Well, after much debate and deep deliberation, I did it. I quit my job.

Why? Well, it was the confluence of a number of factors, some having to do with the work environment at Cronin and Company, others stemming from my desire to be my own boss, do more training/speaking engagements, and to write more. Mostly, though, I think I needed a change.

I had been working at Cronin for just over three years, both as a contractor and on staff. I was the lead developer in the Digital department and oversaw/had a hand in most of the work we put out. I’m proud of what we accomplished and I am happy to have set the tone for coding there (web standards, accessibility and all that jazz), but I had pretty much gone as far as I could there. I don’t have any interest in project management (I’m nowhere near that organized) and I had no interest in trying to unseat my boss to take over running the department (I find most meetings a waste of time… hallway discussions are much more productive).

I’m not much of a gambler, so shifting to full-time contracting was/is a little scarey for me. Luckily, the good folks at Bolt | Peters were gracious enough to offer me a soft landing. Starting Friday, I joined their staff, part-time, as Senior Web Developer and will be working on ethnio.com and the Ethnio application itself. I’m really excited about working with Nate, Mike, Julian and the rest of the B|P crew. I’m also a huge believer in Ethnio. I think it’s going to revolutionize the usability field.

In addition to my work with B|P, I’ll also be taking a lot more time to focus on my work through Easy Designs. We have a lot of interesting projects coming up—both client work and some stuff of our own—which we will be unveiling over the coming months. In fact, since the word started getting around on Friday, I’ve been swamped with phonecalls about doing new stuff. It’s great to have a lot of people interested in hiring me, but I wish they had projects which started a little later in the year.

I really got the teaching bug in 2005. Maybe it was spending so much time working with Molly on the WOW Web Design Tour and doing training sessions for the EPA and Gartner. I had such a blast spreading the gospel of web standards and seeing the lightbulbs go off above the heads of attendees. I suppose it’s not surprising given that I come from a family of teachers. My hope is that I will be able to do more speaking/training/etc. without the constraints of a day job.

Then there’s the writing end of things. Looking back at the past year, I’m amazed at how much I ended up getting out there. Articles just kept flowing out of me for some reason. Some were self-published, others ended up gracing the pages of Digital Web Magazine and A List Apart, the latter being where I also took the graciously offered position of Production Editor.

Book work was also in the cards for me as I offered my informal assistance/opinions to Jeremy on early drafts of his fantastic DOM Scripting tome and worked side-by-side with Jen Robbins and Derek Featherstone to completely revamp the 3rd Edition of Web Design in a Nutshell to bring it in-line with web standards and current best practices. The timeline was pretty tight, but I managed to bang out three chapters on CSS hacks, JavaScript, AJAX and the DOM in about 2 weeks of evenings and weekends. It’ll be coming out later this month and it’s been really exciting to have been a part of it. It was such a great experience, in fact, that I’m in the process of brainstorming a few titles of my own… but more on that later.

So here I am, making the move to the uncertain/exhilerating/terrifying/fantastic world of freelancing. I am glad I’m doing it and I really appreciate all of the words of encouragement I’ve gotten from friends and colleagues. The web community is truly that… a community. They are a close social safety net who look out for one another and I couldn’t hope to be a part of a better group of people. Many thanks to all of you and I hope I can be as much help if any of you ever decide to consider this leap yourselves.

PS - If you want my old job, it’s available.

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