Shannon Kendall 0:00
I am significantly more creative being a software developer than I was being an artist just because of the way that like life in our society is structured.

Tim Bourguignon 0:17
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey, the podcast bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers. To help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host team building you on this episode 168. I received Shannon Kendall. Shannon is a trained actress. She has a BA in theatre, and spent seven years training and working as an actress in films and television in New York City. In 2017, she started teaching herself JavaScript online. She then attended the Grace Hopper Academy, and has been working as a software developer ever since. Shannon warm welcome to after me. Hello. But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the dev journey lights up. If you would like to join this fine crew and help me spend more time on finding then nominal guests then editing audio tracks, please go to our website, Dev journey dot info and click on the Support me on Patreon button. Even the smallest contributions are giant steps toward a sustainable deaf journey. journey. Thank you. And now back to today's guest. So Shannon, the show exists to help the listeners understand what your story looked like and imagined how to shape their own future. So let's go back all the way to the beginning. Where would you place the start of your debt journey?

Shannon Kendall 1:48
So like in retrospect, when you think about it, it started like in my early childhood, so I guess I can start there, like, and then as you said, it clicks in 2017. But so my so my father went to school, he was a computer engineer, like on the hardware side, like when computers are brand new, like in the 70s. And so he's always been obsessed with with personal computers. He's a PC guy. And so like I remember when he brought home like the first one and like we had dos like I learned how to operate dos. As a little baby child, we had one game, it was a Mickey Mouse game. And like I distinctly remember we had it was back like when there's only like eight colors on a screen. So so it was like nightmare Disney. It was like, because it was like because it was like magenta trees. And like the sun was like green for some reason. And like because they only have so many colors to choose from a moment ago. It might have been yellow, but you get the picture where like things that shouldn't be red or red and like very saturated red. Yeah, it was child's game but like I feel uncomfortable

Tim Bourguignon 3:00
to literally really just how you would make a game if you wanted to make it some kind of LSD nightmarish game.

Shannon Kendall 3:07
Yeah, it was definitely felt like it felt like someone was on drugs playing. I was I was four. So maybe that's my brain was broke really early. Like and then and then we got like Encyclopedia Britannica and I was like really like the discs that you had, like put in to like look up things. And I would just like look up like dogs and horses and like all the facts about them. And my brothers got really, really into gaming. So eventually there hit a point where like, they were always dominating our systems. And I was like off reading a book, or I danced a lot. Like I was at like a dance classes, my whole childhood and like so then I was thinking, Oh yeah, I'm like, so creative, like I love like escaping into these other worlds or like pretending to be other people. So I'm totally going to be an actor, like I did really, really well in school, but like, I know that like I could, like do really well in any field, but I'm gonna go do like the one thing where it doesn't matter how good you are. I'm gonna go be an actor. I mean, like, like, it matters to be an actor, but like, it's so much more than like being really talented at your job when you're an actor, because it's a very oversaturated field, obviously, especially for women brunette, like cute white girl, like who was too skinny to be the chubby friend and then like little too chubby to be like the hottest girl, you know, like the lead. I kind of like it felt really, really frustrating being in that, especially since that's not even my personality at all. Like the types that I was getting cast at. It was not my personality. So I wasn't getting to be who like do the thing that I wanted to do. As an actor. There's a couple of really fun things that I really, really liked. And I got, like, I got really good at it to pat myself on the back. But like there's a pride in like, like, I enjoy being good at what I'm doing. It's always been kind of someone who I am like, that has always been like A major part of my personality. So when I was serving to pay the bills, because I was an actor, I really liked being in a good server like, like I, I hated starting in a new restaurant because I felt like like a dumb baby. Like, I knew how to surf. But I didn't know Like, who do you talk to you to go get this? Like, who is the bit like, like, where do you run? Like, what is your system for this? Where is everything located? Like, and then you know, if you if it's a new point of sale system on the computers, you have to learn that like how to how to run that program. And then you have to learn all of the like, okay, when you mess up, how do you do it on that program, just all those things. So that like I loved like, the last restaurant I worked at, like, like, the manager would like, leave the floor, and like, just like, let me run the floor. Cuz because I knew all the code, I knew everything. I enjoy that feeling of just being really, really competent, good at what I do, even if I hate the job. So I really, really do love acting, but the actual career of being an actor is more like, networking and meeting people and you know, just pounding the pavement and you know, you create opportunities, like you go in, you do a good job, like the casting directors keep calling you in. But if the producers aren't casting you then you know, it's it's a numbers game. It's a waiting game. And honestly, like, if you don't have the financial support behind you, so that you can, like have time to like pursue that you're working day jobs, and it's so exhausting. It's just, it's hard because like you get an audition, then you have to try to find someone to cover your shift. Like it's, it's a whole nightmare. And like so much of the like, the career of being an actor didn't work with my personalities as a human, like, especially the older I got, I became much more introverted than my younger self. I had undiagnosed ADHD. And so I didn't know that like a lot of my quote, unquote, weird behavior was just the symptoms of my ADHD. And so like, I would take it like, Oh, I'm so weird, like, people don't like me, like all kinds of things. Like, I can't control this weirdness about myself. And I think just like a lot of legit like, personal things made it so that like, pursuing a career as an actor was just like I was spending every day, like submitting for jobs and playing Candy Crush, and like, you know, and then when I was working, I was like, trying to find the next gig to submit for all the time, you know, and then on weekends, I worked brunch. And that was my life. And, like, on my day to day life, and I only got to do like the thing that I like, really, really loved, like, two or three times a year, maybe on a good year, like on a good year. I got to do it two or three times, my was my now wife, but she was my girlfriend at the time. She's also an actor, and she just one day, she's like, I feel like, you don't you're not happy being an actor. And I'm like, What are you talking about? It's my dream. I put everything on the line for this because it's my dream. And she's like, is it though? And I was like, Do you have other dreams? And I was like, oh, like I have, you know, like, of course, I have other dreams. Like, I want to not live with two other roommates, you know, like, I want to era, you know, like, I want to have a dishwasher. In my apartment, which in New York is like a luxury item, you know, I want to have, you know, just like, certain things like that, you know, like, I want to be able to like go on a trip or two a year and like feel okay about it. Like not, like, freak out, you know, I want to feel respected. I want to feel like like I know, I'm really really smart. But like, when you're a server everyone you're working with I mean, like you have really good clients or customers obviously but like, you're you also constantly getting people who just like don't respect you because you're a server and it's like a really hard job. It's exhausted but yeah, so it's just like, like that of like I'm just tired of like I said I did so well in school and it felt like nothing like my life was just stagnant and and I realized that I had kind of been denying myself every other dream even as small as like, going to brunch instead of working it you know, to to, to for the for being an actor, I hit a point where I'm just like, I'm too old for this. Like like I'm too old I'm too old to to not have like these other things like these other goals in my life. Like I'm ready for traction. I'm ready for movement. So yeah, so I had a friend she was doing musical theater in the Bay Area over in San Francisco and she was actually doing pretty good just playing like leads fairly regularly playing all the houses there which is like really hard to you know, that those as well and that she had she went to a coding boot camp there should Hackbright Academy which is like another like it's a Bootcamp for women. So so she went there. And then, you know, was like, started working in a job. She started working as a developer evangelist. So she was like traveling, like, her first thing was like, she went to like Thailand to get like, give a talk at a conference. And I was like, Girl, what are you doing with your life? What is this, she was, like, you know, like, you should totally do this, like, try it out online to see if that's something you're interested in. Like, I had hit a point where, like, I woke up, and I was like, I am making a change in my life. That's it. But you know, it's like, what am I going to do, though, like, I could do anything at school, but like, what, like, I don't want to, you know, take on a ton of debt, I don't want to, you know, like, spend, like, I guess I'll go to grad school if I need to, to learn a new skill, but like, I want to just like, I just want to work, I just want to change my life. You know, I mean, like, I just, I'm ready to go. I'm like, I know that, like, my brain can figure this out, I just have to learn how to do it, you know. So I found some, like, free online courses. I know, I did the Khan Academy, like HN. That was like my first one. And theirs was like, animations with JavaScript was how they're starting to teach you about JavaScript. So like, you make it an ellipse, and then you make the ellipse go across the screen, and like little things like that. So it was very, it was like, it was like super rewarding, you know, like, it was like, Oh, my gosh, I'm a god. Like, I made the spaceship go. And yeah, so that was like, really, it was really fun for me. So then I like, you know, like, I kept doing like another course. I did, like Academy and then I did like tree house for a while. Just to kind of I was I was trying to, like I would get it but like I'm also kind of brain like I want to understand it like backwards and forwards so that I can manipulate it to like my will. So and I was always feeling like I was getting like the like broad. This is how it works on a high level. But when I'd have questions about like, okay, so if I want to, like adjust it, how do I do that? And it's hard when you're going like on an online course can't just ask someone like, what about this? Or like, what, how does? How does this work? You know, and I didn't know at that time how to like Google for those answers, which as you know, every developer knows, knowing how to Google is half the job.

Tim Bourguignon 12:55
Oh, well, maybe even more than that.

Shannon Kendall 12:57
Maybe it's the job. And so yeah, I, it was a, I didn't know how to do that. And I just kind of like wanted that like in person thing. So I initially took the test for the boot camp, like the entrance. I know for the you know, some some boot camps that you like join from, and they just teach you like from scratch everything. And I know with the full stack Academy, which is hosts the Grace Hopper program. It's like a part of the full stack Academy in New York City. They want you to be like at like an intermediate JavaScript level before you start just so that you can like take that you can learn faster, they can move through the program faster. So So I initially failed the first test, because they presented me a question and my mind was like blanked, just nothing. And I was like, I remember I was like in a coffee shop. And I'm like crying in a coffee shop taking the coding test. Oh, by the way, like I all my acting training, like sometimes I make other people are comfortable because I'm so comfortable with like crying or feeling any emotion that I'm feeling. My acting coach literally would like if you were crying and you went to like, wipe it away, he would yell at you to stop because he was like, Do you think that Viola Davis wipes away the snot coming out of her nose when she went off like that she won an Oscar for like you think she won that Oscar because she wiped the snot away from her nose? No, I like can't feel shame about crying at this point. Anyway, so of cry coffee shop taking this test, because I'm so frustrated. I totally vomit. But they were doing like they had these night classes you could take and like I got like, I don't know if I got to just kind of night classes. But if you take their night classes, and then you end up going to one of their programs, they basically take that out of your tuition. So it's basically just like, I got to start school early a little bit. So like I did the night classes just to make sure because like I wanted to, I wanted to hit the ground running as well. And then and then I, you know applied for the program. And I got accepted and it bootcamp was It was intense. It was like being hit with like a information, fire hydrant every day, and you know, like there's is explaining all these brand new concepts to you that you like kinda understand. But it's also like all brand new. So when they're talking about it, your brain is constantly in like, Okay, what was that? What was that? What was that, you know, like, going through the files trying to like connect the dots, but like the instructor has already moved on. Like, she just kind of like, let it wash over you and hope some of it sinks in. But it was yeah, it was a very, very intense experience. But you know, having other people like, you feel like you're drowning, right? It's like, yeah, like I'm flailing over here. Like, okay, okay, so we're all the same, okay, for all the same, then we can't be doing bad, right? Yeah. We're all freaking out. It was really intense. But like, we all made it through more or less, you know, like, the program also allows like, you know, if, you know, they feel like you would do better doing like another semester just to cement the concepts in like, they like they're doing like regular, like, checkups, just to to make sure that you're up to speed. But yeah, so so we all got through that. And then I was like, Oh, that's so cool. And then I was like, Okay, now you have to find a job, which was the worst job hunting and getting your first tech job is, especially when you're like, just out of the gate. And I didn't have a CS degree, but I knew how to code, which, you know, they were like, Don't worry, like other people have CS degrees, they don't know how to code yet. So like, you're ahead of them. And that way, I was like, okay, like, I could, like do the job. And then it's like, you can learn the other stuff, like as you go, or you can, like, Google it, and you'll be fine. And so I think more than anything, like yes, the bootcamp taught me, like about programming so much, but it really started the whole concept that still is thinking in that it's just like, it's never ending. Like, you'll never know enough. Like, you'll never know everything you'll never like, even when you think you know, something thoroughly, like now it's obsolete, so it doesn't matter. And that's kind of the first time that I, you know, like, I understood that from boot camp. And I like I'm not gonna know, everything all the time. But the thing is, is like going through boot camp taught me that, like, my late or at least confirmed for me that like my brain is capable of like taking a bunch of new information and figuring it out making it work. And just like just like, how, when I change jobs, like change restaurants, so I graduated from boot camp, and now it was time to job hunt. And I was feeling a little bit well, you know, because you're like, I was doing like the practice interviews on interview IO, just so that I can like, get used to like whiteboarding with strangers and stuff like that, and answering different algorithm questions, and just getting that whole, like flow. Interviewing is so strange. It's just like auditioning. So I also had like an advantage there, I guess, where it's like, you are doing something that won't ever actually apply to your job. Because, like, when you're acting, you're like, reciting a monologue, you know? And then they're like, yes, you should be, like, this character that interacts with so many people, because you can stand and say something to no one really pretty, you know, like, I hate like, like, that was, especially when you were like, audition for grad school. Like, that's how they judge you. And it's like, that wasn't even how as a good actor, like I wasn't a good, like talking into the void type actor, like I like respond like a react to people really, like, naturally, that's my thing. So it's, it's weird auditioning that way where you're, even if it's film and television, when you're auditioning. Like you have a reader at the table, who is not making eye contact with you, they're just reading from the book. And then they're not acting, they're just saying the words and then you're supposed to, like, have a full emotional reaction to someone being like, I don't love you anymore. I want to break up. And you have to be like, so it's very, like, you're pulling like this. It's not, it's not the real thing, you know, like, and you could be a really good audition or, and a terrible actor, you know? Well, it's just, I feel like it's kind of similar. Like, you can be a really good interviewer or you could like study these algorithms, you can know them back to front, like, you know, all of them, you could like have MIT's coursework, like memorized. But it doesn't mean you're the developer. Like it's the same thing. And like, people always talk about how it's bad and then they just keep these boards and stuff like that for interviews, but

Tim Bourguignon 19:10
I'm just thinking about an interviewer having the same voice You said before that and then saying, well can can you balance a tree for me? Please That's emotional

Shannon Kendall 19:36
Yeah, so so like, it was really intimidating. Even just like getting getting the interviews was really, really frustrating. You know, and you're, you're seeing breakdowns that are just breakdowns. It's not an audition, Shannon, we've seen job posting, it's like on the job board, you know, and like I'm seeing these things where it's like, I like the requirements are like really strange, because it's like a bunch of libraries. I don't know. And I didn't have enough not Knowledge of my skill set like I wasn't aware of my skill set even because I hadn't used it enough to be aware that it was like, Oh, don't worry about that apply anyway, like, you'll learn the library doesn't matter. So it took about three months for me to find a job, I ended up at this company, it's called the Fion. It's a subsidiary of ADP. And it was like, right in Chelsea. So I was already like, really familiar with the area, because there's a lot of tech companies there in New York. And so I was used to going there for meetups and whatnot. Like, after having such a, like a bad working experience, I was just kind of like, I just want a job where I go to work, and I do good at my job. And then I leave, and I have my own life. And I'm making enough money. And that's, you know, like, I just, I just, that's what I want, obviously, like, like, company culture was, like, really important to me, like almost more important to me, because it like, I needed to make enough money. Yes. Because like, I had to, like pay my school back and everything. But I also like, it was really important to me to to feel like like, I'm just like seeing like, like, like, actually seen as like a VAT, like an asset. The restaurant industry is really, really vicious, especially in New York, because it's just like, we can just find another like, we can find anyone, you know, like, we'll just hire someone tomorrow, they'll suck. They won't know they're doing all the rest of servers and hate them for a while. But you don't I mean, it's it's kind of like, oh, yeah, you're so replaceable, which, like, that's so funny, because so are you in restaurants, they act like they're, they act like you're like so lucky to be have the opportunity to work for them. And I'm like, no. You're lucky like, I need to pay my bills. But anyway, yeah, so I was like, really looking for that change. And I really liked the culture of my company. It was like overwhelming, I'd never been part of like, corporate culture at all. So So learning kind of how that works, was interesting, not having to check with your teammates, if it's cool, if you take a bathroom break was really cool. I'm saying that because like, like, at a restaurant, you have to, like make sure like everyone, when you fall apart if I go to restroom right now, you know, just things like that. Yeah, it was like I really, really loved I really love that, like, I loved the challenge of like, using my brain and solving problems. And like, you know, like people think it's like, so shocking to go from acting to to software development. But like, like I said, like, my brain had always kind of been working like that, even from the beginning. And I was so exposed to computers. And my dad is like, a very, like logic based person. So like, we would have so many like, conversations, like solving problems, like I loved, like I had a science teacher who would give you those I don't know if you've ever seen them. But they're like graphs where they have a couple things filled out. And then there's just like clues or like, it's like, Dana go to the market on Wednesday, and Friday. And then like they're giving you all these different and you're like filling in the boxes to see if you can like from the few clues that they've given you use logic to kind of fill the rest in, you know, and like, I love those things. Like I would just blow through those things. And yeah, and like I didn't realize that like, my whole thing about like, wanting to know how like the computers worked like the POS systems for for restaurants so that I could control it, like use it to my was like understood enough to like, I can make it do what I needed to do. Even like in high school, like I remember, I took AP statistics because I didn't want to take honors calculus, I wanted the I wanted the college credit instead. Like I remember that, like there was a question that was actually having us combined two formulas to make it work on the test. And like the majority of my classmates, like just fell apart on that question, because I'm the annoying kid in class. Like I said, I'm always like, but what about this situation? What about this situation? What about this situation? Even bootcamp, they hated that, because like, Shannon, let's just do the work and move on. But it's because like, I'm so intrigued about like, I feel like I don't understand it till I understand, like the full picture like that. I'm able to to make it work for me. So I figured out the statistics are like, I figured out how to remove this woman's chicken salad that she totally ordered, but said that she didn't order, you know, like I could figure all that stuff out, you know. And that's always kind of how my brain works. And so like, obviously, it really lent itself to development that's really interesting is that like, I was so stressed out about learning libraries, like not knowing enough libraries, not knowing enough this or that. And then the company that I worked for Liffey on, we make like HR software, but like, like enterprise software, but they also have this product that they made where they kind of have created their own like development platform. So we're not using like standard libraries, we're using all of their stuff. And their stuff is on Google global. So I had to learn from you know, and it's because we're building it as we go and we're building off of it. So like I'm learning how to one take my own notes, or like learn how to communicate with other teams that you can kind of ask them when things are weird. And then like, so I was developing relationships with a team was like, I knew what to ask about, like, why is it behaving this way, and I'm like, oh, that's like a default behavior, you know, they can explain it to me and I can jot it down or like, we tell each other word of mouth, you know, until it gets, like formally documented, because like, now it's like, cemented, just stuff like that. So like, I've been developing for the past three years without being able to google anything, which is, which is crazy. Which is crazy. Because I've had to like, actually, like, understand, like, on the back end, how everything is working, which is what you should be doing anyways. Or like, understanding why things are working, I ate it, I guess it does work with how my brain works. Yeah. And it forces you to like, understand, like, like, just basically, the data movement is stripped it back down. If I were to go to another company that was using like formal IDs and libraries, then it would be weird, because I'd have to like, learn, I have to learn how to say the things that I already know how to do again. But I've done that, like 18 times. I've already done that so many times now. Or it's like, I had to do that to learn how to use my own company's platform. Like I had to translate. You know, at that point, like, I knew everything and like JavaScript and React and, and redox. And Express, like, I knew that was like that, that basic, like stack. And, and then I had to translate, like, how I had thought about development that way into like, how my platform like thinks about that, but it's the same thing you're just understand, like, Okay, so with this, you're taking, like this part of the JavaScript and like this part of JavaScript and combine it, whereas over here, you're taking, like, this is essentially like, you know, what I mean, like when you're when in JavaScript, and you're doing like this, you know, and it's kind of just, and like, that's the same thing you're doing with any language that you're going in between, you know, it's the same things but like, this one has, like, these special rules in this one is a special rules, and you just kind of absorb that.

Tim Bourguignon 26:52
And it's the same for for for spoken language as well. So you know, there's some kind of grammar, you know, it the structure should be something similar, at least for for Western languages. There's something like a noun, there must be something like a verb. Like an adjective. You don't know the words, but as soon as you start mapping out, you quite fast realize, okay, it's the same structure. It's just a different thing. Yeah. Is it German? And that's, that's it? Yeah.

Shannon Kendall 27:18
It's like, it's like, it's kind of like these rules a little bit more. And like, this one's this language a little bit like those kinds of rules a little bit more, but like, even between languages, like they, they borrow from each other, and it's really interesting when like, I, my coworker, like I have co workers from all over the world. It's that was really exciting for me. We live in in New York and then just also like, working at my company, but I grew up in like small town California, like in like Central California, not even like cool parts of California, super suburbia surrounded by Yeah, it's so funny because like, my town itself was very, like, quote unquote, diverse. Like, we were the most ethnically diverse cities like city for the long time in in America, because and I think it was because of like, economic diversity. It just like it was basically like people have like all classes, you know, like, there's, there's different people in all classes, or the socio economy socio net? Yeah, yeah, it was socioeconomically diverse. So, you know, I mean, it's, there's obviously, like, still the same trends, but so like, I kind of initially grew up not thinking that there was any difference between people like I was taught, you know, like, like, especially from the 90s. They're like, we're all the same treat everyone the same. Like, it doesn't matter what your skin color is. And like I took, I took so much like the messaging and as a kid that we were taught about being good people like to heart. It's been very disorienting, like becoming an adult and seeing that most people don't believe the things that they taught us to believe. That was all just to manipulate you into behaving because they didn't want the headache. So then, so then when I became an adult, and realize how little I knew of the world, and that I couldn't afford to travel because I wanted to be an actress, like moving to a city with so much diversity was like really enriching because it felt like at least like I was getting to experience the culture that people were bringing there like with them, learning about people who have like walks of life that I never would consider because it just wasn't even like an example. I love that and like I love especially my company like it's a it's a really fairly diverse company. I know they get like they get like a lot of awards for like being like super LGBT friendly and super the like super like the really like they really care about their company culture. So it's it's mattered a lot to me. But yeah, so like, as far as languages go, like I so I would have like co workers on my team who were like from India and Pakistan and like China, and like, we have multiple teams like this up near each other. So then they're all talking like, I remember asking my my coworker from Pakistan, because she She's like my mentor, she like taught me how to use the platform on her own company. And I was like, Oh, I didn't know you spoke Hindi. And she's like, I'm not speaking Hindi. I'm speaking Urdu. And I'm like, Are they speaking Urdu back to your shows? No, they're speaking Hindi. We just understand each other. And I was like, that's the thing. Why? It's like, like, I can understand why I found no problem. I don't write Python, but like I can understand what's going on you I mean, it's the same thing where you're like, it's close enough. Like, can you figure out where you're going? You know, I might have to Google the actual rules. But like, I'm figuring out I can I can tell what you're doing. I used to be very self conscious about the fact that it's like, oh, then I worked for this company where we weren't doing what every other company does, like how am I going to find a job again, like if I want to move on, because like, I'm very aware of like, unconscious bias. And there's a lot of like, Bro culture, even in coding and development, and like this, like weird competitiveness that I am not interested in. Like, I was like, a little self conscious about that until I realized, it's like, first of all, no one knows what they're doing ever in anything in life. Everyone is pretending all the time. And they're figuring it out as they go, I've been such an asset to my team, like, I've contributed so much to different projects that we've been working on that it's like, there's no way that like, if I wanted, like, if it was time for me to move on, that, that I wouldn't be able to find a company where it's like, yeah, I'll have to do like a lot of learning. But like, I would have to do that. Regardless, even if I was like, fluently writing in, you know, like, 18 different libraries, like at this one place, like I moved in another place, I'm gonna have to relearn all their libraries, I'm gonna have to relearn how they structure their app, I'm gonna have to relearn everything anyway. Like, I'm going to feel like a dumb baby, just like when I changed jobs as a server. And and like, I worked with different clientele, you know, where it's like, you have to learn how to treat like locals versus tourists. Like, I can do the same thing where it's like, you know, I'm looking working at this company versus this company, like, how do you react to them, even changing teams enough times where, like, I get so used to one team dynamic, and then you change teams and like, completely different people completely different personalities you're working with, I was going through, like, here's all like the the checklist of like responsibility before you hand something off. You know, unlike my, my first team, it was like all women, and we were like hyper communicative. And we would talk about every, like, we would double check with everyone that were on the same page, we would just be like, Hey, I'm just filling you in. So you're aware, like, we were super hyper competitive, like communicative. And I'm doing the same thing to my new team. And they're, like, Stop telling me these things. I don't care cool. Like, you know, I mean, they weren't like, obviously that rude. But it was like that thing of like, you're, you're so much. And yeah, so it's just like having that experience of like, going through it and being like, nobody knows what they're doing. And it's like, your experience is honestly the best teacher you'll ever have. So I then, like hit a point where I was like, I really, I really like what I'm doing. I was like panicking for a while being like, Okay, how do I get up to management? Or how do I increase my salary? Or how do I do this. And then I was just like, I like my work life balance right now. I like I like my team I'm working on like, the projects I'm working on, I like my company culture. Like my, my company has like that progressive thing where like, every, like performance review, you're like moving up and stuff like that. And they're discussing how to get to the next level. And it's not just like about your job, like, it's not just about your job title, but it's kind of like what level you're at, in the company, all that kind of stuff, I don't understand how performance reviews worked at all, or four pay scales, like, I still don't kind of get that, but that's fine. Like, that was the thing that I was missing by being like, by being in a career that wasn't suited for me. Now I had permission to do all the creative things that I didn't have energy to do before. So like now, like, it's almost like, I am significantly more creative. Being a software developer than I was being an artist just because of the way that like life in our society is structured.

Tim Bourguignon 33:31
It sounds like you find a nice place both for you or they were for the balance and and for you get for what you get out of it. So

Shannon Kendall 33:39
I think figuring out that for myself and giving my permission like myself permission to be like, you know, like, like I said, I was raised Christian and like, there's a part of me that was always like, um, but like, what if it's not real? I want to live forever, in live forever by being on film camera, or I don't know, like, part of me things. So like a lot of that, like, I genuinely loved acting, but like, what, what motivates you when you're a scared child, you know, to make those decisions that you make? And I you know, and that's what that's what I had been told was reality my whole life. But even even then, I was starting to be like, do I do i Is that reality? Is that what I'm perceived, like, you know, like, as you're perceiving the world, you're like, these are making sense, moving through all that. And then And then finally, hitting the point where it's like, Screw all of this, when I'm gonna just start over. Start from a fresh slate start from a great place. Like I knew, like, I basically my my whole goal with becoming a developer wasn't a career goal, so much as it was a life goal of like, where I wanted to get in life, and how would I get there? And how would I get there in a timeline that I can accept and without pushing my dreams even further away? These dreams that I've already been pushing off for so long,

Tim Bourguignon 34:55
maybe that will be done to place to link this to the beginning in form of an advice you had you had a nudge in form of your wife nudging you into into questioning yourself and asking you, are you? Are you following the right dream? How could someone realize this Without this help? How could you have realized this yourself without without her help?

Shannon Kendall 35:16
I do similar things with her what you know, current acting, as you've probably surmised, from my own story is an emotional hellscape. It is a roller coaster of good, good victories and long planes of despair. And so like we like we'll have similar conversations when she's getting really frustrated, but like hers always turned into, you know, like, it's like an agreement of like, No, this is the right path for me. So it's a different thing. But it's kind of like, for me, like that specific question was kind of like a bug that got in my head. And then one morning, I woke up, and it was kind of like, it bloomed maybe was a seed planted in my head. And then one morning, I woke up, like, literally, I just woke up, it was like, in April of 2017. And I was just like, I was living with a narcissistic roommate, who was just like, terrible. And like, we had like a, like, we had to sell that room I was going in, it was just like a really terrible living situation. And I like I'm sure we had like thought that night about like him stealing something from my room without asking or something. So like, I woke up, and I was just like, I don't like this, like, I don't like where I am in life. And my options are to accept it, or to change it. And I'm going to change it. So now I just need to figure out how it was like, I already knew that I was going to do that thing. Like I'm going to do a massive change, like complete, complete 360 With where my life is going. Now. 180 Complete one. But like, I'm going to do it, you know, and so then it was like, from there. So then it was like, Okay, so like, you know, like, what could I go into? What are different fields that I if I want to change what I'm doing, and so it's just kind of like working from there. And I was like, looking at my research. So I reached out to my friend who was like, What are you doing with with coding? What is this? Like, I've heard they make decent money? Is it just like math? And she's like, No, I hate math. You'll be great at coding, it's fine. And I was like, how do you know? We only know like, we only know each other because we went to like cast parties like, like, how do you know that? She's like, I can tell my like, trust me do it. Just try it. And I did. And like she was right. It was really good. And I told my wife, I was like, like, my wife has like, you know, like, like dig gigs and stuff like that, that she does to bring in some money on top of her acting. And so I was just like, this is something that you would probably like at first she was like, no, no, it's too much math. And I'm like, It's not math. She's like, you're crazy smart. You're a genius. I didn't know that's when we started dating. But now that you've started developing and talking like a developer, it's, it's like magic. It's science talk. And I'm like, No, it's just terms. Like we're just using terms. And so she actually she started, like poking into like CSS and HTML. And she she liked it. Like, he's just like, oh, this is I could start I was like, I hate CSS personally, if you can figure it out good for you. But I was like, if you want like, here's a free like, you could do a free course. You know, like, cuz she runs like social media. And she'll like throw the other websites. So like having that knowledge under her belt isn't like she's using like Squarespace and stuff like that. But like it's not, you know, it's like, it's always good. And I was like, you know, like, it'd be a fun day job. She uses front end and back end correctly. I'm like, surprised. She's like, this is terrible. You X and I'm like, Yeah, terminology. She's like, it's cute, because she like she hears me using it. And then she'll like, pick it up and start doing it. We'll make sure to like, say it. And it's really anyway, that's not a question you asked. It's like advice of like, Is this really your dream? I think we play a lot of narratives for ourselves that like we don't even know where they started. Sometimes it's like something that happened in our childhood that we don't realize that we carried with us everywhere. If you're in therapy, maybe you're already dealing with some stuff. But But yeah, I think it's it's checking in with, like, what you actually want out of life is probably like a really healthy thing. And it's going to change, again, is going to change because I didn't know to want what I wanted. When I decided to be an actor, like I didn't know how to want these simple things because I hadn't like lived enough without them to understand like what it would mean to me to have it or to like have a freedom or whatever a peace of mind. Even like I didn't understand the value of that when I was at young because I'd never lived without it. And so like continuously to check in with yourself. Even I was like I told you like my goals for my career shifted, as I continued to live it and I continued to look around like I thought I was going to be a developer evangelist at first until I realized that they travel like, every other weekend and I was like, No, I don't want to be that way from my cats and my wife and my dog and like my home, you know that much. So like that's not what I wanted. You know, I thought I wanted to go into management and then I was like looking at how much time that takes Because like, I don't want that either, you know, like, I have ADHD, I can't multitask like that, like, I need to, like, I need like zone in on my development. And like, I can't be in a meeting and completing work at the same time. Where if I do, I'm like doing like, half as good at both things, you know, I'm building out that skill, but I thought my ADHD focus would like be a superpower. Until like corporate America told me that it's not, don't listen to them. My favorite little, I mean, like my most productive days, the days where I don't have meetings, and I can just like Time flies, I don't even notice, like how long it's like it's gone. Because I'm just like, hyper focused on my development. It's, it's nice. Yeah. So I would say, to answer your question, yet again. I know, I know it. Yeah, I think it's just it's that process of constantly reevaluating what you want, and giving yourself permission for it to be different. And that doesn't mean all the work that you did before, doesn't matter. Because I've explained like 18 times already how like, all my experience serving and acting has, like translated into my career. And it's all these ways that it's not the code and it's not development, like you and I haven't talked about that almost at all, you know, your career is so much more about who you are as a person, then, like how fast you can debug something, or like, like how quickly you can get a page up. Like that's not, that's not like what your career is going to be. And

Tim Bourguignon 41:31
hence this job, if I may say, this podcast, that's yeah, that's why I'm doing this. Amen to that. Anything, Chen, thank you very much. It's been it's been a bumpy ride and very interesting. Thank you very much. Where would be the best place to find you online and start discussions about baking sourdough bread? Sourdough, and maybe something more

Shannon Kendall 41:55
my also my sourdough. My sourdough. I if I if I make one. Since my move, I have to get this start. I dehydrated the starter, I got to start it up again. I was doing some pretty cool sourdough art, posting it on my Instagram, which is that's your show notes. Yeah, it's a S N. Kendall. Just like like my email address. Oh, no, don't put that part in. I don't want people emailing me. And then my Twitter is same thing. But I have an underscore, because apparently there's someone else who was on Twitter before me that use that handle. I mean, that's it, I will forewarn you that I post all of my interests, so it's not just code related. So there probably be like a lot of like, nerdy queer content. A lot of bad reposts of political takes. No, not really. I tried. I tried to like I tried to really double like to, like really think before I post something that somebody because I just get annoyed about, like a lot of engagement from strangers. I did a couple of tiktoks. But then, when my tick tock videos went viral, like I said, I got very, very overwhelmed by strangers interacting with me. And I wouldn't get afraid to like, check. So I like lurking but yeah, I said that I probably post the most on my Instagram, if you want the most, the most on Shannon, but if you if you really like if anyone does want to reach out to me, um, and kind of ask for a know more about my experience because it relates to you in some way. Like, feel free. Just, you know, don't just like pop in and say hey, cuz that's creepy. Like actually like, say, state your purpose. And like, if someone's like, heartfelt I can feel it, obviously. But if I if I get creepy vibes, then I probably won't respond. So I get enough of that. So I don't need more.

Tim Bourguignon 43:50
Oh, good. Chen, thank you very, very much. Thank you. And this has been another episode of Deborah's journey. We see each other next week. Bye. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you liked the show, please share rate and review. It helps more listeners discover those stories. You can find the links to all the platforms to show appears on on our website, Dev journey dot info slash subscribe. Creating the show every week takes a lot of time, energy, and of course money. Would you please help me continue bringing out those inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you'll find our patreon link at Dev journey dot info slash donate. And finally, don't hesitate to reach out and tell me how this week story is shaping your future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep ti m o t h e p or per email info at Dev journey dot info Talk to you soon