So, what do I do for a living exactly?

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Published on 27.07.11 10:10 Age: 3 yrs

Letters : 2856 Words : 529

By: The Administrator

I got a lot of e-mails about my situational depression and felt like I was repeating all of the time what my job was about. Here is some information

Over a decade ago, I was hired by a "hardware" company to write software for their products.

Imagine that it is a computerized cash register company. It's not, but it's the best example I can come up with.

So, this company has hundreds of employees who either design the new models or build them, in addition to all of the support staff such as accountants, sales representatives, support personnel, etc...

But I was the only software developer on staff and as such, was pretty much left unsupervised. 

As long as I delivered the software for the new models on time and that I fixed bugs in a timely fashion, I was left alone.

I wrote the first version within 6 months. It was a major success and it improved the stock software they were using by adding a plugin module which allowed me to write add-ons.

They didn't request it. I just thought it was a good idea. If we keep in mind the cash register analogy, imagine that I could write custom tailored inventory tracking systems or special networking tools allowing to pause a transaction in one cash register and resume it on another.

They launched new models and expected me to work months and months on each new software to tailor them to the new models when it really only took me a few days, allowing me to constantly improve the base software.

The 2000-2001 recession hit really hard and the company went bankrupt just as it was in the process to expand their manufacturing capacities. Another company bought them and decided to use their own software and thus, had no need for me.

In lieu of a severance package, I asked for the right to my now useless software so I could still support their old customers and make a living that way. I got the right to sell add-ons and maintenance packages, but sadly not to actually sell it. When I sell a copy, I sadly still need to send the money to the new owners.

Soon enough, I adjusted my software to work on other models of cash registers and allowed it to work on almost everything in that industry.

I couldn't make money selling the base software itself, but I could sell the modification to run on their version.  It's a lot less money that I would have hoped, but I also make a profit doing custom plug-ins.

The number of users using my software has increased and the new owner are idly making money off my back, but I don't really mind. 

I still generally make enough money to live, and I am the only person with the source code to my software so I am the only one who can write custom plugins.

Some plug-ins take only a few days to write and cost only a thousand dollars or so, but I also get bigger ones on which I spend weeks and months for more significant sums of money.

My clients are happy, I am happy, and my family is happy because I now get to work from my house!

 

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