|Don't ask to ask, just ask|
first off all thank you Mike,
for me you post are 'view from the other side' and I appreciate you for this ability to look at the problem under the different angle (and new object to meditation)
Mike, I use strictly filtered skills list (maybe too filtered) but I use this trick for a reason: I just try to add direction to my career (hm and life in case of how many hours I spend at work).
Growing/getting new programming skills are not easy life style, isn't it? And (for me at least) only stable interest (if word fun is sound's so untrusted for you) in this area save my brain from melting. :) Really i can not imagine programmer with 10+ experience who lost fun from job and stay hm.. programmer (IT career for coders are limited).
That's the reason to start looking only advanced and interesting project and not continually work on bug fixing for poor coded applications. Working with hm... fun :) does not lead to brain melting and give you (me) ability work longer on most advanced and challenged projects.
I am not try to encourage use right tool, no! Otherway - I am waiting from project leader to encourage ME use right tools and advanced styles - stagnation in project and speedup development lead to problem with core development team and loosing most experienced programmers.
Too many words - too hard to describe feeling :( , i wrote this post in try to get advice how to balance... stay afloat and does not lost myself...
p.s.: and yes one more thing to share: i see cobol (or assembler or .. extend you list of lang. which popularity are over) programmers who work only at support tasks and stop advance at all, they are: skilled and stable professionals (and very pleasant to manage)... who stop get fun from programming - i does not wish some things for perl community. Several years ago perl back to market with some new and advanced tools - and i wish to support this perl coding reincarnation. yes i understand how small my experience and force in all perl community, really what i can change? At least start using this new ideas in my work... (drop hollows out a stone)