One of my coworkers tweeted an important question a few weeks ago. She asked, what about "techies" who just do what they do to survive? After all, why do most of us work, if not to make money to do all the non work things we want to do? It's actually pretty darn odd when we want to keep working and learning off the clock... how many other fields are full of people who'd do that?
-- provide for themselves and their families? We need to have space for them, too. We need to provide learning for them, too. Not everyone--— Rae Krantz (@rustbeltrae) May 27, 2017
There are plenty of people who are good at what they do, but aren't thrilled putting in overtime, even on their own. They may have families and other obligations, or non-tech related hobbies they'd rather pursue. And then there are those who are on the frontier (so to speak), dedicating weeks and months and years at a time to open source software, speaking and blogging and tweeting, and sometimes even moving from country to country in search of the next challenge. (I don't even enjoy moving between cities!)
As someone who's trying to keep himself excited about technology, but has 5 kids and plenty of other obligations, I worry about this quite a bit. It's nice that Rae put the question out there.
For anyone looking for reasons to justify one way or the other... lists! (off the top of my head)
- It can easily lead to an unbalanced lifestyle, including poor sleep patterns, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet.
- Miss out on opportunities to connect with other people, all face-to-face like. Especially for introverts.
- It's an ever-changing, always-shifting target. The more you learn, the more aware you become of what you don't know yet. Why not just learn what you need for the next project, or to get that job you're after.
- Once you find a job that works, it's irresponsible to chase dreams at the expense of security for your family. Anything with benefits, PTO and a steady paycheck is a blessing.
- Technology is a tool and nothing more - it'll never answer the deeper questions in life. There's no program to write or machine to build that can help us be at peace with ourselves or understand our place in the universe.
- Too much time at the computer will turn you into a vegetable. If you know otherwise, don't tell my kids. 🤐
- You may not know the best tool for the job, if you don't know what the tools are and how to use them.
- The more tech you encounter, the more you'll compare and contrast and become aware of what works and what doesn't.
- The more teams you're a part of (at work, hackathons, open source projects, etc), the more you learn about what makes a good team member.
- A lot of people are doing a lot of good with tech - and doing something good or helpful doesn't always mean something huge and time-draining.
I'd say the two groups of people are complimentary (and most people fall somewhere in between anyway)! The first reminds the second that there is life outside of tech. There are other things to do that lead to a well-rounded, fulfilling life. And the second group reminds the first that finding something to be passionate in your career makes a life's work (okay, just 30 or 40 years) a lot more enjoyable!
This is post #18 in my personal challenge to complete 30 Days of Blogging. My goal is to become more comfortable with blogging in a more frequent and informal manner.