Career (by )

It's not just on technical matters that I find myself liking Paul Graham, he's also pretty much followed the kind of career path I want: start own company, become wealthy enough to no longer need to work, then mess around designing programming languages. Ok, I'm a bit more daring: I want to design a programming language, a virtual machine, operating system kernel, network protocol suite, database, and set of standard libraries.

Right now I'm building up a career as a freelance software engineer; I code for cash, but I'm trying to move towards having subcontracters / employees who I can get to do most of the mundane coding so I can focus on the more abstract stuff - the difficult coding and the software design. Although reading Paul's site is making me wonder if I could instead get away with talking clients into letting me use more powerful languages and thus cut out more of the mundane side of things... but no, lots of people are wanting Javascripty AJAX rubbish these days, and you can't control the browser platform.

But this is just a means to an end; I need to pay the bills. Thanks to having spent several years being underpaid to keep my then-employer afloat through a difficult financial patch (then subsequently pushed into a corner and told to continue to maintain the software on a shoestring at great effort while said employer then hired a bunch of new people on decent pay for a new project...), then the unexpected complications with Sarah's pregnancy and the bad timing of having to move house during it, we have a pile of debts. Our monthly outgoings are something like three thousand pounds, a thousand of which are loan and credit card repayments. It's been something like five years since I last really had surplus money to spend on fun things. This is getting a bit boring, but the freelancing work is ramping up, and the first round of projects are drawing to a close, so if I keep working hard for another year or two we should have the debts paid off and enough money to be able to afford to do something more interesting.

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  • By @ndy Macolleague, Tue 17th Apr 2007 @ 11:22 pm

    Since your previous post re Paul Graham I've been rediscovering his site. I first ran into it when he published his essay on Why Nerds are Unpopular about 3 years ago. Since then he's written a whole load more stuff and I've probably sunk quite a few hours into reading him over the past couple of days. Suffice to say, it reminded me of a few things that I'd learnt at college and filled in a couple of the gaps.

    PS: did you get my eMails (over a month ago now) re NS wotsits? I'm not sure if my eMail to you disappeared into a black hole or whether you've just been busy; either way, there's no rush.

  • By sarah, Wed 18th Apr 2007 @ 4:42 pm

    I told you not to worry about me and the house when making this decission - I want to keep the company going but then that doesn't have to be full time.

    You need to be happy and we need to pay the bills.

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