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Discussion on: Can coding just be a job or does it have to effect my whole lifestyle?

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peerreynders • Edited on

Is it okay for software development to just be a job

There are consequences to any job "just being a job".

You spend a significant amount of your waking hours (of your life) tending to your employer's priorities.

Ideally you'd like to end up in the "I can't believe I get paid for this, I'd do this for free" position. Some are fortunate but most people will never get there. But perhaps that's not the point.

"Your work" is a pretty large part of your life to write off to support the rest of it. Sure, work won't be rainbows and unicorns all of the time and there will sometimes be significant intervals of drudgery usually spent in the hopes of later arriving at an improved state.

But your job will limit your experiences to what your employer directs you towards. You have to spend your own time to explore other avenues to find pursuits that possibly engage you more which may lead you to change to a direction that doesn't coincide with your current employer's path. And this process is an iterative one and continues throughout your life.

In Cal Newport's "So Good They Can't Ignore You" there is a "Passion is Dangerous" chapter. What it boils down to is that in the majority of cases "passion isn't followed" but "passion is built". At the beginning you try various things that bring value to others that you could be (mildly) interested in.

Eventually you come across something that stands out that is worth putting work into. If you find this work engaging (often enough), you may very well be building your passion. This is how your work can become more than a job.

And keep in mind that people's interests change throughout their lifetime so this is a process that needs constant tending to and it has its own ups and downs; there is no way of always getting it right.

It's not unusual to be at times overwhelmed by what's ahead; at the same time you will never "arrive" and you will never "be done"; software development is a field that is constantly renewing itself which is why I tend to encourage people to focus first on fundamentals, principles and practices which tend to endure in the long term rather than products which tend to have a very short half-life. Ultimately it is your own curiosity that has to keep pushing you forward through the inevitable periods of uncertainty and doubt.

Also most of the time writing things down either privately (personal journal) or for public consumption (blog) is an effective means capturing, processing, and advancing your own experience.