I was working for some asshole or another up through the early 90s. My resume had deteriorated in the local market to the point that I only was able to get roles in shitty small stupid companies owned by narcissistic dickheads.
After a couple of layoffs I started to think of a way out. (This is where I should have researched law school, or worm farming... ok cricket farming.)
I chanced upon some discussions on Compuserve computer forums about contracting. I KNEW about contractors from having worked in some DoD places and these guys were itinerants who usually lived in a travel home that they drove to each new place they worked at for a few months to a year. Well paid but a rugged lifestyle.
I ran into a book called "Computermoney" by a now forgotten author named Alan Canton. It was published in '92 or '93 and it basically described the IT programming and sysadmin contracting scene. It claimed that you could easily double your income by finding contracts doing what you already did at work.
And NOT traveling... Apparently by the early 90s companies had more opened up to selectively using hourly contractors for mission critical applications in a wide range of industries, not just DoD.
Yeah ok, here is the book... https://www.abebooks.com/9781883422011/Computermoney-Making-Serious-Dollars-000-1883422019/plp
The book gave me the confidence to stop accepting FTE offers and interviews and push for contracts instead. I credit the unsung author with saving my sanity and maybe my life at the time.
So I found gigs successfully, and for a while fairly consistently, and chained into one after another up through the early 2000s. Then contracting itself went to shit as all of us here know.
So that was the one time in my life I made a career move that all of the dumb normies I worked around claimed was suicidal, who had countless hard luck stories about guys who tried and failed and had to crawl on their knees back to employers.
In hindsight I really had no work friends. As soon as I did 1/10 of 1% better they developed hard ons of hate and envy.
My specialization was Windows desktop applications. At the time, this was red scorching hot as a niche.
So my pivot felt radical but was probably an uber conservative thing to do in retrospect.
As Captain Adama said in Battlestar Galactica, you stay with what you know. I guess that's the theme of my career.