I initially tried side projects, but because you have to be constantly learning and improving in our field, a lot of my spare time went towards how to be a better manager; and don't get me wrong I'm quite thankful for it and I learned a lot, and I didn't have enough time for side projects. When I did, I often abandoned them.
I'm quite lucky but my new job actually pays me more as a developer than I was getting before as a manager (I've moved to a much larger company), but even before I landed this job I was prepared to take a hit on my salary to get back to development and I was fully committed to it. I think I wouldn't mind getting back into management but much later in my career.
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