Author Topic: What to do with four months off work?  (Read 1553 times)

chiconix

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What to do with four months off work?
« on: June 10, 2014, 02:17:22 PM »
Hi all,
Looking for your advice.

I am a software developer living on the fringes of the Bay Area, but planning to move to Philadelphia around October to be closer to family and better able to eventually buy a house. My last job (my first software job) was with a company that did things very much "the wrong way", and eventually I started to feel that I was picking up those bad habits myself and making myself less employable. Without going into too much detail, there was a lot else wrong there too and I burned out. I decided that I'd leave to focus full-time on buffing up my software skill set, living on my savings while I built up a decent portfolio of projects that I could show off to potential employers. My fiancee and I made the decision to move after my decision to leave the company, unfortunately, otherwise I'd have just toughed it out for the remaining time in California. Hindsight is 20/20.

I have done a very small amount of freelancing work, to the tune of a few hundred dollars, but so far I've only been able to land really simple gigs, that don't pay very well or expand my skill set. I'm not even sure I want to be a freelancer, because I really like programming but I don't relish the client-facing aspects of freelance work (marketing, contracts etc). I have considered looking for remote work, especially at companies based in Philly, but I have a really busy summer due to weddings, both my own and close friends, and my honeymoon. I'm concerned that I'd be setting myself up for failure if I started a new job today, because I'd immediately need a lot of time off. Another concern is that today I'd be looking at "junior" positions based on my employment history, whereas I might possibly be able to teach myself enough this summer to shoot for more mid-level positions that pay better.

I have enough saved to pay the bills for another six months. My fiancee can support me for a little after that, although I'd like to be self-sufficient as much as possible.

So my question is: I have four months to spend. Should I try to fill the summer with freelance / remote work, or should I keep my nose in a book and hunt for something really solid after the move? Or something totally different?

Thanks!

mxt0133

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Re: What to do with four months off work?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2014, 03:13:00 PM »
If I could change your mind on moving from the Bay Area here is what I would say.  Stay and build up your skill set until you can find work as a freelance or remote that you like.  There are so many opportunities in the Bay Area it is really starved for talent.  If you stay in the area earning Bay Area salary while keeping your costs contained, it would speed up your savings to FI or buy a house once you do move out of the area.

chiconix

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Re: What to do with four months off work?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2014, 03:23:34 PM »
Thanks mxt0133!

Unfortunately the Bay isn't really an option for much longer -- I do like it here, especially the tech culture and the cycling, but it's just too far for my S.O. (we are both from Virginia). I wish we could make it work but it's been six years, and she's ready to be closer to home.

What do you think about aiming for remote opportunities at Bay Area companies? Do salaries remain higher even for remotes? I'd love to be making a San Francisco software industry salary, and paying Philly rent, but I don't know that that's likely.