Friday, January 27, 2006
I've read the articles, and I'm afraid. The Indians are going to take my job. Recent college grads are going to take my job. The economy is going to eliminate my job. I'm a 40-year-old in a job for 22-year-olds. I'm not sure how, but somehow my job is definitely going to disappear.
Maybe it is really not so dire, but I am pretty sure that my job of implementing simple stuff using C++ will disappear some day. Then what will I do? Unfortunately, my job doesn't give me the opportunity to explore new technologies or gain experience in other domains, so when my job is lost, my resumé will only have a lot of "old" technologies on it.
I can't respond to the ads for Java, C#, or Ajax jobs, because I have no actual experience with those things. I can't respond to the ads for sophisticated C++ jobs, because my job is to eliminate anything "sophisticated" about our C++ code, and make it so simple that one doesn't need to know much about C++ to hack on the code.
I look around at the over-40 programmers in my company who have jobs. None of them have jobs due to their programming abilities—they have jobs because they have knowledge of the legacy systems. That's knowledge I don't have. It's knowledge I really can't obtain.
Maybe I should move up into management. I've always thought that working with idiots would bother me more than working for idiots, but job security might require that I make the move upward. It might be annoying, but at least I'll get more vacation time and I'll get to take holidays off.
Maybe I should become a consultant. All I need to do is convince somebody that I am worth four times as much as one of their employees, and they'll pay my fees.
Maybe I should start my own business. I've got the entrepreneurial spirit. I'm tired of working for other people. I'd rather implement my own dumb ideas tham implement somebody else's dumb ideas.
I don't know what I'm going to do, but I need to do it soon. The news articles say that I'm doomed. The recruiters say that I'm behind the times. My employer's newsletter says that I'm valuable, but who knows when they might decide to lay people off.
I thought economic security was supposed to improve with age. I'm in the wrong industry. I always thought that being smart, helpful, and useful would be enough to keep a job, but apparently, they are not.
IT jobs in the US Government are on the upswing (the first batch of IT professionals are all retiring). If you want to keep being a programmer and you don't mind working for idiots, the US Government is for you!
Amazingly, I'm still writing C++ in a startup.
Because I know that I'm too old to be doing what I do every day I bought a franchised retail business a few years ago which is fairly profitable.
I have a good manager, but
I still spend 20 - 40 mostly evening and weekend hours a week on it.
The funny thing is that hours spent on your own little business are more interesting and pass much faster than hours spent working for the man.
I've racked my brains trying to think of a good software business to start, but so far haven't come up anything. Having been in several failed startups maybe I've been burned by software once to often. The one I'm in now acutally sells product and we've been going over two years now. Maybe I will get rich in an IPO or Google buyout. But only if my luck changes.
I could afford to quit my day job today were it not for one little problem: flying addiction.
I now have enough money to fly about 100 hours a year, if I can find 100 hours to do it. I'd have to give a lot of that up if I got out of programming.
So I'm just leaving things as they are until that 23 year Indian finally takes my job away.
In the meantime I'm looking other franchised buisness to start. I haven't yet built up the courage to start a second business, but when that layoff comes I'm sure I will.
I always thought programming was going to be a great career when I was growing up and going to school. Now, even though I do love programming, I regret not doing something else.
The nice thing about software is that the start up costs are pretty low.
Software can be priced according to the benefit to the end user, not it's development time. Sometimes this can yeild a high margin.. You just gotta find the right niche
Good luck escaping!