Slug: identity-crisis Date: 2002-07-20 Title: Identity Crisis layout: post

As some of you know, and some of you have figured out, and some are about to discover… I've been out of work for about a month now.

This is a situation I've never been in before - unjustly terminated from my last job, seeking new employment, and watching our emergency funds account like a hawk. It's hard to talk about - I'm still learning to hear myself feel about it. (Yes, I know it sounds weird, but that's the best way to describe it.)

I find I'm having a bit of an identity crisis. When you find that you're not doing anymore what you were doing, you have to do something else. My identity as a member of the workforce has been shaped by a variety of unique experiences (as has everyone's) and which of those experiences are going to support the future is hard to judge.

Right now I consider myself a web-focused Java developer. Or a java-focused web developer. I guess I'm foremost a web developer - the role and title I chose for myself at the beginning of my web-based career 6 years ago. I've always considered the "developer" part of my title to be a generic, boundary-crossing descriptor that has a creative bent to it. That creativity inspires both the form and function of the work I try to do.

Perhaps that's because I have a degree in Graphic Design, and a good eye. Before discovering the web I worked in several design shops. One was an assembly-line beach mag where I put together quarter-page advertisements 8 hours a day. The other was as a production artist for a real Design Studio. There I learned about the creative process from people who had been in design and advertising for 20 years or more.

So here I am, looking for work. I have a chance to develop skills that have gotten rusty, and - in a sense - shape myself for the positions I'm seeking. But the difficulty is - what DO I want to do? What am I willing to do? What am I capable of? The tech market here isn't exactly jumping. I've been brushing up on my servlet skills, b/c most java+web employers around here are looking for that. I applied for a position on an Interaction Design / Human Factors team. Heady stuff. I have a few areas I can pursue… knowing what is the hard part!