One of the major concerns I had when I shifted away from my software developer role was the uncertainty over the future.

Just like any developer I had aspired for a career that steadily progressed from junior to a senior developer, and beyond that I imagined becoming some sort of software engineering manager, head of software engineering, or even a CTO role. But the role shift that had happened threw me off of that track, and it was jarring, unsettling, and uncomfortable trying to, all of a sudden, reimagine a future far different from what I've envisioned in the past.

The stakes were also higher as I have a daughter entering university soon, and the financial implications of her schooling added one more thing for me to worry about.

Photo by Katie Moum / Unsplash

I spoke to my mother about my concerns, and as moms do, she gave me a sobering splash of reality.

First, she asked me if my role change involved a pay cut. I responded no. She pointed out that the level of income that I enjoy was nowhere near what she earned during her career – and everything turned out fine.

Second, she reminded me of the time when she, a college professor, faced a similar shift when she transferred from one academic department to another. She recalled that, while she initially felt rejected by her first department, most of her greatest career achievements occurred after she had made that shift.

Ryan Holiday, in The Daily Stoic, writes

... it might not seek like it makes a big difference to see life as something you have to do versus get to do, but there it is. A huge, magnificent difference.

I am thankful for the people in my life who nudge me and remind me that, while there are challenges ahead, ultimately, I'm lucky to be able to even send my kids to school and university. I'm lucky I still even have a job.

And I'm privileged that I get to do, the things that I have to do.