I recently started a low-key role. It is a job I have been wanting to secure for several years. It’s also a ‘permanent’ position.

In late August, I received a phone call from a vaguely familiar organisation. It was regarding an unexpected invite for a chat. Admittedly, I couldn’t remember what I had applied for, since I was certain I had applied for the role way back in mid-July. I made the effort in my application, but I usually divorce my emotions after I hit the ‘submit’ button.

Strangely, I was reluctant to attend the chat. I had less than 48 hours to prepare, because the original automated e-mail didn’t reach my inbox. It was also the first invited chat that I didn’t prepare due to the lack of time. I suspect I was the last candidate to be interviewed. And yet, I had nothing to lose.

You may have gathered, that my self-confidence slumped to a strange low point, but I was hopeful in securing a suitable replacement that would suit my skills and nature. It had to be something low-key to restore my confidence. It had to be relevant to where I want to push myself down the road. Above all, I desired a role that would allow me to be creative and build relationships with others. I may like technology as the next guy, but I need to be creative to sustain my sanity.

I came to the chat as myself and disclosed my able skillset (and lack of). In closing, I even re-iterated the latter statement from my application form, which is more or less confessing one’s limitation. Blimey, who highlights their lack of commercial experience in the desired skill needed for the advertised post? Moi!

During interviews, one is supposed to exert self-confidence in an unnatural manner and evidence the core skillset in a commercial environment. Instead, I chose the other path – the honest route – the same path that always trips me up. I expected an obvious rejection as a result of my shortcomings and my recent departure from payroll, only to be given the offer the very next morning.

For once, I wasn’t excited upon learning that I had secured a new job. I thought it would eat away into my hours and days to learn programming. Obviously, the lack of self-confidence had started to fester deep within, despite my ongoing endeavours to learn new skills behind the scenes. Instead, I just fell silent. I was cautious, yet optimistic. I even stalled my formal paperwork by one week, hoping to learn of potential feedback from a recruitment agency and another place – this time, to no avail. But why was I keen to run towards an overtly technical role in a stressful environment? Purely, because that is where my commercial experience lies in.

But why would God open this particular door? Did I even deserve it, or was I experiencing Déjà vu? It is after all, a door which I have been keen to secure for the past several years. Was I circling around God in my faith like a wild child? I know the low-key role would benefit my health and sanity. I also wanted God to assure me that I was doing the right thing and that I wouldn’t repeat life with my previous job, which I have no regrets leaving behind.

Not only would I learn and earn behind the scenes, I believe the LORD has a particular purpose for me to rest in this low-key role. I personally believe God wants me to not bother with worldly reputations with employers that I wanted to secure locally, obviously for financial and professional gain. Besides, I am no longer confident to return to a fast-paced environment governed by indecisive management. I also need further months to develop my portfolio. Knowing the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript is nice – but now I need to rev up a gear, before I can prepare for Mount Everest.

My honest intention to secure this particular role has been two-fold. I sought to secure a low-key role that would pay the same amount that I was earning before, but without the stress and multi-layered bureaucracy of a high-pressured and negative environment. Also, if the role peaked my interest, I could leverage my experience to secure a full-time position elsewhere and boost my earnings by £10-15k within the same sector. And by the time I fully develop my passive portfolio, I will be in strong standing across multiple skills – should I wish to invest in that particular sector and settle down in a lavish pension scheme.

In addition, the low-key role is part-time, which allows me to continue with my personal studies in the areas of software development, systems administration and cloud technologies. There are some Microsoft certifications that I want to secure (mainly Microsoft Azure), but my current interest lies in software development, which for me is web programming, UI/UX and mobile apps.

Not only do I want to overcome my fear of programming since my student days and develop a strong portfolio, but I want to see if I can enjoy (and develop) a programming mindset – should I decide to apply for a technical role as a software developer/engineer in the private sector. Besides, if I were to secure a programming role now – I would be earning less as a junior, which would only frustrate me.

If I can (and, I know I can) brew commercial (yes, commercial) projects on the side and fully digest the technical know-how of several OOP languages and learn best coding practices, then I can overcome the junior pay barrier and actually work on exciting projects and not be bogged down in fixing legacy code, especially when I have multiple transferrable skills within IT and commercial experience across diverse sectors.

There is a reason for wanting a role in software development. Primarily is the future-proofing of my employment skills to raise and support a family and the added benefit of working remotely – which only private firms can afford. My secondary desire is to develop my understanding of networks and information security. Other benefits are a bonus (i.e. private health care, life assurance, generous pay rises, in-house catering, fancy phones and personal equipment).

The secondary skills and commercial experience are needed for this Kingdom-focus vision. I am just deliberately mute about what I share now. Even my new low-key role is directly related to this Kingdom-focus vision and it has been a job I have wanted before my last recent job. It just so happens that I will be gaining further knowledge and insight in such a short space of time.

I am amused that I will soon be exposed to VR and possibly drone technology, with keys to the whole org as opposed to a specific department – which is a new revelation for me. There is also underlying insight in cross-platform technologies across Linux operating systems and Microsoft Azure, both of which appeal to my never-ending desire for technical knowledge. I am also learning that the heads wants me to take lead on key web projects, which could pave way for new commercial experience down the road.

Did I mention that I was able to negotiate a ‘price match’ on my salary? Thanks be to God, I am now earning more per hour than my previous role. Of course, I will be paid pro-rata based on part-time hours, but the accrued money will be re-invested into personal development and training, as I further develop this Kingdom-focus vision. I am already seeking Godly wisdom to discern how I can re-invest His blessing come payday – which is likely the day this reflection is posted.

Even my ears is adjusting to the friendly chatter and humbling atmosphere among colleagues and management, which is a stark contrast to the swear-filled work environment of the previous ghetto. Gosh, I even received a welcome card which is unheard of.

They say that ‘information is power’. Well, I just want to bring glory to God in whatever gubbins I learn along the way.

~Richard

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