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IT workers get back to basics.
August 11, 2002 7:58 PM   Subscribe

IT workers get back to basics. (NYT Registration required) An unemployed IT worker who used to earn $125k opens his own crepe stall in NYC. And Jamie Zawinski (a founder of the Mozilla project) quit Netscape, and opened his own bar in LA! What about mainframe programmer with 30 years' experience who just became a chef? Even Dilbert has been having a bad time. Some people will stay in IT regardless, but with the valley's job market stagnant, call centers and programming jobs disappearing to India, and many unfulfilled dot com prophecies, hundreds of engineers are considering dropping IT for more hands-on pursuits. It's like the movie, Office Space. So, has the 'Great IT Depression' led you to reconsider your occupation? (Warning: Slashdot inspired post.)
posted by wackybrit (77 comments total)

 
uh, Jamie Zawinski took over and refurbished the DNA Lounge - which thankfully is in San Francisco, not LA.
posted by xochi at 8:09 PM on August 11, 2002


(Side note: As one who reads Slashdot and MeFi both, I find it interesting how many stories appear on one and then the other, usually in rapid succession. Same with Kuro5hin.org ^_^ One of these days I'd like to see something appear here first, and THEN on /. :))

Being a CS major still in the middle of his studies, and with only a low-level job at a tiny techie outfit in a small rural-ish city, I can't really say the 'IT depression' has caused me to re-evaluate my job just yet. But, I *have* seen a few people get burned out on computers even before the dot-com bubble burst, and I often have to wonder myself if I'll ever get sick of these wondrous boxes.

Personally, I would like to know how many IT workers feel this need to escape from the world of 1s and 0s, *regardless* of how the job market is doing...and then examine the impact of a slowing tech sector.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 8:10 PM on August 11, 2002


I could major in computer science. But why? I could try to get a job in the tech sector, and become relatively obsolete in a matter of several years. But why?

A systems manager is nothing more than a glorified tech janitor.

I feel that I will be much happier perusing journalism as a profession... monetary prosperity be damned.
posted by cinematique at 8:13 PM on August 11, 2002


I just quit my IT job of 3 years, in search of something not behind a desk or a monitor, preferably outside and/or involving tools. Computers are neat and all, but they're a very small part of what makes this world work, and it's time I start exploring the rest of it.
posted by bizwank at 8:17 PM on August 11, 2002


(Side note: As one who reads Slashdot and MeFi both, I find it interesting how many stories appear on one and then the other, usually in rapid succession. *snip*)

I was waiting for that, as I whined about it before, and it led to a discussion on MetaTalk, where it basically turned out that 'it's okay' as long as it's not a pure rip and that we add something to the story.

Actually, I thought the entire concept was interesting, so I set out to find another recent story to link to instead of the NYT one. I found one, from the Taipei Times, but it kept timing out..

So to not simply be a link-whore, there are about ten links to other/supporting content, which is what turns something from stealing into a 'developed story' ;-)

xochi: Doh, oops! I tend to get those cities mixed up.
posted by wackybrit at 8:17 PM on August 11, 2002


Then again, I'm pursuing it, not perusing it. I guess I shouldn't be an editor. :P
posted by cinematique at 8:18 PM on August 11, 2002


This family is selling their house and hitting the US highways in an RV for a year.
posted by wackybrit at 8:26 PM on August 11, 2002


Huzzah for the Office Space link. A true modern classic.
posted by MattD at 8:26 PM on August 11, 2002


when i first took computer science in college, i found out that i loved it. i love the theories and the science. the quest for algorthmic complexity as well as algorithmic simplicity is a great one. i have confidence in myself: i think i can do anything i set my mind to. i think anyone can do the same. i'll stick it out: computer science is what i love, though i may not make much money.
posted by moz at 8:27 PM on August 11, 2002


Us Graphic Design and "New Media" Students have an exciting career at Kinko's to look forward to. As a former CS major, I switched to graphic design because I saw the writing on the wall. I figured as long as I was going to be working a crappy computer job instead of the dotcom era lifestyle... it might as well be something creative and pretty.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:29 PM on August 11, 2002


Amen to that moz.

Let the people who don't love it, and are just looking to make money, go elsewhere. Good riddance.

Cinematique: CS skills of all sorts (unless you stop learning) actually carry pretty well, so I'm not sure where the "obsolete" comment came from. But by all means, if you want to do journalism, go for it. Just don't knock those of us who are doing things with code, IT, etc because, believe it or not, we actually LIKE it.
posted by malphigian at 8:31 PM on August 11, 2002


occupation: programmer
degree: poetry

I'd do something else if I could get paid for it. The work is not as rewarding as I had hoped but I get paid well enough to put my wife through film school at Columbia, so that is well worth it. I have dreams of teaching computer science and literature at a charter school some day.
posted by n9 at 8:33 PM on August 11, 2002


wackybrit: Sorry if you thought I was complaining at all, I know about the whole 'link whore' concept ;) I was actually being 100% geniune with my statement....I really do find it 'interesting' to see the relationships in headlines between various community 'blogs :) and I certainly do give you kudos for all the extra links, make no mistake!

Also, to expand on my viewpoint about computing (partly in response to bizwank's comment): I see computers as tools, albeit very interesting ones that merit their own study and such. I think computers and networking them together are a great way for humanity to communicate in ways we never have before. It's obvious how huge a change the Internet has effected since its inception, and there are still many ways to use it we have yet to explore, I'm sure.

And I feel that 'puters are important for use as artistic tools as well: visual art, audio art, and new entire genres of artistic expression are made possible by using them. Not to mention your basic games and all the various entertainment venues we've come up with; and of course there's that wierd but wonderful middle ground where entertainment meets art and fuses with it. I feel that particular area of digital creation holds great promise which is only beginning to be explored. (i.e. interactive fiction, that sort of thing)

Hmm, but I'm getting off-topic, sorry ^_^;;; My overall point is that computers aren't just things to be interested in for their own sake, but tools that can be used in many different areas. A computing profession doesn't have to just be concerned with computers, but can rather use computers to augment how one interacts with the rest of the world. Something like that.

Sorry, I ramble when it's this late...
posted by cyrusdogstar at 8:34 PM on August 11, 2002


cyrus: I guess I should use more smileys when I post :-) I think MeFi and /. make ideal targets for this discussion (rathern than, say, Fark) because a lot of MeFiers worked at dot-coms, and are now being forced to consider other options. I can't recall the threads, but I remember a few that discussed unemployment, and it seems a lot of MeFiers were unemployed at the time, thanks to the crash.

Someone on /. said that perhaps all of the people leaving IT is a good thing, since those who are leaving now, are probably those who only got into IT because it promised a big salary a few years ago. Now, the people who really enjoy computers and do the computer work, and the wannabes can go find the 'next big thing' instead.

I still haven't decided what I want to do yet, but it probably won't involve crepes.
posted by wackybrit at 8:42 PM on August 11, 2002


I could major in computer science. But why? I could try to get a job in the tech sector, and become relatively obsolete in a matter of several years. But why?

A systems manager is nothing more than a glorified tech janitor.


Computer science is applied mathematics. Other then a few introductory courses (I could only think of one at ISU) would even apply to being a systems manager. They have a separate degree for that, it's called MIS. Lots of people who can't hack computer science end up going for that.

The idea that what you're taught in computer science would 'go obsolete' is laughable. The programming language you use might after a decade or so (programming languages last a long time, especially the ones taught in universities. C++ has been widely used for like 20 years). And if you're any good you should be able to pick up new languages just by reading a book.

Might not hurt to actually know what something is before attacking it, moron.
posted by delmoi at 8:44 PM on August 11, 2002


Malphigian - So you're what... a Microsoft certified™ tech whore or a Linux hippie? None of the above? Please don't tell me you're MSCE because those kids scare me.

This one time, my friend's computer wouldn't boot. Note: my friends do not know about my tech knowledge unless I feel the explicit need to divulge this information. This spares me from being "The-Tech-Guy-Everyone-Calls-When-Something-Goes-Wrong."

Ahem. Anyway.

One of his other friends, already in the room, is a MSCE tech. He tried to fix said computer. I keep an open eye on the situation, from a distance. After the MSCE dude gives up, I examine the thing.

Ended up being a BIOS misconfiguration, keeping the hard drive from being recognized/initialized properly.

The MSCE guy felt like a dumb ass.

I went back to sitting in the chair, talking to others.
posted by cinematique at 8:46 PM on August 11, 2002


As a former CS major, I switched to graphic design because I saw the writing on the wall. I figured as long as I was going to be working a crappy computer job instead of the dotcom era lifestyle... it might as well be something creative and pretty.


Funny; I liked CS precisely because it was a way to do something creative and pretty. Beautiful, actually, not just pretty. Though, in fact, I spent all my time painting and drawing before I decided computers were interesting, and see a clear connection between art and software development.


Anyway, I got fed up sitting in a grey, airless, noisy box, and quit my job to write. About software.

I also tend to think that, once the corporate scams all shake out, they'll be another tech boom. The revolution ain't over; the dotbomb nonsense was a mere distraction. Be ready.
posted by Ayn Marx at 8:53 PM on August 11, 2002


I did the IT tech thing for 2 years. The company went out of business in 1999, and I turned to doing music, which I had studied concurrently with computers. I now make around as much as I did, work fewer hours, and am a whole hell of a lot less stressed.
posted by ericdano at 8:53 PM on August 11, 2002


it might as well be something creative and pretty.

Wait until you meet the world of corporate design guidelines and templates; your only chance to be creative will be in how you develop your coping mechanisms, Stan. :)

I love the digital world- but at the same time, it saddens me that i am not producing something tangible; work that can be shown or shared without the need of a pc, a connection, a power supply, and a justification or two.
posted by elphTeq at 8:54 PM on August 11, 2002


"Might not hurt to actually know what something is before attacking it, moron." - delmoi

Call me ignorant... but CS majors go on to do what, exactly? My impression of CS and MIS is that they're largely one in the same and interchangeable for the most part. Perhaps on the level of English / Journalism.

From what I see, MIS majors (and in turn, CS majors) end up being nothing more than Microsoft whores. Am I wrong?

CS majors have a definitive road map to careers? Keep in mind that I'm trying to be provocative, and that my post wasn't positioned to be flamebait.
posted by cinematique at 8:56 PM on August 11, 2002


I turned to doing music,

You perform and teach music etc, and get as much money as you did as an IT lackey? Very inspirational!

My impression of CS and MIS is that they're largely one in the same and interchangeable for the most part. -snip- From what I see, MIS majors (and in turn, CS majors) end up being nothing more than Microsoft whores. Am I wrong?

There's a massive difference. MIS courses teach you all of the things that you need to get along in the world of information technology. Servers, clients, domains, network maintainence, software, some coding, and so on. The typical stuff an IT lackey does.

CS is far more advanced, and most of the things you learn in CS classes are way in advance of anything a typical IT worker needs to know. CS classes are for the top boffins, the hardcore coders, the people who really want to know everything.

Common projects in CS classes include developing your own operating system, or writing your own compiler and programming language. You learn about the internals of microprocessors, and how to program multiple systems at machine code level.

Many greasy haired 18 year olds could come out of school and be a good IT worker with or without a MIS degree.. but for the hardcore workers who are working on microcontrollers, compilers, and in the real guts of computers.. those are guys to who CS is essential.
posted by wackybrit at 9:07 PM on August 11, 2002


Ayn:

Funny; I liked CS precisely because it was a way to do something creative and pretty. Beautiful, actually, not just pretty. Though, in fact, I spent all my time painting and drawing before I decided computers were interesting, and see a clear connection between art and software development.

for me, i see the art in CS. but i know there is a great connection between CS and writing. i developed a great appreciation for grammer out of programming, and for playing with the grammer of english in my writing when i can. it's fun (if that is not sad to say). i feel the same way about programming. one of my favorite examples of playing with grammer in a language is duff's device. Tom Duff writes: "Many people (even bwk?) have said that the worst feature of C is that switches don't break automatically before each case label. This code forms some sort of argument in that debate, but I'm not sure whether it's for or against."

cine:

Call me ignorant... but CS majors go on to do what, exactly? My impression of CS and MIS is that they're largely one in the same and interchangeable for the most part.

not at all, cinematique. MIS majors at my college did not learn the theory that i did. in fact, they were required to take one programming course and another related to databases using access. computer science is much more diverse: i learned how to program in many different languages, and i learned how networks connect and route. i learned about databases, and i learned how to prove the efficiency of my algorithms. i won't call you ignorant; perhaps misinformed.

From what I see, MIS majors (and in turn, CS majors) end up being nothing more than Microsoft whores. Am I wrong?

sometimes. i've seen it happen; it certainly can. but not always.

CS majors have a definitive road map to careers? Keep in mind that I'm trying to be provocative, and that my post wasn't positioned to be flamebait.

you're right: we don't have a definitive roadmap. entry-level positions were pretty rare for me: i lucked into mine. it's hard, but if you do bulk up your skills on your own with personal projects, you can do well. i think it's a good idea for CS majors to maintain a portfolio, much like a designer or artist does.
posted by moz at 9:13 PM on August 11, 2002


I've met a lot of MIS (who got their degrees 10-20 years ago) majors who don't know crap about computers today. Learning computational math and logic is good, but you certainly don't need a CS major to do that.

Anyone can learn programming or get up to speed with technology, regardless of their degree, which is why I'm studying things in college which I find truly interesting, not things that I already have to do at work, which may or may not be interesting.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:14 PM on August 11, 2002


grammar, i mean to say. as you can see, i haven't quite the passion for spelling (though i did think either spelling was ok, for some reason).
posted by moz at 9:18 PM on August 11, 2002


I'm 22 years old. I've been at the same IS web developer job for 2 years. I can't wait to get out. Really, I feel it's sucking the life out of me. My problem is that I don't have very many other skills. I want to move to France and learn to make wine.
posted by corpse at 9:20 PM on August 11, 2002


Ayn Marx : I found out when I was taking CS courses that there were two kinds of CS people, those who thought computers were "cool" and those who had algorithms in their blood. (They also seemed to correlate separately into "Video Gamers and Slashdot readers.")

I was in the interested crowd, but the more and more I talked to people who saw the beauty in code I knew it wasn't for me. Actually, I really despised conversations with true CS people, because they never talked about anything but computers in their obfuscated elitist language. So I moved on to talking to Artists who have an entirely different obfuscated elitist language.

And (I love tying this all in) my roommate is an MIS Major. Much like the CS people there are posers and the hardcore. MIS is known as for "CS majors who couldn't hack it." But he's definitely hardcore MIS, he LIVES on maintaining servers and networks. It brings it up to a level that is truly scary to me and up there with CS theory in my opinion.

So I will defend MIS as a major here, and instead note to all there is a division between hardcore and posers in every field of study.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:23 PM on August 11, 2002


I also just quit my IT job of 3 years, in search of something not behind a desk or a monitor, and got a part-time job doing construction work. It pays almost as much part-time as my full-time computer-related job did. Sometimes I feel like I walked right out of Office Space. Especially the Chochkies thing. My co-workers and I ate at TGI Fridays everyday for lunch. *Shivers*

I also had a this feeling that all the technology I kept learning had an expiration date on it. Granted, I taught new hardware technologies to other Techs, so in a way, it did. (Not like C programming) I wanted to apply my work time to something that didn't drain the life out of me. I wanted time to use my computer skills for myself, rather than for someone else.

Its been about a month and its great. I set up a Linux router/firewall and web server today because I wanted to. I hadn't wanted to do anything like that for myself for years. Don't get me wrong. IT is great. But doing computer stuff that I am interested in, rather than what someone tells me I have to do, rocks.
posted by jopreacher at 9:26 PM on August 11, 2002


delmoi, ISU? which one?
posted by jbelshaw at 9:32 PM on August 11, 2002


Well, this would be why I've decided to open a computer shop upon graduation.

I'll get to work a bit behind a desk, a bit with customers, a bit in the field, and a bit with suppliers.

And I'll get to decide how the market is going, and set my product/service line-up based on that. And it'll be a cold day in hell before I start spending every dollar because there's a tech bubble going on.

I get to enjoy the freedom of responsibilities.

Yah, I know, that's contradictory. Story of my life, I'm told.
posted by shepd at 9:36 PM on August 11, 2002


"So I will defend MIS as a major here, and instead note to all there is a division between hardcore and posers in every field of study." - Stan Chin

There certainly is a huge chunk of "Journalists" who preach, as opposed to reporting true news. They should be muckraking, "The Jungle" style. They should be questioning our government, not playing telephone, passing on their word.

I want to be a (legit) muckraker. A good one.

/me crosses his fingers.

If this were a Slashdot post, I'd be -1 (offtopic.)
posted by cinematique at 9:37 PM on August 11, 2002


I was in IT before the .com thing, I'm still in it now. And I'll most likely continue doing it until I can find another way to pay my bills.

I love writing code, and the whole development process. What I hate is the mentality that to be productive you have to work 7 days a week, 10 hours a day.
posted by jbelshaw at 9:38 PM on August 11, 2002


Malphigian - So you're what... a Microsoft certified? tech whore or a Linux hippie? None of the above? Please don't tell me you're MSCE because those kids scare me.

Uh, what the heck? I can't believing youre claiming your posts aren't flamebait. Random slashdot-buzzword attack followed by a bizarre tangent trying to show off your l33t bios configuration skills?

Since you, uh, asked, I guess.... I work with both microsoft, open source software, and other (I do a lot of java). I have no certifications, and I came to the whole thing from an anthropology degree (on irc/muds back in 95).

I'm not sure what your comments are all about, or even what your real problem is, other than you seem to have some strange aggression against a range of fields you don't understand very well, and seem to think that anyone who works on them is the same as some desktop support/MCSE guy you know.

If you do go on to journalism, I hope you do more research before passing editorial judgement.
posted by malphigian at 9:46 PM on August 11, 2002


cinematique -

Since you said "keep in mind that I'm trying to be provocative, and that my post wasn't positioned to be flamebait," I mean this in the best possible way, but, since you're new here you should try and get a feel for the general tone of the discussions before charging in like you have here.

I'm talking about comments like these:

A systems manager is nothing more than a glorified tech janitor.

and

Malphigian - So you're what... a Microsoft certified tech whore or a Linux hippie? None of the above? Please don't tell me you're MSCE because those kids scare me.

No, everyone here isn't fragile and easily offended - though some are - but it's rarely useful to start a conversation that antagonistically. Everything goes downhill.

To your points, I've worked and studied in every one of the fields you're referring to here - IT/MIS and Journalism/English, as you divided them - and can tell you that there are huge differences between IT and MIS work, just as there are tremendous differences between Journalism and English. Although there's certainly a similarity in skillset, as an aspiring journalist, that you assume there's no difference does not bode well for your future. Fortunately, it looks like you have a lot of time to grey the black and white.

What most galls me, however, is your comment about systems managers being "lorified tech janitors." I don't really care whether it's true or not. What I find interesting is that anything can be reduced to something unappealing using this method. "A journalist is nothing but a glorified secretary...." "A race car driver is nothing but a glorified bus driver." "The President is nothing but a glorified middle manager." To put it bluntly, not really, and even if so, who the fuck cares?
posted by Sinner at 9:46 PM on August 11, 2002


Jeez, "I can't believing" ... how many typos can I do today?

Sinner, thanks for that excellent follow up, very well said.
posted by malphigian at 9:53 PM on August 11, 2002


malphigian - Don't worry, he's just practicing the much needed trolling/shit stirring skills that journalists survive on in lean times. MetaFilter is a great place to try out those skills without getting sued (or punched).
posted by wackybrit at 9:54 PM on August 11, 2002


I didn't wait for the rush, long before it was fashionable to be a penniless IT worker, I quit. Back in Feb. 2001, I left a job that paid more money than I care to mention. This was because I'd moved so far away from the things that I love, I could hardly tolerate my life anymore.

Things that I love such as my family, a normal life, and yes technology. I was tired of being forced into non-technical roles or, specializing in specific areas that meant high billing rates but, the cost was nearly 100% travel for me. Mostly, I was tired of making other people wealthy from my ideas and hard work.

Now that I've left the work world to persue other things, I'm poor but, I am living my life and filling my mind with the memories that will keep me company in old age. Rather than live my life full of meaningless meetings, airports, and performance reviews.

I've always lived my life around computers and I always will, that will never change. Only now, I make a lot less money to do what I want, under my terms, and my youngest children remember what I look like from week to week now.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 9:59 PM on August 11, 2002


"Don't worry, he's just practicing the much needed trolling/shit stirring skills that journalists survive on in lean times. MetaFilter is a great place to try out those skills without getting sued (or punched)." - wackybrit

I like this place more than Slashdot already. I hit their karma cap long ago, anyway. The + one, not the - one, contrary to what some may assume.

All trolling aside, the CS kids I go to school with come off as much more serious, compared to their MIS colleagues. Stereotypes suck, but then again, they wouldn't exist if they weren't true for the most part.

Sorry if i offended anyone. :/
posted by cinematique at 10:11 PM on August 11, 2002


I find the debate about the differences between "real CS people" and "MIS people" and the like rather interesting.

After studying CS for a year or so in college (barely getting my feet wet really) I switched my major to history...still keeping computers as some sort of weird hobby/addiction.

When I got out of school, I pretty much fell into a tech job doing software QA/MIS/Help Desk/Systems integration (you name it) for a very small startup...which ultimately went bust about a year ago. Interestingly enough, I had no problems finding another job in IT even though the economy was starting to tank, but that's another story...

Well, I'm going to focus mainly on the negatives here...but hey, who doesn't. Right? :)

What I have noticed about "real CS" people is that, while they can create amazing software and can contain a working model of chips and software kernels and the mathematical complexities of computers in their heads...they are often quite illiterate about how to get the thing to actually DO anything.

Many times I have assisted software developers with degrees from places like MIT in understanding the complexities of networking, data storage, M$ Windows "security," physical networks, how the internet works, installing software and hardware, sending faxes. It's ridiculous.

These were not dumb people. They were, in general very bright, articulate, and creative. Just ignorant of everything except their one specialty.

Meanwhile, I meet many MIS folks who fail to appreciate the values of simple programming, and who do not even take the time to understand the operating systems and application servers they are maintaining. I have introduced more than one MIS person to the wonders of scripting.

It's like one group cannot see the forest for the trees (sometimes even the tree for the leaves, or the leaf for the cells), and the other has no idea what makes up the forest they are maintaining.
posted by ruggles at 10:17 PM on August 11, 2002


I was a CS major my self. Until I too, found out that I didn't have algorithms in my blood. After about a year of college, every one I talked to, their parents were talking them into changing their majors to MIS... "Computers, that's were the money is" I kept hearing over and over. That is when I knew I had to get out. I will be finishing my degree in History this coming spring. And feel much more confident that I will be able to but that to much better use. I was sad I missed the tech industry boom, but I am glad that I will also miss the after burst flood of newly graduating tech workers.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:18 PM on August 11, 2002


largely one in the same and interchangeable for the most part. Perhaps on the level of English / Journalism

which english and journalism majors are you comparing here? i can think of a few schools where there is hardly any overlap between these two fields.
posted by maura at 10:23 PM on August 11, 2002


I was speaking more to the utility of the piece of paper the degree was printed on, less to the actual curriculum. You're right, they're vastly different.
posted by cinematique at 10:27 PM on August 11, 2002


So I will defend MIS as a major here, and instead note to all there is a division between hardcore and posers in every field of study.

A relevant Cat and Girl comic...

There are hardcore people and poseurs in everything... Roleplaying (hardcore = "only small press" poser = "D&D"), model railroading (hc= "built everything from scratch" poser="bought everything at the store") etc...

It's really mildly frightening.
posted by drezdn at 10:30 PM on August 11, 2002


I think it all comes down to the decision: Do you love your work or Do you work for what you love (Family, your own house, Springsteen tickets, etc..)?

Sometimes you get lucky and computers are what you love, plus coincidentally it made you some money. While other people go into IT because they love supporting their families. Now all those people who were enticed by salary are finding their way elsewhere, and people who always loved computers are still in it despite the loss of pay. And that's the way it should be I think. We all wish we could have it both ways of course... but it just doesn't happen.
posted by Stan Chin at 11:05 PM on August 11, 2002


I like this place more than Slashdot already. I hit their karma cap long ago, anyway. The + one, not the - one, contrary to what some may assume.

I have to say that I prefer Slashdot overall. The points moderation system provides more of a 'game' than MeFi. On MeFi, there are less tricks you can pull, and trolling doesn't really get you anywhere (most people would say that's a good thing!). On Slashdot, you can really manipulate people, and get totally BS posts modded up to 5, Insightful.

MetaFilter presents a wider range of opinions and topics, and the signal to noise ratio is higher. If you're not a total geek, like me, that puts it out in the lead ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 11:10 PM on August 11, 2002


Anyone who thinks programming laguages go obsolete should take a look at some of the databases the government still uses. It costs buttloads to successfully transfer data from one format to another, so it's generally easier to keep it as it is and hire and train techies to keep things chugging along.
posted by crunchland at 11:26 PM on August 11, 2002


I grew up with computers, and always seemed to gravitate towards them. Throughout high school I spent many hours running a local BBS, playing Doom2, and then moving to the internet to play Quake1, make web sites, etc. Back in those days I wanted to avoid working with computers for the fear of turning my hobby into a "job" I disliked. However, the dotcom blitz came and I jumped on in my senior year of HS. I made some good money working for myself, but with the dotcom bust came my personal business bust. Nonetheless I quickly found an IT job that I thankfully still have today. Tomorrow morning I will wake up and work 8 hours in front of a computer, and i will enjoy it. I work with great people, have great freedom, and love (for the most part) technology.

After my personal dotcom bust, I quickly became burnt out on the specifics of tech and computers, processors, vid cards, networking, blah blah, etc. I now spend my time as a programmer, sysadmin, web guru, etc. And while I like it, I also struggle with the big picture. The idea that I want to DO something important in this world. Something I value greatly. Not sit and front of a screen all day, making corporate america more efficient. I want to know people, help people, talk to people, be close with people, love people. And while I do enjoy working with computers, I can only imagine what it would be like to truly help and be close to wonderful people, spending my day's energy making people I care about live better lives.

Maybe the trick is to mix the two together, but does computer technology necessarily improve our lives? It feels like we're becoming more detached from reality, and as a result missing out on many amazing *real-life* relationships outside our comfortable rooms. I may create a peice of software that thousands of people rely on and are thankful for everyday, but would I trade knowing this with say, having someone real and in my life come up to me and say thank you for doing yadda yadda yadda. Probably.

So to try and make some sense out of this confusing post, I feel that a lot of people went into tech for the money, the money is not there now, so no longer are the money hungry people. Good riddance many do say, and I have a hard time disagreeing. But I feel many tech workers do get fed up with the workstyle and yearn for more interpersonal contact with people and nature. Maybe that's why I crave the outside at the end of the workday and on weekends. It's all about love, and technology doesn't seem to give us love by itself. I believe with so many people in this world, life should be more about knowing and loving one another, everyone. But most of us are programmed to be selfish hard working capitalists. So maybe I should just shutup, eat my spicy tuna hand roll, answer my fucking cell phone, make sure no one scratches my Mercedes, and rush home in time to watch the latest episode of whateverthefuck is on TV these days. Blah.
posted by physics at 11:29 PM on August 11, 2002


Maybe the trick is to mix the two together, but does computer technology necessarily improve our lives? It feels like we're becoming more detached from reality

Crumbs, with thoughts like that you better go see Naqoyqatsi, when it comes out in October.

'The tyranny of technology has supplanted natural law. We struggle in futility against an enemy so pervasive we can no longer identify it. In frustration, we war with each other, further enslaving ourselves to the Beast in the quest for world domination.'

Good points though. Does this mean that someone who is antisocial shouldn't work with computers because then that'd be all they have?
posted by wackybrit at 11:42 PM on August 11, 2002


Speaking for myself, I'm one of those who lives and breathes for maintaining networks. I was doing fairly well, until my consulting company laid me off 18 months ago. And since then it's been a drought. I've survived by freelancing, building my own little list of small-biz clients, but I'd really rather get back in and have a perfect little network for one person to profitably run, say a 50-75 person company. I'm not some wannabe, I didn't get into this because it paid more than marketing, I actually am good at what I do and I did love it. I even get the "overqualified" rejection on the wrong assumption I would be disloyal and jump ship for 5 grand more in salary. It's frustrating as hell that I'm on the outside looking in. Still, I don't want to be a sad sack about it and become some wacky poster child for the IT slump. I have current skills that suddenly are not in demand, though I expect at some point they will be once more.
posted by dhartung at 11:43 PM on August 11, 2002


Oh, and as regards Slashdot: I've been reading it at +3 Nested for a while now, but it no longer helps. I can't believe the Fark shite that gets modded up to +5. Every time I go there (usually because of a MeFi thread that's been "double" posted), I feel my time was wasted. So, I have absolutely no problem with dupes.

I think the last time I posted there was 1999.
posted by dhartung at 11:56 PM on August 11, 2002


It's kind of scary, but I waited until after the whole IT thing fell out to switch into it. I should buy some Enron stock as an encore. ;)

I majored in psych and Spanish as an undergrad, then did an MS in Counseling, concentrating in marriage and family therapy, then went on to a non-clinical (research-based) multidisciplinary MS/PhD program studying marital relationships. Planned to be a professor, was doing well in a top-notch program, had finished all my coursework, but decided I didn't want to wait until I was 45 to stop being broke and moving all over the country with no control over where I ended up. Web programming had always been a hobby of mine, so a couple of years ago I turned it into a job.

And I love it -- I'm getting paid to do something I used to do for fun. I spend most days solving fun little logic puzzles and creating useful, pretty things for people while drinking good coffee and listening to good music on my headphones and having fun with the people I work with. When I finish a job, I have something tangible to look at. There's a certain lightness about it that I enjoy, at least for the time being.

As far as the CS snobs or Linux snobs go, I haven't built my ego around being l337, so I can't be bothered with them. I found the same kind of insufferable people in counseling and academic work, too -- insecure people love using their expert or in-group status as a crutch for a weak sense of self-worth. You're wasting your time if you react to them with anything other than pity.

I think ruggles makes a good point -- horizontal skill sets can be valuable. I have no idea how to write an algorithm or program in C, so there's a limit to the programming I can do. Then again, my bosses would never put some of our other developers in front of clients, because managing relationships just isn't their bag, while they have me doing all kinds of consulting work. I mean, I worked on a suicide hotline for two years; when a client is pissed because they want some out-of-scope work that we won't give them, I usually don't have much trouble turning things back around. Nor would they ask most of the people I work with to try writing a decent sentence of English, or to do some graphic design in a pinch, but I'm fairly good at those things, too. So they like having me around.

Maybe I'll get tired of this after a few more years and decide to do something else, but I'm not worried about it for now.
posted by boredomjockey at 12:20 AM on August 12, 2002


"IT workers get back to basics."

I apologize for taking this lovely thread off-track, but did anyone read the article? It's not about IT at all. Every single one of the people profiled was a B-schooler, not a CS: The title article is not about IT, MIS, CS or anything like it. It's about young MBAs whose internet dreams fizzled.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 12:25 AM on August 12, 2002


The thing that I've discovered, the more I work with computing languages and the like, is the amount of overlap between them. So, this idea that what you learn goes out of style isn't as true as it seems. Switching from C++ to Java isn't like switching from German to traditional Chinese. It's more like learning to talk as if you're from Brookly when you're really from Texas.

Along with that, computing (at least the bit of it that I do) is all about problem solving, and that sort of skill never goes out of style.

All of the people I know who work with computers for a living *enjoy* learning new things about computers. So learning a new language isn't a chore, it's part of the fun. I'm sure there's a burnout factor to consider (just as there is for any profession), but I hope to avoid it and keep my life in perspective.
posted by wheat at 2:03 AM on August 12, 2002


"Milton Waddams: And I said, I don't care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting, I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and its not okay because if they take my stapler then ill set ..."
posted by ericableu at 2:07 AM on August 12, 2002


dhartung: Try Alterslash, the unofficial Slashdot digest. Works for me, I haven't gone to slashdot.org in ages.
posted by fuzz at 2:24 AM on August 12, 2002


This is at least the second IT crash I've gone through (graduated with a B.S. degree in CS in 1987). I was only out of work for 2-weeks last time, but now that I'm a Fortune 50 technology strategist type, the time between jobs has been longer (7 months so far). IT will recover, though the outsourcing of work to India and Eastern Europe have changed the landscape a fair amount.

The fundamental difference between CS and MIS, is that MIS is about stability, scalability, security and cost containment. CS is about the fundamental science behind programming, and lends itself to the creation of totally new things. Programming and problem-solving are common to both. You want to develop new applications, hire CS types; you want to run a business, hire MIS types.

There are plenty of zero-social skills types in both worlds, and both have lots of new things to learn if they want to stay on the cutting edge.

If you code or want to understand coders, read Ellen Ullman's Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents.

Fuzz is right, afterslash is the ultimate filter.
posted by jonnyp at 6:28 AM on August 12, 2002


I feel that I will be much happier perusing journalism as a profession... monetary prosperity be damned.

Bwahahahahaaaahahaha!! *wipes tear from eye*

*looks at journalism paycheck*

*starts really crying*
posted by adampsyche at 6:32 AM on August 12, 2002


Three years ago January I quit the tech business to go back to school. I wrote a big "why I'm leaving tech" entry in my web log that was linked all over the place (it's offline now, and a small part of a book I'm writing). But today I'm back in the field. What happened?

I can't live on what I'd be paid for the other things I do well. Can't do it. I know what journalists and fiction writers make. I'm no longer interested in trying to live on that, even though I can and do live simply. So I've spent the last four months re-accumulating clients. This year I should make at least 50 percent more doing freelance small business Mac tech support than I did when I was IT director for an advertising agency.

I'm with Dharthung on the desire for a little network of my own (which allows you to drop out of fireman mode once in a while, plan for the long-term, build off your own successes, and offers medical and dental). But I'm pretty happy with the dozen or so clients I have right now, and I'm looking to add more, particularly anchor clients which require my services one or two days each week. I like scheduling my own hours (outside of the emergencies), walking around NYC, taking lunch at a different place everyday, sitting in the park in the afternoon reading. Doing tech work doesn't mean I abandoned my creative undertakings: I'm still writing, I putter around with a couple three web sites, I read several books a week, participate in a book club. It simply means I've found balance. I work 50 hours a week, but not like other people, and not in a cubicle.

The first key to making this work is the intellectual balance. The second key is not defining myself by what I do for a living. The third key is creating this job path out of whole cloth rather than trying to find it through a headhunter or a classified ad. That appears to be what those MBAs are trying to do, too, but I don't think they've quite bought in yet, if they ever will. I'd like to see a follow-up of those MBAs and see what they're doing in 18 months. I'm betting they're back on the gravy train and treadmill.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:51 AM on August 12, 2002


After fifteen pretty good but turbulent years as a technical writer in a very small market -- and smaller now than it's been in a LONG time -- I'm just about to begin earning a certificate (think of a college degree without the non-practical coursework) in programming. Basically, I'm betting a lot of money and time that (a) the economy will warm back up over the next two years and (b) somebody somewhere nearby will have an opening for a recently-retrained entry-level byte pusher. Hey...never say die, right?

I've been collecting unemployment since I was laid off in March. I'm already 40, and should be in the most productive years of my life, but at this point I'm HOPING for something convenient like a second-shift job as a security guard, or else maybe I'll work in a restaurant, bookstore, gas station etc. As long as my wife and kid keep on loving me, I'm OK with this. (My mother-in-law is pissed that I'm no longer in the white-collar ranks, but basically, to hell with her.)

I'm not much given to political snarkishness anymore, but I'd like to have a tête-a-tête with ol' W about whether we're in a depression as opposed to a double-dip recession.
posted by alumshubby at 6:52 AM on August 12, 2002


I'm always reconsidering my occupation. I graduated with a CS degree at the beginning of the run-up to Y2K. I didn't want to do Y2K hackery, so I turned to system administration. It's fun to just *make stuff work*.

After losing my life to an ISP and deciding to move on in '98, I looked around and realized that all these Y2K weenies are going to be out of jobs in a couple years, making it MUCH harder to find good work, so I entered system and network security.

Now I have the position of Grand Old Man in a security house. I had a share of offers during the boom, but now they're all out of work and I'm still secure where I'm at.

Eventually, my kids will move out, and I'll buy a used bookstore, and get out of this thing altogether. 8)
posted by Cerebus at 7:42 AM on August 12, 2002


Hieronymous Coward: that's true, and the entire article smacks of some bozo journalist's "let's find half a dozen cases and call it a trend" attention-getter job. But this thread is much more interesting than the article, so why let it bother you?

ruggles said:
It's like one group cannot see the forest for the trees (sometimes even the tree for the leaves, or the leaf for the cells), and the other has no idea what makes up the forest they are maintaining.

I'm not quite in the former group, but close enough, and I suspect it has more to do with really not giving a damn about the forest. Why waste your time learning the details of a particular system when you could be thinking about something more fundamental? The interface changes every couple of years anyway.

It's like asking your cousin to fix your modem, because they run an ISP's colo room, and that's related, right? Sorta? Well, no, not at all, actually.

jbelshaw said:
I love writing code, and the whole development process. What I hate is the mentality that to be productive you have to work 7 days a week, 10 hours a day.

The irony is that cramming is a symptom of poor scheduling, not a solution to it. The company I work for has a simple approach: at the beginning of every development project, we write down a list of all the features that might possibly be included. Management leaves, and the engineers sit around and figure out how long each item would take. Then the list gets sorted in order of importance, a deadline is set, and whatever's past the deadline falls off. That's it. We all go off and work. If management wants to add something during the cycle, they ask us for an estimate; if they still want it after hearing how much it's going to cost, they either knock something else off the schedule or (far more rarely!) push back the deadline by the amount we estimated.

It works: we never work overtime and we haven't shipped more than two weeks late in the last three releases. It's a welcome change after years of "code like crazy, folks, there's a deadline coming". I had not realized good management could make such a difference. Management benefits because they don't have to worry about programmer burnout or death-march schedule catastrophes. I get more and better code written under this arrangement than any other situation I've been in.

I would have left programming a couple years ago if I could have come up with something else to do, but it was because I was bored, drained, and depressed, not because of the economy. Fortunately (or not!), I couldn't find any way to make a living during the year or two it would take me to get up to speed in another line of work, and in the meantime I found a job I like much better.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:01 AM on August 12, 2002


As H.C pointed out, the "IT" workers in the article were M.B.A.s whose skills sets should apply just as well in any other industry as in IT.

As for myself, I'm just as happy to have the people who worked in IT just for the money go elsewhere. That's not out of elitism - I'm a newbie programmer myself. It's a matter of job satisfaction. I enjoy programming. My co-workers enjoy their jobs too. That makes us happy in what we do. Working around other people who are enjoying their jobs makes my workday more fun. If my co-workers hated their jobs and were just hanging in for the money, it would be much more of a emotional drag. (I know, I worked in jobs like that for 15 years.)

Bottom line, making enough money to survive & support your family is important - but having the chance to do it doing work you enjoy is more valuable than having a huge paycheck.
posted by tdismukes at 8:01 AM on August 12, 2002


I started college in 1993 planning to be a journalism major. Left school very quickly and very broke. Found a minimum-wage job doing ad layout for a newspaper: they'd teach me computer things, I'd be near the news. That job inspired me to buy my first computer, and then a modem; that's how I stumbled onto the internet, and no one was more surprised than I when it became a career. Since then I've bounced back and forth several times between straight dot-com and web-stuff-for-news-firms; every time I leave a job of the latter sort I *swear* I'll never do it again because journalists and technology get along like cats and Super Soakers.

Ate my words (again) last year when I got laid off from a kick-ass dot-com job. Now I'm thinking about trying for that journalism degree again. It's sort of depressing, knowing perfectly well what my odds of starvation are. But I'm about to the point of believing there's noplace left for me to go with the web.

The choices are: become a manager of a web team somewhere so I can make sure stuff gets done right (but other lucky souls get to actually do the coding, while I play in piles of paperwork), or keep on being a trained monkey, constantly having to take orders from people in suits, who don't know squat about the web, to do things I'd never in a million years call a good idea. So what's the best option here? Choice C: run like hell.

I loved building things. I loved making things work. I loved tricking the browser into doing stuff it never was meant to do. I loved long, tangly SQL queries involving eight tables in three databases. But that's not what my career is about anymore. My career is about wondering why the people who best know the web---those of us who've been *building it* for seven years or even more---are never allowed to make any decisions bigger than "TextPad or HomeSite?" My career is about watching any given technical project go from "Well, it's not a big deal, let the techies put something together" to "Wow, this thing works *really well* for us, we'd better put the marketing team in charge of it now." My career is about battling The Stupid. And losing. On a daily basis.

If I sound bitter or burned-out, it's because I am. I don't think the still-declining tech market has much to do with it, except in the sense that back during the boom it was possible to find a job with a company of the techies, by the techies, for the techies, and now all those companies are either extinct or having to sell their geek-utopia ideals for the sake of making payroll. It was nice to have stumbled into a lucrative career doing something that I loved, but I don't love it anymore, and if that means a seventy-percent pay cut, *after* putting myself into mad debt to actually finish a degree... well, I was lucky for a long time and couldn't have expected it to last forever.
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:17 AM on August 12, 2002


Mars - "I had not realized good management could make such a difference."

Good management can make a world of difference. A good manager can make the difference between loving and hating your job - and people who love their jobs are a lot more productive than people who hate their jobs. Fortunately, I've got good managers right now.
posted by tdismukes at 8:22 AM on August 12, 2002


wackybrit:

So, has the 'Great IT Depression' led you to reconsider your occupation?

Uh, no because I've never tried to sell snake oil to fucking morons. The Silicon Valley FantasyLand dug it's own grave. Don't expect me to cry about fools who can't make it now that the dotcom scam is buried in the toilet where it belongs and everyone who thought they deserved to be millionaires for six months' work fell on their asses.

Again, good riddance.
posted by mark13 at 8:36 AM on August 12, 2002


i wanted to get into the computer industry a few years ago. i was all set for entering college going after a CS degree or something similar. everyone around me knew of my plans, and highly encouraged me.

imagine their surprise when i changed my mind and decided i wanted to become a teacher.

it wasnt the "IT depression" that changed my mind, it was going back to my old high school and visiting some of the teachers there (who have since become some of my best friends) when i saw how fucked up the situation was in public schools.

but that's another story
posted by fore at 8:53 AM on August 12, 2002


As a desktop/technical application trainer, I love my 'tech' job. I love doing what I do.

It hasn't prevented me from getting a second job as a bartender, another job that I love.

I especially enjoy that it is not computer related. Very refreshing.
posted by geekyguy at 9:40 AM on August 12, 2002


As a MIS degree holder I have to jump in here and say not all degree programs are created equal.

Perhaps I am the exception, but my college taught theory and fundamentals. We were required to take 4 core programming classes (and VB, Fortran and Cobal were considered elections not core). C++ was the foundation and our assignments were routinely 200+ lines of code and often included pointers, algorithms, etc. (all the things you should know about any language). You were graded on efficiency and proper use not just whether it worked. We also took several database and network theory and design classes. We NEVER used silly tools like Access. It was assumed that you could learn how to use the necessary software to complete your assignments.

The point I’m making here is that I left college with the ability to approach any problem logically which should be the whole point of college. Regardless of whether you’re CS or MIS, you either have the aptitude for technology or you don’t. You can’t fake it and those who do are the ones in crappy 1st & 2nd level end-user support positions or finding other careers. Chances are if you play big time IT ball and are at the top of your game, you love what you do and are incredibly well paid.
posted by SmurfJNet at 9:57 AM on August 12, 2002


This post made me think about the pecking order I have observed for many years in computer jobs. It goes basically like this:
  1. Architect/software tool designer/language/compiler creator (designs tools that other programmers use to make programs
  2. Commercial software programmer
  3. Programmer at a systems integrator (extends, installs, and fixes the programs that the commercial software programmers make)
  4. Web programmers and designers (a big step below in pay)
  5. Internal corporate IT managers
  6. Customer service techs
  7. People who work at Circuit City
The steps in between these positions are not all the same size. The last three or four in the list can be gotten without a degree in CS or sometimes without a college degree at all (I think in decades past IT was a way for blue-collar people to get into white-collar professions). Yet even with their lionization in the recent boom, in most cases IT workers aren't producing the products that make the company money, so they are still a cost center. At worst they are treated as digital garbagemen -- people whose work goes unnoticed when it is perfect and get fire rained down upon their head when it does not. Above the corporate IT people are the two "client/project" roles. The thing about clients is that they may make your life hell, but they're not forever. Love 'em and leave 'em. Above that, the commercial roles, with a huge gap between #2 and the Olympian heights of #1, where resideth K&R, Linus, Alan Cox, Grace Hopper, et al.
posted by lisatmh at 10:00 AM on August 12, 2002


8. AOL customer support representatives
9. Microsoft customer support representatives
10. Ameritech/SBC network engineers
.
.
.
99. Comcast internet installation contractors
posted by Dean_Paxton at 10:48 AM on August 12, 2002


fore - i wish i could take my social security money and instead, put it into local public education.
posted by cinematique at 10:56 AM on August 12, 2002


Has the 'Great IT Depression' led you to reconsider your occupation?

I didn't get a job in IT until well after the bubble burst. I have absolutely no official technical schooling (just a lot of hands-on experience), and two-thirds of an English degree. But despite the fact that it's creeping ever closer to administrative from purely technical, I love my job. I think I might be a special case, though: I happened to join with a local company when they were rapidly growing, and in just over a year I went from store clerk to IT Manager (ack!). I don't think I would have made it as long in a more traditional, big business.. to paraphrase dhartung and Mo Nickels, I like having a nice little company/website to look after.
posted by jess at 10:58 AM on August 12, 2002


SmurfJNet - "4 core programming classes". CS people, at least me, take 4 or more core programming classes per quarter once you get into the major and things really start moving along. I went to OSU and they are very theory oriented. Programming languages were electives you took for fun and for 1 credit hour (although they required much more work than that).

Aside from that, I used to looove programming. I couldn't get enough of it. Now I dread working. I'm tired of making the rich richer while not getting anything fulfilling out of how I spend the bulk of my day. You don't work the whole day, but your sure work the best part of it. By the time I get home I am just beat- mentally.

Now I consider myself to be a total sellout. I am one of the few luckies that have never been through a layoff and the dotcom bust did not affect me. Now I am trapped in this job because the money is sooo good. How can you justify cutting your salary by as much as 60% or more? I'm trying, believe me. I want to get out of here. Not because the people are bad, they are nice enough. Not because the job is boring, it is interesting enough. I just don't think that I was meant to do this. There has to be something more to life than compiling code and handling support code.

I think that the dissatisfaction I see in these posts isn't based on the industry. Do you think anyone wants to collect garbage? or sell perfume? or whatever for 40 or 50 hours a week while the rich get richer?

on an unrelated note: so this guy I don't know... I had to go talk to him about something so I walk up to his cube and knock. after too long of a pause he says, "just a minute" and then continues to work. after standing there for waaaay too long I decide that I'll wait 30 more seconds. So I count to 30 (one-one thousand style) and even go to 60. I walked away. Fuck him. That would be the opposite of the "good in teams and excellent communication skills" that I see in every single ad in the paper for now underpaid IT workers (expected to be over qualified). It is amazing that people like this are even employed. I would hire a great attitude (or even just the ability to converse like a human) over technical skills. You can teach programming, you can't teach personality.
posted by internook at 11:18 AM on August 12, 2002


decided i wanted to become a teacher ... when i saw how fucked up the situation was in public schools

No, this is a reason not to become a teacher.
posted by kindall at 12:45 PM on August 12, 2002


Part of the problem is that it is really hard to figure out what one would really enjoy doing 40+ hours a week. I enjoy a lot of different things - doing them 40+ hours a week would be a quick way to stop enjoying them.
posted by metaforth at 1:23 PM on August 12, 2002


No, this is a reason not to become a teacher.

Depends upon your motivations.

Certainly it's the reason I didn't want to be a teacher, but I know a few people who thought they could make a difference.

At least one of whom has since quit and become a lawyer.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:27 PM on August 12, 2002


So, has the 'Great IT Depression' led you to reconsider your occupation?

Nope, it forced me to when I lost my job. Well, ok, I quit my job so I could get out two weeks before 200 of my co-workers were looking for the exact same job I was, but it's not much different (except that I didn't get any unemployment). I tried for 6 months to get back into the business (I was a web designer/production artist) to no avail. I eventually got a job as an archaeologists assistant through some friends of mine. I help out on digs and do tech support for the office. The people are nice, the work atmosphere is relaxed, and the pay is shitty.

It's been almost a year, and I can say without a doubt that if I had the chance to go back to designing web page layouts and user interfaces for video games again, I'd do it in a second. Maybe not for the same company, but I would like very much to be back working in a web-related field. It's in my blood. It's not all about the money (although living in san francisco, the money definetely has an important part in it), it's more about being able to sit down and tweak designs all day and having the time fly by, compaired to sitting in an office, watching the clock all day while washing out old beer bottles and occasionally telling someone how to "print". I guess I did get to do the company website and tweak photo plates for reports, but that hardly quenches the thirst. I'm just really not interested in anything else, at least not in the same way.

I dunno, maybe I'm blind to what everyone tells me should be a great job. I still can't change the fact that I'm bored as hell.
posted by Hackworth at 9:24 PM on August 12, 2002


Man, what SapphireBlue said rings so true...

The "Stupids" are the exact reason I got out of the Internet biz. It killed me to watch it go from an innovative, inspiring, creative and paradigm-shifting medium to one run by marketing people and venture capitalists. Now, I will only do consulting or short-term contracts while I work doing other things I love for much less money.

Well, that and non-profit things like collaborative projects or my own website...
posted by fooljay at 8:00 AM on August 13, 2002


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