Your Free Agent story

I’ve found that sharing your story does 2 things:

  1. It helps you remember why you made the leap in the first place
  2. It encourages other people and helps them pursue their Free Agent dream

So what’s your Free Agent story? I’d love to hear it here :slight_smile:


My free agents story is both incredibly short, but my whole life at the same time, ever since I was a child I have been fiercely independent. For a variety of reasons when I was twelve I was removed from school and home schooled. It turns out my parents were pretty bad at homeschooling, and that was just the best thing for me, I was given the freedom to take control of my life and I have never given it back to anyone.

For the longest time I had this though, and I sold my closest friends on it, that the best way to live life is to have a nice stable 9-5 job with someone and to do the exciting fun stuff in your spare time, because that way you get the benefit of stability, you don’t have to care if your software falls flat, since you still make a paycheque. I can’t yet articulate my thoughts on what I think now, but it is no longer this.

Chasing the dream of stability though, I got an internship with IBM while I was at university, and it was meh, but it was paid, it was stable for me, and it was not all that bad.

One day two years in, a friend of mine at IBM, in the break room told me about this free agents podcast, that if I liked Cortex I would like it, but he warned me that it would make me want to quit my job. So I started regularly started listening to free agents.

After university, I converted my IBM internship into an IBM graduate position, but after three years working for big blue, my happiness with the jobs I had been doing was on a downward trend.

Three weeks ago, I resigned from IBM, and as there can sometimes be, there was a bit of horse trading around my end date, which is in another few weeks, at which point I walk into a role as a co-founder of a small startup.

Words can’t express, how excited I am about the future, and how freeing it is to own my own ideas again.

This is obviously a long post, and a bit of a life story, but I did omit a lot of stuff, or brush over things for the sake of brevity, I had a good thing going with IBM, and I could have had a successful career there, but at the moment, I am a terrible cultural fit.


I just completed my master in Political Science, so I am right at the start of my working life. I have great passion for academia and research and that‘s why I try to find a PhD program at the moment or a job as a researcher, respectively. Social Science is kind of my big love.

On the other hand, I love writing and talking about working paperless in general and in a university/science context in particular and I try to turn it into a side business at the moment. My first step is a blog about studying paperless where I show workflows and app recommendations based on my own journey of going paperless in an academia context in the last years. Additionally, I write a book which shall - once completed - serve as a complete guide for students which want to go paperless. Unfortunately, I write in German as this is my mother tongue. But maybe some day I try to switch to English to add some more value to this community. :slight_smile:

Obviously, these are times of change and uncertainty for me but I am really looking forward to the future. My part-time job in the past made it clear to me that I cannot imagine working 40+ hours/week for „the man“. I need to do something on my own, at least for some part of the week.

Shows like Cortex and Free Agents kindled this fire for me and I am deeply grateful for all of the input. Thank you, @MacSparky, @mikeschmitz, Jason Snell and all the others.

I wish all of you a great week!

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My free agent story began with a lay-off. After working for Hewlett-Packard for a dozen years, I was let go in one of the many rounds of downsizing that took place in the early 2000s.
I had received my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in 2001. The PMP turned out to be instrumental in my effort to launch my own business in 2003. It was the credential I needed to be able to begin working as a consultant in a new location after the layoff.
The first couple of years were tough financially, and I probably couldn’t have managed without the severance payment I had received from HP. However, by year three I had traction and I have been a Free Agent ever since.
Currently, I provide consulting and training in project management, especially in Agile techniques, for companies in New England. It’s a great gig, in part because I feel that I am helping people to do their project work better and more efficiently.

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