Tales of fail

Slides for vodQA presentation

How I’ve failed

I failed school

When I started university I enrolled in a combined mechatronics/computer science degree overloaded with a diploma of Japanese. I had graduated high school in the top 3% in my state. I could do anything I wanted at uni. I was always told I was a “smart kid”. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I thought research on robotics in Japan sounded cool.

I developed chronic depression in uni and the engineering was just too hard. I started failing subjects and just couldn’t muster the motivation to study anymore. I had been working since the age of 14 along full tine study and at the age of 21 my brain said, “enough, I can’t handle this anymore”.

I failed and then dropped out of the engineering degree. I didn’t finish the Japanese. I graduated with the easiest piece of paper I could get (computer science). Even then finishing that degree was a struggle and required repeating a subject.

I started part time work as a tester in uni because I wanted to do something more related to my degree. I had worked in supermarkets since the age of 14. I originally wanted to be a web developer but in my first interview they wanted someone with more experience and that I should try their software testing roles instead.

My first software testing role was for point of sale software. You know, the software they use in supermarkets. So my work experience helped me land my first tech job, my degree didn’t really help.

Broken Ankle

I broke my ankle in 2017. I feel off a wall rock climbing. Before this point I had been living in Sydney for 4 years and had 3 decent tech jobs. One of them was for big giant tech company working on a well regard mapping and navigation application. I thought this was meant to be the pinnacle of my tech career.

However as a contractor at this big giant tech firm I wasn’t getting the work satisfaction that I wanted out of the role and couldn’t find a way to finds work that better suited my interests. I couldn’t ask anyone on the client side with help because it was against my contract. I was the only person in my company assigned to this clients project and couldn’t get help there either.

I felt isolated and like a failure for not being able to enjoy my career. The broken ankle also brought feelings like a failure as I was recovering. There was a huge impact on my mental well being.

The next role that I tried while recovering from this broken ankle was a quality coach role. It sounded like the optimal role on paper. However I didn’t pass probation. I didn’t start that role on the right foot (pun intended) and couldn’t recover from a lack of trust within the engineering team.

Credit card debt

During my 20’s I built up 35K of credit card debt. I’ve paid it off now but it also contributed to a sense of being a failure. The fact that I couldn’t handle this when I knew I was a smart person. Why was I so stupid with money? It has taught me to focus on having a good emergency fund and to reign in my impulsive tendencies.




(TODO) Mental health discrimination

Poor performance review


Test lead

Another I didn’t pass probation story.

Further reading

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