My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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But do I belong to the company I work for? No! Never!

If that means I'm doomed to walk the Earth for eternity writing code and building beautiful ideas, then that's ok.

No matter how much my job makes me happy, my family and my life outside work are just as important and more. Obsessing about anything is not good. Moderation is good. Do everything well but know when to stop. Do your job well but remember to go and hang out with your friends. Put down the mouse and call someone to go out. Liking your life outside work does not mean you suck at work. It means you are good at living.
-Damana Madden, You don't own me, I'm not that kind of girl anymore

As often as I talk about working hard to "save your job", I thought it would be worth a moment of our time to consider who you really work for, as opposed to the idea of working for the one who pays you.

A Chain Gang

You are not a slave, nor are you a convict, imprisoned and forced to work at the behest of those who've put you in chains.

You work for yourself. Your family. Perhaps out of some sense of duty to a friend. But it always comes down to your decision.

I think of my employer(s) as customers of mine. The difference between us is that I not only represent myself to my direct customer, I represent my employers to their customers as well. And don't get me wrong - I still feel like a very big part of the team. I want my customers to be successful, because when they are successful, I am too. But I don't let myself feel trapped: It's the hard work I've put in that allows me to know I can leave whenever I need to. It allows me to know I'm not chained to my current position.

If I don't need a customer, I can always politely tell them I cannot continue to serve them. On the other hand, if I feel beholden to the man who pays me, I cannot easily find another job. It's a matter of outlook. Your attitude determines your quality of life, so change it if it's not working for you.

Be professional, but don't be a slave.

Don't let your managers or your peers pressure you into working 80 hour weeks all the time. Don't let them refuse to ever approve your vacations. It's not some geek badge of honor to work like the robots we'd like to build. Instead, it's ridiculous to try to keep up that pace. Remember Damana's words: "Liking your life outside work does not mean you suck at work. It means you are good at living."

Check from Donald Knuth
Note: The source of this image asserts that the routing and account numbers on this check were randomly generated.

It's good to be good at work. I think I'm there. But now I want to start getting better at living.

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome and appreciated.

Hey! Why don't you make your life easier and subscribe to the full post or short blurb RSS feed? I'm so confident you'll love my smelly pasta plate wisdom that I'm offering a no-strings-attached, lifetime money back guarantee!


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