I used to be an author and ghostwriter, but a mental health crisis wrecked that business four years ago. Long story/short version: discovered I had bipolar in the worst way possible (by going manic in public).
This had severe long-lasting legal consequences, which led to an intense bout of despair and depression. I also lost my most loyal client -- we worked together on a full-time basis for three years -- which sucked.
Did I mention a friend turned enemy stole my dog while I was being treated and diagnosed? Crazy times. Depression made it feel impossible to write and my previously reliable outreach strategy quit working.
Clients seemed more price resistant all of a sudden and I believe this is due to an influx of overseas freelancers. It's also my fault for being too dependent on a single platform (Upwork -- but it was Elance when I started).
My record is clean now, but it wasn't at the time, which limited my job and career options to an extreme extent. I worked as a waiter at my family's favorite restaurant for a while and saved enough money to fund a gap year.
Plus we developed databases and REST API endpoints with Node.js. One project was a local park database. I made tables with columns that contained info about the park's location, amenities, and rating/reviews.
Our final exam was a cross-functional team project with peers: front-end, back-end, and user experience (UX). We launched a gamified healthy habit app to help fellow Lambda students prevent burnout (a common event).
My contributions included user surveys, a Pomodoro clock feature, and leading release canvas meetings. I also made a custom landing page with HTML/CSS that matched the prototype provided by our UX designer.
Traditional web developer and software engineer jobs weren't a good fit (read: I'm bad at code challenges). So I focused on client facing technical roles as those don't require you to solve convoluted riddles.
300+ job applications later, I'm a sales and success engineer with a business data SaaS called Xplenty. We provide clean, complete, compliant customer data to growing businesses (no data engineers required).
In 2022, I'll be publishing an Amazon mini-series that gets deeper into this story (a lot to unpack, huh?). Shelter dogs play a leading role. I've walked 250(ish) of them. It's the best thing I ever did for my mental health.