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I had a six figure salary as a programmer before I decided to give carpentry a try. I love woodworking so I figured this would be a good vocation to take up. I enrolled in carpentry classes with my local community college. I did this for 6 months and stopped for two reason:

- Hard labour is hard labour. We (programmers) get paid a lot of money to sit on our ass. It may be mentally grueling but it doesn't hurt your back.

- I decided that $60,000 a year, which is good salary for a carpenter isn't a six figure salary.

So I had the option to go back as a programmer and make others money, or take a gamble and try to make myself a lot of money. I choose the latter and here, we are today.

What I've learned from my personal experience is we (programmers) have it kind of good. We get paid a lot to sit on our ass. If you think you are burning out, then take some time doing something else and I'm sure you'll find going back to programming won't be bad.

As long as you don't take programming seriously, then I really don't think you'll burn out. I like to believe I'm an above average programmer, and my salary has always reflected this, but if somebody said you couldn't program anymore, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. I'm good at programming, but I'm not passionate about.

I would personally advise you to stick with programming but learn to disconnect from it. There are not a lot professions out there that pays as well as programming for the physical effort required.

I agree that we in the IT profession often forget that we're being paid relatively well to work in a comfortable environment, doing something that's reasonably challenging/interesting. Most of us also have an outside interest in tech, so it's pretty close to having one's hobby as a job.

However I think focusing on physical exertion is misguided. A carpenter may be out doing physical work all day, but his/her job requires nothing like the mental exertion of a programming role. A long day of coding is just as exhausting as a day spent climbing ladders and lugging tools, if not more so. And as one gets older, both types of exertion take a greater toll and require more recovery time.

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