It was 6 years ago when I was last looking for a change after being a freelancer for a very long time. The idea was simple. I was tired of being the accountant, salesperson, consultant, developer, collections, sysadmin, and more. As a freelance “developer” I had to be all these things to support my family and live in a manner I was accustomed. But I was growing tired of it all, and wanted to have a little more fun by doing the parts I enjoyed most…consulting.
A good friend had been working at a well-known company for about a year and was very happy doing it. He also had grown tired of being a freelance developer, and a job at the company was his answer. So, when I saw an open consulting position on their website, I applied for it.
About a week later I received a call, then went through the typical round of interviews and questions. I was hired!
It was an exciting time, filled with learning new systems, people, and experiences. I was suddenly thrust into meetings with very large companies, and large teams of developers, who needed my help. There were new problems to solve on a weekly basis, and with each problem came new challenges. The number of things I learned during my six years of consulting at the company was mind-blowing, and with each day I discovered there was more and more I didn’t know. I basically went from knowing a bunch of things to village idiot overnight when I was hired.
“I went from knowing a bunch of things to village idiot overnight when I was hired.”
As I transitioned from one customer to another, it also led to traveling quite a bit. I spent half of each year away from home as I went onsite to meet new teams, learn network and application infrastructures, and build relationships with hundreds of people.
I continued to learn a great deal, and with each engagement, I spent less time on search engines and could draw from my own knowledge more often. (Of course, there was still a bunch of searching, but it was less. I’m still the village idiot learning daily.)
As a user group organizer, and speaker, I’ve always enjoyed teaching and sharing, and it was wonderful that my employer encouraged this activity. So I tended to share my knowledge with anyone who would listen, as I began speaking at conferences, user groups, and online from blog posts, podcasts, and videos, as well as through code via online source code repositories.
Through the process, I also did a fair amount of evangelism around products, libraries, and frameworks I believed in and witnessed some real growth from these efforts which drove me to do more.
However, as times change and acquisitions happen, so do the directions companies take. For good, or bad, companies are forced to make decisions and make changes to help them move forward and grow. I’ve witnessed and lived through some events these past couple years that have left me feeling dissatisfied and a little disconnected from the things I’ve come to hold dear.
This doesn’t mean the company is bad. It simply means our paths have diverged for the time being. Therefore, I will be leaving my current employer, as it is time once again for a change.