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I recently got laid off from VeriSign. I knew it was coming months ago so it didn't come as a surprise. Actually, I would've been surprised if they did not let me go.

The project that I was hired to work on got unofficially cancelled earlier this year. Then in June it got officially cancelled. The project was a massive rewrite of a Cobol program into a J2EE program. I'm not sure how much they spent on it, but it was in the tens of millions. There was only one major client that we were developing it for. And after years of delays and problems with the software, they said enough and decided to stick with the legacy system. This is just another failed massive Java project that I've worked on. And it's one of the reasons that I've become so frustrated with J2EE development. Out of all the places I've worked at, I've never worked on a successful major J2EE implementation. (And it's not something that I regularly mention to recruiters)

However, this job has probably been one of the best jobs I've ever had. I got to telecommute, so I could work from anywhere. All I had to do was wait for a request on my Treo and then just log in and deploy some code. Sure, it might be in the middle of the night, but the total amount of work rarely ever went over 40 hours. The complete freedom of being able to do anything at anytime was fantastic. As a matter of fact, I'm spoiled now. It would be very difficult for me to go back to an office 9-5 job now. And also to have to put up with Atlanta commuting and high gas prices. The benefits at VeriSign was one of the best I've ever had. No place I've worked at gave such good bonuses, good stock options, and great paid time off benefits. If they didn't cancel the project, I would've been content just staying at VeriSign.

I was blessed to receive a generous severance package. Normally they give people two months advance notice. But since my project got cancelled, I'll be on the payroll with no responsibilities for two months while I find another job. And on top of that, I'll be getting several weeks severance pay.

I'm not too clear on what to do next. I could go back to Java development. The pay is great, but the frustrations are high. And I'd hate to lose the freedom of working from anywhere at anytime.

One option I've been strongly considering is going full-time with my side business, Ecodia. Even though the economy is in the dumps, there is still a strong demand for IT. It's a little scary thinking about jumping off the branch and trying to fly on my own. But I think if there's anytime that I feel things are right for me to do it, it would be now. My business is all set up and my phramework code is mature enough for developing other people's sites.

Posted: 2008-08-26 05:04:09

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