Big Dreams Canadian Publication
ISSN 1200-5460 - A Canadian Publication
Personal Development And Small Business Topics

Dreams Change

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Dreams changeIt has been a long time since I posted anything here. My analytics suggest that some people still visit to read an article or two. I started Big Dreams over 20 years ago. I know that because I have some web archives going back to 1994, which is a long time. (Find the way back machine, then search for Big Dreams) But in the last few years, my focus and energies have been elsewhere. It's not that I abandoned Big Dreams, but you only have so much time in the day. As you put time into one thing it closes off the chances of doing another.

When I started Big Dreams, I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help others to make their dreams come true. I worked out what I wanted from a big picture perspective. I did all the exercises to work out a mission statement, values and goals etc. And Big dreams was a part of my early efforts to move in that direction.

Shortly after I first started Big Dreams, that I was approached by a company to sell their training. It was pretty much a disaster back then, and I learned the painful process of backing out of a mistake. After that though, I had learned more about the training business. You know, you always learn something, even from a bad experience. I had more skills in areas I had not expected.

The training business is more about selling training than actually doing training. People don't want to pay for training. Companies don't want to pay for training any more. They did once, but that time has passed mostly. I found I was not helping others to make life better, but trying to find people to push programs to. It is not pleasant.

Training is a hard sell, to get people to pay for training. Companies do not put much in their budget for training. They prefer that their people come pre-trained, or that they learn it on the job. Most people do not have funds to pay for their own training. If you read the Dilbert comics, training is a joke. If an employee approaches their manager asking for training, they are admitting they do not have what is needed. It can lead to their termination. Better to pretend you know all you need, and muddle on.

I had the best success with self-employed people, where I could equate working on themselves with earning more money. When I could demonstrate that, I had a chance to make some ongoing income in training. But even then, over time my students would get to a point where they would 'graduate'. They would learn enough to make enough money they did not want to proceed further.

These days training is mostly behind me. For a while I did work as a training manager in a software company, and I have also taught some courses at local colleges. I was teaching software engineering around the turn of the century when the dot-com bubble burst. Students did not want to study for a field where the jobs no longer existed. With no students, the courses got cancelled, and instructors were let go.

A lot of my career has been in high tech, or more specifically in software related work. When I started long ago, I did not expect that such jobs would become so mobile. Companies can outsource software development. In the 1980's there was plenty of work, but then it moved to places like India and China. The price per developer is so low out there, we cannot compete. So now the big tech companies that used to be here are gone, and mostly it is smaller start ups. Once a start up achieves a certain level, they get bought out by a bigger company, and the new owner outsources the jobs to a cheaper location. The employees who worked to make the start up what it was are out of work, and must begin looking for work again. More than once I have endured that cycle.

Of course with high tech, it changes rapidly. You have to keep updating your skills to remain current. You are now competing with other developers around the globe. There are plenty of gifted and current skilled workers out there, who will work for peanuts. Development talent has long ago become a commodity, and it therefore not judged on quality, but on lowest cost.

These days I am working from home, telecommuting or remotely working on some web application software projects mostly. I get paid sometimes, when the money comes in. It is not a regular pay-cheque. I learned from my time in training that doing work does not always equate to getting paid. I try to focus on paying work where I can, but if not I work on something that might pay off later. I know that when you are hoping for your ship to come in, you must first send out several.

The only training I do these days is volunteer teaching ESL. It can be rewarding, especially with money out of the equation. The goal is to help people, which is where I started. People are glad to see me, and are keen to work to improve themselves.

Duncan

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