Jake LaCaze

writings about writing and other stuff too

I started 2022 with a major career change. It was easy—all it took was applying to nearly 400 jobs in just under 3 months.

Disclaimer: What follows is the story of the job search leading to my career change. This post is not a how-to. I do not claim to have all the answers. Instead, I hope that sharing my experience and perspective can help someone else looking for a similar change.

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It's LinkedIn and Polywork official: I've left the oil and gas industry.

I couldn't be more excited. And it's hard to imagine how I could have gotten any luckier.

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I love the beach in winter.

The beach at Bolivar Peninsula in winter

The lower temps.

A Portuguese man o' war washed up on the beach

The gentle, consistent breeze.

A beach house with its shutters closed

The roar of the ocean, the perfect soundtrack to an aimless stroll.

The misty beach at Bolivar Peninsula

All with no pressure or expectation to get in the water.

Two pairs of feet on the beach

#photojournal


2021 was a great year in terms of meeting my goals. But I'm looking to try something different in 2022.

Jas Hothi recently made an interesting proposal on his blog: Instead of setting rigid goals for the new year, try establishing your intentions for the next 365 days. He also recommended defining a one-word theme for the coming year.

For 2022, my theme will be create. I spent a lot of time in 2021 studying writing, including working through the bulk of my technical writing certification. But in 2022, I need to focus more on doing, on active verbs, on showing and not telling.

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It's that time of year again when your boss pulls you into his office and pulls out the list of things you told him you were going to accomplish this year. And then he tells you all the ways you fell short.

I don't have a boss as I'm typing this, so I'll have to torture myself.

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Today I spent a couple hours watching Peter Gruenbaum's course Learn API Documentation with JSON and XML on LinkedIn Learning.

While I know watching these lessons has not made me an API documentation expert, I was pleased to learn JSON and XML are not as scary as I once thought. XML in particular feels familiar to anyone comfortable with HTML.

My challenge going forward will be finding opportunities to practice and get something close to real-world experience.

Eyes open

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If pressed to list my writing influences, these days I would credit the likes of Bret Easton Ellis, Cormac McCarthy, and Joan Didion. But my original influences came not from the world of prose but from music, in the form of The Cure's Robert Smith and Joy Division's Ian Curtis, both of whom showed me with their lyrics just how moving words could be.

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Why should developers be the only ones who get to have fun with GitHub repositories? Writers can get in on the action too.

The point of this post is not to teach you how to use git and GitHub. You can find other resources to help with that. I intend only to explain why GitHub might be a good option for hosting Markdown files for cross-platform writing.

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What if an outline weren't a chore, but the first draft on your path to fine writing?

Recently, my technical writing class was discussing outlining, when I was surprised to discover how many of my classmates hate the practice. But I shouldn't have been caught off guard, because I was in the same camp until only a few years ago.

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These days, one of my favorite activities with my son is to head out to the backyard and throw the pigskin. We usually start with playing a simple game of catch and then we progress to him running routes with me playing out my fantasy of being the elite pocket passer.

I never got the chance to play quarterback. My school was too small to field a football team. What little I know about the game I learned from watching on TV and playing Madden and NCAA Football back when that was still a thing. But I've done my best to teach him some of the basics: the slant route, the curl route, the fly route. And I'm trying to get him to learn the concepts of sister routes: The in route is the sister to the out route, the corner route is the sister to the post route, and so on.

If my son ever plays organized football, he'll likely need at least three months to unlearn all that I've taught him wrong. But this is one case in which the point isn't to teach him what's right. The point is simply to teach him when he's at an age where he wants a certain type of mentorship. The point is that we're spending time together, creating our own version of the game that only we play.

You don't always have to teach kids right—sometimes you just have to teach them.

#essays #parenting


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