February 24, 2004 spout

Of Mixed Career Minds

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

Don and I have an ongoing debate — whether everyone was put on this planet for one purpose or whether a person gets to choose their path. This all started back in the middle of the bubble where we thought that we were so smart that we could take our success in training and turn our minds to anything we chose. We thought we could be anything, but used to talk most about politics (and Don even promised to get me elected as mayor of Beaverton) and religion (I’d like to get in on the ground floor of one of those free love” cults : ).

Of course, the bubble burst, giving of us perspective on just what part of the success was us and what part was the go-go economy. Now, most of us that used to have those conversations work at Microsoft as a place to keep doing fun work without traveling to globe trying to keep up our old standards of living. These days Don talks about all of us having a specific place in the world and that he’s pretty darn sure that he’s found his (and you should see the guy; he’s in there, fighting for what he thinks is best for the platform and building quite an impressive reputation base to extend his influence wider and wider). He’s also of a firm mind that I’ve found my place and that I should be a s/w guy of some kind for the rest of my life.

So, I’m of two minds. On the one hand, I’m happy with the spot I’ve carved for myself in the Windows developer community and I think that there are plenty of fun s/w challenges to meet. Plus, my resume helps me get good gigs.

On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of being predestined” to anything. I don’t like the idea that fate or even my inborn predilections decides what I do and don’t do in my life. I also still think that I’m smart enough and flexible enough that I could start another career. My latest fantasies revolve around moving into a place that my wife could afford on her nurse’s salary while I write novels and spend my afternoons filling the public education gap my kids are experiencing. Previous fantasies include getting my jurist doctor at Harvard and becoming a courtroom prosecutor on my way to being a judge (I always know what’s best for everyone : ). Also, the equities market calls my name and I’ve got a little property investment business on the side that could use more attention. So, I’ve got plenty of things I’d like to dig into before I die that have nothing whatever to do with my background or training. In fact, I’ve got so many other things to try that Lutz was making fun of me just last night, Haven’t you noticed that everyone in 2004 wants a new career?” Still, should I stick with what’s safe because I may never achieve in other industries what I’ve achieved in this one or should I roll the dice and takes my chances, knowing that life is pretty short to spend it all doing the safe, comfortable thing?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not going anywhere just yet. I’ve started this Longhorn thing and I’ve got lots more to do there before I’m done. But I do think about hitting the reset button some day and starting over again from scratch. What do you guys think? Have any of you hit the reset button and ended up reading this post? Has anyone tried to escape from this industry only to end up back here and are happy they did? Does anything think that my hubris is going to get me into serious trouble? : )