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Do What You Love and Starve? (2006) (martynemko.com)
199 points by exolymph on April 9, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 98 comments

This article presumes the premise that "what you love"/"your passion" is the same as "what you can love"/the set of all "passions" you have not yet discovered. This is untrue.

Especially for young people, the amount of time that you have been alive is small compared to your lifetime. What you currently know to be interesting is correspondingly a small subset of the number of things you can find interesting over a lifetime, and an even smaller subset of the things which you could find fulfilling to work on with many lifetimes. (For those who have lived longer, your life experience makes it even more likely you can identify fulfilling connections/facets of the universe to study.)

The challenge is to find the intersection between what you can be riveted to work on, and what society values (in whatever its flawed wisdom) or can be invited to value. This is not trivial, but the statistics of the universe are on your side.

What sort of society would we be if e.g. Nikola Tesla/Jame Clark Maxwell/Mozart/etc. had followed this advice?

To aspire is human, powerful, fulfilling. To eat is practical. It is possible to do both. Society needs people who persist in that pursuit.

Also, not only will you change, but if you invest in something, your taste toward it will change as well. It's a nice trick for people looking for a passion: invest yourself in anything that has depth and you don't have, and you may end up getting passionate about it.

We often have it backward, trying to "feel like it" to do things. But it's one of the tricky things in life: you may very well have to do things so you can feel like it.

I started learning how to program so I could automate some of my business processes. In the beginning I hated every minute of it. I would avoid working on the project because it sucked but as soon as I made up my mind that I would do this or die trying, it took being in the right mood off the table. It now became, OK what's the next problem I need to solve to complete my project. I ended up falling in love with the process and now I'm consistently "programming" (more debugging?) for hours until I find a solution. I used to hate that there was so much to learn, now it excites me that there are so many new ways to improve.

Also, it's very difficult to like something when you suck at it. I've learned this playing video games and sports. First there's the grind to improve. Once you start getting better and understand the mechanics better, you automatically start having fun. And most often, when people don't like anything, it's often the grind associated they don't like not the thing itself. Take math and literature for example.

There are plenty of stories of artists doing both, it's just really f-ing hard. I'd argue especially for artists, but this is probably true of any passion. [1]

Philip Glass for instance: "While working, I suddenly heard a noise and looked up to find Robert Hughes, the art critic of Time magazine, staring at me in disbelief. 'But you're Philip Glass! What are you doing here?' It was obvious that I was installing his dishwasher and I told him I would soon be finished. 'But you are an artist,' he protested. I explained that I was an artist but that I was sometimes a plumber as well and that he should go away and let me finish."

> Society needs people who persist in that pursuit.

The persistence is key.

Am I a guitar player or a software developer? We all know I'm a hack developer - in contrast - I feel like I really know what I'm doing with music. Most would assume that because music doesn't pay my bills then I'm not a musician. Compare to a hobbyist/non-paid developer who code-binges at night.

[1] http://mentalfloss.com/article/52293/11-celebrated-artists-w... (I had a link to a better article on this but lost it, apologies)

Maybe you meant this article, which is linked to from that one? https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/interviews/...

Thanks for the link! It’s similar but the one I was referring to was just a blip about Glass, and more about artists (of all kinds). Even writers I believe. Gets the point across though.

> This article presumes the premise that "what you love"/"your passion" is the same as "what you can love"/the set of all "passions" you have not yet discovered. This is untrue.

A while ago, an article was posted here on HN on paper jam engineering[1] which I believe really demonstrates this point. Few people aspire to become paper jam engineers (or even know of their existence), but it seems to be a very rewarding field.

[1] https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/02/12/why-paper-jams...

> To eat is practical. It is possible to do both.

Yes. Even when it comes to development, I find that often the project you are most passionate about is not one that you can be paid for, at least long term. So even if you love software, you may still need to pursue the fun parts in your spare time.

Thanks I like this.

> the statistics of the universe are on your side.

What do you mean by this ?

It means the universe it vast, diverse, and ever changing. You are changing too, and your life is a function of time and space, so you will have a lot of opportunities for happiness. That's doesn't remove the hard things or the sadness, but it's here and it's a good skill to practice to be able to leverage it.

Where to find a business to copy? Drive around to find a simple business at which customers are lined up out the door. For example, see a successful burrito shop or espresso cart? Open a similar one in a similar neighborhood. Your chances of success will be a helluva lot higher than 20%.

... says the man who has obviously never done business in the food service industry. The failure rate of restaurants is shockingly high.

My (admittedly extremely limited) experience is that this is a sound strategy _for established entrepreneurs_, not for tentative business owners who are just getting started.

My wife and I were thinking about opening a restaurant, and as has been illustrated elsewhere, the costs are staggering and the total profit (if anything) is rather low. We were looking at total revenue of around £200 000, with maybe a 5% profit margin. This did not take into account kinda-expected risks, like staff quitting, which would have sent costs through the roof. By contrast, a little later we talked to a guy who sets up pubs for a living (for a large chain). They have costs down to a minimum, can rotate staff easily, and essentially have a playbook for starting a reasonably succesful, risk-free business in a few months. On top of that, they have departments full of people whose job it is to drive around looking for succesful business to copy (paraphrasing the original quote). This was profoundly depressing to me, since it made me think that even if we'd overcome the odds, we'd probably end up getting cloned by one of these behemoths...

Yeah,that is absolutely horrible advice. I live in a neighborhood where there's businesses with lines out the door, and a reliable number of new businesses springing up each year, seemingly under the advice of "it would be cool to open up a business in neighborhood X because it's super popular".

These businesses are inevitably dead within 3 - 12 months, and what's not said/perceived is that they guy with lines or the door runs an incredibly tight ship and has 15 to 20 years of international cooking and restaurant experience under his/her belt.

You open up a burrito/coffee shop next to him, and you're going to get the same number of customers as before you opened your business...

> You open up a burrito/coffee shop next to him

ISTR the article saying something like "located far enough from my store that he wouldn’t fear my competition."

Ok. But firstly, he/she doesn't fear your competition now, or when you open.

Secondly, this seems to assume that his product is easily replicable, and that you'll be able to find some untouched environment in which to plonk yourself down and get free business.

Far enough away from his store is likely in a position where there is no business. Plus we have a phrase for easily replicable businesses in economics: low barriers to entry.

And they're exactly the kind of businesses that have the longest tails of miserable wages and miserable returns. What's more, because every man and his dog can do them, there is no untouched environment in which to plonk yourself down and you have competition from everyone.

Those who invested in their skills over the long term, are talented, grow their skills, understand the market, get lucky, and/or used their privileged advantages wisely take the prime real estate/positions, and they thrive there. And for the most part, they do not care about some upstart newbie who thinks "making coffee/food is easy" opening up next door, any more than tom hanks loses sleep about all the wannabe actors turning up in LA.

You move far enough away, and you lose out on all reasons that the original business person wants that position specifically. And if you're good enough to induce demand where-ever you set up, odds are its because you're good enough (probably through 30+ years of experience) to do so.

By all means, imitate successful strategies. But my first advice is not some fantasy regarding being able to find a magical good-transmission person (how do you identify them with your lack of knowledge? How do you know the restraunter isn't barely making minimum wage or burning through his inheritance like so many I see around here despite big lines?) or a magical good-transmission-owning-consultant (again, how do you know one, all consultants will tell you they're good and will be willing to take your money as long as you pay them).

No. My advice would simply be to find a couple of fields/skills, preferably ones that aren't looking like they're already going the way of the dodo already, and work your butt off getting good at them.

If you think you want to run a restaurant/coffee cart, start working in restaurants, or as a barrister/roaster.

If you think you want to run a transmission joint, go work in one.

And if you want to turn it into a business, learn some basic economics/business on the side. Low barrier to entry businesses have the lowest expected returns, and every successful business is more complicated than it looks.

That may not help.

The assumption is that Successful Business is successful because of the product it sells, and therefore if you sell the same product you will be successful too.

Someone who doesn’t understand why this isn’t guaranteed or what the other relevant variables are probably shouldn’t be giving business advice.

Cloning another sucessfull business is extremely sound advice.

One only has to look at Capterra to so how often it is done.

Sure, some of the clones don't work out but a lot do.

Also, there's no reason why you can't start as a clone and then gradually iterated into something original over time.

I.E. Solve the money problem and then move on to something more interesting.

(The trick is to clone something that is sucessfull not something that is a good idea with no proven success.)

I see lots of burrito trucks that seem to have survived awhile. Probably because they don't need to pay all the taxes and such involved with owning a building. Just buy a van, cook some food, and park somewhere people need to eat.

This is also highly locale dependent. Have fun getting ticketed for operating in the wrong area without checking local laws.

"You're in a truck, just move" sounds like a good idea until you realize you're back to square one marketing wise and nobody knows you're there.

> Have fun getting ticketed for operating in the wrong area without checking local laws.

I've seen more than one food truck which eventually became a stationary establishment because there was only one (desirable) place they could work out legal status. It's pretty common for local laws to include "no selling food from a non-storefront within X feet of a restaurant", which can quickly close off all the good territory.

Down on your luck? Open a coffee shop!

That's even worse advice than opening a restaurant: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/a_fine_whine/2005/12/bitt...

Plus, I don't think you can build a great society on the back of burrito and espresso shops...

Why not? We have 8 billion people to build a great society with, I think 1/8 billionth of human effort could be directed to a great local burrito shop. Great societies are built by people doing their part and loving their lives, not by everyone trying to "change the world".

>I think 1/8 billionth of human effort could be directed to a great local burrito shop.

But... that is not what the article was about - it suggested imitating an already successful business. Whether you love that or not, by the way.

Now if a lot of people followed that advice, you'd get kind of what we have in my home city, an oversupply of coffee shops, all trying desperately to stand out, and nearly all struggling and being miserable.

I love this comment. It's really refreshing.

A good burrito (or any good food for that matter) can "change the world" much more than yet another "instuber for X" startup...

Actually you could build a mighty fine one. A great society is not presupposed on some advanced tech of shit.

I completely disagree, but maybe we have different ideas of what a "great society" is.

Perhaps you imagine some kind of high tech megacity.

I'm content with a peaceful population with understanding, love for one another, sense of justice, and free burritos.

Pretty sure that was the author's point, not going for the 'great society' level...

> we’ve been sold a bill of goods when we’re told to “Follow your passion, “ or “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Fact is, if you do what you love, you’ll probably starve.

I started thinking this somewhere around halfway through college, when my parents were telling me to do what I love and I was trying to figure out what to do for a living - especially when my parents were struggling, themselves. I feel like "do what you love" was a really compelling pipe dream for my parents because they had always done the opposite to get by and improve their circumstances, and it sucked. They wanted better for their kids, but at the same time, it is easily some of the worst advice I've ever received.

It's give and take. Maybe not "do what you love no matter what" but "try and do something you at least like" is still good advice. If you force yourself to do something you hate just because you think you'll make money not only will you spend your life miserable, but you also likely won't be terribly successful because it's hard not to burn out.

Said differently, making money matters and should be considered, but it should not override all other factors when choosing a career.

Yes there is something like the intersection of three overlapping circles. One is do things you like, the other is do things you are good at doing and the third is do things that will give you income that you will be satisfied with.

Or how about "try to find something you love in what you do, and develop your career in a way that lets you do more of that and less of the other stuff"?

Less punchy, I guess.

You're lucky. I only realized it halfway through grad school. I learned a lot of interesting things in grad school, but I'd skip grad school entirely if I had it to do over again. The debt from all that education was not worth it, not to mention the opportunity costs.

I would ditto that for sure. It can work out well for some but in my case it was a bad call. That was probably the worst decision I've ever made. I went to a good state school for undergrad, but I always wanted to go somewhere more prestigious. Nobody in my family had gone somewhere like that before. I didn't end up impressing anyone.

Never Give Up is also bad advice that gets bandied around a lot due to survivor bias. Sometimes there's a lot of wisdom in giving up on something.

The problem is the absolutes. I have learn that life is not absolutes. It is usually somewhere in the middle. Most of it is heavily dependent on luck.

Do you mean 'life is not absolutes', or that 'in most cases life is not absolutes'?

; )

:-). I was trying to be careful in not using absolutes. Guess I missed this. ;-)

Everything is connected, so if you follow your passion then you will be able to provide expertise on that in a related domain or industry.

You are also better off taking risks and starving as a young person before you have dependents (aging parents and children) rather than suffering a mid-life crisis later on.

This is the wrong forum for this advice. I think most of the people here are not looking for a median income or a simple business. They want to swing for the fences or transform the world.

Having said that, its good advice. Most people underestimate the joy you get from a good solid, routine job that pays well. And they overestimate the joy you get from a giant windfall ... such as you get when you finally take your startup public or sell it off.

Also, I have met far more douchebags among the ranks of lawyers and VCs in silicon valley than I have among the ranks of small business owners (my brother owns a couple small businesses and his circle is very down to earth).

I think you underestimate the number of people that follow this site because they like the content, but are quite content to have a median income and a nice work-life balance.

Or a 1% level income from a "lifestyle" business that's boring and never in the news.

> Most people underestimate the joy you get from a good solid, routine job that pays well. And they overestimate the joy you get from a giant windfall

I broadly agree with that text, I think that premise probably applies to most people. I've spent essentially every day of my adult life as an entrepreneur. It's so difficult and grueling, there's no amount of money that would compensate for what you go through over a long period of time. You better like something more about it than money or it'll ruin you. When I was in my early 20s, I used to recommend that people should start their own businesses, I no longer do that; I think the people that are well suited for it, will typically do it anyway.

When it comes to money, I think there are plenty of entrepreneurs that fall into my category - I want to get up every day and do what I want to do with my time, work on what I want to work on. No less, no more. I like that I can immediately throw all of my effort at something if I'm struck by an idea or problem I want to solve. I like that if I want to burn a week working on a potentially absurd optimization for caching, in the process of building something, I can do it: I set all the deadlines and end goals.

Money is nice, sometimes it has poured in, sometimes it has been all pain and struggle. Doing what I want to do with my time, is nicer than money for me, I'll always spend my capital on that freedom rather than traditional consumer goods, if I have to choose. The freedom to work on only what I want to, is the only thing I've ever wanted professionally, and I feel like a prisoner trapped in a cell without it.

Well said, I'd love to make an impact on the planet but as a father my first drive is to set the best example possible for my son. That does include self determination and being responsible for your own outcomes, that does not include allowing your personal and financial freedom to be disposed of as another person sees fit.

I also think that's a mischaracterisation. It's statistically unlikely for me to transform the world. I just want to carve out a tiny piece of it and make it better.

I know this might be too personal for yourself, but I'm throwing this question to those who are still reading this:

Does it matter which tiny piece?

Is making the world better for the top 1% the same as the bottom 1%?

Does the 'importance' matter?

Sorry if this doesn't make sense, just something that bothers me personally (because I do believe in carving out a tiny piece of the world and making it better).

I don't agree, I've met plenty in all walks of life. Jealousy certainly plays a part in judgement, so I think the dbag label is probably more equally distributed than you might think. We also tend to surround ourselves with people we like, so I guess that makes sense that you like the circle you and your brother are in and don't like the circle you're not in.

I was a programmer, then a lawyer representing startups, and now I'm a programmer again. I've had one successful exit already, and I'm working on another.

I'm not in my brother's circle.

My experience is, stuff you love is best done as a hobby, not professionally unless you can’t live without doing it professionally. I have ended up doing what I love professionally twice, and hated it both times, because guess what, if you do it professionally you don’t get to do just the sexy parts, you have to go whole hog and do the unpleasant ones as well. And worse, you can’t lay it off for a while if you’re bored. This kills the “love” part right there and then.

In the arts, the advice I've heard repeated over and over again is: If you can live without this, do something else. And it's pretty good advice in my experience. The visual arts / media sector at least has such an overabundance of desperate workers that a sane working environment seems impossible to achieve. So if you don't have an inner drive that absolutely forces you to go into a field like that, do something else.

I got the same basic memo when I was a PhD student in science, and I think I would have quit sooner if not for the emotionally coercive aspects of this advice. This advice replaces the rational question of "is this going to get me to the economic future I want for myself?" and puts it into the emotional space of "do I love this enough?". It implies that if you quit, you didn't really love it. It makes it easier for those who benefit from this exploitation to rationalize it when you leave, saying "Well, they must not have been cut out for this anyway." For the young people making these do-I-stay-or-do-I-go decisions, it means that in order to quit they must not only be ready to give up their dream but also signal to their community that they never really loved it anyway.

As an external observer of course it is ridiculous to say someone can't love something and also recognize the disastrous financial implications of pursuing a particular type of career. The turning point for me was recognizing that the "expected value" outcome of the path I was not going to get me anywhere close to a middle class lifestyle.

Sounds like working for early stage startups... There are plenty of good enough engineers willing to work long hours, often with low pay and minimal equity, on the romantic idea of changing the world and the promise of getting rich.

Every job comes with pros and cons. I think the software engineers of the world are part of a lucky few who demand high salaries, are able to find good work/life balance and get to work on things they like (in general).

For the rest of us (I am not an engineer, but have worked in tech with many engineers) I think there are perhaps more trade offs. I’m generalizing here but in my experience and those I know, you can either :

-have an office job that pays well but is not all that fun, or restricts your freedom to do what you want

-have a fun job that doesn’t pay well

-Strike out on your own and potentially make more money and have fun but have all the downsides of entrepreneurship: stress, no security, demanding clients, high potential for failure etc etc.

Choose one that suits you best. All have downsides and all have upsides. Depends on what you value. If it wasn’t work, no one would pay you to do it. No job and unlimited money seems like the best option, but unless you’re born rich that’s not really possible. Such is life.

The downside of software dev is you typically need to work in a city, and then pay extraordinary costs of living.

As a doctor, for example you can earn good money in a town that is no where near as expensive.

I see it the other way - software development is one of the few jobs that can be done entirely remotely. You can live in a location which is far cheaper than where your employer is based, and your salary is largely decoupled from the costs of living in your chosen location.

Lots of software jobs in places you wouldn't expect. Not with the big companies, but the world runs on software, so jobs are out there. No shortage of jobs here in the midwest. Nice cost of living too.

Only mediocre devs in the biggest cities have trouble covering costs of living. And you aren't going to make big bucks as a brain surgeon in Ames Iowa. And doctors have to make back 4 years of lost income and 4 years of medical school tuition and 4 years of entry level wages.

That's a bold statement. It's challenging to support a family, pay rent on a top 1% dev salary in my city (say $150k AUD). Sure you can make ends meet.

If my partner didn't work I'd have to give up being a dev and become a project manager / BA.

Yes, you should follow your passion 100% but it does not mean you can't have a "Plan B" to fund your belly, family and shelter. It worked for me and I happily doing "Plan A" right now. Why do people believe it is all or nothing when choosing a career?

If you're hedging with other plans then you're not really following your first passion 100% are you?

It's not hedging, it's being industrious. Imaging working on your passion just 2-4 hours a day seven days a week? You get really good, FAST!

My day day job was at Nuance, (I quit the end of January) and I was UI designer there. "Plan A" is doing fine art and I got really good at it for I was always doing something art related 10-12 hours a day. http://www.gkaustin.com/

Derek Sivers had a blog entry the other year where he suggested finding a tolerable, well-paying job, then a passion. And then keep your passion as an evening/weekend distraction rather than trying to turn it into a financially viable thing you can live off. Earn money from the job, not your hobby.

Otherwise you end up forcing your art/passion through a sieve of viability (struggling to sell your music, for example), or becoming disillusioned with an otherwise unremarkable job.

True: I found a 30/h a week remote programming job and now I can afford to play music professionally. LOL

Time for everyone to remember Ikigai, the overlap between what you like, what you can get paid for, what you're good at and what the world needs:



One thing rarely said: if you are trying to get into a career where more people want to do it, than the market can give jobs to, in order to get a spot you will have to kill somebody else's dreams. The harsh math is, if there were 2 people for every 1 position, and you get 1, then somebody else gets to be a loser because you got that spot.

It's not your job to make that person a winner, of course. But that helps to balance out the propaganda part of "follow your dreams". If you pick a career where more people want to find someone who does it, than there are people doing it, you don't need sharp elbows to keep others out of your spot. Careers in acting, singing, non-profits that actually pay a salary, etc. tend to have harsh internal politics. This is why.

I must say I'm puzzled by the author's choice to include environmental work alongside the arts/humanities as being examples of "follow your passion and starve".

As a scientist working in the environmental field(s), I can confidently say that there is far more work than there are people to do it. Unless he meant to specify NON-scientific work addressing the environment, I can't fathom what he is referring to.

I think he's talking about the Blackfish-style, Greenpeace-ier environmental stuff.

My dad's in the environmental field too, and that sounds about right. He spent about 20 years working as a jack-of-all-trades-CTO-type guy for a Western Widget Company, made a six figure salary, and was home every day by 5 PM. I know a lot of my friends' finance-sector parents didn't get to spend nearly as much time with their kids. There's a lot of very good advice in this article.

Really? I keep hearing about how there are too many science phd's and not enough work outside of low pay post-doc gigs. Can you share some links as too who these companies or industries are in the environmental space that are hiring? Genuinely interested.

There is a huge amount of work to be done on the environment, but is our neo-liberal socio-economic model there is no money for it as the benefits tend not to be private.

Life is way too complex and it's hard to generalize. Telling people that by following their passion they will be starve is dangerous advice. So what if people fail? Why is everyone so afraid of failure? And then telling people to replicate instead of innovating! I do agree the passion thing is oversold but now people are going too much in the opposite direction, especially after Cal Newport's book.

...and that is the story of why I quit graphic design to program CRUD webapps for boring enterprise customers.

Now moving towards part-time consulting and setting up some passive income streams to try and create the space to work on my creative projects before I get old and die.

You have to work for companies where capital accumulates quickly and then find a way to sandwich yourself between where the capital is and where the capital wants to go.

Follow capital and consumers will follow you.

Do what you love, what you are good at and what people are willing to pay for. Sometimes you have to do the first one as a hobby and the last two as a job.

Interesting take on passion vs. money.

Does anyone else think "requires a reasonable commute" doesn't fit on the list of "keys to career contentment"?

People have different priorities and financial means. I chose a 2 hour (each way) commute because I work in the Bay Area and don’t want to live in a dumpster in San Jose or a shoebox in Mountain View. Also I want a relatively good school for my kid. That pretty much limits me to the far outskirts of the area.

I would love a less grueling commute but not more than the benefits of living in the sticks.

Speaking as someone who left his job in an fonantially solid startup due to the long commute time, I have to say that the tradeoff between keeping a nice job (not great but nice) and having no personal or family life is very dangerous in the medium and long term.

I think it is! A reasonable (as opposed to unreasonable) commute makes your day-to-day life much more pleasant.

I guess it makes sense thinking of it as reasonable vs. unreasonable.

It didn't make sense to me at first, because I think working from home could add to quality of life, and it felt as if they were specifically saying you NEED to commute. But it probably just means, if you do commute, don't make it 2 hours each way.

Most people don't have the IQ, psychometric personality profile, and circumstantial history (the right/rich family, friends, networks, etc.) in conjunction to succeed.

Romanticism, per Goethe and Nietzsche, has always erred toward the side of spiritual sickness - it's often nothing more than an opiate to distract oneself from the mundaneness, difficulties, and responsibilities of authentic, lived experience.

Say what you will of Jordan Peterson, but I believe his experience as a credentialed psychologist and counselor is worth considering as well - one is more likely to preserve his sanity by pursuing (perhaps unpleasant, but stable and providing) responsibility rather than upheaving his life with little more than a mistaken impression via survivorship bias.

It'd certainly be interesting to see the other side of all the success stories.

.. except the franchise thing? It's a huge ripoff risk: you pay licence fees up the wazoo for brand value and models which can be terrible. As in any endeavour, you have to do your homework. Lots of franchise holders looking enviously at class action suits to recover

I absolutely despise the advice about cloning; why do we need dozens of clones of the same idea, all of them executed poorly, so that somebody can build their business quicker and have safe returns? What's the point of such life?

Heh, I don't know how I feel about this, at least for people who are highly talented. Intelligent hard working people at this day in age often choose practical career paths that they like, which lead to ample job opportunity.

I prefer "do what you like enough to keep doing it every day, so that you can earn enough income and time to do what you really love after-hours."

My entire blog is on this premise: following your passion is a recipe for economic failure as economic value gets created when you help other people follow their passion. I write about this here https://invertedpassion.com

UBI, do what you love and prosper.

What a crock of crap.

"Don't be ambitious: be mediocre and replaceable."

He's right. Don't try to be a youtube star or a professional athlete, or an actor. Do something realistic.

But I mean... do something ambitious for god's sake! Be an accountant! Be a doctor! Be a computer programmer! Hell: Be a lawyer. These are not crazy pipe dreams.

Lets say someone makes $120k as a programmer a year taking out NO debt, and having NO risk invested in the company they work for. That is a damn healthy small business.

being a programmer is pretty far from ambitious these days, I am already beginning to regret my career choice just a few years into it and I make six figures doing exactly the programming I always wanted to do and more. I am already bored of what can be done with computers and the entire tech culture that I grew up in and loved. it is so repetitive.

Join the financial independence movement. Spend little and save much, and with a programmer salary you can not have to work again in a few short years.


A lot of programming, especially in industry, is horribly boring unfortunately (it shouldn't be) - but computers and what can be done with them, is anything but. It's just a question of somehow keeping your imagination from getting bogged down by the job.

I work on gpl'd systems software that is very relevant to my interests but I look to the future and can't see myself doing this for many more years, software as a whole is just so depressingly mundane

So are most other jobs that pay a fraction of what programming pays. When I think of that, I'm still willing to put up with all the repetitiveness, bullshit, and literal pain of programming. Jobs suck. Otherwise they wouldn't be jobs.

Business processes are what make it that way for me. I'd still rather do that than be an accountant or salesman or something.

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