And now we’ll take a short break…

Thursday, August 5, 2010

When I was doing my little food project in 2009 and found myself in the midst of my very surreal Fifteen Minutes of Fame, people said things like, wow, this is amazing…

You could have a website.
You could write a cookbook.
You could be a motivational speaker.
You could be on Oprah.

Sadly, Oprah never called. (Though I did get a call from the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I think that was the most surprising call I got. It took me a few days to get back to them and apparently they’d moved on by then, I never heard anything back.)

At the time, I wasn’t nearly as excited about the prospect of doing something completely different with my life as other people seemed to be. I had already done something completely different with my life — in 2000 I decided to work on a Filemaker project at the publishing house I worked for, and in 2002, I quit my publishing job so I could finish the Filemaker project without having to do another full-time job on top of it. When that was done, a few months I figured, I would figure out what I was going to do next.

As it turned out, the project went on for years, and I kept finding people who needed help with Filemaker, so I haven’t had to figure anything else out yet. (To use a term I first read in Fred Brooks’s classic The Mythical Man-Month, I accidentally discovered a career as a metaprogrammer.)

And it’s funny, I get strange looks when I say this, but I really love Filemaker. It’s great to have found something that is useful and helps people, and where my perfectionism and obsessiveness are actually a benefit, both to me and to others, rather than a big pain in the ass rear, which is what they usually are. In the past — and in most other things — it just makes my life miserable. But with design and database work, things really do have to be exactly right. So instead of making me spend way more time than I need to on things that don’t really matter, it actually allows me to do things much better than the average person.

At the time I did my food project, things were a little bit weird with my Filemaker work because the client I’d been doing the most work for had told me they wouldn’t have anything for me until their new fiscal year started in July. They told me this in January. That’s a while. And they had a new system being built, so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen in July either.

So when everyone was telling me I could use this project as a launching pad to a new career, I was like okay that’s great, but I already started a new career, and I really like it. I don’t really want to run a website or be a motivational speaker, I would just like to do Filemaker and have people with money hire me to do things for them.

And this is where “be careful what you wish for” comes in, because right now I’m working on three projects, with one pro bono project waiting in the wings (poor thing, it’s been there since I started my food project and everything in my life got derailed) and feeling a little bit overwhelmed.

So … I have a bunch of wrap-up posts on food and health — I feel like I’m done with this issue, just need to write everything up and get it posted — and also some other things I’m writing that I think will be worth reading. But I’m probably not going to get any of that up until September.

I do have a few things that are nearly ready that I’ll try to get up soon. But aside from those, probably not much will be going on here for a little while.

So I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer, and I wish everyone (including but not limited to me) a productive few weeks.

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