Getting Back to Square One

The most pressing dilemma at the moment is an empty bank account combined with almost no income. Or in other words, I’m broke.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been broke. In fact, most of my life has been spent broke, so in a strange way it is almost feels comforting.

I think a lot of people confuse being broke with being poor, but to me they are two different things. To me “being broke” means you have no money, while “being poor” is a state of despair in which you cannot see the blessings all around you.

I’ve never felt poor, because I know I’m blessed. Ten fingers and ten toes should be more than enough for anyone to know they are blessed. Because the harsh reality is not everyone gets even that much.

Although I do need to work on being more grateful, I am blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. I honestly don’t know how I got so lucky.

However now that I’m a husband and a father, despite how comfortable it may be, staying broke is not an option. I have an obligation to provide for my family. So first stage of getting back to square one is to secure a steady income.

Over the summer, I worked a seasonal part-time job on a watermelon farm. Nothing like hard labor all day under the beating sun to work off all the stress that built up during the last few months of Babel-U.

Also after months and months banging the keyboard day and night, there was something magical about standing under the sun in a large open space with the sound of a cuckoo bird singing in the background.

Now that we are moving into winter, I’ve dusted off my old resume, translated it into Japanese and started applying for jobs that will give me an opportunity to improve my skills.

Being in Japan makes this a little bit difficult, because in the rural regions of Japan (Yes, I live in the boondocks of JP), Foreigners are not widely accepted in the work force.

Of course, there is always a position available teaching English conversation classes or as an assistant language teacher (ALT).

However I would like to reserve those options as a last resort, because the expectations of an English teacher in Japan are so low that there are few opportunities for personal growth.

Instead I’ve applied for a few website designer positions. My reasoning here is twofold. First I’m already proficient in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and MySQL. So I know that I can bring value to my would-be employers operation.

Second I feel that my UX design skills are really lacking and taking up a design position would give me the opportunity practice these skills in the real world.

My first interview didn’t land me a job. It went well and the owner was fascinated by this strange American guy who speaks fluid NERD in broken Japanese in the middle of “No Where” Japan.

Unfortunately the office manager (who is a younger lady in her mid-twenties) said, “she wouldn’t feel comfortable giving orders to an older man”. I was shocked! Not so much that I didn’t get the job, but that I was old enough to be thought of as an “Older man”.

Of course I understand where she’s coming from. Japan is still very much a patriarchal society and the importance given to age as it relates to social status makes it a double punch for her.

However it wasn’t a complete loss, as the owner asked if I’d be willing to do some remote freelance work. We’re still kind of working out the details, but I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

All-in-all there is a lot of clean up that needs to be done in order to get back to square one, but there is no doubt that the lessons learned through this rough spot in my journey will serve me well once I get there.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. If you’re a struggling entrepreneurs like myself or even a regular entrepreneur, I’d love to connect. So post in the comments or hit me up on twitter!

P.S. Thanks to everyone on twitter for the support and the re-tweets. I especially appreciate @porwig and @NinjaSentry for taking the time to send me words of encouragement.

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Born in the Rocky mountains of western Montana, Mathew now lives in Japan where he is the active "Crazy Foreign Guy" of a small town in the Tohoku region on the main island of Honshu. He is a father, a husband and a hopeless dreamer who believes that it is better to fail at life than to never try to live.

2 thoughts on “Getting Back to Square One”

    1. Hey Peter,

      Thanks for visiting the site! Indeed I do remember you =^D Although we didn’t get a chance to talk that much at JWC 14′, I’ve caught a few of your podcasts on Joomla Beat.
      I sent an email answering your question. I’ve used git and composer, but don’t have much experience (read the docs) with gulp.

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