Yesterday was not a good day for me. I finally heard a decision on a job I'd been applying for and I didn't get it, getting my new server set up like the old one (with AFP sharing to my mac laptops and sshfs sharing to my linux laptops) wasn't successful, and my plans for the evening fell through. I'd been doing so well this winter, and suddenly my seasonal depression came roaring back. It's easy enough to do when, with my sleep schedule, I hardly see three hours of sunshine a day. The depression combined with the short-term job search failure forced a reappraisal of my whole situation, and that wasn't such a great feeling.I moved to Chicago at the very end of 2005, shortly after finishing college. I made the decision largely out of pragmatismÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€žÃƒÂ®I had family out here I could stay with and work lined upÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€žÃƒÂ®but also out of a desire to try something different with my life. I had this notion that by starting as a web developer, I could get into web design a little and maybe work into doing some more consequential web work. In the meantime, I have forged websites for some of the biggest companies in America and I've worked for various startups of varying degree of promise. I've worked freelance, been burned a few times by bad clients, and I've had a lot of experiences good and bad. There's always this thought in the back of my mind that this isn't quite what I imagined I'd be doing when I studied theoretical computer science in college.
Since my first job as a teenager I've known I'll never be truly happy unless I'm doing my own thing. As a freelancer I'm able to live a largely free lifestyle, maintaining my own schedule and working whenever work comes up. It's a good life for me and I've been enjoying it, but when I imagine what lies ahead along this path it's not quite what I want. I've been in the trenches bringing other peoples' ideas (and some of mine) to fruition for a while now, and I think I'm ready to be the guy who comes up with the ideas.
And I have some, too. That's the wild part. I have no shortage of little side projects that could turn into real projects. All it requires is the decision on my part to take them to completion. I have to decide, I am going to turn this project into something people would want to pay me for. I haven't because... well... I don't know. Sometimes it's hard, when you're a freelancer and work comes in little pieces sporadically, to begin something you will have to sustain development/design on for several months on end.
Really, now that I'm thinking about it, entrepreneurship takes the kind of strength and determination that I'm only able to muster once in a while, and now I'm back to the point where I can do it again. Previous spurts of enthusiasm produced the Villainous social network, ChatterbÃ¢Ë†Å¡Ã¢Ë†â€šxen, Seen in Chicago, and a wide variety of little apps that only I use. I think I need to use this time, and use this energy that would go into being depressed this winter, for the purpose of creating something new.
One of my favourite quotes ever about programming is, "Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught not to. So it is with great programmers." [From ACM's SIGPLAN publication, (September, 1982), Article "Epigrams in Programming", by Alan J. Perlis of Yale University.] I don't know if I'm a great programmer or if I ever will be, but I feel that same compulsion to create and to build. In my off time, I need to indulge that more. I'll be reporting back here when I do. Until then, space cadets.