It takes time for

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-12-03 Print this article Print

contracting to pay off"> Obviously, theres some frustration when working with offshore development teams. Does the pay help to make up for that? Schofield: The first year, I had nothing. I knew I should allow time [to start making money as an independent], but it took a lot longer than I estimated. … Ive finally gotten to the point where Im doing about the same [financially]. Its taken about three years. I project next year to be better, because its a sowing-and-reaping situation. Youve got to pay your dues. At first, it was when the bubble was bursting, and it was extremely difficult. Everyone was slashing. I came out probably at the worst time to come out. Now, with the contacts Ive built up, and the good will Ive [created], plus my marketing efforts, its all starting to pay off. This year Im break-even with my old corporate salary—which was high-average for a corporate developer. I expect to exceed that by 20 percent next year. What would you do differently if you had to do it all over again?
Schofield: I would have made better use of the contacts I had. Ive learned to network much better, because I had to. Id recommend to anyone going independent or getting out of IT and into something else to look at the people around you--and be creative about how you look at them. Not with a money-grubbing perspective—i.e., a What can I get out of them perspective. You need to realize the significance and impact of the people around you. If youre in a head-down job, not making any contacts, not getting out there professionally or socially and interacting with people, if youre becoming an isolationist, you need to break loose of that. You need to rediscover the value of others. You need to break out of the comfort zone of your own local little circle, from going through the same routine you always go through. So your advice to people who want to go independent is to network like mad. Any suggestions of where technology people should look to do that? Schofield: I became more involved in the life of my family and began networking through activities like taking the kids for swimming or ice-skating lessons. I also became involved with my local Technology Council and IT User Groups. Another option is more traditional service work such as contributing your time and talents to help a charity or non-profit organization, or by just being open to starting a conversation with someone. Be more interactive. [After my family moved back to the East Coast,] we discovered a greater sense of community. How were all interconnected. That my value is greater than what I give to my company. In my community and even in my country, I have a greater value. A greater value than the companys economic value to stockholders. Do you have a sob story to top the ones I collected? Tell me about it in the eWEEK forum. Next page: Going into sales sucks.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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