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Suggestions on career choice, a software engineer


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#1 dpaek85   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Posted 12 November 2011 - 12:44 PM

I'm 26 years old and I have a Computer Engineering degree with a 3.45 GPA from the University of Maryland: College Park, not the greatest school, but not at all bad either.

All my life I've played games and have been interested in computers. From the first time I've taken a programming class, I've gravitated to taking as much programming courses as possible. When I took my first physics course on electro-physics, I've been dead set on being a Computer Engineer and have successfully and enjoyably, completed my bachelors in it.

My first job was as a technical consultant for a software company, which I completely hated. Nothing low level technical, everything high level, very buggy software, and horrible company organization. The company was not successful and tons of people, including myself, got laid off.

After the dreadful experience working as a technical consultant, I decided I wanted to do something interesting, challenging, and fun. I never programmed a game, didn't take any courses in game development, but using the internet I've learned to developer small scaled games on the side in C/C++/Java/Actionscript. After some time, I got a job as a Quality Assurance tester for a game company, in the hopes of moving up as a game developer/programmer. After over a year there, the project flopped, no career growth for workers, and the studio shut down. Currently, I'm doing development work in Unity using Javascript. If anyone's interested, check out my website @ www.skinlessmeatpalette.com.

Now I'm on the job hunt again. I've applied to several game companies as a programmer, but right now, I'm pretty much looking for any programming position available. Without any professional experience 4 years out of college, I'm finding it quite difficult to convince any company to give me a job as a programmer.

I'm wondering if a person's personality/character has a lot to do with whether a company will hire a person, if the person will "fit in" with the coworkers. I've never had any issues hanging out with nerds and geeks, I'm a huge geek myself. I've met tons of people who love playing D&D, anime, etc. However, I am not oblivious to the fact that although I do spend a lot of time on the computer playing games and programming, I do not spend a lot of my free time learning about internet culture, such as popular mimes and tropes. I'm very active outdoors, play sports, snowboard, run, weight lift, hang out at bars, clubs, etc. Growing up, I've never had a single friend (besides classmates in college) who was into programming. I feel like even though I have the skills to program for a company, I may be stereotyped as an individual who is not technically savvy. The last job interview I had with a lead game programmer, I was consistently questioned if I view myself more as a designer rather than a programmer.

Should I continue and try to be a programmer or look for alternative career options? Is there any truth to my claims? Any suggestions?

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#2 hiigara   Members   -  Reputation: 108

Posted 12 November 2011 - 02:15 PM

Trying to become a general computer programmer these days is a bad move. Had you finished your degree 5 years earlier you would have no problem landing a programmer job even with no experience.
But now general programming it's a rat race to the bottom trying to compete with indian and chinese programmers who get paid less than $5 per hour.
I would not advise the games industry either. Although the games industry is specialized, and you won't suffer as much competition, because bellow average programmers cannot get into it,
game studios make programmers work like slaves and low pay. They assume that everyone is a geek who doesn't mind working for peanuts just because of their love of games.
Get a career on something else and develop your own indie social game on your free time.
2 specialized fields where programmers get decent pay is finance and electronics. It's not easy to break into finance. I myself am trying to get into electronics. I wish I had studied electronics or electrical engineering instead of computer science.

#3 capn_midnight   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1375

Posted 12 November 2011 - 02:24 PM

Here's what I suggest. Don't try to get a job doing something you enjoy. If you want to do something that you enjoy as your career, start a business. But if you're going to work for someone else, do something that will pay you the most money. Because all doing the thing you love for someone else is going to do is teach you to hate the thing you love. Then, spend your sizable paycheck and free time on doing the thing you love.
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#4 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2036

Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:27 PM

Here's what I suggest. Don't try to get a job doing something you enjoy. If you want to do something that you enjoy as your career, start a business. But if you're going to work for someone else, do something that will pay you the most money. Because all doing the thing you love for someone else is going to do is teach you to hate the thing you love. Then, spend your sizable paycheck and free time on doing the thing you love.


This is a good advice, but don't forget that you can still learn a lot of things by being employed at a decent company. Starting a company is ideal, but only if you have experienced people in your team to back you up. If you are a sole programmer who just graduated college, and your project portfolio consists of a pong game and a half-finished tetris, and you have nobody to work together with, it's better to get a job and learn new things about programming, project execution, and corporate cultures.

#5 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4678

Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:13 PM

I'm 26 years old and I have a Computer Engineering degree with a 3.45 GPA from the University of Maryland: College Park, not the greatest school, but not at all bad either.

All my life I've played games and have been interested in computers. From the first time I've taken a programming class, I've gravitated to taking as much programming courses as possible. When I took my first physics course on electro-physics, I've been dead set on being a Computer Engineer and have successfully and enjoyably, completed my bachelors in it.

My first job was as a technical consultant for a software company, which I completely hated. Nothing low level technical, everything high level, very buggy software, and horrible company organization. The company was not successful and tons of people, including myself, got laid off.

After the dreadful experience working as a technical consultant, I decided I wanted to do something interesting, challenging, and fun. I never programmed a game, didn't take any courses in game development, but using the internet I've learned to developer small scaled games on the side in C/C++/Java/Actionscript. After some time, I got a job as a Quality Assurance tester for a game company, in the hopes of moving up as a game developer/programmer. After over a year there, the project flopped, no career growth for workers, and the studio shut down. Currently, I'm doing development work in Unity using Javascript. If anyone's interested, check out my website @ www.skinlessmeatpalette.com.

Now I'm on the job hunt again. I've applied to several game companies as a programmer, but right now, I'm pretty much looking for any programming position available. Without any professional experience 4 years out of college, I'm finding it quite difficult to convince any company to give me a job as a programmer.

I'm wondering if a person's personality/character has a lot to do with whether a company will hire a person, if the person will "fit in" with the coworkers. I've never had any issues hanging out with nerds and geeks, I'm a huge geek myself. I've met tons of people who love playing D&D, anime, etc. However, I am not oblivious to the fact that although I do spend a lot of time on the computer playing games and programming, I do not spend a lot of my free time learning about internet culture, such as popular mimes and tropes. I'm very active outdoors, play sports, snowboard, run, weight lift, hang out at bars, clubs, etc. Growing up, I've never had a single friend (besides classmates in college) who was into programming. I feel like even though I have the skills to program for a company, I may be stereotyped as an individual who is not technically savvy. The last job interview I had with a lead game programmer, I was consistently questioned if I view myself more as a designer rather than a programmer.

Should I continue and try to be a programmer or look for alternative career options? Is there any truth to my claims? Any suggestions?

I went to UMCP for a time. However, if you have a CE degree shouldn't you be looking toward company such as Intel, IBM, AMD, NVidia? CS degree, in theory, is more targeted toward software company jobs than a CE degree. Granted you can get a programing job with either.

With that said, are the consulting firms in MD/DC not able to find you a job? I'm surprised given the college you graduated from, GPA, the fact you have experience, and it seems you have a small portfolio at least. I find it surprising that you are having a hard time finding a job in that area. UMCP is a highly respected on the East Coast. I don't mean for basketball. I mean for the curriculum. If you can't get a job doing temp work (as a programmer) by your own means or through a temp agency, then try sites like rent-a-coder to pull some work in the meanwhile.
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#6 markr   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1653

Posted 14 November 2011 - 05:20 PM

Joel on Software, says there are "Five Worlds" (here: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/FiveWorlds.html)

I'm not sure he's quite right, but he's certainly close.

The difficulty in the software industry seems to be, that once you get into one of the worlds, moving to another is very difficult.

Joel's article is quite dated, he seems to consider SaaS as a variataion on "Shrinkwrap" (which I call "Boxed" software, even though it's mostly downloaded nowadays).

I think SaaS isn't a variation on Shrinkwrap.

However, I do agree with Joel's other points.

---

I guess it's possible to transfer between worlds, but few ever find the "portals" :)

---

You have entered the "Shrinkwrap" world, and are now trying to find the portal to Games.

* This is going to be difficult
* Are you F* insane?

Most games developers I know are insane, so if you are, you're in good company.

Personally, I (have been in the SaaS / Shrinkwrap world for some time) have long wanted to get into "Embedded" because I think it may be quite interesting.

#7 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 799

Posted 16 November 2011 - 10:09 AM

Here's what I suggest. Don't try to get a job doing something you enjoy. If you want to do something that you enjoy as your career, start a business. But if you're going to work for someone else, do something that will pay you the most money. Because all doing the thing you love for someone else is going to do is teach you to hate the thing you love. Then, spend your sizable paycheck and free time on doing the thing you love.

Well, it's not as simple as that. For starters, what if running a business isn't something someone enjoys? Whilst running a business gives you freedom, you've also got to deal with more aspects (customers, marketing, investment, hiring) that you wouldn't have in a job.

But running a business doesn't magically mean you can do what you like - you've still got the same tradeoff between "completely enjoyable but makes no money" and "less enjoyable but makes more money" that you find in employment. If you say your work choice should be whatever makes most money (even if you don't enjoy it), then why doesn't that apply to someone's choice of business, too? If doing something for work is going to make you hate it, then why doesn't that apply when you're working all hours trying to survive running a business over it?

It's not clear to me why one would make the trade off at either extreme. Given a choice between something I hate, versus something I like that pays slightly less, would you still suggest the former? And whilst more money is useful, it's not clear why that's needed to do something like programming for fun? There might be some people who have a really expensive hobby, and decide the only criterion in a job is whichever pays the most to fund that hobby, no matter what that job is, but that situation isn't typical for most people.

I'd say that for many people, what subjects/jobs you enjoy will often correlate with what you're most skilled at - even more so if like the OP you already have a Computer Engineering degree. Are you suggesting he give up, then spend years/thousands of dollars retraining as say a lawyer and a doctor, even if he'd hate those jobs, just because it might pay more?
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#8 Jesse7   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 17 November 2011 - 02:50 PM

Here's what I suggest. Don't try to get a job doing something you enjoy. If you want to do something that you enjoy as your career, start a business. But if you're going to work for someone else, do something that will pay you the most money. Because all doing the thing you love for someone else is going to do is teach you to hate the thing you love. Then, spend your sizable paycheck and free time on doing the thing you love.


I don't agree with this philosophy because it assumes that you will eventually have free time to do the thing you enjoy. If anything, time is far more valuable than extra money. Life has taught me that it is very short so you should waste no time pursuing things you don't care about otherwise you will regret it later. On their deathbed, I've never seen anyone who cared about how little or how much money they made. The only thing I've seen is regret for not pursuing their dreams when they had a chance. It is far better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.
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#9 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2096

Posted 17 November 2011 - 04:31 PM


Here's what I suggest. Don't try to get a job doing something you enjoy. If you want to do something that you enjoy as your career, start a business. But if you're going to work for someone else, do something that will pay you the most money. Because all doing the thing you love for someone else is going to do is teach you to hate the thing you love. Then, spend your sizable paycheck and free time on doing the thing you love.


I don't agree with this philosophy because it assumes that you will eventually have free time to do the thing you enjoy. If anything, time is far more valuable than extra money. Life has taught me that it is very short so you should waste no time pursuing things you don't care about otherwise you will regret it later. On their deathbed, I've never seen anyone who cared about how little or how much money they made. The only thing I've seen is regret for not pursuing their dreams when they had a chance. It is far better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.


Time is more valuable than money, which is exactly why I incredibly mercenary about getting paid and paid well. Getting paid well allows me to do the things I enjoy and more importantly means I can afford to work less hours.

The reality is that while money might not equal happiness, it certainly helps.
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#10 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2036

Posted 17 November 2011 - 07:54 PM

I'm wondering if a person's personality/character has a lot to do with whether a company will hire a person, if the person will "fit in" with the coworkers.


Certainly. I'd say it's about 50% experience 50% corporate culture. If you are likable, you will get a job even if you barely met the requirement. If you are super-smart, but they can't relate to you, I doubt you could go far. Here's an example which I experienced myself. I was interviewed by this big company. There are certain types of people who would actually use their product, and I am not one of them.

I was interviewed by a programmer first. He immediately liked me. We both know good practices, and we chuckled over a couple of bad practices we had both experienced.

Next interviewer was a graphics artist. A graphics artist, not an executive or a project manager or "higher-ups". He obviously asked a couple of generic questions. Bla bla bla. He then proceeded to ask: what do you think of our product and services. Not wanting to lie (because I knew they could check), I honestly said to them that I haven't used it much just because I haven't found much use of it personally. Truth. The interview stopped there.

Unfortunately, this is what's happening out there. Companies don't really hire "smart" people. They feel if you could fit in. Try to go work in a large company, and you will find a handful of "dumb" people. They hire people they like with relatable experience.

#11 Jesse7   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 18 November 2011 - 02:18 AM

Time is more valuable than money, which is exactly why I incredibly mercenary about getting paid and paid well. Getting paid well allows me to do the things I enjoy and more importantly means I can afford to work less hours.

The reality is that while money might not equal happiness, it certainly helps.

I'd rather be in a position where I want to work more hours not less. (it means I like my job) Getting paid well is a wonderful thing to have and no doubt helps in achieving happiness. The problem isn't money, but the mentality in forcing yourself to do something you don't care about for the sake of money. Most often this is seen as an investment to obtain free time in the future to pursue the things you really enjoy. That investment also costs time and there is no guarantee that you will get free time even when you're financially secure. Also, passionate momentum tends to die down if it is not acted upon soon. I say if you want to do something, then just go do it because there's no better time than the present. Perhaps some will still hold back because of a true lack of resources, but thankfully today you don't need much to get started in things like programming or game development. A cheap computer and some open source tools will suffice--the rest is up to you.
Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.

#12 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 799

Posted 18 November 2011 - 07:31 AM

Time is more valuable than money, which is exactly why I incredibly mercenary about getting paid and paid well. Getting paid well allows me to do the things I enjoy and more importantly means I can afford to work less hours.

The reality is that while money might not equal happiness, it certainly helps.

I don't think anyone's disputing that. But if you end up spending a significant proportion of your life doing something you hate, just to get slightly more money, I'm not convinced that well leave you better off in the happiness stakes.

Everyone's situation, and the choices of jobs they have, are different - so advice of "only do whatever job pays most" as the only criterion is unlikely to be useful for most people.

Plus most jobs don't give you freedom to choose how many hours you work - indeed, many higher paying jobs also come with higher demands on time, at least that's the impression I get from friends who work in banking...
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#13 JustChris   Members   -  Reputation: 149

Posted 18 November 2011 - 03:54 PM

Here's what I suggest. Don't

try to get

a job

doing something you enjoy. If you want to do something that you enjoy as your career, start a business. But if you're going to work for someone else, do something that will

pay you the most money

. Because all doing the thing you love for someone else is going to do is teach you to hate the thing you love.




To paraphrase Tom Sloper, if you say that a job will always drain the fun out of something you love, you probably haven't had a job you truly enjoyed.

There are some interesting posts in here so far, such as the tendency to want to work more hours if you enjoy the job. But you still want to keep a balance between your work life and social/family life. I would not like to work at a place where there is barely any social interaction between employees. Doing something you really hate/working at a place you hate just leads to more friction between your higher-ups and more likely to lose your motivation at work, thus increasing your chances of incompetence.

To have that mentality to force yourself to work, going through the motions, and not treating it as a transitional job, you have to have a pretty bleak outlook on your career. "Do whatever pays most" has only managed to put a lot more people into jobs they don't really have a feel for, therefore unnecessarily inflating competition in various fields. That kind of philosophy has already been the case for a lot of outsourced programmers in third world countries.
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#14 capn_midnight   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1375

Posted 18 November 2011 - 06:12 PM

I want to explain a little better what I meant, because it seems it's getting extrapolated in the wrong way.

First and foremost, I want all of you to be happy. Happy people commit fewer crimes. The problem is that the story that we've all been told on how to achieve that happiness by our governments, the corporations, and the institutional education system is a crock of shit: 1) get a degree in whatever you love, going in to as much debt as necessary, because that degree is going to open doors for you, 2) get a job in your degree, 3) profit. There are so many problems with this recipe that it needs the southparkian (did I just coin a term) "???" step at least two times in the middle.

I mean, what does a teenager know about what they want to do with their life? We as a society push kids to go to college right after highschool, asking them to make a life-changing decision with a brain incapable of making rational decisions yet and a complete lack of life experiences to apply to the issue. When I was a teenager, I wanted to study fine art; I got accepted to college for it. What the hell was I thinking? I wasn't an artist, artists say things, they make things with meaning, I just liked making pretty pictures. Luckily I was able figure out early on that A) nobody was going to buy art if they didn't care about what it said, and B) nobody was going to care about anything I had to say because I wasn't a Bolshevik in American Eagle. So I transferred to Computer Engineering within my first month. I liked computers, had played around with some programming in highschool, thought the idea of 3D animation sounded cool, and took the rest of the semester to learn that "computer engineering" wasn't "programming". I eventually transferred to Computer Science, which may not have been the best choice for what I'm talking about, but the general gist was there.

I left college with significantly less debt than most people, but a hell of a lot more than I cared for. When you have that kind of debt (and student loans aren't forgivable by bankruptcy proceedings), you don't have a lot of options but to... go further in debt: get a job right away and buy a car to get there. But fast forward 7 years later and I'm now debt free. No student loans, no car, no credit cards, nothing. I'm now working for an extremely small company in the wireless automation space. We have free beer (kegged! Victory Brewing Company!) in the break room. I make 25% less here than my last place. But it took that time at jobs that I hated making more than most of my peers to get to this place. Now, maybe I can save up some money and think about being an artist again, because now that I'm older, I've figured out a few things I want to say.

If I had to do it over again, I would want to know that I would hate working for other people. I have some rather strong anti-authority issues, which is probably from my non-traditional upbringing. I'm like a cat, the worst way to handle me is to squeeze me harder, but the standard way to "manage" an employee who comes in late is to make him come in earlier. And then they wonder why I come in even later... but regardless, it's meant that I've never had an easy time once employed. The only reason I've ever been paid well was because I've delivered the goods despite my "attitude problems" and "persistent tardiness" and "insubordination".

That's what I'm talking about "do the thing that pays you the most". I don't mean forever, I mean until you can get out of the debt cycle. The promotion of the debt cycle by the "institution" is intentional, it keeps people working and ostensibly keeps the economy going around (I'm neither convinced that is true or convinced that it is necessary to grow economies indefinitely). The highschool where I grew up had a motto that they displayed in their administrative office, "we are not here to educate people, we are here to build good consumers and patriotic citizens". The goal is not to give people the tools they need to navigate life themselves, the goal is to mold them in to being cogs within the system, fitting neatly together in lines to march to and fro. If I had understood the debt cycle before I graduated from college, I would have probably stayed in computer engineering and worked in a much smaller job market and probably made more money. I do like programming, I do like working with technology, I just hate being "managed". If I had done that, maybe I would have been out of debt 3 or 4 years earlier. If I really had the stomach for work, I would have gotten in to finance and been debt-free almost right away. But you live and learn.

So I don't understand these people who are going to Brown and Columbia and Stanford and getting bachelor's degrees in Psychology to go in to social work. And I'm talking Bachelor of Arts, not Bachelor of Science, so it's not like they're going to eventually get in to a doctorate program and become a clinical psychologist. I understand wanting to get in to social work, I don't understand going in to massive debt to do it, debt they have no hope of ever paying off. If social work really is the thing you want to do (and more power to you if so), then it would be much, much more prudent to go in to something like finance for five years, make a load of money, and then get in to social work. First of all, you're going to be older and wiser, get all of your irresponsible partying out of the way (well, the only thing that changed with me getting older was being able to afford better booze and being able to plan the night better, so maybe not), so you will appreciate the studies and absorb them better. Second of all, you won't be tied down to "the man" or setting up a tent in the middle of the streets of New York City because you're upset you couldn't afford to go to Burning Man this year.

So here is my proposed alternative career happiness recipe:
1) stay out of debt,
2a) get a job that pays relatively well, something like bartending in a big city (I have friends here in Philly who make $60k/yr bartending, but you have to take it seriously, you won't do that being a jerk-off working in a dive), or dealing black jack in Las Vegas, or
2b) or start a business in a creative field. Your expenses won't be very high and it won't matter if the business fails, because you didn't make the mistake of using your own money to get it going (right? RIGHT?). Hell, failure in business, especially in creative fields, is expected. You just dust yourself off, find some new investors, and try again.
3) enjoy some money (HEED #1!) You have to live life to know what you want out of it. Eat. Drink. Travel. Do all three at the same time.
4) save some money. Also, buy some dividend-paying stocks. As much as you can.
5) when you've saved enough and lived enough to know what you want, then maybe go to college to study what you really want. But only use it for credentialing, not for learning. College is the worst place to learn because it's only 4 years of your life. The rest of your life is a lot longer, so you had better figure out how to learn outside of college. Ask yourself what you really need. If you need the degree, then go to college. If you need the knowledge but the piece of paper doesn't matter, then skip college and open up Wikipedia.org, there is a bibliography there for what you want to study that will get you started on learning everything there is to know about that topic far quicker than college can ever do for you.

And your track is pretty much decided from there, depending on your degree. You can't start your own business as a social worker, you're kind of stuck working for an agency of some kind. You can't really get a job as a fine-artist, you're kind of stuck freelancing.
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#15 Nytegard   Members   -  Reputation: 820

Posted 18 November 2011 - 09:44 PM



Here's what I suggest. Don't try to get a job doing something you enjoy. If you want to do something that you enjoy as your career, start a business. But if you're going to work for someone else, do something that will pay you the most money. Because all doing the thing you love for someone else is going to do is teach you to hate the thing you love. Then, spend your sizable paycheck and free time on doing the thing you love.


I don't agree with this philosophy because it assumes that you will eventually have free time to do the thing you enjoy. If anything, time is far more valuable than extra money. Life has taught me that it is very short so you should waste no time pursuing things you don't care about otherwise you will regret it later. On their deathbed, I've never seen anyone who cared about how little or how much money they made. The only thing I've seen is regret for not pursuing their dreams when they had a chance. It is far better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.


Time is more valuable than money, which is exactly why I incredibly mercenary about getting paid and paid well. Getting paid well allows me to do the things I enjoy and more importantly means I can afford to work less hours.

The reality is that while money might not equal happiness, it certainly helps.



My last job paid me a ton of money. You know what? It was the 5 most miserable years of my life, and all that money is gone now. Who cares if you're making 6 figures or more if you hate your job. I'm not talking about severly disliking your job. I'm talking hating it. (Most people say they hate their job, but it's really not hate, more of a dislike). You end up compensating for your life by spending just to keep some sanity. And it doesn't matter how much money you make, almost any amount can easily be lost through frivolous use (and not just bad investments).

My current job, I'm working hourly, and keeping it to 40-50 hours per week. And I'm significantly happier, despite earning less (albeit, still a comfortable amount). There's a balance that you need to find between time and money. Not everyone has the same motivations, so it really does come down to the person on whether or not they're making the right choice.

#16 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 799

Posted 21 November 2011 - 07:30 AM

Well indeed, with fees so high in the US, and the poor job prospects, there's some argument that one should do something other than a degree. But note that's separate to the debate of money versus enjoyment in a job. For some people, getting a degree still provides a way for better money, even if they don't enjoy it. For people not doing a degree, they might still rather pick something they enjoy - I wouldn't recommend bartending to someone who hated it.

I'm not convinced setting up a business to make a money without losing any of it is easy, otherwise everyone would do it. You need investment - which surely is harder right now, just as finding a job is harder?

I'm often a great believer in Wikipedia, but I'm not convinced that looking things up online would have replaced the lectures, tuition and supervisions of my maths degree. I mean yes, it's good to know how to learn outside of college too, but then how far do we take it - should we not bother with school either?


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#17 Jesse7   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 22 November 2011 - 02:43 PM

Personally, I find that too much comfort becomes an obstacle to personal progress. I hear this all the time: "My plans are to obtain a career doing X but I will only stay at this temporary job until condition Y occurs." Y could be until I'm debt free, until I finish my degree, until I get married, until I take a course in Z, etc... Then what ends up happening is that the person meets their condition yet they still put it off because they get used to the nice paychecks that are paying the bills and providing the extra cash for doing things like go on vacations, buy nice toys, etc... Before they know it, they've been working there for many years so they now have promotions, benefits, extra-pay, etc... and it starts to bother them to change to something else because they will lose out on retirement plans and benefits. They can't imagine starting all over again and taking a big pay cut even though it's more in line with what they enjoy. So what do they do? They put it off again until retirement. Of course, by the time they retire it's too late--they either don't care anymore or they don't have the years or the energy to see it get done.

I believe people get trapped doing something they don't like because their jobs provide too much comfort. If they would've starved a little or lived in some vermin infested apartments I bet change would have been much easier. After all, when you're in that situation you don't have much too lose and everything to gain so you're willing to take more risk and attempt things that are more in line with what you like--it becomes your only source of happiness.

Incidentally, this is much easier to do when you don't have a family. If you have a family, then your passion ought to be your family not your career--in this case, taking a higher paying job may be the best choice if it means that your kids won't suffer. The main issue is that humans are creatures of comfort so once we develop a pattern of living that meets our daily needs and provides some measure of happiness, it takes a lot of effort to change to something else especially when we consider that nothing in life is ever guaranteed.
Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.




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