Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
The Almighty Buck

From Software to Soup: On Trading Coding for Crepes 432

Legal Serf writes "Having lived through the best of eTimes and the worst (hopefully) of times, I bet everyone (still employed) has had daydreams of chucking it all and escaping the present malaise permeating most tech companies. The NY Times ('open' but not 'free' registration) has a piece about ex-dotcomers who've traded visions of iBuzzwords for soup, crepes and hotdogs. What?s most interesting is that everyone interviewed pretty much said the same thing: It's nice to provide something of real value to customers who are actually happy to trade money for goods, even if it's just dessert. Anyone out there feeling the same? (About the value of tech or the temptations of other trades?) (I keep thinking about these tech friends I have that fantasize about opening a hip babershop...)"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

From Software to Soup: On Trading Coding for Crepes

Comments Filter:
  • by sean23007 ( 143364 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @08:38PM (#4052135) Homepage Journal
    fantasize about opening a hip babershop...

    Ignoring for the moment that I don't know what a 'babershop' is, and assuming that what was meant was 'barbershop,' what is a 'hip barbershop?' Is it, by any chance, a place at which one has his/her hip hair shorn? I don't know about anyone else, but I don't have a very significant problem with hair on my hips...

  • "... escaping the present malaise permeating most tech companies."

    I'd like to see stories about the sociology of technical companies. Billions of dollars were lost in the dot com failures, and there seemed to be very little discussion about why. How could such supposedly smart people make such big mistakes?

    Incidentally, I recommend the book, "Dot.Bomb", about the failure of Value America.
    • Billions of dollars were lost in the dot com failures, and there seemed to be very little discussion about why. How could such supposedly smart people make such big mistakes?

      Simple: The Damned future is too hard to accurately predict.

      While I thought that many stocks were over-valued at the time, I thot that maybe a half-Amazon and half-Sears-like store would give the best of both clicks and bricks and guys who hate shopping could push a few buttons and get what they need, taking back any problem merchandise to a real store, perhaps a drive-thru merchandise return.

      IOW, 1/3 Amazon, 1/3 Sears, and 1/3 McDonald's.

      Perhaps someday that will be the case and the dot-com dream will finally work. It just may take a few decades to get the hang of.
      • > Simple: The Damned future is too hard to accurately predict.

        Hardly. The real reason why most dot-coms went belly-up is two-fold.

        First, a lot of really genius-level techies came up with some great ideas. Too bad the vast majority weren't marketable, or, the business that they made had no real business PLAN. You can sell just about anything to anyone with a great business plan. Or, like Microsoft, you can sell crap, even with a really bad attitude, with a really great business plan.

        The second problem was started by a combination of Clinton and the British PM, and ignorant daytraders.

        Here's what happened:

        A company (Celera) was trying to map the human genome, or major parts of it, before the Human Genome Project could, so that they could patent things. Big uproar (duh), and Clinton & his British buddy come out and declare their opposition to patenting human gene information. Instantly (like, to the DAY), traders freak out and start dumping all their gene-related stock. Then stupid daytraders, hearing, "dump all tech-stocks!" start dumping ALL technical-related stocks, not just the stock of the few companies that were planning on patenting human gene sequences. Within a month or two, the dot-com bubble had burst, not because of _anything_ relating to the Internet, but because of a badly-worded speech by Clinton, and the stupidity of daytraders who don't bother to understand what they're doing, or research things they invest in (or dump).

        Et voila, the bubble burst. Even business, like a couple I was involved with, with fantastic business plans, with serious revenue potential, could no longer attract investment to complete our projects, because who were most investors in tech startups? Why, people who made money in the first wave of tech startups, of course. At one company, we were a day or two from signing our major round of funding by a guy from Real, when he looked at his stocks and realized he was no longer rich enough to fund us. We lasted about two months after that. *sigh*
        • Big uproar (duh), and Clinton & his British buddy come out and declare their opposition to patenting human gene information. Instantly (like, to the DAY), traders freak out and start dumping all their gene-related stock. Then stupid daytraders, hearing, "dump all tech-stocks!" start dumping ALL technical-related stocks,

          I think it was a bubble that was *bound* to pop, Clinton or not. The heard affect cannot be avoided unless you have a moon-size Clue Stick.

          At one company, we were a day or two from signing our major round of funding by a guy from Real, when he looked at his stocks and realized he was no longer rich enough to fund us. We lasted about two months after that. *sigh*

          Yeah, a lot of us got screwed from the Big Pop. I was with a company that had a lot of cool tech projects and a wide variety of geeks to talk to.

          Dot-Gone with the Wind.

          Good luck to ya.
        • he looked at his stocks and realized he was no longer rich enough to fund us.

          Sounds like the non-profit foundation I worked at. When the bubble burst, much of our funding dried up, as our formerly-rich funders suddenly started feeling the pinch of tightened belts.
    • The why is easy. People were buying stock prices. It's sounds stupid, but that's what they did. There was a Red Tag sale as Sears and millions of people bought Red Tags.

      When you buy a stock, you are actually buying a piece of a company. The price of the stock is irrelevant. The value of the company is what matters. That stock will gain you nothing in the long run unless the company produces something of value to non-stockholders. But people didn't care about the companies, they cared about buying up these worthless pieces of paper.
  • I agree (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 )
    I can't help thinking that if I had the chance I'd quite IT and get a regular job. The crap you have to put up with every day in this industry is just not worth it. You might not get paid much flipping burgers but at least you won't be asked to work a 7 day week and you can actually take a lunch break or even, gasp, a holiday!

    Last time I tried to take some of my holiday entitlement I had to cancel at the last minute because my boss changed his mind and refused to let me take it. A week later a memo went round 'Nobody is using their holiday entitlement - why not?'... If I'd had a gun at that moment...

    The latest piece of crap was that unless everyone got eye tests at their own expense* they would have 1/3 of their wages docked for that month.

    McDonalds here I come.

    * They said they'd pay it back but that was two weeks ago and I'm still waiting... this company don't pay their bills, even to their employees.
    • What would happen to you if it was discovered that you were all of a sudden legally blind? Would your employer fire you? Is that legal? I say you fake the test to make it seem like you can barely see, and get the doctor to diagnose it as a work-related injury (sitting in front of a screen all day is bad for your eyes). Then you could sue your employer for making you blind. Or something.
    • The latest piece of crap was that unless everyone got eye tests at their own expense* they would have 1/3 of their wages docked for that month.

      From perusing the laws in my state (VA), it's illegal to just take money out of somebody's paycheck, and the company is liable for triple damages. Even sweeter, the state will prosecute on its own.

    • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by case_igl ( 103589 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @09:11PM (#4052227) Homepage
      So, ummm...Why don't you quit?

      If it's because you are in love with the material goods and life you can (or can't) live because of your income, then you have no place to complain.

      I currently manage nine people, four of whom are developers. I have to say I have more respect when people have a little backbone and say "No, I requested this time off under the company policies" than "Okay boss, I'll cancel my wedding to reboot the server."

      Not standing up for what you really believe in won't get you very far in life - in the IT department, or while working drive-thru. You'll always be the whipping boy until you learn that.

    • This is the wrong damn place to complain about having an IT job.

      Most of us would trade our left nut (or ovary) for a company to give us a chance. I've been looking for a job for 10 months, and I know I'm not alone.
    • Uhh, read some labor laws man. They can only make you work so much in a 24hr period, and they have to give you X number of breaks for Y ammount of time worked.. That eye exam bull must be illegal too.

    • I think you have missed one of the points of the article. All the people in the article have started their own businesses and are their own boss. Being your own boss beats being an faceless corporate employee most days of the week.

      This is not to be confused with flipping burgers for McD's. Working for McD's you are still not your own boss, you still have to put up with potentially stupid bosses sometimes idiot coworkers.

      I've worked retail. It is hard. You have to be nice and on your feet for an entire day. You often miss lunch, and you can't have an off minute. However, it is very satisfying to see a happy satisfied customer and know that *you* are responsible. That's the pleasure that the people in this article have discovered.
    • I can tell you've never had the "pleasure" of working in the fast food industry. Here are some highlights:

      Really low pay; I thnk the local ones are currently offering up to $8/hour starting.

      Really crappy work with greasy stuff that seeps into your pours.

      The worst management, in general, on the face of the earth. You think you have a bad manager now? Wait til you experience the horror that is the fast food restaurant manager!

      Really messed up schedules, often with little regard for applicable labor laws.

      I vowed that I would live under a bridge and eat out of garbage cans before I worked in fast fod again.

  • Yes.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @08:40PM (#4052142)
    It's nice to know your work actually has some actual value in some real, easy to see way.. rather than simply expecting to get paid tons of money from a company who isn't actually making any.

    That guy who comes in because your crepes are so good is going to make you a lot happier than some manager who is also getting paid too much bitching at you because the stock value is falling.... and wanting you to dialogue about utilizing resources, and action things.

  • How Sad (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NuttyBee ( 90438 )
    This is just sad.. Going from making $125k to making crepes.

    I know it's happening more and more. Why did I go to college for 6 years? It doesn't seem to improve my job prospects over all those liberal arts majors I thought were slackers.. At least they were content to enter the economy and make crepes..

    • Re:How Sad (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )
      I know it's happening more and more. Why did I go to college for 6 years? It doesn't seem to improve my job prospects over all those liberal arts majors I thought were slackers.. At least they were content to enter the economy and make crepes..

      First they make crepes, then move up to manage creeps.

      All that "slacking off" was simply a non-credit course in shmoozing, which is a very important skill that many of us geeks unfortunately never perfected.

      Raw merit can be found in dollar-per-hour Indian programming sweatshops and desparate docile immigrants. If you want real money you have to learn to brown-nose with those who have it.

      So far brown-nosing is the only thing left that is still tough to import.
    • This is just sad.. Going from making $125k to making crepes.

      I know it's happening more and more. Why did I go to college for 6 years?

      What's sad is that people expect to make $125K right out of college. :-b
  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @08:46PM (#4052159)
    I figured that if my skills start to go downhill, instead of becoming a project manager at an IT firm, I'd just become a home builder. More or less the same thing, but wood can be easier to mold than coders at times.
  • Pass on Da Skillz (Score:2, Interesting)

    by marko123 ( 131635 )
    With extra time on your hands, and about three years of experience jammed into two (if you worked stupidly long hours trying to keep your company alive), you probably have a lot of knowledge in your head.

    I sometimes give non-gratis tech help to people I meet who are trying to get started on the web, or in computers, or starting an e-business. I get a warm fuzzy feeling, and still get to do the stuff I enjoy.

  • Oh yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MattTC ( 45020 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @08:48PM (#4052170) Homepage
    After 3 Years of working in the dungeons of Tech Support, I've finally started getting free.

    I'm a consultant now, offering advice to the same companies I used to support. Telling 'em all the things I never had time to on the phones. And I'll probably be doing this and other IT-related stuff for a while yet.

    But I've started building some new skills, skills that have a purpose. In my case, its woodworking.

    Have you seen the utter crap they sell at Art Van lately? I can make furniture at the same prices that is SO MUCH more durable and attractive.

    And when I finish a project, I can look at it and say "I built this." and know that means something. I've created a solid piece of furniture, that will be making some family (maybe my own) happy three generations from now.

    Not some ephemeral little app that noone will ever use anyway, or telling some moron what he should have been able to do himself, if he could only learn to think.

    It makes me happy, like I havent been in years.
    • But I've started building some new skills, skills that have a purpose. In my case, its woodworking.

      Have you seen the utter crap they sell at Art Van lately? I can make furniture at the same prices that is SO MUCH more durable and attractive.

      too bad you aren't in the ct area, my fiance is looking for some decent loft beds for her kids. ;-) but, she doesn't -- well, actually I don't -- want to pay $1000+ for them. (we are talking about beds for a 2 & 4 y/o.)

      in my own case, i started out on the tech floor for my current employer, moved to the 'eservices' group when it started up and now i am moving (hopefully) into the professional services group. basically, i travel and consult with customers on installing, implementing and using some of our software products.

      a couple things are nice about this. one is, i'm outta the freaking office 3-4 days a week! yeah!! another is, what i do actually generates revenue for the company. you have to be able to pay $2000 a day or you won't see me on your doorstep. air travel sucks, hotels suck, but working directly with customers is great (mostly) and when you're done -- you're done. mission accomplished. i'm a very task-oriented person, so i like the sense of completion -- something you don't get from tech support or any related function.


  • I work as a noise control engineer and have the same feelings; I provide a valuable service, but it is so abstract... I originally got into engineering to "do stuff" and "make stuff", not "think stuff" and "program stuff".

    For the past few years, I have been seriously considered starting my own muffler manufacturing business. Provide an actual product, one that makes the world a better, quieter place, at a reasonable cost that actually performs as advertised.

    Right now, it is just a dream. Still waiting for a certain set of noncompetes to expire...
  • As an animal lover I've always thought I'd love to give them more than just monetary support. Sure, it's likely not the idylic job I've conjured up in my mind, but I'm sure that I'd feel one hell of a lot more fulfilled knowing I'd saved a few dogs and cats from brutality and death than knowing I'd written X lines of code for some business.

    Hell, if I had enough money behind me I'd go work for them for free!
  • The problem with restaraunt work is the boredom: doing the same thing over and over again.

    I could not tolerate that without a radio or some mind-altering drug or *something* to relieve the boredom.

    (Then again, fixing poorly-factored copy-n-paste speggetti code from jerkoff programmers is also kind of repetitious.)
    • I could not tolerate that without a radio or some mind-altering drug or *something* to relieve the boredom.

      Don't worry then, you will fit right in. I highly recommend Kitchen Confidential [bookbrowser.com] ... it's quite a hilarious read, and isn't too far off from what i encountered when i used to cook professionally.
  • I daresay not everyone's tech job sucks.

    Just those instant jobs where they were willing to pay shitloads of money to wankers with little or no experience.. those jobs are gone.

    There are still jobs out there for those who actually took their beats early, didn't job-hop every 6 months for the bigger-better-deal, and didn't fuck over their employers when they left.

    • (* There are still jobs out there for those who actually took their beats early, didn't job-hop every 6 months for the bigger-better-deal, *)

      Heck, all the companies I was with either folded after 6-months or canned their big IT projects (and programmers) after 6-months.

      It made a mess out of my resume.

      I am trying to pass as a cheap-ass foreign telecommuter. I would rather program for min. wage than flip burgers for min. wage.

      Even those are hard to get into. There are a lot of desperate techies out there who are far better liars than me. I wish they taught lying at the Universities. They don't make you competative if they don't teach you to lie. It is a survivle skill. Politicians couldn't do without it, and jobs are becomming more and more political.

      Truth == poor
  • I just did it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SmittyTheBold ( 14066 ) <[deth_bunny] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Sunday August 11, 2002 @09:12PM (#4052231) Homepage Journal
    I just moved from being a sys/net admin to a job where I act as direct, personal support for adults with developmental disabilities. So, I know what the people in the article have gone through.

    My new job has taken me in a totally different direction from everything I've ever done. Instead of babysitting computers all day, I now help people do things that their mental and/or physical disabilities preclude them from doing. It's basic day-to-day things like laundry and lunch, but it's much more fulfilling on a personal level. I know that if it weren't for people like me, these people could not live on their own.

    Now, I harbor no illusions about my geek-ness. I will most likely be back to a system/network admin job in a few years. It's just that right now, I want to stretch myself in other directions, and this provides a suitable challenge. Geeks are traditionally not so great when it comes to social skills, so this will continue to help me grow in that area. In effect, this job will help me do my old (and future) job better. (I think.)
    • Don't get me wrong here, but after reading comments on the whole article I have come to a simple conclusion. NOT EVERYONE IS SUPPOSED TO WORK IN THE TECH INDUSTRY.

      I'm not saying what you're doing isn't important for society, but I think what is really getting my goat on this entire thing is that people think that they are better than the jobs they hold. Obviously you see that what you're doing is good for both you and for those you help at your job, but someone telling me that they'd like a more simplier life in the food industry??

      I'd like a tech person to do three jobs with three different bosses for a week. Where getting $6.00/hr is "good" pay ... and an average work week is 60 hours and that is working 60 hours, not sitting on your ass in front of a computer. It's a lifestyle like that which made me decide that I wanted to be in the tech industry. There's no such thing as conferences and meetings in the food industry, if you get one of them ... you've either messed up really bad or done something really good.

  • by AELinuxGuy ( 588522 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @09:16PM (#4052236)
    "Good evening sir, my name is Steve. I come from a rough area. I used to be addicted to crack but now I'm off and am trying to stay clean. That is why I am selling magazine subscriptions and I was hoping you could help me out."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was so burned out on work and income taxes that I quit and 'retired' to Bolivia. Now I just read news sites and political news, walk and continue my study of programming (Python right now) and Spanish. I went back to a modem from DSL, but it is good enough to keep up on the geek news and such. I also have a maid that cleans, washes clothes and cooks for $1 a day. With what the government 'allowed' to keep, I can do this for the next 20 years without 'real' work. But I did teach English for a bit, which was extremely interesting.
  • Technology heros (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ergo98 ( 9391 )
    A lot of the job disatisfaction in the technology industry, particular software, I am fairly certain is the result of job heroics (at least in talk) by fellow software engineers: i.e. we all cause disatisfaction of each other. While I'm sure this hits other fields as well, I don't think there is any other field where the metrics are so abstract, and there's so much new group pioneered (and hence so little empirical numbers to rely upon).

    What do I mean? I know that I've faced situations quite a few times in the industry where I have been presented a problem, and I propose several solutions and timeframes, only to be met by a manager or peer who gloatingly informs me that Jimbo, the programmer over in section C, says that it should only take 2 hours and he could program it in his sleep. Hell, I know that I've made these idiotic off the cuff comments quite a few times. The downside is that whatever you're doing has now been trivialized, and the bar has been set in a manner that you can do nothing but fail: It's just a matter of the scale of the failure. I've spoken to peers and have found that this problem is absolutely rampant.

    The easy solution, of course, is to simply say "Well then let Jimbo do it", but due to project partitioning and company lines that just never works. What many end up doing is sniping at Jimbo's projects to undercut him as he so helpfully did to you, and it becomes a perpetual cycle. I worked with one gentlemen who literally could not keep his mouth shut about how trivial every single situation was (yet once you have some experience in the industry you have more of an ability to recognize pitfalls and risks, but senior management doesn't want to hear that: They want to hear the most heroic "I'll have it done tomorrow!" story), yet in the entire time that I worked with him he never, ever, produced a single line of code. It's situations like those that make people want to switch careers.
  • So true! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bsartist ( 550317 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @09:28PM (#4052269) Homepage
    I jumped on the 'net bandwagon in '94, a few years earlier than many. For seven years, I worked twelve hour days, often with no weekends off and with very little vacation. In return for my dedication and hard work, I was treated like a piece of furniture - shuffled from project to project according to the whims of upper management, and discarded like an old newspaper when that was more convenient for the bean counters.

    Bitter? Hell yes I'm bitter. I've wasted twenty years of my life, spending every spare moment teaching myself to be a better programmer, when the only skill that gets rewarded in this industry is that of piling a mixture of buzzwords and bullshit. Time and again, I've watched some of the most talented programmers around get fucked over, simply because some hotshot wannabee was a little better than they at self-promotion, and a little less scrupulous about being honest.

    Just like the music and movie industries, the computer industry was started by people who sincerely loved their art, and like those industries, it's in the process of being slowly dehumanized and made into a commodity by bean counters in suits. There's no longer any place in the industry for people who do what they do for the joy of it.

    I'm a bit luckier than most - having served in the military, I have some educational benefits that I can use to retrain. I have an "escape hatch" of sorts. And, I intend to use it - I'm sick of this whole sordid mess, and I'm getting out of it.
    • I've watched some of the most talented programmers around get fucked over, simply because some hotshot wannabee was a little better than they at self-promotion, and a little less scrupulous about being honest..... it's in the process of being slowly dehumanized and made into a commodity by bean counters in suits. There's no longer any place in the industry for people who do what they do for the joy of it....
      - I'm sick of this whole sordid mess, and I'm getting out of it.

      I am curious, where *else* are you going where you don't have to deal with the suits and PHB's? How will new education solve that? The only way out is probably self-employement (or death), which is tough to break into for most.
      • I am curious, where *else* are you going where you don't have to deal with the suits and PHB's? How will new education solve that?

        I don't expect it will. But at least I'll have a few years until I have to deal with all that crap again. And at least programming will be fun again, even if my day job isn't.
  • No matter HOW bad your comptuer is fucked up with windows 97 alpha 2, if you offer me a case of beer, i WILL fix it.
  • Odd, that... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Verteiron ( 224042 )
    I've had a lot of strange feelings about my chosen career. I thought along these lines... my chosen area of expertise is one that exists only in a high-tech, advanced society. What happens to me if something happens to that society? I'm not donning my tinfoil hat, but something very well COULD happen.. what if, for some reason, the tech industry vanishes? Where will I be? I can cook some Italian cuisine, but... I think I need to take up another skill, a backup, as it were. Something basic, like, well, plumbing. Or carpentry.

    I swear, no matter how great my accomplishments in the computing field, there is still the feeling of nothing REAL accomplished. Nothing permanent, nothing that anyone appreciates. I don't like that feeling.
  • by HisMother ( 413313 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @09:41PM (#4052308)
    I know I'll get modded into oblivion for this, but people, if you take a job you don't like just because you're promised big bucks, then you're a whore. If you like programming or administration or software design or whatever, then fabulous, have at it. Find a job based on the value of the contribution you can make, at a company that values your contribution. I'm sorry, but they DO exist. They don't promise you big bucks, because they do REAL things, not make believe, pie in the sky things. There are companies where no-one's ever used the word "paradigm."

    If you DON'T like it, and are just doing it because your roommate told you an MCSE was a meal ticket, then yes, go flip burgers. There are plenty of us who have been here for the long haul, doing it because we want to -- not because of the whole get-rich-quick scheme the Internet turned out to be.

    • by geogeek6_7 ( 566395 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @10:41PM (#4052464) Homepage
      You hit on an attitude I've seen over and over-- not one that is necessarily wrong, but one that separates those who do thier job based on principles of enjoyment where others do thier job based on priniciples of economics.
      I love computers. I am 16. By all accounts, I should be some dork cracking away at IIS boxen in between my job at Subway and my evil evil filesharing.
      But I'm not.
      Instead, I actively seek out oppurtunities to use my skills- even for *gasp* free! And honestly, not only has some of my non-paying work been my most rewarding, but it has also lead to experience and oppurtunities to make lots of money in a short amount of time-- what many in the industry seek out, and miss, because they have the wrong approach.
      For example, I work for my school's computer lab during the summer. Not a whole lot of money there-- I'm not sure, cause I haven't checked the math, but I'd bet I make maybe 2 or 3 dollars and hour for my work there. I don't do it because I want to make all kinds of money-- I do it because I want the experience, and I see hacking BSD in an air conditioned lab as a much riper experience than washing dishes for the local college. Anyway, our school was approached by a company selling a management product that would allow students to track grades and assignments using a webbased interface. As such, our school's BSD server needed to be configured with MySQL and PHP. So impressed was this company with my configuration that they recruited me to setup Linux solutions for their other clients-- at a far better wage. Soon, I will be coding small stuff for them. From there, I hope to progress with the company as they grow and mature.
      Those who treat their IT job as an investment rather than an easy way to a good salary are the ones who will find what the other is looking for.

      • I am 16. By all accounts, I should be some dork cracking away at IIS boxen in between my job at Subway

        Ye gods no! You should be enjoying being a kid while you still can. Don't rush into being an adult - you'll get there soon enough, and then you'll be stuck with it.
        • Yes, go, enjoy life, girls (or boys for whatever you are or like), alcohol, drugs, parties, etc. Life will suck you in way, way too fast. Believe me, I am 30 and I miss those days like hell. But maybe your way is better. I might not have known what I am missing ...
    • if you take a job you don't like just because you're promised big bucks, then you're a whore.

      Now, let's get the terminology straight here. You're only a whore if you work for cheap. If you make big bucks, you're an escort.
  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @09:42PM (#4052310)
    It was pretty obvious to anyone who looked at this that all of those companies produced little real world value or services, with few exceptions. At the end of the day, did you end up holding something in your hand? Probably not.

    To this end, there were a lot of jobs created where people got paid a lot of money doing nothing. Sounds good? On paper. Until after a few years you're watching your life tick away, and you're accomplishing nothing besides making a lot of money. That would make me very depressed, and I think sooner or later you'd realize it somewhere in your soul. Once the jobs ended, working someplace where you got to produce something would be a real psychological uplift! Nevermind the freedom of leaving work at work, not constantly worrying about problems and deadlines.

    This shakeout is good for the industry. People who are better off doing something besides IT will end up doing something else. It's happened before, and it'll happen again. If it's your calling, then you accept that. I've never had a problem finding a job for the market rate if I was willing to move around. Welcome to the sad employment future, sucks if you want a family.

    IT was never about producing things, that's the point. IT is about helping people produce things and solve problems. Now that we're through with the madness, business as usual for 10 years or so.

    • I remember looking on in horror as millions of people oohed an aahed over the emperor's new clothes. The less a company produced the higher its stock price soared. Hell, the more money a company burned the more was thrown at it. It was too sad to be funny. I have friends who lost everything. Others out of work because the only skill they have is having read "Learn Java in 24 Hours".

      This shakeup is good. At least for the next few years will have their eyes open. A good swift kick to the butt teaches you a lot about reality.
    • > At the end of the day, did you end up holding something in your hand?

      What about stock options? ;)
  • I'm sure that everyone here remembers office space, and the reference to the career placement exercise:If you had million dollars, and never had to work again, what would you do all day? The point is that whatever your answer is to this question should be what you try to get paid to do. So if you say you'd cook all day, then you should become a cook, if you'd work on cars all day, you should become a mechanic. And perhaps....if you'd read slashdot, code, and use computers all day (my answer, and probably the answer of most slashdotters deep down), then maybe, just maybe, you're in the right field after all.
  • by Tony ( 765 )
    Me, I plan on leaving IT and starting a brewery. Fuck, at least you can profit from your failures... get drunk off your ass and forget you are unhappy.

    Plus, Even though Microsoft is the Budwieser of the software company, at least it's only Budwieser that's the Budwieser of the brewing industry.
  • 18 months ago, I got laid off from a job I enjoyed. Just over a year later, I got another job which I've enjoyed. Sure, the unemployment time was bad, and significantly detrimental to my savings, but there I still don't see any job in another field I'd enjoy as much .... much less one flipping crepes or hotdogs on a push cart vendor.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 11, 2002 @09:55PM (#4052358)
    Two years ago I was making 65k as a web designer. Work was coming in through the walls and the hours were long. I felt the humanitarian hippy kick in somewhere along the line, threatened to resign unless they gave me part time hours (and they did) and tried to get a part time job working at a wendy's three blocks down my street. It was extremely hard to get the job because the guy wouldn't let me work there because I was "overqualified and would get bored in a week". I offered to work for free for a week and they still didn't take me. So I got a job at a Bennigan's in the same plaza by lying on my resume. I lasted three weeks.

    Why'd I quit? The list is endless. After the first week I remembered that people are grumpy, disgusting, and for the most part are stupid and suck. Wearing a colorful uniform with your name badge on it sucks. Cleaning after people sucks, especially when you calculate that on the average full day of LABOR you made as much money as you did when you were a techie looking at slashdot for 1.5 hours a day while eating Wendy's at the expense of your boss. While I did feel more human sweating as I swept floors, and appreciated catching the occasional gaze of a beautiful girl pounding away at chicken fingers, I'd long for my cozy conditioned office. The number 1 reason I quit, however, was the fact that YOUR MIND IS NOT REQUIRED TO DO THESE JOBS. Techies and creative people have busy brains. We just can't sweep the floor - we have to come up with ways to make it more efficient or more fun. I just couldn't turn my brain off and do grunt work.
  • I succumbed! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @09:57PM (#4052364)
    I left the IT industry after 10 years (and a layoff) and started teaching. I teach high school and community college classes, and have gone back to school to work on my PhD in educational psychology.

    A good friend once told me he evaluated choices in his life by asking, "When I die, would I want this choice on my headstone?" I think having "teacher" on my headstone would be much more satisfying than "cubicle occupant" or "corporate grunt."
  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Sunday August 11, 2002 @09:58PM (#4052369) Homepage Journal
    Years ago I lived with a sweetheart and a room-mate. We all worked in tech and none of us in positions that ever saw anything "produced". In my case the job was basic drudgery, in their's they were Engineers at Wang who had every project they worked on cancelled in it's last month (and folks were suprised when Wang foundered!)

    Thus we used to all enjoy making dinner and actually enjoyed doing dishes, were happy to see at least one visible accomplishment in our day. Pile of dirty dishes - 20 minutes later a nice shiny stack of clean ones. It was sad but it was the only thing we could do and point at and say "I did that!" and feel good about.

    I've any number of friends who have/had resturaunts, or guest houses, and all of those other "I'd chuck it all to..." business. In my case they're in Vermont and Provincetown and Ogunquit and al of them agree: It looked better from the outside. They too work unreasonable hours and can't take vacations and work always comes home with them...

    Tech isn't the be-all/end-all but if you're a go-getter you'll be gotten in any kinda job. If you're looking to stop and smell the flowers you can do that anytime - there's nothing magic about working in anything/anywhere. Heck my landscaper makes the exact same complaints and he's out in the sun all day, planting flowers, charging buckets to run a crew of leafblowers (yes, I've said "no" to that particular horror.)

    Running off to find one's self in a new career, a new place, and new life, always seems to involve one problem: It's still you. Go ahead and go for the change if you think it's gonna make you happy but don't think it's gonna change you. That stuff comes from inside and doesn't directly relate to the outside.

    If cooking crepes and serving them on heavy plates all day really does give you a kick, if you really want the lovely cottage and the endless loads of laundry your guests will generate, if spending all day leaning over the potters wheel to make the 1000'th identical syrup pourer is really your kick then go for it.

    But remember, half of those folks would chuck it in for a cushy job in an office park with a keyboard and juice vending machine down the hall.

    • Absolutely... NPR just did a story about how of a list of professions, the lowest stress one is "musical instrument repairguy".
      I certainly agree with that. I'm in audio engineering, specifically electronic/RF repair. It's problem-solving creative stuff, and at the end of the day, I can honestly say "this came to me broken, and it's leaving me fixed." I have almost no stress in my job.

      OTOH, my roommate, a refugee from the tech sector, has been unemployed for a year now. He did some sort of nebulous 'network engineering' thing, and was let go because he really couldn't point to anything and say "I did that". There were constant projects getting cancelled and basic account maintenance things that never impress the boobs up in HR who don't know what you do. All they see is that their computer boots up with "Windows 98" and it's the year 2002, and why are they four years behind?
      I admire people who have such a love of cooking that they can make gourmet food. There's a lot more to it than just flipping burgers, and they _always_ make people happy. Can you say the same for your job? -T

      • Absolutely... NPR just did a story about how of a list of professions, the lowest stress one is "musical instrument repairguy"

        Where the hell did they ask about stress levels? They certainly didn't ask in Los Angeles.
        If you're fixing Joe Superstar's guitar and time is ticking away at the most expensive studio in town and you've got people from Big Ass Corporate Music Company calling you every five minutes asking "Is it fixed yet? Is it fixed yet?" then damn straight, you have stress.

        One of my best family friends would be placed in this situation again and again. He eventually left the LA area, first for Tokyo to work for a guitar company, then finally for Portland, OR where as far as I know he's now working for a nondescript music store.

        I'm sure music techs in New York City have horror stories like this too. That NPR story is full of crap.

    • by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <gorkonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday August 11, 2002 @11:19PM (#4052556)
      Just what I have ALWAYS said. If you HATE computers, what are you doing? I GENUINELY love working with computers and fixing problems for users, setting up new servers, fixing pcap files so things print correctly and just about everything I do at my job. I live and breath computers. I have a PDA, a Laptop as well as a desktop and I can't imagine parting with any of them. Now, don't get me wrong, I know when to put things down. I know when my family comes first (always). When I am working with computers though, it feels like play to me. That's why I love it. I can't imagine doing anything else. I can also point to all of those schedules coming from my printer and when I see a student carrying their schedule between classes, I can point to those 18,000 students and say, I made it possible for these folks to know where their classes are (with a little help from my developers!). I can point to those graduates and say I ran the machine that kept track of their records making it possible to tell if they could graduate or not by pressing a button. That's my product. I don't need to see a hot dog, a cake or crepe to know I have done well. All I have to see is a happy student when a registration clerk tells them they are all set to go for the next quarter or that the school had recieved their transcript. Granted, I have always know what I did, but sometimes IT folks live in their own world so much they don't think or know what they are programming or fixing things for. Next time you want to go for a walk, try walking around in other areas of your building and meeting the users you set that server up for. Sometimes, they are actually nice people! Sometimes you find out that valuable piece of information for that bug you are tracking down. Sometimes, you make a friend.

      Alot of dot commers are bitter is because they were truly just in it for the money. They really hated the job, but they liked the money so they came in everyday and worked many hours. If someone offered me gobs of stock and told me I would do this and I asked them what did they do and they told me just publish a webpage or give away free coffee or sell groceries online, even then, I would have laughed in their face and walked back to my job confident that the College I work for would still be there at the end of this crazy mess. Who still has a job? Granted, I will never make gobs of money (not much risk at all in my job), but I will have a house, a car and a happy family to show for it. That's all I can ask for. I don't NEED a BMW. I don't necessarily need a new computer (although one would be nice, my current one works just fine). I don't need a IN Home Movie Theater(who has time for it?). My point, be happy with what you have. If you don't like your situation, change it. If you are unhappy, but making gobs of money, find some job you'd be happy in that pays enough money. In the long run, you will be much happier and a better person. Oh, and I don't think most people CARE if their Hot Dogs were made from hormone free beef (wait, don't cows already produce hormones??). All they want is a good hot dog. If you can produce that and stick to your morals and do it for a good price, you will do well. It appears the Hot Dog guy in the story is doing OK. And isn't that all we can ask is that we are doing OK?
      • Alot of dot commers are bitter is because they were truly just in it for the money.

        Perhaps. But a lot more of us are bitter because we're not in it for the money, and the industry doesn't appreciate the hard work and dedication we've put into our art. Many of us are tired of being pushed around, disrespected, and generally shat upon. We're tired of pissing away our weekends, vacations, and lives just to watch some greedy, no-talent ass-kissers get the respect and appreciation that should be ours.

        I'm not into programming for the money; I was doing it for years, for my own entertainment, before money ever entered the picture. Hell, as far as I'm concerned, money is what ruined it. The industry is being taken over by people who are in it just for the money, and who see the rest of us as nothing more than resources to be used up and thrown away.
    • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Monday August 12, 2002 @12:14AM (#4052711) Journal
      half of those folks would chuck it in for a cushy job in an office park with a keyboard and juice vending machine down the hall
      Office parks are the factories of the modern age. If you think they're cushy, you need to stop drinking the Kool-Ade.

      I worked in one Silicon Valley office park that was built on top of a dump -- we had various gas meters in the building to measure the noxious fumes that were seeping from the decomposing waste up into the building and flashing warning lights no one understood that would blink for weeks until an inspector showed up. You fight your way down the parking-lot freeway every morning, spend five minutes looking for a parking space, and ultimately you end up parking several buildings away and hope you don't get towed. Your boss says "we're working on it" every single time you ask about it, until you realize that the only thing you're likely to influence by asking is your future employment with the company. You "clock in" by swiping your access card at the door and wander through a beige cubicle farm to the cloth-walled space your boss refers to as "your office."

      Management tells you that your cubicle is a gift of privacy from them, but there's nothing private about it. It's designed to make you face the wall so anyone can walk up and look over your shoulder for several minutes before you notice the cheaply-constructed floor quiver a bit when the person shifts his weight. You turn around and ask how long he was standing there. "Only a person who has something to hide would be concerned about people looking over their shoulder," management says, despite the fact they told you the cubicle was a valued gift of privacy.

      On an assembly line, you sit/stand with a person on either side of you. That arrangement is inefficient because you could turn to your neighbor and socialize to break the hours of monotony. Worse yet, you might find out that you're doing the same work as your neighbor for half the pay. In a cubicle, you are intentionally isolated -- you can't look someone in the eye without turning around and coercing them to do the same.

      If factory workers on the assembly line had cubicles, they would never have organized unions. By isolating employees in their own, mass-produced boxes the company gains the advantage to trample the employees individually. You can flatten one worker bee without a problem, but you'd have some respect for an organized hive. The company calls its flyswatters "policies" and tout them as though they have the force of law.

      "Company policy is that we don't pay anyone more than X. You have to do X because it's company policy. You have to provide your own computer because it's company policy. And when we terminate you, you have to leave the computer with us. Everyone else is doing it. It's company policy. No we don't travel expenses, you must have misunderstood company policy."

      You generally don't see anyone unless it's a social engineer who has had the word "manager" appended to his title (product manager, account manager, project manager, etc.). Sixty percent of the people in my company had the word "manager" appended to their title to scare the 30% who had "engineer" in their title into acquiescence. Thus, a "manager" who really has no authority over an "engineer" can go to an engineer's cubicle at 5:30 and demand an all-nighter, threatening to call the engineer "uncooperative" if his plate is already full. Meanwhile, the "manager" goes out to dinner, to a bar, home to sleep and comes in the next day at 9, at which point he turns his cell phone back on. Most of these "managers" know nothing about the work that needs to be done, but they make up for that as masters of office politics, often dumping insufficient information on the engineer's desk to shift the blame for a "slipped" deadline.

      Office parks are not posh. They are simply designed with the bare minimum needed to present the appearance of complicity with labor laws and ensnare workers who fear the stigma of a traditional factory. I wouldn't go back to a cubicle farm if the company actually paid me.

      • by @madeus ( 24818 ) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Monday August 12, 2002 @06:35AM (#4053283)

        I agree with the poster of the comment you are replying to. Office life is the best thing since reclining armchairs. If you don't think office life is cushy your either don't work in an office or your just not very good at taking advantage your situation.

        I do agree that yes, offices are run by moron's, but then the entire planet is crawling with moron's and they make up almost the entire population, but office are in no way like factories. There are hundreds of people in Tiwan threading shoelace's who would agree with me.

        Office's are not designed to treat employese badly or to give them a hard time, they are deisgned the way thay are because they were designed by a moron who honestly thought it was a really good idea to built it that way. But this person designs offices for a living, so it was clear they were underqualified to begin with.

        The key to getting the most out of office life is laziness. This must be worked at, for it is often not quick to achieve and does not always come naturally (except to us lucky few).

        Office life is about coffee, free toast, surfing the web, reading email and downloading music and, if your inclined, hoarding pornography. Even meetings are good because you get to drink coffee in a quite room and bring your own reading material (I suggest ebooks on a Palm as they're less conspicuous). NB: A key tip is to schedule them over lunch time so you can order in tiny crustless triangle sandwiches at the companies expense (thus saving yourself time, money and energy buying your own lunch and from having to make do with those horrible 3 day old excuses for sandwiches that the local sandwich van will invariably bring round).

        Anything else is just a distraction from YOUR personal pleasure. Remember it's YOUR time not theirs (it may be THEIR money but it's still YOUR time, for those of a skeptical disposition check your contract - at no point do employment contracts expressly forbid you from: avoiding work, shirking responsibility, pretending to work or passing the buck. If you do end up getting worked dumped on your desk, try delegating it to a cow-orker. You'd be surprised how easy this is. If you do it often enough, you'll probably get promoted.).

        In all likely hood, unless your one of a small handful of 'key people' (there are only ever a small handful of 'key people' even in a office of a couple of hundred) your only there to make up the numbers in any case. It's just like real life really, about 5% of the population do all the the really useful meaningful stuff, like running things, building things or inventing things. The rest of us are just here to make up the numbers and keep the infrastructure going. The most we can hope for is not to get in the way.

        Lastly, if you have any difficulty with this approach due to out moded concepts like 'guilt' (over being paid good money to surf the web, for example), remember that it's not your money your wasting, it belongs to some weasel in a suit, who, if he was standing on a high ledge as you looked on below, you'd be shouting *jump* *jump*. Put in that that perspective, all your doing is relieving him of a little cash (which will probably only cause him undue stress in the long run, so really your doing him a favour).*

        * Though when his bank balance get's down to $0.00 don't let that stop you from shouting "Jump! Jump!" when the time comes. (That sort of oppertunity does come along very often and you'll kick yourself afterwards if you don't).

    • > and al of them agree: It looked better from the outside. They too work unreasonable hours and can't take vacations and work always comes home with them...

      I have no doubt in my mind that this is true and it is a lot of hard work, but at least they have jobs/careers. It costs money to make money. I would love to become an *successful* entrepreneur, but you can't do it on pennies anymore.

      I've tried two businesses (both, unfortunately in IT), and both have failed. Perhaps that means I am a bad business manager. Perhaps that's just a fact of life - most entrepreneurs have a few failures before they hit the money maker. Either way, I don't have the cash to keep trying and I can't get a job to boot.
    • Perhaps the solution is *variety*. If people had a cushy tech job for 7 years or so, then if they could run a cottage hotel for 7 years, then do yard-work for 7 years, they play sax at a nightclub for 7 years, then back to the cushy tech job, they might feel more fullfilled, or at least that they tried other things.

      IOW, try the grass in lots of lawns.
  • Food Service (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LadyJessica ( 583659 )

    Although food service can be rewarding it can also be very grueling. My grandfather ran restaurants and I worked in one of them for many years when I was growing up. The work is hard, the pay is low, and you're frequently surrounded by idiots. :-) I am much, much happier as an "office girl." I don't get burned, or end up smelling like grease, or get yelled at by tourists when I'm sitting behind a computer!

    -- Jessica

  • by kstumpf ( 218897 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @10:09PM (#4052400)
    The majority of IT jobs are bad, but not all of them.

    My last job was at GameSpy, and I can honestly say it was a total horror story. We started out with a horde of great people who, over time, became undervalued, underpaid, and overworked. Remember: arcade machines and free coke do not a good job make.

    I'm grateful for the things I learned while I was at GameSpy, though. I picked up alot of skills and more importantly, I learned what to look for in my next job.

    With everything I picked up, I immediately landed what turned out to be a fantastic job webmastering for a software company right down the street. Why is it great? I have the best boss in the world. He makes sure I have just enough work, but not too much. He sticks up for me and my work. He makes everyone in the company aware of what I do. He's like the IT Godfather.

    On top of that, everyone at the company appreciates my work. Last week, I had an important project with tight deadlines and alot of money and revenue on the line. I had to work over the weekend. When I came in monday, a bottle of wine was on my desk with two tickets to the jazz festival. I also got time off to compensate for the weekend, AND a manager of another department involved with the project spoke to my boss and insisted on adding a note of my good performance to my record for consideration at my next review. I also got nominated for the quarterly employee award. I love my job.

    All that being said, I find it hard to believe I can ever match or best this position. I would not be surprised if I were lured away from IT in the future if my current job came to an end for some reason.

    Anyway, my advice is interview your potential employer just as closely as he interviews you. Its likely the deciding factor in your happiness at work.
  • I've spent the last 7 or 8 years in various computer related jobs, most of that time programming. I've spent the last 28 years of my life in an ever-increasing search for new ways to amuse myself and to accumulate wealth.

    A few months ago, I realized that none of it mattered to me. No matter how many videogames I played, lines of code I laid down, how much cash I could pull out of my wallet, it didn't change the fact that at the end of the day, I wasn't doing a goddamned thing for anyone but myself, I wasn't improving the world or helping people in any way. And it was something I had known for a while, but it finally became something I can't ignore.

    August 26th, I start back to college, working through my degree in biology. In four years, I plan to be in med school. My only regret is that I didn't start sooner.

    I highly recommend an occasional evaluation of one's life, to see if the path travelled is the one that should be travelled. If you're happy with what you're doing, great. But don't just stick to programming or sysadmin or, hell, being a doctor for that matter, without examining why you do it, and if that goal makes you happy. Life's too damned short.
  • The treeware edition had a similar article a month or two ago about several folks who had dropped out of the dot com, high tech world to work at various ski areas. Lift operator, ski instructor, etc. About the only one who was doing anything at all close to their career was working as a marketing intern at Vail (sounded like an unpaid position) and wanted to actually get into marketing. Sounded like making living expenses (barely) but having fun.

    Kind of a hoot if you can swing it financially. At least it makes being "underemployed" fun. Sounded like some had an oppotunity to "go back" under less than favorable condition and just said "no".
  • Actually.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by umask077 ( 122989 )
    Well, Im one of those people however i am about to choke the next person who says dotcomer. I gave up on the tech industry about a year ago (after 15 years) and spent a bit of time trying to figure out what to do next. About to take the wife and kids out for a year in an RV and see what there might be to do next.

    Unfortunatly there was a wave of idiocy that swept through the tech industry where people started using nasty words like professionalism which of course has no place in computers. It became a giant mess of beuracracy and fell apart shortly after as a result of stifled curiosity.

    Presently the wife and I are thinking about purchasing a campground or some other buisness which might be a bit more fun to do for the rest of our lives. Maybe we'll buy a buy a bowling alley. Were not real sure. Time to wander and find out.

    House goes on the market in 3 days. The RV is loaded. should be intresting.
  • For me, at least. I helped start a dot.com for Fun and Profit, and it turned out to be a bad choice. The company's still around, which makes me feel pretty good about the whole deal, but I burnt out on software production for a living.

    On the other hand, hobbies are a completely different story. I'm currently running a non-profit web server, writing collaboration/discussion/sharing software, and I'm getting into embedded r/c flight control software. Can't get the geek out of my system, and I don't particularly want to, either!

    Regardless, after I quit my job at the dot.com, I pursued my other big interest: photography. I worked both as a photographer, and as a professional assistant. Being an assistant was great, because I was making money hanging out with models, and it's an intense way to meet people and learn about the business. When I did my own shoots, there was a very tangible result which was almost completely the product of my blood, sweat, and tears.

    I speak in the past tense, because I've decided to go back to school, and I no longer have the space or time to do much photography on top of my school work and geek interests. Regardless, I expect I'll get back into it after I've completed my formal education.

    So, sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. There's only one way to find out, though.

  • I'll be more than happy to see lots of people get out of the technology sector.

    Many of them got in because they thought they saw a big stack of money waiting for them there. It was the next "get rick quick" industry. Hopefully, most of these people are now quite deluded, and ready to move on.

    If so, it'll leave the jobs for people who truly do love technology. People that are more likely to search for technologies they love and then go get a job working with them, instead of trying to attach themselves to MCSE=CA$H or some other such nonsense. Seriously, I've actually seen people decide on their career path by thumbing through job advertisements and noting which industries had the highest-paying jobs. Doing that gives you a possibility of eventually landing a job with decent pay, but it's a sure-fire way to guarantee that at some point in the near future, you're going to be miserable.

    As the wise philosopher Eric Cartman once said: "Follow your dreams. You can reach your goals. I'm living proof. BeefCAKE!"
  • I haven't seen a story abuse mixed metaphors like this in quite awhile. He sprinkles them so liberally and with such abandon, it's really tough to tell what he's actually talking about...

    Like a seeing the trees through a forest.. A cat on a hot tin roof... Crepes for hotdogs... Like curiosity that killed the chickens before they could imagine a beowolf cluster of--Oops. Too far.
  • Setting up a hot dog cart/coffee shop/etc is by no means cheap. I'd love to be able to drop my job and set up a coffee shop.

    I hardly feel sorry for anyone that got laid off from a $125,000/yr job anyway. Chances are he's got huge amounts of $$ sitting in the bank collecting interest while he has his relaxing job with his hot dog cart.

    Oh, the agony he must be going through. *snort*
  • After being laid off then suffering through a miserable contract job, i find that implementing the random nonsense that shoots out of the minds of marketing people is no longer even morbidly amusing. I'm 60% seriously considering applying as an AM book shelver at my local Borders. The trick is convincing the wife that a 60% pay cut is a good idea.

  • Apparently, some people just don't fucking learn...

    And he dashed off a four- page business plan -- about 75 pages shorter than the average business plan he toted around during the boom -- that led to a $50,000 investment by family and friends.

    Mr. Benavidez added $40,000 of his own money ("Everything I have," he said) and early next month he will open his stand on North Fifth Street and Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. He named the place after his dog: "Sparky's American Food."
  • by mc6809e ( 214243 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @11:55PM (#4052648)
    Our whole view of the stock-market has been upside-down. A general increase in stock prices is bad. It means the cost of retirement has gotten more expensive.

    When the price of gas or electricity or food goes up, people don't say "gee, look how great our economy is doing".

    But they do just that when it come to stocks.

    Of course, if you already own the stock or have stock options, you love it when people drive the price up irrationally.

  • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Monday August 12, 2002 @12:23AM (#4052733)
    While reading this article, I couldn't help but notice that these people were not technologists. They were not passionate about technology. They were business people; focused on growing a business. Ultimately, they are entrepreneurs first. The product being focused on by their business seems to be a second consideration. They are dedicating their lives and passion towards the act of growing a business... which is good. Growing a small business takes that kind of drive.

    I would suspect that Slashdot's readership is a bit different. To this group, technology IS the focus. In some cases, the business of technology is never an issue as one does not make one's living at it. In other cases, business comes a close second as it enables one to make a career out of working with the technology one finds interesting. Would this group be just as happy running their own hotdog stand? Perhaps not.

    So what about that feeling of a fulfilled life? Seek balance.

    One does not have to achieve all of life's satisfaction out of one's professional life. One should have other activities in one's life; hobbies, friends, community, etc. Feel like you don't accomplish things at work? Pick up a creative hobby and create on your own. Feel isolated during the weekday? Go be a part of your community on weekends or a social activity with friends. Balance your personal and professional life.
  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Monday August 12, 2002 @01:23AM (#4052877) Journal
    I wasn't happy with my IT job, so I sat down with her and said I might be happier doing something else.

    HR Director: So, what do you want to do?
    Me: I don't know. I was thinking I like... animals. Maybe I'd be a vet?
    HR Director: An evil vet?
    Me: [long pause]...No... Maybe like work in a petting zoo...
    HR Director: An evil petting zoo?
    Me: You always do that!!!
    HR Director: What?

  • I Love My Job (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gnugeekus ( 463988 ) on Monday August 12, 2002 @06:57AM (#4053314)
    I really don't understand what's wrong with all of the people I see on here complaining about how rough their tech job is. It makes me wonder if any of them have actually had a non tech job in their life.

    I'm a senior systems engineer at a very large, well known corporation, and I love it. I've been working in information systems for 8 years and I'm no where close to 'burning out'. Every day, I come to work and work solving interesting problems designing and implementing large scale internal applications that help the people I work with do their jobs better. Not only do I get to use the tools I want to use, and create useful tools that the people I work with enjoy using. I work with a lot of really intelligent people that are fun to work with, and while we all work hard we all enjoy what we do and enjoy working together.

    I started out my "career" in life digging holes in the ground for a landscaping company. I worked a lot of other crappy jobs as well.. dish washer, prep cook, data entry... I hated them all. I got lucky and landed myself a position in technical support in 1994 and worked my way up into higher paying more skilled tech positions and I never looked back.

    when I'm driving to work in the morning and I see a road crew laying asphalt on the highway in 100 degree weather, the LAST thing I'm thinking about is how hard I have it. I really think a lot of people responding to this article need some perspective.
  • Yes. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Monday August 12, 2002 @11:03AM (#4054156)
    Typical corporate/commercial programming does sort of engender existentialism. I mean, basically you are shifting around little electromagnetic bits. Your craft lies entirely in your head or in some human inaccessible form (at least authors actually have hardcopy). It's hard to feel you *produce* anything. Maybe the solution to the malaise is to find something morally fulfilling to do with your skills, unfortunately most of the more difficult problems in this world will not be solved by computing skills.

    Anyhow, it's nice to do something, anything physical. Sometimes I wish I were the groundskeeper outside...at least they *do* something. When they are done they can point at it and see that they have made a physical difference in their surroundings. I guess it's just romanticism. Although if you own a house, you probably have ample opportunity for handiwork. Just the other day it took me about four hours to fix a really old toilet involving two trips to the hardware store because the mechanism was so old. But once I fixed that bitch it felt good. Not like software problems where you fix it and you're like "wow, I spent how long on that stupid shit? because somebody misplaced an operator. yay"

    I'll be at the head of the exodus of tech workers become farmers...

Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it. -- William Buckley