It's a conundrum.
Since my last contract work ended, and I've been searching for new contract work, I've begun to consider the previously-unthinkable: a regular, permanent job.
I've enjoyed the independence of being a contractor. For one thing, the work has been highly varied, and I've done work on everything from desktop DNA analyzers, to torque and alignment electronics for 50,000 HP rotating machinery, to even the controller for a kid's battery powered riding toy. It has also given me a more comfortable environment to work in (my own office, in an industrial park, where I can wear t-shirts and shorts in the summer), a great deal of flexibility in my daytime schedule, a lot of time off (due to the gaps between contracts), and it paid handsomely.... for quite a number of years, I basically only had to work from September to June, which gave me a very good year, economically, plus my summers off. In short, I've been fortunate. With the exception of the period from 2003-2004 (a recession year, for my industry), plus my time working on the DataFetch thing (7 days a week, no income), it's been good to me.
However, things have changed. Contracts are much harder to get, and the ones that are available are looking for specialties that I don't do, and have never needed. Nearly all my work was gotten from personal contacts, reputation, and word of mouth... but the network of folks who helped me has disintegrated, with retirements, jobs changes, etc.
So, when I spotted an available position with my old (pre-1992) company, I decided to apply. Of course, there is NO assurance that I'll even get an interview, much less the job itself (age prejudice being what it is), but I figure that my contacts in the company might help; the CEO and founder knows me personally.
It's a good news / bad news kinda thing; the good news would be a steady salary plus benefits, which might help me get my wife retired sooner than planned, which is something I'd like to do. The commute is very reasonable. There would be opportunities to travel a bit. I'd be far less 'solitary' than I currently am.
The bad news: I'd probably have to give up my office, which is my 'man cave' of sorts. There's way too much stuff here, so I'd have to junk or sell off a great deal of it, and find storage for stuff which I can't discard. I wouldn't be able to write off its expenses. I could forget about taking a long vacation (although the company DOES have a history of giving special consideration to alumni who return to the fold... but if they don't, it's only two weeks a year. I know, I shouldn't complain..... but I could forget about cruising to Maine anytime soon).
Like I said, it might not happen at all... but I think I'm bound by circumstance to consider it.