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Why are we doing this guys?

I wake up, take a bath and go to work.
I look at Sun's Java website, I open my IDE, I look at the problem at hand and start banging away at the keyboard.
A couple of weeks ago it was the same thing, but instead of an IDE I opened an SSH connection, vi and started to work on C++.

Why am I doing this?

I tried to be one of the groupies. I was always on top of the last buzzwords,  I tried to know when to use a float and a double, I tried to know the TreeModel to work with JTree... and for what?

I'm tired. I've been in this game because I saw myself going somewhere and now I lost my faith. I'm sorry, but I just don't believe in this anymore.

RP
Thursday, November 20, 2003

My coffee maker broke too. Makes the whole day tough, 'eh?

Mark Hoffman
Thursday, November 20, 2003

I wake up, take a bath and go to my studio.
I look at my pallette, grab my brush, I look at the canvas and start painting away.
A couple of weeks ago it was the same thing, but instead of a brush I grabbed some bristol board, a pen and started to draw.

Why am I doing this?

I tried to be one of the groupies. I was always on top of the latest techniques,  I tried to know when to crosshatch and when to stipple ... and for what?

I'm tired. I've been in this game because I saw myself going somewhere and now I lost my faith. I'm sorry, but I just don't believe in this anymore.

not an artist
Thursday, November 20, 2003

These things happen. Walk to the sea and look at the sky. When you done that last time?

Evgeny Gesin /Javadesk/
Thursday, November 20, 2003

I wake up, take a bath and go to the recording studio.
I look at my music notes, grab my guitar, I look at the hot groupies and start playing away.
A couple of weeks ago it was the same thing, but instead of an blonde I grabbed brunette, a bass and started to play.

Why am I doing this?

I tried all of the groupies. I was always on top of the latest techniques,  I tried to know when to play guitar and when to play bass ... and for what?

I'm tired. I've been in this game because I saw myself going somewhere and now I lost my faith. I'm sorry, but I just don't believe in this anymore.

GenX'er
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Maybe the reason why most software development has become a commodity to be outsourced to the lowest bidder is because it's boring and menial?

That's how I feel about it, and I'm trying everything I can to come up with a new career that is unique, fun, and has a future.

I always enjoyed photography, maybe I'll start doing portraits and weddings. I'd still get to use a computer and play with high tech equipment, but I'd also get to interact with normal people that talk about things other than pointers.

Of course, I'd still get into useless arguments, but this time it would be about Bronica vs. Hasselblad rather than Java vs. .NET.

Bob
Thursday, November 20, 2003

I wake up, take a bath and go to work.
I look at Joel's On Software forum, I grasp my dictionary, I look up the idioms Philo uses and start banging away at the keyboard.
A couple of weeks ago it was the same thing, but instead of posting to JOS I frequented Slashdot, flamed forth and back, and ranted and chanted like the purest zealot.

Why am I doing this?

I tried to be one of the flamers. I was always at the bottom of karma highscores,  I tried to know when to insult and when to row back, I tried to know how to set up the bait most blatantly... and for what?

I'm tired. I've been in this game because I saw myself going somewhere and now I lost my faith. I'm sorry, but I just don't believe in this anymore.

Slashbot
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Call me Ishmael.  Some years ago -- never mind how long precisely -- haveing little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I though I would sail about a little and and see the watery part of the world.  It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation.  Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of ever funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off -- then I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.  This is my substitute for pistol and ball.  With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword;  I quietly take to the ship.  There is nothing surprising in this.  If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

Ishmael
Thursday, November 20, 2003

not an artist,

I appreciate the metaphor.

I once had a convesation between myself (a poet at the time), a technical architect, and a painter. The conversation travelled in circles for a time before settling on a long and interesting dialogue in which I discovered something fundamental: we were speaking the same language. We had found common ground discussing things such as rhythm and flow, theme and structure. This language is common to one element of humanity and that is passion. I have found that all people with passion for what they do understand certain primitive concepts. To clariy and bring in the topic at hand, regardless of canvas, passion is the paint.

I wake up, take a bath and go to my bosses studio.
I begin to paint, but discover that all the colors that I had brought have been secreted away, replaced by the 'approved' shade of gray that my boss has supplied.

A couple of weeks ago it was the same thing, but instead of my paints, it was my brushes that needed to be replaced. They did not conform to the Rational Painting Standard.

Why am I doing this?

After 8 hours, I go home. I'm tired. I've been in this game because I saw myself going somewhere and now I lost my faith. I'm covered in gray paint and my fingers hurt from holding bad brushes. 

I go to my studio. I look at the clock. The sun is setting, but it rises somewhere else. I have 10 hours, may 12 before I will pass out. I grab my brush, and the colors I want. And then I start to paint.

Dustin Alexander
Thursday, November 20, 2003

"whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of ever funeral I meet"

You got that right Tapiwa/Ishmael!

I just don't understand why people don't realize Melville is the most hilarious and fun author of all time.

X. J. Scott
Thursday, November 20, 2003

I wake up, take a bath and go to the recording studio.

I look at my rap lyrics, grab my crotch, I look at a group of hotties and start rappin' 'bout smokin' crack, givin' props to my dogs chillin' in da crib.

A couple of weeks ago it was the same thing, but instead of a stank ho, I grabbed a gangsta bitch, some Malt liquor and started to rap.

Why am I doing this?

I tried all of the groupies. I was always on top of the latest techniques,  I tried to know when to be laid back and when to bust caps... and for what?

I'm tired. I've been in this game because I saw myself going somewhere and now I lost my faith. I'm sorry, but I just don't believe in this anymore.

The Notorious Mickey B.
Thursday, November 20, 2003

hi bob:

http://www.photo.net/mjohnston/column32/

sven
Thursday, November 20, 2003

A Why-am-I-doing-this-poetry-slam. Cool.

Johnny Bravo
Thursday, November 20, 2003

I believe there are (at least) two types of developers.

The first is one who wants to know what all the rules are, so he can work within them and produce something that functions according to those rules.  He probably doesn't care too much about what tools or technology he uses, he just wants to get the job done (write the code) according to the requirements and specifications set forth.  For him, the reward is producing something that meets these requirements.  I will call this type an Engineer.

The second type of developer is a Craftsman.  The craftsman's values are centered on creativity and quality.  He wants to code something new, and he wants it to be high quality.  He'll keep himself updated on new tools, technologies and techniques.  He'll spend the extra 80% effort to get the remaining 20% quality.  And he wants his solution to be an elegant, effective fit to the problem proposed.  What doesn't interest him is conformance to a set of rules that may inhibit his ability to produce a creative, high-quality solution.

The Craftsman needs a flexible environment that will foster his creativity, not stifle it.

I think we have a lot of craftsmen on this board.

-Thomas

Thomas
Thursday, November 20, 2003

You guys have a bath? Cool.

Observant
Thursday, November 20, 2003

To get paid, so I can eat and buy the things I need (car) to get paid, so I can eat and buy the things I need to get paid, so I can eat and buy the things I need to get paid, so I can eat and buy the things I need to get paid, so I can eat and buy the things I need to get paid, so I can eat and buy the things I need to get paid, so I can eat and buy the things I need to get paid, so I can eat and buy the things I need to get paid, so I can eat and buy the things I need to get paid, so I can...
--
ee

eclectic_echidna
Thursday, November 20, 2003

with these re-wordings, are you guys trying to make the point that these feelings are universal and have nothing to do with the particulars of the tasks at hand, but rather the unavoidable futility and repetition of human existence? or are you just being goofy? i'm honestly not sure.

because i DO think software development, in these real world jobs we have, is more boring and pointless than being a painter, musician, or gangsta rapper. and i'm all of the above!! :) although i only get paid for software dev.

so, what are you guys saying? i'm thinking that not one of you is anything but a software developer, and perhaps you're suggesting that the grass is simply always greener on the other side. but personally i think the grass IS a lot greener when you get paid to produce paintings or music. (and it probably gets you higher :)

pupos
Thursday, November 20, 2003

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Devil's Advocate
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Come on, pupos, when programmers commit suicides or become junkies at the same rate as professional singers or actors, we'll see.

GP
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Did I miss a meme or something?

Alyosha`
Thursday, November 20, 2003

I think it's, "bring a meme to work day"...  I really must mark that on my calendar.

Almost Anonymous
Thursday, November 20, 2003

I wish
I could write
a haiku
in this space

pdq
Thursday, November 20, 2003

This post should be edited and preserved. Not often do you get a bunch of techs waxing eloquent on philosophical issues.

There is definitely an element in the human condition from which these types of concerns are drawn. Many people, regardless of expertise are fundamentally unhappy with their positions in life. Human beings don't seem to be made for repetitive sets of complex actions. It tends to be the simpler elements that make us happy.

A large part of the unhappiness associated with being an software engineer has to do with building for other people. An engineer's job is to build the often uninspiring dreams of others whilst his own languish in obscurity.

In the life as a consultant, every great dream he builds is for others; is tainted with his own. There are so many situations where something can be made better, improved, or reworked; so many instances where others came so close to ideal but miss the mark. And the engineer puts so much of himself into these projects, finding that instead of building their dream alone, he has engineered an amalgam so complex that he cannot differentiate his from theirs.

And it is this final state that hurts the most, that sends us into the darkest depths of depression. That  our dreams, our ideas, would be owned by others for $40 an hour. This is a  fraction of the price that we pay for those hours.

As for the comment that engineering itself is more prone to boredom than others, those who say such things should find another profession. I have been a poet, an writer, a businessman, a saleperson, a ...

Never have I felt more alive than when architecting a solution to a problem no one has solved. That computers are the medium for that solution, and math its natural language, that I was born in a time when that medium is readily available and simple to apply, is a blessing I am thankful for. Who can find boredom in changing the nature of the things around them?

Dustin Alexander
Thursday, November 20, 2003

"that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off"

That just cracks me up. A control freak wishing he could let go!

For some reason that reminds me of...

"Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I feel very peculiar. I feel like I've just got to bite a cat! I feel like if I don't bite a cat before sundown, I'll go crazy! But then I just take a deep breath and forget about it. That's what is known as real maturity."

-- Snoopy

Jack of all
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Dustin A. ---

Damn! Wish I had posted that.

>> A large part of the unhappiness associated with being an software engineer has to do with building for other people. An engineer's job is to build the often uninspiring dreams of others whilst his own languish in obscurity.

Ohhhhhh man. This is so true it hurts. I'm exactly in the dead center of this proposition right now.

Also, RP started the other thread "Being pushed". Which is the anthrax-flavored cherry on the "sundae of despair" that is SW engineering for pay: you're often "rewarded" by being screwed out of your position.

NOT SELF PITY. Just the truth...

Bored Bystander
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Ah, Bored, my brush with a degree in literature pays dividends in concept if not in grammar. :)

I am liberally appropriating your anthrax flavored cherry on the sundae of despair comment. If you see it elsewhere, it came from you and you can get in line to sue me behind SCO.

On RPs issue:

We live and breath the stuff of a profession the primary requirement of which is the automation of the work of others. Do we create knowledge workers or do we create the unemployed and unemployable, human beings that are a legacy of ancient ideals slowly being phased out of the system? Is it any wonder that when we build a bridge, it is used to destroy our jobs? Couldn't this be considered karmatic and just; a kismet that some would say we define for ourselves? Are we not just as replacable as the systems we automate?

Perhaps not in our own eyes, but see for a moment from the eyes of your employer.

Appreciation in the halls we walk is the most scarce of resources. Why?  Because we are hired to build systems no one understands. When you pick up your telephone, you don't pause for a moment of reverence, considering the technician who designed the routing system. Most have no understanding of the complexities of the subject and hence no appreciation for the improbablilty of a working result. They just dial. The same is true of software. Aren't you just another cog in the metasystem, the system that gave birth to the system in place?

I see these as fundamental disconnects between reality and reality as perceived by the job market: That we are seen as components to be automated along with the systems we automate, and that the working system is considered with the fundamentals of your role safely buried in the black box it has become. How much simpler to fire you and replace you with a machined part from India than take the time to understand your importance.

Dustin Alexander
Thursday, November 20, 2003

>> I am liberally appropriating your anthrax flavored cherry on the sundae of despair comment. If you see it elsewhere, it came from you and you can get in line to sue me behind SCO.

And likewise with your post. Tell you what, let's just make this easy and agree to sue each other. :-)

Your prose is well considered.

When I was younger I took it for granted that automation of everything was the grand ideal that every good engineer worked toward. I looked down on the people who were displaced by my "stuff". And I held myself morally above anyone who wasn't "in" the elite clubs to which I belonged.

I guess that's the flip side - it's karma coming up to bite me on the rear end for my college boy preppie snobbery.

I can't  speak for everyone in this field who has lost their job, but part of me feels like I deserve some of what I've reaped. And my "attitude" certainly was never the most toxic of those that I've witnessed.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Here, here. We get far too little reality in these discussions sometimes. Something comes to mind about throwing stones from glass houses.

Not that I feel most of us <here> should be unemployed. But perhaps the idea that we have a 'right' to be employed is a bit arrogant. From each according to his need, to each according to his ability. Cycles dictate slumps. We also do not do a great job of promoting ourselves, which doesn't help in our evaluation.

Dustin Alexander
Thursday, November 20, 2003

RP, in answer to your despair: There is an answer, although perhaps not in this post or any of the posts above it.

It seems like you've been having a bad few weeks. You're working for a company that doesn't appreciate you, doing code that you probably don't appreciate. Any of us would ask the questions you are in the position you are in. Most of us have.

Here's a suggestion: Save up if you need to; take a break. If you're truly apathetic about what you are doing, you need to evaluate where you are going in life. You ask why you are doing this? Try to answer that question. For money? For stability? As a job? If the answer to these is yes, you need to get out. This profession will kill you with that mindset. It will suck the life right out of you.

So, take a break. Go on a vacation. Go to Venice. It'll be gone soon. It's sinking, you know. Get a decent hotel.  Buy yourself some good food. Watch the sun rise. Think about the insignifigance of this tiny little planet and everyone on it. Why carry such a heavy burden? Put things in perspective.

Then, as you are floating down one of those canals, think about the sun you just watched. Think about the equation that determines our orbit around it, the function that defines its path through time and space. Look at the water below you. Within that water lies encrypted every footstep on every shore from the birth of man to the present.

Think about your future in that perspective. Try to find joy in these things as an engineer. If you cannot, become a painter. But if you can, then ask what you were born to be doing. What life were you born to live? Which of your footsteps will be encrypted for future generations to read? Or will you build the reader?

Whenever I am low, I remember these things and I try to dream of what my role in them is, however insignificant. What can I build that will play a part on this stage? In what role have I been cast on the playlist of creation's future?

When I think of these things, I find that the shackles of depression that hang about me are lifted. They were put there by adherence to a common meme, but an inconsequential one. You do not have to bow to the work ethics of a society as small as our own. Forge your own path. Build your own dreams.

Dustin Alexander
Friday, November 21, 2003

You're waxing lyrical about a simple supply/demand situation.

Realist
Friday, November 21, 2003

Dustin: "A large part of the unhappiness associated with being an software engineer has to do with building for other people. An engineer's job is to build the often uninspiring dreams of others whilst his own languish in obscurity."

This is a large part of the hole that programming open source fills. At least for me, and I suspect for other folks as well.

Chris Winters
Friday, November 21, 2003

This is an issue I think a lot about. It has deeply affected me, my family, and my friends. It has led to decisions that have changed my life multiple times, and indecisions ranging from sequences of depression to problems with alcoholism and thoughts of suicide. I wax lyrical because this 'issue of supply and demand' is an issue of the life I live, why I live it, and what I will leave behind. To imply that what this is an 'issue of supply and demand' is to callously disregard one of the fundamental meanings of my life.

I may be over-verbal at times (this is an issue that has followed me throughout my life), but I refuse to apologize for trying to convey something that is important to me in a manner that suits my passion for the subject to someone who may find meaning in what I have to say. Obviously, you are not that person.

And in the future, when you lose your job or your will to go on, how much comfort will  thoughts of supply and demand be to you while you sleep?

Dustin Alexander
Friday, November 21, 2003

<grumbles>At least I kept myself from quoting Shakespeare.</grumbles>

....

I didn't did I?

Dustin Alexander
Friday, November 21, 2003

you know what your problem is? you are EXTREMELY exhausted.

My suggestion? Grab a six pack and a good girl on girl action and you will recuperate and will forget all these philosophical rants.

cerrone supernature
Friday, November 21, 2003

I'd probably feel just like the original poster if I had to use crap and write software to work with crap all day, every day.

That's why everything I do is on Mac OS X.  It's a system I enjoy using and writing for.  Do I get bored?  Sure, there are some things that are tedious even with Cocoa development.  But most of the time it's a lot of fun building something new with good tools on a good foundation, and when I get bored I just think of how much users are going to enjoy what I'm creating.

It's a similar to the feeling you get as a game developer.  (I've worked on games too. Worked a few Mac ports of PC titles too.)

Chris Hanson
Friday, November 21, 2003

the great thing about being a software developer, is that most other software developers are complete idiots. thus, if you are moderately competant, you can work about 10 hours per week, and spend the rest of the week doing whatever the fuck you want (i like to play piano and have sex with girls), while your peers fret about treeviews and whether or not emacs is better than VI. 

sven
Friday, November 21, 2003

sven

I couldn't agree more.

Perhaps you should include mé·nage à trois  in your busy schedule.

cerrone supernature
Friday, November 21, 2003

It's well paid indoor work with no heavy lifting. 

A cynic writes
Friday, November 21, 2003

Doing anything not for money is better than doing that same thing for money.

Programming is at heart interesting, creative and challenging. Doing it eight hours a day, five days a week, 46 weeks a year is not.

Still a whole load better than any alternative I can currently see though.

Mr Jack
Friday, November 21, 2003

Sven, you're borderline depraved (just checked out the lifestyle thread) but you have a great point....

Bored Bystander
Friday, November 21, 2003

I wake up, take a bath and put a nice dress.
I look at Hollywood Whores site, I read my messages, answer quotes and wait for my first client. I look at the dick at hand and start sucking away at the thing.
A couple of weeks ago it was the same thing, but instead of a dick I was in all fours, on an anal bondage with three guys.

Why am I doing this?

I tried to be one of the hookers. I was always on top of the biggest dicks,  I tried to know when to use a thong and a dildo, I tried to know the kamasutra to make it out with three... and for what?

I'm tired. I've been in this game because I saw myself going somewhere and now I lost my faith. I'm sorry, but I just don't believe in this anymore.

Bella
Friday, November 21, 2003

Bella

I think you're the only one that should do your job no matter what. Society needs you girl! don't turn your back on the nation! be a patriot!!!

Cerrone supernature
Friday, November 21, 2003

"When I was younger I took it for granted that automation of everything was the grand ideal that every good engineer worked toward. I looked down on the people who were displaced by my "stuff". And I held myself morally above anyone who wasn't "in" the elite clubs to which I belonged."

Well, I don't know what the snobbery is in this belief. 

Unproductive work is always far worse than no work.  Always.  Without fail.  If something can be automated, cheaply, it should.

That is not an arrogant belief, or a strong desire to displace people from work.  It is in fact quite the opposite.  Work that is unproductive or wasteful has no meaning.  People should never work just for the sake of doing work.  Work is a means to an end; it's inherently a purposeful activity.

I would rather be cast out of this profession than spend the rest of my life doing work just for the sake of itself.  I like to know that I contribute something of necessity, of value, not that I'm just a case for pity or indulgence, doing work because work is in itself good.

Certainly the transition from labor to automation is rough.  That it's so, I think, is a fault of bad business decisions made by executives who live up high where the air is too thin.  But that's still a short-term problem; ultimately, a task that can be automated will be nothing but a waste of time or an indulgence to do manually.

Think about it:  if farming had not been automated, then we would have a lot of people employed doing work in the fields.  But would the world as a whole be better for it, despite their displacement?

it_ranter
Saturday, November 22, 2003

^

As an addendum, the belief to which I'm referring is that "everything should be automated."  We shouldn't look down on the displaced; but as I said, their fate is largely the result of bad business.

Arguably, so is ours, with the rampant and often ill-considered outsourcing.

it_ranter
Saturday, November 22, 2003

it_ranter:

I'm currently on the horns of the dilemma of doing work for its own sake.

I am on a contract that has migrated into development for the sake of the client's misguided and generally illiterate "wet dreams" about SW architecture.

I think only being completely idle would be a worse feeling than working on ill-conceived crap that is useless. I'm about to bail.

I think where our capitalist society has dropped the ball is in wholesale destruction of jobs with no thought given to what will take the place of those jobs. 

What I stated earlier in the thread that you're quoting is just a twinge of recognition that I was once part of the "capitalist tool" portion of the economy that was merrily destroying jobs, and have gradually gone instead to the other part of the economy looking for a purpose.

In the past the retrenchment from destruction of jobs has been organic, it's happened over relatively long periods of time and workers have had some advance warning that the offshoring trends were in place. 

In contrast, the IT scene has gone from HTML and shallow script kiddies and web lightweights earning 6 figures in the late 90s to senior CS types with lengthy ("useful") track records having to spam their resumes across entire regions of the country in 2003. We've snapped from a grossly overinflated scene to depression in about 3 years.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, November 22, 2003

Bored:

Well, I think the effect of this cycle and the past ten years will ultimately be positive on workers.  More and more, we're rejecting the notion of "loyalty" to companies.  That is a good thing.  Companies have never shown employees the slightest hint of loyalty, and more rarely even a businesslike attitude towards the development of labor, so why should employees feel that way?

People in the marketplace should, I think, find themselves searching within for the real value they can provide instead of just droning on day by day.  If the market forces them to do so; then all the better.

If this depression makes us all less tolerant towards working towards the uninspiring--and often unprofitable--dreams of others, then that's for the better.  Even if it's extremely unpleasant now.

I understand the negative feelings towards about the wild swings in employment.  Again, it's really just bad business.  The CxO crowd just doesn't understand technology.

There's that notion now that software can be replaced by "packages," which are hobbled together by so-called analysts; instead of paying developers to own the business logic of a particular organization.  These analysts "appreciate" technology, and their background is primarily schmoozing--you know, managing "business" and working their way up the ladder.

But, you know...great software is like a Porsche.  It's built from the ground up with care, and it works because you know it inside and out.  Anything hobbled together from large-scale components is more like...well, a used car built from the ground up.  That's just an inescapable fact.  When I write code; I know what I write works, and I can fix the bugs.  When we use large-scale libraries, there are no guarantees except bogus "case studies" and expensive consulting to provide support for basic maintenance.

However the market has retrenched, no business will ever escape the basic facts of how software is created and maintained.  They're trying their damndest now, but it'll never work.  IT will remain a sinkhole of money as long as businesses believe they can fudge it, and maintain their air of false "we understand business, who gives a damn about technology" superiority. 

Eventually something has to give.  IT is going to be too important to fudge, eventually.  When McDonald's automates their customer service systems to serve the general public, will it be enough to have a hotline to India to figure out why SAP Burger Deluxe stopped taking orders for four hours?  Probably not. :)

it_ranter
Saturday, November 22, 2003

But isn't one of the reasons the scene is so dire precisely the fact that there was so much money spent in the boom.

And I suspect one of the reasons behind decisions to outsource is that Managers reckon that as IT projects come in overschedule and way over budget then they might as well ensure they're not going to be paying top-whack for all the hours they hadn't initially budgeted for.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, November 22, 2003

It's seems that automation was once a useful tool to advance everyones well being.  The automation of farming freed up millions of farm workers to go work in the factories to produce goods that everyone needed.  It freed up people to go to school so they could advance themselves. 

This is where things started to get competitive.  If factory X can produce Y widgets at a cost of Z but factory A can produce Y * 2 widgets at a cost of Z / 2 then obviously factory A will win in the war on price and it probably has produced that widget with just as good a quality as factory X. 

So factory X says, well I'm gonna build a factory in Mexico using the same automation with the same number of workers as factory A, but I'll only have to pay them (Current Salary of Employee / 8) so I'll lower my costs more than factory A and I should regain my competitivie edge.

You now have all of factory X's workers being replaced by foreign labor, so all employees of factory X seek work elsewhere.  The problem is automation is so rampant that factory X's workers can't find "factory work", the work they know how to do, so some go to school, some commit suicide, some find jobs that can't be automated.

Greed.  The one word that sums it all up.  A local fraternal benefit organization with assets of over 15 billion dollars recently outsourced most of their programming work to India.  This move displaced 25 - 30 of their IT staff and saved them 3 million a year.  Was it necessary to outsource?  No.  They could have easily kept these people.  What's 3 million dollars compared to their cash holdings of nearly 5 billion.  That's like comparing a penny to a thousand dollar bill.  You may say that 3 million per year over time is a lot of many and I would agree but 25 - 30 people holding down full time positions in a community and spending their money in the same and surrounding communities is far more productive for everyone than the measly 3 million dollars saved.

Many people believe the question to ask is, "Until the cost of outsourcing work equals the cost of developing it on shore, Is the quality of the outsourced work greater than or equal to the quality of work of our own IT staff?".  This question doesn't even occur to management types.  The question they ask is, "How much money will we save?".  Now when they get together with managers from other companies they have something to say, "We outsourced 12 million in development this year."  What's never mentioned by managers is the people affected.  Greed.

Didn't anyone learn anything from The Lord of the Rings.


Saturday, November 22, 2003

Inconsistent argumenting.

You don't outsource industries where's there's a load of automation. Don't need to. The "manufacturing" industries that go abroad to take advantage of lower labour costs are those like garments and shoes that are highly labour-intensive.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, November 22, 2003

Another thing to bear in mind is that the number of programmers needed is likely to decline as the industry matures. At some stage the programs are written, and we don't need to do it again.

An analogy is employment for civil engineers in Saudi Arabia. In the 70's there was a massive need for civil engineers for the infrastructure. The result was that KFUPM in Dhahran, the leading university in the Kngdom, turned out hundreds of civil engineering graduates. Fifteen years later most of the work was done, and the number of vacancies for Civil Engineers plummeted. In 1998 the number of graduates in Civil Engineering was four.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, November 22, 2003

Dustin - No criticism intended I think your thoughts and observations were very well put, and interesting.

Ultimately, I'm glad people 'wax lyrical' about anything!

Cheers

Realist
Saturday, November 22, 2003

:)

Sorry bout that. It is often easy to misread tone on these things. This happens with a special sort of ease when its early in the morning.

You are, of course, correct in your comment on supply and demand. What I was trying to say (and perhaps I said it) is that the mathematical macrocosm that defines the situation makes no difference on our perceptions of what occurs. Since this post began with an emotional statement, it is the realm of emotion and not realism that I attempted to address.

Thanks.

Dustin Alexander
Sunday, November 23, 2003

it_ranter, your comment about developers being replaced by "analysts" probably comes from one of the recent stories (CNet maybe?). I saw that one too.

You should realise that writer's interpretation of events was naive. I think from memory he was also the one who said "object oriented programming" had also made developers redundant.

The whole concept that developers are something different from analysts is about 15 years out of date. That invalidates the premise of the article.

analyst
Sunday, November 23, 2003

Stephen Jones, no, I don't think  the demise of the boom is the cause of the problems at all.

The people who were brought into the industry by the boom were the html coders, graphics artists and writers, and they have survived fine because web activity increased in corporates.

The problems are occurring for career programmers - the people who worked in companies writing software. The problems facing those people arose separately from the boom, and are mainly to do with the h1b boom and lately, the offshoring, which are related.

There is one way the boom contributed to those problems. It provided the impetus industry needed to get approval for lots more h1b's, even though they weren't really needed. Most of the boom was web stuff, not programming.

analyst
Sunday, November 23, 2003

> Programming is at heart interesting, creative and challenging. Doing it eight hours a day, five days a week, 46 weeks a year is not.


I agree with this.  Musicians, Athletes, artists all have creative and performance bursts and peaks, and PLENTY OF DOWNTIME.  Corporate slaves, on the other hand, get 3 weeks off.  What percentage of musicians can tour for a year straight?  (Nevermind 30 years straight)  What athlete plays 50 weeks a year?  None.  What artist creates 8 hours a day? 

You are simply burnt out.  everyone will tell you to take a break or a vacation....  Yes, can't hurt,  but this is only a QUICK FIX.  Also look at the LONG TERM PICTURE.  (To avoid the cycle, and to make the situation better)  Perhaps you should choose WHAT type of code you are writing.  How your code will be used may affect how you feel about doing it day in day out.  ie:  re-ignite the passion, somehow.

BUT, like those other professions, find a more balanced workweek (40 hours).    Find time to REGULARLY enjoy non work things (not just a 2 week vacation once a year).  Or, find a new profession entirely. 

Bella
Sunday, November 23, 2003

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