Whether I knew it or not, I've been a technologist since I was 14 years old whether it was slinging code on my Apple ][, staying up late enjoying BBS culture, exploring the phone system with a Blue Box, playing on the pre-web Internet at MindVox, maintaining printers and mainframes for CA, building DOS and Windows applications for financial firms, managing teams of developers, building and maintaining websites, helping nonprofits, figure out how do use the web to distribute the message, or running my own tiny digital agency my life had a tech focus. I've done a lot in the past 30+ years.
If you asked me three years ago, before the pandemic, what my long-term career was, I would've been to continue to run my business, service, my clients, and find a way to retire in about 10 to 15 years. And then two weeks to stop the spread became two months, became two years. In addition to the normal attrition of customers that my business had seen, many of my clients were struggling and shutting down, leaving my business decimated (I like to think of this, as “reverse trickle down economics”).
As the world began to boot up, I began a two prong approach to get my self up and running. I began looking for both full-time work at a digital agency and new clients for my business. I've learned some lessons:
People weren't ready to invest in small businesses as they were before the pandemic. The thing that made my business run well, the fact that I could jump between web development, project management, business analysis, database and server management, doesn't work at an agency. I am a 7 in 10 different tasks where people at an agency might be a 10 at 3 different tasks. Affectively their knowledge is deep, where mine is wide. This makes me wonder where I can fit in at a digital agency.
And as I'm going through this, I'm starting to wonder, is this what I want to be doing for the next 15 years? I'm watching, super talented folks from Meta and Twitter being laid off en-mass and an reminded of the tech field at the beginning of the century while the web bubble popped. Do I want to live in that instability again? I'm not sure.
No matter how I look at it, I'm on the cusp of my third act professionally and for the first time in my life, I don't know what it should be. I'm trying to figure out how to take this diverse skillset that I have acquired and turn it into my next career.
I maintain a an online résumé and portfolio at https://seanreiser.work. I'd love to hear what other people think either in the comments or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) . If you think you can use me or if you have a suggestion of something that I should consider feel free to let me know, .
Is it possible that at 53 years old I don't know what I should do when I grow up?