Yesterday, after three days with little progress on my journey into the realm of J2EE, I felt a deep-rooted sense of despair that lasted for several hours. It caused my entire professional progression and future ambitions to come under review.
While these dark thoughts were clouding my mind, I was able to observe and evaluate my feelings from a third place. From this observational position, the despair was quickly analyzed and disregarded as utterly silly.
Evaluating my own feelings real time felt surreal. But even more surreal was that it didn't change anything. My analytical conclusion was irrelevant and the sense of despair maintained its presence regardless.
It must have been chemical. Like a brief (and mild) depression. I can't explain it otherwise. There was no argument against the silliness or easing reassurance that the healthy part of my mind could make to the sick that made any difference.
It was indeed a scary blink of the helplessness depressed or otherwise mentally-ill people must endure. Knowing your condition and logically refusing it, but to no avail. Oy.
Post-script: I'm fine. Today took me past my hurdles and I left me with a nice test application running on Struts and iBatis.
The feelings you experienced are there for a reason, and the good part is that you payed attention to them. On the rollercoaster of life the downcycle is where we accumulate the drive that propels us into greater understanding of ourselves and our situation - in the end it puts us on the right course. The next time you will hopefully be prepared for a smoother ride :-)
I, too, have fallen into the same pit of dispair as I take up the J2EE/Struts cause. Just ask my wife. She's legitimately a little worried about me too.
I'm no spring chicken, either - I've got 16 years of IT experience under my belt, mostly Oracle, and a lot of Open Source lately. Why does this doom cloud hang so omnipresently over my career? Is it the economy? The offshoring? Lamenting over the glory days of The Bubble?
Martin: I agree with your assessment, but I still believe there's something dark coming over us J2EE students that is indeed diminishing us. Enterprise-grade software, yea, J2EE itself, is spec'd out to such a degree that it robs developers of the personality that we live to inject into our code (think "Larry Wall"). Learning J2EE is ultimately a submission to the Enterprise monolith, acknowledgement of the commoditization of our talents, and the abandonment of our creative capabilities that otherwise make us indispensible. How can this be good for our careers?
I'm learning heavy-duty Java development. Yea! I can't wait to get home!
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