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Problems Sharing What I Do with the People I Know
Date 1/13/2009    Tags Rant    (0)

On of the more disappointing things about software development is it doesn't give me much in terms of material and stories to share with other people. It's not that I don't have things to talk about, but my non-software development friends and family (which is most of them) simply don't understand.

I've worked quite a few different jobs in my life. I've unloaded trucks, stocked selves, assembled manikins, been a cashier at a gas station, did PC repair at a mine, and did the fast food thing when I was in high school. Even if people didn't work at these jobs themselves, you tell a story about them and most anyone can follow along and many can relate (well, maybe not to the manikin thing).

Programming has become such a big part of my life and lately I'm finding that I don't have much new to talk about with people outside of work other than programming. I sling code for eight hours a day at work and often for several more hours after work, that doesn't leave a whole lot of time for other endeavors.

I used to come home from work and if someone asked me about my day, I had at least a couple things to share. I can't do that now because no one would understand what I was talking about when I stated with pride that I refactored parts of my application and significantly reduced the number of database calls that it was making thus resulting in a significant performance gain. Blank stares would surely ensue.

I recently tried to spin a tale of my source control / branching blues which went over like a lead balloon (which is what got me on this rant in the first place). I'm sure that with someone that understood and used source control, I'd at least get some interest and possibly their take or even sympathies. I mostly got silence and confusion from my audience.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to go back to making burgers or assembling fake people or denying cigarettes to minors. My work now is much more satisfying and (bonus) financially lucrative. But all those crappy jobs that I used to do made for a much more interesting stories to tell, stories anyone could understand. /tds/


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