What do you do for a living?

I was asked that question a while back, and to be honest, I was stumped.

You see, technically I’m retired. But the problem is that I can’t stay away from this stuff. Computers and software have always been not only my profession, but my passion as well. When I had real job I was doing what I loved to do, and getting paid for it.

But now things are a little different.

I’ve got my fingers in so many pies. Some days it feels like I’m busier in this “retirement” than I was while working for someone else.

So in response to the question, I started to think a little more about my “elevator speech”. I think it boils down to this:

I provide software and information that solves people’s computer problems, addresses their opportunities, and makes them more productive and successful.

Or waxing more even poetically:

I make computers dance.

Either is pretty darned vague, but that’s a reflection of why it’s so hard for me to answer the question in the first place. I enjoy doing a lot of different things. One of the things that absolutely fascinates me about the computer and software industry is the limitless opportunity. That makes it nearly impossible to limit myself to a more concrete response. “I answer people’s technical questions” doesn’t begin to cover what I do and what I enjoy doing. But then neither does I’m a software engineer and consultant”.

I’m in it for fun, and fun doesn’t have boundaries.

Here’s some of the fun I’ve been having in recent months:

  • Ask Leo! is where I get to directly answer peoples questions. As it states there, to some degree it’s about what I know, and I enjoy telling people what I know (don’t we all?) especially when it can help them solve a particular problem they’re having. But there’s a lot
    I don’t know – and answering questions for Ask Leo! teaches me more every day.
  • Dolls and Friends is my wife’s doll shop. Yeah, the bookkeeping is kinda boring, but I’ve had a blast with technology including things like a website that’s linked directly to the in-store inventory and is updated in real time.
  • My consulting has me doing all sorts of random things for a wide variety of people. I’ve written distribution scripts for premium email subscription providers, installed packages like AWStats and Movable Type for folks. I’ve learned tons in the last year about Linux and software such as mySql, PHP. I’ve written custom scripts that interface with packages such as Article Manager for another internet publisher. I’ve written a couple of iterations of scripts that generate RSS Feeds for several email publications, as well as a story of the day feature. I’ve even anonymously helped to quickly put together one time sensitive featurette. And I’m currently producing a weekly video tip for Lockergnome.com.
  • Even my philanthropic efforts end up having a tech or business component to them – everything from being volunteer webmaster for HeroicStories.com (where one of those RSS feeds was created) to being one of the prime movers behind Hopelink’s (a local human services agency) Executive Leadership Council, and even to speaking at a fund raising luncheon to benefit the nursing home my father lives in.
  • I wrote a book, and another, with more planned.
  • And then in my “spare time” (ha!) I’ve gone off and started this blog as well as creating a new repository for the humor that I’ve collected over the years – Forwarded Funnies.

My wife says I “play with computers” for a living. The bottom line is that that’s pretty darned accurate – right down to the play part.

And sometimes I even get paid for it. How cool is that?