I officially spent my last day sitting in a full-time office job back in July of 2014, after which I tried for several years to get a small business (with a partner) to become profitable. This ultimately failed and I am now just doing occasional freelance jobs or projects I really want to do. I have not even attempted to get back into the regular workplace anymore as I was already feeling past my prime as a developer back in 2014. Now in my late 40's, I really do not wish to even try to compete against the younger programmers. I just don't have it in me. Also, I've never really enjoyed the work environments that tech startups provide (I have only ever worked for startups). I did apply to a number of larger corporations early on and even got interviews at a few but was never chosen. As such, working for over 7 startups in my 25+ years as a coder / system admin / web application developer, the highest I ever saw my yearly salary go to was around CAD $55k. You have to understand that I have always had a problem with self-confidence and although every boss I've ever had has liked me fine (some really liked me), I've never been able to push to get those higher salaries that I've heard others in my area getting (CAD $80k plus). I let myself get taken advantage of way too much. I tend to have a workplace tolerance level (or burn-out level) of only about 3 years.
When I was still back at my office job, I decided to go talk to a psychologist about my issues with work burn-out and they had me fill out a career assessment survey. The results came back as I expected, saying I should be a computer programmer (or something in the computer field). What I was hoping for was some insight into what else I could do. Apparently, not much. After years of sitting at a computer, I have also gained a lot of weight so most kinds of labour jobs are out. I am not a social person, which is why I got into IT in the first place, so sales or retail jobs are out. I'm not interested (and don't have the money) to retrain in some other professional field.
Relevant song by one of my favourite metal bands, Woods Of Ypres, from my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie: Career Suicide
Alas, this is all OK. I love my life right now. I work on little projects - only things I actually like working on. The only stress is not having that extra steady income stream and having to rely solely on the spouse in that department. I have taken on more of a househusband role with associated duties, which is fine by me. Going from 2 full-time salaries to only 1 is a difficult lifestyle adjustment, but do-able. You learn to cut expenses in everything.
I often wonder how many others out there are like me that are over 40 and feel like you are in forced retirement? Have you given up on your career or finding full-time work? How do you get by without the steady income stream? What do you see yourself doing in the future?