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As a millennial myself, I would like the need for income taken off the table so that I can find a recurring source of meaningful work.





This is such a modern problem too. No matter what anyone feels about it having to farm crops to eat was definitely meaningful work a hundred years ago. Even if you were being exploited in a factory suicide was common but mostly from abuse and injury rather than the vacuousness of the job.

Its wholly contemporary to invent bullshit jobs and imagine complexity to keep people at desks en masse, leaving them with such a feeling of their lives being pointless.


Truth. My job is "important", but at the same time I don't think anyone's life would be measurably worse if I didn't do it (besides mine lol).

IMO it is kind of a problem with software in general. It is getting me down honestly; I could use some advice.


I feel the same way. Pay is good, work can be interesting, work-life balance and job security are relatively good, but being a developer never gave me any sense of real fulfillment. I'm not making any serious difference in anyone's life, and my six figure salary could be replaced with a team of eastern Europeans who could probably get more done at a fraction of the cost. If I were to die tomorrow, it wouldn't really make any difference aside from friends/family. My company might be inconvenienced for a couple weeks, but would easily find a replacement.

I can put up with unfulfilling work (at least for a little bit). What I can't stand is the Kool-Aid culture surrounding it where you have to put this big smile on your face at all times and pretend like gluing Javascript is your life-calling, mentally stimulates you, and gives you a deep sense of fulfillment. That CNBC article describing Facebook's work culture as "cult-like" is basically every job and job interview I've ever partaken in in the tech industry.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/08/facebook-culture-cult-perfor...

The modern software engineer is a glorified factory worker, except instead of making cars and computer parts we're making apps that help rich people get a little richer or get people to buy sh*t they don't need.

I envy people with actually meaningful jobs - doctors who save lives, journalists exposing the world's atrocities, politicians, anyone working on the cutting edge of anything, etc.


Doctors and journalists use a lot of software. Everyone uses computers all the time. Making software better can be a very high leverage activity. Sometimes fixing one bug can save hours of work for a whole bunch of people. Right? So it basically just depends on what you’re working on. And there are also doctors, journalists, and perhaps especially politicians whose daily work doesn’t contribute very meaningfully to a better world.

Absolutely. But selfishly speaking I hardly ever get to hear about successes of my code.

The thing that amazes me is that so many people feel the same way, yet this "way of life" is still the norm.

That is, why is there no way to innovate a new structure, given the degree of intrinsic support that would seem to exist?

And, software engineers in particular would seem well-suited to this task. If software is eating the world and we write software, then...


It is usually some form of entities with the means are not interested/enjoying the current status quo.

well put. I recently had this thought that dev is no difference from production line worker. There are only small fraction of dev sitting on top of pyramid designing blueprint and managing production line.

Except that once a dev builts a product once, it can be duplicated for free an infinite amount of times.

Imagine yourself sat in a big chair aged 110 years old. And you’re thinking to yourself “I’m so glad I did X”.

What is X?

(It’s tough, I’m 44 and I only figured it out last year, but I didn’t do it this way)

Now, how can you do X?

Is it a side hustle? Is it a spare time thing? Does it need millions of dollars? Does it need you to quit your job and change direction completely?

Can you get to X in five years?

If so, what is the single most important thing you need to have completed in 3 years?

To do that one thing, what’s the most important thing you need to have completed by January next year?

And to do that, what’s the single most important thing you need to have completed by March this year.

Now you have a goal - something to achieve by March. Write out 12 tasks to get you there and do one each week between now and then.

If you can’t come up with 12 tasks you can be more ambitious in your March goal. If you can’t fit it all in you need to scale back your March goal.

And then when you hit March, look at your one year target and figure out the next 12 weeks.


That seems like good advice. Having some sort of thing to work towards seems helpful.

Breaking it down into achievable chunks is important too. The paradox is you can’t plan too far ahead as life will get in the way. But if you don’t have a direction of travel you forget where you’re going.

Hence the five/three/one year ambitions followed by a twelve week plan.


I feel the same. I've been doing this for nearly 10 years now, and although software and programming still interests me, all the jobs I've had in this industry do not. It just feels like I spend all my day working hard to make someone else even more money. I can't imagine myself continuing doing this for the next 30+ years...

My plan is to save as much as my income as possible and retire early, possibly getting a part time job in a coffee shop to supplement my savings and maintain some interaction with people. Take a look into /r/FIRE if that sounds appealing to you.


Part of why I like working at smaller companies that focus on serving small-medium sized businesses. At this level you are actually building a piece of software for users rather the C-suite.

Short term, find sources of fulfillment that are not your job.

Longer term, seek a similarly comfortable position that you find more meaningful.


> Its wholly contemporary to invent bullshit jobs and imagine complexity to keep people at desks en masse

I don't believe that's remotely true. That bullshit jobs exist is certainly true, but it's due to inefficiencies in communication and incentives at larger companies. Bullshit jobs eat into profit, companies don't do it on purpose, it's just harder and harder to weed those people out the bigger you get; the more people you have the easier it is for non-productive people to hide and not have it known.


Farming crops doesn’t sound like an entirely bad job, but I’m not sure the pay is great compared to software development.

I’d seriously consider agricultural jobs (farming, ag engineering, agricultural science) in another lifetime if I hadn’t invested so much time in my tech career and weren’t so allergies to grass/pollen outdoor allergens.


I'm curious whether the declining fertility rates are related to people feeling their lives being pointless.

If you find a reliable source of revenue that takes an insignificant amount of non meaningful work to maintain, you can spend the rest of you time on meaningful work.

> As a millennial myself, I would like the need for income taken off the table

In other words, I'd like someone else to pay for taking care of me, my shelter, my food.

> so that I can find a recurring source of meaningful work.

So that I can follow my desires rather than being forced to pay my own way.

As a gen-x'er I just have say, you are not entitled to other people's labor, certainly not so you can avoid labor you don't like. The world just doesn't work that way, taking care of your own needs is necessary work, whether you you find it meaningful or not.

Virtually everyone would prefer not "needing income", that's just another way of saying "be rich". Meaningful work is a luxury.


Your entire comment--including suggestions as to what the OP really wants--is predicated on the belief that the current structure is the result of some static law of nature, rather than completely man-made.

If you envision other means of distributing the planet's vast resources, then you'll realize that there are alternatives beyond a) working unfulfilling jobs that produce wealth for others in order to subsist; and b) someone else "paying" for our subsistence.


> If you envision other means of distributing the planet's vast resources

Whether you pay for yourself, or others pay for you, is a binary choice. There are no other options that don't fall into those two categories.

> is predicated on the belief that the current structure is the result of some static law of nature

Nope, just on the nature of boolean logic.


>Whether you pay for yourself, or others pay for you, is a binary choice.

You're still speaking in terms of our current system being the product of some immutable natural law of the universe.

What I am talking about is more fundamental. The very idea of someone "paying for you" is built on the premise that some group of people is entitled to own and control such vast quantities of the planet's resources that they enjoy access to many orders of magnitude beyond what they need to subsist; while, that same ownership leaves precious little resources for some other groups, such that they cannot even subsist. Now, we have this manufactured "dilemma" and only here enters the construct of the first group "paying" for the second.

The entire premise is asinine when you really think about it. And, it's even more so when you add the fact that the "accepted solution" to avoiding the dilemma is for vast numbers of the second group to dedicate a majority of their waking hours in the prime of their lives engaging in frequently unfulfilling activities merely to survive. It's yet further asinine when you also add that the product of that labor further concentrates resources in the hands of the first group.

If you're still not seeing it, then consider the simple phrase that is applied literally: "earn a living". I mean, really think about what that means. Start with the fact that to earn something implies that one is not otherwise entitled to it; thus owes something in order to receive it. To whom do they owe this and why?


> You're still speaking in terms of our current system being the product of some immutable natural law of the universe.

Because it is. Your entire response is so strikingly naive one has to wonder how old you are.

> The very idea of someone "paying for you" is built on the premise that some group of people is entitled to own and control such vast quantities of the planet's resources that they enjoy access to many orders of magnitude beyond what they need to subsist

No it isn't.

> The entire premise is asinine when you really think about it.

You haven't thought about, clearly, your entire argument fails to understand basic reality.

> And, it's even more so when you add the fact that the "accepted solution" to avoiding the dilemma

The "delima" is called survival, and it's not remotely something you're entitled to.

> If you're still not seeing it, then consider the simple phrase that is applied literally: "earn a living". I mean, really think about what that means.

I know exactly what it means, you apparently don't, you seem to think you're "entitled" to food, water, and shelter on someone else's back. You are not.

> Start with the fact that to earn something implies that one is not otherwise entitled to it

Because you're NOT. To be entitled to something means someone owes it to you, please do tell me who "owes" you food, want, and shelter?

> thus owes something in order to receive it. To whom do they owe this and why?

Not owes... since you're not entitled, then you must offer something in order to receive it, that's called trade. If you're not willing to trade for the things you need, then you will die. No one owes you the things you need.

Your entitlement is that of a child who still doesn't understand how basic reality works.


Strange: you painstakingly quoted me, then offered the same non-response to each quote. Essentially: "because that's the way it is and you're a child if you think it could be otherwise".

You can't seem to get past your programming. Carry on.


It's not "my" programming, it's the reality of the world. You've haven't offered any alternative because there isn't one. I'm really trying to understand you here, but you're not offering anything, you're just saying my thinking is limited somehow without a valid reasons being presented. How about this, rather than critiquing my thinking, how about you present yours. You seem to think there's a magic step where raw resources become things you are entitled to without someone else having to labor to produce them.

> You're still speaking in terms of our current system being the product of some immutable natural law of the universe.

That's because it is. Perhaps the prevailing mechanism of transfer (money) artificial, but what it represents is a fundamental law of nature.

Money is simply a representation of time and/or energy and/or physical resources: all fundamentals of nature.

> ...it's even more so [asinine] when you add the fact that the "accepted solution" to avoiding the dilemma is for vast numbers of the second group to dedicate a majority of their waking hours in the prime of their lives engaging in frequently unfulfilling activities merely to survive.

As opposed to... what? Hauling water back from a water source every day? Hunting? Tending to goats? Farming?

These are the fundamental obligations of all intelligent life on this planet in order to sustain their own life. However, we opt to trade time/energy/resources in exchange for someone else to engage in these activities at scale, and on our behalf. In order to do that, we need to be provided with a representation of these fundamental traceable values by someone else; in modern times such as the form of money.

> Start with the fact that to earn something implies that one is not otherwise entitled to it; thus owes something in order to receive it.

You're not entitled to it. Nobody is. Absent the structure we've formed in the identity of "capitalism", you are responsible for finding water, finding food, and finding shelter. You are not entitled to it; you are responsible to expend time and energy for yourself.

Nobody is entitled to "live" with no exchange of time/energy/resources. We only do so under certain circumstances because humans are, fortunately, somewhat altruistic. To care for the elderly, the sick, etc. is something we are often inclined to do, though there is nothing fundamental in nature that necessitates an obligation to do so.

If you'd prefer to not be responsible to some middle manager in an office while you send out TPS reports all day, you are (in most places in the world) entitled to change your hierarchy of responsibility. You may go out into the wilderness and hunt and fish and build a shelter (as long as it's not on land that someone else rightfully traded time/energy/resources to obtain). But you are solely responsible for your well-being. Do not expect that you are entitled to someone else's time/energy/resources to sustain you.

I understand that looking at someone who has more "stuff" or a more free life to do what they want would suck for someone that does not have the same number of time/energy/resources. But surely there is no fundamental of nature that entitles you to that sum of that person's ownership, right?

Unless it's just a "oh that's not fair!" thing (my kids say that a lot!), at which point a simple math problem would show that redistributing that wealth fairly (read: to everyone, equally in the entire world) would leave the poorest slightly better for a short time, and leave the more privileged significantly worse off, most likely forever.

That doesn't seem really fair to me, especially because it undermines (well, ultimately destroys) the elaborate structure that we have formed to create pretty remarkable stability in this world in just a few hundred years.

So, we'll all start from scratch, again... That doesn't seem fair to anybody....


This is an example of a beginner approaching the topic of a post-scarcity economy. There's so much more to it than 'people producing wealth'. That's pretty much going away - almost all manufacturing is already automated, and the rest will soon be so.

This puts us all between a rock and a hard place - most of us will be out of a job, and at the same time the factories are in the hands of the folks who built them. So lots of goods available, and no market (few people have any money).

Clearly this is a different world than the 1800's free market system anticipated. So we'll have to change.


> There's so much more to it than 'people producing wealth'. That's pretty much going away - almost all manufacturing is already automated, and the rest will soon be so.

That's not going away, automation doesn't mean people aren't producing wealth, it just means said wealth is produced by fewer people but those robots belong to someone and its output is rightfully theirs. Just because a robot produced something doesn't mean everyone is entitled to it.

> This puts us all between a rock and a hard place - most of us will be out of a job, and at the same time the factories are in the hands of the folks who built them. So lots of goods available, and no market (few people have any money).

This is true.

> Clearly this is a different world than the 1800's free market system anticipated. So we'll have to change.

This is true as well, but that change isn't going to be moving away from capitalism and seizing the labor of the productive to give to the non productive for nothing. The productive will not stand for that and will simply stop producing for others which means no robots and no automation and everyone fending for themselves again. Automation drives down the cost of goods, less work will be require from people to obtain those goods, but those who produce must necessarily have incentive to do so or they won't, and that incentive is wealth and always will be.


Strawmen aren't helping here. "The labor of the productive" is becoming a very small set. Clearly they'll have to be motivated differently. Obviously the way forward isn't breaking the system with a hammer, so lets stop going back to that.

Incentive to live is different from incentive to work. Look at open source; look at researchers in universities. Wealth is not the motivator there, yet there's tremendous productivity coming from that.

The meaning of wealth is going to have to change.


> Incentive to live is different from incentive to work.

Incentive to live is the primary but not only incentive to work. Wealth is what you need when you're trying to survive, only after that's achieved do other incentives matters.

> The meaning of wealth is going to have to change.

No, wealth is wealth, it's just stuff, that's not going to change. You need stuff to survive, food, shelter, etc, that's not ever going to change.

What's going to change is how wealth is distributed, that's where the conversation is.


>what it represents is a fundamental law of nature.

What fundamental law is that? The one that governs kill-or-be-killed among animals on the African plains? I'm pretty sure we've evolved beyond that in other ways. And, most find this evolution generally desirable.

>Hauling water back from a water source every day? Hunting? Tending to goats? Farming?

Do you seriously believe these are our only options: laissez-faire (worse, captured) capitalism or goat-tending?

>Nobody is entitled to "live" with no exchange of time/energy/resources. We only do so under certain circumstances because humans are, fortunately, somewhat altruistic.

? It's fortunate that we're altruistic. It's a good thing, really, to help people--as long as those rotten, dirty, free-loading, good-for-nothings don't expect it.

Good grief.

>You're not entitled to it. Nobody is.

Not entitled to life? We owe someone else and the only form of payment for most is to produce wealth for others? There's no other way to organize an over-abundance of basic, life-sustaining resources for the common good?

>Nobody is entitled to "live" with no exchange of time/energy/resources.

This is just begging the question. You believe that statement only because of the current order.

Likewise all of your comments about "ownership" and "someone else's resources". You start with the current order, then defend it, essentially with "because it is". Beyond that, you present all choices as binary. It's either we do exactly what we're doing now or tend goats.

>at which point a simple math problem would show that redistributing that wealth fairly (read: to everyone, equally in the entire world)

Who suggested this? What "wealth" are you even talking about? The idea of wealth you're referencing is also rooted in the current system. People can't break their minds out of this box. I've only mentioned basic resources for subsistence.

>we'll all start from scratch, again... That doesn't seem fair to anybody....

No one's advocating that. I don't understand these false choices. You lay out all of this rationale for the status quo, then pin its justification on wholly ridiculous alternatives.


> Not entitled to life? We owe someone else and the only form of payment for most is to produce wealth for others? There's no other way to organize an over-abundance of basic, life-sustaining resources for the common good?

You have a right to life, you are not entitled to be taken care of, these are entirely different things. He's not saying you owe anyone anything. Basic life sustaining resources require labor to be made useful, shelter doesn't just appear out of nowhere, someone has to labor to make it: you do not have a right to someone else's labor, you must do your own labor to take care of yourself, it is not owed to you. Being required to labor for yourself does not imply you owe anyone anything.

> The idea of wealth you're referencing is also rooted in the current system.

It really isn't, wealth just means stuff. All systems will have it, it has nothing remotely to do with just the current system. Stuff doesn't just exist, someone has to create it, that someone by natural right owns what they create; no one is entitled to another mans efforts.


> Whether you pay for yourself, or others pay for you, is a binary choice.

No, it's a continuum where those are the two polar extremes.

> There are no other options that don't fall into those two categories

That's true in the sense that all options aside from those two extremes are a mix of them.


The universe is rarely best described by boolean logic. There are other options that are currently not feasible, but not forbidden by any laws of nature. For example robots could provide everybody's needs. Or we could genetically engineer people so that everybody finds their particular job meaningful and fulfilling.

> The universe is rarely best described by boolean logic.

All models are wrong, some are useful, boolean logic built the modern world. It's a damn useful model most of the time.

> There are other options that are currently not feasible

Which means they are not actually options.

> For example robots could provide everybody's needs

Someone still owns those robots so you're still living off someone else's property/labor.

There are no options where you can avoid paying your own way AND avoid living off someone else's labor. Nothing is free, it came from somewhere and someone who made it happen.

> Or we could genetically engineer people so that everybody finds their particular job meaningful and fulfilling.

People would object to that for a multitude of other reasons, however, as long as your providing for yourself, I don't really care in terms of this argument.


... and then everyone needs those robots.

The horror of society deciding who gets "genetically engineered" (ugh) to like shitty jobs is actively making my skin crawl.


Don’t worry, you wouldn’t mind.

Someone didn't read Aldous Huxley to the end.

> Virtually everyone would prefer not "needing income", that's just another way of saying "be rich". Meaningful work is a luxury.

If you honestly believe this you need to broaden your outlook. There are interesting people all over the world experimenting with different systems of living and working without a traditional means of income. It's not about wanting to "be rich".


Working == income. You need to stop being so pedantic that you actually think you're saying anything different than me, you're not.

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The OPs comment does no such thing. I'm not sure why you find a battle here.



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