I sent the following email to a guy who reached out to me on Reddit to chat. I felt like sharing it.
In general, I think I’m surrounded by software developers that make lots of money and are in it for the money. I tend to gravitate towards the people I see passion in and those are my closest friends, but most people at my large company only seem to care about money and it’s obvious in their political games, shitty code, and overall lack of inspiration to think critically and ensure we’re delivering the best simple software. They’re perfectly content spending 8 hours churning out shit to say they completed their story. I hate this. It’s not me.
I may have made a mistake in not accepting the new job offer, because yesterday and today tons of news articles from reputable sources came out about Rackspace likely being acquired by a private equity firm. I have no clue what to expect from this and what it means for me and my role. Hopefully they trim some of the middle-management fat and I’m safe as a developer, but maybe not. Impossible to tell what will happen.
Here’s my deal. I’m from a small farming town. I graduated with 100 kids in my class. My parents did not expect me to go to college and had no money saved. Neither of them went to college. At this point, I make more money than both of them combined and they’ve been working at their jobs for 30 years and 15 years respectively. Their solution to send me to college was to co-sign on loans. Now I have to pay that back. I’m still in $60k of student loan debt. This debt weighs heavily on me constantly. I cannot get it out of my mind.
I recently, probably stupidly bought a new $30k Camaro because my car was old, crapping out, and kept costing me money to maintain. This was probably a stupid decision from someone who whines about student loan debt all the time. But I’m also noticing myself getting older. I’ll be 28 this year. I wanted something nice to live while I’m alive and so I went for it. At least with it, if I can’t make payments they can repossess it. Student loan debt and wage garnishment scare the living shit out of me.
I feel like I paid for the right to do a job I love, and it turns out I’ve hated all 3 jobs I’ve had out of college because building someone else’s dream is not the type of person I am. I’m opinionated, focused on simplicity, and want to do one thing and do it well. Companies want to be the end all be all for every customer, and thus sacrifice quality for quantity in my opinion. I fucking hate this.
I’m noticing jobs slowly kill any passion I had for programming and learning and turning me into a 9 to 5’er. It’s killing me. I notice myself on Sunday’s saying “Ok this week, I’m going to work, doing my job, and keeping my headphones on all day. Nothing will phase me.” Then by noon on Monday I’ve already got into a crucial discussion about how stupid something is and what we should do to change it. Then I realize I have no power to change it so I try to go back into my turtle shell.
This has gotten so bad for me, that roughly a year ago I sought psychiatric help for it. I NEVER had a problem with mental state/attitude until I started working after college. That may be the saddest thing of all.
What do I want? I want to pay off my student loans and maybe feel some freedom to do whatever makes me happy. I’m on job number 3. I try to do at least 2 years at every job and I keep experimenting with size of company and role to find a perfect fit. I think I know what a perfect fit would be, but I just can’t find it right now. After working 8 hours I want to come home and do anything other than think about job hunting or programming. I do have some side projects, but I make them for myself and then share them so it doesn’t even feel like programming. I’m passionate about solving problems using code. Not building software just because someone thinks we need another shitty app that let’s us share pictures of our food.