I realized today when I met with that recruiter that I've been "self-employed" for three months now. This is the first time that I've been unemployed involuntarily since 2001, which was for six months. By involuntary, I mean there aren't any suitable gigs out there. The three months last year were by choice as I waited for the right thing (and chose poorly).
Thankfully, ad revenue has picked up enough to sustain me and get by, and the work I've done to boost traffic on CB has helped. There are a lot of positives this time around, some of which are tangible, others not immediately. I'm generally pretty happy with what I've been engaging in, but at the same time, I'm desperate to get back to a day job. It's shocking to say that, but I've realized that I crave the knowledge gained by working with others, and the social aspect. I'm not entirely sure that I want to run a company that makes "day job" money unless it involves hiring other people, and even then, I hate the idea that I'd be responsible for other people's financial well being (something the douchebags at my last job ignored).
Since I started keeping track, I've found that I'm working about 30 hours per week, which is probably about the realistic amount of work anyone does at a day job. I'm pretty content with that. About a third of it is just general maintenance and weekly stuff (posting news, podcast, accounting, archiving logs, checking backups, etc.), which makes me realize that used to come out of my spare time.
The rest of the time has been split between the new project, which is finally feeling less monolithic, and enhancements to CB and related science projects. From a revenue standpoint, I feel as though I should be concentrating on the new project entirely, but it's just hard to keep that kind of focus.
There is a benefit to the enhancements and science projects though, in that I'm building skills that I simply didn't have before. I was looking at the stuff I sketched out on my note pad three months ago, and I've accomplished quite a bit. The new skills make me more marketable too. I've acquired a fairly strong foundation in ASP.NET MVC, along with the better understanding of associated design patterns (dependency injection) and related frameworks. I'm getting much deeper into Silverlight, and seeing its potential for a great many things, with one mini-app now in production (the uploader). I've also started to get more familiar with the WCF framework, which is used for services. I'm really digging that too. The science project I'm working on right now uses Silverlight 3 and WCF.
And all the while, I'm making time to get on the bike, I'm getting my eating back under control, I started reading again (slamming through the second Harry Potter book), and I just might have mastered the art of bringing back bad hot tub water from the dead.
The only area of my life where I feel like I'm suffering is the social side, and I'm trying to be proactive about it. I'm determined to meet up with that long lost friend from high school, my college roommate wants to have lunch, and dammit, we're going to have a party at some point (bring your own damn mai-tai's though).
There's a certain peace I have that I haven't had in a very long time when it comes to work. I've let go of the self-inflicted hatred over starting some grand business for myself, preferring to let it happen more organically as it always has. I've also realized and accepted that working for The Man doesn't always suck, if you're working for the right guy. Funny how it took working in a really bad environment for me to realize that.
So that's where I am. It's not an awful place to be.