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Marriage == Career Death?

I've been dating my girlfriend for about 3.5 years now.  She just turned 25 and is starting to get those "my friends are all getting married, and I still live at home" blues :( 

We had plans to move in together soon, until recently when I got cold feet and told her I wanted to think about it.  Right now we only do the weekend thing, but we used to live closer ergo, spent a LOT MORE time together.  It was during those times that I found myself much less (focused and productive) at work.

When my girlfriend is around, I find myself agreeing to things like family gatherings, having friends, watching movies, going out to eat, etc.  Don't get me wrong, I LIKE that, but I didn't do ANY of those things when I spent 2 years in my parents basement learning computers and programming which is WHY I have a job today.

I've read that an XP rule is an 8 hour day for programmers, but I have trouble sticking to this.  Just last night, I was up until 6am designing something.  Sometimes, I don't even get started until 2am OR I work from 8am to 3am because I LOVE doing it.  I mean, Michaelangelo didn't work 8 hour days (not that I'm comparing myself! :)

Anyway, I have tentatively decided that I should not get married, but we have given ourselves a year to think about even moving in together to try it out.  I don't want to waste this girls time, so I'm thinking hard about it. 

If you don't mind, what are some of your experiences?  Is it just a matter of getting used to saying NO a lot to "fun stuff"?  Should I maybe take a look at my work habits and find a smarter way to work?  (I'm always doing that anyway, which is how I found JOS)  What should I be thinking about here smart people?

Thanks!

Wayne
Thursday, December 19, 2002

Balance is the key my man. Think longer terms. Coding is not the ultimate destiny for mankind.

wiser
Thursday, December 19, 2002

Find a smarter way to work. Your job is always a lame reason to  break up a relationship. Especially if you are a "computer programmer" - if you break up, there is a good chance you will never meet a woman again. (I know from experience)

Olestra
Thursday, December 19, 2002

For most, the family thing is the long term source of satisfaction, comfort, and "growing up."  I'm not talking about shacking up.  I'm talking about two folks making a lifetime commitment.  In my case being married is a lot easier than a long term dating relationship.  A certain kind of stress and uncertainty goes away.

One of my friends told me that jumping is hard but falling is easy.

Best wishes to you!

tk
Thursday, December 19, 2002

not to be mean, but if you've decided to put off marriage because it would hurt your programming career, the girl should probably be thankful

Jason
Thursday, December 19, 2002

Let's pull no punches, marriage with a person who's not driven in the same ways will ultimately trade off with what you want to accomplish in those arenas.  If you were dealing with something like writing or poetry, the difficulties might be able to drive you far, but you're not working in an area of tech like that.

And it will of course be painful to her too.  She'll see her friends have their husbands at home at 'normal' times (forgetting that those husbands have problems of their own) and come to feel disappointed at missing out on something special... 

I think you can make this marriage work if you accept messiness, but your work is about translating messiness into artificially clean models.  So good luck, whatever you decide!

sammy
Friday, December 20, 2002

I agree with Jason. If programming is more important for you than being with person you love, then something is not right.

Personally, I got married at 21. We live together for 14 years. In these years I got M.S., then Ph.D. and made a relatively successfull career in programming. I'm not sure whether I could do all of these _without_ my wife's support.

raindog
Friday, December 20, 2002

To me it sounds as if the problem may not really lie in committing yourself to the marriage, and that your just using the potential conflict with your work as an excuse.  If you really liked and loved her enough then work would not be an issue.  So I think the answer to your question lies in how strong you think your relationship with her is. 

It seems that she likes you a lot, but you're not too sure about her.  Or maybe she feels the same way you do, but since all of her girlfriends are getting married, she feels a sudden need to also get married even though she may not really be ready either.

Decisions, decisions.... isn't life grand? :)  Good luck with your choice!

HeyMacarana
Friday, December 20, 2002

I had to chuckle when I saw this thread.  I would have never thought this technical board could turn into a Dear Abby forum.  Not that I'm complaining -- I think it's a nice reminder that there's more to life than just programming ...

And it's funny, too, because I have to wonder how many single geeks are out there, just WISHING they could be having the problems you're having ...

Unforunately I understand relationships even less than I understand technology, so I have no advice to give or experiences to recount.  A lot depends on the dynamics between your personality and hers, what each other's priorities, goals, expectations, and fears are, and so on -- all these unique factors that you know far better than I.

I wish you the best of luck whichever road you choose.

Alyosha`
Friday, December 20, 2002

I guess it's really not as complicated as it sounds, but it's a huge change.  I just don't want to make the wrong decision because it could potentially screw someone *else's* life up, not just my own!

Thanks for all of the replies, you have given me some things to consider.

Wayne
Friday, December 20, 2002

Wow. I'm very impressed with the responses here, we obviously have some really balanced people on this forum (according to my criteria of balanced anyway).

I'd second the long term view. All I can do is offer you a time machine(!) Picture yourself at your 80th birthday party looking back on your life, how does this decision look then? What's important to you at that point, what would you have wanted to achieved? I find this is a really useful exercise when I get caught up in 'values' dilema.

Re the career/home life thing - personally I think there is more than enough time to have a great career and personal life - you just need to focus on spending time on the important stuff.

Easy to say, infintely harder to do . .

Yandoo
Friday, December 20, 2002

------------------------------------------------------------------------
I just don't want to make the wrong decision because it could potentially screw someone *else's* life up, not just my own!
--------------------------------------------------------------- Wayne

Your thinking is sounding a lot more substantial than people are giving you credit for.  I do, however, think theres a certain amount of displacement with the programming reasoning.

Your absolutely right, you won't be doing you Girlfriend any favours by marrying if your not ready.  Also, she may also have plans for a family that your just not ready to sign up for yet.

Marriage is a bit step, and your right to agonise over it.

Ged Byrne
Friday, December 20, 2002

" I had to chuckle when I saw this thread.  I would have never thought this technical board could turn into a Dear Abby forum.  "

It is just a trick of Wayne to discover who the females are on this board.
Ged Byrne, now who would have thougth ...

:-))))

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, December 20, 2002

Wayne, I don't know, where you live and if it is possible and acceptable to live together as an unmarried couple, but if it is, why don't you just do this first step and move in together? You will then both see if it works out for you alright. IMO even thinking about marriage before you have tried that out is crazy. For both of you. And if you notice in a year or so, that it is not the thing you want, you can just split up again.

Marriage should be forever. Moving in together should be for as long as you both feel comfortable with it.

BTW, does your girlfriend have a career, too?

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Friday, December 20, 2002

I divorced because of that.
YES it was career death.

And now, I made my own biz and have a much better living.

But, she was kind of a boring person for me (nothing in common).

Now, I am w/ another woman who is much more in line w/ me (understands PCs, likes the fact that I am knowledgeable about IT, tech goodies etc). Of course the fact that I can pay for cleaning and cook food is quite a bonus.

A key would be making enough $$$ to get the daily chores out of sight and find someone who shares your interests.

Of course, putting limits to some activities is benefical (you do not need to code up to 3 am EVERY DAMN DAY).

... and of course, having a sex life helps in the long run too ;-)

YesItWasDeath
Friday, December 20, 2002

I wouldn't make moving in be the first step, I'd encourage her to move into her own apartment (assuming you live in a country and state where that is affordable for a 25-year-old).  Let her experience what it is like to pay 100% of her own bills and do 100% of her own chores, so she can have a better appreciation of time and money.

Then you'll have to sit down and have a heart to heart discussion with her about what your type of career entails.  Explain that if you expect to be employed for a long time in this industry, your job does not end when you leave the office - you still have to spend time at home reading technical books and writing programs to keep yourself up to date. Then try to establish a schedule of times that are dedicated to you and your professional development, which she should not disturb, and encourage her to set up time to do things that are of interest to her personally or professionally.

Most long-term successful couples don't spend nearly 100% of their personal time with each other.  It is important for each of you to dedicate time to your own personal and professional goals and not be 100% wrapped up in each other all the time, especially when one of you is unwilling or unable to dedicate that much time on a sustainable basis.

T. Norman
Friday, December 20, 2002

Jutta -

Just curious, in this context, what is the difference between living together as unmarried people and marriage? Sure, one can skip some formalities, but does it really matter?

I'm asking because I came from society where living together unmarried was impossible. On the other hand,  marriage/divorce processes were very simple, so nobody "cheated" :o)

raindog
Friday, December 20, 2002

I'll add that marriage can be career death, or a career can marriage death, if you marry someone whose wants and needs are incompatible with your career.  But it doesn't have to be.  Some careers place certain demands or restrictions on you or your partner, and not all women are willing or able to deal with that.  If your wife is not the type to put up with what your career demands of you, the marriage won't last.

Think about it - cops' wives, military wives, wives of traveling businessmen, wives of ER doctors, all have to deal with issues that not everybody can cope with. A geek's wife IMO has to deal with less than any of those mentioned above, but still for the marriage to work she'll have to understand that there are certain things about your profession, such as:

- you can expect to have periods of unemployment in your career, as this industry works on a boom-and-bust cycle.  So you'll have to be careful to save enough to make it through those periods.

- sometimes you have to work long hours and weekends (hopefully you can get a job where it isn't like that *all* the time).

- your job does not end when you leave the office, because you have to spend time learning and experimenting to avoid falling behind.

If she can't deal with those things, she's probably not the right one for you to marry.

Similarly, whatever her career is, you have to be willing and able to put up with the issues it places on you, or the marriage won't work.

T. Norman
Friday, December 20, 2002

I see no difference in living together and getting married, apart from some guy in a stupid dress saying "you may kiss the bride"

nutshell
Friday, December 20, 2002

In many countries there are substantial legal and financial differences between maried and unmarried couples.

As to the original poster:
Wayne, I think it is pretty clear from your post that you are realy not ready to take this step. It even seems to me that you are still in a phase where you have difficutly imagening that you will ever be ready. Your girlfriend might be there though, so you have a problem.
Be very honest to each other about your outlook on life. Don't just let these things be silently assumed. You'll find out eventualy anyway whether you are compatible or not, but by then you might regret not having been more clear from the start.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, December 20, 2002

I'm still trying to find the Girlfriend 1.0 Unleashed book.

John Ridout
Friday, December 20, 2002

girlfriendsunleashed in the Global domain spaces:

girlfriendsunleashed.com  Available 
girlfriendsunleashed.net  Available 
girlfriendsunleashed.org  Available 
girlfriendsunleashed.info  Available 
girlfriendsunleashed.biz  Available 
girlfriendsunleashed.us  Available 



Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, December 20, 2002

Subject: Bugs in Girlfriend 1.0


Last year a friend of mine upgraded GirlFriend 1.0 to Wife 1.0 and found that it's a memory hog leaving very little system resources for other applications.

He is only now noticing that Wife 1.0 also is spawning Child-Processes which are further consuming valuable resources. No mention of this particular phenomena was included in the product brochure or the documentation, though other users have informed him that this is to be expected due to the nature of the application.

Not only that, Wife 1.0 installs itself such that it is always launched at system initialization where it can monitor all other system activity.

He's finding that some applications such as PokerNight 10.3, BeerBash 2.5, and PubNight 7.0 are no longer able to run in the system at all, crashing the system when selected (even though they always worked fine before).

At installation, Wife 1.0 provides no option as to the installation of undesired Plug-ins such as MotherInLaw 55.8 and BrotherInLaw  Beta release. Also, system performance seems to diminish with each passing day.

Some features he'd like to see in the upcoming wife 2.0.
- A "Don't remind me again" button
- Minimize button
- An install shield feature that allows Wife 2.0 be installed with the option to uninstall at anytime without the loss of cache and other system resources.
- An option to run the network driver in promiscuous mode which would allow the systems hardware probe feature to be much more useful.

I myself decided to avoid all of the headaches associated with Wife 1.0 by sticking with GirlFriend 2.0. Even here, however, I found many problems..

Apparently you cannot install GirlFriend 2.0 on top of GirlFriend 1.0.  You must uninstall GirlFriend 1.0 first. Other users say this is a long standing bug which I should have been aware of. Apparently the versions of GirlFriend have conflicts over shared use of the  I/O port.

You think they would have fixed such a stupid bug by now. To make matters worse, the uninstall program for GirlFriend 1.0 doesn't work very well leaving undesirable traces of the application in the system.

Another thing that sucks -- all versions of GirlFriend continually popup little annoying messages about the advantages of upgrading to Wife 1.0

              *****  BUG WARNING  ********
Wife 1.0 has an undocumented bug. If you try to install Mistress 1.1 before uninstalling Wife 1.0, Wife 1.0 will delete MSMoney files before doing the uninstall itself. Then Mistress 1.1 will refuse to install, claiming insufficient resources.

anon
Friday, December 20, 2002

"Most long-term successful couples don't spend nearly 100% of their personal time with each other.  It is important for each of you to dedicate time to your own personal and professional goals and not be 100% wrapped up in each other all the time, especially when one of you is unwilling or unable to dedicate that much time on a sustainable basis. "

Advice like this always makes me cringe.  Sure, many successful couples don't spend even close to 100% of their personal time together - but some couples do.  For example, my husband and I rarely spend more than an hour apart during the day.  This doesn't mean that we don't dedicate time to our own "personal/professional" goals - we certainly do.  And although our core values match pretty closely (if this is not the case, it tends to make things more complicated) we have different interests and hobbies, not to mention different skills and different jobs (we work at the same company - desks side by side, no walls).  But because it was important to us to spend a lot of time together, we found a way to do that *without* sacrificing the things that we think are important. 

And I think that's really key to a successful marriage - to know what your expectations and hers are and to figure out a lifestyle that can meet both sets of expectations at least some of the time (notice the word "can" - not "does" necessarily, because compromise is also a big part of marriage!)

Personally, I would never have wanted to get into a relationship where my significant other thought his career was more important than the relationship. 

But - getting random advice from people (like me) who have no idea what your situation is and who don't know you is not really worth much! 

My advice is that it would be worth getting pre-marriage counselling - if nothing else it's a useful exercise in determining what you both expect out of life (and if these expectations don't come close to matching...)

Just a thought
Friday, December 20, 2002

From what I've read, marriages after shack-ups are more prone to divorce the non-shack-up.  They can be seen as a trial but it is not a trial of "lifetime commitment."  It's that commitment that sets the marriage apart.  Shack-ups are easy to dump.  It's not the same.

The key is that the partners know each other well enough to be confident in the commitment.  My mom said, "If you can change them before marriage, you'll never change them after marriage."

tk
Friday, December 20, 2002

Bottom line is this:  nobody ever lies on their deathbeds saying "I wish I'd spent more time at work".  You may not realize it now, but marriage and family are extremely rewarding, and as you burn out of 20 hour days programming (most people do), you'll appreciate having something else in your life.  I had a boss who was a die-hard workaholic, and even he is spending less time in the office -- it happens to just about everyone.  I just warn you that if you focus only on your career, to the point of ignoring everything else, you'll feel empty as you get older.

GML
Friday, December 20, 2002

Living together isn't 'shacking-up', the statistics about longevity of marriage can be viewed entirely the other way.

Because there are no statistics that make sense in this.  Those that are able to stay together, will stay together regardless.  Personally I'm glad we were living together for a few years before we got married.

It was our 20th anniversary this August, and it means nothing in relation to anyone else.

Simon Lucy
Friday, December 20, 2002

Check it out Wayne. I've been with the same girl now for close to four years on and off. She's an alcoholic. I lived with her for 2 of those years, and then moved away again, because her drinking got out of control.

When I moved away because of her drinking (same as you, about an hour away), I was able to spend more time doing the things that I wanted to do.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, what do you value more-- This girl, or your career? For me, I love this girl, alcohol or no alcohol. I wish I could go back, but I keep my distance, because living in that environment stresses me out, and leaves me unable to concentrate on my own projects. If your woman makes you happy, and you're a human being (which I'm PRETTY SURE you are), you'll move in with her and make a compromise.

I know I know, it's a crazy idea, the compromise.  She needs to understand that you need time to work, whether it's at work, or home. A rigid schedule is probably not a good idea, because you might lose flexiblity. Let her know that if she wants to move in, you need your own time, let's say 20 hours a week to be left the hell alone to work, at home.

The flip side is that you're gonna have to give her time too!

You say you don't want to waste her time, but guess what, if this relationship doesn't work out, YOU ALREADY HAVE. So make an effort to give it a shot, because then you've at least got a chance at making it work. If you're not willing to give it a shot, you're just delaying the end.

I'm still with Bea, and I've been more patient than any man alive, so I'm told. But I do love her, and I want it to work.

You can't try and fail forever. The important thing is that you tried.

Mark
Friday, December 20, 2002

I have no problem with the context of this question being that of software engineering, as that's supposed to be the guiding theme here. That said, it's often apparent to me from the nature of the comments I read here that some of the posters are operating under the illusion that they have the hardest job in the world, are the smartest people ever born, have the stupidest managers, work under the most horrifying conditions ("oh god -- another boring programming task, yes, they'll pay me for it, but it's so boring...", or "oooh... I can't get my aeron adjusted right"), etc.

Sorry to burst the bubbles of those who think that way, but there are quite a few non-software/IT careers/jobs that are all-consuming and demanding of people's personal lives and relationships, especially marriages.

In my own experience, I got married at 24 as a young officer in the US Army. That career, especially if you truly believe in everything it stands for and are a patriot as one who takes the oath should be, is highly demanding. A great amount of family separation, fear (on the part of the spouse) for your safety, exposure to situations such as 'NEO' (non-combatant evacuation operations) which defined the plans for evacuating all combatants' family members and dependents out of the theater back stateside hopefully before the first missiles started flying, the list of challenges is quite long. Many of these things are conditions most civilians couldn't even understand, much less ever have to consider, yet my wife of 19 years and I have remained solid together. She has been my rock. She tolerates considerable separation resulting from my current work as well since I too am in the software development industry, suffering many of the same occupational issues posters to this site complain about.

The point is that if the two of you want to get married, the adversities such as separation and occupationally imposed hardships really do cement your relationship--so long as you're both committed to succeeding **together**. If you two do want to get married, then these occupational hardships, in and of themselves, should not be the reason not to get married.

But, it seems to me that it's a good idea for you both to be as aware as possible of what your lives together will be like, given the adversities you two will face, be they occupational or health, or whatever (that's why you swear an oath to each other 'for better or worse'). For many, living together first is one way to get familiar with some of those factors, which is fine and works well for some folks.

In my experience, a marriage is best when the two partners' talents and characteristics complement each other, but they share common goals/desires from life. The analogy is very much like a sports team--the players all share a common goal, so there's no debate about where they're all heading **together**, but their individual talents complement each other. An American football team would absolutely suck if it were composed of all quarterbacks, no matter how brilliant they were; one has to have the members' talents complement each other properly. So, there's a degree of difference that it's best to have between you and your partner, combined with a degree of 'likeness'. Core values, main life objectives, levels of commitment to each other--these should be the same; most of the rest of the two of you should generally be complementary.

IMO, you two should seek that sort of understanding, or test, if you will, to see if you two would make it together despite whatever hardships life may present to you. In other words, try to figure out if you both want to 'head to the same place', have similar levels of commitment to doing so together, and if other than that you two complement each other well.

Oh, and it's egregious bullshit that absolutely everybody should get married, or that everbody should breed. Not everybody is cut out for marriage and/or having/raising children. Our society (USA at least), thanks in large part to irrational and dangerous religious dogma, has tried to foist upon us various 'guilt-trips' and value judgements if we happen not to want to get married, or to have children. Both endeavors are profoundly serious in nature (hugely rewarding when they work out) both for us individually and for our society. Neither should be undertaken by anyone who doesn't want to pursue them. The costs of getting married and/or having children if you don't want to, or for the 'wrong' reasons (and failing at one or both), is equally profound for both individuals and for society.

So my advice, in the event it's worth anything at all, is not to succumb to any pressures by anybody -- parents, friends, society, etc. either way on the marriage decision (or any parenthood decisions, either, if things work out that way).

Plenty of people have made a successful, rewarding go of career, marriage and parenthood, even in the face of occupations and other hardships far, far greater than any that the software development industry could ever hope to dish out.

And will marriage cause career death? Once again, if you're heading in the same basic direction together, it certainly doesn't have to be the case. For me (and I'm confident I'm nothing special in this), our marriage has often been the one thing that permitted me to force myself to go through yet another day of <fill in hardship of the moment>. There is a change, a maturation, of the details of your relationship together in going from dating to living together, to newlywed, to 'veterans' in marriage. This is neither bad nor good, necessarily, simply natural. There is a natural degree of 'infatuation', for lack of a better word, early in the period, which can sometimes adversely affect your career for a time. This stabilizes as your relationship deepens and grows. It's just a hurdle to get past; as long as you work through it together, you should come out the other side with your career intact and your marriage stronger.

So 'marriage == career death'? Not necessarily.

Best of luck to you both,

anonQAguy
Friday, December 20, 2002

JustaThought - I brought my points up because it was apparent that he felt he was spending too much time with his girlfriend. What is too much for him may not be enough for you. Different couples have their own different levels of needs when it comes to spending time with each other.  If the two people are too far apart in that regard, the chances are low that it will work out in the long term.

And I don't think of it so much as the career being more important than the marriage - but it's more a matter of she being able to accept him for what he is (and vice versa).  Don't tell a cop he shouldn't be a cop because it's too dangerous, and don't tell a nurse she shouldn't be a nurse because the hours are irregular. Either accept them as they are or find somebody else who better fits your wants and needs.

Being a software professional and staying gainfully employed as a software professional goes beyond being just a 9 to 5 job. That's something the significant other of a software professional will have to accept if the relationship is going to work.  I'm sure she wouldn't be happy either if he spent all his personal time with her, but 5 years from now he's constantly unemployed due to the fact that he spent the prior 5 years doing nothing but programming FoxPro from 9 to 5 and neglected to upgrade his skills.

On the other hand, if he is spending an unnecessarily large amount of time focusing on his career, it could be a problem if he doesn't scale back.  To maintain sustainable employment in this field it is necessary to work more than 40 hours/week sometimes, and it is necessary to spend some personal time acquiring new technical knowledge, but it isn't necessary to put in 12 hours a day on any regular basis, or to become the next Bill Gates or Linus Torvalds.

T. Norman
Friday, December 20, 2002

<snip>
Subject: Bugs in Girlfriend 1.0
</snip>

anon, that was just too good to have ben made up on the spot!  Where'd you copy that from?

anon wannabe
Friday, December 20, 2002

One thing to think about... Nobody has ever said on their death bed, "I wish I'd spent more time in the office."

James Shields
Friday, December 20, 2002

"Different couples have their own different levels of needs when it comes to spending time with each other.  If the two people are too far apart in that regard, the chances are low that it will work out in the long term."

This sums up precisely what I was trying to say.

But this: "I'm sure she wouldn't be happy either if he spent all his personal time with her" is exactly what I meant about cringing. The point is that everyone is different - and since none of us know the poster or his girlfriend, we can't meanfully comment on whether she would (or wouldn't) be happy with the amount of time he is willing to spend.

However, the poster didn't sound like he was unwilling to spend time with his girlfriend - it sounded (to me) more like he felt that when she was around, he found it hard to concentrate on work.

And I think that's a valid point.  Long term though (girlfriend or no girlfriend, wife or no wife) I think he needs to learn how to concentrate on work even when not living in a cocoon.  (Getting in the zone, so to speak).  If you are only able to be productive if absolutely nothing else is planned or happening after work or on weekends, that's a pretty serious problem.

Many people are that in order to be successful in the software field you can't only work 9-5, and I would agree, but I don't think it requires working crazy hours either in order to keep up.  It's more that if you get in the zone at 4:30, leaving at 5 makes no sense.  But staying every night until 10 (or even working at home everynight until the wee hours) isn't healthy and usually results in crappy work anyway. 

Just a thought
Friday, December 20, 2002

I would just move in together. That was exactly what I did 5 years ago and in 6 months we were married. Personally I think that marriage is not a thing you should give too much thought to, it should grow out of you. And at some point you will just know whether you want to marry her or not.

Passater
Friday, December 20, 2002

And one more thing. Someone mentioned Linus Torvalds here. I think we all could agree that the guy made excellent carrer in the field, yet he's married and has 3 kids.

Passater
Friday, December 20, 2002

The difference b/w living together and being married is about a $50,000 3 hour party. 

I agree that the guy is using his career as an excuse to not move to the next level.  (Subconsciously or not.)

Great idea about making her get her own apt.  Many women have no appreciation of how men in our socieety have been reduced to "man slaves" who work until they get a stroke, while the wife sits around all day and takes tennis lessons.

And yes, marriage/family IS career "death"
See this old thread for details:
http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=5308&ixReplies=44

Bella
Friday, December 20, 2002

More tangentially related posts:

==================================
First, I've basically said that people with outdated skills have trouble finding work.  If you don't agree, or call that trolling, that's fine by me. 

> Bella, have you even bothered to visit professor Matloff's web site?

Yes.  And the excerpt below is often overlooked.  Yes, it's partly skills, but it's also about dedication, distractions, and outside responsibilities.  We've had this debate a few months back, so I wont rehash. 


"Employers like to hire new college graduates or young workers within a few years of graduation, because they generally are single and thus can work large amounts of overtime without being constrained by family responsibilities."


Bella
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
==================================

Anyone with any clue understands the tradeoffs between salary, age, skills, and experience.  This is common knowledge.  It is up to the hiring entity to decide what best fits their needs.  YOU do not know what this is, THEY do.

Personally, I've never seen age discrimination happen.  Skills and relevant experience talk.  If you have the skills and experience, and fit within the salary range, and have a personaility fit, then you're in.  I've never, ever seen it any other way.  I always laugh when I see people with shit skills blame their age.  No, it's because you AREN'T QUALIFIED.  You may THINK you're qualified, but that's not YOUR decision to make. 

Lastly, burden also falls upon the applicant to know when he's out of place.  If a shop is filled with hardcore 30 year olds who work until 10pm, and that's not your style, then don't bother to apply.  You'll only get frustrated and quit.

And vice versa, if you're 30, and want to work until 10pm, don't go work for a "maintain 1995 Powerbuilder apps from 9-5 , collect my paycheck, and goto my son's little league game, then visit my mother's nursing home" type of IT dept.  You'll only get frustrated and quit.

Bella
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
==============================
I love when ADA/COBOL/AS400/JCL/RPG/Mumps/CICS/Foxpro/Delphi programmers get laid off, can't find another job, and then resort to "age discrimination" as the root of their troubles....Sorry folks, it's called "skills discrimination" or "relevance discrimination"

Bella
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
=================================

Bella
Friday, December 20, 2002

From a girl:

Don't marry her to get her out of her parent's house.  If she can't make that move on her own, it's a bad sign.  You say you aren't living near each other anymore.  Try to get her living (on her own) closer to you.

I'm a bit older (30s) and have noticed that a significant chunk of the younger women today are far less career oriented than my friends are/were.  Someone without a bit of gumption in this regard is less likely to respect how much effort you need to put into your job.

She should have a passion or two of her own, and it doesn't have to be tech. My hobby is knitting, and it is amazing how many of the women in my "stich-n-bitch" group are happily married to techie guys.  (And a we have a reasonably techie count amoung ourselves.) I recently read an article (USAToday?) talking about happiness being highest among people with hobbies or who had things they "did."  What will she be doing while you code all night?  If the answer is twiddling her thumbs, you've got a problem.  If she is happily quilting, reading, doing ironwork, building model train sets, etc. you'll do fine.

You need to get your coding life under some sort of schedule if you want to sustain it, however.  Flights of fancy will always overtake you, when inspiration hits and you have to squeeze every bit out of it.  But you need to get work at calling your coding muse a little more regularly.  Getting work done when you need to, not just when you want to is an important step on the way to being a grown up.

Contrary Mary
Friday, December 20, 2002

Wow.  I don't know where to begin.  I personally would never place programming above the people that are significant in my life.  Now what you have to ask yourself is this:

Is this person significant in my life? 

Do I want her to be a significant part of my life?

When I'm lying on my death bed, which path would I most regret not taking?

Now, I'm all for devoting your life to your work.  Like you said, look at the great artists throughout history. 

But PROGRAMMING?  Come on!  The shit you write will probably be discarded in a year anyway.  I mean, if I had a shot at contributing to western civ, I would've never bothered with dating. 

But I'll be damned if I'm going to burn my life earning money for 'the man'. 

Even if I had my own company, I could see putting in more than an 8 hour day.  But not as a programmer. 

These are the lessons that I have learned in my life and are given freely.  They may be worth exactly what you paid for them.

long lasting
Friday, December 20, 2002

P.S.  I couldn't imagine life without my wife.  She is my friend and we enjoy doing many things together.  I would hate to live life without her. 

long lasting
Friday, December 20, 2002

Wayne,
A very wise person once told me, “People never ask for advice unless they already know what they are going to do.” I think you want us to help you rationalize your decision, whatever it may be.
That being said, you need to read some of the burn out bitching threads posted here. If you are about the same age as your girlfriend, you probably only have 2-4 years of on the job experience. Think about your life when you are 35 and you have 10 years. At some point you realize that everything new and exciting is a remix of old ideas. (Disclaimer: Maybe, sometimes, in a great once in awhile, there is one new idea thrown into the mix.) When you reach that point, do you want to have a balanced life, or just be a burned out techie?
The advice to for her to move out on her own is great. Everyone should be forced to live by herself and pay her own bills for at least a year. It makes a person appreciate where groceries come from.
Maybe she is not “the one”, maybe she is. Trust yourself more than a bunch of people with nothing better to do than post to a message board.

Doug Withau
Friday, December 20, 2002

“People never ask for advice unless they already know what they are going to do.”

Brilliant !!!  Thats one of the best quotes I've heard in a long time !

Bella
Friday, December 20, 2002

“People never ask for advice unless they already know what they are going to do.”

WOW, so true. I was thinking about the last time I was asking advice.

Prakash S
Friday, December 20, 2002

wannabe, the Girlfriend 1.0 bit is from an old email forward I got a few years ago.    I thought it might lighten up the discussion a bit.

anon
Friday, December 20, 2002

Wayne, I would say there's probably potential there, but your girlfriend needs to grow a bit before you contemplate anything further.

The advice about having her move into her own apartment and learn about bills and living sounds very wise.

echidna
Saturday, December 21, 2002

People who get married after time shacking up nearly always get divorced in a couple of years.

Reason.

One year dating =          1
Five years' shacking up = 6
One year's marrige    = 7

Seven year itch sets in

Divorce                     

Stephen Jones
Saturday, December 21, 2002

So couples who get married first, then live together just get divorced in their 5th year of marriage?  What's your point?

Bella
Saturday, December 21, 2002

Regular sex is what you would miss baby!

lambada
Saturday, December 21, 2002

For all you non-canucks:

"Sex is like euchre.  If you've got a good hand, you might as well go alone!"

My Grandmother told me this.  LMAO

Brad Siemens
Saturday, December 21, 2002

So your grandma went solo all the time. Pretty kinky eh? :)

lambada
Saturday, December 21, 2002

There isn't a point dear Bella, though I am sure you would have missed it if there was.

It is a strange phenonemum, in the UK at least, that couples who have lived together harmoniously for years get married, and then a year or two later or suddenly divorced.

I was merely explaining why, and that it was not the marriage ceremony that caused the collapse of the relationship.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, December 22, 2002

Stephen,
Would you like to point out what other points I have so obviously missed in the past? 

Thank you for your specific concrete details

Bella
Sunday, December 22, 2002

Wow, this thread really took off.  You're right about having made my decision before posting.  Sometimes I start a post to ask a question and halfway through writing it I have the answer, so I cancel it.

However, that is usually for a design or programming question and this is something that I have a LOT less experience at.

Anyway, I am really glad to have gotten some of these replies, they've given me a lot to think about.

Thanks again everyone.

Wayne
Monday, December 23, 2002

There's every possible opinion represented here. Everything from "Lving together before marriage is a sin!" to "Why bother getting married?" along with "Coding is more fun than relationships!" and "Relationships are far more important than work", etc.

Go with your instincts. The most important thing is to continue to think about and analyse your situation. If you're happy, then great. If you realise you made a mistake, then accept that you made the "wrong" decision at the time, and learn from it.

Sometimes you just can't know what's the "best" decision. Go with your instincts.

Adrian
Monday, December 23, 2002

Stephen,

assuming the couples get married because of an impeding change (e.g. going for offspring, big realestate investment, ...), would it not be normal that this also increases the chances of failure?

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, December 23, 2002

A friend at work has recently seen three of his friends get divorced, all of whom had been in stable relationships for years before getting married.

What he concluded was, the year before the marriage was taken up by discussing it, planning it, and arranging things around it. The marriage became their lives. Then, having got married and come back from the honeymoon, they suddenly discovered something that was important in their lives wasn't there anymore and they didn't know how to cope.

Me, I'm not planning on getting married soon. I live with my girlfriend and we both get on fine with each other and our respective careers. I occasionally pull a late night session to hit a deadline, but that doesn't happen too often anymore because my planning and scheduling gets better.

Better than being unemployed....
Monday, December 23, 2002

I believe it goes:

"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't."

- Erica Jong

Dunno Wair
Monday, December 23, 2002

Marriage CAN mean career death, but it doesn't have to.  I must admit, however, that a married man who is trying to living a balance life is certainly at a competitive disadvantage to single guys who can focus all their time and energy on building a career.

Norrick
Monday, December 23, 2002

I can't believe we are discussing computer programming and relationships in the same thread!

Alberto
Monday, December 23, 2002

Bottom line:  NO ONE can put in the time that an unmarried, no children, lives 5 minutes from work bachelor can. 

Now it's time for the hackneyed rebuttals along the lines of "it's not about the hours, its about the productivity..."  and .."a grad can't match the skill and experience of a veteran" ...blah blah blah......Yea, we all know that, but try telling my last few sweatshop clients that you plan to work 9-5 b/c that's how good you are......

Bella
Tuesday, December 24, 2002

- NO ONE can put in the time that an unmarried, no children, lives 5 minutes from work bachelor can.
- NO ONE can drop of the planet never to heard of again better  than an unmarried, no children, used to sleep under his desk bachelor can.

All depends what you are looking for.

When I got into a steady relationship, my productivity halved. When I got kids, it halved again.
At each of these instances, chances I would pack up one morning and start on a walkabout got decimated.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, December 24, 2002

For me it was just the opposite, there's nothing like a bit of responsibility to get you to go to work most days. Otherwise, when I was foot loose and fancy free, the man could go and take a jump while I did exactly what I wanted, when I wanted too.

Now that I've got money behind me (probably due mostly to the stability of my relationship) , the heady days are returning.

Alberto
Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Not sure of your point.  Another strike agaist a married, unproductive captive?  If you were 25% as productive as you once were, the best thing that could happen is that you left. 

Bella
Tuesday, December 24, 2002

No. Marriage is certainly not a career death. If you are serious about your girlfriend, meaning, you truly like her and vice versa (else you would not have gone on for 3.5 years)Marriage is a compromise both parties. For you taking some time off from work is a compromise, similarly for her it could be something else. Living together with differences, compromises and still bound by love is marriage. You cannot expect a marriage to be all rosy. that is a movie not a marriage. Marriage has to have differences to be exciting. Talk to her and explain your work committments. I am sure she will understand, provided you dont sound that as if she about to mess up. if she has a career then its better off as she wouldnt be sitting at home waiting with cold dinner for you. is she doesnt, and if she wants to, can work in your company, not necessarily coding but something else. that would be fun too.

But if you are (both) not serious about her (or she about you) or a married life then I suggest that you both say 'good bye' to a relationship and be friends (if possible). There is no point in fooling each other and fooling one self.
Life is a choice. Make the one that you beleive in.
But once you have decided to get married, stick to it , come what may...LEarn to balance. Instead of having dinner with a bunch of geeks one night, u can take her out for a small dinner (surprise) and return back to office if u have to. this is marriage. But if she is not in for it, talk it out and try.. your best. good luck.. and let me know what happened.

serena
Thursday, December 26, 2002

This reminds me of an old Dilbert cartoon where by the boss decides to discriminate against single people on the grounds they have no reason to go home at night, and makes them all work double hours if they are.

As a result of which, everybody says they're serial polygamists....

I have noticed a RISE in my productivity since I've had a steady relationship, because I'm generally happier and comfortable about my personal life, don't worry about it as much as I used to, which means I can concentrate more on the task in hand.

Better than being unemployed....
Friday, December 27, 2002

Marriage == Career Death?

Yes.  B/c Marriage implies kid.  Kids == Career Death.    Maybe we should have claridied.    Abso-fuckin-lutely.  (Too bad no one will read this)

Bella
Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Marriage == pwnage.  By a GIRL.  PH34R!!!1!

Stay single, stay fr33, h4x0rs!

Wendell Tvedt
Monday, July 05, 2004

just say no to the girl when you need to work

it's that simple

be consistent about this and she will be trained to understand your priorities..


oh and if you'd rather spend more time at the movies or some fucking bbq or shit like that.. then just telecommute and outsource your job to india, bitch.

dantheman
Monday, July 05, 2004

"Wendell" is such a chick-magnet name, don't you agree?

My first marriage was awful and my second rocks. I couldn't dedicate myself to this job if I weren't doing it for the wife and kids...

Follow your heart, man. If you want to marry her, do it. If it's not important to you, then don't.

eL_sTiKo
Monday, July 05, 2004

Are you a good programmer? I mean really shit hot? Will what you do make a difference in the world of programming? Will you develop new ways of looking at things, publish papers with new algorithms, change the way users work? If you will, then you need to consider puting programming first. There is a place in this world for brilliant single people. But if you're just going to churn out the same applications as every other clone then do yourself a favour and get serious with this girl.

SIGFPE
Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The short version: Find a geek girlfriend. All the above will become irrelevant.

The longer version: I've been with a guy - The One For Me - for almost 9 years, living together in a one room apartment for 7 of them.  We had a total of 5-7 computers in our space (half mine, the other half  his; they were in various degrees of working order over time but each of us ALWAYS had a working networthy box.  THERE IS NOTHING UNHEALTHY ABOUT THIS if it's WHAT YOU LOVE and it's what we love. 

Love for something other than each other is important in a Long Term Relationship.

YMMV but movies, family gatherings and shopping bore the faeces out of both of us. We would rather spend our time talking to each other (usually off the net, but we've been known to chat across the room.)

When either of us has work or play we can't be interrupted at we strap on headphones and don't bother each other.

Tonight about 6 hours of this ended up with me breaking through to learning some abstruse music software -  FINALLY! Sometimes it's Deek that is Doing Things and me that's farting around devouring web pages like potato chips.

We're technically polyamourous--which is less a thing done to get more sex with more people than something done to free both of us from That Caged Feeling common to marrieds.  Did I mention I had my tubes tied? Having kids in the days of the New Fascism would be utter folly, and besides, I prefer computers, drugs, weird music and cats to human larvae, um...er, I mean babies. 

Myths to get over:

1.  Being normal is really, really important. (It's not.)
2.  People neede commitment to keep them close.  (It's the other way around. But actually, the "commitment" thing should be to YOURSELF; people including your mate respect you for that if you handle it right.)
3.  Girls hate programmers.  (Find a girl who IS one.)
4.  Marriage is necessary.  It isn't.  Surely it would have killed us.  I like it this way with my "uncommon outlaw husband".

Demitria Monde Thraam
Monday, July 12, 2004

Its obvious to anyone reading about your situation that you are just not "into" this girl.  What your holding onto her for, not too sure.  Are you worried that you'll never get another girlfriend? I mean, you did mention that you sat in your parents basement for two years playing with your computer, and didn't go out and do the things that you did with her.  And you mention that you LOVE what you do.  No mention that you LOVE your girlfriend.  Your instincts are all you've got to depend on my friend, follow yours.  Let her free to find the happiness she is so obviously lacking with you. 

Gabrielle
Thursday, July 15, 2004

I think you are all making the mistake of conceiving life as a series of events rather than a series of reactions.  I'm not saying buddy doesn't have a choice, I'm saying he's made it already and is trying to rationalize it.

j-zee
Friday, July 16, 2004

This thread started 2 years ago.  Anyone know what happened?

Brad Jayakody
Friday, July 30, 2004

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