Since I decided to leave Harvard, I seem to be overflowing with energy. I’d really forgotten how enthusiastic I could be about projects. At the moment I’m not working so much about immediate sources of income; I’m in good shape financially and Harvard is paying out for a month of accumulated vacation time. What I’m doing is making myself marketable by being visible and developing skills and expertise.
It isn’t a good idea to go into much detail about what was wrong with a job I won’t even be leaving till the end of the month, but it’s reasonable to say that I’m not suited to a position where I’m constantly bounced around from task to task and there’s no opportunity for advancement. It had really sapped my enthusiasm. Another factor is that Harvard is unfriendly to open discussion, discouraging dissent from the progressive party line in many ways. I’d hoped to hang on two more years and get retirement benefits but just reached the point where it wasn’t worth it. Every day I spend at a job I don’t like is a day out of whatever’s left of my life, which I could be spending on things I love. It’s worth a little increased risk to do that.
In the past week I’ve acquired three computers dirt-cheap, installed Linux, Apache web server and Tomcat, and an SSH server on one of them, written some experimental code and floated a query for interest (there hasn’t been any), tried out a Git client, examined and written about the state of file format repositories, brushed up on my file formats, ordered business cards, attended Pi-Con, worked on my German language skills (especially listening), and increased my daily walking in preparation for hikes in the Westerwald. This was while continuing my day job, which consists mostly of documentation and training at this point.
If I do what I love and gradually refine my efforts toward what someone will pay for, I can make a living from it. And is there anything better than that?