In 2020, what with Corona and the lockdowns, all the Happe Puppies and Look on the Brightsiders and Positivers and others who see the world through pink glasses were clamoring about how awesome this opportunity is for some long delayed personal development, learning of new skills and… all that stuff you see in those vomit – inducing influencer motivational quotes. “In quarantine, I learned to play guitar!”, “In quarantine, I learned a new language!”, “In quarantine, I connected with my esoteric inner macaw!” they all clamor desperately trying to survive or bank in in these new conditions by selling you their online learning platform.
Between trying to cope with new conditions at work, life with reduced income and, for those of you who have kids, the joys of online schooling and lack of any out-of-your-hair-for-at-least-an-hour activities, it’s been quite… stressful, to say the least. Just to illustrate one of these things: many of us ended up working from home, which does sound neat at first. But once you battled out your right to private space (hopefully not in the bathroom) and use of the Internet, you quickly realize that things that took a minute to figure out at the office now take up to half an hour while you locate all the interested parties, wait out until their cats are fed and chitter chatter about the terrifying lack of the upcoming projects while Dave helps his son with math. Even the remote work that was actually done remotely before the quarantine is now more annoying than it used to be: Ioana’s home internet is painfully slow, Jorgen is pushing it through the VPN so just forget it, and Sasha can’t compensate for the time difference what with the kids at home. And that’s without all the cat herding taking place in the background. And I’m not saying all you lucky dogs who get to spend the whole work day at… well, work, covered in protective gear and face masks, are having the time of your life. While wondering if the kids burned down the house yet.
The last thing most of us are able to focus on are self-improvement, skill-learning or spiritual growth. In fact, it’s been great if you managed not to kill off any of the family members for firmly believing that “work from home” means “not really working” and feeling free to interrupt at any time.
Under these circumstances, all those optimistic messages feel more like provocations or chiding, rather than “motivation”. How could you possibly not have learned to play a new instrument in 8 months of being stuck handling more problems than you’ve ever faced and the inability to vent and rest through your favorite social or outdoor activities? Shame on you! And don’t you dare using the “I’m stressed out about the decreased income and deteriorating situation at work” routine as an excuse, I’m not buying it! Acquiring new skills only makes you more indispensable at your present work and more desirable if you need to look for new work!
So, no, it’s hardly as easy as they make it sound, and no, your failure to become the next Yngwie Malmsten thanks to covid-19 hardly makes you a failure. But, I have to admit, for me, that last argument resonated quite loudly. I’ve been putting off expansion of my web technologies knowledge due to a comfy position at work. Now that the whole industry has become shaky, I’ve been prolonging it due to uncomfortable position at work. And while it sounds like a contradiction in terms, it’s really not, it’s stress. Once you come home after a 9 hour workday consisted mostly of programming, last thing you wanna do is program. Also, once you’re stuck wondering about the future because there is hardly any work to do, you stress yourself out even more, and want, or are even able to, to focus even less.
And a new disease I’ve conducted, is reading and watching the news. Something I have cured myself from came back; mostly because one needs to stay informed about all the new fines and punishable behaviors. It got me wasting hours upon hours reading useless government statements, reporter comments and such.
So. At this point, I finally opted to stop wasting my time and start investing it, as difficult as it feels to do so. I finally started. And I want to log the journey; not quite from day one but definitely from Day Early On, which is today, so I can maintain a list of resources to go back to when and if necessary.
So the first thing I started off with were the tools. I’m not really a programmer, but I program for a living. Sounds weird, but the bottom line is, my tool of choice is visual Studio Code. Which I didn’t know much about because the language I use (pml) is a rare beast and doesn’t have much support. Languages for web and mobile dev, in contrast, have much support, so I started with a VSC crash course to get my rig set up properly.
That said, I had to decide what route to take early on in my attempt to expand my knowledge. I sort of knew I’d go Quasar or Vue.js, because that’s what I did in a firm in which I applied for work some few years ago (clearly, that didn’t work out). But I loved those technologies, and they’re alive and well today, and ploughing on. In the meantime Quasar developed a set of mobile dev tools, and Vue.Js has VueDart.
No, I am still not sure if I shouldn’t just stick to WordPress. I should probably just stick to WordPress. But I spent some time developing and maintaining a web site for an actual client, and I got really annoyed by how… clunky, WordPress backend really is. Really clunky, really slow, and annoyingly terrible to work with.
Oh by the way, I also opted for full stack. A long time ago (in a Galaxy right right here) I was quite able to develop my own php / mysql CMS from start. I did several little projects, one for a real client, and one for welfare. I wasn’t that bad. And a nasty introvert that I am, I don’t want to need other people. So there’s that.
So, to be continued…