Tonight as part of my battle against clutter I am shredding corporate documents like an Arthur Andersen weasel. Well, not exactly -- these documents lost their value many years ago. I'm getting rid of piles of documents from Targeted Software Solutions.* I thought we were hot stuff in the late 1990s with half a dozen employees, and as a co-owner I was pulling down six figures before I turned 30.
If I sound like I'm bragging, well, I am. Americans are often defined by our jobs, and I haven't had one that put food on the table in a long time. It's been more than a decade since I pulled down six figures. Hell, it's been eight years since I pulled down five figures. So I have to brag about the past because the future sure as hell isn't brighter.
That's what I'm letting go of tonight -- the last vestiges of my past life as a successful computer software developer/consultant. Amid reams of payroll data and benefits statements, my most productive years in society are being torn apart in the shredder. Soon there will be no traces of my career. I determined earlier this month that most likely every piece of code I ever wrote has been replaced by now.
It's not something I spend much time thinking about anymore. I came to accept what I've lost and what I've gained years ago. I miss the money, of course, and I miss the mental challenges of programming, but little else. My wife says we'd be divorced by now if I still worked that job. I never realized how much of an asshole the stress made me. I'd rather have a failed career than a failed marriage. On the other hand, I'd probably be thinner if I had kept working. and I'd be a hell of a lot wealthier. We certainly would have fixed a lot more things in our house by now. That is, if we still lived together.
* That is still the official name of my company, in all its faded glory (DJWriter, Inc. is a "doing business as" or "d/b/a" name). That means I can claim that my small business has survived for over 15 years, even though I haven't turned a profit for half that time.