To Suit Up, or Not to Suit Up?

25 05 2010

as i described in my last post, i’m giving serious consideration to income sources, with a view to making them transportable to, and hopefully independent of, the Northern Rivers area of NSW.

coincidentally, an entrepreneurial friend in Sydney has described one of his new endeavours, which tweaks my energy-efficiency & sustainability buttons, in this case in business IT, with a view to me being involved at my local implementation level.  it has legs, and in principle at least, it excites me to be able to blend my IT skills with something that “matters” in these global-warming times.

that catch is, the kind of clients they’re going for would likely require me to wear a suit, or at least collar-n-tie etc, and work amongst “corporate IT” types, and in much more complex IT environments, over which i’d have little control.  i flinch severely at that idea.  i’ve always considered standard business attire to be utterly absurd samian reductionism & never wanted anything to do with it.  i worked in & dressed for exactly this situation (thankfully only in those times while on-site with a client) for 4 years in Sydney before moving down here.

i’ve been a 1-man-band in small-business IT consulting for the last 10 years in Melbourne, serving the IT needs of a rarely-changing set of clients.  jeans, tshirt & sneakers are my uniform.  for the most part, so do my clients  (apparently last week a new employee at one of my clients who didn’t know my name referred to me as “that skaterboy”!)  i don’t have a string of MSCE creds to my name – i’ve rarely needed such to meet my client’s needs.  my “office” is a 2nd bedroom, so i don’t have the raft of bricks-n-mortar expenses that bigger fish have.  as such, i don’t charge anything like $180/hour that suit-wearers in this genre typically do.  it works well for us both.

there is a undetermined (& as yet undiscussed) chance i could continue meeting their needs via various remote access technologies from afar, using the services of a low-level hardware jockey for the relatively fewer times when hands-on-site is needed.  or maybe not.

and i’m investigating or considering other options, non-IT-consulting options.  all transportable, work-from-home up-north options.

but there’s also this debt to pay off, which will take at least a few years at status quo, or sooner if i engage other income sources – like this opportunity.  it’d be nice, but not essential, to move up north debt-free.

but the time & headspace to fit this in would likely leave little time to foster the transportable-income alternatives that i need to facilitate life up north!

is this something i should seriously consider, & put aside my disdain for The Suit (and everything that comes along with it), for an option that would further tie me to Melbourne & probably delay a northerly move, but be ‘expedient’?  or is this a diversion from who i am, and where i want to be in 1-3 years time?