What's after what's next?

I used to work with a guy named Mike Mitchell, a sales and management expert. Among his many colorful phrases and amusing anecdotes were nuggets of solid gold wisdom. Here’s a favorite:

“What’s after what’s next?”

It’s supposed to mean that, once you’ve figured out what’s next, what you going to do after that? It’s a good way to keep your career moving and teach you to focus on being a professional and not an employee.

When I lost my job a couple of weeks ago, some people asked me to visualize what a job would be like if I wasn’t bound by my experience, geography or pay. The first thing I thought of was software development.

Writing good software is an art form. The medium is a computer programming language and it behaves much like granite does for a sculptor or clay does for a ceramist. Languages have rules, operating systems are environments but the software is the art form and it can express so much more than most people realize.

My “what’s next” is software. I’ll spend my nights and weekends working on writing software and prepping for the time that I can control my career instead of my employment.