Flemming Funch says:
Source: Ming the Mechanic
| So, what else might I do? I do feel a little overdue for a career change of some kind. |
Already about 12 years ago I felt I was done being a programmer. Like, I was getting too old to sit and think intensively all day, working many hours without stop in front of a glowing screen.
At that particular time I became a spiritual counselor. Or a therapist, if you will. Opened up a storefront office with a reception and a lot of certificates on the wall, advertised in metaphysical L.A. magazines, and did counseling sessions with people most of the day. Plus I travelled a bit. Florida, Germany. Trained some people in my techniques, wrote a couple of books about it. That all went well, and was a period of exciting growth for me.
But eventually I sort of reluctantly went back to programming for paying the bills. Well, I got a low level programming job, with very little to do, and no room for advancement, and I actually spent most of the time meditating or writing or conversing with people on the net. That was kind of like a vacation for five years, and I got a lot of my own things done in that time.
Eventually I couldn't stand having a job that wasn't going anywhere, so I quit, without having made any plans for what else to do. What followed was a couple of years of poverty, combined with having a very adventurous time, working on great plans, hanging out with great people, changing the world. Poverty is maybe a bit exaggerated. There was no money left over, it wasn't clear where money for food would come from, and it was very stressful for my family, and I was almost never home. But somehow everything that was needed still ended up being there, in the last moment. Sort of skating on thin ice, and somehow the ice never quite breaks.
Again, I eventually went back to programming. Got some contracts that grew to be very lucrative. Money was abundant again, but I worked 16 hour days just about every day. Somehow always being a bit behind, having too much to do, even though I did great things that some people were very happy with.
So, now we're here. I've lost most of the previously lucrative programming contracts. Nobody's going to miss me terribly if I don't spend all day programming. Well, one client is, but they have great problems paying me as well, so it might not last either.
This would, of course, be a good point to change course a bit. Do something different and unexpected. Become a traveling shaman, a tour guide, a forest ranger or a sword swallower.
The last several years, although I've been working on my own, in my own house, have been a little too much like being employed. Doing other people's stuff, on their schedules. Where really my most creative work has always been in my own timing. The stuff I would do when I had some time left over, or when I was really supposed to be doing something else. Or the stuff I would do when people had no particular expectation on what I would do.
I've always been attracted to being a consultant or facilitator of some kind. Well, I was quite successful with that on a person-to-person basis, as a therapist. And I can certainly do that again, of course. But I also somehow feel I have a role in facilitating things for groups, organizations and companies. I just haven't quite figured out how to find an inroad into that.
I could very well just take my counseling materials bigger. Travel around, do seminars, train people, speak. It would need to be worked up a bit, but some groundwork is already laid, in that many people in many areas have downloaded, studied and used my books. Eastern Europe would be quite likely, as lots of my books have been sold in Russian.
A difficulty in anything I do is that I do the best stuff if people come to me, rather than the other way around. Meaning, I'm not good at selling myself. It either works for me that somebody else will represent me, or that I've already done something great in the past, which makes people seek me out. It is not just that I'm vain or lacy or something, but there's something that works for me about being an oracle that people will go and seek out.
Or, another way around it, it works for me to look at a situation and then go off and come up with solutions or alternatives to it. Like, that's how I program best. If I can just sort of study how things work in some area, and then I go off and hide away in my tower and cook up the best way of dealing with it, and I come back when I'm done. You know, as compared to some manager who comes by every day and changes my priorities.
The whole capitalistic working-for-money system on this planet pisses me off. I've never really liked it. Which is why I haven't done all the normal things one should do to have a safe a secure middle-class life, like putting money away for retirement, and paying your taxes on time. And I haven't either done the normal things one would do to have a secure upper-class life, like buying low and selling high; getting lots of people to do work for you that is worth more than what you're paying them; getting people to buy things from you that cost you less to make; hiding your money well.
So, of course, rather than just going for making money, I'd like to do things I care about and that make a difference. And I'd like to be paid well, as sort of a secondary effect. But I've kind of been idling for a number of years. Despite working hard and accomplishing many things in several different fields, I somehow haven't yet really gotten around to the stuff I'm here on this planet to do.
If there's a chance that I'm about to, I don't know. I'm trying to be open to it.
But right this moment I'd probably be happy with some well-paid programming projects in the fields I'm most into (social software, knowledge management), using the tools I know best (PHP/MySQL/Linux).