The points he makes speak from experience. It's a perspective that is too often ignored by younger generations: You can't always quit a job when the work gets boring -- sometimes you just have to push through the tedium if you want to be the best at what you do. This is a widely applicable bit of advice.
But the way this message is presented -- to chastise loren, the 20-something who quit AirBnB because he "got bored" -- is just plain arrogant.
In his post, loren went on to describe an environment where he was slowly pushed-out of the decision-making process. Where he went from being a passionately engaged team member to being a comfortably-paid code monkey. This was not just about getting bored -- his role in the company was changing, and his attempts to reverse the changes had little effect.
Sure, he could suck it up and adapt to the new role, becoming the best code monkey he could be. But maybe that didn't line up with his personal goals. Maybe loren quit because he wasn't being fulfilled.
Seems like a pretty smart reason to leave, if you ask me.
> "Burn out is just a rationalization for giving up early."
No, no it's not. This is a very dangerous line of thinking. If burn out to you means getting tired of mind-numbing tedium, you haven't experienced burn out. Actual burn out can be a very valid reason to "give up", or at the very least take an extended vacation. You can't just push through the physical symptoms of extreme stress and exhaustion, at least not without causing even more harm.
It's a complicated thing. I'd liken it to depression. Lots and lots of people constantly fret about being "depressed". Over time it became easy to dismiss depression as a legitimate illness. Apparently every time you feel sad you're depressed, the whole thing just loses its meaning.
It wasn't until I met someone who suffered from true clinical depression did I understand exactly the seriousness of it. The difference between someone feeling down and someone suffering from depression is stark. Hell it's pretty scary.
The same thing is true of "burning out". I've met several developers who have talked about burnout and cited it as a reason they just had to quit their job and backpack around Europe. Fair enough, you were clearly just tired of working and wanted to do something that's a bit more fun.
Then I met one (and thus far only one) person who truly burned out. That person became, much like someone suffering from depression, a shell of their former self. They became not just unresponsive but completely unable to respond. It was terrifying. They came to work and attempted to function, but they simply couldn't. The company simply rode them to the point that their brain seemed to turn off.
When you see it, you know it. That guy wasn't rationalizing anything. He had simply been pushed too hard for too long for his mind to keep up.
The company in question was from a VERY high-profile accelerator (not naming names!). The culture of pushing kids at maximum pace over long distances ended costing this company not only key employee but the bulk of their development team as well. After seeing it, no one wanted to be next.
I love the definition of burn out I've seen on HN a few months ago. Burn out is when you participate in high risk - high reward situation for a while and you end up on the losing side multiple times.
While many people claim that they have burnt out while they just are tired/bored/lazy, there are some really serious cases when it affects the life of the person in all areas and the person really needs some help and understanding, and rather fast.
I describe burnout is any time an individuals focus drops to the point that their work quality potentially becomes damaging rather than adding value.
Burnout, in my opinion, is the loss of ability to cope even with ordinary levels of difficulty and stress in the workplace. Someone who is burnt out no longer has any degree of confidence in their ability to achieve difficult objectives. And their ability to do productive work is diminished to a tiny fraction of what they were capable of before. It's not just that they are incapable of doing things that were at the limit of their ability before, it's also that tasks which were well within their grasp are now struggles, if they are able to do them at all.
It's fear, aversion, in some cases clinical depression, and loss of confidence. In many ways it bears a lot of similarity with PTSD or shell-shock: the most serious cases of burnout involve constantly reliving past failures or stresses at work, avoidance of triggers, anhedonia, increased irritability, lack of concentration, feelings of shame and hopelessness, etc. I'm not implying that PTSD and burnout are necessarily comparable life-events per se but it seems likely they share some cognitive pathways.
Tbh for me the fear of burnout is enough to leave a job. I don't want to hate/ be unable to program anymore.
This is the thing that strikes me the most. I'm fairly young still and have begun working at a company as a programmer. I've been there for about five months and can already say that this isn't where my passion lies. There's nothing wrong with trying to figure out where you really want to go in life and trying to achieve it. Not everyone gets it right on the first try, so to try and admonish people who quit when they "get bored" isn't the best attitude in my opinion. I don't think that's what this article was trying to say, but the author comes across as thinking that the only reason people quit a job after a year or two is because of boredom/lack of dedication when in reality it could simply be a part of the trial and error that is life.
I've cycled through "this isn't my passion" about 5 times in 15 years. And what I'm learning, very late, is that it can take about that long to understand the true nature of "passion," and years to develop enough facility, experience and comfort with a particular skill or vocation before you actually understand what it means to be truly at home in something that has become a part of you, probably through years of cycling through thoughts of "this isn't my passion."
"Passion," or the lack of, can be many things. It can be a deep-down intuitive feeling that you simply Don't Want To Do This Anymore. It's OK to feel that in your early 20s, or 5 months into your first gig. But, my 2c, don't give too much credence to it. Real passion happens most often with things that have beaten you down 4 or 5 times and finally have been overcome 'cause you kicked back. "Passion" happens most deeply with something that you love like a hometown, warts and all. Where people know you when you walk across the square, know which parts to avoid, and who has the best coffee. Programming, and really any vocation you chose is like a city. It's many things to many people, and rewards best those who practice a discipline of place.
So, I'd say, hold those things in tension: your gut feeling that this may not be for you, over and against the possibility that any new vocation you pursue will present the same roller-coaster of emotion: feelings of incompetence and boredom and futility, followed on by euphoric feelings of revelation, victory and at-homeness.
The trick is knowing whether you're just on the front end of that cycle, and when your gut is really telling you this isn't for you. For that -- talk to friends and coworkers. A lot, over long periods of time. But don't just go with a gut feeling.
I'll keep this in mind though, it strikes me as really good advice.
As a new-hire, you often don't get to do the most interesting work.
I might be biased, because I quit my stable but unfulfilling corporate job a few weeks ago; but after reading his post I have cancelled my Pluralsight $49/mo subscription. Maybe a pointless little rebellion, but I feel like the same message he directed at Loren could be directed at me :)
Haha! :D ... Long live the free market!
That makes me wonder if he forgot about the whole 'hey, what I say is practically PR for my entire company' thing. Maybe he was 'working too hard' at writing his blog to see that it may not be the smartest thing to say?
Hmmm, maybe he should heed the advice of people like young, stupid, naive, lazy, little and incompetent me when I say to not work hard BUT rather work hard AT working smart. ;)
I don't think you can call the guy lazy. He just decided to work real hard on something else.
Basically, startups probably don't work out. But if you bet on a lot of them, and do it well, you will make money from the few that do.
To found a startup is to make a bet that isn't favorable to you. You would do better to shoot for a lifestyle business. You are spending 1-5 years on a lottery ticket, when you could be buying an annuity with it instead.
The VC/incubator crowd, inciting young people who don't know how much 5 years out of your 20s is worth, to spend it making a bad bet that the VC ultimately wins.
(Your 20s set the tone for your future career, your first paycheck sets the subsequent ones, and they are the best time to find a good life partner.)
Once a startup gets funding, and pays the founders 100k a year, they are on the good side of the bet. There is an invisible mass of unfunded quit and bootstrap attempts out there, or people at minor incubators eating noodles and living for 3 years in a shared one room flat. Those are the guys that lost the bet.
Anyway, that's just my view as an outside observer. Maybe it is wildly wrong.
> I'm going to build whatever keeps me up at night. I have a long list, but there's one project that I'm particularly passionate about. It might turn into a startup. It might not. Who knows.
So, sounds like it was exactly what he said in his post.
Yeah, it is. Meaningful is subjective, and it is committing to do what is meaningful to the person doing the work.
> You have to be able to make it through what I believe Seth Godin calls "the dip."
"Have to"...why? So you can be a good cog in someone else's machine?
This is exactly what has just happened to me at my most recent startup. Great guys, but the fit I once had has no longer applied and I left. I'm pretty scared right now because I want to jump into consulting/freelance but I've never done it before, and I want to do that while I carefully evaluate the opportunities presented to me. I don't want to jump into another company quickly as a 27 yr old and ruin my future career by joining another mismatched company, but I also don't want to meander as a freelancer without developing a great reputation. I think it's time for me to put in that hard work, but I want to make sure I do it in the best manner possible. And I have no idea what I'm doing - I know code, I know design, but the politics of finding a great company and doing great work are a huge mystery to me.
The idea being that work is drudgery, and that basic fact is what justifies being paid for it. There's no doubt a bit of puritan ideology leaking into such concepts, the idea that benefit must be paid for in pain.
However, this comparison is inapt and leads to many erroneous conclusions. First of all, valuable work need not be synonymous with drudgery. Many skilled craftspersons and artisans are capable of doing incredibly valuable work with fairly small expenditures of hard labor or time due to their hard to acquire expertise and subject specific wisdom. That doesn't mean such people can't be or aren't typically hard workers, but sometimes they don't have to be in order to make a good living. And there's nothing particularly wrong with that. The work of, say, an optometrist is in some respects vastly "easier" than the work of a field hand in a sugar cane plantation, but that doesn't undervalue that work, optometry requires a lot of specialized knowledge that is difficult to acquire.
One of the biggest problems here is the notion that the basic conditions of knowledge work are less strenuous than manual labor. Sitting at a desk in a climate controlled office generally compares very favorably with, say, digging a ditch with a shovel in the hot sun. This leads people to the idea that in order to be worthwhile knowledge work should be strenuous in some way. And typically that involves working extra hours (60 or 80 hours weeks), sinking time into boring activities, or putting up with stress.
However, in reality these things don't translate into increased productivity, in fact they typically diminish productivity substantially. Moreover, long-term exposure to stress is extremely bad for an individual's physical and mental health, imposing a toll that can be significantly more damaging even than prolonged manual labor.
Again, there is the idea that stress is justified, that putting up with bullshit like office politics or death march conditions are the price that must be paid to allow people to make six figure incomes from just sitting at computers and typing all day.
But these things are just sideshows. The true, underlying value of knowledge work lies in the collaboration of many folks with extensive and specialized knowledge toward the goal of solving problems. "Hard work" may be required at times but it doesn't have to look anything like 80 hour weeks, or stress, or repetitive tasks, or backbreaking manual labor. It's possible for knowledge workers to work hard by only putting in 4 hours a week and going home to their lives and families happy, content, and unstressed.
Knowledge work isn't factory work. It's not linear, the way to increase output is not to increase input labor. Instead, the way to increase output is to stack as many compounding effects on top of each other as possible. Factory work is additive, knowledge work, when done correctly, is exponential. And it's finding the right conditions to enable knowledge workers to create and stack those exponential effects better which blows away any linear effects.
Imagine 3 software teams. The first team works 80 hrs/week building a product, every month they churn out another new feature. The second team works 40 hrs/week, every 2 months they produce a new feature. The third team works 40 hrs/week, and every month they make their product faster, more reliable, more usable, and ensure that the core systems are highly extensible; and every once in a while they will add a feature or change a feature with the criterion that it must be valuable to end-users, work extremely well, and not degrade performance, reliability, or usability. Which team would you bet on to win in the market? Which team "works harder"? Which team is more likely to be able to retain workers?
I just got bored."
Nature abhors a vacuum. Someone who values creating things and making an impact will find a way to create things and make an impact, even if that way is not immediately apparent at first. What else are they going to do, sit at home and watch TV?
I have both gaps and overlaps on my resume. I find that the gaps - where I said to myself "I have no idea what I want to do, I'm going to play around with things and keep an eye out for opportunities" - are far more valuable than the overlaps, where a side project became a startup immediately after I quit. I think that's really common for a lot of folks. PayPal was Max Levchin 4th idea (he got out of college and said "I don't want to work for anyone else, I'll play around with stuff until I figure out something to do"), Parse came out of the wreckage of Gamador and Etacts, Paul Buchheit quit Google without something lined up before founding FriendFeed, getting acquired by Facebook, and then ending up at YCombinator, etc.
A lot of people take it to be a sign of confidence and an embrace of vulnerability when you're willing to accept that you don't know what you want to do. Maybe you have something to learn from Loren, too.
You can always change your situation. This is one of the most valuable pieces of advice I've ever received.
How you do it is an implementation detail, but the most important thing is knowing you can.
It sounds to me like loren did have a few project ideas lined-up, and the drive to work on them. While personally I'd want a better guarantee of future revenue before quitting a job, I can't fault someone for following their passions like that. He may someday become wiser and more experienced, but my hope is that he'll be able to look back without regret on his decision to quit.
Life is not fair, there are no points awarded for working harder or being more diligent - there are only 'points' awarded for accomplishing things. Make sure you accomplish the right things in the right way. Nobody is interesting that you slaved away coding for 6 months to develop something when someone launches something with 6 hours of work that solves the right problem.
It fails to comprehend any of the complexities of circumstance, time, or humanity, yet claims to have a point above them all. This is the mark of a single-minded spoiled child without worldly experience, who has fallen into some success after a short stint of hard work and doesn't understand his place in the stochastic processes which led to his creation, upbringing, and situation.
This bullshit is to be shredded; not lightly but intently and with prejudice. It should be put down for its failure as a perspective. For its disservice to the betterment of our profession.
and its always comforting to see former co-workers. shout-out ;)
Exactly, and I find a complete bias towards hard work for the sake of "feeling good" about your hard work is actually ... lazy. Feeling good about tediously slaving away at manually inserting data into a database rather than coding a handler to automate that is actually working hard to avoid doing things the way they SHOULD be done.
An older generation getting mad at a younger generation for wanting fulfilling and meaningful work is exactly this laziness. It's code for: "look I know we should have made things be this way but we can't do anything about it so you(plural) just do this boring stuff that we want you to do right now b/c we are too lazy to find a better way to work meaningfully... "
My two cents: don't work hard. Work Smart. And then work hard AT working smart. ;)
The manual way also tends to be error-prone and unreproducible.
I've actually found that some of the most successful people are the people who attack "easy" problems and do it well. If you look at games like Minecraft, Spelunky, Hotline Miami, Super Meat Boy - they were all relatively simple to implement (at least their initial implementations).
That said, the author has plenty of valid points if you dig around the article. The majority of young people do fail because they have not yet failed enough (i.e. "put in the hard work"). I think that most inexperienced people fail because they have not learned the right problems to attack, or how to attack the right problems properly (I've been guilty of both, multiple times over).
That being said, I do think that hard work will almost always take you places, unless you are working "dumb" (as opposed to working smart). You might create something in 6 hours and then sell that idea to google for a billion dollars. The problem comes into play if you actually bank your future on that. Most 6-hour creations, when you look at the history, is the 100th idea or the 100th variation of an idea. So it is somewhat of a false perception that you can create a billion dollar product in an afternoon without putting in any labor before or after.
You can work hard. You can work smart. You can also do both.
So he's got the right assessment - we're deadly afraid of slaving away at pointless work. If you follow the posts on HN, you'll see it's a constant reinforcement of people trying to determine if they're doing something worthwhile - how to test the waters, which ideas are working well, how to efficiently accomplish tasks. He's completely off the wall in believing this is a bad thing though. I pity that he believes spending an extra two hours each day digging his own grave deeper is in any way a good thing. His message is simply incorrect - work itself has no meaning. Only outcomes have meaning.
Answer the following. In a generation raised to believe that "how I feel" is the metric to be optimized, who will do work that does not provide "a positive amount of feels". Not all work is sexy work. And loads of people are inheriting this prima donna attitude of, well, I'm above unsexy work.
How do you reconcile this?
Regardless, if enough people don't do "unsexy" work, "unsexy" work will start paying enough that people who are more mercenary about their jobs start doing it.
Let people who are OK with doing boring work do the work (and get paid well) and let people who are more about the "feels" pursue their interests.
That way everyone wins and no one needs to do something he/she doesn't want to do.
Burn out is real. It is dangerous, and even an overwhelming, driving passion for your work, your creation, can lead to disaster.
Ed Catmull recounted this story about the production of Toy Story 2 :
"So we came back, John [Lasseter] told the story crew to take a good rest over the holidays, and come back on January 2nd... we were re-boarding the movie.
We had 8 months left.
We then started this incredibly intense effort to get this movie out. It was boarded quickly, it was pitched to the company, it was an electrifying pitch.
We had a lot of over-achieving people working for over-achieving managers to get the movie out.
We worked brutal hours with this. When I say "brutal", we had a number of people that were injured with RSI , one of them permanently left the field.
We had, actually, a married couple that worked there. This was in June, so it's summer, and the father was supposed to drop the baby off at daycare, but forgot; don't know why... but came and left the baby in the car, and came into work. Again, as the heat was rising, the mother asked... they realized and they rushed out: the baby was unconscious. The right thing was done, they put ice-water on the baby. The baby ended up being fine in the end, but it was one of those traumatic things, like, 'Why did this happen, are they working too hard?'
So when I say it was intense, it really was intense."
As an aside...
There was a Pulitzer Prize winning article about the phenomenon of parents forgetting their children in the backseat and leaving them to die in the heat. The main take-away is that it can happen to anyone. It isn't a matter of malicious or inattentive parents, it usually happens when there is a variation in routine that distracts the parent and pulls focus from the kid.
Seems like a good candidate for an "internet of things" solution in the future, eg. a baby seat with a weight sensor, thermometer and 3G data connection (or optionally, some tie in to OnStar, Sync or just the alarm system on a modern bluetooth-capable car) that could alert you and/or automatically pull down the electric windows in a panic mode.
Granted, you'd have to be careful to ensure you don't create a solution people form a false sense of security around since the communications or electronics could fail, but it seems like overall this might save some babies.
A simple version might be something that beeps like a seatbelt-detector if there is weight in back seat but not in front.
or years, Fennell has been lobbying for a law requiring back-seat sensors in new cars, sensors that would sound an alarm if a child's weight remained in the seat after the ignition is turned off. Last year, she almost succeeded. The 2008 Cameron Gulbransen Kids' Transportation Safety Act -- which requires safety improvements in power windows and in rear visibility, and protections against a child accidentally setting a car in motion -- originally had a rear seat-sensor requirement, too. It never made the final bill; sponsors withdrew it, fearing they couldn't get it past a powerful auto manufacturers' lobby.
There are a few aftermarket products that alert a parent if a child remains in a car that has been turned off. These products are not huge sellers. They have likely run up against the same marketing problem that confronted three NASA engineers a few years ago.
In 2000, Chris Edwards, Terry Mack and Edward Modlin began to work on just such a product after one of their colleagues, Kevin Shelton, accidentally left his 9-month-old son to die in the parking lot of NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. The inventors patented a device with weight sensors and a keychain alarm. Based on aerospace technology, it was easy to use; it was relatively cheap, and it worked.
That was five years ago. The device still isn't on the shelves. The inventors could not find a commercial partner willing to manufacture it. One big problem was liability. If you made it, you could face enormous lawsuits if it malfunctioned and a child died. But another big problem was psychological: Marketing studies suggested it wouldn't sell well.
The problem is this simple: People think this could never happen to them
And it's true. When you hear these stories, what's your first thought beyond "oh that poor kid". Usually: "how could her parent have done that to her? What kind of parent could possibly forget his/her child in the car?"
Maybe that's not your initial response, but it's very likely somewhere in the chain unless you've read up on it or know someone it's happened to. And that response demonstrates why this wouldn't sell: if you don't think yo could make such a mistake you also don't see a need to protect against it.
Might work if it were accompanied by a public awareness campaign, kind f like was done to get parents to put their kids on their backs. But the actual technology - hell, the products themselves - already exist. People just don't see it as a useful technology without that additional push.
(Not that there's anything wrong with insurance).
The "concrete good" in this case is saving babies. I find it very difficult to call that anything but a win.
Realizing that you've potentially endangered them is an awful feeling, and a stark reminder to slow down and remember what's important in life.
Luckily they've gotten precocious enough to yell at me "Daddy I'm not buckled" so it doesn't happen any more.
The article author might have a point or two about a variety of young actors in the workforce, but they're masked by this and other bits of far-too-tidy preachiness. He's full of it.
No one who has completed a multi-year project actually thinks that there will never be days when you're bored, or that it's good to jump around from project to project. This is like startup 101 stuff, you can't do a company that does everything, you have to define a project goal and stick to it. Which makes everything else in the post pretty nonsensical.
I think the best you can do is try to understand first your priorities, and then understand what makes you function well so that you can push through those boring, emotionally draining, and frustrating times.
I recently wrote about this for myself, although I'm far from figuring it all out. Still working on how to phrase it all, but maybe someone will find it useful despite my lack of writing skill.
It's a shame because he is still making a very valid point.
It's not just startups that this should really be targetted at - there are plenty of people who feel like being bored at work is a sign you need a new job, stat. Work is supposed to be challenging and fun, right?!
And in the worlds of the SF Bay Tech Culture, at least, it's quite possible to live that way; to switch to the cool new company every couple years, or to jump to a new project within your larger corporation.
Of course, it's also totally possible to toil away at an unsatisfying job for no significant benefit. You have to step away some times - often, even - and ask if it's really taking your life in a direction you want to go.
It's crazy how much I've learned about a lot of these things as I've gotten older. But in other ways, I feel like I'm learning at 30 what other people learned at 20.
I put in 80+ hour work weeks for 4 years straight at my last job and it got to a point where I was physically breaking down and developed a slew of transient (but terrifying) neurological problems. It got so bad I actually saw a neurologist who basically said that I was seeing the manifestation of extreme stress and had to stop (He actually pushed me to find a new job, interestingly.)
To your point, it never dawned on me that I was working too much. I had various problems that needed solutions and I was much too engulfed in the pursuit of their solution to really see what was happening until it became impossible to ignore. I'd venture to say most people with burnout are not driven there by someone or something but by themselves.
And the irony of it? After totaling my body, I totaled my grades. Bye,bye Ivy's, it was nice :).
So I don't entirely agree with the author that lack of hard work should be the usual suspect, and that burnouts are an euphemism for slackerism.
If you have to work hard till 4 am to get school work done, you have a problem. You can group the problems though.
1. Wrong work
Odds are you do some work that feels like you're working hard but won't get you anywhere. I had a knack for finding those and working myself stupid over them. "Biology poster? Museum Exhibit it is". Whilst that kind of work can teach you something, don't fret it, and prioritize.
2.Too much work.
Don't follow in my footsteps and become an academic masochist. As said above, prioritize and cut things that aren't means to an end/enjoyable. Working on an important academic project you enjoy? Bullseye, it stays. Studying for a major exam that you require for graduation but hate? Dispatch it cleanly and quickly. There's techniques for that. Jamming on the guitar with friends? Sure, you have to relax after all. Working on a worthless elective class you hate? Do yourself a favor and chop it.
3. Handling work the wrong way
I'm down to 2 hours study for a 1 hour lecture (I think you can go lower), but I have friends who spend 5 on the same thing and grasp less. Is it because my friends are stupid? Hopefully not. But they tackle it the wrong way. Efficiency whilst studying will help you cut a lot of time off.
Also, understand that we run on cycles. Sleep/Wake, Work/Rest, etc. Every project I did where I tried fighting that fact (Staying up all the time, working all the time) turned into a burning wreck. So learn how you cycle, and work with it, not against it. Trust me, it makes your life easier.
Of course, I could rant on, but most of my mental images of dealing with these issues are really strange (So studying is like a multi-stage conversion-funnel where I try to optimize for x?), so I'll just recommend you the blogs of Cal Newport and Scott H Young.
PS: You can get to little done for your taste, but working too little is mistaking the means for the end.
"Make small changes," he suggests.
If you're really on the burnout train, your life is out of control because of your internal pressure to work. You want to be overworking yourself.
Some of that internal pressure is because of external pressure that you've accepted. You want the grades--do you want them, or are you running on others' expectations, and accepting them into your life?
My advice is, be prepared to make big changes. That's not even right: be prepared for big changes to happen to you. Burnout means you lose something.
And so what I should say is, be ready to give it up. You might be really happy if you didn't have all this internal pressure driving you to work all the time.
Are you doing it for them? Or are you doing it for you?
Don't be afraid to quit.
That said, you'll do your best work when you're under pressure you're not sure you can handle.
My impression is that you're a student. Apparently you're not under so much pressure that you don't have time to spare asking for advice.
I don't know if you're working too hard. There is always something to be said for keeping a little voice in your mind telling you to "Work harder."
But if it comes crashing down, you have a right to quit and to drastically change your life.
I get what you mean by the internal pressure to work thing. You get anxious when you're not working, and that anxiety starts to nag on your psyche. I've gotten some good results with redefining work for myself, from "what breaks me" to "what compounds for results", but it isn't the perfect solution to the problem. Then, I subdivide mentally between work i should do and work I enjoy. The former category includes writing pieces of code I have to finish or studying for exams (I try to keep that kind of work relatively efficient and hard hitting), and the latter category includes things such as drawing or dancing, skills which are useful and relaxing at the same time.
Alas, it's what works for me.
I thought your response was great; I wanted to complement what you wrote, not replace it or criticize it.
well don't stop there - what were they? this is important information for the HN crowd.
Several years ago, I almost did the same thing with my infant daughter. Put her car seat in the back seat. Got in. Started driving. On auto-pilot started heading towards the office.
It was only when she happened to make a sound (she often slept on the way to daycare) that I remembered she was still in the truck. A combination of factors led to this:
1. I wasn't getting anywhere near enough sleep at night with feedings every few hours.
2. Carseats can't go in the front seat anymore. Good for safety, but bad for remembering a kid is in the car since they're out of sight.
3. Did I mention I wasn't getting enough sleep?
(disclaimer: obviously did not do my due diligence and google if there was one first. T minus X seconds in counting until the first 'there already is one' post).
When you leave the car you need to check that your kid is not present.
A simple solution would be to put whatever it is you require at work, such as your wallet/backpack/briefcase, right next to your kid in the backseat. You should check for your wallet/backpack/briefcase before you leave the car, which in turn will have you check the presence of your kid.
I definitely don't see it happening over a short timeframe at a normal job. Only time I got any real burnout, was for my capstone at Uni. I had been working around the clock (up to 80hr weeks) for three months solid.
Sidenote, It was actually kind of a cool experiment. I knew I would burn out; I also knew it was worth it (being my capstone). So I got the experience of attempting to forestall burnout just long enough to make our goals. Was a good experience learning about myself.
Similarly, "burn out" can be a rationalization for giving up early.
I think burn out and "stagnation" are very, very real, but I think they are much less common than is cited by people.
It is certainly not something that occurs over two months.
 - http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/baby-boy-f...
When seeking work for the sake of the pay, almost all men are alike at present in civilized countries. To all of them work is a means, and not itself the end; on which account they are not very select in the choice of the work, provided it yields an abundant profit. But there are rarer men who would rather die than work without enjoyment in their work: the fastidious people, difficult to satisfy, whose object is not served by an abundant profit, unless the work itself be the reward of all rewards.
It doesn’t matter how brilliant you started out or how much faster you exited the gates than everyone else, those who consistently get up every morning and direct their energies along a single path, no matter how boring it may be, will eventually pass you on each of the many roads you haphazardly travel.
That's not how life works. You can direct all your efforts to bending cutlery, but you're not going to make a good living out of it. You're just not. And some people have it easy. Sorry, life is unfair.
But then I read that:
Burn out is just a rationalization for giving up early.
The author may be a great programmer (I suspect him of being a robot), but he doesn't understand psychology. Not worth a read.
Really? He reads like a motivational speaker. What's he shipped? Where's his repo?
If you have not noticed, most (90%) of programmers do not work on open-source projects or toy projects hosted on Github. There are great programmers who have never published a single line of code.
His website presents him as a teacher and a motivational speaker. It also includes his claim to be a programmer, substantiation of which is rather thin on the ground. I haven't watched his videos, but if they're anything like his articles, they rarely include code, talk in bland generalities without offering much in implementation detail, and overall read as if written by someone with neither the experience he implicitly claims as a working programmer, nor anything like the level of intellectual capability and flexibility to which he aspires.
Contrast, for example, the whip-smart Steve Yegge on Agile consultants  -- which, not coincidentally, is how this Sonmez item appears to make his living, in collaboration with some kind of software-engineering equivalent of Kaplan, Inc. . Pick whatever example you like of Sonmez's writing, and place it alongside whatever example you like of Yegge's, and perhaps you'll find it easier to see why Sonmez forces to my mind the old cliche contrasting do-ers and teachers.
His claim to be a programmer underlies his supposed authority, and his failure to demonstrate any accomplishment in the field undermines his claim; more to the point, if he were any good at it, he'd probably be earning a living by some means less distantly related to the field than selling snake oil to people who don't know any better.
If I say "He may be tall, but he's ugly" his height is not in question. Semantically, it means that one of his features may make him effective at something, but another feature (or aspect of the situation) offsets that effectiveness.
 ...read in the voice of Redd Foxx.
The idiom may, depending on context, imply acceptance of the proposition that is preceded by "may", but more generally (whether or not that is the case) it means that that proposition's truth is irrelevant, and that the important thing is the subsequent proposition.
It's like you're specifically trying to undermine yourself. You never heard of Uri Geller?
If you think you can improve your life, work better, with more fun, with more meaning, with better challenges, then by all means go for it. There's no need to stay put at a place that sucks for you and that slowly boils your brain to pulp just because some old guy on HN did his time, too. Sure, there are plenty places where you're valued based on the amount of years to "put in for the business", but thank god there are also plenty places that got past that.
The other side is, of course, that if you give up too soon, you'll never get anywhere. But my impression is that most programmers stick around places too long, rather than too short. They just don't blog about it as much.
Sure, but what if that is to the expense of others? The widening wealth gap seems to suggest so.
As an aside...I watched the author's "Why You Need People Skills" video on his website. At 3 minutes in he talks about how rubbing people the wrong way won't get you good results. He has another video titled, "The Power of Positivity"...which I'm guessing would be the opposite of the disparaging post he just wrote? I don't know what my point is other than you really look like a jerk when you try to act like you're positive and good with people..and then act the complete opposite.
The grand finale of this presentation was a quote just like this, saying something in the lines of "this generation is lazy, and arrogant, and think life is easy".
Everything people say about Millenials, except this was taken from a 60's newspaper, focused on the baby-boomers. Moreover, it clearly was a reinforcing piece, not a proposing one, and there were other smaller excerpts to confirm this was the standard thinking at the time.
 Funny thing, I take "Generation Y" as the way people who doesn't really care about generational studies talk about Millenials. I can't stop thinking they heard "Generation X", called this way at their time because they were unknown, and extrapolated the meaning without further thinking.
EDIT: too many "about"s.
Indeed. Before the term "Generation X" stuck, lazy commentators who wanted to make sweeping generational statements often referred to "Baby Busters."
> (...) others are hard at work ever so humbly providing real value through their—at times—loveless toil.
Hard work alone is not enough for humanity to benefit; it must also be well-focused, well-tooled and well-managed. If the clueless middle-management wastes 90% of your effort, there's more benefit to humanity when you move.
Similarily, if 100h workweek and 24/7 stress wreck your family / relationship / friendships and derails your life for several years to come, there's more benefit to humanity if you move.
Yes, thank you for this statement. I don't think many people yet realize how much more detrimental to society so much bureaucratic bullshit in everything we do(are) is over a few hackers getting fed up with that same bureaucratic bullshit and moving on.
In fact, put that way it really does not seem logical to get mad at a few young programmers choices to change course. Maybe it's societies framework you should be getting mad at.
>The big problem is that “kids today” don’t understand the value of hard, boring work.
Hard work & kids...yeah...remember the news article 3 weeks ago about an intern in London dying from working 3 days straight. An intern for fck sake...not even an employee. Dead. Now tell me again that kids today don't know about hard work. I dare you.
I have been working at the same company for almost 4 years. During those 4 years I have worked on the same project and haven't really switched teams. I've seen employees come and go, architecture decisions made and debated ad nauseam, and so forth. I am currently in the processing of re-implementing some functionality and architecture decisions that I made when I first started (~4 years ago).
When I made these implementation decisions I thought they were the best approach based on my experience at the time. However, having stuck around all these years and seen the product and business evolve, these decisions have turned out to be either poor choices or not the most optimal. As a consequence I've derived a lot of experience and wisdom from revisiting these past decisions, as I am now able to go back with production data and performance characteristics and see how they work or do not work. This software that I wrote way back when functioned in production and worked flawlessly without ceremony for approximately 3.5 years. Only recently and under a changing production environment has this code started to become a pain point.
Had I been part of the new every two crowd I would have never been able to see how my designs and solutions would hold up, or fall down, over the years of their life span. Furthermore, I never would have gained the wisdom and experience that comes from implementing something and having to come back and re-visit it years later.
This is really the takeaway message I understand from the author. Basically, when you only do what strikes your fancy and change your priorities with the weather, you lose out on the sort of experience and opportunity for growth that I have had in the past few weeks.
I'm in my mid-30s, and my view is that the kind of person you're talking about isn't restricted to any "emerging twitterati" culture. "Fad followers" exist in every age demographic.
Also, my "new every two" experiences give me a lot more breadth of experience than some poor "lifer's" years slogging away maintaining his project. It also gives me more depth in each area--because I haven't been fossilizing over the same code, in the same language, for the same project, day in and day out.
As an edit, I'll add: the (relative) ease with which (some) of the "youth" in our profession are able to switch things up so regularly ought to be viewed as a virtue. I can't stand the culture of sharing all the intimate personal details of their lives on the internet, but this is one thing which in my view they do right.
... and those people are suckers. Honestly. If you are working long hours, jeopardizing your personal relationships, and devoting most of your mental attention to achieving someone else's success over your own -- and you are doing this because your are told it is noble to work hard, and there might even be a slightly bigger piece of cheese waiting for you at the far end of the maze -- then you are a sucker. There is no end to the maze, and the cheese is a mirage.
If you enjoy your job out of passion for the art, you are paid fair, respected, and you enjoy the company of your coworkers then great, enjoy it, stick with it. Otherwise you've been hoodwinked.
There is no relationship between these three things, but the author keeps saying "hard, boring work."
I don't feel particularly bad about insisting that hard work doesn't have to be boring, and that boring, easy work is not hard.
"The HN Generation doesn't want to put in their time doing boring, unfulfilling work" doesn't sound nearly as damning as "The HN Generation doesn't want to put in their time doing hard work."
Anecdotally, programmers tend to work pretty damn hard.
"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority;
they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer
rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before
company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize
Companies used to offer a good worker life-time employment and a pension, and they supported the idea of a reasonable workload as it would lead to longevity in their workforce. The combination of excess workers and the menialization of many jobs prompted the companies to minimize their commitment to the worker, both in salary and relationship.
Once the relationship was gone and it was obvious to the worker that they were valued for their effort on the hamster-wheel, is it any wonder so many of them were lacksidasical about how fast they spun that wheel? And when work because rote, is it any wonder that creative types that were in those positions were disenchanted?
The other interesting thing I've noticed is that you end up having both types of people in any given environment ... some of the people work hard because they don't want to get yelled at, want a step up the ladder, etc, but when you watch closely, you'll often see that the "lazier" employees (the ones the hard workers keep expecting to get laid off) actually garner about the same rewards for dramatically less effort.
Of course, these are my observations and your mileage may vary ... I've spent the majority of my working life doing work I enjoy, but I no longer identify my worth by what I accomplish on-the-job.
Apparently, since he actually started using it, he thinks its not so bad now and will be around for a while.
John also likes to make very broad and just downright swiping generalizations like this below:
'We’ve sort of reached the place in the C# and Java space where just about everyone is doing “cargo cult programming.” What I mean by this is that a majority of developers are writing unit tests and using IoC containers without understanding what value those practices bring or even if those practices are actually bringing any value.'
I find this article along the same lines. I applaud him for his ability to generate views but I don't put too much weight in his "insights".
Its hard to read something like this ...
"It is really easy to sit at your desk when you are supposed to be working and browse hacker news, injecting in your sarcastic wit and sly comments, believing them to be of value, believing that somehow that in this false self-affirming reality that you are actually creating something of value, when indeed all you are doing is destroying and marring the work of others to your own detriment"
And not feel like this is a rant, but plenty of rants have a lot of hard truths in them, this one does not.
I take issue with this ...
"The big problem is that “kids today” don’t understand the value of hard, boring work"
This idea that you should be able to go to a job that bores you to tears, or even worse, actually hate just because it pays you money and thats just what people have to do really really upsets me. I've been a developer for 10 years now, and I can categorically tell you that your work can be challenging, your work can be tough but it should never be boring. Because I find that when I had autonomy at my job, whenever my opinion was respected by decision makers, and when I was surrounded by a team that I loved, I never had any boring moments.
And I think that goes for a lot of people too, because you see, it turns out that work is only really boring when you don't care. And if you don't care, you shouldn't be there.
PS: The part about burn out is abysmally wrong and doesn't even warrant comment.
Just want to chime in with a quick update: two months in, still 'funemployed'. Currently working harder than I ever did at my job, on so many different levels. Possibly working harder than I ever have in my life. To stay at the job I was at would have been a huge cop out. I'd basically be showing up and collecting a check without pushing myself forward, stunting my growth as a developer and as a person.
Hard work sucks, it often involves things you don't want to do, but you must push on... I don't like paying back technical debt, but I have to. It's the most boring work, unglamorous work I can do, but among the most necessary.
As well, often times in start ups, in the beginning you're forced to do work outside of your "role" for better or worse. As a business matures, the need for this reduces and you're left with what you were hired for... this is part of growing a business. It can be viewed as boring, but is sort of the goal. Being over worked, and forced to do tasks outside of your description isn't something people should be fighting for...
This is just false. Dishonest corner-cutters do pretty well on average. I bet the author believes "crime never pays" as well. Get real.
edit: and it is pretty applicable to any generation - Gates or Zuckerberg (saying with all my distaste for FB or its creator) could have continue droning in Harvard and beyond, yet they declined, and as far as i know they are very far from being slackers.
It may be true in certain parts of the country but mobility for young people should be high anyways. For those around me it's not whether or not we will get a job but whether or not we will be prepared to work hard and smart for 40+ hour workweeks. In Texas in any major city a college degree and some experience is highly valued and job opportunities are plentiful.
> Burn out is just a rationalization for giving up early
I wonder what this guy thinks about the "myth of depression". Is it just rationalization for laziness?
Not a helpful post.
First off, this guy has no conception of burn out.
I work as a consultant. Just the last 12 months in my tiny part of the woods, I've seen several people break down at work and go home crying, two under-30 founders getting hospitalized for heart conditions(!) and the worst: A 40 year-old managing director falling dead from a simple flu infection. Family said the doctors explanation was a severely compromised immune system, most likely due to overwork.
This is not isolated cases, I'd bet most people with just a modicum of perception and commercial experience, will have seen this time and time again.
This guy says that when he wastes 2-3 hours on surfing the net, he feels more burnt out. And it's really just a mental attitude. Your little ups and downs during the working day/week, has nothing what so ever to do with stress and burn out.
If it weren't for his extremely condescending tone and know-it-all attitude, I'd have given him a pass as some young, social media wannabe.
But to go out and exclaim "just power through, it's all in your head" is not just uninformed or stupid advice. It's downright dangerous, and it has to be addressed. I hope anybody, especially young, reading this piece of garbage, thinks twice before they adapt the "rah rah" attitude of this strongly opinionated but completely narrow minded programmer.
For his other point about the "hard workers" toiling away at the same things for years on end, always surpassing more fickle personalities in the end. Well, I think anybody who's worked at big corp will know a whole bunch of lifers, soon-to-be-retired greybeards / middle managers who, despite 40 years at the helm, still only have a third of the influence, autonomy and income of the young and driven business consultant.
Yeah hard work is a requirement to go somewhere. But unless you just want to climb a ladder that others have put in front of you, don't let anybody call you a lazy, entitled brat for not buckling down for 5-10 years at a time.
This is such crap when the real estate market was good I made more money per year watching my apartment appreciate than by working my ass off. Perhaps in some existential sense of 'worth' this is true, but in terms of making piles of cash, definitely not.
Basically, if you are passionate about something you can set goals based on that, and the hard and boring work that is part of getting to the goal is overcome by the passion of getting to the goal. As an interesting example, look at people who play storyline video games to the end, versus ones that stop before finishing. People who are invested (a form of passion) in how the game ends, slog through the boring parts to get there. People who aren't invested get turned off by the boring part and stop. The same thing is true with movies and books. If you care about how they are going to turn out, you sit through the 'slow' parts, if you don't care, you don't.
I found the call to action at the end "Sign up for info on my super secret project that will turn you from Lazy Bum to Execution Machine!" really jarring as well. If you conflate passion and lazyness and rationalization then how can you make something effective?
When people tell me they can't stick to a project they just wander off into other things. I try to figure out if there are things where that doesn't occur. You know, the kind of person who says "I've got ADHD that is why I just played this video game for 4 hours straight." And you ask the obvious question, "Were you giving it your full attention?"
I don't doubt for a moment that folks will rationalize their drop in productivity as burn out sometimes, but it is dangerous to go from there to saying something like "burn out is a myth." One does not imply the other.
- they are a hard worker
- they deserve more money than they are making
- they are stronger and/or smarter than the majority of their peers
- they are a good driver
It takes quite a bit to convince someone of the opposite. Once you have someone's back against the wall with a pile of evidence that they are dumb or lazy, they will start at you with every excuse in the book, mostly I think they are trying to convince themselves.
Of course I believe I am a hard worker, deserve more money, am smarter/stronger than my peers and am a good driver too. Someboday has to be.
There's a limit to how greedy I can be.
It's fine to work hard if it's a work of passion, something that you really want to accomplish. And there's certainly something to be said for working through downspots, we all have bad days and quitting just because of some minor irritant that may well pass will scupper your chances of greater happiness in the long run. But working hard just to get money to buy stuff you don't need, or even draw a commensurate pleasure from? Spend less and save more, don't fritter your life away suffering to make someone else's dream.
I'm happy living a life that entertains me, I've sufficient money to provide security - beyond that what benefit am I going to get by doing things that bore me?
You think that it's a race? That we won't get as far? I honestly have to wonder: So what?
You don't get points for finishing life before the other person.
There is two kinds of boring work. One is where you are still committed to the end goal but some things just have to be done in order to achieve it. There's no arguing about this and I think even the new generation recognizes the value of it and the value of going through the "dip" and finishing things.
The other is when you become disinterested in the end goal itself. Leaving this kind of boring work is a good thing. It's a shame to continue working on uninspiring projects especially when there are so many other opportunities. Life is too short for that. Adding some whitespace to one's life is how you move on to better opportunities.
This article comes out as attacking the second category as well. For example, he compares this to "the vapid life of a vagabond merrily traveling from pleasure to pleasure in life ever thirsting, but never being quenched, every tasting, but never consuming.".
Vagabonds have vapid lives? That's a bit presumptuous. "Not all who wander are lost."
(Not addressed: The unthinkably heretical notion that we, in the first stirrings of post-scarcity, might perhaps look to and work toward a future where people don't have to wade in shit if they don't want to.)
"Unfortunately this kind of thinking and mentality seems to accurately embody much of the general ignorance and blatant stupidity of the next generation of software developers."
It's trash if it has to make its point by going to such great and obvious lengths to insult the topic audience, rather than just explaining why without relying on said insult as an introduction.
I'm in my 30s but quit the startup and bigcorp stuff to work less and be happier. I put in plenty of time busting ass for people way over my pay grade for 8 years. Honestly, a lot of the higher-ups in technology really don't care about those extra hours you put in, because often it's basically free to them.
Now I can work in a billable hours business and do pretty well with respect all around. I enjoy it, can explore new technologies, without being a full time drone.
Sorry to the author, but I don't think that makes me someone who needs to be talked down to. He doesn't seem to understand the concept that you can love what you do for a paycheck but placing more importance in other things is not a personality defect.
No. Fuck that noise.
Has the author ever seen someone who's burnt out? It is not a pretty sight, it is though the person is but an empty shell of what he once was (I know this sounds incredibly corny, but it really is the shortest way in which I can describe "being burnt out").
Guess what kids. Work can be boring. If you're writing reporting software for a utility grid monitoring company, it's probably not your "passion", but it'll pay for your mortgage, your kids school, and time off.
What's more, those settings are usually filled with toxic garbage like cliques of people who've been there 5, 10, 20 years and play gossip or petty politics games, middle-managers who view their subordinates as enemies (competition) or scapegoats (when said middle-managers fail to deliver because of their own inability to lead a team), and departments who treat developers like unskilled labor or some sort of awkward add-on to the IT department. Middle- and upper-management at these places are some of the most spoiled self-entitled pricks I've ever encountered. They are also frequently the most unjustifiably arrogant, incompetent hypocrites in the organization.
Sure, somebody has to do the work in those settings. More power to the people who can. That doesn't mean they're better people (or worse) than those who can't stomach that kind of work or putting up with the spoiled-brat, unjustifiably arrogant faux-authority of petty jerk managers. It takes real maturity--not the fake, arbitrary kind you suggest in (b)--to understand that.
This isn't to pooh-pooh your points (a) and (c) about older workers; being an older worker (in IT terms; I'm mid-30s) I see what inexperience (which is most often associated with youth) means in terms of output, focus, and durability. But neither one fits in with your larger narrative necessarily.
Flip it around: What happens when you pay non-seniors at a non-senior rate? They go get a better paid job. How surprising.
Now I know. Today they are better at getting shit done. They can grind through the menial day to day minutiae real world projects are burdened with whereas I tend to obsess over the pockets that are "interesting". Working on it though...
But there's another side to this post that is a bit unfair to HN and generalizes us too much and the "these kids today" language ... I don't know, it's like he has a very good point and I agree with to such a large degree but he almost goes too far with the insults.
However, I do agree the initial blog post he is referencing raises so many flags for me. The first paragraph is like "I worked their two months" and then he got bored.
If I was the simpleprogrammer.com author, I would probably would have written this very same blog post in reaction to the other one. It is just outlandish crazy-talk ... But then I would have tried to calm down and not quite go after all of HN with such vitriol.
But I agree, the crazy he is responding to does kind of come out of an echo chamber in our community; down the whole "I'm going to make a publicity ploy by making a website dedicated to company X hiring me" stuff.
I think the language could be toned down a little but I think we can all learn from this as well. Perhaps if the language had been less acidic, we wouldn't have paid attention though.
Arbeit macht frei
Working hard on something you're passionate is good. Working hard on an important far out goal is good (whether you enjoy it or not). Simply working hard in and of itself is not something I'd consider a virtue. In fact it may be a sign of stupidity.
That kind of talk is not only monumentally ignorant, but it is downright dangerous. If anything, it shows that you haven't ever really worked hard in your entire life.
Anyone who thinks burn out is some sort of myth should just go check the major universities' suicide rates among their overachieving students.
There are the lazy ones from the perspective that they are too lazy to put their heads down and do the hard/boring work,
and there are the lazy ones from the perspective that they are too lazy to get out of their comfort zone, even though the work is hard/boring.
This post assumes that there is a single criterion for success that is universal to all people, and that those who move "haphazardly" between pursuits will fail to meet this criterion.
The truth is that some people are maximizers who define success through things like financial achievement, and some people are satisficers for whom success is truly getting to work on things you love every day.
I do agree that this generation (myself included?) is much too willing to give up on something that is getting boring / tiresome in favor of something new, when continuing on the original path would have in fact made them successful shortly. The only project I've stuck with for > 4 years in my entire life is paying off, largely because of my team's dogged pursuit of the same goal, even when things got tiresome.
I'm so confused!
Hence my question: Could you please provide the criteria to distinguish between slackness/"leaving to pursue an opportunity that you love" and the right thing to do/"leaving to spend the right time to learn more and avoid productivity pressure"?
The method in which you choose to carry out your professional duties is much more closely tied to the type value you wish to create, than some vacant concept of lazyness or not understanding hard-work.
I think a more pertinent argument is whether the younger generation is mistaken in their goal to gain experiences as opposed to building longterm tangible capital and careers.
> Your passion may at first carry you further than your peers. But, overtime you’ll find those peers of yours that were willing to put in the hard work and stick to one thing, as boring as it might have been for them, will overtake you.
> It doesn’t matter how brilliant you started out or how much faster you exited the gates than everyone else, those who consistently get up every morning and direct their energies along a single path, no matter how boring it may be, will eventually pass you on each of the many roads you haphazardly travel.
What does he mean by "overtake you"? In wealth? Specialised experience?
It sounds like he's just butthurt about having worked hard at things he didn't enjoy.
There's a difference between working hard as a corporate slave and working hard on something you personally believe in. A big difference the author doesn't seem to understand...
It's never been widely claimed that "Work should be fun." There's a reason work is called work. :)
And there's a lot of "hard, boring work". In my lifetime, I've worked on the farm, in fast food, in factories, in the military, in wafer fabs, at desks, in school and at work benches in all sorts of crazy roles enduring all sorts of physical and mental strains.
Creating the same damn CRUD application over and over for years is just as dull as chopping weeds in a oats field. It pays more, but at a certain point a creative mind wants difference, a challenge, something to accomplish.
Where's the problem if someone decides that he doesn't want to keep working in a boring job?
It takes some experience in experiencing how poorly dispassionate and, inevitably, disappointed, people can be to be sunk in this.
You may want to read this - http://www.strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/.
If you have more time, read His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
It seemed like you were relating His Dark Materials to the content of the strikemag article, but are you just suggesting that we should read a good book?
I read them couple of times when I was a teenager, but I can't make the connection here.
So what if they will pass ? I prefer to be left behind and do something I like. Life is not about getting ahead of others, some take joy in getting ahead of others, while some enjoy being left behind but doing their thing.
"It doesn’t matter how brilliant you started out or how much faster you exited the gates than everyone else, those who consistently get up every morning and direct their energies along a single path, no matter how boring it may be, will eventually pass you on each of the many roads you haphazardly travel."
This sounds nice as a slogan on a motivational poster, but is it actually true? On the one hand, I sort of understand what he's trying to say: many things in life require significant effort. But the phrase "nothing of any worth" is a little extreme... worth is pretty subjective, after all.