Project Management

Chip Camden leaves consulting, world stubbornly refuses to end

After 22 years as an independent consultant, Chip Camden has decided to accept a full-time position at a startup. Find out the main reason he is taking the plunge.

I learned a long time ago never to say "never." Even though I've written many times about the independence I enjoyed as a consultant, I never said that I would never become an employee again.

When I wrote recently about leaving consulting for full-time employment, I was responding to a genuine question posed by a reader. But the timing couldn't have been better for me personally, because I had already interviewed with my new employer, and I was in the middle of considering whether my true path would lead to them. That article thus flowed out of the considerations I had been weighing for some time.

Oddly, though, I omitted from that post the main reason why I considered a position with a Silicon Valley startup, and that is my need for challenging work. Over the 35 years that I've been developing software, I've participated in numerous projects that stretched my abilities. In those projects, we created things that nobody else had ever tried before. At the same time, they expanded me into something larger than I had been before (and I'm not talking about pizza-induced love handles). I'm very proud of the work that I've done for my clients, but -- and I like to think I had a big hand in this -- most of their products have become extremely stable. It no longer makes business sense for them to take big risks to create something that will change the world. For a startup, though, that pretty much defines the business model.

Thus, I have accepted a position with RelateIQ in Palo Alto, CA. The future of human communications by means of software is a topic I'm passionate about. That's why I joined the RSS Advisory Board five years ago. It's why I've been writing online in various forms for the last 12 years. Now I'll have the opportunity to work with a group of incredibly intelligent people to add new dimensions to communication that are so useful that we may one day take them for granted.

I'll pack up my stuff and move down to California in the next week or so. Before that, I'm taking down my shingle. Because of an exclusivity clause in my employment contract, Camden Software Consulting will cease to exist after 22 years of business (to the month!). I will, however, continue to write for TechRepublic -- and, at least for now -- in this column.

About

Chip Camden has been programming since 1978, and he's still not done. An independent consultant since 1991, Chip specializes in software development tools, languages, and migration to new technology. Besides writing for TechRepublic's IT Consultant b...

25 comments
Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

... and for your participation. You readers are what makes this whole conversation work.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

No, seriously, good luck. Especially in California.

rlcunnin2
rlcunnin2

New to your column but I have enjoy the last several months of articles. Wishing the best in your new adventure.

viProCon
viProCon

Sounds like you're taking everything you've learned, and doing something with it that will benefit us all. Nothing more could be asked of a person. Thanks for the great articles so far but it sounds like maybe you've found yoru calling finally. Make it count!

support
support

You have decided to continue to contribute to Tech Republic and we'd miss that :) Thanks for so many informative and insightful articles and pass along some of those insights from your start up as well (to the extent that you can) :)

lastchip
lastchip

I've been an avid reader of your column for a while and can honestly say, it's always well thought through and carefully considered. I know you've said you'll continue to write and I really hope you'll find the time to do it. My best wishes for a great future.

timwessels
timwessels

Always enjoyed reading your column over the years. Good luck an thanks. tim

PMPsicle
PMPsicle

The subject line says it all. Good luck with the new venture.

maszsam
maszsam

as consulting. You aren't there doing maintenance or working a five year old system that everyone knows how to work around the parts that never worked right in the first place. The down side is a lot of start ups don't. Keep the shingle handy.

pgit
pgit

and even better news. Break a leg, Chip! Don't forget to take notes along the way and let us in on your unique perspectives as the new 'world' evolves around you. :)

Developr
Developr

Chip - I have followed your postings for many years now and have benefitted much along the way. The IT world is full of challenges that cross many disciplines and your postings have provided a sense of direction for many of your peers who may often find themselves wondering which path to follow. As already expressed, I am sure your postings will be missed and I expect they may change as your new career opportunity changes you. I wish you much success in whatever challenges you face. Thanks for the ride!

robinfgoldsmith
robinfgoldsmith

Chip, somewhere in this ought to be the old joke with the punch line, 'What, and quit show business?' Remember, there's a reason they call consulting a practice. I've been my own boss since 1982 and still work for a jerk, but I enjoy it more than working for some of the jerks I used to work for. Best of luck and let us know what it's like to get a regular paycheck from someone else.

watkinsrn
watkinsrn

Dan Pink wrote in his ground-breaking book Free Agent Nation that free agents actually have dual citizenship: they have the skills to be part of either Employee Nation or Free Agent Nation as they choose. Having been on both sides myself, my only advice is that although startups can be a grind, please don't neglect your health just to get another hour in. I wish you every good thing in your new project.

Africanpete
Africanpete

Wishing you all success and the very best Chip in your new career. Please do continue writing giving us your pearls of wisdom in TechRepublic.

info
info

Chip, I wish you all the best for this new venture! Thanks for your columns & insights. Regards, Martin (Belgium)

merakli
merakli

Why do you think there are so few comments for this very important post, Chip? I think, your readers are a little sad on their sides (as I am), fearing that eventually you'll lose interest in this "tasty" and valuable column. I wish I am wrong with this fear of mine, but in case it happens, I thank you for all the genuine and valuable information you always provided us in this column and wish you success in your new position.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

and straight on till morning... I can't think of a better reason to switch tracks than changing the world! Best wishes for you.

bp1argosy
bp1argosy

You've helped a lot of people, myself included, with your informative, pragmatic, and inspiring views of technology and consulting - all the best with your new path in IT! Thanks!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I hope the new job is everything you hope it to be. Col

ssharkins
ssharkins

Chip, I wish the best for you!

jkameleon
jkameleon

I worked as a freelance embedded software developer. And then came an offer from a financial service firm I couldn't refuse. Right now, It looks like I might embark on this journey again. Finance sector jobs are not as secure as they used to be. As far as I'm concerned, being an employee or freelancer is basically just a question of money. Bosses are a bit less demanding than customers, and that's about the only difference there is. The generally accepted rule among my local crowd is, that you go on your own when you can count on net income of 150-200% of your salary. You need a cash reserve to coast through the eventual idle periods between projects. Under this assumption, loss of job security is equivalent to 25-50% salary reduction. Unsecure full time position is more or less the same thing as freelancing.