My career has not exactly been a straight path.

I have no regrets about that, I much prefer it that way.

But it’s funny, because looking back at some of the moves I’ve made, it’s easy to think at first glance that many of them went in the opposite direction to where I ended up landing.

Now I can see that what felt at the time like huge shifts ended up getting tangled back up with the skills and the experiences I gained earlier.

For example, my time working as a nurse in a hospital emergency department certainly helped me keep my cool when facing other types of emergencies from the comfort of my office desk.

Distance adds perspective

I’m writing this blog from rural southern Italy. It’s an environment quite different from the London suburb where I grew up.

The slower pace of life down here has allowed me to think. I’m talking about the type of thinking that I rarely had time for when living in London with a head full of worries and a train to catch.

As the local church bells chime every hour with what feels like increasing frequency, I realise that 2024 is just around the corner and I’m in danger of being left behind as time moves on.

Taking pride in good work

One of the things I notice about many of the Italians I meet is the pride they take in their work.

Here in Puglia, I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some fantastic craftspeople. Many of them are using skills that have been passed down in their families for generations.

  • When buying a leather belt, it’s possible to go to a workshop and meet the person who created it with their own hands.

  • When buying a pizza, the kitchen is on display and you can watch the pizzaiolo flip the dough, place the toppings and manage the busy logistics of the oven.

  • When buying mozzarella, you can go to a local farm to see the cows that gave the milk and the person who created the cheese that very morning.

All of this got me thinking about where I stand. What do I build? What can I take pride in contributing to the world?

This led to a big change a few months back in my freelance business when I decided to focus more on email marketing. When done right emails have a huge positive impact on the people sending them as well as the people receiving them.

But working with all of this email design and code, coupled with the bruises I’ve gained from my battles with WYSIWYG website builders, made me realise I’m looking for something important.

Digital craftsmanship

This post is a public commitment to studying web development with the approach of a craftsman.

I mean, there’s no turning back now it’s here and you’ve read it, right?

This is not so much a pursuit of a new career or a complete change of direction, although I do not rule anything out.

I’m going to try to become a digital craftsman who can build websites I’m proud of and document some of the things I learn. In fact, the idea of sharing as I learn is one of the main drivers behind starting this blog and trying to form a new habit.

Who knows how all of this could tangle itself up with the past to lead me to somewhere I’d love to be? I don’t know what that place looks like yet but if I sit still I’ll never find out.