View of inside human skull, overlay on a blue circuuit board used for the web dev Michael Brooks interview

Michael: Website developer and Content Creator

I’ve known Michael as a website developer and a content creator and a friend, from Twitter, for almost 3 years now. He is nothing but resilient in the face of what life throws at him. As someone who lives in chaos, its really nice when people stick around and aren’t afraid of your darkness. Michael celebrates your highs and steadfastly cheers you on during your lows. I’m so grateful for the friendship over the years. For me it’s only fitting to open the September interview series highlighting someone who I deeply admire.

Please introduce yourself to cosmicTaryn readers.

Hello everyone, my name is Michael, and I’m a website developer and content creator. I’ve always been open to exploring new ideas and solutions and love to share my experiences with others.

I’ve been a developer for over eight years now, and while it’s been a very rocky journey, I have enjoyed most of it. My first job as a developer lasted three weeks because they let me go, but it didn’t stop me from pushing further. Now, I’m working for a university and have been contracting for them for almost two years. I hope I can work for them permanently by the end of this year, but we’ll see how it plays out.

Dev Michael Brooks

As a website developer, what do you find is the best part of your day?

It’s always great to be handed problems and work out how they should be solved or fixed. Sometimes, it’s great when you get given something, and you think it’s going to be hard and possibly take months but ends up taking weeks instead. Also, having people use your work and are happy with the result makes it feel like all the work you put in was worth it.

Are you smart, or do you work hard?

I’d say it’s half and half, but my wife would say that I’m very smart. Some days, I’m able to use my smarts and get something done quickly. Other days, my brain doesn’t want to work, and I have to work twice as hard to get my work finished.

How have you managed the stress of tight deadlines?

I feel like I work better when there’s a tight deadline. It gives me a rush knowing I can get something done in such a short amount of time. It’s not a good thing, though, because if something doesn’t have a deadline or is quite far away, I will sit on it until a week before the deadline. Then, I’m rushing around to get it finished on time.

How do you develop yourself outside of the work environment?

For website development, I don’t do a lot outside of work now. This is because I’ve made a personal choice to spend more time with my wife. I feel like I’m in a good enough position to no longer develop my dev skills outside of work.

I’m more focused on being a better creator and making podcast episodes, blog posts and newsletter episodes when I can find the time. That way, I can enjoy life with my wife, and we can spend more time together. It does mean we struggle a little more financially, and it may take longer to get to our financial goals, but we’re mostly happy with how our time is spent.

Is it better to be extraordinary and late, or good and on time?

Ooh, that is a great question! Personally, I think it’s better to be good and on time. Mostly because I absolutely hate being late. I get anxious easily if I feel things are starting to fall apart. However, when it comes to my work, if I know I can do the job quickly, I’ll wait until the last minute to get it all done just to have that bit of pressure added to my life.

What does your version of success look like?

Mine would be to have minimal debt, a house with my wife and some cats. I’d like not to work, but I don’t think that’s a key part of success. The whole hustle culture is a terrible thing, and I’d like to avoid that as much as possible. A good work-life balance and spending time with your friends and family would be my version of success. Also, I say minimal debt because I know I’ll probably be in it forever, and that’s okay. As long as it’s manageable and you can afford those debts, it’s not necessarily a bad thing if there’s a backup solution.

I noticed that you are really into fitness. How did that come about?

This is an odd story, but I was never a fit person. I work as a website developer and rarely leave my desk. There was a time when I was slightly overweight and thought about doing something to get fit and healthy. One day, my wife and I took our cat to the vets and directly opposite us, I spotted these men and women flipping a giant tyre. As soon as I saw that, I thought to myself, “whatever that is, I want to do it too”. So I went home and looked up CrossFit which got me even more excited. I spoke to the coach, got started and never looked back since. It’s been over five years, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person, or those people teach you?

I’d say my wife has been the biggest influence in my life. She has been there every step of the way and has taught me to overcome my worst fears and worries. She is my rock, and without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Every time I feel like giving up, she’s there to give me that word of encouragement to keep going. I was going to stop my podcast because I felt like no one was listening. That is until she asked why I don’t do it, and she misses my voice during the day. So I kept going, and the main reason I keep going is for her.

What music do you listen to, and which song is currently on repeat?

My music taste is varied, but it’s mostly heavy metal. More particularly, melodic death metal, which is death metal vocals and melodic guitar. Bands like In Flames, Devildriver, Lamb of God are a few of my favourite bands. However, I also listen to rock, rap, dubstep, classical, jazz and more. My on-repeat song is “Welcome to the war” by 7kingZ. It’s a banger and gets me pumped up and ready for my workouts.

Off the top of your head, who would you give a shout out to on Twitter?

I would give you, @cosmicTaryn, a shoutout because you’ve always been there for me, and I really appreciate that. Holly Brockwell is awesome because she shares a love for tech and cats. Phil Sturgeon is someone who I admire because he bikes around the world, plants trees and cares a lot about saving our planet.

Is there a way for your fans to connect with you?

Twitter and Discord are the best places to connect with me. You can also read my blog, subscribe to my newsletter or listen to my podcast. I’m always grateful for any connections I make, and I’m always happy for open and welcoming conversations. Also on Instagram and Ko-Fi.

Care to share what you will be working on next?

I’m just working on myself at the moment. I’m taking time to re-evaluate my life and where I want to focus my efforts. I’ve taken a break from my blog, podcast and newsletter, but once I’ve settled my mind, I’ll be back with a new mission and outlook on life. I think it’s good to do this every 3-6 months by looking back at your successes and failures, work out what’s working and what isn’t and then add more focus to what’s working. Sometimes, I will do this and take a year’s break, but I’m hopeful that won’t happen this time around.

Intertwined dragon banner used at end of blog post
Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

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