Staring Into The Abyss – Professional Death

Aging brings on many experiences that although you expect, many times you do not expect the emotional impact of their happening.  The death of family members and pets.  Children being born, and disease ravaging people you once thought invincible.  You have an idea of how you will react, how it will feel, and how you will move past the events.  Then the event happens and it rarely goes the way you thought it would.

I sit in a Panera bakery taping away on a Mac pondering my life past being a tech professional.  In my hands I am using technology that literally was not imagined when I started in tech, and yet the need for me in this field as a professional is near worthless. My value was in making systems work.  Where is that value when systems actually work?

When I learned electronics repair in the military it was still in the days of VCR’s.  Electronics were expensive, and electronics repair was a valued skill set.  That work has dried up with the advent of tech so cheap it’s disposable.

In the corporate world I did well when email was the king of apps, and scan.pst was a utility that was used on a daily basis.  When Windows 98 was considered high tech, and the OS crashed if you looked at it wrong maintaining these systems made sense.  Now… Gmail gives you unlimited storage and OS’s are stable.  Why deploy and maintain an Exchange Server when for $8.25 you can buy an Office 365 which includes the Office Suite to boot?

As a consultant I did well as malware and viruses wiped out PC’s that simply were not built for the always on world. Offices that had never had network cabling run decided that now was the time to invest in infrastructure.  Small business realized they could afford telephone systems like big companies.  Deployments were cash cows that business owners will willing to pay for.  Now with Google Drive… Gmail… 802.11ac… Unlimited LTE… Nextiva Hosted VoIP… and browsers that realize that access to the file system is a bad idea where is that work?

I did well creating training videos on YouTube, but much of my financial success there was dependent on a revenue algorithm that valued my content exponentially greater than the average content on the platform.  Although it was annoying I could easily grasp why some viewers were skeptical of my financial success when compared to my views and subscribers.  Over the past year the algorithm decided to value my content more in line with that of other creators.  It still pays the bills, but is not on a trajectory that inspires confidence.

And so I sit in a cafe.  Taping away on a Mac, drinking coffee, listening to bad country music, pondering my professional existence.  I’ve been a n00b, a grunt, a team lead, a boss, a managed services business owner, and an educator in this field.  I can see angles most people don’t realize exist, and every direction I look at this from comes to a single conclusion… my days as a tech professional are over.

I can take the skills, and resources, I’ve developed over the past 20 years to steer my career into a new direction, but this road is at its end.

The sad irony is how many college grads, and n00bs desperately ask me for advice on how to build their careers.  I sit here on the cusp of 41, a veteran with a college degree, over 1600 of technical training, 600 hours of emergency services training, I’ve owned a brick and mortar business with employees, have made myself world famous within the technical niche on YouTube, and I don’t have an answer… Not for them… Not for myself…

The world is changing in ways that are hard to even grasp, much less understand the consequences of.  There is more opportunity, and more money on the table now than ever before. But the path to those things is more obscure than ever before.

So I’m going to do what I always do… Suck it up… Drive on… and Hope like hell I’ve judged correctly how far I am away from the edge of the Grand Canyon in this pea soup fog…

N00b: How do you become successful?

Me: Ship Product…

N00b: Great!  What Product do I ship?

Me:  THAT is the real question…

N00b: Uhm..?

Me: Yup…


  1. I was there last year Eli. I get it. Completely.

    I know I am just but a peon in the Youtube universe. But you gave me this advice when I saw my tech career fading away because of a skill set that was fairly obsolete, and I reached out to you.
    I didn’t so much agree with getting training in coding or certification. But the suggestion to make a break from IT as a profession really suck with me. I am still plugging away trying to figure out the end game play, but I stumbled across SMM and have been paying the bills that way for a while now. The truth of the matter is I really need to work for myself where I control all aspects of the business. The corporate world is not designed for experienced people like us that came into technology in the early stages. All of our primary training is obsolete, and everyone and their dog has all of today’s certifications. The market for tech jobs is over saturated and unforgiving. Tech is dead. Even coming up with the latest and greatest app/service will only last until the next guy comes along with something better. Its all about finding a niche and making it work. The trick is finding the niche.

  2. “My value was in making systems work. Where is that value when systems actually work”
    I am curious, why was the idea of being so far down the food-chain ever comfortable with you? With you education and experience, wouldn’t the desire to make and control those system be natural next step, with maintenance tasks being only a small visit in the overall technology journey?

    “my days as a tech professional are over” Do not become homeless 😀 !

  3. Good luck with this Eli….hope you realise people follow you not because of the IT content but because they appreciate your take on life and the way you don’t hold anything back, you say it like it is…and to that end, they’ll follow your blog whatever career you pursue/path you follow….though I’m sounding so pessimistic, doesn’t the idea of getting out of IT appeal to you? (I think for lots of us there’s no option but to change careers or at least try to)

  4. Yes, when I started, it was because I could not imagine my life without being IT, and the best, and the best integrator there was globally. The I/O’s were in my blood since 1970. I still have my first floppy 5.25″ to remind me where I came from. My birth record, before I ever worked on my first PC in a local library, before going to college, many years later to be an even bigger geek, and so on. Now, I sell on ebay, anything, and am a Top Rated Seller. I can also landscape your Japanese gardens, or fix your cell phone (new venture to sell on ebay), or sew you some custom clothing. God guide me to a new home. Good luck to all of us in our future endeavors.Stay in touch y’all. Eli, I hear you.

  5. I remember as a child wishing on my birthday cake. I always wished for the same thing, to be HAPPY. I love being happy. I never wished for money, or love, or anything else. Just plain and simple ‘happy’. So far, I have been successful. It’s not something that is hard to do really. It only requires breathing and eating. So whether it’s a star, or an eyelash, or a meteor, I always wish for that same thing. Happiness. It can be had no matter what I’m doing, or where I am.

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