Years back came the conclusion that I
wanted needed to break out of the programmer's pigeonhole. The pivot was long and bumpy, but a few writing classes and several paycuts later, here I am. Cruising the Craigslist classifieds today evoked an epiphany: "create innovative deliverables (info portals, cue cards, viewlets, dynamic links, developer guides)" - you mean you want to hear my suggestions? Gone are the days of the manager gritting her teeth while I quickly mention a marketing angle, or arbitrary innovation, she could pass onto her boss, or whomever, only to respond with a directive to basically keep my ideas to myself, shut up, and get back to coding.
How do other engineers break out of that pigeonhole role? Maybe the career trajectory is coder->manager/team leader->[entrepreneurial position/marketing contributor]. For me, freelance writing was the only escape hatch I could find. With my newly found freedom, now a coding gig, and coding itself, looks viable again, even fun.