What did you get done this week?

I’ve been fun?/unemployed now for a full quarter of 2024 – an eternity in startup time where it could mean staving off death or finding yourself in a peculiar common form of death, perhaps worth highlighting, given three months is long enough that most people on the other side of a resume will increasingly read the situation as:

The company is now starting to read as a failure. The first time it raised money, it was neither a success nor a failure; it was too early to ask. Now it’s possible to ask that question, and the default answer is failure, because at this point that is the default outcome.

Maybe harsh, but it makes sense. The longer you’re out of a job the more likely you’re percieved as unhireable and your default trajectory is bad. I’m not writing this for those people though. I write as a way to think. Maybe if I can put words down I can think clearly and ring alarm bells that might be silent, even better I might get feedback that helps.

Paul Graham’s advice is about how to run a business but businesses are not necesssarily unlike careers. There are options but the suggested panacea is simple, do whatever it takes to increase revenue. Take whatever jobs/do whatever you can and focus on survival. Cut expenses ruthlessly.

The problem is simple.

I am undesirable for the jobs/opportunities I want. The market for software engineering has shrunk, changed with AI, remote first is increasingly a non-starter conversation and my background/history is not impressive enough.

There are two important questions to constantly ask in changing this trajectory.

  1. What did you get done this week?
  2. How long until you can no longer afford to eat?

Question one boils down to two things.

  1. Are you increasingly applying/adapting more effectively?

Maybe. I guess? There’s only so many ways to word things that happened in the past and that are no longer in your immediate control, there’s no way to upsell my years of experience unless I want to blatantly lie which is boring. There’s always a way to sell yourself better but I’m especially unmotivated by writing/fine-tuning resumes/cover letters. Idk. It also doesn’t help that half my applications are to roles I’m interested in – but not necessarily extensively “experienced in”, maybe there’s two lessons here:

  1. Has your skill level dramatically changed?

This feels better to focus on, the answer is no – but, progress. It seems like there’s something to be done about that problem – maybe too much. Unlike what most people assume there’s an abundant amount of work (see: opportunity) that needs to get done and almost universally not enough competent people to work on it, our AI overlords aren’t quite helping yet.

Gaining technical experience is simple, just go work on whatever direction you’re interested in. Odds are what you produce is totally crap, but you can iterate and in iterating quickly, there’s a suprising pool of of people who will magically appear to aid your quest. There’s an abundance of knowledge to be digested about writing software it will take you ten years to get some footing and then – there’s more to know/do. It will never be enough. Which leads to only natural conclusion, produce enough good work, create/solve interesting problems that people care about and somehow you’ll get the chance to create shareholder value :) for the “economy”.

The plan™️ (wtf am I even doing?)

Keep doing what I’m doing for six months(3/6 spent)? make more progress, until I’m just about to run out of money… then.. idk. Go back home and cry to my parents?

sponge bob standing infront of a banner about a job