Heh, BFG, not sure I have anything useful to say, but you know me, I can blather on with the best of them! So, let me get started…
I’ve been working in the technical industry as well, for what seems like forever now. During the heydey of the Internet era, I was still a computing consultant, so I moved from job to job as projects finished. One or two years was all I’d put in at a location before moving on. I got into a couple of low calibre startups right before the dot-bomb era.
Anyhow, during my time, it was certainly normal for people to have a lot of short stints. It was expected and generally allowed you to move up at each transition. After the dot-bomb and all the slowdown, it wasn’t a plus and I had trouble finding employement in my medium sized town.
The point of all this is that I’ve seen the inside of a hell of a lot of companies in my industry for someone with only about 15 years of experience.
The thing I am finding is that it gets harder and harder for me to get interested in technical issues. The level of detail required to implement a project, the amount of communication required to explain the issues involved to the techically illiterate, and the amount of stress involved with missed deadlines and bugs after release is not something I relish anymore.
In the startups I was able to move into a hands on management role, which I enjoyed, as I got to be technical but I also got to deal with issues that were not technical.
Strangely, there are two areas that stand out to me as things I want to make happen.
I want to do something that doesn’t involve the level of precision of communicating with a stupid computer. I’m tired of working with detailed logical issues every day. I want to speak to people using English because it is, in general, so much easier to work with willing (professional) people.
I want to disconnect from the nine to five lifestyle. My sleeping patterns don’t match this time period. I tend to wake up again when I should be getting ready for sleep. I then can’t fall asleep until I’m “tired” and it pisses me off and leaves me feeling like crap at work at lot. Why should I live this way? If I can work via the Internet, I can travel anywhere and connect via wireless at any large town coffee shop – what a plan!
About the time I became unemployed is around the time I found T-mag. I’ve since made the gym and nutrition/fitness job number one, with my work and career taking second place to that – so to speak as I have to work certain hours and fit my needs around it.
I’m seriously considering a move away from computing altogether. As I’m always in the politics forums, I’m taking some politics courses to see if there is any carry over. As I’m completely into fitness, I’m considering being a personal trainer for beginners. I’m no expert and I don’t have the ability to coach high level athletes, but any fat sedentary lardass working a career with no time to spend learning about fitness, I can help.
It’s not easy to consider the job shift, and it isn’t easy to imagine the cut in pay that might happen if you simply take the leap. However, in the Internet era, if you do things right, you might just be able to get your feet wet without risking your current job. You’ll have to put in a lot of time and effort, which doesn’t get any easier if you are also in the gym, but you’ll find out if you really enjoy the activity.
So, BFG, where do you spend your free time? I don’t mean in the bar, but in a productive way. What interests you? Assume you are simply kick-ass at anything you spend the time to become an expert at, and then find something that you really enjoy and can continue to enjoy.
Me? I’m going to communicate with people in some way. Screw typing in gobbledegook all day so an incredibly stupid computer which never says thanks can accomplish some task (hell, I’m writing in forums all the time, maybe I can write). I’d rather make a difference in someones life. I’d rather help steer a company or a person with respect to important decisions.
It’s true I can do this in the computing field, but even if I do, generally I can’t even carry on a conversation about my job – nobody understands the work and nobody cares, and in the end I don’t even have anything I can point to.
So, I’m not unhappy in my current job, but I am looking for ways to adjust it, and my life, towards that which will make me happier.
My advice, don’t take unnecessary risks, but find a way to determine what can hold your interest. Once you do that, find a way to make the transition without suffering financially. If nothing can hold your interest, then be thankful you have a good job and focus on things outside of your job for your happiness.
There, a complete rambling book and I still managed to say very little. Anyway, since you were looking for my ramblings, PM me or ask me something specific if you like. I’m happy to help if I can.