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Reality Check? From DJBongHit?

By DJBongHit in Culture
Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:50:15 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

We geeks have it good. You can't argue with that. We get paid the big bucks to sit around all day doing exactly what we love to do, and what we probably did in our spare time when we were younger (I know I did). So why is everybody here always bitching about something?

I love my job. I don't mind the fact that I often work 10, 12, 14 hours a day. I love hacking code. I don't get paid all that well, but hell - I'm 19 and it's enough for me anyway. I'm sure that there are millions of geeks just like me all over the country, doing exactly what I'm doing and loving every second of it.

You'd never know this from reading K5 and Slashdot.

It seems like 90% of the stories posted on either of these two sites are paranoid ramblings about the DMCA or UCITA, or some software patent, or some big corporation disrespecting Linux. There are no stories about the positive side to being a geek - and from where I sit, the positive far outweighs the negative. Life is good. Few people can say that they truly do what they love. You think that convenience store clerks go home at night and can honestly say "I love my job?" You think that pizza delivery guys can go home at night to their huge houses and nice cars?

We have the best of both worlds. Great pay, and great jobs. So why does the geek community seem like a bunch of unhappy, angry people? Can't any of you see how great life is for us? Do you ever take time and sit back and think about the situation?

Sure, UCITA and evil corporations are no good and something should be done about them - but they're not so terrible or important that we can't forget about them every once in awhile and enjoy life.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Are you happy you're a geek?
o Of course. 35%
o I'm just in this for the money. 3%
o No, I'd rather be a pimp. 13%
o No, I'd rather be a lazy, alcohol wifebeater (like Inoshiro :) 5%
o Go away, hippie. 9%
o Why isn't this story about drugs like every other one DJBongHit posts? 31%

Votes: 187
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Slashdot [2]
o Also by DJBongHit

Display: Sort:
Reality Check? From DJBongHit? | 59 comments (57 topical, 2 editorial, 1 hidden)
you forgot to mention (3.14 / 7) (#1)
by maketo on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 01:23:45 AM EST

that many a project started outhere ends up as a miserable failure - people still get paid and the same people still get other jobs/projects. You also forgot to mention that the so smart geeks many a time code up sh*t and many a geek ends up doing what they learned works repetitively over and over while still getting paid more than anyone else....
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
This is very true. (2.75 / 4) (#2)
by enterfornone on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 01:31:47 AM EST

I love my job - and even when I've had jobs that I didn't like I've always been pretty safe in the knowledge that when it gets too much I can get another one without too much effort. In fact, the whole idea of being stuck in a job you really despise is quite alien to me.

I have a friend who recently lost her job. She was always complaining about how much it sucked and was looking around for something else anyway but without much luck. I find it really hard to empathise with that. If I hated my job I'd get another one. If I lost my job I'm pretty confident in my ability to get something else pretty quick. But when you've been like that for so long you forget the fact that you've got it a lot better than a lot of other people out there.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
I'm glad I've got the knowledge that I've got (3.28 / 7) (#3)
by h0tr0d on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 01:39:25 AM EST

While I'm not entirely sure that I'm a geek I am positive that I am happy with the knowledge that I have regarding technical things. I'm grateful for my ability to deal with complex systems and understand their inner workings. There are many times however when I wish I had this kind of understanding about human interactions.

Even though I truly hate my current job I am glad that I have it. It has taught me a lot and has given me the opportunity to look for what I truly want. Yes, I tend to rant a lot here and on other sites but sometimes that is because this is the only place that my rantings make sense to the people who are reading them. I only have a couple of friends who I can rant about this stuff to in person who would get it and I don't get a chance to see them very often. Here I have a very large audience for my rantings and musings and most of them get it. Or at least I hope so.

As an engineer I am already a little out of my element being surrounded by sys admins and web developers at the sites that I frequent but I have found that these are the people that I have the most in common with. Maybe it comes back to that geek thing. How many geeks (of your magnitude) do you work with? My answer to that question is 0x00. I hope you got that, because that's exactly what I like about interacting with all of these people here and at other sites like this. If I were to attempt a joke like that with my normal crowd none of them would get it. And many of these people that wouldn't get it are fellow engineers. The very ones that I tend to rant and ramble about.

DJBongHit has a point. Look around you and be thankful for what you have. I know that I certainly am. Even those things that bring out all of my rantings are things that I am grateful for. If everyone knew all that same things that I did then this would be a pretty lame world, at least for me. So instead of being arrogant geeks and lamenting about the ignorance of the general population maybe we should just be thankful that we have the knowlege and abilities to be looking down upon the masses for a change.

-- It appears that my spleeing chucker isn't working again.

i think (1.80 / 5) (#4)
by sH on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 01:44:16 AM EST

I think we bitch because we know we have it good [most of the time] so we want to add a little bit of hell to our life by bitching about stuff [everything].

mmm...true, but not the Whole Truth (4.00 / 14) (#5)
by freebird on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 02:02:26 AM EST

While I agree with the general sentiment that people, especially geek people, should spend less time constructing the angst our society seems to glorify, I must take issue with some of these points.

First and foremost, should the fact that the miniscule portion of the population with good jobs and the freedom to move betwixt them has it Pretty Darn Good mean they should ignore larger issues? I think one could argue that, as someone in the eviable position of *not* having to struggle every day just to get by, you have a duty to spend *more* time on such pursuits.

Secondly, while I'm fortunate enough to share a fairly pleasant employability, the overwhelming majority of people do not. Perhaps more to the point, don't the rumblings and smokings of the dot-coms and stock-market ever make you wonder if your bubble of prosperity may someday burst? Is it really feasable that the ability to crank out some decent webscript (or even tight, algorgasmic machine-speed code) should continue to pay better than skills like teaching, healing, or researching? I often liken our current situation to that of ancient scribes: for a while, you could make very good money just knowing how to read or write. Eventually, though, literacy becomes a skill assumed held by nearly everyone, and you can only be employed if you do it exceptionally well and creatively.

I don't mean to play doomsayer, it's mostly that there is an element of smugness in the post I find a little bothersome, even though I'm sure you don't intend it, and in fact make the point that some issues (geek issues only though?) need attention. But the "Hey, I have a Big Car and House, what's all the fuss about" reminds me too much of the late Roman patriarchs to not start looking over my shoulder for the Goths and those angry guys on big elephants...

But I think the discussion it should engender is important, and I'm voting it up. I think I was really bothered more by the later comment about "not understanding why people can't just switch to a job they like whenever they want" and should go work out my frustrations there...


musings (2.00 / 4) (#17)
by gregholmes on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:02:19 AM EST

Sure, the internet/tech bubble may burst, but the smart, resourceful, and flexible have always made their own success.

And you can change jobs if you want to. You may not want to, it may not be easy, the new one may not pay as well, etc., etc. But you can.

[ Parent ]
Just not that simple for most folks (2.00 / 1) (#56)
by freebird on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 12:51:05 PM EST

I agree that I, and probably you and many K5 readers, can change jobs when we want.

My argument is that this is not representative of most people's lives. Many, many people don't have the luxurious options that a tech skillset implies these days. Many people have jobs with a specific set of skills, not particularly employable elsewhere. Add to that some morgage/debt/children/insurance, and this 'well, if they don't like their lives, why don't they just get a better job like me' attitude starts to sound pretty myopic, if not downright elitist. "Let them eat cake" comes to mind.

You may argue that other people's problems are not your concern, which is a whole other can of worms I'm certainly not going to get into here. I think I adressed some of it in my comment, but some of it is simply a fundamental difference in opinion about what it means to be part of a society.

[ Parent ]

Al Gore who? (3.50 / 6) (#22)
by Minuit on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 10:38:44 AM EST

(or even tight, algorgasmic machine-speed code)

This has _got_ to be the first time I have seen the words "Al Gore" and "Orgasm" contracted into one.

I'm going to try really hard not to think about that now.


If you were my .sig, you would be home by now.
[ Parent ]

al gore reference not intended, but kinda funny... (2.50 / 2) (#57)
by freebird on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 12:55:59 PM EST

intended meaning:
algorgasmic = algorithmic + orgasmic

IE, the pleasurable sensation of a very nice solution to a coding problem, esp. involving optimization of intense computation.

Stolen from Jordan Hubbard, more of a coder than I'll ever be.

[ Parent ]

If you are a geek, you are lucky (3.66 / 3) (#29)
by ucblockhead on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 12:41:00 PM EST

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
[ Parent ]

Style Points (2.00 / 1) (#46)
by irksome on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 01:01:37 AM EST

You get major style points for using the term algorgasmic. :)

I think I am, therefore I'm not.
[ Parent ]
My guess (3.42 / 7) (#6)
by Chops on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 02:18:03 AM EST

I think a lot of it has to do with the geek mindset... things that are inelegant, ugly, wrong, whatever you want to call it, tend to grate on geeks much more than on other people. Programming is a very demanding exercise; anything wasteful or careless or mistaken has the potential to cause serious trouble, so coders learn to see anything that doesn't belong as a serious aberration that needs attention, even if it's not causing problems, or even if nothing can be done about it. I think this is why (for example) Linux geeks get pissed off that people they will never meet run Windows; to our mindset, that looks like a whole bunch of code that uses gets(), and it has to be fixed, not because we'll ever need to run the code in question, but just because it's wrong.

I think this is also why, in general, we don't do anything about the stuff we complain about -- in the world behind my monitor, complaining publically about bugs is an excellent way to get them fixed, especially if the solution is as trivial as "Don't pass UCITA." Hell, you don't even need to send in a patch for that. Adversarial situations, where one side is selfishly insisting on doing what anyone with A Proper Mindset knows to be The Wrong Thing, are alien to geeks, and we deal with them very poorly.

Thinking about it, I'm very glad my thinking has both of these flaws -- I learned them by spending too much time on the coding playground, and it's been fun as hell. If that means I have no idea how to deal with the asshole in the next cubicle who insists on using speaker-phone ("It's wrong." "I'll just be a second." "But it's wrong. How can you do it when you know it's wrong?"), this is a loss I accept. I am enlightened.

what kind of poll question is that?? (1.33 / 3) (#7)
by washort on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 02:22:21 AM EST

that's like asking "are you glad you're male?" or "are you glad you're human?"... it's not like most of us have experience with anything else =)

We're debating... (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by pb on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 02:31:15 AM EST

These weblogs are for big conversations about stuff. We're debating, not bitching. Really. Sometimes people might let off a little steam, too, but even well-paid geeks can be stressed geeks.

USENET is like this too; to the casual observer, it looks like one big, disorganized flamefest of malajusted outcast technofreaks. And in one sense, they're right. But hey, *we* can find everything, somehow, and we're having fun. And... and.... what makes *them* so frickin' well-adjusted, hmm? ;)

That having been said, it's just my opinion, and that's a good question, and I'm curious to see the other answers.

+1, Front page.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
Rome Effect... (2.75 / 4) (#10)
by iCEBaLM on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 02:40:46 AM EST

"We're living the good life, so lets let everything slide, who cares."

That is, until you start dying from lead poisoning from your "plumbum".

The DMCA and UCITA hit us where it hurts because they adversely affect what we do. For some it's a hobby and for others it's a profession, but we all do it, and we're all very concerned.

We should not get complacent, we actually have a duty to those not so well off to do something about this because we have more of a power to do so.

-- iCEBaLM

better livin through chemistry (2.25 / 4) (#11)
by h2odragon on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 03:15:18 AM EST

Some of us don't even have great pay, but live almost entirely on job satisfaction. Bitching is stress releif.

Sure, sure, it's good now... (3.33 / 6) (#12)
by bradenmcg on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 03:59:20 AM EST

I saw something like this over on /. a while ago and I read a particularly enlightening comment that I think I should share. Granted, I'm playing devil's advocate because I'm quite happy I'm a geek, but... Cut to the chase.

We can see what we have now, sure. But we can also see how easily it could become awful. You mention 10-14 hour days at not-totally-wonderful pay. Sure, those are great when you're 19 and have squat else to do other than homework and school and maybe party/hang/girlfriend (?)/whatever. But an adult... think about it from their point of view. (saying "their" because I too am 19)

If you have a wife, do you want to work 14 hour days, have to come in at odd hours, have work keep dragging you apart from her? If you're trying to be a supportive father and raise a family, do you want to be forced to work those kinds of hours to get the money you need?

Things are great now, when the market is booming and most geeks can control their own jobs... But when generation Z finally rolls around, possibly even before that, the market will eventually hit saturation of geeks to jobs. We won't have the kind of sway we have over things. We need to take advantage of our current position now and line up some sort of guidelines for geeks.

Before anyone screams "unionizer," hear me out.

A "nerd union" (or would that be "geek guild") is one option, but another would be a sort of "techie's creed." Kind of a universal agreement about how stuff should work. Not necessarily an organized union, but a loosely-knit bunch of individuals thinking towards the same goal, and organized enough to be able to hold sway over their market.

<benstein>Anyone? Anyone?</benstein>

I just don't want to go into a field and then some indeterminate time down the road be totally screwed over when I want to help my future wife (no, I'm not engaged at 19, speaking hypothetically here) raise our children or just want to spend time with her because I love her.

I don't know if there is an answer to the problem; in fact, I don't know if it will really be a problem, but it is food for thought.

<leonphelps>Yeah, now, uh, "sig," what is that?</leonphelps>

isnt this what engineers had to do? (2.50 / 2) (#25)
by CiXeL on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 11:36:14 AM EST

As I recall they organized themselves into unions in the middle of the century though I could be wrong. If we want to see where the geeks are going we need to look to what happened with engineers around the era of the hoover dam construction project.
Question Tradition...
[ Parent ]
tech union? nah. It's an unwritten law already. (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by tzanger on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 01:20:57 PM EST

Things are great now, when the market is booming and most geeks can control their own jobs... But when generation Z finally rolls around, possibly even before that, the market will eventually hit saturation of geeks to jobs. We won't have the kind of sway we have over things. We need to take advantage of our current position now and line up some sort of guidelines for geeks.

I believe the situation controls itself, much like the rating system of K5.

You can hire tons of cheap code-monkeys fresh out of school who'll pull 90h weeks and have few other priorities or you can hire the more expensive, family-rearing geeks who have 5,10,15,20 years of real world, actual can point to objects and say "I did that" experience (as opposed to "I've been coding since I was 5" experience). You will acheive vastly different results for each group and ideally a mix is best. I don't see any need to unionize or form a guild or creed: the system is already in place, has been in place for 50 years (think electrical/mechanical engineers) and seems to work well. Hell even here where I work we have a bunch of younger guys who are doing the bulk of the work, a pair of older guys who do things us younger ones only think we know how to do, and a 76 year old who comes in once a week to school us all. :-) Guess who makes the most money?

Remember we're extremely highly skilled staff and there are many places which require that skill and are willing to pay for it. The companies who won't pay for the experience will find out what went wrong when they file chapter 11 or manage to salvage themselves. The place for us seems to be in consulting anyway.

[ Parent ]
The contented ones don't post! (3.71 / 7) (#14)
by magney on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 04:27:01 AM EST

Seriously, any major discussion/debate forum is going to be dominated by people who actually have something they feel they ought to say. Folks like myself, who are largely content with our lot, just aren't as vocal as the folks who have a chip on their shoulder. The apparent stridency of an Internet forum, be it slashdot, K5 (although K5 is largely pretty civil so far, thank goodness), or Usenet, is due to the fact that the mild-mannered end of the spectrum consists of the lurkers.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?

"All progress depends on the unreasonable man (3.85 / 7) (#16)
by Rylian on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 05:34:02 AM EST

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
G.B. Shaw


[ Parent ]

Money and freedom (2.66 / 3) (#15)
by Nyarlathotep on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 05:23:48 AM EST

Yes, well I have a news flash for you. It's a rich slightly inconvienenced minority who normally manage to change things. Look at the american revolution. The poor and unhappy people are too busy to worry about the minor things like freedom which really have a significant influence in the long run. It's the rich sysadmins who want to avoid the inconvenience of rating every web page which they post who will prevent draconian content filtering laws from being passed; thus allowing other rich activists for the poor (and other causes) to continue posting web pages designed to help said poor people. Face it, free time and philosophical rambolings are a good thing for freedom.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
Random Off-topic and some on-topic blah (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by Smiling Dragon on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:00:22 PM EST

I could have sworn it was spelt:

:) Could not resist, am I right?

> Face it, free time and philosophical
> rambolings are a good thing for freedom.

Damn good for the soul too. Nothing makes a job better than ranting to each other about it. :)
It also provides useful info and advice too - traps to watch for etc...

-- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
[ Parent ]
Random Off-topic and some on-topic blah (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by Smiling Dragon on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:11:08 PM EST

I could have sworn it was spelt:

:) Could not resist, am I right?

> Face it, free time and philosophical
> rambolings are a good thing for freedom.

Damn good for the soul too. Nothing makes a job better than ranting to each other about it. :)
It also provides useful info and advice too - traps to watch for etc...

-- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
[ Parent ]
spelling (2.00 / 1) (#47)
by Nyarlathotep on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 02:37:06 AM EST

I got the spelling from H.P. Lovecraft and I seem to recall this being the spelling, but it was originally the name an minor Egyptian god, so there could be several diffrent English spellings.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
Only one story (2.00 / 3) (#18)
by Aquarius on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 07:27:15 AM EST

I fear that, unfortunately, there are lots of ways and means to be dissatisfied with your job or your life. Contrariwise, there's only one way to be happy. This means that there's only one story: "I love my job". Now, I could post that story too, but what response would it get? People saying "yeah, so do I, actually", and other people saying "you're highly lucky, my job's dreadful", which turns it back into a bitch story.


"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace" -- Ronin, Frank Miller
I couldnt disagree more (3.40 / 5) (#19)
by JonesBoy on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 09:14:51 AM EST

I worked at a quickie mart and pumped gas before I got my tech job. I miss it very much. Yeah, being able to do something enjoyable and be paid well is nice, but there is a lot of stress to perform, well, repeatedly. I miss pumping gas. Standing outside on a beautiful day, enjoying the sunshine and the clean air. Talking to people as they come and go. All in the shade of a nice big canopy. Absolutely wonderful! Sure, winter sucked. The snow and the cold, but it did make you feel alive, vivacious. Now, I sit in front of a monitor with no reference to the natural world, talk to relatively nobody, and work harder than I ever had to. Mental work is 10 times harder than physical too. I just don't seem to get the same satisfaction as when I was a a service based worker. Running a shop is nice, too. You get to see the direct effect of your work on your customer. If you keep the place well stocked and clean, more people come in, you are more busy, and your manager is happier. Now, the harder I work, the better someone else is, somewhere. Maby someday I will get to meet them. I wasn't making much money, but I had a lot more time to enjoy it. When I left work, work was absolutely over, without any further consideration till the next day. Heaven i tell ya.

Don't feel sorry for the rest of the world. They probably feel sorry for you.

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
I worked at a Blockbuster, I have a different view (3.00 / 3) (#24)
by CiXeL on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 11:27:33 AM EST

I agree with you I *REALLY* miss the outside world. I used to be able to AT LEAST get indirect sunlight from windows but now here i sit typing this with a flourescent fixture over my head in a tiny cubicle with bonechilling dry AC and if i sit up a bit, wayyyyyy down a hallway i see a ray of indirect sunlight. I hate being a cave dweller... but i didnt like working at blockbuster AT ALL. Blockbuster is RUN by corporate greed, there are gazillions of moronic corporate policies put in place by viacom which visibly showed it was bleeding money out of every oriface but we could only sit there and do nothing about it because it was "store policy". At least I have a bit of hope that the work im doing here can change things, although as this startup nears the end of its life I have my doubts. But I could see how pumping gas and exposure to the outdoor elements would be immensely gratifying.
Question Tradition...
[ Parent ]
stress to perform well == employment (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by session on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 12:02:17 PM EST

Yeah, being able to do something enjoyable and be paid well is nice, but there is a lot of stress to perform, well, repeatedly.

Isn't this true of any job? I was under the impression that the reason anyone was hired was to perform well, repeatedly. If you don't, in most cases you're fired. It's only when there's poor management that you don't.

I personally love my job. I don't get paid as much as I could working somewhere else, but then again I work at a very stable company so I don't mind. I know I'll have a job there (that I love) for the next 2 years. I'm only 19 so I don't do mission-critical work; however, there is a lot of stress involved writing code for people who have no idea how to explain what they want done, for deadlines are 2 weeks past before I'm even assigned the project. This is irrelevent. I love my job, and having to "work hard" is just a fact of life. Yay for capitalism!

"I don't know, Marge. I was raised on the TV and I turned out pretty TV." --homer.
[ Parent ]

tech performance (2.00 / 1) (#51)
by JonesBoy on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 10:57:17 AM EST

My point is that tech jobs expect the best ALWAYS. I worked for a while as an IT helpdesk peon. If you solved a complex problem fast once, it was like you just jumped up on the learning curve and could do it that fast always. "Hey! thanks for spending nights and weekends getting this done for my deadline! With productivity like that I can bump all my deadlines back two months!" Word to the wise: Never set a standard you can't live up to.

If you think your situation is bad now, wait until you are always 2 weeks behind deadline, and whenever you catch up, they change the danm spec. If you love your job, congradulations, and enjoy!

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
still missing your point? (2.00 / 1) (#55)
by session on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 12:21:26 PM EST

All I'm saying is that if your productivity increases, so should your bosses expectations. That's how things work. If you buy a better computer, you expect a lot more from it. You aren't just complacent with what it did before -- you want it to do more. The same is true of any job.
"I don't know, Marge. I was raised on the TV and I turned out pretty TV." --homer.
[ Parent ]
Clean air? (3.00 / 3) (#34)
by davidduncanscott on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 03:54:06 PM EST

How'd you manage to "enjoy the clean air" in a gas station? Absent a prevailing wind, I'd think it would be mostly exhaust and petroleum fumes.

Are you sure you're not looking back on it through rose-colored lungs (or something like that)?

[ Parent ]

Mostly clean air (3.00 / 1) (#48)
by JonesBoy on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 10:16:49 AM EST

You get a breeze. Most of the gas smelly air is from your hands,clothes,shoes. I worry more about the benzene and toluene in gas touching my hands rather than the vapors.

In the office, you are surrounded by partitions, drop ceilings, uncleanable air ducts, stale air, and viruses from all those coughing coworkers. This gives you nasty hazzardous chemical vapors (from partition walls), dust from ceiling tiles, mold/bacteria/viruses from ventilation (or lack thereof). I have seen more people with alergies in the office than I ever had in any free air environment.

Then again, grass is always greener....
Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
Office environment (2.00 / 1) (#49)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 10:28:51 AM EST

Ah, well, I work for a two-man company based in my boss' house, a three-story turn-of-the-century pile on a wooded street (I have a garret on top). Stairs are good exercise (at least since I quit smoking), and the family dog hangs out under my feet sometimes. It really doesn't get much better than this, if you ask me.

If anything, there's sometimes too much fresh air -- the windows are old and not particularly efficient. But I keep a sweater up here, even if it does make me look like Fred Rodgers.

[ Parent ]

People don't like good things (2.00 / 4) (#20)
by Nickus on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 09:40:38 AM EST

People in general (who! that's broad) don't like to talk about positive things. They don't like to talk about how good life is. In fact, people are happier when their lifes are full of shit.
When I've had a customer who thanked me I'm happy for five seconds and then it is forgotten. If someone yells at me I will probably be bitching about in on the coffebreaks.

Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
Glad you like your job (4.37 / 8) (#21)
by blixco on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 10:19:18 AM EST

I'm a wage slave myself. I'd rather be farming corn in Indiana, but I don't have the skills for it.

But you'll not hear me complain about my job. It's nice being able to 1) make enough money to have food and shelter and 2) extend this food and shelter (and money for meds, etc) to others. I don't agree with your rant, though, because while my "geek lifestyle" affords me these abilities, it does not blind me to the moronic indifference that our culture is breeding.

"Sure, UCITA and evil corporations are no good and something should be done about them - but they're not so terrible or important that we can't forget about them every once in awhile and enjoy life." This is it. This is that indifference. Innocent, so I'll give you a point or two for wanting to be happy.....but you can learn to be happy in the fight. I'm happy to support the fighters I help.

And the real trick here: these evil corporations never *ever* take a break. They never *ever* back down. They have teams of lawyers who do spend 24 hours a day trying to screw you over. You personally. And that's just the lawyers. You wouldn't believe the power media has over you. You're falling for it right now.

Don't fall for complacency = happiness. Don't "just be." Don't fall for it. You *can* find satisfaction and happiness while engaging in any good fight.

Typical rant. I hate it when I do that.

The root of the problem has been isolated.
I completely agree with you, but... (2.20 / 5) (#23)
by DJBongHit on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 11:02:12 AM EST

Don't fall for complacency = happiness. Don't "just be." Don't fall for it. You *can* find satisfaction and happiness while engaging in any good fight.

I completely agree with this statement, that you should not just be complacent and indifferent. As I'm sure many of you know, I run Smokedot, which is an advocacy site to try to get the War on Drugs ended - and this is my big cause in life. But while this is Smokedot's main focus, we also post many stories which are just fun and entertaining. You can't go through life focused on the negative the whole time...

I was going to mention this in the main article, but I figured that I'd post a story which didn't have a link to Smokedot in it for once :)


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Focusing on negative..... (2.75 / 4) (#26)
by blixco on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 11:58:16 AM EST

It's not necessarily negative to recognize that the world needs activists. I'm not "on" 100 percent of the time, either (it's more like 98.9 percent). What's important, though, is recognizing the need for change.

And laughing. That's important. Just don't lose sight.

Off topic (kinda), I really like your site. You realize that the Drug War is still seen as a Good Thing(tm) by the media, by democrats, by many "liberals" and most "conservatives." Now if only we had a large enough voice......

....oh wait. We do. We just need to *become* the media (apologies to Jello Biafra). And you're doing that. Thanks.
The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]
Yeah (1.66 / 3) (#28)
by DJBongHit on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 12:31:52 PM EST

Ok, I'm restraining myself from getting into yet another War on Drugs discussion on Kuro5hin... So I'll just reply to this with a "thanks" :) I'm glad you like the site (and feel free to refer people there :)


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
But does bitching = a good fight (3.00 / 2) (#43)
by Ndog on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:51:42 PM EST

I agree with DJBongHit, and you in part. You're right, just because we're happy doesn't mean we should be complacent. But it seems to me he is talking more about negativity (aka bitching) than people who are actually 'fighting a good fight'.

There is a time and a place for bitching, but I think most people think that the time for it is always, and the place is everywhere. All I'm saying is, bitching about some corporation doesn't necessarily mean you are fighting a good fight. Sure, everybody has to do it sometimes, but those corporations probably love the fact that so many people spend so much time ranting on the net instead of actually doing something more substantial.

[ Parent ]
You stole my diary entry for today (2.00 / 2) (#30)
by Skippy on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 12:53:12 PM EST

I was actually going to write something very similar to this for my diary today. Yes, some days I wish I could just go back to bed, but you'll have that with any job. Most days though I look forward to going to work regardless of how much whining about going my roommate hears.

I do occasionally miss my no-brainer manual labor job though. I worked on a loading dock as the sole receiver. Some of those days were good too. A good day was when I'd have some great idea for a project (my mind was free after all) and I'd go home tired and sleep well. (I miss sleeping well - need to get a gym membership and go daily). But I would never have said I liked my job.

I guess a perfect job for me would be 20% no-brain manual labor and 80% brain stuff. I had one close once. Two or three days a week I was a high-ropes course instructor and the other days I was the graphic designer for company. :-) That was a good job too.

# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #

Heh (2.50 / 2) (#31)
by DJBongHit on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 12:58:54 PM EST

I was actually going to write something very similar to this for my diary today.

Yeah, me too, but then I realized that I had just written my diary entry for the day, and this was something that I wanted all of K5 to read and think about.


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
high-ropes course instructor (3.33 / 3) (#33)
by farl on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 02:12:25 PM EST

what is a high-ropes course?

[ Parent ]
What is high-ropes course? (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by PLSANDER on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 05:02:13 PM EST

Think Boy Scouts or Outward Bound doing log bridges, 3-wire and 2-wire bridges, rope ladders, rappelling, and other confidence building activities about 20 to 40 feet up in the air.

[ Parent ]

A high ropes course is... (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by whatnotever on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:34:37 PM EST

Clambering about in, around, and through ropes, wires, and logs strung high (10-100 ft), usually in a pine grove. You are in a harness and on belay (on a rope controlled by someone on the ground) the entire time.

One of my favorite activites.

"A great team-builder," even though it sounds like bs.

Something that I fear I won't get to do nearly enough as an adult...

[ Parent ]
Momma always said... (1.50 / 4) (#38)
by miah on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:03:59 PM EST

I have been told that if someone gave me a $100 bill I would bitch b/c it wasn't new enough.

World Domination through Incessant Bitching!

Religion is not the opiate of the masses. It is the biker grade crystal meth of the masses.
You're bitching about bitching! (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by Ndog on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:36:00 PM EST

But I agree. I think most of us in the tech business got in for one of two reasons, or the combination: we love it, always did and always will (that's me), or for the money.

While I don't work the crazy hours a lot of you do (government contracts=government hours=sweet), I love what I do and would work longer hours if the money was right. Sure there's some stuff worth bitching over, but overall, life is good. There's always something to learn, something to teach, something new to try, whatever. Hell, I get paid to sit around playing with technology all day. Plus, since it is DJBongHit, I just have to mention, for all the tech companies I have applied to, a full 2/3 have not required a drug test. That might not sound good to some, but I think most of us lean towards more privacy and not less.

Who knows why each person bitches about certain things? TheRe are probably lots of reasons, but only each individual really knows why. I suppose that they might say you just have to read their comments to know why they are bitching, but I would love to see a more positive attitude, as long as it continues to be interesting, and promotes us talking to each other.

Bitching isn't all bad, but it isn't all good either.

Drug Testing (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by DJBongHit on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 08:03:40 PM EST

Plus, since it is DJBongHit, I just have to mention, for all the tech companies I have applied to, a full 2/3 have not required a drug test. That might not sound good to some, but I think most of us lean towards more privacy and not less.

Even thought I could get some purification stuff and pass a drug test with no problems, I still have never taken one and will absolutely refuse one. It's not my employer's business what I do during my free time unless it is affecting my work performance, and if so, they won't need a drug test to tell them that.


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
I agree. (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by Ndog on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 12:23:13 AM EST

I admire your stance on the drug testing, but unfortunately some of us have to make some concessions to practicality. Being 19, I would guess you don't have quite as much to worry about as I do. When looking for work, I would have loved to decline to take a drug test. Yes, I smoke, and have an account on your site. But I have family responsibilities that I must weigh when deciding if I'm going to take a stand or suck it up to please the Man.

Anyway, I guess we're getting a little off the topic of your original submission. We could definitely continue this discussion on Smokedot, though. What I was trying to say, originally, is that tech jobs seem to be a lot less prying into people's private lives than many others do. I had no problem finding a job that did not at any time, before or after hire, require drug tests. There are many perks or benefits that some people, including a lot of us, get because we are in the tech field. So, basically, I'm agreeing with you. Enough with the bitching.

[ Parent ]
unconvincing at best (none / 0) (#58)
by mihalis on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 03:34:34 PM EST

I can hardly see how you can be so sure you could pass a drug test. There is a lot of extremely serious money on the side of diagnosing drug abuse for prospective employers, plus it's mandatory in some industries - so it IS their business what you do in your spare time.

I've taken drug tests myself for certain jobs and the level of disclosure required is a little scary (e.g. how many food products containing poppies have you eaten recently, and when).

By the way, I'm not against recreational drugs myself, some of my best friends are probably stoned right now.
-- Chris Morgan <see em at mihalis dot net>
[ Parent ]

Greed. (2.00 / 1) (#42)
by whatnotever on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:39:14 PM EST

I attribute it to always wanting more. Who doesn't? Even if someone is satisfied with their current situation, they always dream of having more.

I do it. I've had a great life, the entire time. But I could and can always find something to complain about. I actually had a special knack for making little things seem like huge problems (mmm, depression-y goodness...). Even though that's mostly gone now, I manage to bitch quite a bit.

How often can you complete this sentence:
"I'd rather be . . ."

Some reasons.... (4.00 / 3) (#50)
by mindstrm on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 10:39:09 AM EST

I have to agree, Mr. Bonghit... we have it good, no matter how you slice it. I've thought about this a lot lately.. why there is so much whining.

One answer is simple, you even said it yourself.
These geeks are young. We don't *KNOW* any better. I stopped whining about how I'm 'not paid enough' because I make a fair bit lower than what I could be making here, when I realized that everyone else I knew had a crappy job, or piles of student loans to pay off. And none of them really made as much as I did. I stopped whining when I realized that I make more than my father does.
Oh.. I still hound my employer about it, but I don't whine publicly.

The main reason so many geeks whine about long hours, bad management, etc, is they don't know any better. They haven't the professional discipline to do better. Some advice geeks? If you feel mistreated at your job, you may or may not attempt to do something about it, and then you should LEAVE. There is LOTS of work out there for you. By working somewhere if you don't like how they treat you... you damage it for everyone.

How many older tech workers (say, late 20's, 30+) have you met who whine about work? I've met very few... and now that I'm in that category, I find I"m much happier and in control.It's purely an age thing.

Comfort in common misery (4.00 / 2) (#52)
by 11oh8 on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 01:02:02 PM EST

I'm neither a sociologist nor a psychologist so everything i say is my own uninformed uneducated opinion....

Misery brings us together... makes us a stronger community. Now, I'm not saying that people have never huddled around a fire and shared their happiness, but more often than not, people find comfort in shared misery. It's always notable to see how a community pulls together after a disastor like a hurricane or tornado and helps one another out; it's one of the greatest sign of humanity and it's always a little ironic to see it happen at such a depressing time.

I remember in middle school (way back...) a teacher asked us all to remember our very first memories... and everyone recalled something negative: hurting themselves, getting stuck in a chair, etc... Our teacher then brought up a good point: we remember negative thoughts better than the positive ones. They stay there in the back of our minds and nag us incessantly... while we revel in the positive moments and then forget about them...

Maybe the budhist belief that life is misery and the only escape is through nirvana is a good reflection of how humans have always felt about their lives...

... of course, having said all that, it would be nice to have a few more positive discussions here...


We are always striving for improvement (1.50 / 2) (#53)
by SIGFPE on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 04:23:18 PM EST

It's no good talking about the good things. They're good already. Talking about them won't make them better. But talking about bad things is constructive. These are the things that need changing if we are to improve things. Therefore I think we should enjoy the good things but talk about the bad things.
Oh, I don't know... (2.66 / 3) (#54)
by kagaku_ninja on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 08:00:35 PM EST

The tendonitis?

The back pain?

The 60 hour weeks?

The deadlines managers pull out of their asses?

The menial nature of the programming tasks?

I suppose if I don't enjoy my job, I can always quit and find another one. But this job is going to make me rich. Yep, not like the last one, or the one before...

Happy People Have No Stories (none / 0) (#59)
by dave.oflynn on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 12:44:22 PM EST

People usually only get worked up by stuff that they dislike. If someone posts an 'isn't life great' story, you'll get 30% going 'yeah, man', and the other 70% writing much more interesting articles about why you're wrong. That's people for ya...


Reality Check? From DJBongHit? | 59 comments (57 topical, 2 editorial, 1 hidden)
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