I originally started on the road to development back in 2005. I moved to the big city of Lisbon in my home country of Portugal, south of my home town of Fundão. The subject - computer science - was great. But I didn’t expect the transition from a small town to big city life to take such a heavy toll on my well-being. For some reason, it didn’t feel right. Perhaps, subconsciously, my body knew I had other things to accomplish first. So after just two years, I moved back home to help support my family and look for a different opportunity.
One of the first jobs I found was a full-time position as an EMT, or Emergency Medical Technician. I had zero experience, but I was offered the position. I immediately loved it, so much so that I ended up sticking with it for nearly nine years! My favorite part of being an EMT was helping others. The worst part? Accepting that sometimes, no matter what you do, some lives can’t be saved. One of the biggest strengths that job gave me was the ability to stay calm during times of extreme stress and panic. To this day, it helps me always give my best when it comes to helping others.
Be happy with the things you have. Take away the best part of everyday life and use them to help build a better tomorrow.
EMTs are offered training for their jobs, but not what you would call “advanced” training. Initially, I heard a rumor that the government wanted to provide additional studies and certifications to help shift being an EMT from a temporary job into a life-long career. I loved the sound of this, which is why I was an EMT for so many years. That is until I realized the government program would never be approved. After that, I knew I wanted a more promising career, so I returned to school to finish my bachelor’s degree in computer science. I still worked part-time as an EMT, so this process took me five years, but I was really proud of myself for sticking it out.
The environment at Crystallize is so open. We can discuss our feelings, perspectives, and ideas when it comes to trying out new things. And this is how we chase the new normal. I love being a part of this - I know I have made friends for life.
Could you tell that I have a stutter? No? For some reason, it’s not so prominent when I speak in English! But when I talk in my native Portuguese, it is pretty noticeable. I used to be more self-conscious about it, but I think I am coming to appreciate it, realizing just how much it has taught me about life: it can be cruel, it doesn’t come easy, and it can be pretty uncomfortable. But as the years pass and I grow older, I see how I am gaining the confidence to embrace who I am without shame. The next item on my bucket list is actually to give a speech at a developer conference. All I need to do is practice… and maybe have an extra glass of wine!