For the last seven years, I've been working with a company that does gaming-related stuff (lotteries, casinos, race tracks). I worked for a few years as an employee, and later as a contractor. Like all jobs, it's had its ups and downs, but on the whole it was a good experience.
I would have been happy to continue it, but a few weeks ago the company announced a "strategic partnership" with a European gaming company, with the intent of selling that other company's products in the US. That's probably good news for the company and its shareholders, but it's not good news for those of us who develop the products that are to be phased out.
It was pretty clear we would eventually be laid off, but it wasn't clear when that would happen in a few weeks, a few months, or a few years. I started putting out feelers, hoping I'd be able to jump before getting pushed. Lucky for me, a former boss was enthusiastic about re-hiring me, and so I'm now back at TransCore, my first employer. Right now, I'm working as a contractor, but the plan is to go permanent.
It's nice to see my former co-workers again. Their hair is a little grayer, but otherwise it doesn't seem much different from how it was when I left. They are still using the wiki I created. They are still using CVS (eeaagh!). The two guys who I hired are still working there. Code I wrote back in the early 1990's is still in production.
I'm looking forward to working again with a team of people I like, but another big plus to this job is that I'll be able to do most of it from home. I live in Dahlonega, GA, which is about fifty miles north of where any Atlanta-area programming jobs are, so this is a very good thing. My boss and other team members work a lot from home too, so I won't be the oddball guy who seems to never be around.
It's a Microsoft-heavy shop, so I'm having to re-learn a lot of the Windows development skills that I haven't used for a few years. Luckily (or unluckily), writing Win32 code with C++ hasn't changed much in the last decade, so I'm getting back up to speed in that area pretty quickly. I didn't do too much with .NET, but it looks like .NET has gotten a lot better during those years, so I'm looking forward to playing with that too.
I really hope this works out. I'm done with the "switch jobs every few years to get a wide range of experience" part of my career, and want to find a place where I can do good work and have influence over the company's direction. This company has smart people who care about the quality of their work, and managers who put value on experience and talent. That's exactly the kind of place where I'd like to stay.