Also - once you make your passion your ft job it then starts to get annoying. I remember when programming was my passion, and now it's just another job - who's to say the same thing wouldn't happen with filmmaking or music?
Think of a fun idea, doesn't have to be academically innovative, just something useful to people and start cranking on it. I did that. I have a full time job from it now and holy shit do I love it. There are days I work 12 hours, but you know what? I feel awesome afterwards. After a 12 hour day in the office of company x I always needed a beer and bitched about shit for half a day.
Sorry for all the french. I just can't stress these points enough - same points Smith is making, really. I don't even make "a lot" of money, just enough to be upper middle class. I love my work, my life feels fulfilling, and I have money to do what I want with it.
If you don't have kids, I recommend waiting on that ride - it's tough enough that you have a wife. Hopefully she's a cool chick and will support/help you during transition and well into the wild journey of working for yourself.
[EDIT] To clarify the final paragraph: I don't mean to rag on wives/girlfriends (I have a girlfriend), it's just that, if she isn't a cool person and you are emotionally dependent then you lose a certain amount of autonomy and freedom to move around and do things (like leave your job and move into a two bedroom apartment). My girl happily downsized from a house to a two bedroom apartment when we moved to San Diego. It took her a year, but she sold the majority of her junk and we are now much happier (TBH). We also don't share finances (I have a thing against that) so it helped her save some money for other things/experiences as well.
Everything in life is a tradeoff. You just have to be conscious of the ones you're making.
RE: girlfriends that are the opposite. I agree, it is very possible but it has been my experience that either foreign or alt chicks are the most open to experiencing new things. To balance that sexist comment, I also realize there is a corollary in mainstream American men as well.
BTW, travel (particularly budget backpacking) will change your entire world view; kudos to finding a woman that is into that. I highly recommend India for a few months, on a shoestring and with no itinerary :)
Or the Vogel family - http://familyonbikes.org/blog/?page_id=10 ("The Vogel family left June 8, 2008 for a 2 1/2 year bicycle trip traversing the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Argentina.")
It can be done.
What? This makes no sense. You're doing it wrong. If you were really passionate about playing in a rock band, you would already be filling your time playing in a band, jamming on weekends, playing in your free time.
You don't just "go out and start" doing something you are passionate in. If you are passionate about it, you can't stop doing it.
What do you do in your free time? You have no hobbies or things that keep you busy or wish you were doing rather being at work?
Jamming on weekends occasionally is much different than abandoning your day job and attempting to support yourself with music.
You can do both. You SHOULD do both. Something is obviously holding you back, and there's no way we can pretend what that is. I've found wives and SOs are really flexible if you lay it out that it's something you NEED to do.
sleeping an hour a day... :)
Maybe music/show business is different? Forgive my lack of familiarity with the terminology, but you can't form a band, book gigs, do weddings, etc...?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Jeong <- this guy was a physician while he developing his stand-up, and is now a sit-com actor.
You just have to want it badly enough.
Nobody said being excellent was easy. This also doesn't mean that your choice or his is better.
Absolutely nothing wrong with that.
also 'being a programmer' is not the same thing as 'being a programmer for something you really want to be apart of'.
I was a 'filmmaker' for years and I was MISERABLE working at local industrial film houses then I got a job working on a TV show with a passionate crew and I literally sprang out of bed (at 4am) everyday completely stoked to be going to work.
tl;dr context for what you are passionate about is important. A talent/skill/interest isn't a passion; how that talent/skill/interest is applied, is.
Making yourself the centre of your own universe will obviously be detrimental to others in your life. Quitting your job and moving your kids to some ghetto slum likely isn't a good idea and would likely be such a distraction in your life that you couldn't focus on yourself if you wanted to.
I'm married, I can't simply quit and slum it around Europe because I feel like it. However, I can save up money and take my wife to places in Europe on vacation. It gets me what I want and it'll help my marriage.
Perhaps you shouldn't be viewing programming as your day job, but your actually job as your day job. Programming is a skill, your skill isn't your day job, what you're required to do with your skills however is your day job. You could use your skill to program for something you find fun. Help with an open source project, or program a website for a local charity as a good deed or something you'd enjoy doing.
I'm skilled with my hands. You put any power tool in my hand and I'll guarantee I could build you what you want. I don't enjoy doing certain jobs, they can feel rather belittling to do sometimes. However, I go home and I think of all the things I could make that I want and I don't find it draining like I would a bad day job. I find it rather invigorating.
No. It can be challenging at first, but you and them will be much better after the change. Also, if you need money you shouldn't make a sudden change. Nowadays it is easier than ever to start a business in your free time.
Like I said, he should find something to do in his free time that fulfils his transition. If you're dedicated, you'll soon be making money one way or another and can switch to that as your day job.
It's inadvisable to anyone who's self-supporting or supporting others to make a drastic change. There's no point trying to self-actualize if you're going to starve in the process, because you'll never get there.
Sure, he's a slacker in many respects, and proudly so, but in this respect, he was focused as a laser. It helps...
As a novice hacker, my role models are many of the same smart people who post here. It's a little disheartening to see such strident dismissal of some good god damn advice.
Just curious but where do you get the impression that he is anything but happy?
Their happiness might be thought of as the result of this pseudo code :
happiness = abs(happiness)
happiness = happiness * 1.1
He probably isn't very depressed at the moment (he claims weed got him off his depression), but I can see why people who don't know much about him thinks that way. Being very fat and not smiling are more than enough "proof" for most people to judge wether people are depressed or not.