June 04, 2007

Dot Commies: Where Are They Now?

Being a survivor of the Dot Com Boom of the 1990's, I always appreciate stories of what happens to Dot Commies after they leave that world. My choice was returning to school and pursuing my own lifelong dream of going into scientific research, and I suppose that's one of the more difficult paths one could take. I've never been very good at doing anything the easy way, really.

In today's San Francisco Chronicle is the story of a fellow refugee from the hi-tech world who found his happiness in quite a different domain than mine. He's found joy in cleaning boat hulls:

"I wasn't comfortable with all that structure [at the office]," he says. "Now I set my own hours and make my own decisions about things. And I'm outside all day..."

"There's no input down there. It's this dark water and the hull and your breathing sounds -- and that's all," he says. "It becomes very cerebral, in a strange way. Your brain isn't engaged with the boat cleaning, since it's pretty straightforward, so you're free to just think. Or have imaginary conversations. Or make plans. I even tried writing, in my head, for a while. Mostly just ruminating, though..."

"It's a little like that state just before you fall asleep. It's almost ... dreamlike. It's very peaceful..."

"At my office job, I'd been caught in this mind-set that I'd always be there, that I'd always be in these middling jobs doing things I didn't love... but once I made a change, I realized that change is possible. In fact, I really just wondered why I hadn't done so sooner."
— Brian Moran, from Quitters sometimes win: Jumping ship in order to clean them
Back when the exodus out of San Francisco and surrounding areas was going on as the bubble deflated, I had friends who planned on doing everything from opening a horse farm in Oregon to becoming a motivational speaker in Texas. I've lost touch with them over time, but I think of them again whenever I see a story like this one.

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