Going Solo #7: The bright spots

It has been a little over two full months since I left my cushy corporate job and decided to make my own schedule, manage my own projects and “make my own shit”. The schedule and project part is going great. I have two good projects in the can with two more currently in the works. I have been working with some great companies and brands such as Dr Seuss, Kraft, the NFL, PBS Kids, Toyota and others. Mostly I am the “behind the scenes” hired gun coder so I never get to meet the people from these great companies, but I love the work and it certainly has been quite a little adventure. I have not had much time “to make my own shit” other than the HTMl5 Canvas book I am working on with Steve.

Change Requests Suck (but are a necessary evil)

I spent 13 years on the other side, doling out the coding side of projects and being the “tech guy” for Mattel toys. Because of this I certainly understand where some of the changes and odd last minute requests come from. Mostly they are from the legal department but various other sources such as brand managers, corporate communications, and even procurement can get involved in change requests. I have been handling these well because I know to build into my quotes a certain CR padding that all projects encounter. It isn’t much, and normally it isn’t enough to cover all of the QA, button size changes, graphic tweaks, etc for the most discerning of clients, but it is enough so I feel comfortable giving a quote that will cover my bases well. That being said, I still have not been able to make my old hourly salary, I am now making roughly 50% of what I made at my corporate job, and I am spending about 50% more time than I used to. I’m no math major, but this means I certainly am not doing this for the money. Why then?

Some questions and answers in a single sentence:

Here are a few of the many questions people have been asking me lately. I will attempt to answer them all in a single sentence:

Yes I have more time now and, yes, I have to work a lot, and no I don’t get a regular pay check, and yes, Cobra medical insurance is fucking expensive, and no I have not made it rich in the iTunes store, and yes the new book is a bitch to write while doing multiple projects, and no, I don’t want my old job back, and yes, I’ll take that free lunch you are offering, and no, I can’t hire you right now, and yes I will look to hire you when I have more work, and no, I don’t hate Flash, and yes, I still love Flash Develop, but yes I am trying to do all of my work on the Mac because each time there is a new version of Parallels released the current version I have mysteriously starts slowing down, and no I don’t miss my cherished copy of Fireworks 8 (Windows) as much because I found the beauty of PixelMator, and no I am not the one racking up X-Box live gamer score points (it’s my 5 year old son), and no I cannot give the police and fire association any money this year, yes I know I did last year, but I don’t have a real job now and I am still waiting to be paid for the last 2 months worth of work, and no, I think “The Event” sucks, but yes I have watched both episodes and am still hooked even though I still wonder why they didn’t just kill the dude who’s girl friend was captured (why leave a loose end), and no I am not into Chuck this season (as much)  because it has no place to go, but yes I am still watching it because Sarah is hot, Chuck is cool and I love Jeffster, and yes, Fringe is still cool, but the love story is lame (even in 2 separate dimensions), and yes I think the Sally Draper episode was a “little much” and yes when the girl who played the insane Church of Light dude’s wife on True Blood gave Don Draper his little “good bye” present in the cab I think the show jumped the shark…but just for a 30 seconds, and yes I think HTML5 is cool, and no, Komoto Edit is NOT exactly NotePad++, but it is really cool for Javascript also and works great in Mac OS, and yes Flash CS5 is the fucking bomb, and yes I will make your iPhone app, but only if you let me do it in HTML5 or Flash/Air, and yes, this is a long sentence, and yes, I am much much much happier now.

The Bright Spots

The bright spots are all of the times I get to walk my son to and from school and all of the times I am not missing as he  and his little brother grow up.  Work is work, but I love this work, I love the commute, and the location and I hope and wish everyone else the same.

Also, the experience I am gaining is immense and my personal library of reusable code and engines grows by the day.

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