I’ve seen a few pointers today to Po Bronson’s article What Should I Do With My Life? The whole article is worth reading, and indeed it inspired some thinking on my part, which is exactly what it was designed to do. I feel fortunate that I’m a software developer, because I really can’t see myself doing anything else, at least right now. So I don’t fight with myself constantly about what I should be doing. However, Bronson’s article echoes some thoughts I’ve had in the past about “glamorous” jobs. I used to be obsessed with working on something that could be defined as “hot.” Working on any old software package or Web site was boring — I wanted to work on something cutting edge, or widely used, or whatever.
Since then I’ve learned that the actual function of the software you work on has almost nothing to do with how entertaining your job is on a day to day basis. Working on a payroll system with a bunch of creative people in a friendly environment that doesn’t require you to work like a slave under unreasonable schedules beats the crap out of working on the next big thing for a company that’s on the brink of failure and grinds you down to a nub through a combination of incompetence and malice. That’s an important realization to make, I think.