The work experiences I’ve had in the first six months of 2017 have been pretty different from anything I’ve experienced before this. I’ve learned some interesting things.
The main way the first half of 2017 has been different is that most of my income for this period has been from training as opposed to from coding. It seems that I generally enjoy training more than coding. To put it more precisely, I enjoy training more than I enjoy most of the real-world coding experiences I’ve had so far. Hacking away on leisure projects is more fun than either coding for money or doing training for money.
There are pros and cons to training as opposed to coding. One of the main pros of training is that it can be more lucrative. I know multiple people who have charged $10,000+ per week for training. It’s pretty hard to get that kind of compensation for coding. One of the main cons of training is it typically involves travel. Travel itself actually has pros and cons within it. The main con of travel is that it’s hard for my wife and two young kids for me to be away as much as I am.
I actually made a decision yesterday to be more judicious about what training gigs I take on. My strategy up to now was to take any training gig that came my way, no matter how low the pay was (to an extent), how inexperienced I might be with the subject matter (again, to an extent), or how ill-suited the timing was. From now on I only plan to take on training gigs that are some attractive combination of a) lucrative, b) prestigious, c) convenient and/or d) in alignment with my career direction (e.g. I wouldn’t want to try to teach a .NET class since I have no plans to do anything with .NET in the future).
Part of what made me decide to scale back on training is that I just finished teaching week 2 of a 5-week coding bootcamp I’m teaching in Detroit and my absence is really hard on my family. In addition to that, I’ve been volunteering at our local Eagles club and doing some coding work. This means that even though I’ve been coming back home on the weekends I’ve barely seen my family since the bootcamp started. I also decided today to step down from my position at the Eagles club.
I actually drove down to the Eagles club this morning and put in my resignation in person. Afterward I felt a great weight lifted off my shoulders as well as an instant flood of clarity. In addition to all the other crap I have going on, I’ve been talking with a major publisher of programming books about writing an Angular book. Before today I was imagining that I’d do my training/coding work, volunteer at the Eagles, write a published Angular book and continue to grow Angular on Rails. For some reason it wasn’t until after I resigned at the Eagles club that I realized how nuts that was. So now I think I’m probably going to tell the publisher nevermind. So rather than trying to do the Eagles thing, do a bunch of training, and write a published Angular book on top of coding and Angular on Rails, I’m going to say no to most training leads and focus on just coding (because I have to make money somehow) and Angular on Rails (because my #1 career goal is supposedly to create a successful product business). I feel good about this new focus.
Within Angular on Rails, what I’m working on right now is improving the design of the site. I’m working on both the aesthetic aspect of the design as well as the structure of the site. These things are perhaps not the highest priority growth-wise. The reason I’m making design the current top priority is psychological. Right now when I look at angularonrails.com I think, what a piece of shit. I’m not proud to show it to people. I can’t point to it and say, “Here’s a site I made that’s a good example of a well-optimized website.” So before I resume my previous top priority of building traffic for Angular on Rails, I first plan to make it look good, and also make it a little more navigable.