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First I would take a step back and try to view the situation with less judgment. It's easy to look at the past and mythologize it and imagine it as perfect. Maybe there are more MBAs and executives and thought leaders today but the past you're romanticizing would have its own frustrations and road blocks.

The other thing it sounds like you're doing is looking around for a great opportunity rather than zeroing in on a thing you really care about and working on it. Your comment about engineers being a peasant class makes it sound like at least a part of you is more concerned about status than doing the kind of work that you say you're interested in.

Sounds like you need to answer for yourself what you're really looking for, how you would like to spend your days, what you would be proud of looking back on, etc. Rather than looking outward at the state of the industry, the status of developers, phds, MBAs, VCs or execs. If you want to build, start working on a product, figure out a market for it. But also know that at some point products do need to be sold, so eventually, you or a co-founder or your employees are going to have to figure out how to make money.

One of my favorite general pieces of advice is "you can decide what you want but you can't decide what it will cost you." You can decide to be a builder and an engineer but it probably won't come with the adulation you feel for Jamie Zawinski or Alan Kay. And if you talk to most people who are admired and have a lot of adulation, even if it's deserved, it's not something they tend to say they relish. They tend to still relish the work they valued for themselves and feel the adulation is overblown or doesn't actually give them anything of substance.

This is solid. From my perspective this dichotomy me/others is a false one. I am sure MBAs have their value though sometimes they get so political it's hard to separate the b/s from what they actually do. I think self assessment of what one truly wants is necessary. The poster is looking a lot outside (MBA's, new job opportunities), probably some inner work would give better results now.

> you can decide what you want but you can't decide what it will cost you

Excellent quote. Can you give the source of this quote?

Not to deny the obvious frustration of the poster, but it's sad to see such wise and calm advice currently being downvoted.

It’s not helpful advice. He’s essentially finger wagging instead of offering positive input.

Corporate America really is bad enough to warrant correction. If anything, I’d probably suggest learning about people to the OP of the thread. Find out how to spot personality types quickly and how best to work with them - including avoiding the toxic ones. But also temper it with not over analyzing-analysis can become its own damnation.

I empathize with how bad corporate America is, I struggle with it all the time. I didn't intend my comments to sound like finger wagging. A lot of it is turning to advice that legitimately helped me. When I felt most like "the whole system is rotten" or "I don't feel like I have the status I hoped for" it helped me when people close to me reminded me to think carefully about what I'm actually looking for. The advice might not help you but it comes from a good place and is not intended as finger wagging.

You say "Corporate America" but in my experience devs were in a similar or worse boat in Europe, and India. (I haven't worked with any east asian development organizations)

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