I have been writing software for a long time in many different business contexts.
I have done some real time programming. I have done some multimedia titles and dynamic websites. I have used cryptography on a number of occasions. I have worked in NASA related concerns. I worked in labs using DSP. I have done database projects for casinos and websites. I once created an AI systems that makes movies after being given a basic topic. I did that for a sole proprietor working in the North Bay of SF. I worked down in San Jose. I worked in SF. My consulting and jobs took me across the country. I worked for a sole proprietor in Europe once on-line receiving payments through PayPal (Euros to Dollars).
These days (for now), I am in my home town in one of my old family houses. I am busy bringing up my website, adding in features for crypto based logins with private data that never leaves the consumers browser. I used node.js and C++. The web site has features for media streaming and searching for a blog. I used Svelte for the front end at first. But, I might switch to solid.js. One of my sites has a feature that allows for recording new media and capturing it in a manner suitable for storage on a blockchain. I am bringing up some of these features now. I will do some work on that today. (If you check my site you may see it in transition. Some features are down at the moment.) Web3 is coming up.
I have been doing some substitute teaching in the local high schools to get buy as I finish my product. I have always had to deal with ownership of my work even when consulting. So, just sitting in a classroom programming has its benefits. Maybe Google will buy it later (never know - I saw some of the stuff they do buy. I had to fix it. If they buy that, what will they pay for something that really works?)
Handling the business end is more about the kind of person you are dealing with. Some people are fine.
I once did a handshake deal with a guy in Marin County. He talked to me about my hours at the end of the project and then decided to have his accountant write a check. No problem. But, once I exchanged emails and paperwork with a guy in Florida. I went out there and was just about taken prisoner. The guy had a habit of ripping people off. I had to hitch a ride out of Miami and then someone was kind enough to buy me a plane ticket home. It was just after the recession. My money was tight. But, I did make a sort of robot while I was there. It was a weird experience. I might have loved to have stayed with those con artists if I wasn't losing my house while I was trying to get out their clutches.
This is the deal with programming. Imposter complex is a strong force. Some people try to play you with that. But, some people are just good business people. You want repeat customers and they want repeat help. When you find your happy crowd, the good side of living the engineer life starts to work and the repeat business can grow. Can't say you'll find the good side of the engineer life in the big companies. I met people in those places who make it because of their extended network their happy crowd. Companies come and go. But, your life and the life of people you know lasts longer. Wouldn't you, yourself, and your close contacts understand your engineering center better than some vaguely ambling company whose main purpose is to vacuum money from the world's crevices?
They say you find your strength from within yourself. Teaching the school kids shows me that all the time. Some kids who are still in the basic math classes need conversations about paying rent and getting stiffed an the burger stand. Berkeley bound kids need a little survival talk, too. They need to find their strength and their happy crowd.
So, I am perhaps still searching. But, let's not search alone.
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