Contractor – How I Escaped to Freedom

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This is my own story

Long Time Contractor

After 25 years in IT (19 of those as a contractor), and after reaching the pinnacle of my career as the Chief Information Officer of a reasonable size company, with 80 in my department – I quit.

I went to America first of all, where I lived on 11 acres of land in a three story house at the edge of a wood. The Atlantic Ocean and all the beaches were just 9 miles away, and we were 2 miles from a ski slope.

I was writing articles for, and building up, ITContractor from there. I used to get up at 5:30 am (10:30 UK time) and start work straight away on my PC. I seldom work for more than 1.5 to 2 hours at a times, as my brain starts going numb, so I interspersed work with getting my children out to school, having breakfast, sitting on the balcony reading the newspaper etc.

It meant that I could finish at around 1 o‘clock in the afternoon (6pm UK time). The rest of the day was all mine. I could go to the beach, or just hang out at home. I had a nine-hole pitch and putt course marked out in my backyard – using trees instead of holes. I called it Trolf (or tree golf).

Time for Something Cheaper

As NamesFacesPlaces was in its early stages and not coughing up sufficient amounts of cash, I decided to come to Ireland, where my parents have a house by a sea lough. They only use it in the summer generally, so it lay vacant all winter. We asked them if we could move in for a while, which would give me some space and time to grow ITContractor.

Again, I am able to intersperse time spent on the net doing work for ITContractor with duties and leisure activities. Our back garden leads out onto a sea lough, which, they tell me, is the biggest salmon fishing river in Europe.

I sometimes sit out there on a sunny day with my notepad jotting down ideas and articles for ITC. The sea lough is about 5 miles wide where we are. The only distractions are the oyster boats or the mussel boats as they go past. Occasionally you‘ll see the water skiers out.

My Hidey-Hole

‘There‘s a place that I go, that nobody knows, and nobody goes there but me’.

That‘s a line from a poem that formed the backdrop to a TV ad when I was in America (James Garner spoke the lines).

I have one of those places here. There is a 3-mile long shore walk here. Very few go the full three miles. I have a place there on the rocks, just above the path, where the grass and the reeds grow. It is hidden from anybody passing along the path (very few) just a few feet away. It is hidden from the beach too. I can only be seen from a boat on the lough.

It‘s there I often go on a sunny day with my notebook.

Work Space

I went there today and scripted some articles, as well as mapping out the strategy for ITContractor.

The hidey-hole is just about 75 yards away from where Irish playright Brian Friel has his house on the water. He has had several plays on the London west end stages.

It tickles me to think that I‘m writing my articles for ITContractor with pretty much the same view he has whilst writing his world famous plays.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I‘d stayed on as a Chief Information Officer, or tried to go even further up the tree. How much would I be earning now?

Who gives a monkey‘s though!

Life is not a dress rehearsal.

As my sister often says, no one‘s ever been heard to say on their deathbed ‘I wish I‘d spent more time at work’!

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