[personal profile] nemorathwald
Perhaps I should learn something that makes developers cringe, such as Visual Basic or .NET. This will take multiple steps of reasoning to explain, so bear with me.

I have been interviewing for various startups. That has been a very educational experience about the "expectation fit" between types of companies and types of employees. When discussing my recent job interviews with a friend who worked for one of the startups, he made a comment that he and his colleagues all worked long hours for very high salaries, and given my life goals, I should try to work someplace large and corporate. I then had the following hypothesis.

  1. I have focused on programming languages, version control systems, and other technologies with one common denominator: developers like using them. Also, I have been favoring seeking out workplaces with processes and management styles that support job satisfaction among developers. What if this disadvantages my specific life goals?

  2. According to this hypothesis, this affects who my colleagues are.

    A. They compete to get into companies that allow them to use these satisfying technologies.

    B. The project they work on for employment is so interesting to them that they consider it to be the main thing they are doing with their lives right now. As a result, they work long hours, and have very little free time after studying and practicing.

    C. Being a software developer is a major part of their identity, not just a way to pay the bills.

    D. They hold strong leadership opinions, rather than saying "I'm sure however you want to do it will be fine". They often seek out companies with fewer developers, each of whom is crucial.

    E. They are playing a game in which the victory condition is measured in dollars. The income necessary to sustain my frugal lifestyle is roughly 2/3 of the lowest end that motivates them -- or 1/2 if I don't mind living hand-to-mouth with a lot of risk.

  3. Reportedly, in some huge companies maintaining ugly legacy codebases in Visual Basic or .NET, software developers are only working when they are at work. They provide financial value for forty hours a week. Then they go home at the end of the day, forget about their jobs completely, and pursue their own projects.

My challenge will be to find a source of about $30,000 to $40,000 per year, which does not completely take over my ability to work on my own projects after hours. I have been given to understand that such jobs are scarce in the post-middle-class economy. My education and experience now disqualifies me from low-skill minimum-wage jobs, since employers would be concerned that I would quit to go back into software development. Income inequality is a game of thrones.
"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground." -Cersei Lannister

The most appealing idea (although possibly not feasible) is to select one of my projects, focus 100% of my time on it, and generate an income through Patreon, rather than just fit my ambitions around a day job. That's a subject for another essay.

I spent fifteen years of my adult life performing unskilled labor for my day job, and the past two years experimenting with performing skilled labor for my day job. Each of us have a "personal business model", whether intentionally or accidentally. I'll continue to refine my personal business model as an ongoing experiment.

Date: 2015-06-27 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selki.livejournal.com
My challenge will be to find a source of about $30,000 to $40,000 per year, which does not completely take over my ability to work on my own projects after hours.

I'm a government contractor, and our client gets very unhappy if we run over 40 hours a week, because of the limits of the contract, and so our employer makes us go home if we're running up against the limit (of course they prefer we plan it so we don't all leave early on the 15th and last day of the month). So maybe you might look into contracting? I do infrastructure support (software configuration management), but of course there are also development positions. From where I sit what's hot right now is security, virtualization (The Cloud), and DevOps (which is what I'm slowly shifting into).

Even among non-contractors, some software employers do recognize that error rates and re-work go up with significant overtime. My employer 8 years ago (not a contracting outfit) recognized this.

Date: 2015-06-27 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] matt-arnold.livejournal.com
Do you find half of your time is getting the contracts? Or do you find a company that does the salesmanship for you?

Date: 2015-06-29 02:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selki.livejournal.com
I work for a company with 5000+ employees. They do the bids/proposals. I've been asked to help out a couple of times on them (contributing my subject matter expertise, not contract language), but it's been under 10 hours of my time in my year and a half with them. I keep up with the business analyses they post about the industry/competitors, but that's not obligatory -- none of my teammates read that stuff.

Date: 2015-06-29 01:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] matt-arnold.livejournal.com
It sounds like you're saying you are not an independent contractor-- you work for a company that does contract work. So you don't need to go hunting for work constantly. Is that right?

Date: 2015-06-30 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selki.livejournal.com
Yes. I'm sorry if my reply is off-topic for you -- I just wanted to note that not all software/IT companies expect soul-killing overtime, unpaid or otherwise.

Date: 2015-07-01 01:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] matt-arnold.livejournal.com
It's precisely on-topic. Thank you. That was the sort of information I needed.

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