One of the things I've noticed in the 'professional developer' community is that there is a bit of Jock Culture going on.
First of all, you have a business environment that tends to favor younger, fresher talent and puts a LOT of pressure on aging developers to keep up with their younger peers, many of whom are capable of (in the very, very short run) unhealthy work practices. 80 hour work weeks and back-to-back all-nighters are doable when you're 22 years old. They're fucking painful at 30, and ruinous by 35.
And it's hard to say 'No' to them because we've just come out of a nasty recession when upper management is all too eager to lay you off in favor of younger developers eager to prove themselves.
That shit WILL give you depression, anxiety, and insomnia, and all of those kill.
Second, again with the Jock Culture, developer culture tends to be dominated by hot-headed males, many of whom are eager to replicate locker-room style pecking orders in the cube farms... and that crap just doesn't work when you're developing software.
(Ex-military guys? I'm looking at you here. I've seen you do this shit. Stop it.)
Sadly, those pecking orders are often directly related to pay. The guy who manages to wedge his way into the 'Project Lead' or 'Senior Developer' slot tends to have a few more dollars attached to them. Again, the pressure results in depression, anxiety, and insomnia which are proven killers.
Shirkey's piece spends a lot of time talking about Aaron Swartz, but Aaron was a unique case of being uniquely and unfairly persecuted by multiple 800 pound gorillas. His depression and suicide *should* have been as fucking obvious to anyone who knew him as an 18 wheeler rolling the wrong way down the freeway.
The answer to these issues is, perhaps a shade ironically, the same answer we should be looking at in regards to our sudden flareup of chronic school shooting disease:
Mental Healthcare needs to be made a priority in this nation. We need to destigmatize ADMITTING mental health issues and seeking treatment for them. Also, we need to completely ditch the notion that drugs used for treatment of mental health problems cause more harm that good.
Seriously, guys, when you're having daily panic attacks, when sleep won't come for days at a time, when the world starts showing up in black and white and more black than white... it's time to talk to a doctor. And if your doctor won't help, ditch him and find a doctor who will.
Apropos captcha: Biopsy