The idea of "one career for a lifetime" is getting more and more outdated. It's not just that change is now the only constant when it comes to jobs, but also because people are living longer.
When 80% of the population worked on farms, and people died at an average age of 47, the idea of a "lifelong career" was taken for granted. Then again, so was "lifelong marriage", and "following in your folks footsteps."
That last option is impossible for many, because the jobs their parents had just don't exist any more - and this means that the "work culture" they were exposed to second-hand at home also is no longer a useful reference.
Think of how many jobs the post-WW2 technological revolution has created and now is killing off. TV repairmen? Not too many left. VCR and DVD repairs? Forget it. When's the last time your car needed an "electronic tune-up?" Or, thanks to long-life, self-lubricating materials, to have a "chassis lube?" Points changed? Physical newspapers and books? Even Saturday morning cartoons can't compete with "teh innert00bs."
My situation - at a crossroads
After a couple of years away from the keyboard because of damage to my retinas, I was really relieved to find that I could program again. But something has changed. Me. I found myself asking "Do I really want to get back into *that* rat-race again? The crappy hours, impossible demands, sleazy management, and over-the-top hype, the much ado about nothing that seems to accompany everything in the software industry today?"
After I transitioned, I got to see how women are not treated equally first-hand. We'd be sitting in meetings and end up just rolling our eyes as the men went off on yet another pissing contest, totally ignoring our input, even though in many cases I was the programmer who had to fix the problems their virtual circle jerks caused. And people wonder why women drop out of tech after an average of 10 years in the field???
I loved creating software, so it became my career. Do what you enjoy doing, right? But more and more, I cringe at the thought of the poison that accompanies today's "development culture" - the bogus deadlines, the "ship it then (never) fix it" mentality, the juvenile "pissing contests". I have my development environment all set up, and I find myself doing anything but ...
I've been toying with an idea ...
Every few years, someone comes along and tells me I should write a book. Sure, I can write, and I've got lots I've always wanted to write, but "life gets in the way." I was thinking of going back into programming to pay the bills, and do the writing on the side, but that's not the entrepreneurial spirit that got me into starting my first business, or into programming. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I can either devote all my energies to one or another - or do a crappy job at both by trying to do both. It's true, just as you can only serve one master, you can only follow your own muse.
And I really should follow my muse.
So, I did my research, did some more thinking, and at this time, for me, changing careers is the right thing to do. I've registered with the government as a publisher, and will be receiving my first batch of ISBNs in the next little while. As you can see from a previous post, I'm not going to engage in the more and more lame "I have an idea for a book/game/software - everybody give me money and I'll create it" crowdsourcing model. It's time to let the internet work for me for a bit, and not vice versa.