Be so hungry seeking your establishment to be fine with jumping over all gates. Gatekeepers will become irrelevant sooner or later. There are many gates btw. Individual and institutional. Many groups, trying to keep those out who they don't conform with. Judging everyone through their tribal beliefs. Beginner or not.
This could have been about "why gatekeeping is wrong". But I don't want to waste your time with my epitomes. Gatekeeping will happen, and you at some point will be subjected to it. Accept it, archive it. Focus on the things you love and the places you want to go.
If you are someone trying to get in a gate for the first time, know this, people don’t turn down those who can help them do things better. While there is — the priesthood — maintaining the status quo, acting elite, keeping people out for their taste and insecurities, and demanding people to join them in the things they like/dislike. While you might be rejected for your identity. You might be rejected for a mismatch in logistics. You might be rejected for not being good enough at the start. But if you truly believe your stuff is dope, keep making it better, and stick around, you will find an opening through the walls.
Bring alignment in yourself. Away from everyone. Away from rules. Ask the hard questions. Ambitions matter. Direction matters. Learning matters. Money matters. Weekday or weekend. Sometimes toxic enough to take a toll on your mental health. Be obsessed if the need be.
Proof of work + your instincts > all noise outside. Your instincts are right, value it. Your portfolio matters till it stops mattering, work on it. And it's fine if you decide to not do it dramatically. Build-in private. Talk about it in public. Moderate how much who knows. Navigate with caution. Be secretive, don’t overshare with just anyone. Find the right people. Nurture that relationship. Leverage the internet and how it brings different worlds in such proximity. Don't get lost in wanting more and more internet points that convert to nothing. At the end of the day, you'll know how much you are doing, how well you are fluffing. Your career is a social construct, and your perceived value influences it a lot. While craft is a personal pursuit. Seek excellence wherever you are and with whatever you have.
Time is lost by everyone equally. If avoiding middle managers seems like the right thing, don’t hesitate to write to the Head or CTO. Don't wait to escalate. An important step to jump over gates. You are running. Doesn't matter a sprint or marathon. Maybe both. Linearity seems more acceptable to the world, but don't overthink if non-linear is how it has to be now. You'll lose patience, many many times. You'll get emotional. Respect your urgency.
Be an independent thinker. Stay out of all loops. If there is something you need to know, you'll come to know. You are not here to fight anyone. You are not here for a pity party either. To laugh at or be laughed at. You are at no one's mercy, you don’t have to force relationships or pass checks. Do without permission. Ask without fear.
Read psychology and system theory, it will help you understand yourself and manipulation at an organizational level. Be Zen. Read, do, keep adding to your list whatever you did. Delay gratification. And stop lying to yourself, eg: if you feel like an imposter, no you are not doing more you are a liar. It’s okay. Keep going.
Do what you gotta do till you have at least one foot in. It gets easier after that, bit by bit. Being driven by a need is an unfair advantage. People won’t understand your lack of choices, spend less time trying to explain. It’s fine if your reasons are not self alluring or sound noble.
If you come from a small town, there is a transactional world awaiting outside. It will be an uncomfortable path to accepting that it’s right. Don’t ask for help if you can’t afford to pay. Keep yours and that individual's pride. Help yourself. And when you know enough to help someone, don't hesitate to do it for free if it sits well with you. Put a price tag when you want to. Getting out of the scarcity mindset born out of the middle class trauma you picked up living in a tire 3-4 city for years will be a project in itself. Be receptive to changes yet never lose yourself.
Because the gates are there. Enough people moderating how to do it right, who is allowed. In a free market. Running a club. Here getting access depends on who knows who. Maybe you know no one. You don't have to is what I'll say, not if it doesn't come naturally to you.
Remember, you wake up, take a shit, give yourself food, work, be paid for your work, eat out of what you are paid. No person has any stake in that process. Bet on yourself, if you won’t no one else will. Say fuck you to the world every once in a while, you’ll be just fine.
And once you are there. Proven yourself. Give yourself the authority to decide being done forcing your way in. Don't hate what you used to be. Build on top of it. Hold the door. Be empathetic, not just for show but for real. Help people do better. Leave them to their fights. Not a compulsion to help, but stand in no one’s way.
Here onwards, what you’ll achieve is uncertain, more or less. Exhaust all possibilities. You'll find gates at all stages of your life, not just at the start. They can be opened, broken, jumped over. They look like work, but you’ll stop caring about them after a while. Don’t lose focus. Art is long and time is fleeting as we say. Go after life or work, whichever keeps your heart beating.
© Divya Kant Singh
Software & Interaction Designer