I took a very large step today, one which I’ve been considering doing for over 2 years but due to various factors have not done until now - I handed in my notice to quit my day job, effective from the end of October. From November, I’m going to be working full time for Torus Knot Software Ltd, the company I formed in 2004. Yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.
So why now? Well, it’s down to a number of factors - firstly the major project I’ve been heading up at work (on the technical side anyway) for some time is coming to a successful conclusion, so that’s a good point of closure for me. I didn’t want to leave before it was done, because I hate to leave things unfinished, and I have a strong sense of loyalty to the people I work with to make sure this baby got done right. Secondly, as I’ve hinted on this blog a few times, I just can’t continue working at the rate I am now, being as I am working a (stressful and demanding at times) day job and a major open source project, and trying to work on ancilliary projects that go with that like Greg’s book, Google Summer of Code, tools like World Minion. It’s just impossible to keep up that level of work indefinitely, and dropping the quality or amount of effort was not really an option for me - I’m the kind of person who has to do things wholeheartedly or not at all. However, you can only pull 60-70 hour weeks continuously for so long - for me that was around 3 years 😉
I think the reality hit me when I actually had to schedule a weekend off for Marie & I’s birthdays this summer. 😕 So the stark choice hit me - to change this and get a life back, I had to either give up Ogre (I couldn’t scale back, it wouldn’t have lasted because my nature always leads me to throw my heart and soul into projects), or give up my day job. I guess deep down I always knew what I needed to do, it just took a while for me to actually do it. There’s certainly a financial angle to this which gave me pause as much as the loyalty angle - I’m leaving a very stable, very well paid position for something that’s almost completely unknown. But, I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive wife (thanks Marie) without whose understanding neither my involvement in Ogre over the years, nor this current step, would have been possible.
So what will I be doing? Will I be working on Ogre 100% full time? Probably not - I’m guessing my Ogre commitment will be around the same, maybe slightly more since I’ll probably still do some extra work in spare time. The rest of the time I plan to do some contract work / consultancy (related to Ogre and otherwise, probably - contact me if you have something in mind ;)), and my own Ogre-related projects, primarily some tool ideas I have that I’m rather excited about. I’m guessing there’s about a years work in the latter though, so the contract work will hopefully help plug the financial gap in between. I’ve also been offered the opportunity to write a book of my own, which I may well take up. Lots of options, but Ogre will definitely be at the core. 😀
I guess there comes a time when you have to stop thinking about what might be, and just do it (I hope Nike doesn’t sue). I have no idea whether this is going to work or not, but I’m sure it’s going to be interesting to find out. At least I won’t look back when I’m old and grey (well, ok older and greyer) and wonder what might have been. It’s scary as hell, but they always say you have to do things that scare you to grow, and they may well be right. 😀