Monday, April 24, 2006


Tomorrow and for the next four days, I will be on my first external technical course for many years. I have been looking forward to getting some up-to-date training for a long time but now it's almost here, I find myself having a little trepidation.

I suppose I'm worried that I will be the oldest in the training group.

Ageism is rampant in IT. Many are considered past it at 35 and are usually ushered into managerial roles. My company is odd as we have three programmers over 40 and none of them appear to be being pushed anywhere. I am one of them.

One of the reasons I am a programmer here is that I am one of very few people who know a programming language called Prolog, one of the so-called AI languages to come out of the eighties. I need to extend my skills, however, and tomorrow's course is about that. I will be learning a new language called C#.NET, the new flavour of the month. It's a young language and I am no longer young.

It's times like these that make me want to consider other career paths. I don't want to be a programmer for the rest of my life; I don't want to be doing this in ten years time. Nor do I want to be a "manager", to chase paper or shunt emails around the world. That has never appealed to me and I know I don't have the aptitude for it.

And yet, I have a mortgage, bills to pay, a car to run, things to buy. How can I support all this if I change careers?

I like writing yet I'd be fooling myself if I thought I would be able to live off whatever income I could generate from that. Only the most successful authors are able to support themselves solely from income from books they have written. Even moderately successful authors had to keep a day-job until they had become established. I'm far from being successful; I've yet to sell anything or get my novel past my most severe critic, myself.

Hopefully, I'll think of something soon. Time is running out. I will be 50 in just over eight years. 50. Bloody hell.

And woohoo! (This keyboard still does not have the ironic exclamation mark) I reached 15 stone this morning. Sodding chocolate.

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