If you are a geek these days, you are lucky. I think a lot of us realize this, though we don't always express it very well. The technical fields are different from a lot of others in that it is very hard to get anywhere if you do not enjoy it. Technical jobs are rarely the types of jobs where you can just put in your time and go home. You've got to enjoy the work. Most geeks I know go home and spend hours doing what others would consider "work" after work.
When a geek says he hates his job, it is rarely the actual work he hates. It is the bureacracy, coworkers, time demands, or even the lack of challenging work that he hates. I think a lot of us don't realize that this isn't the normal case of things.
Anyway, the result of all this is that to be a good technical person really requires a certain sort of personality. Looking at the Meyers-Briggs personality tests, I am an "INTP", which is one of the rarest personalites in the general population and yet is one of the most common in the technical fields. Other techie personality types are similarly skewed. Some think it takes a certain level of intelligence to succeed in this business. Not really. What it requires is a certain sort of personality, a sort that is fairly rare in the general population.
The upshot of this is that us geeks can almost always find jobs in the sort of economy we have today. Maybe not perfect jobs, or jobs that pay what we want, but jobs none-the-less. And while we might complain about our salaries or our bosses, the bottom line is that we make far more than the average and are generally given far more freedom than the average worker. And we often have the additional freedom of being able to quit a job we hate. Not everyone does.
So why all the complaints? Well, I brought up my personality test results for a reason. Some of the hallmarks of that personality is that it tends to be perfectionist, rationalistic and tends to keep quite about the good things. INTPs rarely want or give positive criticism. To them, if things are working well, there is nothing to say. When things aren't working well, they tend to criticize in a very rationalistic, perfectionist manner.
Now my personality isn't the only Meyers-Briggs personality type overrepresented in technical fields, but the other types that are are very similar in this. They tend to work like Unix commands, saying nothing when everything is great and complaining only when things aren't going smoothly. Hence, geeks seem to complain a lot and rarely say anything positive. It is because for most, silence is the positive. I think that most of this intuitively understand this, but that those "outside" often don't and thus think of us as a bunch of overpaid, whiny complainers.
The other problem is that we tend to complain about the things we run into every day, which are the problems that directly effect us. Is this because we are selfish, or merely because those are the things we notice? I'm not really sure. It is really easy when you go home to your nice, shiny PlayStation2 to forget that some people in this country feed a family of four for what it cost you.
Bottom line is that we are among the luckiest people in society these days, in many, many ways. Let's not forget that. So when you look at society for things to fix, look towards those that aren't so lucky as you before you worry about your own problems.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
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