Hard Work + Kindness = Luck (or opportunity)

Today, I recap an event in my past where my hard work and kindness produced an opportunity I couldn't turn down.

Written by Jonathan "JD" Danylko • Last Updated: • General •

Man grabbing sacks of coffee beans.

Before the pre-COVID time, people would ask me why I'm always running in high gear and constantly writing code.

I would always be building something. It doesn't matter what it was, but it was always writing code to push the envelope to see what I could build.

I guess the rush of building something out of nothing is one of the best feelings in the world. It doesn't matter whether you write a song, write a book, or build a website, your creativity and techniques should inspire and invigorate others to pursue similar interests (which I try to do through this blog and newsletter).

What does this have to do with hard work and kindness? I'm getting to it.

While I do have a 9-to-5 consulting job and write code on a daily basis, I am firmly content in my wheelhouse. I feel at home. I find sanctuary in code.

Here's the secret: It doesn't feel like hard work anymore.

The hard work was putting in the long hours over a 25-year period with sometimes 50-60 hour weeks (no, I'm not wearing it as a badge...it's more of disgust).

The RESULT of the hard work has given me multiple opportunities, but there is one in particular that stands out.

The Time and Place

All of my hard work over the years lead me to a Fortune 500 company and it was something I was extremely proud of in my career. I even mentioned bits and pieces of it on my blog.

The story goes like this. One person at this company was let go in an unjust way. We'll call him Frank.

Frank was asked to pack his bags and this would be his last day at the company. Cold turkey. Gone.

Since I knew how that felt, I couldn't help but ask him if there was anything I could do to help him out.

Frank said, "yeah, find me a job."

I contacted a few consulting and recruiting companies and they were able to find him a position relatively quick.

It felt good I was able to help him find a job. Frank thanked me and we went our separate ways.

The Opportunity

A year later, Frank overheard a co-worker saying they needed an ambitious developer to help with a side-project.

As a sign of gratitude for finding him a job, Frank mentioned my name and said, "I have just the person to help."  

He contacted me and I've been working with these business partners for a while and it's turned into a very solid business relationship.

Our startup bootstraps a lot and being a full-stack developer absolutely helps until we can move forward.

At this point, I realized this opportunity was the culmination of everything I worked for in my career along with the ability to feel empathy and kindness towards someone who lost their job.

How Did Hard Work Get You Here?

It's all started in 1994 with the Hedgehog Concept.

The concept asks if you are a Hedgehog or a Fox. While a fox focuses on many things, a hedgehog focuses on one big thing. My one big thing turned into Microsoft web technologies since 1995.

As a corporate developer, it all started with knowing Clipper in 1993.

With the amount of time I put into learning Clipper and beating out 88 other candidates with the same skillset, I wouldn't have been selected to work in a "Best Company To Work for in America" in 1993.

If I didn't jump onto the web back in 1995 and continually work on my web skills, I never would've been asked to move to Columbus, Ohio in 1999 because someone recommended me to a recruiter since I was "really good" at my job. This opened up a TON of opportunities for me.

If I didn't see the potential of knowing at least two technologies, I would've been stuck in my career (which I almost was). 

If I didn't continue to work hard and forge a different path than others, I wouldn't have been selected to be a Web Architect at a Fortune 500 company.

At this company, if I didn't offer to help a friend in need through LinkedIn when he lost his job, I wouldn't have been introduced to my future business partner.

If I didn't meet my future business partner, I wouldn't have been given a lifelong opportunity to match my skill set presented to me to build a flagship product.

While I'm not going to discredit hard work, it sometimes doesn't feel like hard work when you've already put in the hours.

It simply becomes second nature to you.

And while I feel I could've ignored the person and watch them walk out the door, never to see them again, I felt compelled to offer my connections and services to help them find something...mainly because I've been there and I know how it feels.

Conclusion

After COVID, I've slowed down a bit because of fatigue (no smell or taste either). I still try to practice my craft every day. The hard work of 5-6 hours a night has lowered to 3-4 hours (but ohhh those 3-4 hours are soooo productive).

While some think there is a software developer shortage coming, I feel the people who will make it in this world are the ones who continually practice their craft, treat others with respect and assist where they can, and help others when they've fallen.

Once you demonstrate these qualities and others recognize them, I guarantee you'll become "lucky."

Do you feel like you're lucky in your career? Have you been presented with many opportunities? Post your comments below and let's discuss.

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Picture of Jonathan "JD" Danylko

Jonathan Danylko is a web architect and entrepreneur who's been programming for over 25 years. He's developed websites for small, medium, and Fortune 500 companies since 1996.

He currently works at Insight Enterprises as a Principal Software Engineer.

When asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies, "I like to write and I like to code. I also like to write about code."

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