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Ask HN: What tech job would let me get away with the least real work possible?
2022 points by lmueongoqx 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 1091 comments
Hey HN,

I'll probably get a lot of flak for this. Sorry.

I'm an average developer looking for ways to work as little as humanely possible.

The pandemic made me realize that I do not care about working anymore. The software I build is useless. Time flies real fast and I have to focus on my passions (which are not monetizable).

Unfortunately, I require shelter, calories and hobby materials. Thus the need for some kind of job.

Which leads me to ask my fellow tech workers, what kind of job (if any) do you think would fit the following requirements :

- No / very little involvement in the product itself (I do not care.)

- Fully remote (You can't do much when stuck in the office. Ideally being done in 2 hours in the morning then chilling would be perfect.)

- Low expectactions / vague job description.

- Salary can be on the lower side.

- No career advancement possibilities required. Only tech, I do not want to manage people.

- Can be about helping other developers, setting up infrastructure/deploy or pure data management since this is fun.

I think the only possible jobs would be some kind of backend-only dev or devops/sysadmin work. But I'm not sure these exist anymore, it seems like you always end up having to think about the product itself. Web dev jobs always required some involvement in the frontend.

Thanks for any advice (or hate, which I can't really blame you for).

This is an awesome question. I hope someone has good strategies for you. Life should be spent doing the things you find worthwhile, and the fact is, not all of those things are monetizable.

Given how esteem- and success driven HN as a platform is... you might not get too many ideas since I suppose people want to maintain their "hireable" status.

Success and "loving your job" are more or less empty phrases unless you are actually a professional moving your field forward or learning a highly complex subject matter - or you own a stake in a company.

Beyond that you are toiling, and if you like your job, it's glorious toiling like gardening (pleasing, but not important, but you love it, so it's great) or terrible toiling for living that eats your soul.

I'm basically in a job that is quite important for my org, I get compliments for good job, but I hate most aspects of my daily work since the tech stack is complex and fugly. I probably _appear_ motivated but I'm just a neurotic who hates failing. If I didn't need to feed and house my family I would have moved to a lower paying position long ago that is intrinsically more motivating.

Success and "loving your job" have nothing in common in my experience.

> I'm basically in a job that is quite important for my org, I get compliments for good job, but I hate most aspects of my daily work

There's a class of "crystallized intelligence" jobs which are about what happened before rather than what you do today. There's an intersection between that sort of knowledge and a certain fluid intelligence to slot it in where things fit.

I'm in one of those jobs right now, where the last six years of what I've read/absorbed is more valuable (as a sort of fast cross-reference in my brain) than what I actually do right now. I'm the guy with the picture that's on puzzle box, rather than having to place each puzzle piece.

I've tried really hard to make myself obsolete and do something else, but it has backfired spectacularly.

I've written down all of this in documents, trained other people to do the same thing over the years, even built tools to replace the easy parts (right now there's an intern doing the next pass of that automation) the effect of which has been to lighten my workload even more & I'm not missed if need to take a couple of weeks on a roadtrip or something.

To do this, I've had to do something which is not volume driven (i.e my output is not a factor of time), so moved away from building web applications to profiling/optimizing all kinds of networked applications, where the ability to cut through the stack is useful, but for any given layer there's someone who does it "professionally".

This is of course not a long-term parking spot for me, but I'm useful and in essence acting as "an elder" store of information about the past & a slightly clearer view of the future.

This reminds me of advice I got from the VP of Eng at my first real full time tech job. This was back around late 1999 / early 2000. Peak of the dot com era.

He told me what most people think of as job security is totally wrong. If you're the only person who knows something, you become a liability. But if you're constantly teaching and sharing that knowledge you become incredibly valuable to the organization. That's when you have job security.

Since internalizing that advice, I always try to work myself out of job by ensuring I share anything I know. And I always pass this advice along to others. As you get more seniority in the organization, the way to have more impact and scale is to work through others by sharing your knowledge and helping them get better.

At one of my old gigs, I asked my then-colleague a bunch of questions about the codebase for a task I was assigned. He was always like "you are a senior resource, you should not ask such questions; if you want to find answers, look into the code itself." This is how he keeps his status and job at that company, and he is still there now. When I enquired around about how he got that tribal knowledge of that codebase, I got a fascinating answer: he asked his ex-colleagues at the same company, the same kind of questions I asked.

Unless one joins as an intern at some company, there are gatekeepers in most of the companies, who don't want to train you at all. Instead, they criticize any attempt to find answers as "hand-holding, fake, inexperienced, etc."

>you are a senior resource, you should not ask such questions; if you want to find answers, look into the code itself.

You should never tell anyone they 'should not ask such questions', but I will absolutely tell you 'hey, go read this code / documentation and it will help you understand'. Mainly, I just want you to show me that you've at least attempted to solve or research the problem yourself. If you've done that I'm happy to help. Unfortunately a lot of Jrs straight out of school seem to expect to be spoon fed answers, and it makes me wonder if college has changed since I graduated.

Most work knowledge now is google deep, but even back to the 80’s I encountered a lot of college grads who did not want to read the code.

A lot of it is intimidation, they’d never seen a printout stack of 50 or 100K eslocs. Kids today never start with monolithics like that but they do get swamped by the fifty layers/packages that change every year.

> it makes me wonder if college has changed since I graduated.

Or how you have grown since you graduated.

Learning “on the job” is an anachronism from the days when companies invested in their employees and employees stayed in the same organization for their entire career. We’re moving towards the gig model, even calling programmers “rock stars” to sell it.

This is profoundly true. It's also one of the reasons I want to get out of IT after 20 years. I'm past the point where I'm tired of the meetings, false niceties, and desire from management to submit to the hive mind. Nothing worse than stand-ups, Teams or Google Meet meetings. No one wants to be in them. It takes time away from my job where I could actually be productive. This is why I really like the videos from Patrick Shyu on YouTube (Tech Lead). He gives the skinny on working for companies like FAANG and in general. I don't always agree with everything he says, but I've seen much of what he says.

Honestly, I feel like much of what you don’t like applies to other industries as well and is not tech specific... human nature..

It’s not human nature it’s management consultancy culture. Fuck agile

Surprisingly a lot of folks on my past and current teams haven't figured this out yet. They still think the manager who promises them a promotion next year is going to be around by then.

> there are gatekeepers in most of the companies, who don't want to train you at all.

This is fear mongering for the juniors. Most people don't help because they don't get asked. Juniors, reach out and I will help. I'm the kind of person that is sociable and helpful anyway though.

There are plenty of people who have "closed the drawbridge behind them once inside." They don't want to help, or think that you should figure it out yourself or should already know the answer etc.... They forget that they were newbs once too.

It goes both ways,I suppose. I'm more than willing to teach anyone who is willing to listed what I know, but some mutual respect is needed. I remember a meeting, where I got asked to get someone up to speed with some core concepts. I thought,OK, that's fantastic.I prepped the plan, go to him and tell it'd take him about 20h of his own time to go through the stuff.. 'Oh no, I thought we'd be done in 2 hours'.. Sure, I can teach you in 2 hours what took me 5 years to learn..

It varies widely by company and by person. The unhelpful senior trope is not a myth.

It depends. Sometimes the answer is obscure because of our setup - like you'd need to know to look in the other repo. I'll always tell you that, and point you to the doc and the problem-list to update in case the doc is wrong.

But, if you ask me a question where the answer is in the code, the proper answer you seek, in the detail you need, then I'm going to ask you to read the code first and only ask me what's left.

Perhaps the story is true as retold, or maybe the original guy asked about the right things and read the code for the rest, but people watching from the outside couldn't tell and conflated it all, turning it into a story of ladder-pulling bitterness.

That doesn't really ring true for me because I want coworkers taking responsibility for these odd systems (that they have to find me to ask about). But I don't want to be stuck in the role of their System-X guy who they get to do their changes. This guy's incentive would be to walk the line, educate and hand-off.

The very words "job security" are a lie and have been for decades. Unless you have a contract that grantees you pay for a number of years. Which 99.99999999999999% of W-2 do not have.

>He told me what most people think of as job security is totally wrong. If you're the only person who knows something, you become a liability. But if you're constantly teaching and sharing that knowledge you become incredibly valuable to the organization. That's when you have job security.

Sounds like the VP of engineering was doing his job quite well. Set up new hires to share everything so when their salary becomes a burden you can "sadly let them go" when "necessary downsizing" occurs because they've given away the farm.

Don't get me wrong, I spend a ton of time mentoring those around me, but there's no planet on which I would give a document dump of my personal notes, ever.

Aviation engineers guard their shit and embed themselves like ticks. Access databases, spreadsheets, Fortran (like old ass fortran spaghetti code), servers under the desk. All this was common at GE.

They know what happens when you don't hold the company hostage. Nearly all of them retire and then "consult."

That's not necessarily the case.

Any personal notes are, by their very nature, shorn of the full context you have. They are always data, sometimes information, but never knowledge.

I once left a job where I had taken pains to document everything, to regularly teach what I'd worked on, and to help everyone, even beyond strict software functions, familiarize themselves with the systems in play as needed.

Were they glad I was relieving them of the cost of my salary? No, they were mournful. I would not be there to continue to draw connections between disparate items and serve as a voice of organizational experience. No amount of notes would replace my ability to, mid-meeting, say "That won't work" and explain why. Someone who had invested real time in internalizing those notes might -- might -- get there, but it would be difficult.

> If you're the only person who knows something, you become a liability.

Sorry, this is just wrong. You are a liability if someone thinks about you that way. Fortunately, not that many people are like that. In Contrary, if you are the only one to know something then you are regarded very highly and almost untouchable.

If you know something no one else does... sometimes the management is kinda aware that it's a problem, but they are too busy doing something else, so you can keep your job for decades with minimum work.

And sometimes you know something no one else does, and you want to share the knowledge, but management says no, because having you talk to someone else feels like a loss of time when both of you could be developing a new functionality instead... and then one day you leave, no one reads the documentation you wrote, and your successor ends up reimplementing from scratch everything you already did.

Sometimes it seems to me that the perception of your importance is proportional to the number of bugs in your code. If things keep breaking and you keep fixing them, you are a hero, and the company wants to keep you. If things work flawlessly, company assumes that it is easy and that you could be replaced at any moment by a random person who walks in.

> Sometimes it seems to me that the perception of your importance is proportional to the number of bugs in your code.

That's incredible, isn't it? it's one of the many possible manifestations of "worse is better", I fear.

It depends quite a bit on what it is you know, and what it pertains to, and how problematic it is.

If you guard the knowledge to the core application for how the company makes it's money, you're not going anywhere.

If you guard the knowledge to a component used in that core application, which while it's problematic to replace could be swapped out with a lot of effort, you are going to be walking a tightrope. As soon as it becomes more beneficial to replace that component than keep dealing with the problem of it being hard to deal with (because if it wasn't your knowledge would have little value), you're faced with the fact that a large chunk of your value to the company has just been obsoleted with it.

So when taking the hoarding info approach, just how irreplaceable is the thing you're guarding knowledge of? Often it's far more replaceable than people think, and often becomes more so as people hoard knowledge of how to deal with it. Unless you're that guy that's on call 24/7 to immediately deal with a problem, the fact that it all relies on you which is unsustainable will eventually come to light.

If you're the only person who knows something it can also mean you end up in a rut. You can't tackle interesting new stuff because you're stuck looking after the old stuff that no-one else understands.

When I assumed my current position,the first thing I told the owners of the business is that the biggest risk in the business is me and that the company should work towards getting someone in, who could partially cover some aspects of my job. They understood it well,but probably not too well, however some attempts were made to address the issue.

Can I ask why did you do that? Was it so you could divide & delegate your work to underlings? Or was it so you could be totally free from the position one day?

The position I assumed is pretty senior- I report directly to the CEO. As part of the change,I still retained some of my previous responsibilities+ gained a whole lot more. I did it for two reasons:

1) it was the right thing to do,considering the situation. My approach is always to be open about issues within the business, even if it's my own department. This isn't university liked by my colleagues but appreciated by the CEO, as he knows I'll tell the real situation rather than that with a pink filter.

2) I will move on, sooner or later, and I'd rather have someone in place before that happens. I want the company to be successful in the same way as they've given me tons of opportunities that I successfully used.

3) There's a considerable backlog of things I need to do at any given time,so having more resources would free up my day+ speedup certain developments in the business.

Exactly, that's the reality at majority of companies.

I'm in this boat right now-ish. I don't want to be the person who only knows somemthing. I'd rather delegate it and then if I get sick I know someone else can cover the work needed to get the job done.

I just recently had my first junior developer assigned to me. Learning how to mentor, teach, as opposed to just getting a task done is harder than I imagined

> Learning how to mentor, teach, as opposed to just getting a task done is harder than I imagined

I've had the good fortune to inhabit a mentoring position twice in my professional career. Both have afforded me opportunities to teach new people as each business expands.

I find mentoring incredibly rewarding. But I also naturally enjoy spreading knowledge (I considered a career change to teach history at the university level, but didn't want to pursue the academic credentials). It's not just teaching the tech that's rewarding. I also enjoy sharing time management techniques, tips for writing solid documentation, and pointing out how to avoid gotchas that I've run into in my personal experience.

What I absolutely don't want is to join the ranks of management. A buddy recently moved up and he now spends almost all of his time in meetings. When he isn't in meetings, he's responding to the many people who need his attention for one thing or another. I wouldn't find that the least bit fulfilling.

This is what strikes me as tone-deaf about the grandparent comment with regard to "loving your job." I love my job because it pays well enough, I like the people I work with, and it doesn't intrude into my "real life." I hated my former employment, where ambition was a thing, because it dominated my life. It paid far better, but I was unhappy overall. What I have strikes the right balance, and that's rare enough that I treasure it.

Yeah, and it's particularly hard when you're still ultimately responsible for the result, but others are doing the work. That certainly brings some amount of stress. But also the money gets bigger and bigger.

"If you're the only person who knows something, you become a liability."

So I had that philosophy when I was in the Marine Corps, well because I wanted my Marines and myself to survive and carry out the mission.

Sharing knowledge in the business world, never. That's a great way to lose a job.

> Sharing knowledge in the business world, never. That's a great way to lose a job.

If you're working at a functional organization that rewards growth, never sharing knowledge will ensure you put quite a low ceiling on your advancement.

I've written countless promotion justifications. Been on countless promotion review boards at several very successful tech companies. Being the best programmer, or what ever, is only going to get you so far. Advancement comes from teaching and leading others. You do that by sharing knowledge.

Ohh! Promotion hacking.

There was a broad HN discussion about this here on HN late last year [1].

And the top comment [2] is worth repeating here

  Here's some of my learnings about getting promoted for those that really want to play that game:

  - Only the perception of your work matters
  - Attend the social events and get in good with the bosses
  - The countability of your major achievements is important. Make the list long, too long to hold in the mind
  - At the same time the gravitas of your best achievement is also important since that will be the soundbite that is shared about you behind your back
  - Get allies who can proselytize about you behind your back
  - Be the best. The difference between one and two is bigger than that between two and three, as far as promotions go
  - Take credit for your work (use pronouns I and Me when talking about your work, not We) and do not allow others to take credit for your work
  - If it's a teamwork situation with other people on your level, don't do most of the work, because the credit will end up being split 50/50 in the eyes of the bosses even if you did most of it
  - Make a very good first impression
  - Shape the narrative around the role you played in the success of the mission/team/company
  - Get the bosses to make a soft public commitment regarding your competence
  - Even if you have a really good boss, all of the above is still important, because they are fallible humans and aren't omniscient
  - Actually do good work, it'll make the above easier

1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24618707

2: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24622111

I can attest to that 100%. I work at a medium-sized startup, but we've got leadership from Youtube, Facebook, Amazon, and MSFT so I think it's pretty universal.

You can progress to a pretty decent level and pay as "the best programmer" up until a high senior role, which most talented folks hit after about 8 yrs of experience. After that, promotions start to depend on the extent to which you influence the direction of your group or even company, which is all about teaching and leading others.

I think of it as three stages:

* Learning: you may be good at completing well-defined work, but you generally need a mentor to guide and help you. in other words, the company at this point is investing in your growth.

* Building: you are now self-directed and able to work independently, capable of being assigned a possibly ambiguous product requirement and being able to solve it yourself.

* Leading: you are now at the point where you can be given a large, complex project with possibly ambiguous requirements and trusted to deliver. you can work with management to form a team, and can design the technical / architectural approach and break it down into smaller pieces which you can delegate to the rest of the team.

And once you hit "leading", it will grow in scope.

> If you're working at a functional organization that rewards growth

So that excludes about 95% of them.

This. So many people on here keep making that mistake over and over.

True, but on the other hand these 5% pay more than almost everyone else in that 95% so...

"Sharing knowledge in the business world, never. That's a great way to lose a job."

I think that depends on the role and the organization.

Generally organizations do not like to loose valued individual contributors unless the organization is somehow pathological (I know those exists).

A programmer that delivers value is always worth more than his or her paycheck. If you can dump his load to a more junior dev then that's great, there are other, more important things always that need doing. That is, if the business is growing.

I agreed with some of what your saying.

The delta comes from my incredible work experiences / organization management in the Marines and then working for selfish and incompetent bosses in the civilian side. (I have had bad luck on the civilian side in the past.)

I agree if an employee needs to fight for leverage over their manager then hiding your notes is as good way to do that as any. But if you need to use this tactic it's a clear sign the workplace is not healthy.

So, instead of as general advice "never show your notes" - I would rise to a level above - first in good faith, but in a defensive posture observe if your employer rewards co-operation or selfishness - and then choose your tactic accordingly.

Falling under incompetent management is a double injury - the incompetence is both professionally reprehensive and being managed incompetently just hurts.

I'm sorry you've had this experience on the corporate side.

I see in one of your other comments that you work for yourself now, so this unsolicited advice probably doesn't apply to you. But I'll leave it here anyway.

I've had plenty of candidates ask me how I or the company help employees grow, and what it takes to advance.

I typically see this as a good sign and I explain the career ladder, explain how promotions work. Explain how I would help in their growth.

If they don't have good answers for this, it's quite a red flag.

You can also ask about collaboration and what kind of work is rewarded.

Think of it this way, if your employers fire you for doing the right thing, then you will spend less time at companies like that.

Chad_strategic, I'll have a much easier time promoting you if we are replacing you from within


I have been a Sergeant, I have been an officer. I have worked for Colonels and served in combat. Real leaders are hard to find.

I can happily say, you can take your unsolicited offer and well you know what...

I'm lucky now, I work for myself. The whims of the market are my only customer and what cruel customer it is...

If you're a leader at an organization, it's important to make people feel like it's a positive thing to make the company need you less for a particular task.

At our company, we've had situations where employees automated themselves away or found somebody else to replace themselves. In response, gave them raises and helped fill their extra time with more interesting higher impact work.

I've encountered a totally different school of thought on job security in the early 2000s after the fall of the dot com era. Many jobs were cut. "Outsourcing" became a dirty word.

My good friend got a year-long internship in banking industry in early 2000s. When I asked him how the real world worked, he was taught to hoard as much knowledge as he possibly could and not share it. Sharing knowledge means someone could do his exact job. He had no desire to learn new skills. He worked with folks who had been with the organization for 20+ years and that's how the workplace worked. He and his colleagues were so afraid that their job would be outsourced.

We are not friends anymore. I bet he still works for the same organization. He may not be wrong about hoarding the knowledge and working in a slower pace industry: Doing so could be an easy ticket to gain job security for life.

Agree! Bringing up those around you is the real way to be seen as a 10Xer. The alternative story of one hacker solving all of the business's problems on their own is a fairy tale.

> I'm the guy with the picture that's on puzzle box, rather than having to place each puzzle piece.

This is such a great phrase! It so succinctly captures a situation I think we've all observed many times, but I've always struggled to encode it in words.

> I've tried really hard to make myself obsolete and do something else, but it has backfired spectacularly.

How has this backfired, I'm curious?

I'm imagining that the future-you's fail to seamlessly slot-in, and management types don't have an appetite for broken eggs on the way to an omelette, when they already have an omelette in you?

> I'm useful and in essence acting as "an elder" store of information about the past & a slightly clearer view of the future.

I wonder, do you feel any anxiety about this?

As in, you're valuable at $COMPANY_X, but you're not challenged to better yourself beyond what you already are. Much of your value to $COMPANY_X derives from skills and knowledge that are specific to $COMPANY_X / $INDUSTRY.

For me, the anxiety would come from the question "sure, I have this here and now, but would I be able to reproduce this elsewhere, or what this a fluke?", and it would increase with tenure. :)

Curious to hear your thoughts on this, too.

> How has this backfired, I'm curious? .. > I'm imagining that the future-you's fail to seamlessly slot-in, and management types don't have an appetite for broken eggs on the way to an omelette, when they already have an omelette in you?

No, not that way - I took about 9 months off in the last 4 years, which has forced a replacement of my past self.

But there are still problems which are "new".

So in a manner of speaking, but more along the lines of filtering out all the easy problems with automation, documentation, others with similar skills - by the time the buck stops at my desk, I have nowhere to move it to.

Instead of being obsolete, I'm a SPOF higher up the problem complexity.

The more guesswork I do, the better I am at guessing what's wrong and every time I pull off a further "last minute miracle", the more entrenched I become, rather than obsolete.

> For me, the anxiety would come from the question "sure, I have this here and now, but would I be able to reproduce this elsewhere, or what this a fluke?"

The success part of it was a total fluke - lots of bets on me by others which came through.

> Instead of being obsolete, I'm a SPOF higher up the problem complexity.

This seems somewhat inevitable for "high performers". The only way round it I'm aware of is to hitch your wagon to an SPOF further up the chain.

Before I was a manager I used to always try and automate my job away. I was of course never able to completely do this and the result was never actually less work. Once you were able to automate away one task a new one would magically appear.

Of course to my surprise me trying to automate away my tasks only increased my value to the companies I worked for and now I, as a manager, try to encourage my reports to do the same thing so that they can focus on more important projects and personal growth.

I feel like I'm in a similar position on the automation side.

I've automated so much of what I'm responsible for that it mostly runs itself without issue. There are certainly stretches of time where I work my ass off, but mostly it's days of a couple of hours of light work and then being available to help people via Slack the rest of the day.

After 20 years of working and a sense of genuine burnout, I landed a "Dream Job" a few months ago where I'm doing tech leadership at a mid-size non-profit. We have a small familial team, a set of worthwhile and genuinely beloved public services and mission of doing good. There's still politics and revenue issues and all the sorts of stuff that a go along with any company, but it's a lot less aggressive. Work-life balance and diversity are genuinely respected. I'm busy, but it's not crazy. In my past I worked on so many gigs for companies I didn't care about or downright disliked. Building tools to grab eyes or sell crap no one needed. Working somewhere with a positive mission is so much more valuable to me than working on a cool tech stack (our stack isn't too bad, but we're not cutting edge either). I feel better about work than I have in a long, long time.

And before anyone asks, no we're not hiring. One tradeoff is that it's a very slow growth environment. We don't have VC funds to burn and our business model is very mature.

Man I'm so cynical. As soon as I see "I landed a great job a few months ago," my thought is just wait a few more months. I hope the job stays great for you.

I think I've already seen the ugly side and decided it's not ugly enough to discourage me.

Yeah that's cynical ;). I for example am with my current startup for 5 years now and can hardly find anything to complain about. Previous job was 4 years and was also ok although there it was a bit too much management for me me ;). Before that I've been freelancing for 10 years where most of the time was also with the same company and also fine (there it was more that I got bored of software dev itself and did my PhD afterwards to get to more special topics than the generic embedded/network development I did back then)

Congratulations, sounds indeed like a good working environment.

Congratulations -- I left VC-funded tech for a nonprofit a few years back and it's the best thing that's ever happened to me (or I guess, that I did). It's certainly not perfect but working in an environment with people who believe in what they're doing and genuinely want to support each other has made a massive difference for my attitude as regards work in a general sense.

My first job in tech was at the American Red Cross. Easily one of the best cultures I have ever seen. Better than a dysfunctional family.

Nice one! Very close to my own experience and I feel much the same way.

As someone who sympathizes with your comment ("tech stack complex and fugly") and has made moves both ways in terms of salary (high to low for QoL -25%, then low to high again +50%), start with your requirements.

OP did a great job of saying "Here's what I need." Until that's staked out, you don't know what's too little, enough, and too much.

But generally, minimizing and controlling costs (critically, through city choice) affords you flexibility. High costs = must work high paying job. Low costs = choice between working less, taking a job you enjoy more that pays less, or working more & saving.

I'll probably switch back to a lower paying job in the next 6 months or year, because I'd rather work on something I love, and because I'll have the financial flexibility to do so.

Partner choice and choice whether to have children are other critical considerations in cost control.

This can be the biggest factor. It can't be understated.

For example, my wife won't let me consider relocating and spends basically all her money on hobbies. This limits my job options to locally available ones (not a great area) and that I can't get a less stressful job because it pays less and I need my current salary to pay all the bills.

For many years my partner and I operated in the same way. I paid our rent, utilities and food while she spent on her hobbies and saved. I was not unhappy during this time because I didn't want much. A few years ago though, I became a bit more financially aware after having my first soul crushing job and realizing I couldn't rely on work to produce income in the same "easy" way I had when I was younger. The emotional cost had become too high. Managing this part of our relationship continues to be a multi-year process requiring ongoing discussions of what we have, what we want and what we'd be willing to do to get it. It feels like a muscle that atrophies, but I have made my peace with that because it works for us. I remind her what she wants and how she can get it by helping me now or spending less now. I even ask her to provide the same feedback for me. Her perspective on my spending is as important as my perspective of hers. I imagine we will regress in the future. Those moments will probably suck and cause a lot of stress. For now my only advice is to make a habit of these discussions in your relationship and protect the habit as long as you can.

"...having my first soul crushing job and realizing I couldn't rely on work to produce income in the same "easy" way I had when I was younger. The emotional cost had become too high."

I feel exactly like this.

My wife has basically changed what she wants (or stopped hiding it) now that we are married. She wants a big fancy house and she wants to live in an suburbanized and expensive area. She originally told me she wants to live in the country and own land. This area isn't the country and we can't afford land around here.

She doesn't care about her spending. She has never been required to support herself or even live alone. She would rather spend a lot on a her expensive horse hobby than contribute to our kid's college or our shared bills. By expensive I mean she spends as much or more each month than I do on the mortgage. One month of her hobby expenses equals what I spend in an entire year on hobbies, and many of my hobbies have a return on investment (like foraging/cultivating mushrooms, growing a garden, etc).

I've come to accept that I will be stuck here and miserable. I don't see myself living past 50 in this condition, so I just have to endure this until then. I don't really see much reason to try extending that either.

If your relationship has you counting the days until you die, you need to hit the eject button for your own safety.

This entire post, if it's anywhere close to objective truth, is wildly alarming!

How? With a divorce, GP commenter will be required to continue supporting his* ex-wife's hobbies financially, now without any option to balance then with his own earning. He will not be permitted to earn less and reduce the spending proportionally.

On top of that if there are any kids he will be required to take up a portion of her only responsibility.

* Statistics-based assumption

He can move to any country that doesn't have debt collection agreement with US (assuming he's from US). Like Philippines or New Zealand. Or just make himself judgement-proof. Convert his savings to Bitcoin, quit his job and work cash jobs. Court cannot force him to earn less.

Then they'll issue an arrest warrant.

No they won't. Debt is a civil matter, not criminal.

Unpaid child support will result in an arrest warrant in many states. The debt itself may be civil, but it's a crime to avoid the court mandated payments.

My father in law was in a coma for a while and the child support payments stopped and he went broke from the lack of job and medical bills. They arrested him multiple times after that because he wasn't paying. Of course that gave him a criminal record and made it much harder to get a job.

Until convicted.

What do you mean by "not permitted to earn less?"

If you're under some sort of child support and/or alimony, courts will often interpret losing a job as an attempt to dodge payment, and will not reduce payment to match the new circumstances.

Are you a divorce lawyer? Please substantiate your claims with credentials.

Are you a credentials expert? Please substantiate your loaded questions with credentials.

http://www.realworlddivorce.com/ is a great resource on this subject

(throwaway because I don't like to mix discussions of my relationships with professional discussions)

I was in a situation freakishly similar to yours for over 10 years. In late 2019 I left her, and while it was one of the hardest decisions of my life, definitely the hardest day of my life, and the road to a mentally healthy(er) position has been ongoing, it has proved to be a wise decision. I spend far less of my day feeling resentful, unvalued, and unvalidated, both individually and in my new relationship. In my own time and in counseling with a professional, I have learned many lessons about myself, what I want out of life and in a partner, and how to be my own advocate.

I deeply empathize with your position and you deserve to be happier. I hope this experience of mine might give you some vicarious experience to draw from, and I encourage you to consider making a change.

You're getting a lot of unsolicited advice here, from folks who mean well but all of us here can't know the particulars of your situation.

That you're posting this on HN suggests that you would really like to have someone to talk to about this, at the very least to feel heard about it.

From personal experience, consider a therapist for a while - starting just on your own. There's nothing wrong with you, but you're in a sticky situation and are unhappy, and you're worried about the implications for your daughter and your own longevity. It can be really nice to have someone to talk through this stuff with, especially when it might be tough to talk with your wife about it, at least at this point, if she's causing the problem. I don't know about you, but it helps me mentally figure out what to do when I can talk about it, and (good) therapists are good at pulling our thoughts out and letting us think about all the angles.

It's pretty low stakes, and while they do cost some money, it's not a ton (compared to the horses!). And it can really help you think through the particulars of your situation over time, which it's tough for any of us here on HN to do, and when it's time to do the tough stuff - like broaching the subject with your wife - you have got someone in the therapist who knows the background and can help you deal with any fallout.

Good luck. You deserve a happy life. Your daughter deserves a good future. We only get one shot at this.

Yes, agreed. I want to add, "You can’t pour from an empty glass of water.” Fill your cup first, take care of yourself, then your daughter, otherwise you might harm both.

I agree with the other comments that you need to do something, but I'm going to disagree with that you should jump to divorce as the first step. You haven't said what you have already tried, so I suggest:

1) telling her how you feel, in the form of "I feel X when you do Y". For example, "I feel unvalued when you spend more on your horse than we do on the mortgage. I feel scared for our kid's future when you prioritize your expensive horse over saving for his/her education. I feel trapped when you spend the money I make without deciding together how to spend it." It can be hard to know exactly how these actions make you feel unless you've practiced thinking about it, so you might want to write it down and revise it over a week or two. Also, depending on how your wife takes feedback, you might want to have discussions of just one at a time.

2) marriage counseling.

3) setting boundaries: "my standard of being treated is <...>" and take steps to "enforce" them. The easier levels are along the lines of "I want to be talked to respectfully, so I will leave the room when you do not, but when you are ready to talk respectfully, come and get me." I'm not sure how you communicate "I think our budget should look 25% house, 20% food/clothes, 10% retirement, 10% kids education, etc, which leaves $X for optional things like horse; if you need more than that you'll need to get a job" without being unilateral, though. But you have some financial values/boundaries that are being crossed and you need to communicate / enforce those.

4) It would be a bad sign if your wife didn't respond positively to any of the above. However, even in that case you could get counseling for yourself on how to respond healthily, and you are also likely to get insight into why your wife is behaving this way (the counselor might notice consistent signs of co-dependency, for instance).

5) Read pre-modern stories about how spouses handled toxic behavior. (The quasi-mythic ones that start off "There was once a woman in ... whose husband ...") I've read a few Japanese stories about wives that change the incentives for their husbands and they stop being drunkards and start being productive. (There's fewer stories the other way, but those exist, too.) Some of these stories are quite creative solutions; maybe something like that would work with your wife.

Don't just stay stuck and miserable, though. There are many ways to defeat the giants.

You need to change something. Other people have better advice, or at least specifics due to personal experience. But I can see that you are living in resentment and hell. There is no way your relationship with your wife is healthy. You've got a kid right? That child is watching you two and learning what it means to be in a relationship. They pick up on stuff left unsaid, you aren't hiding anything successfully (if you are indeed trying to hide these feelings).

Would you want your child to grow up to feel the way you do now? You're giving them the lesson plan right now.

As a married woman, I’d say leave ASAP. Your mental health is most important to a fulfilling life. People marry the wrong person every day. Divorce is the way out of this situation. Judges are more realistic today about women and their plots. Write down and document everything. Find a couples therapist so you have on record you are trying to make the marriage work for everyone. The therapy will either make your wife “grow up” and perhaps better your relationship or it will show her inability to deal with reality of marriage as a working relationship. Don’t be the guy that hates his life. There is the right person for you out there. Take that first step for your own sanity. Her parents can help her out financially. She knows this too!

Get a divorce attorney now, because you'll need one later.

For now, just because you're married doesn't mean you have to have complete sharing of finances. Get your finances completely separate. Create your own bank account; have your salary go there. Cancel any shared credit cards. Lock your credit report so new accounts cannot be made using your social security.

Then, offer to pay 1/2 the mortgage each month; or, better yet, let her pay the full amount from her own wages.

I am also an avid equestrian but support myself and my hobby on my own (which also costs more than my share of the rent). And I have to admit, I feel a bit envious of those who managed to make a fool work and sustain them without caring the smallest amount. But I hope it will bite her back the day you will leave her because you sound too miserable to stay in this relationship.

You seriously need to consider pulling the rip cord. Life is not worth being a miserable wallet.

To what end? There is no award for Longest Suffering Person, just a life of wasted opportunities. The repercussions and coping mechanisms are likely to only get more destructive the longer you put off dealing with misery. May you find your bliss, internet stranger.

> There is no award for Longest Suffering Person, just a life of wasted opportunities.

Welp, I know what I'm going to be lying here thinking about for the next several hours.

You're in big trouble there, friend. This website may help save your ass http://www.realworlddivorce.com/

You sound pretty miserable, with unempathetic partner you obviously resent, why are you with her?

Feel this comment in my bones bro. Right there with you.

Either dump her ass or go 100% OfficeSpace on her and stop caring about being responsible and focus on enjoying life.

How did this happen to you?

Everyone is blind to that which they do not do.

I've seen couples drift apart pretty quickly once their daily experiences diverge.

If she spends all day working at an office, and he spends all day homemaking and with the kids, then each forgets what the other really does.

"The office" becomes an abstract place that someone just goes and isn't stressful at all. "The home" and "the kids" just magically take care of themselves and don't require much work.

Dual income has its own problems, but it seems a healthier default in terms of reminding people that work is... work.

Quarantine and work-from-home has also had an enlightening impact in this regard.

he got married

Watch American beauty. Do that.

You should consider a divorce.

Start converting everything to Monero coin.

I can relate to this but my wife is attractive, smart, honest and loyal so it seems like a fair trade. I earn all the income, do most of the house chores, spend almost nothing on myself, buy her almost everything she wants, move to whatever country she wants to go, I let her win all arguments (including arguments about who does the most chores). Thankfully when she sees me getting overly stressed, she gives me some slack. She even stayed with me after we ran out of money (I say we because we share all bank accounts) - Running out of money is the best test for a relationship.

Jesus, so jealous of you all's wives. I've always worked full time, even made more than my ex and put all my earnings to common family bank account.

My wife is almost 100% consumer and I'm almost 100% producer. She latched on to me the second we met. She initiated. I was a poor and shy college student at the time so it was quite a shock for me to suddenly receive so much attention. It's like she knew something about me that nobody else knew, not even myself. It's like she could see through everything and see the pure productive potential.

If you don't mind me asking, what does your wife spend her time on?

She spends a lot of time at home reading books (mostly non-fiction) and browsing the net (she reads a lot of online articles about a wide range of topics) and chatting with her friends on social media (most of her friends live in different countries because we traveled a lot). We do a lot of outdoor activities together but aside from that she doesn't like to do much. We both spend most of our time at home because I work remotely. She hates working or doing anything productive. She even tried painting once and is good at it but she could never be an artist as she is allergic to the idea of earning money.

That is funny shit! Looks like a spin-off scenario of The Stepford Wives!

From reading your other replies, if you're staying in it for the kids; don't. If my parents were deeply unhappy with each other I'd much prefer they went their separate ways than to suffer through the marriage just for me.

Agreed. Also, you're actually hiding the kid from the support they need by staying married. They're not considered a child of divorced parents, yet they might live the worst lives of all. People who live together but don't like each other aren't exactly good parental role models, and they also hog the opportunity for others (go dating!). Staying together means children don't get the support, and parents don't get the support/ suffocate. If this is happening, do you really think your child is currently getting a fair childhood?

Aren't you and your wife sharing responsibility equally or proportionally at least? It is unfair for one partner to bear the brunt of stress and the other to thrive. Sounds like some compromises need to be made here.

Relationships aren’t 50/50. A common misconception that came along with other great ideas of the 70s like pet rocks.

I can safely say that I feel we're at 50% with bonus of feeling that it's more like 100%/100% :-)

Ironic, coming from someone with such nickname. :)

Relationships aren't 50/50 in each area, but the effort across everything should be similar on both sides. Otherwise someone is taking advantage of their partner, imho.

She feels she is.

Do you let her know that you don't feel the same way?

Yep. She doesn't really care. She says nonsense stuff. Like I should get a different job. But we can't move, so my options are limited. I pay all the bills and would need to take a pay cut if I switched jobs, so we would have to at least sell the current house and move to an much smaller one.

Another good example is that she said I should keep my nice car and keep doing track days when she found out I was going to sell it. Well, were getting married and having a kid. With what money am I expected to do all this? It had to be sold for the budget to work.

You don't have to be a victim. If you earn x, and she earns y, it's perfectly OK in a relationship to get a job that pays only y. I think your wife doesn't want you to be a victim either, maybe she is just not good with finance. You can be happy in a smaller house as well.

"You can be happy in a smaller house as well."

I can be. She complains about our current 1800sf house being too small.

Then she can sell her horse.

Good relationships require clear communication and some semblance of equality.

If you're serious about staying with her, then you need to balance your needs against hers. It's a perfectly valid thing to say "I hate my job. I'm looking for one I enjoy more that pays less. If that happens, I won't be able to pay for your horse. If you want to keep your horse, we need to find a way to balance the budget."

Either she cares about you and has never developed financial muscles, in which case you two can get through with some hard decisions and be happier.

Or she doesn't care about you, and you should split.

(Said as a child of divorce)

You should stop being a victim. You should simply get a lower paying job at a cheap location and remove her from your credit card.

Stand up for yourself!

Too late for that. I'm stuck with this.

It's never too late. Overturning old trends is uncomfortable for sure, but definitely not impossible.

If you control all of the coffers, you should get to choose where you live. Sounds like your relationship is dreadfully unbalanced at the moment.

If I choose where to live, then I will be divorced and have no money and still be stuck in the same area if I want to see my kid at all.

While my wife and I are mostly eye-to-eye on bills, etc., we are in a disagreement on where to live. We live in Texas, a state I loathe. I'm not from here. I grew up in Europe. My wife is from this area. She makes twice what I make. Both of us love the scenery and overall PNW vibe. I have been trying for years to get my wife to move. She finds every excuse in the book. Meanwhile, neither of us are getting younger. Our daughter is graduating HS soon. This leaves a kid in the house for several more years. Once my daughter is off on her own, I suggested being able to downsize (no real opposition there), maybe buy a nice double-wide trailer on our own land (no real opposition), and save money on taxes, etc., in the PNW close to a fairly large conurbation where we could work.

It's tough trying to get someone to see your PoV. Maybe do a spreadsheet with numbers to show her how you could get ahead elsewhere, keeping in mind her hobby. Big houses suck. Literally. Ours is ~2500sf and the upkeep is ridiculous. Maybe sell it as, "we could both do more with our respective hobbies if we had a cheaper outlay every month. We can only be in one room at a time, so having a lavish house is more to impress others than for our own benefit. I encourage you to pursue your hobby (within reason/set a budget maybe). Set a budget for you both outside of essential spending (housing/utilities/medical) and stick to it. I now no longer buy computers. I buy RPis and do things with them. They have a command line. I'm happy. My wife gets her happiness from attending sports games of our children. Her other hobby is gaming. Sell the idea of moving to a cheaper state with less taxes/cheaper property taxes and downsizing but keeping her hobby. It's all about compromise (but not your dignity). Remember, love is not a sentiment or emotion, it's an act of the will. Love wills the good of the other for the other. Find a way to make you both "happy" while giving you both what you want. I'm sure a nice, expensive house with high taxes and ugly upkeep costs would take a back seat to your wife's hobby (at least I would hope it would). Chart it out with numbers and present them. You owe it to yourself to stand up and set the tone, but do so with respect and tangible ideas that you can execute on. Everyone has great ideas, but almost no one can execute on them well.

As someone from the Gulf South who lived in the PNW for most of a decade:

There is a not insignificant chance your Southern wife will be incredibly miserable in the PNW. It is gorgeous and green but it is also grey, and if your wife has not lived in similar conditions before, it is very possible that the lack of Actual Sun will start giving her heavy seasonal depression.

A huge sun lamp will help. So will regular megadoses of vitamin D. But she may be like me and find that even with that, the urge to kill herself gets louder and louder every winter.

I moved back to my very culturally weird Southern birthplace a couple of years ago and that urge completely vanished.

Thank you for the information. Fortunately, we are both overcast lovers, so the SAD angle would likely not play a huge role. Growing up in Europe myself, I prefer 9 months of overcast and rain. I'm at a high risk for skin cancer, so this features into my desire to move as well. For my wife, the primary reason is that her parents are here. She doesn't want to leave them, which I can understand, but at the same time, they are loaded and want for nothing. My parents are long gone, so I have zero attachment to the area other than my wife.

Ah good, I wanted to make sure that angle had been considered. I was super surprised at how insidious it was for me!

Good luck finding a way to make both of you happy with where you live. :)

You might have a reasonable case for custody. Talk to a lawyer.

She's as stuck with you as you are with her. You are allowed to stand up for yourself.

Eh, the courts seem to be notoriously biased, so I doubt she's equally stuck.

No matter how rigged the courts are, it can't be worse than spending 100% of your money taking care of the two of you. You'll still need to stay in the same city for custody, but at least you can switch to a less stressful job.

Also, you should keep your eyes peeled for remote jobs.

"...but at least you can switch to a less stressful job."

Nope, the courts will force child support and probably alimony based on the current job rather than some lower paying job one might get during/after any divorce.

How much lower paying are we talking about here?

Alimony probably isn't going to be a big deal, since I'm assuming by the age of your child you haven't been married for too long.

This is not good advice but as you stuck. Learn to lie and be manipulative.

Bs. You choose to be stuck. Resist.

Not looking to divorce since we have a kid.

At this point you're participating in your own abuse. Your relationship is unbalanced and objectively broken. If you're unwilling to entertain any realistic solutions then you're wasting everyone's time complaining about it.

You should seek out real help, either a therapist or marriage counselor. There's no actual reason for you to stay in your current broken state. Your made up reasons are equal parts bullshit and naivety.

This comment right here %100

I wasn't going to jump into this thread and I don't want to turn this into "Relationship News" but, I feel like I need to let you know.

I grew up with divorced parents who were together longer than they should've been and let me tell you, kids know. They absolutely know when their parents are together but can't stand each other and what's worse, they may assume it's their fault.

And to support you but from the other side:

I grew up with parents who divorced when I was 18 months old when it became clear they did not love each other anymore. But they both wanted the best for me, and didn't do the petty shit I've heard about other couples where they shit-talked each other to the kid or something. They split time with me evenly.

They both eventually got re-married and are very happy and I have no regrets about how my childhood went in that regard.

Seconding. Furthermore, please don't feel like you gotta stay together "for the kid". At least ask the kid whether they care. My parents asked me. I told them I didn't care.

The kid is 2, so they don't really know.

Looks like you are less than 10 years into the marriage. Get out ASAP. You are stuck with alimony for basically half the length of your marriage. Unless it exceeds 10 years. Then you are stuck for life.

I think that varies by state.

Wow, those are some crazy laws. Child support is mandatory around here, and follows well defined rules, but spousal support ("alimony") is much less well defined and (in my limited understanding) less common and shorter lived.

Edit: "around here" being Australia and New Zealand

Know, soon.

Hopefully for them you've sorted this one way or another in the next year or so.

Kids are more perceptive than anyone gives them credit for.

Look get a lower paying job in a cheaper location and move. This will lower your monthly alimony payments.

You are choosing to be a victim here.

"Family as the main instrument of cost control" - now that is bleak :D

You know what, if you don't want to have kids because they're too expensive - do not have kids!

Too many parents don't want to be in the position they're in for whatever reason and didn't take the time to figure out whether they really want to have kids.

Yeah, if one thinks that kids are expensive they're probably making the right decision of not having any. It is true having that children require changes in the parents lives, which are not only financial, a lot of time gets sunk into family and children. One must enjoy it. I personally do though I can't say I would've said the same thing before having my family, I did not know what it would be like. There is a great positive side and that is the great reward this brings. My life took a different turn for sure and it is for the better.

There's a term for this (anyone know?) - when someone says life has improved and attributes it to specific events when really it would have improved on any number of other paths they could've taken too. The underlying factor is that "time passed and things happened".

You imagine the alternative as staying in the spot you were in, but of course that's impossible. There are all kinds of random encounters and unknown unknowns that would have happened.

I was on a stagnant personal development trajectory for a while and having a family unleashed stored potential. It is impossible to know exactly how things would have turned out in an alternate reality but if I feel that things took a better turn and that is enough for me to feel satisfied.

That's a good way to put it, and I don't doubt you. It's just that the childless are frequently spoken to as if getting a family is the only way to unleash this potential, and I want to provide a counter-view.

Oh, I was responding from my personal experience. Some people have other priorities and are currently doing well the way they are and that is perfectly fine by me.

Being aware that they're expensive (although my child is much less expensive than my spouse) doesn't necessarily mean not having them, it just means having them with your eyes open.

I find that the highest expense, at least in the early years, is time.

I think it's only genuinely bleak if your starting position is that family is assumed, rightful, and ineluctable - and electing to not head down that path is purely a fiscal decision.

Agreed, and I didn't meant to suggest that it's purely a fiscal decision, just that there _are_ fiscal elements that one should be aware of.

Kids are not that expensive. You do not have to send them to college, you just have to love them, teach them, care for them. Sure you will have to buy more food, and you might need a bigger house/apartment.

My opinion only- For the middle class going to college is not seen as optional. Doing the same expensive activities as the other middle class kids is not seen as optional. There are millions of working class people in the US with good lives, but most middle class people would never seriously consider not following middle class norms.

So raising a kid who's middle or upper class is actually quite expensive, and that's part of why low income and high income families have more kids than middle income families. https://qz.com/1125805/the-reason-the-richest-women-in-the-u...

Not paying for your kid's college doesn't mean they don't go to college. I went to a very respectable state university with loans that I paid off within 3 years after graduating. I've worked at some of the top companies in the world. It's very attainable and not unreasonable.

Totally agree. You can graduate from your state school with <$100k in debt easily. You can get much lower debt levels if you don't stay in the expensive dorms (with expensive meal plans) after your freshman year, if you plan ahead and graduate in 4 years, and if you apply for many local/state scholarships (in my experience the national scholarships are a waste of time).

As an engineering student, you can also get paid internships each summer (can often pay >$10k) or can be a paid research assistant for a professor during the year for ~10 hours week (pays for groceries each week).

Or you can go in the Air Force, be a "civilian in uniform" (Air Force is really easy), and have Uncle Sam pay for your degree at night while you get free room and board, free meals, free medical and dental. It's an option for those people not opposed to military service. The AF really is an easy row to hoe. Personal experience. Show up with a clean uniform, good attitude, and everything is easy peasy lemon squeezy. My military service paid for my own degree. Nothing says crappy life like emerging from university behind the power curve because you're in massive debt, paying back student loans while struggling to pay rent, medical costs, transportation costs, ad astra... Start your working career not in debt. Just my 0.02.

Editing to say that if you make the military a career, you can literally save almost your entire salary if your personal peccadilloes are minimal. I knew guys that decided 4 years was enough and emerged after 4 years with over 50k in savings while paying nothing and they also got the BA/BSc degree on Uncle Sam's dime. They emerged debt free, degreed, and ready to start the next stage of their lives. Doing 8 years gets you a masters all the while doing nothing but work a job with everything paid for. At that rate, you might as well do 20, marry another member and have a steady retirement at 39 or 40 with money enabling you to pursue a job you really love because you can afford to live where you want. Bonus: Tri-Care military medical costs $500 year on retirement. Cannot touch that out here.

You can get much lower debt levels if you don't stay in the expensive dorms (with expensive meal plans) after your freshman year,

As someone who lived off-campus the entire time and regretted it, I do think that spending at least freshman year in dorms is a really good idea to make friends and get to know the school's culture and environment.

if you plan ahead and graduate in 4 years, and if you apply for many local/state scholarships (in my experience the national scholarships are a waste of time).

My advice to my younger self would also be to take more student loans so I wouldn't have to work. I had to work to pay tuition, but working made keeping up with school impossible. Catch 22.

> My advice to my younger self would also be to take more student loans so I wouldn't have to work. I had to work to pay tuition, but working made keeping up with school impossible. Catch 22.

This is counter to my experience. I was able to work part-time jobs just fine, and having that experience made me a much more competitive candidate upon graduation.

Depends on a lot of factors -- morning vs. night chronotype, how close work is to school, how close school and work are to housing, how many hours work demands, whether your landlord is insane and kicks you all out with 3 days notice right before the semester to rent to a family, etc.

I would still have worked most if not all of my summers, but never more than 5 hours a week during the semesters. My job, which I actually really liked, demanded 20, which also required another 6-10 hours commuting on top of 5-8 hours of commuting to school.

I had also worked in tech for a year before starting school, so I was a bit less worried about having experience to list. And in the end it didn't matter because I started a company and ran that for 5 years instead.

At least for me, the key was to keep it capped at 10 hours a week. With more hours than that I would have struggled to balance coursework, social life, work, and sleep.

You definitely can't pay for everything on 10 hours a week, but it at least pays the bar tab...

This is pretty much my own history, too. (I think I took three years to pay them off, too!) And yet, many--I'd say most--people out there don't want to be computer programmers or work in other technical fields. They still need degrees to be employable at all in most fields, and with the state of student debt, it's pretty reckless to just roll out claims like the ones you've made.

Reckless how? The point was to go to an affordable state school, not to just indiscriminately get loans to fund a $300k degree from the Art Institute.

"Affordable" is doing a lot of work there, particularly when before you didn't say "affordable" and did say "very respectable".

I went to a "very respectable" public land-grant university in my home state and today that school costs $15K a year outside of room and board ($35K/year for out-of-state), and students should live on-campus at minimum the first year--so let's say, best case, you're looking at $70K for in-state. Plus living expenses, and despite your claims elsewhere in-thread I can personally attest that part-time jobs even ten years ago took a bite out of but did not solve the problem of food, board, etc.--so we're probably talking closer to $100K when all is said and done.

Even if you assume some defraying of costs, a student loan bill of $50K (which was about what I left school with) is staggering for many non-technical folks, coming out of college looking at salaries closer to $40K than $100K when they can find a job at all. Further, the knock-on effects are financially hazardous. If you end up on income-based repayment because, y'know, jobs are hard to find unless you're a computer toucher and even then there probably aren't enough for everybody, you will be paying less-than-interest, and the principal only grows.

Put frankly, I would advise the cultivation of more empathy for those not as economically advantaged as you or me. This stuff is staggeringly, mind-wreckingly expensive for people who aren't in tech, and yet functionally required because of the structures we have allowed to be built.

I think affordable was implied by "state".

> This stuff is staggeringly, mind-wreckingly expensive for people who aren't in tech, and yet functionally required because of the structures we have allowed to be built.

Society has always worked this way. Those who have rare skills get paid the most. Supply and demand and what not. Universities are gateways to advanced skills, especially in traditional occupations where equipment is often expensive (medical, chemical, mechanical, etc). The reason you go to a university is so that you can get advanced skills in order to make an advanced salary. It makes no sense to go to a university by default and come out with a degree that doesn't teach you advanced skills that get you a high wage. If the jobs that your degree are going to get you aren't going to pay for what that degree cost you then you made a poor decision by taking on that debt.

This sort of thing is why I believe basic economics should be a hard requirement in high school. You shouldn't be able to get a high school diploma without understanding the mechanisms of debt/leverage. So many people have screwed themselves over because they don't understand that the only reason to ever take on debt is to use it as leverage so that you can earn even more than the debt you took on. Any other reason is foolish.

It's really sad when you think about it, so many people would be way better off if they knew the definition of leverage. Such a simple concept, yet so powerful (it's funny how knowing about leverage gives one so much leverage in life).

> The reason you go to a university is so that you can get advanced skills in order to make an advanced salary.

Most of your post is pretty good, but I laughed aloud at this, tbh. The reason you go to a university is because your resume gets thrown out for almost any desk job--hell, for Starbucks--if you don't have a bachelor's.

It is functionally necessary. These aren't "rare skills". These are employer-mandated minimums, and it leaves people with that inflated student debt, encouraged and pushed upon them by their parents and by the expectations of society, to subsidize those employers' demands.

Man, that's weird. US really is different to our North-European way of life.

We are middle class and have two kids but our kids have close to no hobby expenses. Our son is vehemently anti-hobby and daughters dance and piano lessons are not really that expensive. On the other hand we have no-one close for whom we should "keep up appearances".

Government will pay for the kids degrees. Ditto for healthcare and the dentists for kids are excellent.

I know some kids play hockey or whatever and that can be a bit steep but never have I felt such would be a mandatory hobby. Neither of my kids really showed interest for any team sports and we gladly obliged not to force introduce them.

Sure you need to buy food for 4 persons and wash a bit more laundry, but that's about it when I think of the "overhead" caused by kids. The necessity for an apartment with a few more rooms is probably the biggest financial burden but loans are cheap.

The fact only one of us is capable of working due to health reasons is a much bigger issue financially than having kids.

It’s not the US, it’s a certain income bands in the US. This forum is probably full of many people who earn at least $100k per year, if not much more, and are likely to be partnered up with someone earning the same. Naturally, if you’re hanging out with people that have a lot of disposable income, they’re going to use that to give their kids as much of a leg up as they can to maximize their kids’ chances of moving up to the next step on the ladder.

They're also tend to blow money on things that have no real use whatsoever yet they fervently believe they are absolutely necessary to live a normal life even though 95+% of the planet lives without them.

Some things, but I think it's evident that the neighborhood/friends/schools/network you make are a big factor in one's upward mobility, so parents are willing to part with a lot of money to increase those odds.

Eh. It's pretty clear that people blow huge money on all sorts of shit that they think makes a different but doesn't in reality.

But it is optional. There's social pressure for all kinds of things, including getting married and having children.

You have to figure out how to get food & shelter and follow local laws. Everything else is unequivocally optional. I would argue that "not seen as optional" is just a way of saying "I don't own up to my choices."

Agreed with not sending them to college. My wife and I are not paying for college. I have a daughter who is getting close to graduating HS. She has two choices: get a local job and attend the local university or go in the military and have Uncle Sam pay for it. I did the latter many moons ago and I'm glad I did. These days, if you are disciplined, you can go in the Air Force, for example, and get your degree in less than 4 years almost free. If you hate it after four years, you leave debt free, have veteran status and hiring preferences, and you paid nothing for your medical/dental/lodging/food. If you like it, go back in as an officer and still not pay for anything other than a tiny officer housing sum for single officers. If you marry an officer and do 20 years, you can salt away some serious cash and still be young enough at retirememt (39-40 yo) to get a second gig. If the government doesn't ruin Social Security, you'll get that, too. All the while not paying for medical or dental, two things which out in the civilian world are costly. Just my 0.02.

Editing to say that kids are not too expensive if they're healthy. If you have children who have medical conditions, then all bets are off. What really pisses me off is the local school district always begging for money. I pay those thieves almost over $5000 year in property tax, since we live in an area with ridiculous property taxes. Whenever I've visited the school and my children have also seen this, they beg for school supplies, but the closets in all of my kid's classrooms are brimming with supplies. They spend more on sports than they do on education, which really irks me. Sports may be important, but nowhere near as education. 1% of 1% go on to play pro sports, but here they act as if sports are more important. Classes are let out early to watch games, yet the school district where we live is a poor performer academically. My own children are fine, but that's because we watch and are involved.

Kids are not that expensive

Colleague I knew in London literally spent more on daycare for his two kids than he did on his mortgage.

The other option is that one parent quits their job and stays home, but that is also a massive (opportunity) cost if you're both educated and have a decent career.

Strictly speaking the problem isn't that the kid is expensive, it is that, per your two options, 1) childcare is expensive, and 2) London / their spending habits are too expensive to support a stay-at-home parent. There are lots of other choices that one can make, although they are problem not the common choices. They might actually be happier with some of the other choices, from stories I hear of people that sat down and thought about other options.

It really has nothing to do with being able to support a stay-at-home parent or not. If you're bringing home 100k a year and quit your job to raise kids then the opportunity cost of having kids is 100k a year. The fact that you can afford to 'lose' that money doesn't change that.

Now you may think it's worth 'paying' 100k a year to gain all the non-monetary benefits of staying at home and raising kids, but that is a separate discussion.

My experience- I had my first kid when I was totally broke. Working multiple minimum wage jobs. Everything was thrift store, hand-me-down, government assistance. Instead of child care, I worked every day and night so our kids could be with their mother.

As I built my career, my lifestyle inflated, and so did the kid’s expenses. We make in 3 days what used to take us a month.

The kids get to share our lifestyle with us. It’s probably different for us because we’ve never been well off + not have kids.

More food+bigger house probably adds $400-$1000/month to your budget.

Also, kids need doctors, interests (books or toys), durable goods (clothes and furniture) and more to thrive.

Funny you mention this. I live near Houston, Texas, soon to be, if not already, the 3rd largest city in America. What I'm seeing around me in north Houston burbs is somewhat disturbing, namely two things: 1. An outbreak of RV parks (6 near me in less than two years) 2. An outbreak of tiny home parks (Several in my area). What pains me is driving by the RV parks, where entire families are living in an RV not much larger than my kitchen and I see kids boarding the school bus. Some of you may disagree, but that is no way for a child to grow up. While I don't have anything against this per se, the stigma of that lifestyle can damage children. The rotten-ass kids at school make terrible fun of children who live in trailer parks, RV parks, tiny homes. Of course this is no fault of the children in those conditions, as they have no say in how they live, only in how they perform at school. This area lives and dies by oil and gas jobs. It's likely no accident that in the last couple of years, those jobs have bottomed out and many people have lost their jobs. I don't know if there is a correlation between the job losses (tens of thousands) and the number of cheaper housing accommodations springing up, but it's real and it's somewhat disturbing to see so many people in a down-and-out state.

Editing to say that these are not the $500,000 RVs that retired people holiday in. They are kitchen-sized campers (for lack of a better term) that may be the size of 6-8 cubicles. They need outside water connections which many don't have, and they almost always need propane attachments. Many have composting toilets which the owner needs to clean out, as they cannot connect to the sewer lines.

Consider introducing yourself to those people and asking them about their experiences.

An acceptable daycare for the "professional, white collar" class is minimum $1,500 per child per month and doctor visits are at least $200 or $250 out of pocket each time for regular viral/bacterial infections.

Kids aren't cheap if you want to keep up with your socioeconomic class. And by far the biggest cost is the extra you pay for a house to be located near other high earners so that the schools your kids go to is filled with kids of other high earners.

That's only true in the US of course...

I make less money than someone in the US, but daycare for me is 250 euro (it was 500 until 3 years old) and public daycare would be cheaper still. Visiting the doctor for a random virus brought back from school costs exactly 0 (a private visit would be around 100 euros). An orthodontist, if needed, would be the only major expense for a child apart from clothing and food.

University will be about 4000 euros a year at most (and would be cheaper if I earned less).

I start to think that I’m really lucky in central Europe. All those things (daycare, doctor, dentist) are free here. Even university is free.

What doctors are you going to!? Do you not have medical insurance?

Gold level HSA qualifying high deductible BCBS health plan with $7,500 out of pocket maximum and $3k deductible.

I’ve never known a doctor to charge less than $200 per visit with or without insurance.

Kindergartens are quite pricey all over the world, so that's 3-4 years of approximately double rent / mortgage

Our kindergartens (Finland) practically cost nothing (expect a small fee mostly as a formality).

A large emotional/spiritual investment... And financially as well, especially considering the cost of child care nowadays. Tax breaks help (in US), but not that much.

Sure, you don't have to send them to college, but if you don't help them pay for some sort of education or training after high school, you're doing them a massive disservice if you can afford it at all.

You may say, oh well they can just get loans, true, but you can only get so much in federal loans before you have to get private, non dischargeable loans for ~ 7% interest.

Alternatively, you might say oh, they can just join the military. Only problem is the Air Force and Navy don't want little Johnny and now he's getting blown up doing patrols with the 3rd ID in Iraq (I lost my childhood best friend this way).

TLDR: If you don't want to help your kid pay for college or trade school, just don't have them. No one should have to go deeply in debt or put their lives at risk to earn a decent living.

Partner especially, you can always raise children on a budget.

Yeah but chances are once you try, you realize it's no fun for either of you and your incentives change towards more lucrative jobs.

My partner is also a limiting factor on the budget on which our child can be raised :-/

Generally true. It gets more complicated if they have medical issues or a disability.

In that case, in the US you need to live in a state with a good medicaid program and infrastructure.

> good medicaid program

Except, the minute you make any money, you lose this.

Many people would qualify for CHIP. But of course that only applies while they are children. If they are disabled, then they would likely qualify for social security and medicaid as adults depending on the severity type. The real issue is that they may need help with the administration of the benefits or with things not covered after the parents pass away.

Social security disability is incredibly difficult to live on. Depending on the individual's work history it can pay as little as $700/month. The average beenfit is $1263 but it's only that high because most people claiming it became disabled but had (or their spouse had) a productive work History before that. People with lifelong disabilities will be well below that.

You can supplement with part-time work but that only gets you so far. As soon as you start making money on disability, you lose 1 dollar for every two. And the most you can make is $1260/month. At that point you lose Medicaid and any progress you've made is lost because insurance is way more than you are making.

You effectively top out at $1263 + $1260/2 = $1893/month. Rent is going to claim 1/3 to 1/2 that.

Yes, US disability and far too many government benefits are setup in a way that can actively discourage people from self improvement or trying harder.

Where are the fade outs, and the incentives that will reward you for getting off the system, rather then punish you? It's a subject for a different thread at a different time.

Depends on the state and the issue. (Emphasis on GOOD medicaid program.)

For example in Pennsylvania:


You can't get non-state insurance for hearing aids for kids, and they aren't cheap.

Yep. Hearing aids are excluded on almost all health plans, it's ridiculous. Hearing tests too.

…in the US.

isn't that why the US salaries are higher? move to US get paid fat stacks, then when health suffers you have some more $$$ to stay alive with

Most serious medical costs will far outstrip the increased salary. Usually you use that increased salary to pay some crazy insurance premiums/deductibles.

Nonono spend your fat stacks so you can qualify for Medicare and financial aid faster when the wolves come for everything

In theory. In practice, some health issues costs hundreds of thousands or even millions (cancer, heart bypass...)

The highs are higher and the lows are lower than in other developed countries

Yes and no. Acute health care may be free in Canada, but even here, money has a particularly substantial effect on your quality of life if you're disabled.

Sure, most important thing is to know yourself and your preferences.

In complex technical niche fields jumping from gig to gig is not that easy, though.

I was perhaps overtly bleak in the above for the benefit of clarity (it's ok not to love your job, but it's also ok to concentrate on things you love and the thing does not need to be your job).

I'm surprised once again by the nice and helpful community on HN. I anticipated most comments would be people telling me to get my head out of my ass and get to work.

I hope you find a way to chill through life.

I think you question is very sincere and VERY UNIQUE for this community because every other question is asking for the exact opposite. That's why there are a lot of interesting replies as well as a lot of interest in the question itself.

Is your hobby/"passions (which are not monetizable)" expensive? And are you 100% certain they are not monetizable?

In today's world, I have yet to see something which is not monetizable. Unless you are referring to something which is too competitive - even that can be monetized....though monetization itself might require too much work which goes against your requirement so I understand.

> And are you 100% certain they are not monetizable?

I learned that once I try to monetize my hobbies, there’s a very real risk that they become stressful and no longer fun and invigorating. Sometimes it’s best to keep hobbies as just hobbies.

Or, at least, make sure you have some hobbies that will only ever stay hobbies. Nothing wrong with trying to do monetize something you love, just don’t let it be the only thing you love to do, so you still have something when you have a stressful day doing the first thing.

This is one of the most important lessons driven people have to learn!

Yeah. I have since went out of my way to develop some new hobbies that have nothing to do with my work. I used to program a lot because it was fun (and I still do for fun every so often) but after doing it for work for many years, I often feel like its sucked much of the fun out. I can usually still enjoy working on stuff that's very different from the day to day (eg tinkering with 3D graphics), but I don't have quite the same level of drive and enthusiasm I once had.

So I picked up sleight of hand card tricks a few years ago as something to do that had nothing to do with computers and last year I started to learn to play the guitar. I have no intention of ever trying to monetize either of these hobbies. They're purely for fun, to relax.

I have other hobbies too, but too many revolve around computers or tech and after a long day in front of the screen, its good to get away and do something completely different.

there are also a lot of endeavors that at core are not compatible with profit/capitalism. meaning that as soon as you start monetizing them, that inevitably perverts the core incentive of said project on the long run and restrain the possible trajectories of evolution.

YMMV, but I've also found that treating all side projects as potential businesses sort of...takes the intangible quality of magic / fun / joy out of those side projects for me.

For OP: it's OK to not want to monetize everything you do, even if those things might potentially be monetizable (which most things are, as the parent comment mentioned) - past some point, the incremental value of really, truly enjoying more of your time can have way more value than even fairly large amounts of additional money.

Where that point lies exactly is a matter of debate, and probably depends greatly on how you place value on intangible experiences vs. tangible things. From experience, many people in the tech industry are well past this point but don't realize it, largely because we have a cognitive bias towards comparison with those around us. (Also, the above framing suggests strongly that we can learn to change where that point is for ourselves.)

> In today's world, I have yet to see something which is not monetizable.

Plenty of artists out there who love making art, and yet their art is simply not sellable. For many people this would be a source of disappointment, but for a lucky few they may realize they just enjoy creating art for its own sake, and not to sell it.

e.g. you like to play a lot of chess. So you COULD theoretically monetize it by making content about chess (youtube, ebooks etc.), maybe even do some events but still.. that's not the same as playing chess which is what is your hobby is about. Thus, making money with your hobby would then indeed not relate (much) to the actually fun part about the hobby. (although you can argue that working as a writer on your hobby is better than being a writer about something you're not that interested about. However, it might sour your hobby.)

Making a positive income on youtube is incredibly difficult. The competition is very high, the pay is pretty subpar, and the hours are long. You also need to take a few (yes, a few, not a couple) years off of your day job to work entirely on content and marketing to get your channel off the ground.

A topic like chess might take 60 hours a week of video editing over the course of years just to get to 4k/month in income IF you beat the nearest 10,000 competitors who are trying to make similar channels.

Really not a realistic option for most people.

> In today's world, I have yet to see something which is not monetizable.

This is the attitude that causes people like the author of The Great Suspender to sell out and betray the trust of everyone.


I believe that uBlock Origin fundamentally cannot be monetized without violating the spirit of the extension itself. It's meant to fight back against predatory monetization practices. We can only hope that gorhill will never believe the mantra that anything can provide a source of revenue if you just put your mind to it.

> In today's world, I have yet to see something which is not monetizable.

What about working on free software without compromises like ads or dual licensing (which does not usually help anyway)?

My job allows me to go back stage at Glastonbury and track-side visits at the Olympics, front seat views of royal weddings, orchestral pit on last night of the proms, and I have a fairly sedantry job of mostly pushing buttons.

Colleagues have spent days in jungles building bridges to drive cars over them, have got to know people living in random villages from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and share in their culture, have met and quizzed world leaders, have been to Antarctic bases, and have exposed and brought down criminal networks making lives miserable for thousands of people.

I guess you'd define that as "glorious toiling", but I could have 10m in the bank and never have to work again, but get to do very little of that.

> My job allows me to go back stage at Glastonbury and track-side visits at the Olympics, front seat views of royal weddings, orchestral pit on last night of the proms, and I have a fairly sedantry job of mostly pushing buttons.

I had a similar job once, where I worked in TV coverage of final table of WSOP (World Series of Poker). I was around the poker celebs at the time, preparing talking points for my boss who interacted with them, even have somewhere a photo of me sitting at the final table. My ultimate conclusion is... so what? Beyond a cool story to share with people interested in poker, there's little value in that for me, and I was a poker nerd then.

I'm unsure how this is a relevant reply. I guess if you interpret GP's comment as saying "I had a job that I could tell a lot of cool stories about," then you're right, that's not worth so much if all you get out of it is a "cool story bro."

But if you actually enjoyed living in those stories, then how can the ultimate conclusion be "so what?" Having an interesting and rich life that you enjoy is clearly a goal for many.

It seems like this person deeply values what they had the opportunity to do, while you don't care about poker.

in the end, everyones going to just figure out they should be doing yoga

I've done some travel for work in my life. I did an extended stay in the UK (I'm American) when I was young and it was pretty amazing. Many years later I had a gig that needed me to spend time in spots around the US and also some stays in East Asia. All business class and expense accounts in first-rate cities and I hated it. I'm older now and I have kids at home that I didn't get to see. Taking a business trip to Tokyo always seemed like the ultimate Business Guy thing to do but I spent 80% of my waking hours in conference rooms with salary men.

You value different things at different times in your life, but looking back I'm glad I got to experience those things because most people don't get the chance.

On a related note, I think what you might call "low income" service jobs are often more likely to put you in contact with those sorts of people than some middle class job. Sort of like being a maid. Maids work for the rich and the rich are more likely to be those sorts of people. So a maid is more likely to know one of those people than a middle class person and in a way that is quite personal (you're in their house, possible living under their roof). I know of cases like that involving well known people. Naturally, the perspective is more quotidian and more accurate than the kind of comical celebrity fantasies middle class people often believe.

My choice of expression was a bit clumsy.

By "toil" I did not mean a thing without a worth - a thing you find worthwhile is intrinsically valuable. I don't believe you can compute economic value to life experiences.

I would call toil anything that does not enable you to rise to the stage of self-actualization in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

But like I said my intent was not to present such a non-self actualizing job as bad, quite contrary.

If you have 10m in the bank and want to be involved in events at that level, you can be: we would just instead call you an executive producer.

> My job allows me to go back stage at Glastonbury and track-side visits at the Olympics, front seat views of royal weddings, orchestral pit on last night of the proms, and I have a fairly sedantry job of mostly pushing buttons.

Cool.... so what do you do?

Mostly broadcast contribution and networking. Take the London Marathon in October, nice simple job given it's covid with 6 outgoing video circuits to national and international - some via satellite, some via dual-fibre - 4 incoming circuits, about 16 bidirectional audio channels, wifi across the compound.

Most of it is sitting at home making sure everything runs fine -- today I was looking into a supposedly resilient SRT connection that's dropping every few days - incoming packets from two different suppliers stop at the same millisecond, but the far end (not mine) insist they are coming from two different devices (which I can't believe)

Sounds like some sort of audio tech?

What's your job?

Works at the BBC if I had to guess...

A lot of OBs are outsourced

What are ‘the proms’? And why would anyone want to sit through royal weddings

Major cultural event

And as for weddings about a million people lined the streets of London when Kate + William got married. Might not be your cup of tea, but horses for courses.

Ok. Major British cultural event. It would have been helpful to include that since (I assume) most HN readers are American. And I guess Royal weddings are more popular than I thought, at least in the UK.


> TV Ratings: 22.4 Million U.S. Viewers RSVP to Royal Wedding

Most HN readers should have been able to work out it was a non-American comment, based on the "royal wedding" event option even if unfamiliar with Glastonbury and the proms.

I think it says a lot about our society, that this comment is the most highly upvoted in a forum such as this.

It's clear that if we decided to let everyone's basic needs of food, shelter, healthcare, and transport be met unconditionally, the world would look very different. It would not cost us much, maybe even less than we pay in taxes now, but I feel certain it would make everyone's lives significantly better. The lack of unnecessary stress and "soul-destroying toil" that anyone would be forced to endure is surely worth it.

The only downside I see is that no one could get as extraordinarily rich as a very few people can today. I don't see how most of us can't be fine with that.

This situation seems ideal, but how would you get people to do the grunt work? This is one thing the current system takes care of with threats, for lack of better words.

What if it was rotated among "everyone"? I think people would be happy to do grunt work for a week (probably even a month or two) if it meant that they get all the rest of their time back to do what they want.

"I probably _appear_ motivated but I'm just a neurotic who hates failing." I feel seen.

> I'm basically in a job that is quite important for my org, I get compliments for good job, but I hate most aspects of my daily work since the tech stack is complex and fugly. I probably _appear_ motivated but I'm just a neurotic who hates failing. If I didn't need to feed and house my family I would have moved to a lower paying position long ago that is intrinsically more motivating.

I too hate failing. And many times end up working extra to get things done properly. This keeps me in very different position where my manager, team relies on me, praises me but end of day it takes toil on other parts of life. I have seen many people in my career, who just don't work, don't bother about product at all, do things at last moments, have literally zero affection for the craft and still survives in industry. I really envy them.

I am grateful to have good paying job in pandemic while many people laid off. But these days what I really need is to close my laptop at 5 pm WITHOUT ANY WORRY.

> I'm basically in a job that is quite important for my org, I get compliments for good job, but I hate most aspects of my daily work since the tech stack is complex and fugly

I think a lot of people can actually relate to this. IMHO, a good way to think about it is to consider that there's more granularity to work than a black-or-white "I like my job" / "I hate my job". Maybe you dislike meetings, but enjoy the feeling of triumph after fixing bugs, or maybe it's vice-versa. Maybe you enjoy helping coworkers get unstuck with your expertise despite working on a crappy stack. Maybe you take satisfaction in seeing the burndown chart go down each week, or maybe thinking about how to be a better tech interviewer is something that interests you. There's usually _something_ - even if it's a small trivial thing - that is nice about your day to day.

I often think of it in terms of parallels to meditation: honing self-awareness skills lets you realize small things that you might not have been aware of before. Walking to the supermarket might be a tiring chore, but hey look I never noticed that tree blooms beautifully in march, or hey I started to notice a small difference in my stamina, etc. You are in charge of your (limited) attention span, and you can choose to focus on the positive things - no matter how small - and let the rest naturally fall by the sidelines.

"Beyond that you are toiling, and if you like your job, it's glorious toiling like gardening (pleasing, but not important, but you love it, so it's great) or terrible toiling for living that eats your soul."

How beautifully put.

> Success and "loving your job" have nothing in common in my experience.

This was something I have been "feeling" to be true recently, but really needed some independent validation.

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