The downside has been getting to me for a while. I consider myself to be a craftsman, and I like to create well-crafted things; the kind of things that I can be proud to attach my name to, and say "I did that". Unfortunately, I see the software/hardware industry heading toward fast, mass-produced crap, and it bugs me. Case in point: the last place I worked had adopted something that is becoming an industry standard: the "acceptable fault level". Meaning that the product is released with known bugs, but rather than fix the bugs before release, they release the product to market and plan an update sometime in the future. They do it because getting the product to market faster means more money, even if it doesn't work, and these businesses are driven by the bottom line. Usually it's because they are publicly held companies, and the main purpose of the company is increasing the stock price rather than making the product.
Most of the companies that are capable of hiring a contract engineer are publicly owned. So I'm already on a downside. Combine that with a crushed economy, and most businesses that are capable of hiring contract engineers aren't.
So once again, I find myself without a job that I don't like anyway. A mixed blessing at best.
When it gets right down to it, I don't like working for other people. Or more accurately, I don't like working or people who don't appreciate craftsmanship. Which leads me to believe that my entire future career may be in jeopardy.