Complementing and maybe even contrasting The Long Road pattern described earlier this week, A Different Road is a pattern about when you stop being a craftsman.
After a long time on your Long Road of being a software craftsman you will have to seriously consider your future in the career and the industry. And as you do this, you may realize you no longer wish to continue the life long journey of moving to software mastery. In this case, you move off the long road and take a different road in your life. We all are on our own life long journeys and this can take us in many different directions depending on the circumstances.
Other software craftsman will not hold it against you if you decide to move on to something else. I personally would never judge someone for deciding they needed to change careers or that this particular career is not for them. I would wish them the best.
And this different path can also lead back to the long road. It is not a clear cut thing. Life is flexible and can the path you take through it can wind around in interesting ways. People can leave the road of being software craftsman and later on realize it was a mistake or it suits them better now. And as the book states, and my personal opinion states, other craftsman would welcome them back with open arms. I would think nothing of it if someone left the field for several years to follow another dream or similar, and then coming back when realizing that that was their calling. I can see myself changing careers and fields in pursuit of my calling depending on how each turns out. As I have stated before, what someone desires in life can change even day to day, as can their goals.
The unfortunate reality is that some in the industry will look down on this, or look at it with suspicion. Mostly those in charge of hiring decisions, most unfortunately. But this is a minor hurdle that can be overcome. It should not dissuade anyone from pursuing what they believe is their path in life. This is something I also whole heartedly believe.