My own very recent personal experience mirrors this blog post:
Silicon Valley’s Dark Secret: It’s All About Age
So what do I do to deal with that? Looking at Vivek’s advice, item number 1 is to move into management … yikes… I firmly believe that if someone thought I had the chops to be a manager it would have happened 20 years ago… nobody wants to make me a boss, trust me :) besides which, I like coding!
Item 2 sucks… and goes totally against the American Dream of continually moving up… expect to earn less?
And Item 3 is even worse… the implication is that you may not even be able to code in later years… how about this quote: “To be writing code for a living when you’re 50, you will need to be a rock-star developer and be able to out-code the new kids on the block.” … so since I’m writing code for a living at age 62 – WTF does *that* mean?
I consider all ‘re-inventions’ to be versions.
You’re sort of in version 1.0 as you go through K-12, since not everyone goes to college, but if I consider V1.0 to be a continuation of education, then mine took a side-step when I played guitar for a living, drove a truck for a living, and spent 3 years in the Army (70-73)… I think those were probably V2.0 and then actually getting back to school and earning a B.S. and M.S. (Electrical Engineering) probably was V1.5, but we branched the codebase on that one.
So V3.0 was finally hitting the working world as a hardware engineer in January of ‘77. I always did software, so switching completely to software in ‘81 was V4.0 That began yet another progression of Assembler, Pascal, C, then Windows and C++, then I broke out of the large company corporate world for the 3rd time in ‘95 and went with smaller companies doing Windows coding, call that V4.5 since it was still part of the progression.
But then one of the common problems happened… I was happy, doing good stuff, being productive, getting accolades and improving my chops, but I was still doing win32 desktop while all the young guys were learning .NET and the web.
Blam… I find myself out of work in 2005, and I have to very quickly churn out Me V5.0 to support .NET web database apps. This version went out fast… no Unit Tests, no QA, just get the version out the door, so although I’m doing the work, my knowledge is only “work deep”.
But I’m feeling pretty good as I’m hitting my stride on that one… I’m doing WPF/E then Silverlight (all on the side), get MVP (4 times so far), but what I’m doing all day is .NET web database code out to Oracle, Oracle Stored Procs, and MS Access still as a hold-over from when Me V5.0 was released.
Blam… now I find myself not out of work, but out of *that* work and I’m sort of at a loss as to what V6.0 is… or is it V5.5? … I’m too young to be V.Retired.
My company has some design documents they expect me to review while waiting for an embedded C contract to open up… them: “do you know C?” me wondering WTF… “…well, I’ve done C# for 5 years although there’s a guy downtown will swear I don’t know it (reference the post last week about my interview). I did C++ for 10 years prior to that, and oh yeah… so 15 years ago I did a stint in C for a couple years, so yeah… I know C” … embedded C… I’ve been doing UI since 1981… now reference the article at the top of the page.
Is that the ‘suck it up’ point? is V6.0 really sucking up the fact that I’m going to maybe finish off this career by strapping on the WABAC machine and writing embedded C? because how long could I really do that before I wouldn’t be able to get a job doing .NET stuff anymore … but that may be rhetoric based on that last interview anyway.
In some respects I feel my blog has taken up space that could have been filled by really learning more, but at the same time, it’s taken on a life of it’s own and is almost like a 2nd job. I don’t want to abandon that and all the readers, yet there’s only so many hours in the day… and speaking of that, I’ll be driving farther now.
Friday I walked past the courtyard at my client’s facility and there were a couple guys out there drinking coffee and smoking and talking on a break. I thought it would be nice to have a job like that… one that you knew you could work for 30 years and then pack it in… but then I realized the flaw in that whole concept is that I’m not like that… I want to learn new stuff, and keep learning… and that’s what got me into this whole Revolting Development.
Silverlight, WP7, Lightswitch, MVVM, UnitTesting, and on and on… it’s a never-ending stream of knowledge and information. You either pick one and hope you can ride it for as long as you need, or you keep chasing it all and try to hang on. You pays your dime, you takes your chances… or maybe as B.B. King sings “Nobody loves you but your mama, and she might be jivin’ too” … or maybe it’s too late on a Saturday night at the end of a really crappy 2 week run…
But I do know one sure thing… on Monday morning I’ll be driving about 40 miles to an office I don’t know wherethehellitis… to be doing ihavenoclue… or forhowlongitwilllast… and that worries me.