Time for (a) { break; }
6 min read

Time for (a) { break; }

I'm quitting my corporate job to downshift during the summers and work for myself.
Time for (a) { break; }

After 5 years this is my last week at Target. It's bittersweet and I will miss my colleagues. Target is filled with incredibly smart and talented people and I am grateful I could learn from them.

The question that usually follows is:

"Where are you headed to next?"

It's a reasonable question. But it does imply that there's some place I "should" be headed to next. I think a more thoughtful question to ask might be:

"What's next for you?"

This question removes the assumption you are going anywhere in particular.

If you imagine that being a career developer follows a script where each iteration leads to a "next place," it's easy to understand why the first question is asked that way. There's typically only one break statement and that's when you "retire":

async career() {
  for (let company = 0; company < career.length; company++) {

    if (retired) break;
    await workAt(companies[company]);
It also assumes you retire when you're much older (which is a poor assumption)

I certainly started this way. But by the time I was in my mid-career, I witnessed folks refactor their script (or had followed a different script altogether).

People break; to switch careers.

People break; to be stay-at-home parents.

People break; for leaves of absence or sabbaticals.

People break; to work for themselves.

That last one is what lead to my own pivot.

Pivoting to work for myself

I'm refactoring my own life script and I'm choosing to add a new break; statement:

async career() {
  for (let company = 0; company < career.length; company++) {

    if (retired) break;
    if (pivot) break;
    await workAt(companies[company]);

async pivot() {

  // possibly exciting things in here

Instead of focusing only on the career() function, I'm zooming out, and making adjustments to the life module 😁

Since starting my career, I knew I'd eventually want to leave to work for myself. Technically I've already been working for myself for the past 7 years on the side and I felt I wanted to make more time for my various pursuits.

With three different moonlighting gigs, something had to give. And for the life of me, it wasn't going to be my dream of "going indie." 🥰

Another summer downshift

It's always been my goal to take summers off since having kids. My partner has summers off working at a school. That sort of lifestyle doesn't quite fit with working in large companies.

Even though I proved it was possible last summer, I wasn't confident I could keep taking summer breaks and be super effective at my job. There's a lot to keep up with at a large company. That combined with wanting more time is what led to the feeling of "I'm ready to take the leap."

It won't be a full "summer off" but it wasn't really last time either. It's more of a "downshift" to 6-10 hour work weeks. With 3 kids at home including the new baby, this summer will definitely be more family-focused. That's the whole point of this.

I'm building my own backyard room

I can't keep working in my basement. That's why my summer project will be building a new room in the backyard which you can follow over on the DIY blog and Instagram:

Besides that, I will continue to experiment with my existing work and seeing how quickly I could scale it.

Scaling my existing work

At the moment I have three main streams of income I've worked to build over the past 7 years.

These have all been on the side and I've treated them like experiments. All of them have brought in some level of income, which I share generally in my year-end reviews.

Building product(s)

KTOMG started as a hobby project and I've treated it that way for 11 years. It's only this past year that I've been transmogrifying it into an actual product. In February, I rolled out a new patron-based membership system.

The pricing model is kind of novel: it's like a custom Patreon. People can choose what they want to pay but KTOMG will suggest a "value-based price" each month. You can read more about it in my introduction post:

Launched a custom-built pricing model
This week marks an important milestone for Keep Track of My Games: it has a subscription payment model! Here’s the thing: I decided **not** to use fixed...

The point is: KTOMG is earning monthly revenue now. 🎉 It's not much but it's something.

That's why from May 10 to June 10, I will be focusing solely on building up Keep Track of My Games. I have some goals and milestones I'd love to reach and it'll be great to have that dedicated time before the kids stay home from school.

I don't expect this income stream to scale that quickly but it's been encouraging so far. There are a handful of high impact features I want to focus on. This will add a ton of value for my existing users and then I'll spend time doing more long-term marketing to encourage growth over the next year.

You can follow my milestone progress over on my Indie Hacker page. I also intend to share key milestones/insights on my mailing list.

Pluralsight courses

I have enjoyed producing courses since 2016. I released my 6th Pluralsight course in April 2021 so I'm due for some new courses and maintenance. There are a lot of opportunities available there so I'll likely try for those in August into fall. I've already lined up a tiny bit of work for the summer (I love me some technical assessment editing).

Creating Plugins, Themes and Starters with GatsbyJS: PlaybookGatsbyJS’s flexible architecture allows you to deeply extend its behavior. This course will teach you how to develop custom plugins, themes and starter templates that make it easier to customize and reuse Gatsby code across multiple projec…

Client-based project work

You may know I write and produce content for RavenDB. Having some more time, I hope to scale that work up. Last summer I experimented with producing some video content for them and that went well so it's something I might continue doing. Fingers crossed!

Showcasing Time Series support in RavenDB

I recognize I am an "edge case"

I don't live a traditional life. I recognize I'm the odd one out.

At the same time, I think everyone deserves to feel empowered and in control of their life. This isn't something that just "happens" overnight. It is not the road most taken. And you travel it mostly by night.

Luckily, some folks have lanterns they've graciously held up for others to follow. I have been inspired by others who have followed their own paths and blazed their own trails. I follow and learn from people in and out of tech.

They say one way to get to your desired destination is to find someone who's only a few steps ahead of you. I'm no expert at life or anything. I'm still learning as I go and I expect I always will be.

Whether you are a career developer or early in your career, if you are are looking to:

  • Slow down
  • Find balance
  • Earn more
  • Do what you love

Then maybe I can help inspire you because those goals are what I seek and I may only be a few steps ahead of you.

I cannot follow this path and not inspire others to achieve it too.

So I'm holding up my latern. Carpe-that-fucking-diem. Fail the tests society has written for you and add some break; statements to your life.

We all deserve to be an edge case.

You can expect me to continue sharing my thoughts and tips on various developer-focused lifestyle design content. I've been enjoying using gaming metaphors, all I need to do now is work in heavy metal metaphors and we'll be all set 😎 I will also share progress updates on my own journey!

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