One thing I didn’t anticipate when I moved to Seattle was how competitive the job market would be outside of the gaming industry. I knew I’d be in for a fight if I went straight for video gaming’s jugular. It was something I wanted to get into, for sure, but first had to come gainful employment for which I was already suited and trained. So I started looking for positions as a web developer. That, too, has turned out to be a highly competitive field.

I probably should have anticipated it’d be this difficult. After all, some major companies with healthy profit margins exist out here. It’s natural for people, especially younger professionals, to scramble and fight for the positions that would be available. I wasn’t adequately prepared for that. Years later, I’m paying the price.

It’s taken me a rather long time, but I’m finally coming to grips with the fact that if I’m going to be employable to a degree that will support my partner and my distant family, I need to catch myself up on what I’ve been missing in terms of development and programming. As much as I want to get paid for writing novels and making games, my imagination doesn’t need the refreshers that my knowledge of languages like JavaScript and PHP do. Plus, there’s quite a few new languages I’d benefit from picking up — Python, TypeScript, C#, and so on.

I can’t afford to take classes, especially since my unemployment ran out months ago. So I’m on my own, using tutorials and code examples forked from GitHub and posted on blogs. But I’m making progress. I know that some people go into positions like the ones I’m applying for without knowing anything about frameworks like React and Angular. The more I can learn, the more employable I’ll be when I walk into an interview.

The barriers between me and those interviews, at times, seem insurmountable. I’ve sent out dozens, maybe hundreds, of resumes. I apply to jobs on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and CraigsList every single day. I’m working with recruitment agencies. Yet, for all of that effort, since my last contract ended in January, I’ve had three in-person interviews that could have yielded paying work. That, I think, shows just how cutthroat it is out there.

I’m not about to give up. If I have to, I’ll take another office job while I stay on the hunt. But I’m not giving up this hunt. I’ve had a dearth of energy over these previous few months, and with it seemingly to be finally on the upswing, the last thing I want to do is settle for less than I can earn. If I can land the right sort of job, a lot of the problems I’m currently dealing with will be obviated. It’ll free up mental bandwidth to write more, create more, do more. I’ll have to manage my time differently, but there’ll be structure to work around.

My job’s out there. I’ll hunt it down.

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