A fresh start

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a terrible economic blow to the travel industry — airlines have shut down flights, countries have imposed borders, and people have been told to stay indoors for an indefinite amount of time. Amid this tough situation, TourRadar — a small travel marketplace startup based in Vienna, Austria — had to let go multiple employees today, in order to stay afloat. One of those employees was me.

The purpose of writing this post for me is to jot down my thoughts, and concretize my plan for the near future.

I joined TourRadar in December, 2019 as a Backend Engineer. After waiting several months for the immigration process to be over, I was stoked to finally be in Vienna, and start building awesome stuff for TourRadar. Due to the lean nature of the company, I was contributing in a lot of areas, while learning new things in the process. In terms of long term career advancement, I could see myself taking on the role of a Machine Learning Engineer, given that it suited my skillset, and my ever growing curiosity for the field of ML.

Obviously, that won't happen now. But the purpose of this post is not to dwell in the past, but to learn from it, and plan for the future.

So, where do we go from here?

One good thing that will come out of this situation is that I'll have plenty of time on my hands to LEVEL UP. And this post — along with the upcoming ones — will be my way of documenting and journalling that process. There is so much new stuff that I've been meaning to pick up: Go, Swift, fastai 2020, TypeScript, practising Algorithms on LeetCode, and much more. My list of programming stuff to do on Notion has more than 60 entries, I just need to figure out a way to prioritize them. I've also been lagging on my workouts as well, primarily because it took me a while to settle down here, and then the COVID-19 situation got worse, shutting down gyms. I can't go to the gym at this moment, but I can ramp up my running efforts.

The lockdown caused by COVID-19 meant that the news of the layoff had to be conveyed through a video call. When the call ended, I immediately thought of this video. The mindset described by Jocko is going to be my mental blueprint going forwards. Here's a portion of the transcript:

Didn't get the new high-speed gear we wanted? GOOD
Didn't get promoted? GOOD, more time to get better
Oh, mission got cancelled? GOOD, we can focus on the other one
Didn't get funded? Didn't get the job you wanted?
Got injured? Sprained my ankle? Got tapped out? GOOD
Got beat? GOOD, you learnt.
Unexpected problems? GOOD, we have the opportunity to figure out a solution

That's it, when things are going bad don't get all bummed out
Don't get startled
Don't get frustrated

If you can say the word GOOD, guess what?
It means you're still alive
It means you're still breathing

So, I end my thoughts on this:

Got laid off due to a tough situation caused by a global pandemic?

GOOD, time to level up, and find a new job.

© Dhruv Thakur 2021

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