Risk Taking and Risk Takers

Months go by in between posts and still I feel that there is more that can be done to update the design or change the user interface.  That being said, my time has been taken up by other things.  And among those are pitches for private sector contract work and freelance work.

It occurred to me recently that I haven’t held a full time, permanent job since I left the US late in 2005.  That is a long time ago, but I have had some good and some bad experiences freelancing.  Perhaps I am more of a risk taker than those who I used to work with and are still at {insert company name here} where I used to work.

To put it bluntly, my bad experiences have all involved the music industry.  Nasty people, unpaid invoices, and sheer incompetence doesn’t even begin to describe the experiences that I have had.  And through it all, there are some good, smart people who believe that innovation and change is possible in the music industry.  I am fortunate to count those people among my friends.  And, no, most of them don’t work for iTunes (except for the Canadians, of course).

But more seriously, I see that there are people who are risk takers and others who are not.  Most of the non-risk takers tend to be long term civil servants or people who have always had desk jobs their entire life.  A shock, no doubt, will come when those pensions and savings that we all have had over the years amounts to less than much when we retire.  So the risk of a lack of pension balanced with the feeling that I couldn’t go back and work full time – ever – is stacked up against the fact that some months I take on contracts and other months I don’t.  I am willing to take the chance, rely on my network, and let things happen.  So far it seems to have worked out for the most part.

My risk taking, though, is tempered by the memory of my father who could never hold a job.  His anger defies logic and his inability to get along with people is beyond comprehension.  Some people are, at the end of the day, mentally ill and I would classify my father as one of these people.  He was unable to ever hold a job or do anything without it being a crack pot ‘scheme’ and I worry that I will become like this.  Fortunately, his utter lack of luck and ability is not something that I have.  However, one would think that I should have stayed at that desk job at one of those tech companies back in Silicon Valley.

Risk, however, is the inevitable partner to change.  A freer society with a less intrusive – far less intrusive – government than we have now can not happen if people like me don’t try new things, attempt to create new jobs, and expand the economy in my small little way.  That reason is enough for me to stop worrying about work and start taking even more risks.


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