I was laid off of my job as a software developer in February, just after I got back from vacation. I was sad to see that job come to an end, because it was enjoyable work, and I was working with a lot of very bright and interesting people. However, it was not a complete surprise. I saw the clear warning signs around the middle of last year, and my wife and I began preparing for the possibility back in August, when we experimented with getting by with only one vehicle. Then, at the end of December, we did get rid of the 2nd car, and paid off the 1st one. Except for our home mortgage, we have no significant debt. My wife (she’s a CPA) deserves the credit for that. She is the one who has insisted that we avoid living past our means all these years.
As I had planned when anticipating a layoff, the first thing I did was to expand my violin teaching schedule. I have added 5 new students already, and I expect a couple more in the next week. I have the Plano School District to thank for most of that, because of the very heavy emphasis they place on music starting in middle school. The current expansion is already very close to filling up.
I still have some room for expanding my schedule, but I hesitate to expand it to earlier than about 5:30pm, because I am actively seeking a regular full-time position writing software. At the time I was laid off, I was convinced that I was unlikely to ever find another job writing software, since that’s a career field in which you are considered “over the hill” at the age of 40, a milestone I passed a couple of decades ago. However, the job market for my particular niche (C++ programming) seems to have perked up in just the last few weeks, and I’m also seeing some contract opportunities. Contracting is much different from a regular job, and one of the important differences is that the age discrimination problem is mostly non-existent in contracting. I spent roughly half of my career contracting, so I’m familiar with the various tradeoffs involved.
Depending on how things work out in the next few weeks, I may be adding another evening to my schedule. In that case, I will notify all of my current students first to give them a chance to change lesson times if they choose. Then I will announce it on my main page.
If my job search remains fruitless for more than a few months, then I may go ahead and expand my teaching schedule to start just after school lets out. I also have some other plans. Some of them I will discuss here at a later time, but one of them I would like to tell you about now is Choice Travel Texas, a travel agency that my wife has started. I will be assisting in that business. If you know anything about the travel agency business, you are aware that nobody gets rich that way, but it looks like it will be a lot of fun.