Leaving the Comfort Zone (for the Second Time)

6 minute read

It’s been a while since I last wrote in here. Today I’d like to share a thought that I recently had about some few stuff that has being going on around me lately. Two years ago I took a decision that many people considered “risky” (at some point insane). I decided to quit my job (relatively stable one and paying pretty good for Brazilian standards) and leave my country. In my head this decision made a lot of sense and a many people didn’t realize it. I did a quick exercise, I got a pen and paper and put on one side how I was at the time and and in the other how I wanted to be in that moment. The columns were completely different, so I decided to connect the dots and figure out how I will go to my objective from I was at the moment. These lines were the ideas that I started to created. From that I decided many things, including leaving Brazil. I’ll explain it in detail. My biggest objective was always to work in the video-game industry. It is a fascinating area, full of creative people doing products that has to be on the edge of the technology every generation. It was something I dreamed. But I had a very big problem: The Brazilian game industry is not well developed and I had very little experience in the field. I’m not gonna go into details, but at that time it was pretty incipient and paid poorly. Also, because of many personal problems I had to be away from game development for a time. I was pretty sure my future won’t be in Brazil. When I tried to apply abroad I was rejected due my lack of experience, so many companies couldn’t afford to justify hiring me ( also Visa, relocation and other factors were taking into consideration ).

It was in this scenario that I decided that moving from Brazil on my own will make my chances better. If I could sustain myself, build a portfolio and talk face-to-face with the companies this will make the difference. So with a cold-minded approach I made plannings, research and quotations to decided where to go. I came to Ireland due to many things likes: Easiness to get visas, Courses, Friends already living in here, English spoken country, and the list of game companies in the country (I has kinda fooled in this part, check below). As said, It wasn’t an impulse decision, after deciding the place I did many hypothesis, spreadsheets to calculate how much I’d spend, Plans (always have a plan A, B, C, etc) among others. In the beginning of September 2015 I was approved to enroll a game development course in Ireland which gave me the right to claim a student visa, stay 1 year in the country and work 20h per week. I asked to leave my job at the same week and started to prepare myself to move.

Change to another city is not easy, change to another country is in a whole different level of difficulty. You can never know the country if you never even visited it. When I came to Ireland I realized that many of the things that were in my plan was a bit odd. For instance, I discovered that all big companies in my list of game companies were not developing in Ireland, only doing QA and Localisation, which led me to a bad situation since I was hoping to get a job soon. Another thing was the lack of support that I got from the college I was doing my course. I almost got deported because they were giving me wrong docs. After the initial problems, I didn’t give up and continue my plan. In about 4 months I got a job as a Video Game Programmer in a company that was just starting to operate in town.

The box of Age of Empires
The box of Age of Empires

I couldn’t be happier. I left Brazil and quickly got the job that I wanted. In less than 1 year I got stable and paid back my investment. It’s been already 2 years that I live in Ireland. I have friends, play in a pub every tuesday, got my graduation at Kendo, to sum up I have an amazing quality of life in here. Many people who said I was crazy a while ago actually came to me asking how I did it. I didn’t find this sudden change odd or so since many people doesn’t see the opportunities in front of them. I always tried to help as much as I could (although in certain cases I wouldn’t recommend doing it).

The box of Age of Empires
The box of Age of Empires

After reading all this you should be asking yourself, why leave your comfort zone again? I got everything I wanted, I could be calm in the city and in the job that took me. Well, no. I recently decided to move again. I also decided that I should move to another country. One thing that I believe is that we should always move forward. To accommodate is not something I believe. Having this good ambition makes you a better professional. Unfortunately, I feel that in Brazil people value too much the mediocrity, the “It is good the way it is”, the “stability” instead of the personal progress. This is also another discussion.

The box of Age of Empires
The box of Age of Empires

At the beginning of the year, as part of my annual objective plan, I’ve stated some objectives for myself. One of the things I wanted is a senior/lead promotion. I saw that even though I didn’t had the gaming experience I was going really well at the company even solving hard problems with my past experience helping. I always liked the managing part of games as well, always volunteering to do some administrative work when needed. Another big objective was a raise in my salary. Although I got the job that I wanted I was earning less than usual for many different reasons. Again, I just put two columns on a paper and started to solve my problem.

At first I tried to solve it internally at my company. Unfortunately, because of reasons that are not important at the moment this wasn’t possible. Some few stuff that happened in the mean time at the company also made me think about the company itself. Afterwards, I started to apply to many companies in other countries ( based in a criteria that I created ) and finally got a position where I will deal with more technical management and with a better salary. In 2 weeks I will be moving to another job, to another country, I will have more initial surprises, more friend and more experiences to share.

From this little big text I would like to get some lessons that has been with me for a while:

  • Don’t let your comfort zone limit yourself. Provoke yourself always! Think if at the moment you have what you want, or if you will have opportunities to grow

  • Plan! When you are about to do a big decision have a plan A, B, C, etc. But, don’t be afraid to execute those plans.

  • Learn how to listen to external criticism, filter the bad ones and learn with the good ones

  • If you’re young, this is the time to do something risky

  • Maybe your first path won’t be correct, or definitive. You will have many steps to fulfill before going to that main objective of yours

  • Every time you achieve something, review your objectives, create new ones and the most important: celebrate!

To finish, the search for your happiness will require sometimes courage and bold decisions. Do it while you can. Learn with your mistakes and enjoy life.

Thanks for reading it. I hope this text will help you somehow.