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Discussion on: Is coding a work-for-free popularity contest?

joeziemba profile image
Joe Ziemba

Excited to see some perspectives on this!

As a recent career changer into development, I definitely feel the pressure of needing to be coding all the time, in and out of work. It's especially strong since I'm so new to the career (literally a month) and have to learn some new languages for the team I'm on. The guilt of watching TV rather than learning C# is strong.

I'm not convinced - though I could be - that this stigma is true in the broader career field. It seems more like a mass-perpetuating inferiority complex among developers; we're all afraid of being outmoded and replaced. Maybe it trickles down from the powerhouses like Amazon, Google, Facebook and the like where the expectation isn't to spend your free time coding, but to not have any free time at all. But for those of us that are happy working in the mid-size business sector outside of silicon valley I think there is much more room for life after work.

Millenials will likely exacerbate the paradigm shift away from this too, as our generation seems to value the 'work to live' mentality over the 'live to work' mantra of older gens.

makiten profile image
Donald Author

I hope so. My experience is that early on, they convince themselves they have to "live to work," because they "don't have a lot of experience." As a millennial, I suppose I'm different in that regard, because I was a "work to live" kinda person.

Interestingly, the first 2 companies I worked at (startups) were always trying to do things the way Google did it. I didn't really get that when I worked at IBM, although as a salesperson I do remember my managers telling us to go to meetups on a regular basis, because this allegedly led to closed deals.

I remember recruiters doing this, and I don't think it was any more effective then.

I'm proudly outside the SV world, but the city I live near has some serious self-worth issues since Austin is close and "gets it all." At the same time, the culture in general is big on free work and lower pay, so getting clients or jobs is a very odd process.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I think you're on the right track to question this stuff. I believe it is often a distraction, but 100% denial is also a difficult part to tread. Find a way for it all to work for you.

jlhcoder profile image
James Hood

Hi Joe, welcome to software development! Here is a post I wrote that you might find helpful: