One podcast episode was the impetus to my career change.

It may sound like hyperbole, but prior to that episode, the only thing I knew about software was from a user's standpoint.

I had some modest experience with Wordpress as the webmaster for a non-profit geographic association. I feebly attempted to build a rudimetary directory of transit agencies shortly after beginning my professional life. But, that fizzled.

I start strong β€” never able to work quite fast enough β€” and burnout fast. (Certainly this is an introspective note to remember for this blog.)

That transit directory idea laid dormant for some time. However, I caught the bug. I couldn't give it up.

I fed the addiction by listening to podcasts on business and startups, eventually stumbling upon Indie Hackers. Listening to "Creating a Popular Product and Selling It to Governments with Tiffany and Danny of Remix" from the Indie Hackers podcast was eye opening.

All the sudden, it seemed possible that I could, at some point, make the transition to tech. Perhaps it wouldn't be with my own startup, at least not immediately. However, here I am listening to two cofounders from a product I've used for my job recommending listeners to work in government to gain an understanding of the problems public sector employees experience.

After that episode, I incrementally laid the foundation for the next five years.

Side projects became my primary outlet. I gathered public data and published it on at least a handful of different domains I purchased. Over time, the idea evolved and became more complex. I was obsessive.

Meanwhile, Indie Hackers' back catalog upsurped the airwaves on my commute. I expanded my vocabulary, picking up the vernacular of the Silicon Valley types.

As a transit planner, I was accruing experience and confidence. Several supervisors, government administrators, and organizations recognized me as an emerging leader. It felt good. But, I was never completely satisfied. I hadn't scratched my itch.

For three years, I searched for potential partners on a side project to no avail. The project hummed along in the background. Sometimes it reached a fever pitch when I thought I had found a possible teammate.

After moving across the Florida peninsula in a lateral professional move, I met a like-minded transit nerd who has since become my best friend. Shortly after sharing my interest in this side project, he introduced me to a classmate in his MBA program who also worked in public

The three of us developed a close friendship over the next two years. I later learned that his company was located minutes away from one of the transit agency offices, and in 2022, the transit tech company became my employer.

Luck isn't real. It's manufacturing opportunity. Then, you have to know when to take advantage of the situation you've generated.

Career changes, especially those that are more radical than mine, necessitate self-motivation and actualization. Unless you have some significant connections β€” I do not β€” you have to put in the time and be vulnerable, almost to a fault.

Chances are you'll open yourself up to countless perceived opportunities that won't work out.

Though, you can't be discouraged for long.

When manufacturing opportunity to switch careers, however much a deviation, perseverance will win.

That one podcast expanded my world. But, I took action and followed through to make it a reality.

by @jlevimccollum

🚍 πŸ—ΊοΈ πŸ“Š Geographer working to build better government.