- Glorious anger -

19th July '18

Health and happiness.

For years I've said that the only two things that matter in the world, are health and happiness.

For if you're not healthy, and if you're not happy, then what else really matters?

Does achievement matter? Does wealth matter? Does experience matter?

And they go hand in hand. It's hard to be healthy if you're not a happy person, and it's hard to be happy if you're not a healthy person.

Other things obviously influence them.

Relationships, comfort, your job, your diet, your sleep patterns and a million other lifestyle factors are going to impress on them. But at the end of the day, all that really matters is are you healthy, and are you happy?

In the glut of possibilities running through my mind, I'd kind of lost sight of that. But in teaching an ever-frustrating class at 2pm on weekends this term, prior to which I've been awake, on my feet, and all but unfed since 5:45am such is my schedule, it took a student at the very end of this final class of my weekend, rudely answering his phone loudly, as I was trying to teach, that I got reminded.

I have hated weekends this term anyway.

Not only is the schedule ridiculous, teaching from 8am to 4:30pm, essentially without a break considering how I teach.

More self-serving teachers take one, but I use the time between my classes to firstly stay behind after one class to help any students that need anything, then to go to my next room to get it set-up and get things boarded, ready for the class.

My weekends though, are also cursed with scores of unmotivated and, at times, frankly rude students, who make me question why... why did I spend four unpaid hours, going over your writings this week, to help you learn better? Why did I forego having a break before class, to spend fifteen minutes boarding things, to help you learn better?

I've always taken a sort-of... Hippocratic oath approach to teaching, where I've always promised myself that no matter how uncaring the students, no matter how bad my schedule, that I'm always going to do my best. That I'm always going to try my hardest to help them learn, even if they show no desire or motivation to even learn themselves.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. But I never want to be the reason that they don't learn.

You've got to care in this job. If you don't care, then what are you doing it for?

You damn sure don't do this for the money.

You do it because it's something positive, helping people to learn. You do it because it's rewarding.

With my testing weekend schedule, where I'll be on my feet, unfed, and unrested for the entirety of my day, my unmotivated and rude weekend students really make me question why I give a fuck.

They make me question why I spend all this unpaid time trying to make the classes better, for them, when they do little but disregard it.

Teaching can be a joyous thing when students have a goal, and you play a key part and see them progress on their journey to get there.

Since my very first class as a teacher, I've said that all I ever want is students who care, and who want to learn.

It's what I have with my weekday classes this term, and why I've so vehemently resisted having to teach the juniors classes on the weekends, because... well who wants to be stuck in a room with a bunch of teenagers who're forced to be there by their parents?

Tell me where there's any enjoyment or reward in that.

Lately though, I've generally been writing these blogs on Thursdays or Fridays, because they're the only days where I have any time, and it's how I can come to speak as highly of teaching as I did in the last blog.

Last night was my final class with my level 9 class, and there hasn't been one moment with that class that I didn't enjoy. They were friendly, they were motivated, and just generally good people to be around.

I'm going to miss seeing them twice per week.

If I wrote these blogs on a Sunday evening though, they'd have a very different tone, for my term has a more distinctive split than normal, whereby weekdays are really very enjoyable, but weekends I want to gauge my own eyeballs out with a pencil.

And as frustrated as I was after last Sunday's class, I wrote quite a lot of notes into my phone to help calm my mind down, so I'm going to try and regurgitate them to reflect how I was feeling on Sunday evening, even if it's not truly reflective of how I feel now.

And my weekends this term are... horrible.

Do you remember how I only have these three classes, because my manager came to me and told me how much we were really hurting for staff, and how much it'd really help them out if I could teach these classes, because there was no one else?

I reluctantly agreed, then as soon as the schedule got posted, two different teachers came to me and asked how I was able to get so many classes on the more lucrative weekends, because they really needed the money.

That immediately frustrated me.

When my boss said that he really needed my help, what he actually meant was that he has no clue about the wants or needs of any of his staff; who wants hours, who doesn't. And I suppose that he doesn't want to admit that he was a dumbass for getting rid of preference forms, so... 'I'll just pretend I know what's going on, and randomly choose someone to take-on this extra work instead.'

That was immediately frustrating, but ok, it's too late now, I'm stuck with this schedule.

And with my first class starting at 8am on Saturdays and Sundays, I have to get up at 5:45am to get showered and shaved, and to have a quick smoothie before going to work.

Typically in the weeks, because I work evenings, I wake-up at 8:30 to 9:00am, so already this is about a three-hour shift in my body clock.

Come the end of the weekend, I'm six hours short on sleep, so that immediately impacts my mood.

I also won't have the time to really eat anything else until I get back home again.

I sometimes take some nuts and dried fruit and just snack on them during the classes, but even if I do that, come the end of the day, I'm still pretty underfed.

So spending the day being tired and hungry, the actions of these already-testing students are just magnified.

So it probably wasn't a coincidence that it was right at the end of my final class on the Sunday of the penultimate week of term, that I got pushed to the point of snapping at this kid who answered his phone loudly and uncaringly, as I was stood at the front of the class trying to teach.

Think of the team meeting in Shaun of the Dead, except instead of having a calm, passive reaction, I fucking exploded.

The kid who was on the receiving end looked absolutely terrified by my reaction, but he deserved a lot more in all honesty. But that wasn't just an off-the-cuff reaction.

That was the culmination all the bullshit that I've been dealing with from my weekend students all term, coming to the fore in one moment of glorious anger.

That sentence sounds better if you say it in a Scottish accent.

I was still fuming an hour later when I got home, just asking myself why... why am I sacrificing so much to help people to learn as best as possible, when it isn't even reciprocated with courtesy, let alone effort or motivation.

Why am I doing that? Why am I caring?

But if I don't care, then what am I here for?

What am I here for?

It took me getting pushed this far to realise that I've been way overthinking all of this.

There's a very simple question that I need to ask myself:

Am I happy?

And there's a very simple answer:

No.

At no point over the last six months have I been happy and enjoying life.

Forgetting everything else, that makes it pretty obvious that I need a change.

There are no other choices. There is no counter to that.

Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. Something needs to change.

And that change could be anything.

It could mean that I start exercising differently, or eating a different way.

It could mean that I move to a new apartment, or simply alter some of my perspectives. Maybe I find the time to start meditating everyday again, and not let some bad moments ruin my day, as per this post on Reddit this morning.

But I recognise my job as the source of all of my woes. And this moment was the straw that broke the camel's back, where I was just... I think I'm done. I think I'm done with this job.

It was my Gavrilo Princip moment.

Everything was already in place and might have ended up like this anyway. But this kid answering his phone in class as I was trying to teach, was just the spark to the powder keg. And it might have just changed my life.

I stand by everything that I said in the last blog.

When you've got good students, then teaching is a joy.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my weekdays this term, and I'm sad to have said goodbye to one of my classes yesterday, with the other two coming tonight.

But it has to be a two-way street. As a teacher, you get zero satisfaction from this job when your students don't give a fuck.

And since my new manager took over, got rid of preference forms, and neglected to learn a single thing about any of his staff, he of course has no idea about what levels and class-types teachers are comfortable with.

I find it eternally frustrating to hear the constant complaints in the teacher's room, from teachers who have to teach lower levels, but hate teaching lower levels.

I love them. I'm like a horse whisperer for people with low-level English.

I never have a problem communicating, and I'm yet to ever encounter an unmotivated level 1 class.

One of my classes that finishes tonight is a level 1 class, and it's going to be a sad goodbye. Like releasing a butterfly into the wild.

But having a class of this level is an anomaly under my new manager. I've typically got stuck with the higher-level classes, and I just don't enjoy them as much.

There's just not such a good fit of teachers to students since this guy took-over, and that grates on you.

Having classes that you don't enjoy eventually wears you down to where I am now.

Or perhaps to where I was last Sunday afternoon, where I just got to the point of... I'm done.

For the first time, I really felt like 'I don't think I'm coming back here after the holiday.'

I can't in good conscience come back to this job. I can't return to a situation that for the last six months has made me unhappy.

Why would I?

In fact, when I say it like that, why was there even any doubt about leaving? And why have I even been here this long?

Five other teachers had the good sense to get-out last term, and perhaps I'm a fool for not joining them.

  1. Stay in my current job
  2. Apply for another job in Bangkok
  3. Apply for another job elsewhere (probably Chiang Mai)
  4. Become a hobo again
  5. Do a programming bootcamp

With this cast-iron mindset, it was amazing how much things progressed over the next 24 hours.

Perhaps not so much in actions, but at least in the amount of things that I figured-out in my mind.

I was still set on not making a final decision until a week or two back in London, because why would I waste that opportunity to look back on everything with a bit more perspective?

But I was now so sure that final decision would be to leave Bangkok, that over the next 24 hours, I spent a lot of time researching Le Wagon Bali.

This'll sound a stupid reason to have been drawn to them in the first place, but on their Instagram page there's a picture of them having their students doing yoga/meditation and... I like how they consider relaxation and calming of the mind as important.

Why is it that I'm determined to leave this job?

It's really because I've lost faith that I can get my mind into a positive state while staying here.

And it's comforting for me to think of having a school that considers the importance of mental well-being.

I wish that my current boss did.

I've since realised that there are similar pictures on almost all the different Le Wagon Instagram pages, but by the time I realised that, my mind had zeroed-in on Bali.

And then I started making plans to do the things that I could do before going back to London.

Arrange for the cancellation of my wifi connection, cancel my gym membership. I even contacted a guy on Reddit who offers free programming lessons via Skype.

I didn't get any further with him, because something about it just seemed too good to be true.

He claimed that this was his way of giving back to the programming community, and he wanted to teach people in order to understand the problems that they have while learning, because he wants to make a programming course.

There's a 98% chance that's completely true.

I don't know, my spidey-senses kind of told me that something was off though, so I didn't go any further with that.

But I started looking-up visas and accommodation in Bali.

Even though I didn't do anything concrete, I was figuring-out everything in my mind as if I was gone; as if this was the end.

I'll cancel my wifi on this date, I'll cancel my gym membership on Friday, I'll do this, I'll do that...

For those next twenty-four hours it was full steam ahead on the get the fuck out of Bangkok and out of teaching and into programming train.

There are a million different things that can and will change, but what I was thinking was I'd fly back to London and spend the first ten or so days back there as I'd been planning on doing anyway: Working through this teach yourself iOS development book.

Sometime in the second week of August, I'd make it all official by informing my boss that I wouldn't be returning, and my landlord that I wouldn't be extending my lease.

My ideal scenario is that I'd be able to agree a two-week extension on my lease in exchange for half a month's rent, but... well we'll see.

I'd then sign-up for Le Wagon Bali's course starting October 1st.

Assuming that they accept, there is I believe, about 40 hours of pre-course work that you need to do, so I'd start working through that.

I'd then fly back to Bangkok as planned, and stay in my apartment until late September if I could come to an agreement with my landlord.

If not I'd find some quiet, cheap alternative accommodation in either Thailand, Indonesia, or somewhere in between, and spend the time that I had glued to my laptop in preparation.

The bootcamp itself would start on October 1st, and I would expect to have to endure the hardest, most stressful eight weeks of my life.

I'd finish in late November lost, confused, severely sleep-deprived, massively out of shape, and completely unsure what to do or where to turn.

From that point on I'd continue to improve myself, continuing to learn about programming, slowly building a portfolio that employers could look at.

I'd start applying for jobs.

Money may well dry-up before getting one, so I might need to source some kind of alternative income in the interim. Maybe teaching online, or perhaps finding summer camps, or temporary teaching jobs that I could do.

But then hopefully, at some point, maybe mid-way through next year, after hundreds of failed applications, and lots of failed interviews, I'd finally get offered a job and get my foot onto the bottom rung of the programming ladder.

And I'd go on from there and never look back.

That's my plan.

I do need to remember why I started thinking about this though.

At no point was it ever about becoming a slave for someone else and spending the rest of my life staring at a computer screen.

That doesn't sound any better than the situation that I'm in now.

Having grown frustrated with my lack of free time to learn app development, I started looking-into other options, and then this thing kind of took on a life of its own. And before I knew it, I'd gone from wanting to teach myself app development on the side of my normal job, to being about to invest thousands of pounds into becoming a full-blown developer and changing my career forever.

That wasn't a very conscious change that occurred, and it certainly isn't something that I've especially thought through.

My mind has a tendency of running-away with itself though. You might have figured that out if you read this blog. And before I decide anything, I really need to take a step back an look at this and say... ok, so what is it that you really want to do?

And remembering that when this started it was simply about app development, I see posts like this one on Reddit and think... man, I know more than that guy, and he's got a job already.

Do I really even need one of these bootcamps?

With just a bit more free-time from my job, maybe I could make enough progress in app development to go it alone.

With my boss being less-retarded with the schedule; something that is possible in the coming, quieter terms, I might even have the free-time to be able to do things how I've wanted to do them all along.

But then... as I've said already in other blogs, I'm not banking my future on this guy.

Of course, then what happened, was that I went back to work on Monday.

Time to have a full night's sleep the night before. Having lunch before going to work. Fun, motivated students. And suddenly that fervor to leave this job as soon as possible dissipated.

This term's been a real roller-coaster of emotions in that regard, as I've loved teaching on weekdays, but absolutely loathed the weekends.

It's probably why I've been incapable of making any firm decision. You could almost have put my mood on a schedule.

Sunday afternoons have been the time for my weekly low. Wednesday evenings, when most of my out-of-class work for the week has been done, and I've just taught my two favourite classes this term, would be a high, and I'd be sitting on the bus home, thinking about how great life is.

I haven't had any consistent emotions from which I can have the time to really accept and get comfortable with any ideas.

I hate this job, I'm leaving. Wait, I love it again. No I don't, fuck this job, fuck my life. Wait, it's great again. Oh no it's not, fuck this.

That's been my term. Which is probably why I've deferred making an ultimate decision until I'm back in London and can look back at it all of one mind because... well I'm confused as fuck right now.

Another thing that I think I've done, is fallen in love with the idea of programming, rather than the reality of programming.

I have a very logical mind. I pay great attention to detail. I can get completely involved in puzzles and problem-solving.

My PS4 has been all but retired lately. I used to use it in the evenings, after work, on the assumption that when I was tired, it was good to relax at the end of the day. But I've even been trying to use that time more productively.

I'm still kind of loosely paying attention to gaming news though. And the annual E3 conference was fairly recently.

That is the big conference where game developers reveal their next big projects to get people excited.

I didn't watch any of it live, but I still found it impossible to avoid the hype, with videos and posts appearing on my Reddit feed.

And for all the amazing-looking video games coming out of this conference, do you know which one got me the most excited.

Tetris.

I'm not joking.

There's a new, VR-compatible version of Tetris coming this fall, called 'Tetris Effect'. And you know why I look forward to flying home every year?

Because on EVA Air flights, they have Tetris as part of the on-board entertainment.

I'll take other things to do as well; I have some articles I want to read, and podcasts to listen to. But for likely hours on this flight, I'll play Tetris.

And then just as the trailer says, I'll fall asleep to the sight of blocks... falling.

A few years ago, I played for most of the way back, and I think for about five days after I got home, I couldn't unsee Tetris. As I was falling asleep, it was just playing in my mind.

But that's how my mind works.

I'm a very logical thinking person.

I'm big on lists. There has to be a logical path for everything.

As much as I want to be, I'm not very good at spontaneity.

And I love the idea of programming, because you need to be meticulous, and logical, thinking things through, step-by-step.

But how does that utopian idea of programming that I have in my mind, differ from how a typical day for Jethro the programmer might be.

It's all very well thinking about the finished product of these grand projects I could create. But would I enjoy the journey. Would I enjoy the day-to-day life?

I found an article that said that within four months, 79% of bootcamp graduates were employed in programming.

I believe that figure was specifically for the US, so I won't put too much stock into it, but I was starting to really feel like a bootcamp is a viable option for getting into programming.

So it's not really that I don't think that I can't get into this. It's more... do I want to?

I mean, I enjoy teaching. On the shaky assumption that I have good students, I love teaching. But I've still grown to hate the lifestyle that this job's affording me.

And even if I love programming, what is the point if I hate everything else in my life?

What would a day in the life of Jethro the programmer look like?

And I think that first and foremost, I'd probably have to live in the UK.

I have no idea how strong international demand is for programmers. But on the assumption that Brexit goes ahead, and I'm unable to get a German passport, then the market of companies that are willing to hire me would surely be exclusively in the UK.

That might change over time as my competence does. But in the early stages, with little more than a bootcamp to my name, who's going to go through the cost and hassle of getting me a visa?

I'll be lucky if anyone wants to hire me at all.

It's why getting a German passport or not, could be so key. Because I'd guess that what? Maybe only a fifth of Europe's programming jobs are in the UK. Perhaps less.

Post-Brexit, there are suddenly only a fifth the amount of jobs available if I don't have an EU passport.

Of course, if I were to get an EU passport, then my dual-citizenship would be advantageous, giving me the best of both worlds but... I'm certainly not going to bank on that.

So let's assume that in the beginning at least, I'd have to live in the UK.

That's... a weird thing for me to think about actually. Especially weird, seeing as I'm British.

But since I became a teacher, English-speaking countries just haven't been on my radar.

Whenever I think of the places that I'm eligible to work in the world, I think about east Asia, South America, perhaps the Middle East or Africa (although I have little desire for either of those).

Actually living back in England has been so far from the realms of possibility for a while, that it seems a little strange to contemplate.

And not an overly welcome thought if I'm honest.

I mean, it's not like Thai culture is perfect. Or even close.

I suffer endless frustration for how this entire population is glued to their smartphones 24/7.

And were they being productive, it probably wouldn't bother me.

But they're not, this is an entire country that spends its life living on social networks.

And then there's a complete lack of regard for the environment here, the political climate is somewhat disastrous, the traffic is horrendous.

There is though, a certain happiness that's not replicated in London.

Most likely because of the weather. When you think of all the happiest places in the world, it's not the places covered by snow.

No one thinks of the Russians as a cheerful bunch. Most eskimos are alcoholics.

Cold weather and short days are miserable. I went home for Christmas in 2012, and learnt then to never do that again.

It may sound a stupid reason, but I would miss having t-shirt and shorts weather 365 days per year.

Thai people complain about the heat, but for many of them it's all they've ever known. For me, I wouldn't change it.

I did always say that this was going to be a ten-year trip. And finishing a bootcamp in November, it could be a peculiar coincidence that I'd be back in the UK almost ten years to the day after I left for Canada in November 2008.

And I suppose that it'd be nice to finally get myself on an NHS waiting list to get my knee fixed, assuming that I haven't fucked it up beyond all repair. It is almost a decade since this injury, and it isn't feeling so strong nowadays, so that's an advantage.

Apart from that though, there's not too much allure of having to go back to the long, cold winters of England.

With an EU passport I could at least dream of getting hired in the Mediterranean somewhere. But without...

I assume, and this is a baseless assumption, but I assume that if I am going to work as an on-site programmer, then at least at the beginning I'd be tied to the UK.

Making peace with that, could I then live the life of a programmer and wake-up happy everyday?

There are plenty of posts and articles out there, detailing the daily lives of programmers.

And you certainly can't discount the enticement of having two days off per week.

I've got so used to only having one, that a weekend is almost a foreign concept to me now.

That's of course offset by getting at least a week-off after every six weeks of work, so I'd have to get used to the idea of going back to a more 9-5 lifestyle.

And these are a couple of random routines that I grabbed:

I am a 26 yo web developer.

I live alone in a studio.

I have a couple of really close friends (who live in different parts of the globe). My family lives in India and I speak to each one of my family members at least once a day and to all my friends about once a month

My schedule:

7.30–8.00 Getup (without an alarm)

8.00–8.30- Morning stuff. During this time, I wonder about a whole host of topics- What is the reason for human existence? How would life be in space? Should I start another startup?

8:40ish - A couple of kms of walk to the Metro station, while listening to music/making a call or two if I feel like.

9:20 - Reach office, prepare a hearty cup of Coffee and munch on 2 Oatmeal Choco chip cookies. Tell my self that I should start having a nutritious breakfast. And then wonder about office people/office stuff/purpose of job! And how could we crowdfund a new decent coffee machine for the office.

9:45- First Meeting of the day . On most days, this is the first time I utter a word after almost 12 hours.

10:00- Have a look at Tech(and some other global) News(Hacker news and Google News)

10:30 - Begin Work (Most likely, pick up on something that I had been working on, the previous day). After some thought and reading through the previous day’s code/comments etc., I get settled and pretty engrossed in work. Until 12:30 -1:00, its pure work. No shit ,no meetings. All code and architecture stuff including a some reading as well.

1:00- Walk to the Sandwich nearby and grab a Vegetarian Schezwan Sandwich along with some Coleslaw or Mediterranean salad on the go. If a colleague accompanies me(since almost noone in my team brings lunch from home), we may chat for bit over a cigarette or Diet Coke/Diet 7UP(I like that more :P). Every Thursday, the entire team goes out for lunch and we end up coming around 2ish

1:15–2:00 - Have the sandwich and the salad at my desk while watching a video on Startups/Some Technology or on Rare occasions a Russel Peters show. :P

2:00–4:00 - Resume work. Sometimes I have meetings during this hour so , Nap (LOL).

4:00 - Prepare another cup of coffee and have it with one of the chocolate bars from the pantry. This is probably the only time when I think about my career as an employee and almost everyday, I realize, its not a very sustainable and I should build the next billion dollar company ASAP.

4:30- 6:45 - Code. That’s it. Nothing else. Super Calm. Super Focussed at this hour

6:30 - Call family.

7:00 - Go to the gym downstairs for a circuit workout. I am the most energetic during this hour

8:30- Leave gym drained of all possible energy and walk back to the metro station.

9:30 - Reach home and Order dinner.

9:30–10:30- Laze around/Read Quora/Think about the future - wedding, my girlfriend, travelling the world etc.(Food delivery Typically takes 30–60 minutes)

10:45–12ish - Continue reading the book(NON TECHNICAL, mostly Fiction) that I am reading at the time or start a new one. The most relaxing time of the day

Post 12:00 - Sleep

PS: I do think about sex. A fucking lot. Just not something I am proud of and so, not worth mentioning. :P

I've outlined my normal day. Note that I'm in my mid twenties, I'm single, and I work for a small startup that has around 10 employees and a 5 man product team.

8:30am - Wake up, shower, make coffee, get dressed, drink coffee

9:15am - Walk to market to grab breakfast (usually eggs, hash browns, veggies, and rice)

9:45 to 10:00am - Arrive at office (I walk to work, takes about 10 minutes), read email while I eat

10:00am to 10:30 am - Look over tasks, see if any PR's need code review from evening before, chat with co-workers if needed

10:30 am to 12:30 pm - Write code while listening to music and drinking another coffee

12:30pm to 1:30pm - Eat lunch, watch something on YouTube or listen to a Podcast, or do some code review. Occasionally lunch meeting with a friend/networking opportunity/co-worker

1:30pm to 4:00pm - Write code

4:00pm to 4:30pm - Usually take a break for a quick walk or get up and chat with co-workers. Might have a product meeting around this time about once a week.

4:30pm to 6:00pm - Wrap up code, get anything that's ready for testing deployed to staging environment

6:00pm to 6:30pm - If all is well and tested, deploy daily build to prod

6:30pm to 8:00pm - Walk home, make/order dinner, read/write on Quora, play some guitar, unwind a bit

8:00pm to 10:00pm - Fix any bugs that remained on stage, if any. If day job is good to go, usually spend some time reading up on startup/software/something I want to know, or work on a side project. If I'm feeling burnt out I'll play video games.

10:00pm to 11:00pm - Meditate, play guitar, try to get my head ready for sleep/ending the day. Maybe some Netflix if I'm feeling lucky or want to stay up late.

11:00pm to 12:00pm - Either Netflix or reading, usually reading. I usually alternate between fiction and non-fiction.

12:00 to 12:30ish - Go to sleep.

My weekends are a total tossup. I usually go do something fun with friends that gets me away from the computer. Get some socializing in while I can ;). I also sometimes work on the weekends if need be, though that's rare. Maybe one weekend out of the month I'll work.

I mean, it doesn't sound terrible.

What's my biggest frustration nowadays?

It's that I don't have the time to learn programming and, well no problem there. That would be my job, so until I find another time-consuming hobby, that'd be time saved.

I also like how they actually have proper lunch hours.

I have no need for them during the week nowadays, but on weekends I'm getting to work at about 7:30am, I leave again at sometime after 4:30pm, and I won't really have a moment of rest or be off my feet all day.

And sure, this term is an anomaly in how busy it is, but still.

My weekdays are admittedly easier, but even though I don't technically start work until 5pm, or until 6:45pm on Mondays, I start working way before then.

I'll usually have the time to exercise and make lunch, or as is the case today, write this blog and order lunch. But beyond that, I'll have classes to plan or writings to mark, and that's my day gone. Today is an exception, being the final week of term.

And when I look at these two daily routines, the guy on the left has the time to go to the gym everyday. The guy on the right has time to meditate.

The fact that they get the time for them, on top of a full lunch break means that they can pretty much do as much as I can, even on my quiet days.

When I look at it like that, it doesn't sound any worse than my current job. At least since my new boss took over.

It perhaps wouldn't be a routine that I'd want to have forever. But maybe the experience would give me the experience for, as the guy on the left put it, 'the next billion dollar company.'

I'd certainly miss the time-off that I have in this job.

In every year since I started working here, I've had sixteen weeks-off per year.

They're all unpaid, but still. They exist.

And even better is that living in Thailand, I can use these week's off for very budget-friendly vacations, most recently to Chiang Mai.

So it'd certainly be a change, no longer living in tropical weather, having to work a 9-5 job. But it doesn't completely put me off.

Another perspective which I haven't really addressed, is that I started this process twelve months ago.

I gave myself a year to figure-out my future, and looking back at the end of the first blog that I wrote after my trip to London last year, I gave some pretty compelling reasons why I should be leaving in twelve months.

It's now eleven months later, and those words still ring true.

There are also a couple of Reddit posts that I linked to, back in that blog, talking about what I'm at risk of doing:

Overstaying my welcome in Thailand.

Becoming of age where I'm not especially employable as an English teacher; after all, just being realistic about it, schools are after fresh-faced teachers who can draw students in.

I doubt many schools would list their ideal teacher as someone in their 40s or above.

And a couple of screenshots that I added back then:

I added them to that blog, kind of as a warning to myself.

'Don't make the mistake of others. Remember that this is the only job that you can do in Thailand, and that you don't want to do it forever. So don't stay here so long that you're too old to start anything new, and too separated from your own country to ever be able to retire.'

If I heed to that warning of almost twelve months ago, getting out of here is a no-brainer.

If I stay, then I run a very real risk of making the mistake of so many other people who come here, stay here, and then get stuck here because they've got nowhere else to go.

I am, just about, still young enough to turn my life in another direction. To get into another field.

But I won't be for much longer.

Hiring a rookie programmer in their early-mid thirties isn't completely out of the realms of possibility, even if it might not be as appealing as someone in their twenties.

Who's going to hire a rookie programmer in their forties?

Like everyone, my clock is ticking. And to look at it that way, then changing careers now seems obvious.

After all, I don't want to be teaching forever. This is a job, but it's not a career.

And at least in the past, I had the justification of staying here, that I was happy, I enjoyed my job, life was great.

What is my justification now?

Life fucking sucks now. What reason is there, other than the comfort of the life that I've built, to stay?

Because of our conflicting work schedules, I rarely get the chance to see the one person here that really matters to me.

I could see her just as much if I took an annual vacation to Thailand.

Am I happy in my job?

Fuck no.

It's not too late for me, but it will be soon. And I said a year ago, that I have one year to figure-out my life, but on signing the extension on my condo back then, that this should be the final extension to my life here.

It's probably in my interest that I honour that. Otherwise I too could find myself... stuck in Thailand, as so many others are.

It's also a perfect time to leave because beyond my condo lease about to expire, my work contract about to end (not that that matters), and my gym membership reaching the twelve months that I committed to, I've known for sometime that this day would come.

My shoes have holes in them, my shirts and trousers are all misshapen having had them for three years and gained over a stone in that time. The equipment in my kitchen is almost three years old, and it looks it.

My blender, which I use everyday, is a kind of brown colour now.

It was white when I bought it.

My food processor and bread machine are in even worse shape, having bought them six years ago when I first lived in Bangkok, and then got them back again when I moved back here.

This is all stuff that should have been replaced long ago, but I didn't because I knew that when it was time to leave, I'd have no qualms about throwing it all away.

In fact, apart from a few things like bedding, which I could probably get another ten years out of, there's really not too much of value that I'd have to leave behind.

Even my kitchen cupboards are less well-stocked than normal, for when I started thinking that this was a possibility, I stopped replenishing all the supplies that I consumed.

I don't know why it always comes into my head because I can't have seen this movie for over a decade, but whenever something seems timed perfectly, I can hear the quote from Con Air of a pilot telling his superior that "Now's the time, sir."

And it is. Now's the perfect time to leave, and it's almost at the point of being now or never.

If I don't make a change soon, then I might find myself stuck in this profession for the rest of my life. And I really don't think that I want that.

You might not see it at the time, but sometimes there's a silver-lining to things getting so bad.

Jews were discriminated against before, but if it weren't for the Holocaust, then there would be no Israel.

60 million people had died prior, but it took that absolute carnage of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to finally bring about the end of WWII.

And I've been in this dead-end job for the past three years, but it was only thanks to my new boss coming-in and taking away all the things that made this a job worth having, that I finally pulled my finger out and started taking the steps to leave it.

In fact, it wasn't that long ago that I was talking about how perfect life was, and how I didn't want anything to change.

In the last blog before my new manager started writing the schedule, I included the quotes:

"That's my typical day and it's beautiful."

"I haven't once stopped smiling this term because I've got everything perfect."

"Everything is just perfectly balanced."

It feels like a lifetime ago now.

Since that time, my job has changed and so have I. And frankly, I don't like the person that I am now.

I'm unable to really look at the world and see the best of things, or the best in people. I have very little compassion, my mood is volatile.

I always say that it's not your situation that matters, but how you're able to look at it. And I've just lost the ability to look at my life and be happy with it.

In the words of Shawn Michaels back in 1997, I've lost my smile. And I'd be a damn fool to keep on doing the same thing everyday, and think I'm going to find it again.

What I need is new.

New people, new ideas, new surroundings.

And I think... I think that this is the time to go and find them.

It's very strange to think that three days from now, I might teach my last ever English class.

Especially because when something comes to an end, there's usually a sense of finality in it.

You anticipate that final moment, you share it with the people around you.

This is more a case of, I might be about to work my final day in this job and this profession... but I might not.

And in the eventuality that I do return, I don't want there to have been rumours going around that I was thinking of leaving, because that might put me on shaky grounds with my job security. So outside of this blog, I haven't even told anyone.

So it doesn't feel like I'm on the verge or teaching my last ever English class, I'll say it that way.

Common sense is telling me that I should be. Ambition is telling me that I should be.

The only way that I could really justify staying in this job, is if I needed more time to figure things out.

If I wanted more time to learn about programming to be sure that it's something that I want to do. If I wanted more time to try to learn app development.

Then I could justifiably say... ok, I should stay in this job a bit longer.

But seeing as since he started, my new boss has robbed us all of time, the most valuable of commodities, and there's no reason to think that would change... then with what justification can I stay?

I still intend to hold-off making a final decision until I've had the benefit of the perspective of London for a week or two. But is that going to change my mind?

I guess that only time will answer that question, so this trip is going to have far greater implications for my future than I realised when I booked my flights.

A couple of weeks to figure-out the rest of my life. Cool.