|No such thing as a small change|
OT: Advice on escaping Corporate America / Starting own consultancy outfit?by flyingmoose (Priest)
|on Apr 16, 2004 at 22:32 UTC||Need Help??|
Fellow monks, I need your spirtual advise, I feel I am straying from the path and need a course correction. What path to do you ask? Well, sanity.
I can't stand corporate america and would like some advice on starting out working for myself. I'm a young guy (25), currently employed, have 3+ years experience, so I'm not quite like merlyn and can say "I wrote THIS!", but hey, where do I go from here to get there? What follows is rantish, but anyhow I at least wanted to type out my feelings somewhere, least they just stay in me... maybe others have felt similarly...
As I have complained about before (and this hurts worse since I hate complaining), I work in a company very reminicent of the movie "Office Space", but I am growing to think that all cube organizations are the same way. I've been trying to break out for some time, even considering taking a considerably pay cut, doing short term contracts, etc, all to get rid of a fairly decent (~$65k/yr) position. The hard part is (besides the team being rather cliquish and making me into a one-man show), that I really can't justify any of my insanity.... in fact, it's just a buildup of random things, the illogicality sic of corporate decisions, managers being clueless delegaters without spine, and the endless commandments from above. Sometimes I feel like a dog that is been beat down too many times and thus shrieks away from anyone who comes close, and other times I feel that this beating down is going to cause a good dog to suddenly snap. I can't put my finger on whether it's just this corporation, or whether certain people aren't meant for corporations. I'm 25 and have been here a good 3 years. Internships before have been ok (elsewhere), but still, I feel the same about cubes. I long for being outside among trees, or at least, maybe, an office with a door. Point is, I should be apathetic, but it's against my nature. I want to work on quality products in an organization that respects me, and umh... I really think corporate america is more like feudalism, full of constant backstabbing and politics, where no one is really your friend at all. Where is the love?
This part hurts of course, since I'm a top-notch coder, I like people, and among the right people (those that REALLY care and love the art), I am a great team-mate (and I can lead when needed too). I love to draw on whiteboards, brainstorm, and code up good stuff. But being afraid to answer one's phone late at night is not for me. Being stuck consantly in drudgery isn't either. My release valve to this point has been mountain biking (driving into trees=fun) and attempting some for fun programming, but I really don't want to have to code at night to exercise my brain.
Lately I've been listening to a lot of the Blue Man Group's "Complex" album. The song Persona about sums it up, about not being you anymore based on what working does to you.
Long story short, I have two options -- either quit programming (which I love -- when it's not just making one-line maintaince edits) and find something completely different (apologies to Monty Python) or find a way to work for myself. This is really what I want to do. Often people say they work for themselves when they are contracting, but that's not really it for me, I really want to work completely for myself.
The hard part is, I don't know how to start this, to find clients, or to make something work. I know I absolutely can't sell software, as that model is really a hard push, but I'd like to work for people just like people hire a plumber or an electrician -- that is, the folks come to you, and you work for them, but not in a cube farm. This is, for the most part, consulting. I wouldn't mind short term on-site work, but I'd rather have *clients* than bosses. Yes, I know people think there is little distinction, but I think there is quite a bit.
Power is essentially given from the one to another. I'm tired of giving my managers power to abuse me. And I want out of the rat race...
So, some of you I know have been very successful as independant consultants, and I'd like to know more about how you got started. Really, I can be quite a happy guy, but I feel that covered up, hidden, like as in Persona as I mentioned -- work just affects my brain in ways that it should not, and if I can end this confusion, all the better. Simply put, I want to get my soul back.
Any help in the process of finding clients, finding business models that work, or better yet, getting clients to find you would be greatly appreciated.
I am quite skilled in software analysis, design, and development. Perl, C, C++, Java, Windows, Linux, a lot of network applications experience. I have a lot to offer, I just want to learn how to offer it.