I've worked on a lot of cool stuff over my career, both as an employee and on my own. I've met a ton of awesome people along the way (and some not; you know who you are), and I wouldn't change any of it.
Here's the thing:
I can't say that I've been happy
I've worked up and down the food chain, as a developer, an architect, manager, evangelist; heck I even made my living as a designer for a few years. Lately I find that I appreciate the allure of the steady paycheck less, especially given the trade-offs in working as an employee. Typically, I have very limited creative control, and end up making a lot of compromises between my passions and my employers' expectations. More than I'd like.
Boiling it down, here's what I like:
- learning things
- creating things
- helping others to learn and create things
So what next?
I have a ton of my own projects sitting around, some nearly shippable. Why not spend more time getting them out?
I haven't had much free time to spend on Jo, my HTML5 app framework. I use it, I love it, and I have other developers using it, so why not give it more love?
I've had side consulting projects come along over the years, and for the most part, I enjoy them. Every one is a fresh challenge and usually short term. I generally have the option to contribute more to the strategic side of the project, and can even pass on a project if it's not a good fit or I don't have the time to work on it.
I enjoy sharing knowledge, so why not dust off the blog and screencast software and get to it?
I've been seriously looking at becoming my own boss by consulting, making things, and teaching others. This kind of change can be unsettling to a family, so I was bracing for a big discussion to sell this to my better half. Instead I got complete understanding and instant support. Holy crap, I guess it's a "go"!