I got an email from a recruiter not too long ago. I suppose that’s not a surprise, given how I’ve made my living, but what might surprise you is that I usually respond to recruiters, and politely at that. They’re human beings, trying to earn a living in a way that I don’t envy. These days, my relatively stock reply is to thank them for reaching out, tell them that I’m pretty happy and thus pretty picky, and to offer to chat anyway, if they just want to network. As a developer with some community presence, a serial freelancer, a consultant, and general entrepreneur, it never hurts to talk for a few minutes and make a connection. This recruiter persisted, and said that, even if it wasn’t a current fit, something might make sense later. Sure, why not?
Come Hear about this Depressing Opportunity!
When she called, we exchanged pleasantries and she asked what I’d been doing lately in a professional capacity. I explained that the last 2 years had seen me as the CIO of a company, running an IT department, and then going off on my own to do freelance development, consulting, coaching, and a cadre of other activities. At this point, she began to explain what life was like for line level devs at her company and asking what tech stack I preferred. I sighed inwardly and answered that I’d been engaged in coaching/mentoring activities in Java and .NET recently, but that I didn’t care too much about language or framework specifics. She then asked about my career goals, and I scratched my head and explained, honestly, that I was looking to generate enough passive income to work on passion projects. She became a little skeptical and asked if I had recent development experience, clearly now concerned that whatever it was that I’d been doing might not qualify me to crank out reams of line-o-business code or whatever fate she had in mind for me.
The conversation had become deeply tiring to me at this point, and I steered it to a close relatively quickly by telling her I had no interest in line-level development positions unless they were freelance, B2B, part time sorts of engagements that weren’t very long in duration (and not bothering to mention that I’d probably sub-contract something like that since I don’t have an abundance of time). She assured me that all of the positions she was hiring for were W2, full time positions but I should give her a call if I changed my mind and felt like being an architect or something, and that was that.
I hung up the phone, sort of depressed. Honestly, I wished I’d never taken the call more profoundly than if I’d interviewed for some plum gig and been rejected. This just felt so… pointless. I couldn’t really put my finger on why, and indeed, it took my subconscious some time to kick into useful mode and deposit it coherently into my active brain.