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That Time Again

February 6th, 2017

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently. - Agnes de Mille (1909 – 1993)

Today the 6th February, 2017 is my 2nd born child's 25th birthday, the eve of my 52nd birthday and the 5th anniversary of the day I started officially working with Moodle, the technology that since sustained me. Nearly a year after that first Moodle date, I took a large leap of faith and I set up my own company and started contracting.

Business CardFive years ago went I stated working for the University of Nottingham, it was the end of an 18 month stint of working for myself for about a year on my Mixed In Different Shades project and a period of unemployment – an unpleasant experience involving dealing with UK social services that still today provoke me to speak out when I see the direction in which it continues to un-develop!

However, it would appear that the demand for Moodle development – particularly paid contract Moodle development is drying up. Bits of interest but no commitment for at least 3 months now and it looking like I need to think about my future direction. To be fair, I have been thinking about it since December – the month when I seem to make a lot of decisions (http://www.benjyellis.net/blog/2009/12/decisions-and-december.php) but I got sidetracked in January with a potential non Moodle project.

February tends to be the downer month (http://www.benjyellis.net/blog/2009/02/under-the-weather.php) as another birthday flies past and I consider how much I have achieved. Take this year, after four years contracting – minimal holidays and expenditure – one would think I would be in a financially more secure place than I am. Yes, several incidents have happened in those years that have been financially punishing but still. On the other hand, I have not had any substantial income for three months now and I have stayed out of grasp of the social services grubby hands.

It has not been a lazy three months though. I used the time to familiarise myself with Search Engine Optimisation and re-familiarise myself with automated website creation, blogging and content production. I also played around with Facebook development and cloud server set-up and configuration.

However, with this period of no income, my annual income kind of drops to the level it would be had I held down a good full time development job. So the decision now needs to be – do I hold on and hope for a contract soon or do I return to full time employment? If I do go back to full time employment, do I go back in technical management/technical sales or for less income, do I avoid the stress and aim for a simple development job that has not been out-sourced to the India or the Far East?

Longer term though, I think it is time for a career change. I have been web developing now for nearly 20 years and though I still love the developing, I want to do it for my own projects rather. My interest in alternative sustainable energy and living and recycling may be a new direction considering that I do want to immigrate to the 'sun, sea and sand'.

I have to sleep on it for a while. Let the birthdays – four of them in the family this month – slip past then decide. In the meantime, I may get up to some 'mid life' crisis nonsense … like integrating Quickforms2 into Moodle 3.2.