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A shot of reality

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Oct 5th, 2013
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  1. A shot of reality
  2. It seems there has been a trend lately of young software engineers posting exuberant tweets and/or blog posts saying something along the lines of "My job got boring so I quit!". Usually they have no idea what they want to do next, but are counting on the fact that if they need to find a new software job it will be easy in this market. Perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that the majority of comments are positive.
  4. As a self taught software engineer, I have observed this trend with interest. I realize of course that what they do with their life is absolutely none of my business, which is why I have refrained from commenting on any individual case. I also realize that some of these people may in fact go on to do bigger and better things, which is great. My concern lies in the fact that this has become a mainstream, and even laudable thing to do, when it is clearly a mistake for the majority of people.
  6. I am convinced that the majority of these individuals have never done any work other than software engineering. Why? Because anyone that quits a well paid position as a software engineer either has no aptitude for the job (Hard to believe for someone that's been doing it for several years), or they just have no idea how bad other jobs really are.
  8. For anyone with a curious intellect and a disposition towards problem solving, being a software engineer in a typical start-up is literally a dream job. Where else can you plant your ass in an ultra comfortable Aeron chair all day and get paid to research, learn and design solutions to complex problems with other smart people like yourself. Not to mention the free meals, snacks and booze most start-ups provide. You may say that many engineers are forced to work on mindless CRUD apps all day, I say bull-shit. I have never seen a position (And I've worked a few) where time could not be carved out to work on some interesting problems in addition to the day to day bug fixes and mindless features that need to be added. That's one of the greatest things about this job, there is ALWAYS some new way you can improve yourself, or your software. If you fail to find intellectually stimulating projects to work on, you have no-one to blame but yourself.
  10. You may ask, what makes me qualified to give this opinion? Well, before becoming a software engineer 8 years ago, I worked pretty much every shit job you can think of. Trust me, when you've put in a few 12 hour days doing back breaking farm work, or hit the pavement cold calling for 14 hours a day to collect some measly commissions you have a very real appreciation for just how cushy that Aeron chair really is and how rewarding designing those shitty CRUD features can really be.
  12. I don't want to sound cynical through all of this, and I certainly don't want to tell anyone how to live their lives, but I would submit that boredom is a state of mind, and you can choose to be engaged and interested in just about anything with the right mindset. So before you hand in your notice, think hard about what you really want to be doing with your life. The start up community is small, and quitters get a reputation eventually.
  14. Now that I've had my rant, I would like to add that staying at a job you hate out of fear is just as bad, maybe worse than quitting one that you should really love. If you truly feel like life is leading you in another direction, GO FOR IT, just make sure that's what you truly want before turning your back on the best job in the world.
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