Ever reach a point where you settled, but not enthusiastic?

Professionally, I have enough experience (or ego - take your pick) to think I am pretty damn good at what I do. At the same time, I am finding it rather hard to stay motivated.

On the one side, of all the work I have done over the past 25-odd years, most has become obsolete and fallen out of use. An understandable consequence of working in a rapidly evolving field … but still.

On the other side, I am in the middle of a multi-year effort that I know will pay off nicely for both my employer and their customers … but it is not going to make any real difference to me, on any practical level. And yes, I have enough knowledge (or ego) to believe that without my participation the same effort will take years longer, or fail.

Almost every prior employer offered a stock option plan, or something similar, so that you felt that if you made an extraordinary contribution, there was at least a chance that when the company did well, you would also be well-rewarded. My current employer is different. As a privately owned company, there are no stock options. The company owner (an individual) makes a practice of acquiring other software companies, and thinning out the staff (but so far as I have seen, never to the point of degrading customer service). Logically, given the maturity of the industry and the needs of customers, from an outside perspective this all makes sense.

My current employer, like many others, has dabbled in out-sourcing. Taken in combination, it is entirely possible I could finish an extraordinary piece of work, and find my job exported the next day … not real encouraging.

Current crazy southern California housing prices mean I could sell my house and retire to somewhere nicer. But … I like to work, and have a weakness for tackling the bleeding-edge almost-undoable. I could go and work for one of the really interesting software companies, but they tend to locate in dense suburban areas … the kind of places I want to move away from.

The last several years I have been able to work from home. Divorced with shared custody of my kids, that is a tremendous advantage. The idea of commuting to work in a cubicle or office, just is not appealing.

So … what is next?