I just spent 17 years consulting as a database designer/developer and analyst, believing I was building up to something. Turns out that while I did work as a consultant all that time, I was essentially working a day job without focussing on building a career or a future. As soon as I stopped working, the income dried up. Recruiters that call act as if they’re talking to some noob who just stepped off the bus and don’t care that I’ve been working in my speciality for almost 20 years. I have no software developed that I can market, no long client list I can mine for future projects, and no network to look to for support or prospects. In short, I’m starting over.
One of the principles I’ve heard over the years from the successful entreprenurial types is the need to develop multiple income streams and residual incomes. I understood what they were saying the first time I heard them, but those words are really hitting home now. I remember watching my dad become obsolete in his field at about the same age I am now. And I believed for many years that I was going to be smarter and not end up that way. Now, I don’t think I’m obsolete…far from it. However, I don’t feel as relevant as I had hoped I would. And as I said, I’m now starting over at age 45 (cue applause).
It’s important to build. For folks who decide to focus on a single track, being the best bassist in the world, for example, perhaps it is clearer what they are building up to. For those of us who have multiple interests, it can be a challenge to see just what we’re building. Can you have a foundation comprised of multiple disciplines and talents? How do you synthesize these into a cohesive whole which can be described in a quick two-sentence pitch? I’ve been working on that for a long time and I’m still not sure. To that end, I’ve been reviewing my life to identify patterns which might provide some insight:
1. I work best on projects instead of jobs;
2. I need change, new challenges;
3. I’m constantly seeking new ideas and learning (and gear);
4. I like the idea of routines and patterns of working, but as soon as I set them up, I immediately look for a different (and occasionally better) way of doing things.
Future post: What to do, what to do? (Or, how the hell do I sell this?)
As always, I welcome your thoughts on the above. Next week, actual design talk! Really!
Thanks for reading,