Sources - 18 years of experience doing all kind of stuff, Java, C, C++, DevOps, Enterprisey stuff, Embedded, for commercial and defense sectors. 45 years old, married, two little kids and going back to grad school a third time.
Next year will be the start of my 10th year as a software developer. For the last nice years I've worked for a variety of companies, large and small, on projects of varying sizes. During my career, I have noticed that many of the older software developers are burnt out. They would rather do their 9-5, get paid, and go home.
Family does that. Specially kids. I need to be home early to be with them, read to them, help them eat, clean themselves, let them see me (and feel and understand I actually give a shit). When I was single I would work at any hour. Not anymore. That does not mean, however, that my work is strictly 9-5. I wake up at 5AM to get myself ready, log in, do some work, then get ready (and help my wife get my kids ready). Then I log back to work via VPN from 9 to 10, sometimes going to bed till midnight... with just 5 hours to go sleep to start again.
I easily make 55a week just like that. More if I do work on weekends. But 9-5 is the strict window I use to be in the office.
A lot of 9-5'ers are like that, and in addition to all that, we see the same shit repeating itself again and again, from one employer to the next. So what you call "lack of passion" might actually be work-related pragmatism combined with some physical exhaustion and simply the necessary notgiveashitis gene kicking off to save your brain from dying after witnessing the same inane shit rendering itself at work for the millionth time.
The passion is there, is just that we move it out of work and into other things, like family and career (which is distinct from work.)
They have little, if any, passion left, and I constantly wonder how they became this way.
Life. Life will happen and will change your perspective and priorities. YOU. WILL. SEE.
This contradicts my way of thinking; I consider myself to have some level of passion for what I do, and I enjoy going home knowing I made some kind of difference.
But that is the thing. You are projecting. How do you know that other people are not made some kind of difference? They are likely making a difference *somewhere else*.
Also, as we get older we become more efficient with our time. I can do a lot more know with less time than what I could do when I had 10 years of experience (and certainly much more when I started my career.) We burn a lot of hours thinking it is necessary, we do not know how to prioritize or say no to crazy demands. We freak out, and we go into a professional-related frenzy, willing to burn the midnight oil to compensate for a lot of things.
We have a lot of energy when we start. But energy is not necessarily passion. And not all forms of professional passions are constructive. As we get older, family or not, we learn to pick our battles and seek out the lowest hanging fruits, the 20% that make up the 80%. It is then when we begin to be true engineers, not just berserker hackers.
Needless to say, I think I am starting to see the effects of complacency. In my current job,
Unless you are developing the ultimate shit, or have a wonderful work experience with your managers, or are developing your own business, never, ever, be passionate about your job. Be passionate about your career, but not your job. Your job is the conduct by which you make money using your career. Display work ethics, and be willing to go the extra mile when needed. But don't confuse that with passion. That's just work ethics, which we should all display.
I have a development manager who is difficult to deal with on a technical level. He possesses little technical knowledge of basic JavaEE concepts, nor has kept up on any programming in the last 10 years. There is a push from the upper echelon of the business to develop a new, more scalable system, but they don't realize that my manager is the bottleneck. Our team is constantly trying to get him to agree on software industry standards/best practices, but he doesn't get it and often times won't budge.
Life. I told ya.
I'm starting to feel the effects of becoming complacent.
That is not being complacent. That is becoming burned out. That is your mind and body telling you the situation is not conductive to your mental, emotional and professional development.
GTFO. Get another job that you like. Rinse and repeat as needed. Learn to be effective with your