I'm Coming Out

Of Hiding. I'm coming out of hiding.
Up until seven years ago, I did a lot of networking-- into the business community and into the technical community. Then I went to work for one place that was so secretive that I had two sign TWO non-disclosure agreements. Worse than that, I had to beg to attend anything during work-- even meetings and get-togethers that would have directly benefited the company. The next place I worked in was in a state of perpetual panic. I tried to walk my daughter to school before work (a good remedy to my expanding waistline): no dice-- frequent panics and crashes (usually spawned by the people who were panicking). We eventually got a sliver of room to attend Drupal meet-ups. The good news was out reach to the Drupal people in town, compare notes and learn. In information technology, if you're not gaining information and updating your skills, you're dead in the water. Unfortunately, it was held at a diploma mill that sits on the dark part of an ethical divide.
I applied for a couple local jobs and it's an odd dynamic. I've been working in the field for longer than a lot of local companies have existed. Yet, I'm almost unknown. It's little wonder I'm unknown-- I've bailed on countless meet-ups and places where I could hang with my peers.
Last month, I was able to go to Drupalcon in San Francisco (a terrific experience but the timing career-wise came at an awkward time). People said that they've been with Drupal quite some time-- like since 2008. I've been actively developing with Drupal for the last three years; when I was tapped to co-author a book for Manning Press, my editor suggested that I try out Drupal then (in early 2003)-- nope, I continued with my topic: PHPNuke... P H P Nuke... (Seth and Amy said, "really?").
This past weekend, I went to the Victoria WordCamp. It was a wild and cool experience. The speakers were good-- some were very good.
Why wasn't I up there doing the talk? I know stuff. Like lots of stuff. But the reasoning for being the old guy in the audience instead of the dynamo on stage is good:
Noteworthy people and leaders in the field were talking. I've been in the spider-hole that Saddam Hussein vacated way back when. I'm not a noteworthy person. I'm a shut-in with some blogs.
Public speaking takes energy. Up until the last couple months, I've been running on an empty tank of gas. Most days, I would finish work, eat dinner and go to sleep. How could I attend a meeting at 7PM-- that's sleep time. Where could I get time to do prep work for a talk? When could I blog with my expert hat on?
Innovators innovate. In my last job, I was supposed to churn out website after website about wiring and electrical supplies. In my current job, I've been told that I innovate but I really don't feel that I do. If I innovate, I have to hide it. Many advents of mine get one of two reviews: a) It doesn't "work"-- which I discovered was not a technical problem that I needed to remedy; but that they didn't like what it did and thereby did not "work." Or, b) It worked and I was directed to change almost every detail so that it failed to work.

So, I have quit my job to go work for a start-up. I'm attending more local meet-up of people who are in the fields I want to till for cash. I've been in this industry for a LONG time-- since late 1996-- and it's time I participated instead of sitting in my spider hole and whining.

What do you think? What would you do to kick-start your career and your sense of worth?

Comments

Falcona said…
If I had a million dollars.
michaelpub said…
What do you think? What would you do to kick-start your career and your sense of worth?
I think it's awesome that you're putting down the periscope and coming up for air. Networking will be great, probably, I'm going to try some tonight.
Kick start: I'd stick to my guns if at all possible, avoid a "job" and look for a daytime "f--k yeah!" that pays you. When you think of a "f--k yeah!" write it down (and run it by someone who has concern for your safety).
Sense of Worth: outdoors early in the morning before all the other people get out and clutter up the quantum space with their brains. Try Lone Tree Hill at 7am.

Michael.

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