I don't think I'll ever apply for another IT job
My personality type is that of an idealist. A lazy perfectionist. Someone who sees the potential in the world, and is without exception disappointed by the reality of it. That's wny I don't think I could ever bring myself to apply for another 9-5, run of the mill, keep your head down and do as you're told, IT desk job.
It's not because of the people. The other folks in the IT part of the company I worked for are as stand-up and hard-working and easy to get along with as any coworkers I could ask for. And often, the IT department shares a co-resentment with the rest of an organization, but in my case all the other employees were very reasonble and never gave me a hard time at all.
In part, I think my disdain for the corporate IT world comes from the fact that it's impossible to escape interacting with joyless proprietary software. I made the mistake of enjoying computers as a 9-year old learning to code on a Commodore 64. Then, later in life, I made the mistake of discovering the world of Linux and open-source projects, which to me felt like a continuation of the wonder of building silly little games in CBM basic.
The problem is, it's difficult to truly enjoy something and also do it as a job. When you enjoy something, you see its potential; you see the quality in it. You develop high standards for it. You want to do your hobby justice and do it 'right'. But if you do it as a job, and you're now doing your beloved hobby for other people, you realize that most people don't have those same high standards. Most people just want things to work. Most people don't use computers because they find joy in it, they just use them as a means to an end. Which, of course is an absolutely necessary part of free enterprise... a company can't make a profit if their IT folks just do the things they enjoy instead of meeting the company's IT needs.
I'm also not going to get a job as a coder. I once thought that I could leave the IT world and instead just write code, and it would make me happy. Well, I tried that for a couple years, and it didn't work. Even though I enjoy writing code, I found no joy in building other people's ideas. Fixing other people's problems. I have enough of my own ideas and problems (more of the latter).
Unfortunately, I'm stuck in a place where the thing that earns me the most money is doing IT. You can teach an old dog new tricks, but the dog won't be very good at them. I've thought about trying my hand at something totally different -- Construction? Mechanic? -- because hey if I'm gonna be miserable at a 9-5 (or 6-3) I might as well not be ruining my hobby by so doing. But any other career choice at this point would mean I'd have to live like I just graduated from college, with all the financial constraints therein. I simply have too much debt, not to mention a family to support, to intentionally start making less money.
What's the solution? I think in order to be happy, I need to own whatever I'm doing. (The exact opposite of what the globalist/progressive/WEF-types want me to think). Ownership begets responsibility, and responsibility is a necessary ingredient for true joy & fulfillment. So I'm testing the waters in what might be the sweet spot: Balancing my time between some contract IT work and building a brewery & music venue with a few old friends. The former lets me focus on the projects I'm interested in, and (mostly) stay away from spinning my wheels maintaining Windows servers. The latter is a thoroughly challenging but rewarding project where I don't get trapped doing one type of work (none of us do). Some days I'm maintaining Linux servers on my former employer's self-hosted cloud, other days I'm pulling wire or plumbing, some days I'm running sound for a bluegrass band coming through on tour, and still other days I'm updating the brewery's web site or accounting books. Every day is a little bit different. And not only that, I also manage my own time. Which is funny, considering how poorly I managed my time when I was doing full-time IT.
Now that we've brought a little boy into the world, I hope that we can instill some true entrepreneurship in him and teach him to avoid the mistakes I made. Stress with him the importance of working hard and sticking with something until he's truly mastered it. I certainly don't intend on sending him to public 'school' where those tendencies would be sapped out of him by forcing him do to pointless busy work and thus teaching him that he can get by doing the bare minimum (which is exactly what happened to me).
I don't really have a firm conclusion or point to this post. Just that I might have finally found a balance that works for me and won't leave me dissatisfied with my job and searching for a new one every couple years. Maybe the secret is to just not have a job.