Author Topic: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years  (Read 2528 times)

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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2019, 12:23:48 pm »
Hi fellow electronics friends.
...
Are there others here who have left many years of employment to do their own thing? Did you stay in electronics or do something completely different? How happy are you after the change?

I've done some side jobs over the years that were of interest to me but I've never thought about doing something full time on my own.   Good luck with your new career. 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2019, 12:41:35 pm »
For those in the US, one of the biggest obstacles to being self employed is the health insurance situation where most health insurance is an employer provided benefit and getting it as an individual is often absurdly expensive.

I always find that situation absurd. I've heard it's like $20k a year for decent private cover?

Quote
Personally I also find a great deal of comfort in a steady and predictable income and I don't particularly like large changes in my day to day routine. I like to get up, put in a day of work knowing there is a set of expectations I need to meet for the boss, then come home and do my own thing and know that I'll have a paycheck go into my bank account twice a month.

That is one of the benefits, you can switch off at 5pm and it's someone else's problem.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2019, 12:43:27 pm »
I can wake up tomorrow and decide "bugger it, I'm doing stuff-all today" and I still effectively get paid  ;D
In some parts of the world this is called retirement.

 ;D
On the flip side you have be willing to swallow 24/7 abusive and demotivating emails and comments.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2019, 12:48:45 pm »
For those in the US, one of the biggest obstacles to being self employed is the health insurance situation where most health insurance is an employer provided benefit and getting it as an individual is often absurdly expensive.
Researchers say this is the main factor keeping the rate of entrepeneurial activity in the US so low.  Lots of people seem to think the US has lots of of entrepreneurs, because they see some prominent successful startups. The actual rate is quite low.

From a quick google, in Australia "2.4 million Australians are self-employed. 1.4 million of these don't employ anyone. the other 1 million employ about 6 million people."

It's been dropping a bit in recent years:

 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2019, 12:56:17 pm »
I can wake up tomorrow and decide "bugger it, I'm doing stuff-all today" and I still effectively get paid  ;D
In some parts of the world this is called retirement.

 ;D
On the flip side you have be willing to swallow 24/7 abusive and demotivating emails and comments.

LOL.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2019, 01:01:13 pm »
I always find that situation absurd. I've heard it's like $20k a year for decent private cover?

Quite a few of us here find it absurd too, but the problem is getting anyone to agree on how to fix it. One thing I do know is there doesn't seem to be anyone in countries with universal healthcare trying to get rid of it and adopt a byzantine US style private insurance system with middlemen everywhere and layer upon layer of complexity leading to huge expense. For me to get insurance on my own comparable to what I get through my employer would cost me over $800/month.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2019, 01:25:49 pm »
I always find that situation absurd. I've heard it's like $20k a year for decent private cover?

That is one of the benefits, you can switch off at 5pm and it's someone else's problem.
That switching off at 5 p.m. part rarely is the case if you made it anywhere near an interesting position.
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2019, 01:26:25 pm »
Employed you have 1 boss,  working yourself. you will have hundreds of bosses, and one crappy partner the government who only wanna share the profits not the loses

Employed or working for yourself, we all have just one boss: money.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2019, 01:31:28 pm »
Employed or working for yourself, we all have just one boss: money.
I know more than one person who'd be doing exactly the same thing if they won the lottery.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2019, 01:34:15 pm »
Employed or working for yourself, we all have just one boss: money.
I know more than one person who'd be doing exactly the same thing if they won the lottery.
Lots of lottery winners say they won't let the win change them. However, when the first annoyance occurs, most of them change their mind.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2019, 01:34:24 pm »
That switching off at 5 p.m. part rarely is the case if you made it anywhere near an interesting position.

That depends on one's definition of interesting position. To me being able to switch off and do my own thing in the evening is pretty interesting. I enjoy my job but even so I only do it so I can afford to do the stuff I really want to do.
 

Offline tautech

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2019, 02:11:32 pm »
For those in the US, one of the biggest obstacles to being self employed is the health insurance situation where most health insurance is an employer provided benefit and getting it as an individual is often absurdly expensive.
Researchers say this is the main factor keeping the rate of entrepeneurial activity in the US so low.  Lots of people seem to think the US has lots of of entrepreneurs, because they see some prominent successful startups. The actual rate is quite low.

From a quick google, in Australia "2.4 million Australians are self-employed. 1.4 million of these don't employ anyone. the other 1 million employ about 6 million people."

It's been dropping a bit in recent years:


Surprise, surprise.  ::)

Gubbermints would rather you were successful in that you need to employ staff so their tax take is many times more. The longer you can hang on as a sole trader and enjoy/benefit from the taxation structure the better.

When we take that first step into small self employed business there is so much we have to learn and those early days are when the risk is highest and generally resulting from inadequate cash flow and/or noncompliance to relevant legislation.

To the OP, good luck and take particular care of financial records along with advice from a good accountant, hopefully a friend that you can ply with drinks and sustenance for the info you need.
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Offline Simon

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2019, 07:41:18 pm »
In the UK I don't see much encouragement to be self employed with the government taking a heavy hand to change laws that make it less worth while. On the one hand it's to stop people gaming the system but on the other hand they could just close the loopholes. I set up my own company but it has really never gone anywhere and once you start looking at stuff yau realize how hard it is to compete with the big boys if that is what you are doing. I have designed a couple of products recently only to be told that they found one off the shelf. So i too now look to have "off the shelf" solutions as it seems to be what the market demands, at least once the market finds out how much the bespoke solution is and I have quoted some big names that were not short of a penny or two.

I'm not sure consulting is less of a headache than a full time job. I guess having a main job my customers do not know about does make the time pressures harder for me but every time i get a request to quote i think - do I really want this? but most things i have quoted could match my wages for a few days work a month.

On the other hand as an extarnal consultant what you say goes. In the past I have used the consultant work uses (also a member of this forum that I work very well with) to get decisions made. In the past if i said it they ignored me, if I got him to say the same thing they did it, little do they know that saved them a butt load of trouble with their customer not that I would get any thanks for what they do not realize I have done so yea, being out of it and the politics is great.

I am currently working on a project that is basically a political tool to get two contracors to work together without working together. Because my boss stuffed things up by just expecting them to work together he had to bring me in late to the party to try and sort things out by which point the solution is that i develop some interface circuitry whilst talking to each contractor seperately to come up with something they can both agree on seperately. Fact is we do not need my interface board because the original device is already capable :palm: but it is a political tool to get us out of a deadlock. Had my boss stayed out of it and asked me to handle it at the start I would have less work to do that stands at -3 times what I have time for and this product that is already late would be done by now.

So yep, if you can dodge the politics great. Sometimes I wonder if i should just walk out and then offer to return os a contractor once they realize the hole they are in because they don't realize how many roots i have in most things quietly sorting things out before they happen.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 07:44:53 pm by Simon »
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Offline metrologist

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2019, 10:22:33 pm »
I’d rather do a Dave :)

I can wake up tomorrow and decide "bugger it, I'm doing stuff-all today" and I still effectively get paid  ;D

It always seems we are a slave to someone. I have over a month of paid time off and could work it any way I want. I'm glad not to be measured by the hour or day, but rather by the work I produce. Taking a day off means I did not spend time making a "video" and would not post one. If I do not post my work, I'd eventually be terminated. Even though I take a day off, all I did was shift the work to another day. Royalties eventually run out. There is no way I could win by keeping the general masses interested in me - I'm sure it takes a lot of work and there is still some uncertainty.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #39 on: March 18, 2019, 01:49:04 am »
For those in the US, one of the biggest obstacles to being self employed is the health insurance situation where most health insurance is an employer provided benefit and getting it as an individual is often absurdly expensive.
Researchers say this is the main factor keeping the rate of entrepeneurial activity in the US so low.  Lots of people seem to think the US has lots of of entrepreneurs, because they see some prominent successful startups. The actual rate is quite low.

From a quick google, in Australia "2.4 million Australians are self-employed. 1.4 million of these don't employ anyone. the other 1 million employ about 6 million people."

It's been dropping a bit in recent years:


Note how this graph paints a massively skewed picture! Self employment dropped by only 2% but the graphs makes it look like it is half. On a full scale graph the line is flat. Also note that the graph shows a percentage between 'self employed' and employees. Given the improvement in the economy world wide which created more jobs it may even be that the number of self employed people went up but that relatively more people got regular jobs. IOW: from this graph you can't see whether in absolutely numbers more or less people became self employed.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 01:54:54 am by nctnico »
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Offline vtwin@cox.net

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #40 on: March 18, 2019, 01:59:36 am »
I am 54 and employed in the government sector, working in IT. For almost my entire adult life, I've also done consulting work on the side, mostly obtained word of mouth. For the past 12 years I've done a gig for a local company where they pay me a monthly retainer to do side work for them exclusively, that retainer has been more than what I make in my "full time" gig, mainly because I know I am underpaid in my full-time job (I made a conscious decision early on I would be trading salary for more PTO and a defined benefit pension after 20 years.) Unfortunately it's about to come to an end over the next couple of months as the company has been sold.

I have had many, many people over the years ask me why I do not do consulting work full time. To principle reasons:

Inherently I am an introvert. Not that I cannot be an extrovert when I have to be (e.g. I routinely have to give 60-90 minute presentations to large audiences of 100's of people, engaging in Q&A etc), but I am a classic ISTJ on the Briggs-Meyer chart. I married an ENFP to compliment me at cocktail parties. Remember: As stated by another above, a major portion of consulting is marketing yourself, building a network, etc. Always being on the lookout for the next "gig". I find doing things like that to be emotionally tasking and exhausting. Someone else pointed out when you become a consultant, you're really becoming a consultant/sales/marketing/administrator, and this is more true than I can tell you (I pay myself a salary from my consulting work so I can accumulate Social Security quarters, given my government sector job doesn't accumulate them and its either I pay an accountant $200/mo just to pay myself, or do it myself.) So, unless you're an extrovert with great networking skills, consulting probably will not pay off for you (of course you can always hire someone to market you.)

Health care. Moral of this paragraph: expect to spend a significant amount of money on your health insurance, and factor that in accordingly into what you're going to have to make in order to live. Case in point: The health insurance thing here (USA) is a major concern, especially now that I'm getting older and more prone to health-related issues. I have decent health insurance through work (not great, but not bad either) and over the past 10 years I've seen my costs skyrocket. Keep in mind what we usually see for our "insurance deduction" through work is only a portion of what the actual premium is. So, for example, my deduction is $360/mo, and my employer pays 80% of the premium, hence the real cost of my "single" premium is really $1,800/mo, or $22k/year if I had to pay it myself in full. And that's a rate in a HUGE (government) group, and like I said, while the coverage is okay, it isn't one of those "platinum plans" you hear about. [My wife is from Brighton/Hove, and she swears the NHS is the best thing since sliced bread compared to the US system, but, I often have to remind her: "honey, you're only 37 and haven't had any major medical problems -- see how great socialized medicine is when you're seriously ill and have to wait for live saving treatment". I know transplanted Canadians whose family members have died waiting for live-saving treatment.]


Sure, the office politics can suck, and the work can be unrewarding at times, but in my case I've felt those downsides are better than the alternatives.
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Online coppercone2

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #41 on: March 18, 2019, 02:22:20 am »
if you are going to make a business, and you determine you need 20,000$ in insurance, being a reasonable capitalist, you decide that instead of inflating your salary you will work more hours to cover the insurance, or being a good planner factor it into your business plan.

20,000$ is alot for 1 person for a small business. I think it can easily chowder your business plan / lead to unreasonable work hours. Money could be used for part time work, contractors to do dirty business of yours,etc. 
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #42 on: March 18, 2019, 02:37:31 am »
I’m still working a day job but have a business on the side. That has been steadily growing and will hopefully be at the point it will take over as my main income in a few years (sustainably)

Be your own boss, choose what 18 hours a day you want to work
Pretty much..... I have been a small biz owner my whole professional life. Roughly 26 years. Recently took a day job and it feels like a part-time side hustle. The entrepreneurial endeavors had me running fast for a long time. That's not a complaint necessarily, but burning the candle at both ends can eat a person up.

Keep a reasonable balance.

Typet purly on my fone.

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Online nctnico

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #43 on: March 18, 2019, 02:40:04 am »
Still the insane health insurance costs seem mostly limited to the US. In the Netherlands I pay exactly the same for health insurance whether I'm self employed or not. I do have to take care of my pension plan and income insurance in case I become ill.
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Offline Simon

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #44 on: March 18, 2019, 03:08:52 am »


Inherently I am an introvert. Not that I cannot be an extrovert when I have to be (e.g. I routinely have to give 60-90 minute presentations to large audiences of 100's of people, engaging in Q&A etc), but I am a classic ISTJ on the Briggs-Meyer chart. I married an ENFP to compliment me at cocktail parties. Remember: As stated by another above, a major portion of consulting is marketing yourself, building a network, etc. Always being on the lookout for the next "gig". I find doing things like that to be emotionally tasking and exhausting. Someone else pointed out when you become a consultant, you're really becoming a consultant/sales/marketing/administrator, and this is more true than I can tell you (I pay myself a salary from my consulting work so I can accumulate Social Security quarters, given my government sector job doesn't accumulate them and its either I pay an accountant $200/mo just to pay myself, or do it myself.) So, unless you're an extrovert with great networking skills, consulting probably will not pay off for you (of course you can always hire someone to market you.)



Sure, the office politics can suck, and the work can be unrewarding at times, but in my case I've felt those downsides are better than the alternatives.

Yep, same here. At the end of the day i can shut up shop knowing that I have a day job.
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #45 on: March 18, 2019, 03:27:47 am »
Pretty much..... I have been a small biz owner my whole professional life. Roughly 26 years. Recently took a day job and it feels like a part-time side hustle. The entrepreneurial endeavors had me running fast for a long time. That's not a complaint necessarily, but burning the candle at both ends can eat a person up.

Keep a reasonable balance.

Typet purly on my fone.
Can you elaborate on why you decided to take a day job too? You seem fairly committed to running your own shop.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 03:29:25 am by Mr. Scram »
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #46 on: March 18, 2019, 03:56:32 am »
Still the insane health insurance costs seem mostly limited to the US. In the Netherlands I pay exactly the same for health insurance whether I'm self employed or not. I do have to take care of my pension plan and income insurance in case I become ill.

That is exactly my understanding too from expat friends of mine, some of whom are now contemplating returning to the UK after several decades reaping the rewards of the US, including becoming naturalised and bringing up families. I don’t know if this is a recent thing, or just because deductibles and premium grow as you get into your 50s.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #47 on: March 18, 2019, 04:29:24 am »
Pretty much..... I have been a small biz owner my whole professional life. Roughly 26 years. Recently took a day job and it feels like a part-time side hustle. The entrepreneurial endeavors had me running fast for a long time. That's not a complaint necessarily, but burning the candle at both ends can eat a person up.

Keep a reasonable balance.

Typet purly on my fone.
Can you elaborate on why you decided to take a day job too? You seem fairly committed to running your own shop.

Sure - I still have my old shop and no plans to get rid of it. Instead of doing 8 projects at once, I now do 1 major project at a time.

The day job is in aerospace. The company designs and manufactures motors and motor control electronics for military and civil aircraft. My primary responsibilities are in manufacturing. Reimagining the approaches and processes used. Hoping to quickly move entirely into engineering after I transform the manufacturing side of the business. All of the people are career corporate people, I am the only one that has an entrepreneurial background that brings creativity and energy. The executives like to see that. The rest of the employees are still shell shocked by the way I operate super fast, accurate, and lean. Changing/fixing/eliminating anything that is not working well for me and the company.

I am REALLY liking the ability to focus on a fairly narrow set of goals and related tasks. In my small business roles - I had to deal with 1,000 unrelated things every day. I never had the time to be excellent in any technical area  - I was simply a manager. I no longer have to deal with HR, money, sales, marketing, shipping, office supplies, purchasing, BOM maintenance, EOL parts, etc, etc, etc.........

Let's see if the company can keep my interest long term. I warned them that if I get bored, I won't last long. So, if they like me - they have to continue to provide appropriate resources and avenues for success. So far, so good.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 04:31:24 am by rx8pilot »
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Online nctnico

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #48 on: March 18, 2019, 04:37:42 am »
Always being on the lookout for the next "gig". I find doing things like that to be emotionally tasking and exhausting. Someone else pointed out when you become a consultant, you're really becoming a consultant/sales/marketing/administrator, and this is more true than I can tell you (I pay myself a salary from my consulting work so I can accumulate Social Security quarters, given my government sector job doesn't accumulate them and its either I pay an accountant $200/mo just to pay myself, or do it myself.) So, unless you're an extrovert with great networking skills, consulting probably will not pay off for you (of course you can always hire someone to market you.)
I don't think you need great networking skills. You can only do a limited amount of work by yourself anyway. In my own experience you will always manage to find some projects even if you are doing only a little bit of advertising. Linked-in and internet fora are great ways to get in touch with people who may need your skills. Sometimes it does get quiet and that is a good opportunity to visit some of the existing customers and see what they are up to. I call it shaking the tree and it doesn't take long for something to fall out. And then there are also the recruitment agencies which can land you a nice gig but these are usually long term jobs (which I'm not fond of so I never  went that route).
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: I am about to throw in the towel after 35 years
« Reply #49 on: March 18, 2019, 05:01:45 am »
I don't think you need great networking skills. You can only do a limited amount of work by yourself anyway. In my own experience you will always manage to find some projects even if you are doing only a little bit of advertising.

Once you 'prime the pump', referrals tend to be enough to overload an individual consultant. I started my design efforts in the same industry that I already had years of experience and contacts. My networking consisted of calling a handful of people that already knew me to see if they had any need for what I was wanting to do. I did a couple of small projects on my own that served as marketing pieces. After a couple of months - I was turning down more work than I was taking. Not because I was so good - but because there were not that many people trying to be freelance designers in an industry that needed them.

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