Warning — Breaking Changes

January 13, 2016 · 2 mins read
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

In the world of software releases, programmers call a significant change in existing behavior a breaking change. Typically, this means that upgrading that library will break something that already works.

As someone who fell in love with programming and made it a career despite not having formal education in it, I feel incredibly fortunate. I wake up each day thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given — a job I love, a roof over my head, food and water, and many of the luxuries and privileges life has to offer.

2015 was a year of remarkable change for me —I took up a new job at DockYard, moved for the second time in my life to a new country, conquered my greatest fear (public speaking) at EmberConf, and adopted an adorable sweetheart. Writing on this blog has been very rewarding — my posts have been read almost 70,000 times since its inception in September 2014. It’s perhaps the best thing I’ve done for my programming career, and I don’t intend to stop.

My baby Zelda

Moving to America was particularly tough for me. I’m even further from my family and friends, I broke up with my boyfriend, and despite the things I’ve accomplished in the face of my relative inexperience, I still feel empty.

Upgrading software that contains breaking changes involves fixing something that already works. Depending on the degree to which you relied on it, upgrading can sometimes be a painful process.

Just like software, these changes have been painful, but my life has improved significantly since moving here. I’m grateful for the opportunities DockYard has thrown my way. I’m not exaggerating, but it’s safe to say this is by far the best job I’ve had, and I hope I stay here for a long time.

“How are you doing?”

When I think about it, I’m unhappy because I feel lonely, and because I’m so far away from the friends and family I’ve known for so long. Perhaps it’s the looming Boston winter that’s getting to me, but I don’t have anything else to be unhappy about. Don’t get me wrong, I love my alone time, but too much of a good thing can make you sick.

To a lonely person, asking them how they’re doing can mean a lot.

I’m not the only lonely and unhappy person out there — it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that there are many like me, even the ones who appear to have their life and career together.

If you get the chance, ask them how they’re doing. They might come across as cold at first, but perhaps with enough warmth in their life, these breaking changes won’t be so painful anymore.

With that said, ultimately my life has improved a lot, and I guess experiencing loneliness and making sacrifices are just facets of growing up that I’ll have to learn how to deal with.

This March, I’m fortunate enough to be speaking at EmberConf once again. I hope I’ll see you there — be sure to say hello!

Happy new year,


Discuss on Twitter · Edit this post on GitHub

Written by Lauren Tan who lives and works in the Bay Area building useful things. You should follow her on Twitter