have a habit of constantly meeting people, I thought a quick version of my path this last decade would be helpful.
For those that already know me, I’m moving to DC in November to start a new full time position there.
This should be a lot more than 100 words, but I thought this should get it started.
In the fall of 2005 I entered the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire as a freshman. I was a first generation college student with a tumultuous family history. I was happy to be in college at all but had no real understanding of what it all meant.
I met a girl in my dorm at Putnam Hall and started dating Heather on December 21, 2005.
I spent 7.5 years in school, bouncing around majors and my other projects. Milestones:
- Majored in business (entrepreneurial), then history, then computer science
- Graduated with (as?) Bachelor of Science in Computer Science-Software Engineering, a near double major in history
- Three years and two summers as an Resident Assistant in Sutherland Hall
- Two years working as software trainer and help desk personnel
- A few years in various Student Senate roles; including a failed vice president campaign
- Devised, constructed, sewed, implemented campaign for University’s Blugold mascot
- Created ‘Momentum Monday’ as means of campaigning for said mascot
- Created ‘The Corps of Excellence’, a lofty but ultimately failed student org for implementing outrageous goals (idealism comes at a cost, kids)
- Probably a small number of other things I forgot (I was generally around)
During this time, Heather was completing her degree in Psychology, with a devastating focus on getting into graduate school for statistical assessment.
Oh Hai, Virginia
Heather was accepted to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, two hours away from the DC metro. We moved there in August of 2013 without any money or connections. I didn’t have any great prospects, but I had a CS degree and planned on making the most of it. The focus was to stay together as long as possible.
I found work until the end of 2013 at a non-profit building an internal social network (on the Reddit stack no less!) until funding dried up at the end of January 2014. Prospects in the Shenandoah Valley still weren’t great, so I committed to freelancing at that time. I’ve always been driven by my ideas and creativity, and at the time my professional flexibility was my major focus, perhaps a mistake.
I worked with a handful of companies in 2014, focusing on WordPress, learning the trade and building a business. Some were great experiences, others, not so much. Even at a best case scenario there was a lot of driving involved as we lived in a remote area and it wasn’t clear if it was sustainable.
On April 1, 2015 I decided I ultimately wanted my own company selling niche products on the WordPress platform, so I started PatchWorks. This is the first time I had a really clear identity and focus of what I wanted, but other problems remained.
Near this time I moved my home office to Bluehub, a new coworking place in Harrisonburg. At Bluehub I finally felt a sense of belonging in the local community, but it also made me realize I may need the interactions of a larger community.
In 2015 I also started a heavy investment in regional tech meet ups, including DC and Charlottesville (2 and 1 hours away, respectively), and starting my own WordPress meet up in Harrisonburg. I also started going to a lot of Mid-Atlantic WordCamps.
After our yearly summer road trip back to the midwest I realized I needed a lot more than I was getting from the valley. A lot more money, interactions, life. (Money isn’t everything, but it dictates a lot when you have none). I was simply struggling for no reason and it was time to get started with a real career. While a remote position was possible, I knew I need to move to the city.
Next Stop, The District
Through the WordPressDC meet up I was able to secure a full-time position with CHIEF as a web developer starting in November of 2015. I need to finalize plans on an apartment (probably by the end of this week), but everything is looking good.
This is (probably) a great move for our relationship too. She’ll be staying in Harrisonburg for the next three years (until June 2018) to finish her doctorate in stats. She may be able to live with me her third year, and she’ll be able to stay with me on her breaks, including the summers.
It will be our first time apart, but it is for the best of both of us. For some people, Harrisonburg is technically a commute. I’ll be without a car, but I’m planning on renting one once a month to make the drive back (and she’ll drive up twice a month).
We both work so much anyways, her especially, it will be great to dedicate the weekdays to working and weekends to play instead of the murky, tired hodgepodge we have now. There is a lot of ‘evening guilt’ for getting home and doing the normal relationship stuff and it’s not ever clear on where to put our time. But if weeks are for working and weekends are for relationship, getting through this next few years will be easier. Probably.
The move won’t be painless, but will hopefully help square my shoulders and plan for the future.
DC has a lot to offer both of us and this is basically the start of a slow migration up there.
I’m excited and I have lots of plans, but that will be for another post.