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The dot-com crash was quite an adventure. Being a coder/PM, I really didn't realize we were in it until it was already several months in.

I had left one gig and had started looking for the next one. One month I was getting multiple 6-figure full-time job offers. The next month the phone didn't ring.

I ended up going back to basics: marketing. I went through the online job boards and found which skills were still selling, then revised my resume to focus on those. I made my pitch better and started to talking to recruiters.

It's all still just a numbers game. There's a funnel of jobs you apply for. The next level is the recruiter interview, then the tech interview. Different rate quotes get different amounts of volume into the top of the funnel.

I ended up taking a 30% cut from my rate before. That went on for a few months, then the next job was back at my normal rate. In fact, the more I worked the market the better my rates got. I took a big hit for the several months it took to re-tool, but in general within a year or two I was doing as good or better than before. (The only exception is that the full-time job calls dried up.)

The rule of thumb here is that multi-skilled contractors can always find work as long as they have good marketing and sales skills. The guys who had been camping out at the same job for several years and not growing their skillset had the worst time of it.




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