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Has anyone found a working environment where they're able to balance social interaction with the isolation and focus needed to code?

I've only been happy at two jobs. At one, I shared an office with an awesome guy, and our personalities and senses of humor meshed well. We had a significant overlap in musical tastes, and enjoyed sharing music and witty banter throughout our days of work.

The other was a startup where five of us worked in an open room, regularly taking breaks for coffee and lunch together. We had a bat-shit insane CEO, which really gave us something to bond over. :-)

Looking at job postings is overwhelming. 50% claim a "work-life balance!" and a "work hard, play hard!" attitude, where I'm betting the work is harder than the play. The rest talk about "entrepreneurial spirit" and other codes long hours and isolation. It saddens me that listing hobbies and interests (more like passions) on a resume is considered unprofessional.

Yes, every now and then in my life (and i've been fortunate for this), I've worked on teams that were just incredible. No other way to describe it, but you'll know it when it happens. It was just work hard, play hard and there was a lot of satisfaction to be had at the end of the day from what was accomplished. Everyone moves on with their lives though, and the older we get, the tougher it is to create those situations. For me it was college and then my first startup (which I did with my buddies from college. it was a success, all things considered; but man there is something to be said about riding a train on one rail with people that have your back).

I found a place that matches this perfectly. http://www.AffinityLab.com - a startup incubator/lab in DC. I get a lot of the social interactions that I need to keep myself sane AND I get more work done there. I only joined two months ago, but I feel a lot better about my life and startup is moving forward faster.

People are respectful with you need to get shit done but are also very social when you want. They also host a lot of events (at least one per week doing something - happy hour, game night, lunches, bowling, movies) which allow you to really meet the people working there if you want the social stuff. It's a great model to keep yourself not feeling isolated and productive.

I think creative job postings pose a sort of marketing problem. Everyone knows that for brief "moments in history," workplaces can turn into ridiculously exciting, creative places.

But, of course, those periods never last forever. Eventually, the business changes, people come in or leave, and the company dies or takes another direction. The creative period may end suddenly, without ever resulting in a shipping product.

So the real issue - if you're looking to maximize "work happiness" - would be to find some heuristics at the resume or interview stage to determine who's actually got the mojo at any point in time. That, or find a way to constantly bring that spirit into a more independent business situation.

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