Projectless. It’s a real word now. As a consultant, you sometimes experience periods without projects or job offers. Sometimes it is seasonal (Companies usually don’t start up a new project during Christmas and Summer Holiday season), and sometimes it’s simply because no one is hiring. It happens. In 2015 I went through several months of no-projects-for-me, and since I was quite new to the consultant business, I had to learn how to tackle those periods – the hard way. It’s my hope that others in this situation can use these experiences, for inspiration, or at least for knowing that you are not alone.
Stage 7. Started up side-projects
I’d learned that I need daily social contact, and a project of sorts. And since there wasn’t any for me, I had to make them myself. Thus I started up small, weird side-projects. Most of them only exist in my head to this date, but it felt good planning and making things.
First of all I dusted off my old website and started a blog. You’re looking at it! I was intimidated by all the professional blogs out there, making amazing points and analyzing every corner of testing. To get away from that expectation, I decided to blog just for me. To make a blog that was more of a library of histories, experiences and things I learned. The fact that this blog is still alive doesn’t cease to amaze me, since blogs I’ve started before lived for at most of 2-3 posts and then fell into obscurity.
I also started going to any test-related event or meet-up I could get my hands on, and met some very interesting people. I ended up at a network meeting for co-operative companies. When meeting the people there, I learned that there are so many alternatives to what I perceive as a “normal” work day, a “normal” worker, or a “normal” company. I took small courses on social media content, digital storytelling and security testing through my trade-union. I latched onto anything that sounded remotely interesting.
And then, out of the blue, after more than half a year of coping, I got a project. One of my colleagues recommended me to a company she was working with. I find it a little ironic that the many staffing companies couldn’t land me a project, but one “random” tester could. To me, this really proved the power of networking.
I still hope I one day get to carry out one of the projects that’s still in my head. I would love to do UX “SWAT team” testing, organize a bar-camp test conference on a field, or the “Free testing for beneficence” project. One day, I hope to be able to plan my work day as I please, and not sit in a huge open office, attending meetings all the time.
One fine day. There’s still plenty of time for that in the future I suspect…