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So, I'm at a stage in my life where I'm considering what I've done and where I'm headed, a midlife crisis of sorts. I'm not happy at my current job (which is kinda killing my passion for software development) and I have loads of diy work at home to do. I'm considering taking a few months off just to catch up with things and have a bit of a holiday. I'm not sure what I'll do next, either look for a new job or even possibly start something of my own (I have an idea which i think is feasible). It's a bit of a daunting thing to do, but so far everyone I spoke to has been quite encouraging about it.
Who here has taken a sabbatical? Did you go back to software dev or do something else entirely?
Yeah, I've done that as well, staying longer than I should have. The salary was good and it was a comfortable environment even with the frustrations. I actually liked the project and working on it, I just didn't like some things that management did, like bad communication. In the end they retrenched some people and basically paid me to leave. At this stage I really feel like I need to take a step back and have a holiday, which I never had between changing jobs 8 months ago. I also have very little interest in the current project I'm working on which does make it difficult to put in the effort that I'd actually like to. Maybe I'll feel different after having some time off.
My problem is that at the end of a contract I feel like I have to be looking for my next contract. And of course in the middle of the contract I feel like I cannot take a break. A catch 22.
Now things have changed a lot. It use to be that I could get a new contract within a couple of weeks. I am a C# programmer that specializes in WPF. This use to be a great position because it is pretty specialized, and a lot of tricks that most programmers do know. Well things have changed a lot in recent years, and now there are very few contracts that are for desktop. Every contract I have had for the last few years has been front ends for instruments, quite a change.
Basically Microsoft (Ballmer) made a really bad decision, and that is the obsolescence of Silverlight. There were real advantages to Silverlight, and it is really too bad because that technology would have given me a really good path to the web, and provided the world something that combines the best parts of the web and desktop.
That has been why I have been moving for new contracts. There has never been a lot of work in WPF. I could have stayed in Seattle, and probably continued to get WPF contracts, but that would have meant a lot of time between contracts. If I did that now, I would usually have to wait a really long time to get another WPF contract. I like working with WPF, and I can leverage better rate since there are not a lot of people that have a lot of experience in working with WPF.
Yes, I took a year or so out at one point, not really to so anything specific beyond saving my sanity.
During that time I probably came to realise that it wasn't really software development that I hated, it was just the general crud that comes with any kind of job - office politics, excessive hours, lousy work-spaces and more human contact than I'd ever opt for and a general feeling that life would be better spent either doing something more lasting and meaningful or simply lying in a field.
I have come back into it and I'm quite happy where I am, though it take a couple of jobs from Hell to get back into the game and all in all, the financial cost of that year off has actually been very high.
I kind of enjoy coding but in truth, if I won the lottery, I'd probably never write another line of code in my life (I've never been one of those people who writes code for fun) but given that I'm no spring chicken, I've been doing it for donkey's years, I've got no qualifications and I'm pretty good at doing it - there's not really anything else I could do that's going to get me anything over minimum wage.
Sometimes, a change is as good as a rest and looking back on it now, what I should have done was look for a new gig - maybe with a delayed start - before I got to the point of being so fried that I couldn't contemplate it. The change often doesn't need to be one of career, though, just a new place to do what you do or perhaps something that veers off at a bit of a tangent from it.
I've got no qualifications and I'm pretty good at doing it
Now that's the kind of person I would actually hire! Seriously, all too often I see people with certificates and diplomas up the wazoo but they are clueless when it comes to actually doing any quality work.
Yeah, but you better test it to make sure. I have the impression some people get their degrees for free or something.
eg. I once had an interview with a consultant. He had various certifates from Microsoft .Net Professional exams. The CV said he was certified in C# and in ASP.Net and in Visual Studio version whatever. I knew of course what happened and what they did on the resumes, but to make sure I asked the guy.
"That certification in Visual Studio, what is that exactly? What does it mean?"
The answer ... "I don't know"
I tried to clarify, "you have a certification in .Net and in C# what was that and so what does the certification in Visual Studio mean?" Still same answer.
Other certified people couldn't write 4 lines of code on a simple programming task with google and MSDN enabled!
Diploma's and certifications mean nothing (unfortunately)
Proof by example fallacy. You've encountered some liars and bullshitters, so? The majority of qualified people are going to be better than the majority of unqualified people and using outlier examples doesn't change that. People pretend they have medical degrees to get jobs in hospitals...that's a real edge case though, 0.001% of people maybe and that edge case isn't going to stop me wanting my surgeon to be qualified. If you hire people based on qualifications alone then you're equally unsuitable at the job of hiring.
If you hire people based on qualifications alone then you're equally unsuitable at the job of hiring.
That was actually my only point. Of course you prefer people with degrees, but don't take there word for it they earned it.
And as for surgeons, also real life story (my dad was one) where they teamed up in the hospital with 2 or 3 for one specialization. At one point they kicked someone out, I'll leave it up to your imagination on why.
I agree with everything you say, just that you should not take for granted what they write on paper.
I probably came to realise that it wasn't really software development that I hated, it was just the general crud that comes with any kind of job - office politics, excessive hours, lousy work-spaces and more human contact than I'd ever opt for and a general feeling that life would be better spent either doing something more lasting and meaningful or simply lying in a field.
I have had the situation, and a friend has had a situation where did not get out of a job that was really bad. The result was being unemployed for a while. If I had been smart I would have been looking, instead I waited until I got fired, and then it took a while to get another position.
Now about my friend. She was working for Boeing. She had previously been quite successful, and had always moved from one job to another. Well the job was really getting to her self respect. She was fired. I am not sure if she was expecting a well paying position and was initially pushing back on positions that were not paying enough. Anyway, it took her about 2 years to finally find a new position. In the two years she lost her house, had a $100,000 medical bill for a rupture in her intestine which I think was due to stress, and filed bankruptcy. What amazed me was how much it cost her to file bankruptcy, which was like $1,500, which seems to make bankruptcy out of the reach of some of the most desperate people.
I'm taking 2 months off later this year.
Same considerations as you have, except I have, for the moment, not come up with any alternatives.
I would like to do something completely different, but with my diploma, chances for that are slim to none.