I had a small epiphany. I've mentioned before that in many ways tilde is nostalgic, and in other ways it isn't. And then I realized: I walked away from the corporate world on June 16, 2000, having taken an airline and a bank through Y2K and staving off TEOTWAWKI, had a baby (the following week). And I became a stay-at-home mom. A nerdy stay-at-home mom, to be sure, but still. I did contract programming here and there, and of course I was pretty sure I was finally going to complete the gamehawk software for The Phoenyx, but for all intents and purposes I wasn't in the rat race anymore.* But if you did the math there, you'll notice that that then-baby is going into high school this year. And after some pretty heavy involvement in his elementary school, and a combination of brick-and-mortar, home- and e-schooling through middle school, I'm now at loose ends while he goes off to regular full-time school.
Picking up where I left off
So now I'm "unemployed" (see that * again) and trying to decide: do I dust off the résumé and jump back in the corporate game? I like to think I've kept my hand in enough, and in any event my shtick has always been archaic or obscure languages anyway (which was great during Y2K frenzy - old COBOL code? No problem. RPG-III? Business Basic? Alpha Five? I've done a lot of crazy coding). Last contract job was rewriting a POS* into Delphi, which was enough like the Visual Basic I used circa 1993 that I could jump right in… and when the company sold partway through the project and the new owners wanted it redone in C#, well, I can shift a manual transmission without the clutch if I have to. Problem is, if I go that road I need to find a company that can handle someone who's had fifteen years to shed her corporate-BS filters. That's one skillset I haven't kept polished.
I could go the freelance route in a less desultory fashion. That involves being a bit of a salesperson, which some of my interim experiences would help with. I've learned to network, which is one thing that is not exactly as it was fifteen years ago. It also involves a hopefully-regular change of scenery, which I sort of like. It's maybe less stability than I'd like if I'm going to become the primary breadwinner, which would be nice someday. (My husband ~raven is a sysadmin, but maybe he'd like his fifteen-year sabbatical to his own crazy things.)
Or… I could bypass freelancing and just write my own killer app. I have a couple of them rattling around; the software that backed The Phoenyx is still almost-rewritten and even in fifteen years still nobody's filled that particular niche well. Or I could figure out the solution to the grocery problem in my Empire (no grocery store, an aging and/or low-income population) but it's hard to fix things with software when you have very limited hardware. Only around 40% of households have any networked computer or phone with data plan - we've kicked around some thoughts around mesh networking and Pi's, but haven't had any idea breakthroughs.
Even if I go with one of the first two options, I'll be doing the last two as some kind of open-source hobby thing, because sincerity.
* Not that I wasn't even busier, having become the Empress of Delano and building a hyperlocal news site with a following in excess of the population of the area it covered. But none of that was paying work, or very (often) technical.