September 24, 2002
6:47 AM   Subscribe

Ex-dot-commers are considering other careers. In this case, a potentially lucrative, more recession-proof trade: Bartending ("When times are good, people drink. When times are bad, people drink.") Not a terribly enlightening article in itself, but tell me: Have you or a friend abandoned a tech field? What's your new job?
posted by Shane (27 comments total)
I think this has beend discussed already.
posted by McBain at 6:52 AM on September 24, 2002

I was hoping for some discussion from ex- and current techies who are feeling the economic crunch. I know a few who have suffered layoffs or are living in fear of them. But if this turns out to be a dead thread, please delete away, Matt. I'll get over it *sniff*
posted by Shane at 7:04 AM on September 24, 2002

Everyone I know who was a "tech person" in the sense of working for an Internet company or Internet-oriented consultancy in the late 1998 to mid 2000 period has left the field ... some (particularly those with old economy credentials, fortunately including myself) have done quite fine by going back to our old economy trades or workplaces. Those without old economy credentials have not done so well ... nearly a dozen have gone to law school or are thinking about it!
posted by MattD at 7:37 AM on September 24, 2002

It's been a while since we had this discussion here. It wasn't the same article, but one in the same vein.
posted by tdismukes at 7:56 AM on September 24, 2002

This discussion is specific to bar tending. Bar tending is an interesting career choice because it is the complete opposite of being a geek. You are forced to be very physical. Very sociable people will talk with you non stop for the entire time. And you get to observe all sorts of mateing behaviour as well as have it practiced on you. The bartenders Ive known have all ended up with exciting love lifes. If your looking for a challengeing change its a good choice. Any current or former bartenders here? Just remember if you date a bartender: never trust a bartender!
posted by stbalbach at 8:04 AM on September 24, 2002

How about my change of career? From Field Service Engineer and Integrator, to....

Disciple of Christ, cleverly disguised as an electrician, until I finish seminary....
posted by dwivian at 8:54 AM on September 24, 2002

Am I the only ex-e-commerce-dot-com emloyee who just applied at some other company when the bubble went bust? I went to a non-dot-com start up, which I am leaving in 2 weeks for a higher education type job, both are still in coding.
posted by internook at 9:06 AM on September 24, 2002

I've been a Web Designer for the last six years. In January I start my 2 year degree program in Culinary Arts.

It's no that the business is bad where I am though. It's just time for a change.
posted by Starchile at 9:17 AM on September 24, 2002

Why, I'm a MeFigineer now! No health benefits, but the hours are flexible.
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:06 AM on September 24, 2002

I went from to.... The New York Times.

I was a UNIX sysadmin/developer managing the webservers and now I'm a UNIX sysadmin/developer managing the output and transmission system for the paper version.

Pretty funny, really.
posted by n9 at 10:08 AM on September 24, 2002

I still have whiplash -- I was working for Magnet Interactive and now I'm working for a Christian organization. Especially strange for me, as I'm a privately spiritual person but not a publicly religious one.

Sometimes when my co-workers are praying before a staff meeting (yes, really), I wonder how in the &$@# I got here... they're sure raking in the bucks (not ME, though, just the company). No more perks and bonuses and lavish vacation time... I feel so pouty.
posted by sparky at 10:17 AM on September 24, 2002

DBA to Musician...........I still make about the same amount of money, with better hours!
posted by ericdano at 10:18 AM on September 24, 2002

Struggling independent web designer now, but after the latest thread about coffeehouses, I think I may start one, and move my web design biz in the back / upstairs.

It helps I know a few workers at *bucks who would be willing to help me out...

posted by razorwriter at 11:11 AM on September 24, 2002

While I'm no longer at a dotcom (and I never really was because I worked at consulting companies, all of which are still around) I am still doing what I love which is coding, went from WebBlade to ASP to Java over the past six years. These days I'm at an investment bank though.
posted by zeoslap at 11:18 AM on September 24, 2002

coffeehouses, I think I may start one, and move my web design biz in the back / upstairs

Do both and you might do alright. Coffeeshop profit margins are a lot tighter than what you think--they're not the prime-rated investments they were back before the market got saturated with them. But, work in the shop some and keep a second income too, and you might be happy. Great idea (I gave up on the dream of opening a cafe after managing them for years. Pains-in-the-ass they often are...)
posted by Shane at 11:40 AM on September 24, 2002

a lot of laid off techies i know went back to school. most to law school, though frankly i don't get the connection. a few to business school, and one to get her masters in interaction design at carnegie-mellon, which actually seems like a pretty interesting program. i know one guy who started a successful company freelancing in building e-commerce applications. and unfortunately, i know a bunch who are still unemployed.
posted by henriettachicken at 11:57 AM on September 24, 2002

oh and personally, so far i have survived 3 big rounds of layoffs and 2 smaller ones (big= +10, small= -10) in my techie company. and it's gotten kind of old.
posted by henriettachicken at 12:04 PM on September 24, 2002

In my day job, I'm a manager at an IT consulting/recruiting company. It's amazing how many qualified people we know that are no longer involved in IT consulting period, not just dot-coms.

And, consulting rates are falling dramatically. It's tough to have to explain to a programmer why his skillset no longer commands $100K/yr, but is now worth only $50K/yr. Or less.

Sadly, there are many who are learning harsh lessons because they
1) didn't diversify their skills
2) are unwilling to be flexible in title, $$$, or location
3) will not accept reality and move forward.

Things may never be the same for IT professionals as it was from 1995-2001.
posted by insulglass at 1:41 PM on September 24, 2002

Was a programmer, software development manager, and software product manager and am now starting with a few students giving them piano lessons, and hope to build a whole roster of students. The pay isn't great, but it is a heck of a lot less stressful and quite enjoyable. Glad to be out of the tech business, but a little sad my last cool company went belly under...
posted by Raga at 2:57 PM on September 24, 2002

I went from selling software to selling wines and sprits.

The software market as we know it is only 15 years old, people have been drinking since the beginning of recorded history.

Drink up people!
posted by CrazyJub at 3:12 PM on September 24, 2002

I guess I sorta qualify for this thread, although the company I was most recently laid off from was not a dot-com but an industrial-application software & integration vendor. Six months after, I'm working part-time at a pet superstore -- lots of fun, actually -- while going back to school to be a programmer. I'd been a technical writer, and I'm hoping this will move me up the food chain slightly.
posted by alumshubby at 6:46 PM on September 24, 2002

I made the jump from dotcom to law school this fall.
posted by andrewraff at 7:29 PM on September 24, 2002

I abandoned my work as a unix sysadmin in favor of 3D art. ;)
posted by xyzzy at 7:34 PM on September 24, 2002

My thought was that the people in the article are nuts. Silicon Valley is pretty much a one industry town; when that industry gets splattered, people cut back on luxuries. Three pints at the pub sets you back as much as a case at Safeway - bars and restaurants are having just as much trouble as software companies now.

I was a SW engineer at a company that made software for car dealerships. The VC crunch didn't directly affect us, but people who are laid off (or worried about it) don't buy cars. Car dealers who don't have sales delay buying software; and that hammered us. I've waited tables in school, so I consider that my backup career. I'm moving somewhere the economy's a little more diverse, so that restaurants are hiring.
posted by swell at 8:18 PM on September 24, 2002

As someone who works not as often as he'd like in Hollywood, I find myself in the unique position of having to jump _to_ the dotcom world for security! EToys, Earthlink, and Zentropy have been stops (and kept the lights on) in between the TV gigs. So we're not all fleeing.
posted by herc at 11:27 PM on September 24, 2002

I was a top tier software developer. Moved out of the valley for quality of life reasons to a .com startup in a better place to live. They burst and I found few companies in my area who would touch me. Most commonly heard excuse was "you'd be bored here." Am now teaching high school kids and runing IT for a public school.
posted by plinth at 12:03 PM on September 26, 2002

Hmm, I was a web developer for a design house, and now I am teaching English to junior hugh school kids in Japan. I didn't actually get laid off though; I just got burned out hearing about people more talented than myself getting laid off every day.
posted by donkeymon at 6:23 AM on September 27, 2002

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