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The Wandering Developer

This has been an interesting week.  I did an experiment to help prove something that deep down we all know anyway: YOU DON'T NEED TO BE AT THE OFFICE TO WORK.  Last weekend I drove to Chicago (from Kansas City) to fix a few problems caused by overworking in the previous week and while on the trip, I started my 4-Hour Workweek ("4HWW") training.  The trip was only a Saturday, Sunday, and Monday trip and I had to be back Tuesday for work.  However, on the way back the 4HWW training made me realize the obvious: I work remotely and I am remote.  DUH!  When I realized that, I immediately turned NORTH (home is south) away from Kansas City heading towards Minneapolis.  I also called my client telling him that I'm going to remotely call in for the meeting as there was absolutely no reason for me to physically be there.  While in Minneapolis I stayed with a relative and worked from an office in their house.  Since there was no boss, no client, and no coworkers to bother me, I was able to have PURE productivity just as the 4HWW book said I would have.

It never really made ANY sense to me why, living in the 21st century, we developers need to physically go to an office to have a boss fight our productivity at every turn.  People just work better when people aren't watching.  DUH!  Therefore, as of right now... I'm done working on site and am extending my consultant business ("Jampad Technology, Inc.") to from coast to coast (possibly global soon).  I am no longer going to work at any particular location, but will work from a different city in the United States at various intervals for the next few years (until I get sick of that and change careers completely).  Since I don't own a house, don't have kids, am not married and since my car is completely paid off and have the lowest rent in the world, I can do this without affecting anything.  Why didn't I do this soon?  Well, I only did the 4HWW training last weekend.  Phenomenal training!  I'm sick and tired of living out Office Space every day of my life and, as it turns out, my Seminary work isn't going to do itself.  Last year I instituted by quarterly vacation policy (I take a 3-9 day vacation every 3 months) and the success of that naturally lead to this next step.  It was either that or continue to be on the lame 100 Hour Work Week program that most people are on.  Forget that.  I'm sick of working in an office.  Period.

One thing that I realized recently was something that makes me feel stupid for not thinking of sooner.  As a right-brained (as opposed to left-brained) developer, architect, minimalist, and purist I always try to increase the level of abstraction for my life.  I'm always trying to make things more logically manageable instead of simply physically manageable.  The other day when I handed my drivers license to a cashier at a grocery store and she responded "Wow, you're a long way from home".  I immediately got to thinking what a strange thing that is to say.  First of all, what ever happened to the saying "home is where the heart is".  Is this something people hang on their kitchen wall, but don't ACTUALLY believe?  Is society so bad that people have bumper stickers and plaques of cute little saying, but don't actually believe them? (obviously, yes)  Secondly, this person was making a statement about my physical, not logical representation.  When I realized this, it dawned on me that much of the technology world (including myself) is living in a painful contradiction.  We are trying to making everything logically management (i.e. active directory, the Internet, web server farms), but we just can't seem to have a logical representation of the most important thing of all: people.  There's no reason for me to be in an office every single day just like there's no reason my web server needs to be with me.  Furthermore, what's with those awesome science fiction scenes in movies where people are remotely (logically) present in meetings via 3D projection from all over the world?  We dream of this stuff, but I'm taking it now.

So, I'm now available to help on projects nation-wide project.  If you need .NET (C#), ASP.NET, JavaScript/AJAX, LLBLGen Pro/LINQ, Firefox, or XHTML/CSS development , porting, auditing, architecture, or training, all based on best practices, please drop me a line using my i-name account.  My rate varies from project to project and for certain organizations my rate is substantially discounted.  Also, please note that I will never, ever work with the counter productive technologies VB or Visual Source Safe (if you want me to setup web-based Subversion on your site, drop me a line!)