As to the second — look at this little nugget:
“Instead, it was immediately grilling me on the most complicated programming techniques. “
Anyone who is 50 years old and still a programmer is sub-functional and, basically, a freaking idiot (thus his association with the DUmp). Programmers are a dime a dozen and most programming either has or will be outsourced to India, China and the like.
I was a programmer — 20+ years ago. Now I do complex systems analysis and lead implementations, orchestrating programming tasks worldwide (to varying degrees). But I know the intimate details of programming in the systems I help install (thus, I can approve and evaluate differing approaches).
The nice thing about being the project leader is that I can assigning myself programming tasks (I lean towards utilities and application-aware middleware). I do those tasks in the evenings and weekends for fun (I never stopped loving it).
Let that be a lesson to all of you — keep an eye on your industry and know where it is going, else you may end up no longer in that industry (or anywhere I guess).
Uhhh... I'm a 50+ programmer making 6 figures plus bonus. With good benefits until Zero takes my health-care away. And there are other 50+ guys working with me making more.