2008-2011: A very, very, very busy web guy
I can probably best describe these as the years I don't remember a lot about. They were a haze of 16 hour workdays, all-nighters building websites and an exasperated partner who could see that my work came way ahead of them. Which was great for my work, but not so great for my personal life. The concept of a work/life balance was foreign to me.
I was so invested in what I was doing, and was the only person in the company who could do what I was doing. I was a very busy man. And I had the dark circles under my eyes to prove it! I had bought in to that dangerous attitude that all technology workers buy in to when they are the only person doing what they are doing - I thought I knew it all, and that I was untouchable. I had much to learn about balance and humility.
But in this time I learned so much about Joomla and it's many extensions. I learned how to optimise servers to run these sites. I learned that the one server was never going to be enough for us to run all these sites on. I learned the hard way that you can't do everything on your own. Unfortunately I also learned to cut corners. That's a habit I am still unlearning all these years later, if I being honest.
I got so used to working in a zero-budget, zero-resources and zero-lead-time environment that cutting corners was the default way of getting things done. It was literally the ONLY way to get things done. I wasn't happy that I had to do it, but getting things done seemed more important than getting them done well.
But in those years of learning, changing, growing and making mistake-after-mistake I came out of a very steep learning curve knowing more about hacking, web security and server configuration than ever before. And I learned that I could not do all this alone.
And it was then that I knew that my tendency toward being quite cranky wasn't making me any friends and wasn't doing me any favours. I was overworked, hadn't had time off in ages and was burning out fast. This certainly wasn't the fault of my employer at the time as I believe that we each teach our workplaces how to treat us. And I had let work engulf my entire life. To the point that I had no life. I was sick, tired, angry and my weight was ballooning. Something had to change.
So when a new business manager arrived to turn my fledgling web work in to an actual paying business I greeted that man with open arms, because finally all my passion and work had shown someone above me that this thing needed to be taken serious. And thus began the process of turning a cowboy corner-cutting web-building effort in to an actual business.