It’s September 2013… I find that somewhat amazing. It’s true what they say about the passage of time speeding up as one grows older, even though I’m not all that old. I’ll be 52 next month. Well more than halfway to the hole, most likely, but not yet doddering. My best years are behind me, so they say, but this one’s still been pretty darn good.
In my former career as a technologist I was focused more on the hardware side of things, first as an electronics technician then as an electrical engineer designing electronic circuits. I made a name for myself as a guru, and got called upon to pull miracles out of my ass on demand. My ego got stroked pretty regularly, but then the market changed and hardware gurus were no longer in much demand in North America. To make a living at it I’d have to live out of a suitcase, which was then (and still is) entirely out of the question. So in 1996 I decided that I was (a) going to become independent of corporate Amerika, and (b) focus on software instead because there was still call for gurus in that field and with the internet I could live anywhere at all as long as I could get an internet connection. I’d always been the hardware guy who also understood and wrote software, so it was just a simple matter of leaving the hardware behind and focusing on software for general purpose, internet connected systems.
It took me about two years to make a sufficient name for myself that the software endeavor would replace much of my former income. Things got dicey a time or two dozen, but I was dedicated and somehow managed to make it happen. The internet was then a rapidly growing market so there was room for most if not all. From ’96 to ’98 I worked some hardware gigs only to support the growth of my business — which really meant keeping food on the table more than anything else.
This afternoon it occurred to me that I spent about 15 years as a hardware guy, changing jobs every two years or so to drive up my value, and I’ve now been in this software gig full time for about 15 years but self employed so not changing jobs even once. I don’t know anyone in a technical field who’s still in the same job today that he or she was 15 years ago. So I guess it’s true what they say that moving into self employment is trading the illusion of security for the illusion of freedom. I’m much more secure now than I’ve ever been in any Joe Job working for wages, and for quite a long time I had no time for any freedom that I might have gained. Now, though, I’m fortunate to be able to call most of my own shots. I don’t feel any need to work for assholes, which was always my biggest beef when working for wages. I can tell the assholes to take flying fucks at rolling donuts, and through some kind of miracle every time I do something much better comes along within a month. Don’t ask me how that works. Maybe Amethyst knows? She seems to think that she does. I don’t question it.
Fifteen years in the same gig and with no plans to leave it. Wow.
I’d started the year believing that 2013 would be the year that I made big changes, but here it is September already. I wasn’t intending to leave my field or anything like that, just to leverage the skills and relationships I’ve got to do something more profitable with a promise of less effort being required in a couple of years… But here it is September already. The calendar really does move faster the older you get.
But, still, fifteen years in the same gig. It was either September or November of 1998 that I made this my full time gig, and it seems strange that I don’t remember which it was. Either way, I’m lovin’ it.