Hi blackhollow, I take it you're a consultant now? Ideal position to have, if there's a demand for your services.
The bit about the Mercedes was a tongue in cheek view of the diminishing long served tradesman with all the tricks learned and able to name his price.
You're right it does take a quantum leap to get out of the rut and play your own tune.
If you don't do it you'll work till you hang up your overalls and be put out to grass.
In OZ the dream is to retire at 50, owning your own home, kids all married, and getting set to do a round trip of the country.
I was lucky, I got retrenched at 60, and a golden handshake made the world seem like a different place.
The nearest I got to calling my own tune was setting up a home based sub-contract business part time, getting the contracts from the firm I was employed by, that is after working hours and at week ends and holidays, 15 hour working days and 4 hours sleep when the pressure was on.
There were quite a few of us, doing the same thing and the contracts were supposed to be confidential, but we all knew what the other guy was quoting.
The "old boy network" was certainly alive and kicking here.
I knew I couldn't make it pay by itself, but for the 7 years It lasted, it was all quite lucrative and all go.
In my experiance I was riding on the back of a giant, for as soon as I was retrenched, the contacts dropped away, and I called it a day.
I weep for those guys that are hard pressed to make ends meet, and so think that the only way out is to do it yourself, because the boss is making a packet and only paying you a pittance.
That's OK if you've got the wherewithall to sustain yourself for those times when the work just doesn't appear.