I find it interesting that you talk about how engineers can be creative, but then end the piece with an comment that engineering "feeds my family", as if it were an otherwise shameful thing to be doing.
Maybe I'm reading too much into it. In any case, sometimes I'm a hacker, sometimes I'm an engineer...but I get really annoyed when people think I should act a certain way because of my current job title.
Yeah, the job title things was just an excuse to introduce the continuum - I purposely picked engineer instead of software engineer in the rest of the post so I could talk about in terms of actions instead of titles.
About the "feed my family" - when you're on a forum like this one where so many of the people are young single guys sacrificing all to follow the billionaire/world domination dream, it's not sexy to say you make decent money fixing bugs for an app that helps gazillion dollar companies make more money. I get to do some cool stuff (that I probably wouldn't be doing in my own projects) and facing different constraints, and I do it while doing a good job providing for my wife and kids. No shame in it at all, it's just atypical for Hacker News.
I understand. I'm not sure why that caught my eye, but if I had to guess, it's because it was the one bit of wishy-washy-ness in otherwise solid writing.
I was right there with you on the Ikea metaphor, and thought you were doing a great job of defending the creativity of the lowly engineer, but then you seemed to go apologetic at the end. I hope you don't think I'm arrogant, if I suggest that you cut that bit out. ;-)
"Right now I'm a software engineer (really, it says it on my business card!) and it has been good to me. I get unusual technical challenges that I wouldn't have come across in my own projects, and unlike the "friend's couch and ramen" startup life, I can feeds myself and my family and live comfortably."