My 5-Month Plan

I will become legendary at my current, silly day job for my gregarious personality and indispensable contributions.

No matter how lazy or negative my co-workers, I will encourage them and offer to help make their work lives better so their workdays don’t suck as much as they obviously do.

I will give each task, no matter how mind-numbing, 100%. I will be present and leave a positive mark on everything I touch.

I will say hello to everyone and have at least three genuine conversations per day even though I hate small talk and I know everyone there hates me.

I will hunt with a flashlight and dig with a pick-axe until I find some way to expand my skillset and improve my current skills while at work. I refuse to waste one more day.

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My 5-Year Plan

Jim Carrey once wrote himself a check for $20 million.

In five years, I will have helped at least 1 million people get their dream jobs.

I’m going to create the fastest-growing, most obviously effective training and coaching program in the world.

Those who work with me will be unable to imagine working anywhere else. We will have a culture unsurpassed by 99.99% of other organizations.

To Do:

  • Finish Grow With Google Scholarship Challenge course
  • Complete the Mobile Web nanodegree program with a GWG scholarship
  • Complete the Google News Data thing [update this] program
  • Complete that other Data News [update this] program

Just to show I can and because I can, create kickass eLearning using HTML5, JavaScript, and After Effects that surpasses anything and everything I ever made with Flash.

To Do in 2018:

  • Complete every After Effects course at Lynda.com
  • Launch Coding After 40 and Coding After 50

Detailing My Dreams

I love the app pictured in the image below.

In Boston, tracking data to score government progress

I often read advice advising job-seekers to list what they want in a workplace and position including deal-breakers both positive and negative.

For much of my career, I felt such lists were pipe-dreams. I would accept any offer from whoever was willing to hire me. Employers who valued their people and co-workers who cared about what they did seemed like things other people had within their reach–but not me. More often than not, even when I thought I wasn’t settling, I ended up disappointed.

This time, however, I have a confidence and vision I’ve never had before. Not only do I have talent, skills, and many years of experience & education on my side, but I’m learning a ton more every day. I am very, very protective of this bag of tricks. Like a young maiden, I’ve sworn to myself I will not give it all up to some lame-o or charmer in some job interview during which I reek of desperation and naivete.

What I Want to Create

My career started, skyrocketed, rebooted and reenergized whenever I was doing something I loved on my own and then found a place that would pay me for it–they valued my purity. Circumstances sometimes changed and other suitors didn’t value this maiden’s purity. Those pimps used my skills to make junk.

There’s nothing wrong with making web apps in a responsive site. I can make a responsive site but sites are made to be responsive because customers use a variety of devices chosen and used for the user’s convenience. I’m not saying responsive sites and mobile apps are designed for the lowest common denominator–I’m saying that I want the freedom to make uncompromising beautiful, awesome, easily used and amazingly effective apps without having to take any of that into consideration.

See the giant screen in that image at the top? That’s the environment for which I want to design. Well, not really. That’s what I’ll settle for in the time being. This is what I really want to create:

want.png

Not on that scale–that’s probably multiple, separate apps but that’s definitely what I would want to work in. I much prefer my large screen iMac to my laptop. The Boston app and what Banner is using below is, realistically, what I want to make.

avengers_ruffalo.png

My Promise Ring

I can wait. I won’t look for this job. The right organization will be looking and they’ll find me. The longer I wait, the more skills and knowledge I’ll have for the right person. The more ready I’ll be when the right person comes a-courting.

Currently …

The stuff I’m making now in my personal sandbox and on a volunteer basis are … no boundaries. I want perfect. I want awesome and excellent. I don’t mind taking my time. I want clients who want the best, not what consumers will pay them for. Something the customer–whoever that is–wants and needs.

Backwards-compatibility, legacy browsers, etc. are not something I ever want to think about.

I’m still bitter about Steve Jobs killing Flash but I loved that when he felt you shouldn’t be using floppy disks anymore, he didn’t let you use them anymore. When he felt optical drives were only holding us back, he didn’t let you have those either.

I’m not even looking for innovation like that. I just want to do the best that’s possible right now with the tools available. Most people don’t even want that and those are the people I’m leaving behind like old floppy disks.

A Legend in Cryptography

Edgar Allan Poe died October 7, 1849 at the age of 40. Nobody knows exactly how or why but several books have been written about various theories. My particular favorite is Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe by John Walsh available used on Amazon for a penny.

My little painting of Poe. The website no longer exists.
My little painting of Poe

At least one poem and/or story by Edgar Allan Poe is required reading for most people in K-12 but few know how prolific and brilliant he was–in particular when it comes to languages (he was fluent in multiple even if you don’t count German) and cryptography.

“I CAN BREAK ANY CODE”

Many are familiar with the cryptography included in his short story, “The Gold Bug,” but during his arguably substantial, albeit short-lived, career as a columnist for various New York newspapers and magazines, he wrote about cryptography and, while working for Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, he challenged readers stating he could solve any and all ciphers they submitted.

He not only succeeded but whenever challenged in a particularly snarky way, he employed his typical tomahawk style to respond. On one particular instance he gave his response using the very code designed by the user … oops … reader. Can you tell what a nerd I am? These aren’t the funniest of his columns by a long shot, but definitely reveal his mostly unknown sense of humor.

“NOBODY CAN BREAK MINE”

Presumably bored after six months and no real challenges, Poe submitted two himself (see “Secret Writing Addendum III,” above) under a pseudonym (not the first time and unlikely the last time he’d do such a thing), challenging anyone to break them. Lots of people tried. For a long time.

152 YEARS LATER

The first of the two was solved in 1992 and a $2500 prize was offered to anyone who could solve the second.

8 YEARS LATER

A 27-year-old software engineer finally cracked the second.