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After the POLL...

... I have to ask. What are your backup plans if your career tanks?

(btw, this is the poll: http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=151058&ixReplies=29 )

RP
Sunday, June 13, 2004

No clue.

Philo
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Come on Philo, you have the Navy pension.

RP
Sunday, June 13, 2004

No I don't - I was only active for eight years.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Lay around and eat bon-bons until noon.

hoser
Sunday, June 13, 2004

It's already tanked - after 26 years, I've been told by recruiters that I'm too old, too expensive (meaning they can buy 8 kids in Bangalore for what I used to get), don't have X years .NET, whatever. Silly excuses. I actually made the mistake of enrolling in a vocational school for a few months, only to find that it too was a fast path to the street (2 years worth of expensive dumbed-down electronics training to get a $10-$15/hr job - maybe).

I'm trying to retrain myself to become an embedded systems programmer (with no guarantee that will pan out either), but in the meantime I'm selling all my books and other possessions on eBay, and teaching Argentine tango at $120/month to keep food on the table. The music is gorgeous, the women are pretty, and it's a lot more fun than arguing with a suit over a change request or trying to get past HR gatekeepers.

W Michael Ealem
Sunday, June 13, 2004

> Argentine tango

That is cool.

Matthew Lock
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Hmm, there seems to be a lot people who are down on the IT/Software Development field, just curious, I am a middle-class guy, do you feel that all the really exciting, million-dollar IPO, startup software jobs are only given to the elites out there?  Regardless of talent or tech knowledge, does a wealthy background or degree from an Ivy league school mean more exciting oppurtunities?

Point, a prev poster mentioned that he had a lot of experience and I am going to assume pretty good at what he does, I wonder if you had that MIT degree, you would be managing your million dollar startup right now?

I am not leaning one way or the other, just curious, I could be completely off-base.

Berlin Brown
Sunday, June 13, 2004

>does a wealthy background or degree from an Ivy league school mean >more exciting oppurtunities?

Nope, but it does mean one thing that keeps getting mentioned in the forum again and again:

Connections, connections, connections....

The good 'ole boy network comes through everytime - how do you think our illustrious *cough* current President got where he is today? Grandfathered into Yale, and handed the business connections he needed by Dear Old Dad once he got out - he certainly didn't get them on academic merit. So yes, money and the Ivy League schooling does help to some degree. Bill Gates went to Harvard, and certainly wasn't poor by anyone's standards.

Combine connections with talent (most of the time), work, and some luck and you've got an almost unbeatable combo. Of course, history is littered with tales of those who had all of the above and still crashed and burned spectacularly. Your mileage may vary....

W Michael Ealem
Sunday, June 13, 2004

> Bill Gates went to Harvard

This really had nothing to do with Microsoft's success though. Bill didn't even finish his degree.

Microsoft's success was due to them being the only people willing to move down to Albuquerque and set up shop next to MIPS in 1975, and start the World's first microcomputer software company.

Bill may have been comfortable too, but at that stage in his life he didn't really have any money. Microsoft struggled for money for the first year or two.

Matthew Lock
Sunday, June 13, 2004

"I was only active for eight years."

So you have 8 years less dev experience than people  your age. Which brings up a question... why do people even go into the military? So you'll get trained on some piece of equipment that's applicable nowhere else?

Not slamming you, Philo, I'm just curious why otherwise bright people would even bother...

Rob
Sunday, June 13, 2004

> Bill G & Harvard
I stand corrected.

>Bill G and money
Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't BillG have a quite tidy sum in a trust fund from his grandparents? Upwards of $1 M? And Bill's dad was and is a wealthy Seattle attorney -  there was a safety net there, even if BillG had no need of it.

W Michael Ealem
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Bill hadn't touched it at that time, according to some books I read anyway. I guess the safety net to come might have meant Bill would take some risks, but I think on balance a nice inheritance would probably encourage you to take less risks, not more. After all, why spend all you time down in Albuquerque when you could just cruise through life waiting for your ship to come in?

Matthew Lock
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Rob,

now we are just getting hostile, I won't answer for Philo, but there is some duty and honor involved in military service.

Berlin Brown
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Save more than you spend. Then for every year you work, you can live another year off of your savings. If you ever reach the point where your interest income is greater than your work income, you'll have a different attitude towards work entirely.

Plan "B" shouldn't be another risk, it should be a safety net.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, June 14, 2004

"So you have 8 years less dev experience than people  your age."

I had 52 direct reports when I was 21 years old. I was driving a 1000 foot long aircraft carrier by the time I was 23. I had the authority to get a 400 foot long guided missile destroyer underway by myself when I was 24.

No, I didn't learn anything about code during my time in the Navy, but I learned a hell of a lot about authority, command, reponsibility, delegation, and leadership.

You know - all the things that everyone says are missing in the IT field.

Philo

Philo
Monday, June 14, 2004

You really shouldn't be pissing off someone who has the authority to call a missile strike on you.


Monday, June 14, 2004

I have a small (myself) landscape design company that I run on the weekends.  It's geared towared DIY (do it yourselfers) gardeners.  I come out to your site, design a landscape, and then you buy the plants and do the work yourself.  I work with a few local plant nurseries and hand out 20% off coupons.

I'd probably expand this to include an installation crew....

Yo
Monday, June 14, 2004

"otherwise bright people"

So people who serve(d) in the military aren't bright? Nice stereotype.

IMO, there are lots of techies who could probably benefit from a couple of years as a grunt (I'm not advocating a draft). Maybe they'd have more confidence in themselves and we wouldn't see so much snivelling on this board...nah.

Rob VH
Monday, June 14, 2004

The other guy wanted to join the French Foreign Legion. Imagine his self-confidence levels....


Monday, June 14, 2004

Ahh, Philo, 52 direct reports when you were 21.

Where else but in the U.S. Military would ANYONE give somebody that young that much responsibility -- and what you did not mention, the training and support necessary to gain sufficient experience and authority to accomplish the mission.

In this time of military-beating (Abu-Grad prison, deaths in Iraq) you give me hope that the U.S. Military still has lots of good stuff going for it.

AllanL5
Monday, June 14, 2004

Philo says:

"You know - all the things that everyone says are missing in the IT field. "

and you became a sales person at Microsoft, how pathetic is that?

[Disclaimer: I don't work for Microsoft, Philo does]

Jason
Monday, June 14, 2004

He became a salesman in the best IT company in the world. I wouldn't sneeze at it.

RP
Monday, June 14, 2004

> a salesman at Microsoft
A salesman! And for the Beast?!

Oh horrors! Pray tell us, brother Philo, what terrible happenstance led you to fall so far from grace?

Repent! Repent, while there is still time. Let the holy power of Knuth and K & R once again enter your heart and lead you back to the One True Path!


...err, sorry, got carried away, forget to take the Haldol this morning....

Brother Michael
Monday, June 14, 2004

> I had 52 direct reports when I was 21 years old. I was driving a 1000 foot long aircraft carrier by the time I was 23....

That's nothing. By the time I was 18 I had total charge of 10,000 acres and 2,000 sheep.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

By the time I was 18 I knew what being drunk was.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

<insert wisecrack about sheep>


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

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