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András Tóth
András Tóth

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Twitter Firings: the hatred towards programmers

Even recently when I read or watch something related to Twitter I encounter comments about "Them lazy, overpaid programmers, haha, Elon fired them and the app still works! Those libtars got what they deserved". Probably you, the reader, also have encountered these comments.

They are extremely problematic and we should not be silent about them.

Problem 1: being lazy or exploitation?

There are many levels we can choose to interact with that statement:

Mental health

Not working until exhaustion IS healthy. The burnout culture is NOT healthy. We, as a society should work towards reducing workload and not increasing it.

You did a great job! Now I no longer need to exploit 10 people, just exploit you and I can fire the 9 others.

What a joke! Be more productive to have more free time, so we can give you more tasks.

This is not sustainable as high productivity also means extremely vulnerable "quantum states". Having free time helps the mind replenish its stores, from which we can create those "quantum states".


Unlike stacking boxes, software engineering usually looks like a chess party: you have to consider your moves, you have to think of what can go wrong in the near and in the far future.

In short: highly specialized job requiring very particular mental states.

You can't write good code if there's war in your heart (family issues, etc.). You can't write good code if you're tired, exhausted, demotivated. You can't "grind" your mind into "omniscient creator" mode by sucking it up.

The only way to get into the "zone" is to be a good mental state.

That's when you are extremely productive. With a sharp, fresh mind and a light heart.

Developers therefore will require different schedules.

Usually most of us know exactly from when until when they are the most productive, be it from 6am in the morning until 2pm, or from 10am to 6pm. Or maybe two-three distinct times.

It's not up to anyone but the person to know when they are the most efficient.

Problem 2: overpaid? Or we underpay other people?

In this stage of equality, developer salaries usually allow people to live a middle-class existence of decades ago:

  • they can go to vacation
  • they might be able to afford their own apartment


  • the moment our (mental) health declines we are not padded
  • there are no secret stashes of money
  • you can't really afford not working at somewhere
  • we are still workers requiring working rights, safety network and public healthcare

And yet, we get the hate.

Enough is enough. It's not us who exploit people. It's not us who make health care unavailable. It's not us who make people work long hours. We're just workers, only the pay is more meaningful.

If they want to hate somebody, hate the billionaires, hate the paid politicians who lobby against working rights, raising mininum wage and so on.

Not living in perpetual existential crisis should not be a hated privilege. It should be the norm.

The unsaid problem: set against each other

We're a very cheap punching bag, a strawman for issues beyond us. The only real choice we can make is to find a better employer. We can't influence policies, we can't topple goverments, we're just workers who live from their brains.

Hating us solves nothing.

Top comments (3)

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel 🕵🏻‍♂️ Fayard • Edited

Elon Musk's fantasy is that he is a real life Tony Stark so it bothers him when you point out that he doesn't actually do the rockets design, that SpaceX has many actual engineers doing that full time.

Elon Musk's other fantasy, which goes hand in hand with the former, is to abolish all sort of worker rights and become some sort of futuristic medieval landlord

I know, that's a bonkers claim, who I could substantiate with his education in an official racial apartheid, but let's talk about Mars instead.

On the merits, his project do go to Mars would be the dumbest egomaniac project since the pharaons of the old Kingdom of Ancien Egypt ruined a whole country to build their tombs. Probably worse because if you could actually send people there, they would just die. But that would make him an historic figure, so he likes that.

But forget the kink shaming, his fantasy is interesting to understand him and his cult.

Just after Great Britain abolished slavery, they were smart enough to replace it with debt slavery. In practice indians had to repay their debt to their former masters, which they couldn't realistically do in a lfie time, but hey technically they were not slaves. Rule of law !

Now read Brainlord Elon Musk's Grand Plan For Mars Settlement Is Indentured Servitude and compare.

With this fantasy in mind, you might wonder whether working at a Elon Musk company is a great idea.

Then you discuss with people who worked there, or go on Glasdoor to find out, and well...

csituma profile image
Clara Situma

Well put.... this career does require alot from us mentally

latobibor profile image
András Tóth

And on a long run! In many companies you have to deliver the same productivity week-after-week. Now multiple it with the years you might spend working in the industry...

It is obvious that we must do mental- and career self-defense.

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