[FoRK] Personal update, book ref, fun quote, and (of course) political tangent

Cleopatra Von Ludwig rockfish at gmail.com
Thu Oct 14 08:06:22 PDT 2004


JB,

I think you presented an interesting and eloquent argument for why
you're switching careers, and it made me wonder if you were trying to
convince the forkers that you're doing the right thing, or yourself. I
think you'll find out soon enough if you've done the right thing, once
you're doing it. You may have an overwhelming urge to be sucked back
into all things software; or you may not.

But what I really wanted to say is that it's dangerous to encourage
people to "do what they love doing" -- you skated around this, not
quite coming out and saying it exactly, but getting damn close to it.
The problem that I have with this overall philosophy is that often the
things we love doing become tedious and hateful if we *have* to do
them. For example, I love doing pottery, and people often suggest to
me that I could do it "for a living" (a rather poor one, considering
that I'm a software engineer!). I tell them, why would I want to do
pottery for a living? That would completely ruin it for me! Instead of
making pieces for fun and pleasure, I would be obliged to make pieces
that appeal to the unwashed masses that I can sell; or art that is so
cool, I wouldn't want to sell it! It would be forced; manufactured; no
longer a labor of love. I would *hate* doing pottery if it were my
job.

That being said, ironically, I do love programming, and I'm fortunate
to be one of the few people in this world, it seems, to have
discovered something that I love doing that is also providing me with
a sustainable existence. But that doesn't mean that work doesn't suck
sometimes, because it does; it always does. Work sucks, and that's why
they pay you to do it. If you loved doing it so much, wouldn't you
just do it for free? (I would argue, JB, that you must've loved what
you were doing previously, otherwise you wouldn't have had the energy,
inspiration, and drive to found two companies!)

There's a fine line between hating your life because of your work, and
just hating your life in general. If you can address your feelings of
discontent by changing jobs, careers, etc., that's great. But don't
rely on a job to make you happy in life (I think this is also a point
you were making, JB); *you* have to make your life a happy one, and
worth living.

There's also a fine line between stupid and clever, but we won't be
getting into that here.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, JB. You gave me good stuff to think about.

-cleo


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