Tuesday, February 01, 2005


It's the 1st of February 2005, some two-and-a-half months since I decided to call it quits at my former employer, and a little less than six weeks since I packed my bags. How, one might ask, have things been?

I'm writing this little self-evaluation from Davao, and not from Dumaguete, as I thought I would. That, by itself, should speak volumes. I was originally planning to spend most of my time in Dumaguete, managing the store there, helping out with the investment promotions group, and doing some programming work for the Silliman University Marine Lab. Davao was just supposed to be a way station, a temporary vacation over the Christmas holidays.

I was already to go to Dumaguete on January 3, but owing to my Dad's long stay at the hospital, I got waylaid. Dad's all better now, his usual busy and irascible self, but I suppose we were all pretty stressed out that it took my folks a couple of more weeks to recover. And thus, I'm still here.

But it's quite all right. I now have a DSL connection from home, and it's really going to be very hard to pry me from my seat. I've claimed a small section of the house, a converted art table, a computer chair, and I've turned all of this into a small home office. I'm as happy as a bug in a rug.

Mom and Dad are in Dumaguete, leaving my youngest sister and me to hold the fort. I'm back to an early schedule, and the day starts with preparing breakfast for our small kennel. Then I walk the German shepherd and the beagle around the neighborhood for our morning constitutional.

My sister really does most of the management of the business affairs now, so the rest of the day, I'm banging away at the keyboard either at home or at the store. Her plans for medical transcription didn't really materialize, and the cybercafe looks a long ways off, but that's all right. They'll come when they come.

I'm still helping out my friends in Dumaguete with the outsourcing plans. In fact, I'm scheduled to be with them for the eService Symposium in Manila from Feb 17-18. In the meantime, I'm drawing out the Software Services Outsourcing Plan for the city. It's promising, too, since I have my ducks lined up: IBM, Microsoft, and a couple of other interesting programs. I hope to get cooperation from the universities there.

If the Software Services Outsourcing Plan works out, I may get a piece of the action. But most of this is still a long way off, extending up to the end of next year. We'll see.

Kathleen Yao wrote me to ask for story contributions to the kids' magazine she's launching in Singapore. How could I refuse? So for a couple of days I did some research on the history of the cellphone and on Nikola Tesla, and I had a pretty fun time of that. Although the writing assignment turned out to be a bit of a chore, it's also gotten me fully back into writing mode. The words are flowing more easily now, thank goodness.

Writing for the Linux magazines will have to be delayed a bit longer. I have a couple of writing goals I'm setting for myself, the results of which I probably won't be posting anytime soon. All in due time.

I got three calls for help in total, two from my old company, and one from EMC, pertaining to IBM projects. I didn't turn them away like I said I would, and I did give whatever helpful advice I could. I think it all makes for good karma. But Mom's been bugging me in jest about a bet we made on whether my old company would call or not before the end of January. She likes to remind me that I owe her P20,000 already.

Not for a moment, though, do I regret leaving my old company. I'm more relaxed, more focused, and most importantly, I'm happier. I don't have to worry about customers, business partners, or my other colleagues calling me to do a presentation on a topic I only learned about yesterday or to fix a problem that wasn't ours to begin with. I don't have to worry about any more flak about customer satisfaction.

Sure, I don't earn as much as I used to -- heck, I'm not even earning at all -- but for someone whose needs weren't much to begin with, that's not such a big deal.

Sure, I do have to clean sh*t every now and then, but my new customers love me no matter what, and now and then, I get a lick on the face or playful puppy-dog eyes.

Maybe I'll get tired of this further down the road. By then I might need to get back on the IT track again. But if my luck holds out, I won't need to, not for a while longer.

In the meantime, I'm happy.