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.
Been there, done that, got the shirt. My only differnce is that it was giant companies.
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.)
As I have gotten older I realized that there is a lot of ways to make money besides what you may do. I didnt discover this till later in life. When I was younger I was totally unfocused. Didnt know what I wanted and was lukewarm about almost everything.
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 remember hearing about guys like this. I hear this is still going on in Silly Valley.
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.
I always HATED traveling for work and refuse to do it even now. Its too disruptive in your life. Who the hell wants to live in a hotel or new apartment all the time.
Yeah ok, here is the book... https://www.abebooks.com/9781883422011/Computermoney-Making-Serious-Dollars-000-1883422019/plp
Interesting book. The dynamic in the 90s was so different. I am pissed that I couldnt figure it out at the time.
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.
Sanity is a good thing.
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.
I knew tons of people that crawled back to Ma Bell who SPIT on them. They did all kinds of shit to them. Because Ma Bell knew they were trapped in the telco industry because thats all the experience they had they did stuff to them just because they could. A big example is RATE CUTS. They would tell all the contractors they have to take a mandatory 10% rate cut. If you dont take it, than you are unemployed. I saw very few contractors that would say f*** you and walk out. Most just grumbled and ate it.
Another thing I saw them do to people was forced sabaticals. Example - Oh the year end is slow, we are going to put you on unpaid leave till the second week in January. ENJOY and HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Most people with half a brain would start looking for a job. NOPE, they just ATE IT.
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.
Agreed 1000$%. Work friends are not nor ever were really friends. What they are is work aquaintances. Nothing more. I had two guys who I went to lunch with for close to 10 years. When I got laid off, I never saw them or heard from them again. As I said, they are NOT your friends. I keep my personal life and work life totally separate.
My specialization was Windows desktop applications. At the time, this was red scorching hot as a niche.
I remember because I wanted to get into it!
So my pivot felt radical but was probably an uber conservative thing to do in retrospect.
I think you did ok as any of us could have done.
As Captain Adama said in Battlestar Galactica, you stay with what you know. I guess that's the theme of my career.
I get it.