The wife left, I stayed. Having no money, many contractual obligations including a 5-year apartment lease, and watching the tech bubble collapse in 2001 I was left with few options but to stay on-board at a company that pays rather well.
I figured on three years; it's been five and a half and counting.
How much longer will I stay in this soul-sucking environment? It's hard to say. We're being taken over by an even bigger company and things aren't looking so bad. Although our structure will remain in place for some time, the new company is quite supportive of working from home, and unlike the present company, doesn't go for the wink-wink, nudge-nudge, yes-it's-illegal-in-Germany-but-we-expect-a-good-60-hours-each-week-from-you nonsense.
I know dick about our applications.
I have continually expressed my joy over the shittiness of Windows. If it was a good OS I'd have to get a real job or at least learn our application. Instead I deal with a lot of Windows nuts and bolts as well as third-party applications. Though I can't do a thing with our application itself, I can get it to run (again) on Windows.
I know networking and can sort communications problems (like detecting stupid subnetting mistakes). I'm also the God of Internationalisation (I18N) 'round these here parts. I love Unicode though I hate the mess that people manage to make of their systems when they implement it incorrectly. Best of all, I can handle three times the number of service tickets as my colleagues because of the areas in which I work, and I can do that in half as much time, leaving me much freedom for surfing, writing, playing games, editing photographs, and anything else that strikes my fancy.
I do miss being a BOFH but the chances of moving to that at $BigCorp are slim to none. I will try and get the hell out of being a tech monkey and into $BigCorp's I18N department. It's a lot more interesting field and there are few time limits. Meanwhile, I'll sort customer problems and in doing so, the my-head-shaped dent in front of the keyboard will continue to grow.