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Why You Should Avoid Dependence

The first thing I did was get back on the phones after New Year's and renew many of my contacts. Some had left IT. Many of the folks in IT that I had worked with were scattering for safer grounds; some were getting out of IT altogether. Many either went back to school for a degree in a field completely divorced from IT, gave up on IT and went to work as plumbers, or went to technical school to learn to how to drive an over-the-road tractor-trailer.

I decided to stick it out for a while. Some of my training contacts started to feed work in my direction, while phone calls, emails, and referrals started to renew my support business, mostly with school systems and healthcare providers.

The mistake I had made when I migrated away from my contract freelance businesses—and contacts—was that I became employer- or vendor-dependent. When I signed on for a steady paycheck and benefits, I was at the mercy of one employer's income. I had to trust an employer.

In IT today, employers no longer respect education and experience. Based on salary surveys, employers are looking for the most experienced people for the cheapest price—capitalism at its finest. IT has become just another blue-collar trade in the minds of many. Certified, degreed professionals are disposable. That stinks. It is also a radical departure from the days leading up to early 2001.

I decided to return to life as a freelance contractor, which means I no longer am employer-dependent. Instead of focusing just on training and network support, however, I also opted to throw myself into the opportunities available in writing and editing, and to develop a website that would support my students, readers, and clients. This fourfold approach took a while to get moving, but, thankfully, it has moved in a positive direction and been a great deal of fun. The great part of these ventures is that I did not have to go into a new career that required a whole new set of job skills. The experience, education, and certifications that I had earned were enough to get me on the right track.

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