How New Carpet and Rattlesnake turned me into a Consultant or What the Hell Happened?

I was sure I would never become a consultant. The stress is high. You sell your time. You don’t get time off. You don’t get sick leave. Just try to get health insurance. Retirement? Ha.

In spite of all that I am a consultant and I like it.

Late summer 2008 the powers that be decided that COSL needed new carpet. Putting in new carpet is disruptive because they have to move a lot of stuff since almost all stuff in an office sits on the floor where carpet resides. I voted to setup shop in the bathroom (seemed efficient), but instead they sent us all home to work so that we didn’t spend a week high on carpet fumes. Some of the guys were bummed they would miss that.

I would miss my chair – a very expensive thing designed to support the old, decrepit backs of persons such as myself.

I came home and started working. I found that it wasn’t so bad, but I also new that I would be headed back to the safety of an office. The day finally came. I went in to see my chair. I setup a 30” monitor. I put all my pictures in the perfect place. I would be working here for at least a month (until my funding ran out). That was August 21. On August 22 I went on a very cold, very early morning bike ride with Joel up BlackSmith Fork Canyon. I ran over a Rattlesnake and trashed my knee. The result was that instead of going to work and then going to Jackson Hole for the weekend I went to the hospital and then to a drug induced happy land for the weekend.

When I finally regained sufficient self awareness I found that I couldn’t bend my knee due to a big brace and the fact that bending my knee would rip the skin back open.

I started working from home.

Actually, I didn’t just work. I didn’t have anything else to do so I worked 12-16 hours a day. The result was I was able to deliver a complete social network for Teachers Without Borders for the Open Education conference in September. Not long after my funding did run out and I left Utah State. Teachers Without Borders kindly continued to pay me to work on their network. After that other people started to pay me to help with projects.

Then I got my own health insurance. Actually that was a more painful experience than knee surgery and having an open wound for several months. All the health insurance executive jerks can rot in the seventh level of hell for all eternity for literally bleeding this country to death.

Anyway, then I setup an LLC because that’s what you should do. I already had a great accountant and he started taking care of my business taxes.

Then one day I woke up an realized I had become a consultant. Like a prostitute I hire out my services to whoever will pay me. Give me money. I’ll give you code. The sick thing is that I really love it. I get to work on all kinds of projects. I like to make people happy. I like to deliver something to them that helps their business prosper or that just puts a smile on their face. All to often software development can be a terrible disappointment for the client. That leaves me in a state of depression so I try to make make sure everyone stays in the good code induced not drug laden happy land.

In general I’m a paranoid person. I worry about everything. The stock market collapsing. Getting sick. Getting hit by a meteor. Seeing my dog abducted by aliens. Actually, I don’t have a dog. The point is I don’t know how other guys ended up as consultants but had it not been for new carpet and a rattlesnake I probably would have gone in search of a new job. Instead, I control my own little world from my own little office

The only downside? It’s 1 am and I’m just finishing up some work for the day. Enjoy 9 to 5. I’ll take the late nights any day.

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