Inasmuch as the last twelve months of on-site contracting has been more remunerative than any twelve month period of my usual mix of mostly-off-site consulting and on-site training, it’s time to consider what’s next for Mentea and what I’ll be doing come September: will I be a consultant, a contractor, or (gasp) even an employee?
I have enjoyed the work and the company of my co-workers, but there’s a few points to note:
- Going “across the water” to England to work may be almost an Irish tradition, yet it has shown the undesirability of living away from home for extended periods
- Since I’ve not known what I’ll be doing after the contract ends, I’ve kept doing work for some of my consulting clients at nights and weekends, but that hasn’t always got them results as quickly as they would like and, frankly, it made a very poor lifestyle choice
- There’s been little time left for side projects (or, you may have noticed, for blog posts), yet I have many side projects related to XML, XSLT, and XSL-FO and would have more if I had the time – I don’t aspire to it, but I was interested to see that the .net awards has elevated side projects to being an award category of their own
- As a contractor rather than an employee, I don’t get sick leave or holiday pay, so catching a cold can (and did) cost me money, but I’m able once the contract ends to have a long break visiting family on the other side of the world and then going to Balisage
- As a contractor, I’ve also had the freedom to go to XML Prague and to the MultilingualWeb workshop in Rome without having to fret about departmental training budgets, how the events align with corporate goals, or using precious holiday days and my own money (though in a sense it was) if I did out of my own pocket, though I did miss the W3C “eBooks and I18n” workshop last week in Tokyo because of pressures of work, so to be a contractor isn’t to be a completely free agent, and if I was still or again a member of an active W3C WG, then multiple face-to-face meetings a year would strain my finances more than they would a large corporation’s
So what am I looking for? Firstly, a good, long break before I address the question for real after Balisage in August. Secondly, to be based back in Ireland, at least most of the time. Beyond that, it’s undecided. I’m not running away from consulting nor running towards either employment or more contracting. Consulting has been good to me, and been good for me since I can use a wide range of skills with different clients, but the difficulty has always been getting the right amount of work to arrive at just the right intervals so that I’m neither swamped nor starved for work.
Inasmuch as it’s finally done, I’m pleased to announce the availability of the new http://www.mentea.net/ website.
I’d like to thank my clients, past and present, who provided such positive testimonials for inclusion in the new site.
Inasmuch as the EPUB: Chapter and Verse talk went down well and, for many people, the Saturday evening libations at The Strahov Monastic Brevery went down even better, I judge XML Prague 2011 to be a success for me (and for my co-author, Mark Howe) and for Mentea and also a success in its own right.
Several people made approving comments about the talk, which was good (some even commented on last year’s talk, which, since this showed they still remembered it, was even better). The best comment about this year’s though is probably @Innovimax‘s tweet:
Tony is a real 21th century XML Monk! He sponsored the Beer Station at #xmlprague and works on nicely printing bibles. #consideringJoining
Inasmuch as XML Prague was where it became obvious that “Menteith” wasn’t working for many people, Mentea is pleased to be sponsoring the evening libations at XML Prague 2011 to promote the new name.
Inasmuch as Mentea does now have a page on Facebook, it’s not the easiest to remember â€“ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mentea/184399461597762 â€“ because Mentea has no username until it is more “liked”.
Inasmuch as Mentea is now on Twitter as
@MenteaXML, see http://twitter.com/MenteaXML.
Inasmuch as it’s now decided, after much deliberation and some seeking of the wisdom of a small crowd, here’s the new Mentea logo shown against light and dark backgrounds:
Inasmuch as many people have trouble pronouncing “Menteith”, Menteith Consulting Ltd will begin trading under the name “Mentea”.Â The new logo and website aren’t ready yet, but the beginning of the year is the suitable time to make at least a low-key announcement.
“Mentea” was the most popular choice in a poll of alternative new names among some clients and contacts. Continue reading
Inasmuch as many people aren’t confident about pronouncing “Menteith”, it’s time to change the company name. Continue reading
It seems that accounting packages are better at importing data than they are at exporting data in a generally usable form.Â Which is unfortunate since I use QuickBooks and my accountant uses SAGE.
To make life easier for my accountant when doing my annual return, I wrote some Perl scripts to convert the little that QuickBooks exports as files plus, via Excel, the data from a non-standard transaction report into what SAGE imports.Â The account balances on the two packages now all match (though at one point yesterday, account balances in one were -2 times the balances in the other).
I am expecting that the accountant will find few enough things to correct that I won’t have to automate conversion in the other direction.