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As you might imagine, this article is raising a lot of issues for me since I took a break from programming and drove a city bus in Las Vegas. Now I am back to programming (before C++:PHP3:ES3, after:PHP7:ES7:Node.js) Driving a bus is a most interesting proposition and I can say without a doubt it was the most satisfying job I ever had. I had to learn street smarts and apply them effectively. As someone without them, this was both a challenge and a thrill. I'm not driving a city bus now because of high blood pressure.

Some thoughts: OP's Dad doesn't want admit to his son he prefers driving a bus. OR OP is assuming he doesn't when he actually does. OP's Dad certainly knows he is displaying a remarkable lack of initiative when it comes to learning new languages and it sounds like he's manufactured some excuses to satisfy the family. Bus driving is an addictive Zen like experience, I-kid-you-not, so I might be right.




>> OP's Dad certainly knows he is displaying a remarkable lack of initiative when it comes to learning new languages and it sounds like he's manufactured some excuses to satisfy the family

No, OP's dad is sick and tired of working for an industry that drowns him with its stress, misery, and corporate bullshit. The reason for finding an excuse to give your family is that they are expecting you provide them with a/an (upper?) middle class lifestyle. Screw your happiness and reduced levels of stress; what matters most to them is your paycheque and what it can offer them. For some people, $20+ more per hour is not worth rotting away in a cubicle, while being treated like a replaceable nobody, always being belittled like a child at every review for "not meeting company goals", all the while being part of the very reason the company is making millions of dollars a year. All for what? A white picket fence that ultimately adds no meaning whatsoever to life?

I'm single and turning 32 this year. I'm beyond sick and tired of this industry. I'm constantly put down like a piece of disposable garbage; and yet every time I leave a company, management is freaking out and begging me not to leave because of the success I've brought them. I can't imagine being a dad, with the burden of responsibility that adds. I'd be having my first heart attack before age 40.


You might enjoy moving to Silicon Valley, I can assure you good SWEs are treated much better here than whatever location you're describing. Talented engineers are highly valued and treated as such.


Hear, hear! Don't want to deal with it? Take off! Companies need us, not the other way around.


I'm a 35 year old Dad, my son is 3 years old. As a developer, I'm extremely well paid, and my working conditions are amazing. Sure I'd like a 500% payrise and a big office of my own, but I'm not going to complain about the wonderful job I already have.


At 37 and having suffered some truly bad burn out between 33 and 36 I think your view is being colored by your current employment. Lots of places treat code and programmers as a commodity. As soon as one burns out, replace with another. Those are just shitty places to work. What you're describing feels very familiar.


Unfortunately I am Canadian, working in Canada. The vast majority of companies employing developers within Canada's borders are American companies who generate all of their revenue in USD, and then pay $60k-$85k CAD per year to each software developer.

Why pay $100-200k USD per year + stock options + 401k + an expensive health care package to an American developer when you can outsource to hard-working Canadians for less than $60k USD - with no stock options, no retirement package, and an extremely cheap benefits package? Also, our federal government reimburses companies a significant portion of our salaries simply for employing us (the "SR&ED" program for research and development, but everyday development is fraudulently claimed as R&D by every company - SR&ED is a scam, where their agents nudge you in meetings to reword your basic web development as somehow qualifying as "R&D").

Developers in Canada are largely taken advantage of. Most of the companies who employ developers here only do so because they are getting 2-4 developers for the price of one they would have to pay to hire locally within the US. So yes, I'm burned out because developers in Canada are treated as nothing more than a cheap alternative. We may as well be India up here.


Is this the general consensus in the Valley ?


It might not be lack of initiative; It might be just the old fashioned mindset that companies are a lifelong partner in your career and retirement. After all, if not ever true, it was true enough to be a successful strategy for a generation of people. Those with pension funds intact did ok.

There was no final warning bell for everyone that from here on out you are 100% responsible for maintaining a skill set. It was so gradual it could have (and was by a lot of people) been missed.

I think the lesson is broader that passion for writing code. With equal intelligence and resources anyone will likely be crushed by someone with more motivation. How many scientists did great things because of insane drive bordering on or crossing into obsession?

To me the lesson is there is not one simplistic goal (learn coding, get a degree, etc) that will bring you success in life, monetary or otherwise. We have to be diligent through our lives because not only are the rules elusive, they're likely changing as we learn them.


I've met so many people who Uber/Lyft for similar reasons. They could be doing their regular job and making 2X$/hour but instead are driving make $X/hour. And I get it. It's the end of the working day and their job is done. So they do something else for a few hours, make a little money. Keep their sanity and come back to work the next morning.


I few years ago I met a I guy who run some small business and for few hours per week drove a buss, mostly at night shifts. He told me that he had to do that for little extra cash and to keep his bus driver skills in case the business would not work. But I got an impression that he just enjoyed the driving.


I recently went from programming to janitorial and I've been really happy with it.


I can see the attraction to janitorial work: no politics, a defined scope, knowing when you're done, not taking problem home, no reinventing and learning the new wheel every 2 years, etc...

I'd miss the building something part, and the intellectual challenges, be it understanding the business logic better, or debugging complex issue.

But, to be honest, unless I'm very mis-informed, the difference in renumeration would be the first issue I'd face.


> But, to be honest, unless I'm very mis-informed, the difference in renumeration would be the first issue I'd face.

Contract based cleaning was actually fairly lucrative not too long ago, particularly for overnight cleaning. It paid 2-3 times (maybe more) what you would make from being employed as janitorial staff. This all changed when large managed service companies started to be a thing and a local contract cleaner couldn't compete with professional salesmen. In turn it meant that well paying cleaning jobs became a thing of the past.

Source: My father ran his own one or two man cleaning business. He was making much more at this in 1990 than when he retired (as an employee) in 2010.


Is this serious and if so can you explain why?


At least when you clean up shit you're boss can tell.


I didn't much care for janitorial work, but man I'd jump at the chance to go pump gas in a full service gas station again, if I could keep my IT salary of course.


Work on your own projects from a laptop between pumping gas?


Then the gas company owns your IP.


I also am interested in this story.


  Bus driving is an addictive Zen like experience
The movie "Paterson" addresses this exact situation. A poet who drives a bus. Very good movie I recommend anyone interested in this topic to watch it.


Up to the age of thirty, I used to get on the bus, go to the terminal point, and come back. To clear my thoughts. I've tried this both in India and while I was a student in the US. Found it immensely beneficial. Unfortunately I live in a city which lacks public transport, so can't do it any longer.


Funny, I've found that the best place for me to concentrate is on a bus or train, provided there's not too much noise around. During one hour journey I can usually accomplish more work than 3-4 h in home/office.


Reminds me of a story about Poincaré and the contributions of public transit to mathematics.


Thanks for the recommendation! It's a newer release by the great director Jim Jarmaush so I bet it's really good.




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