I waited till I stopped my one-month job before publishing this year-in-review. Because I now have the clarity of purpose to go through 2023.
The 2 major wins I had in the year 2022.
- I was consistent in documenting my life daily in my journal for the whole year.
- I started writing on Apple Note and later switched to Obsidian. I prefer Obsidian and decided to move my previous notes to Obsidian. My husband observing me manually moving the notes handed me his phone, he already looked up how to move the notes easily. I read the blog and was able to use Exporter app to move my notes in less than 5 minutes. The act reminded me of the privileges I’ve enjoyed since having him in my corner, how he goes out of his way to make things easy for me and being someone that has my best interest at heart.
Here is a recap of notable events that took place in 2022. But at the end of this article, I bared my struggle, the unhappiness, the dark days and the day I gave up myself.
Long read but it had to be said.
P.S. whenever you see “we”, I’m referring to my husband and me.
I spoke at Ikot Abasi Tech Day on Inclusion in Tech. I wrote about the event here.
I was a panellist at passionBuzz, an event that gave out different gifts to winners from different sectors, all they had to do was to present a talk about what they’ll use the gift for.
I wrote about it here
I travelled to Isiala Ngwa in Abia State with my Ladies.
There I spoke at Isiala Ngwa Tech Day. I wrote about it here
After the event, I travelled back to my home and my husband presented me with a gift box for valentine’s day. I missed Valentine’s day because of the event. I love this man!
This month, I was consistent with my jump rope workouts, with a target of 1500 jumps daily.
I spoke at Women in Tech — University of Uyo, I shared my experience and thoughts in tech as a woman, the opportunities and paths to follow.
In celebration of International women’s day, I spoke at StartHub women’s event.
Jumped on a flight with my Husband to Rwanda from Lagos. I wrote about our travel here.
There, we climbed a bike and used a helmet, climbed mountains, ate interesting meals, visited the memorial site and made a Rwandan hairstyle. We were there for 3 weeks.
PHPSandbox got to 10,000 users. The growth has been exponential since we launched.
This month was all work. No travel or tour.
My Husband and I check into a 5-Star hotel for a night because we wanted to check out the hotel, Le-Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort. The hotel environment was nice but the rooms were disappointing for a 5-star hotel
Later that month, we got on a flight to Lagos, then took a road trip to Benin Republic with a group of friends. There we explored the lakes, food, beaches and Python temple.
We travelled to Lagos for our Visa Interview. My Visa Interview appointment was unsuccessful but my husband’s interview was successful, I wrote about it here.
Thereafter we visited My Husband’s family. The trip reminded me why I wanted to learn the Yoruba language, it was to interact with my in-laws better. But their son isn’t doing the job of teaching me.
We also visited Ibadan. It was my first time there and my husband took me around the town. It felt good listening to Ola recount his proud moments in Oyo while growing up. He showed me his Nursery School, Secondary school, markets, and park. He was so full of joy like he was reliving his childhood. I’m glad to have experienced that part of him.
Prior to this event, my laptop was having issues. My husband bought me a brand-new laptop, MacBook Pro Apple M1 Pro.
I spoke at IO Extended Uyo.
Cynthia and I joined the dance class at Ultrafit.
I travelled back to Lagos for another Visa Interview.
Hung out with my friend Akan-Eno aka Kanex. My home girl from day 1 and my Isiewu eating partner. We’ve hung out multiple times to eat Isiewu because we enjoy it.
I booked a Spa session for 4 of my friends. 3 guys and 1 girl. They were all happy and intrigued.
After one of our dance sessions with Cynthia, we went to the spa and had a sauna treat and massage.
We hung out with Techies in Uyo at Monty suite Sunday buffet.
I took my husband and his sister out to Monty suite Sunday buffet. My husband does a lot for me and every chance I get to give him a treat, I jump at it.
While driving our car, we had an accident. A teenage boy was hurt. We took him to a hospital. He was unconscious for some days and later woke up. This event was fearful. Most especially when he was still unconscious.
My brother also got injured when he was out playing football, his toe was damaged, and he was taken to the hospital. The month was tough mentally for me. The thoughts of the boy we hit being unconscious at the hospital and my brother not being able to walk anymore cos of the injury.
The embassy reached out and asked for a new document because the one I submitted was rejected.
Above, is a picture of him arranging my documents while we were on the way to the airport to send the document to the embassy.
A week later, I got my Germany visa.
I had Powder brows (micro-blading) done. The blading process is painful and I do NOT recommend it. The brows came out fine even though I did not stay till the stylist completed the blading. I couldn’t endure the pain further so I stop.
I joined Uyo City Hikers for a hike in Esuk Ewang village with my Sister, where we visited the river. We ended the day with lunch at Nourisher’s lounge. We ate fisherman soup because I wanted to eat all native soups in Akwa Ibom once again before I leave the country.
As part of experiencing things once more before I leave the country, I also escorted my brother to Ibaka and watched him play football. My brother plays football professionally.
I took one last trip to Ibeno Beach.
We informed our friends about the relocation to Germany, then we hosted them as a farewell hangout in our house. We laughed, had food, and games, danced and took pictures.
My family/friends celebrated my birthday at my house. I got gifts, ate and danced.
We attended a comedy show in Uyo, I wanted to visit old and new places before I leave Nigeria. I did. I made lots of trips within Akwa Ibom State and visited lots of people.
We finally ticked body checkups off our to-do list. My husband and I went to Ibom Specialist hospital https://ibommultispecialtyhospital.org/ and had a general body checkup.
We finally kissed Uyo goodbye. Left Uyo to Lagos.
While in Lagos, we had a farewell hang-out with some friends there. We also visited some friends in Lagos.
We moved to Berlin. We had a layover in Istanbul, then we joined a connecting flight to Berlin. After picking up our luggage at the airport, we didn’t have coins to get a cart so I approached one of the staff at the airport for a cart, and he gave me 2 carts free. That was the first act of kindness we received in Berlin. We got to our apartment with the help of our friend.
We hung out with Ola’s friends and ate at a Chinese Restaurant, I tried Chinese food, and drank Black coffee.
We visited the German Spy museum. I recorded a video of the place here.
One of Ola’s friends visited Berlin from the UK, and we sat out at Faviano (https://www.vapiano.de/de/) and had lunch, one of the interesting things here is how to place an order using the order machine and the bell for notification when the food is ready.
We celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary, then we ate dinner outside. I got to try Beef Kebab, chicken and chips.
We hung out with Jonesky and watched Black Adam at the cinema.
We had friends over in the house, so we ate food, drank and called our other friends back at home on a video call.
We watched Wakanda Forever in 3D at the Cinema.
My husband bought me a new phone (iPhone 14 pro). When I observed him checking out iPhone 14 pro max regularly, I knew he wanted to buy one for himself, I was secretly hoping he won’t buy the same for me. I was okay with the iPhone 11 I was using, I had plans to get a new phone when I get myself a new job, but my wishes didn’t work, I had to make a choice between iPhone 14 pro max and 14 Pro, so I went for 14 Pro. Now I appreciate the upgrade. The user experience of the 14 Pro is better than iPhone 11.
We attended Germany Residence permit Interview. I wrote about my experience here.
My Laptop stopped functioning, it wasn’t booting or charging, I took it to an Apple Store for repair. I got it back after a week, they had to change the motherboard, I was given the bill for the repair but the warranty on the laptop covered the repair.
We visited Brandenburg Gate.
I had Dinner at Pan-African restaurant. I saw more African dishes there than I expected.
My friends Cynthia and Dave got married, I so much wanted to be there but I didn’t have a residence permit so I couldn’t leave Germany.
We had desserts and Pizza with friends
I got my Germany Residence permit card. Now I can travel in and out of Germany.
We visited Berlin TV Tower
I attended DevFest Berlin, held at C-Base, https://www.myguideberlin.com/nightlife/c-base-raumstation, C-base isn’t a bar, it’s an authentic hackerspace, and one of the coolest I have ever seen.
We visited the Jewish Museum
We visited 3 Christmas markets with friends, there we ate pork, drank Glühwein, which made my head feel like it was spinning, and we climbed the ferry wheel.
I gave my husband flowers just because I can. His expression is one that will live rent-free in my head.
What do you do with flowers after receiving them?
We visited Panoramamapunkt, where we viewed Berlin 360 degrees.
We watched Fireworks at Brandenburg gate, where we met other Nigerian folks, we had a near-fire burn experience at the gate, someone threw knockout into our midst, we jumped and ran, but I still had a mild burn on my shoe, and from there, we sat out at a bar, drank and danced and wished each other Happy new year.
I started a part-time job with Amazon logistics.
The Not so good part
Now that I’ve recounted the good and eventful parts. I’ll share the not-so-good days because there’s beauty in good and bad days that has to be told.
My major source of unhappiness has been my feeling of unfulfillment in my career.
How did I get here?
I had a remote, good job I was doing in Nigeria as a Frontend Developer, and then I left the job to work on my StartUp full-time, we had some spare money for paying full-time contributors stipends, 3 months later, paying contributors was no longer possible so we stopped giving stipends. But I decided to continue working on it full-time while finding a new job. That was the difficult part. I couldn’t get a job for 10 months. No, at first, it was because I didn’t get the kind of offers I wanted so I was turning down offers but it got worse, from me rejecting offers to me being desperate for any offer even if it’s a junior role.
Prior to this period, I’d spoken at multiple tech events and was popular in Uyo Tech ecosystem. I organized Tech events and Techies hangouts. I was considered someone you need to have in your tech event as an inspiration to other Ladies about pursuing a career in tech. It’s been fun, and interesting and I felt like I had my life under control.
I thought I had a clear path in tech to follow. All of that crumbled during the second quarter of the year when I was still unable to get a paying job, I failed so many interviews and some, I couldn’t get to the interview stage. Then the sadness got to me. During the initial period of job hunting, I rejected some offers because I thought the pay was below what I was worth. Now I laugh in retrospect because I definitely think I should have accepted one of those offers if I knew how tedious the job-hunting period would be.
I had access to steady internet, and steady electricity, we had a 4kva solar installation at our duplex apartment in the most expensive estate in Uyo, so I had power 24/7, I also had a domestic staff that took care of the apartment, ran errands and cook when necessary. I mean, I was living big. I wasn’t lacking anything. But yet, I felt unhappy cos I couldn’t get a steady job even though I had side gigs coming in but it wasn’t steady.
I remember the night I was sad at myself for sleeping well, how can I be sleeping well when I can’t even get a job, I should be torturing myself. I left the bed and went to my workspace, sat on the floor and cried. God, what is happening to me?
Did I lose myself? Why is it so hard to get a job?
I code regularly, I have a steady environment, what exactly I’m I doing wrong?
Maybe I’m the dumbest developer. I doubted my skills. I asked myself all sorts of questions.
I was still hopeful I’ll get something, I attended lots of hiring fairs. At some point, I was desperate for any job. Because at first, I was selective, I wanted a mid-level role with a certain pay range. But since nothing was coming forth, I was now ready for any job, I didn’t even mind a junior role. But yet, I still couldn’t get anything.
Then came the relocation, I suspended applying to jobs for about 2 months, and in those 2 months, I had to re-strategize and figure out what exactly is the problem. Then I started questioning my skills, maybe I’m not good enough, maybe tech is not for me but what else can give me the freedom I desire like tech?
The period hit me hard, I deleted my WhatsApp account, even though WhatsApp warned me that I won’t be able to recover my chats, I deleted it. I deactivated my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I was offline for about a month and came back online when my siblings frequently called my husband to reach me.
I also applied for internships, but still didn’t get any. Maybe I didn’t work hard enough. I decided to narrow my search to companies in Berlin. I applied to over 30 jobs, I even kept a google sheet where I kept track of the interview progress but I abandoned it after the rejections were regular. I spoke with friends about the situation, they always said I can handle the situation and that it is just a phase I’m going through and that I’m tougher than the situation.
Some friends suggested I shouldn’t push too hard to get a job and that since my husband can cover the bills, I should relax and take it easy, that when I have kids, I’ll be occupied. It is a nice idea but that isn’t the kind of life I want for myself.
In the 10 months, I was unemployed, I felt like I’m dry of the will to work harder, the energy to get things done and the ability to network and get by with people. All the interesting things about myself were in question. If I can’t get a job, how can I be good at any other thing?
In those frustrating months, my husband tried teaching me some skills in software development, but that didn’t last long, because I fought him a lot about his method of teaching. That was ungrateful of me, as a student, I’m supposed to adapt to his method of teaching while giving him feedback. So he tried another means of support by buying me courses, pro subscriptions and anything I needed. That still did not help.
I can’t imagine how those moments were hard for him. Having to see me unhappy about my career frequently. Even on our most happy days, I still get to remind him I’m a terrible front-end developer that cannot even get a job.
So in December, I gave up. I woke up one morning and stop. Gave up. I was tired of trying. Was tired of everything.
I signed up as a sorter at Amazon Logistics. At first, I was happy to leave the house, I was so happy that I didn’t even check how much I’ll earn.
The job was tedious. I stood 4 hours daily, and I work from Monday through Saturday. It was physically intensive. My office was about 1 hour and 14 min from my place and I always had to wake up early in order to meet my train and get to work on time.
My time there was good though because of the people I met, the ones who were also searching for better opportunities and had to work part-time while pursuing other jobs. I met people that worked there for 4–5 years. I was just 2 weeks into the job and I knew I can’t do it beyond a month. The routine got tiring, I was bored at work but always looking forward to hearing stories from my colleagues. Some of the interesting stories are:
- A Lady from Nigeria who moved to Berlin from Ukraine with her husband and 3 children. She recounted how hard it’s been for her to get a comfortable apartment for her family. Majorly because there’s a room size that is allowed for a family of 5, so she has to get an apartment that meets that criterion, she also mentioned they currently stay in a hostel provided by the government in Berlin. The apartment is not cozy but it is okay for her, though she still needs a better place for her family and the search has been terrible. She shared the horror of the war in Ukraine, waking up one day and having to fear for the safety of her children and then moving few of their belongings and fleeing to Germany, her business, investments, friends, colleagues, and properties were gone because she couldn’t even stay to sell anything before leaving nor say goodbye, she left with her family to Germany. So moving to Germany is her starting life from scratch. Though most things are subsidized for them in Berlin being refugees from Ukraine.
- A Doctor from India that is searching for a job in the medical field and had to work part-time while job hunting, he’s been in Berlin for about 5 months.
- A wife whose husband is a backend developer in a company in Berlin, has 2 children, though she’s interested in tech, she feels like she cannot make it in tech because it requires too much study and she doesn’t feel like she is intelligent for it.
- Another Indian wife that is trying to get a Data-analytics job, during one of our shifts at work, attended an intro-interview in the toilet using her phone.
- A black man, who was a stowaway, came to Europe and sought Asylum. It took him a while before he was given a temporary residence permit in Germany. I’ve read stories of stowaways but never imagined how real it is until I met this man and he recounted his encounter on the ship, and how he was almost sent back to Lagos when he arrived. After He was given a residence permit, he was able to bring in his family. He’s been in Germany for 17 years.
- I met a girl from Uganda, who became my close friend at work. She is doing her MSc. She told me stories of events in Uganda, and how hard it is to get a Visa or scholarship to travel abroad. She became my Berlin guide, I was sick during the snowy days in Berlin, and she recommended warm clothes and stockings I could use for severe cold weather.
- I met an elderly man in his 50s, I kept wondering why he worked in the warehouse for that long, he said he likes the job, and he is just happy with the job. Then I told him I’ll stop working there after a month, he encouraged me to stop working at the warehouse and pursue my career. He was glad I was leaving cos he thinks no young person should waste their youthful age working a regular job. During his lunch break, he was talking to the wife on a video call, he introduced me to the wife and called me a computer guru.
- Another interesting person is the man that has been in Europe(Italy, Paris) for 25 years and he is planning to move to the UK due to the language barrier in Germany. Though he speaks German he prefers to live out his remaining days in the UK.
- Another thing of interest is the number of Indians in Berlin, there are so many. It makes me think the relocation process in their country is easy.
Every time I listen to people’s stories, it makes me feel like my life has been easy. I go back home and appreciate my husband for being supportive and making things easy for me. I don’t even feel the impact of losing a job aside from the unhappiness I feel, I do not lack any essential thing.
After 3 weeks at the job, I met with my manager and told him of my decision not to move forward with the contract after a month. He was unhappy with my decision but accepted it because I was okay with my decision.
While walking out of his office, I was proud of the people and friends I met. The stories I heard, and the struggles I shared. But also I was a bit sad, I’m stepping out into uncertainty again. With this job, I didn’t have to think much. The processes were automated. After a month, the work shift is adjusted from 6 days a week to 4 days a week with full days’ pay for the free days. It seems comfortable. I could stay there and be paid regularly. But, I actually prefer to write codes and it is the life I want at this moment.
Now that I’ve taken the break I needed from coding. I’m back at it.
Now for 2023, I’m no longer desperate for jobs, I’ve audited my skills, put a system in place to level up my skills, network with people, and prove my skills by putting in the hard work of practice, staying consistent and publishing my work. I work so hard in private. It’s time to put out those works.
My journey hasn’t been straightforward, I didn’t come this far to give up.
I mean, I’m a fantastic Frontend Developer. One that can hold the fort for the company I am.
That being said, this 2023, my focus is on personal development.
PHPSandbox fared well in 2022 and we ended the year by hitting our product target. For 2023, the hard work continues.
And oh! Ola, the one that has kept me calm through those moments, THANK YOU You’ve been a supportive partner. Your calm demeanour has kept me sane through these moments. I love you! 🤍