I lost my plan A and plan B due to the war, and now Java is my plan C: the story of Kristina, who lost her job due to the Russian invasion

Published in the Random group
We start a unique series of materials about Ukrainians who have lost their jobs due to the Russian invasion. These people began learning Java thanks to the CodeGym user donation program. "I lost my plan A and plan B due to the war, and now Java is my plan C": the story of Kristina, who lost her job due to the Russian invasion - 1

"I lost my plan A and plan B due to the war, now Java is my plan C"

Kristina Illarionova, 25, is from Kramatorsk, a town in the Donetsk region with nearly 150,000 people. Kramatorsk became a region's center after the Russians started their invasion in 2014 and occupied Donetsk. So, there was "nothing new" to Kristina in what happened this February in Ukraine. She was partly ready for the full-scale war – but not for losing both of her jobs. Now she's in Kyiv, learning Java and hoping to start a new career in IT.

"There's nothing new to me in this war"

I grew up in Kramatorsk, in a private house within 5 km away from the military airport. After the Russians came on Ukrainian land in 2014, two missiles fell in our backyard. I remember that date, July 2, very vividly. My dog was killed, my parents and I were sitting in the basement for two days, then evacuated to Mariupol. Now it sounds strange, but Mariupol was a safe place back then… When the active phase of the invasion was over, we went home. "I lost my plan A and plan B due to the war, and now Java is my plan C": the story of Kristina, who lost her job due to the Russian invasion - 2

Kramatorsk central square. The last day when Lenin monument was standing there.

In 2015, I finished high school and moved to Kyiv. I've always wanted to live and attend the university here. I admire this city; it's 100% mine. So, when the war started, I decided I wouldn't leave. I understood the consequences of this decision. I watched all the news, and I knew all the possible scenarios for Kyiv. Nevertheless, I felt stronger staying within my own four walls. My mom went to Bulgaria with my younger brother. Still, my dad refused to leave Kramatorsk despite the battles happening nearby. I can understand him; he's put so much effort into our home. And now he must stay in the basement all the time while my native town is being destroyed by Russians.

A workaholic without any work

Before the war, I'd been a TV editor at one of the Ukrainian informational channels. I've got two degrees, in journalism and PR, and although I couldn't find a job in PR, I managed to make my way to media. "I lost my plan A and plan B due to the war, and now Java is my plan C": the story of Kristina, who lost her job due to the Russian invasion - 3

My last day working on TV.

After February 24, almost all TV channels fired most of the employees. In our company, 60% of people lost their jobs, including me. And the management has already announced new layoffs. The rest of the people have to work more for 30% of the salary. These days, we don't have a variety of TV programs in Ukraine. There's a single TV marathon, and all the networks broadcast the same content. So, there's no need for many big teams to create it. Frankly speaking, I'm not even sure there will be such a need after the war ends. In my opinion, many networks will decide to optimize their costs, and they probably won't need all the people they previously have employed. I enjoyed my job so much! During the pandemic, we often had to work long hours, even after midnight. I was feeling overloaded but fulfilled at the same time. I was one happy workaholic :) Well, the war changed everything. I believe you must have plan A and plan B for your life. That's why I've also worked as a bartender at the art center every weekend. Just not to keep all the eggs in one basket. On the one hand, the war proved me right. On the other hand, it turned out it wasn't enough to have only two baskets. "I lost my plan A and plan B due to the war, and now Java is my plan C": the story of Kristina, who lost her job due to the Russian invasion - 4

Behind the bar.

I lost my plan A first and then my plan B. The place where our bar is located has become a strategically important object. So, no job for me there, too. Now I keep spending my savings and understand it's time for plan C.

My plan C

Over the past two years, I've noticed more and more people switching to IT from many industries. Models, bloggers, and other professionals have started learning how to code and earning decent money. To me, IT has always looked like another planet. But if my friend who's a model can make it, why can't I? "I lost my plan A and plan B due to the war, and now Java is my plan C": the story of Kristina, who lost her job due to the Russian invasion - 5

Volunteering in Kyiv right now.

I had these thoughts before but didn't act upon them. Maybe I lacked motivation or felt too comfortable with my two plans. But after I lost both jobs, my friend suggested applying for the CodeGym's course. The company had just started raising donations to provide Ukrainians who lost their jobs with free subscriptions. My friend said it was a perfect moment and an excellent opportunity to learn Java, and I ultimately agreed with her. Now I'm slowly diving into programming. I can't say it's easy for me to study. The reason is not the complexity of the course but the stress we all experience. It's much safer in Kyiv now than it was two months ago. Still, it's hardly a normal life. Imagine the beautiful spring, warm weather, and the air raid sirens that can start anytime. I can't watch movies or read books, but I try to study. I know many people who lost their jobs since February 24. And as far as I can see, the only ones doing good are from IT. Their projects haven't been closed; they continue working and getting paid. I want a stable future, too. Sure, I understand it may take time, and it won't be easy. Sometimes I have to read or watch a material several times to finally comprehend it. I'm so glad the platform allows you to choose the form of the lessons! I prefer storytelling, so I chose this option. I'm pretty motivated, and I'm ready to dedicate a couple of years to change my career. Meanwhile, except from studying, a part of my time takes volunteering for World Central Kitchen. This organization signs agreements with restaurants, and they cook hot meals for people who need them. I'm a volunteer at one of these restaurants. We provide over 1500 portions every day to the old people, members of Territorial Defense Forces, etc. There's a chance that some volunteers will start getting paid. For me, it's a chance to earn at least some money while I'm studying. I don't hope to return to my previous job on the TV channel. TV was my dream, but maybe it's time to follow a new one? "I lost my plan A and plan B due to the war, and now Java is my plan C": the story of Kristina, who lost her job due to the Russian invasion - 6
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Zoe Level 9
24 May 2022
Many thanks for the story! Wish Kristina the best of luck, fast switching to the Java developer, and a peaceful sky for all Ukrainians