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I had to finish up high school, and simply get out in the real world. I worked odd jobs, shitty manual labor and such for a bit. When that got old (or I got tired of being outside) I found a job doing tech support. After a couple years of that I came away with two things

a) I had trouble doing tech support initially because communicating effectively with people is hard. I learned more skills related to handling people during that job than I have anywhere else, and it's the most valuable skill I've ever learned.

b) I absolutely hated doing tech support. I applied for some other, better jobs, and couldn't get them. Doing support couldn't pay my bills, and I finally found myself in a situation where I knew that the best way forward for me was to just go to school and get it over with. I took a couple remedial classes at the local community college to get over my fears from K-12, simple things like Algebra. But I took those classes also to learn how to study. If learned to grind. And I also learned that even when I thought I knew something, I learned I hadn't mastered it. If a teacher assigned 20 problems, I'd do 40, and invariably I'd find one or two I couldn't solve, or had trouble with.

I had to teach myself work ethic. Tell myself I was working hard, not that I was smart. After all, if I was so smart I wouldn't be 4 years out of High School taking Algebra classes at a Community College would I?

I generally avoided distractions, I had friends I studied with, but I didn't put a whole lot into the relationships. I eventually found people who were also interested in studying and working hard and we became a regular study group throughout most of my undergrad. That helped satiate my desire for human interaction, without becoming a drag on my time or a distraction away from school. I met my wife through that group. But we got together knowing we'd support each other through our schooling and study. So it wasn't like the relationship was a huge distraction like it can often become. (We studied extra together instead of going on dates, cheaper and more useful in the long run).

It wasn't easy. I still have work ethic issues that crop up. But I know how to spot them and work on working them out. Turns out these days, working in a more managerial position, most of the work is mindless grindwork, filling out paperwork, attending meetings, that sort of thing. But if I hand't taught myself to do it, I never would have made it.

The thing is, I knew I was smart, so I considered everything I couldn't do, even grindwork, as something I knew I could figure out. I took everything as a challenge to my intellect, and that's seen me through pretty well.




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