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I'm thankful for my job

by Mission (Hermit)
on Apr 28, 2001 at 18:07 UTC ( #76372=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I work as the web coordinator for a univeristy, so essentially I'm just a web/code junkie that sits in front of a computer (AKA::average nerd). I've had lots of other jobs, including sales, accounting, radio dj, many stints in a variety of management, publishing, even carpentry, reconstruction of historic homes, and welding. I'm not knocking other jobs in general, or what people do, but I love what I do now! I'd rather sit and code and research on a computer, than any other job.
I just finished a project at my house. I put up a fence in my backyard. I am so sore from that one day of physical labor, that it made me thankful that I don't do that all of the time. While I was using the post hole digger (for four hours) I had a chance to reflect on my current projects. It was amazing. I had such a clarity of thought on some problems that I need to overcome. I eventially ran back to my house and got a notepad, so I could jot notes as things came to me.
Even though most of us are in IT or IS, and we don't do the physical activitiy as say a construction worker, I do think that we get just as exhausted after a good day of work. It's not necessarily the physical exhaustion, rather the mental exhaustion of trying to think of every possiblity during flowcharting, planning, debugging, or whatever. I also believe that I feel the same sence of accomplishment when I finish a wonderful piece of code, as I do when I finished a construction project. I think that I found my calling as a computer person. I enjoy doing other things, but only a true coder would think about code while doing about anything.

My Medition Today: When do we know that we find our calling? Does it scream at us, or is it silently there all the while?

I know for me it was silent. With every job that I mentioned above, I became involved with compters and systems at work. It wasn't something I tried to get involved with, but I just became more and more involved. One day a friend asked why I didn't just go into the compter field. I guess I never thought about it until Rog mentioned it to me. I just assumed that you needed to have more experience in computers (BTW: I have a degree in history... thus my long list of jobs above. ;) ) What I realized after my first year in the computer field, is that you don't need the experience, but rather the determination, and resolution to always keep learning and not to give up as you face problems.

- Mission
"Heck I don't know how to do it either, but do you think that's going to stop me?!!"

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: I'm thankful for my job
by arhuman (Vicar) on Apr 28, 2001 at 18:30 UTC
    My Medition Today: When do we know that we find our calling? Does it scream at us, or is it silently there all the while?

    I think it's there all the while, some people are aware of it from the beginning,
    some people may take time to realize it, but one day eventually they say It's MY way...

    For me it was when I was around 12, I saw my cousin
    turning esoteric signs (BASIC) into cursors moving on the TV screen.
    I realized at that time, that I wanted to be like him, a computer wizard...

    It turn out to be a joke, but for my part I can spot several strong sign showing it is MY thing.
    I know it's MY thing each time :
    • I realize that I'm more interested by computers than by football (read soccer), cars and any other topic.
    • I think about packets routing when watching ants.
    • I dream about code. (and find solutions to current problems doing so !!)
    • I see beauty in algorithms.
    • Convert prices into computers :'Damn this car worths x computers...'

    "Only Bad Coders Badly Code In Perl" (OBC2IP)

      You dream in perl too? Sometimes i think in perl. Like "How would i program this situation".

      It doesn't *scream* at me that this is what I want to do. But I can't imagine doing anything else. I have no idea what I would be doing right now without perl and the internet. Probably trying to start a recording studio.

      I think that everyone has there own certain way of doing, learning and understanding things, and whether it's a natural thing that you have from birth or if it's manifested from your life experiance I don't know, but I know that when you find something that fits into your way of thinking it just clicks, and that's when you know your doing what your *supposed* to.

      I know I could never be an accountant, lawyer, or doctor. Yet there are millions of people that are, and that would say "I could never be a programmer". I love my job, and I do it well, and I love doing my job well, and that's enough for me to say "I've found my calling" and "I'm thankful for my job".

      my $name = 'Ben Kittrell'; $name=~s/^(.+)\s(.).+$/\L$1$2/g; my $nick = 'tha' . $name . 'sta';
Re: I'm thankful for my job
by arashi (Priest) on Apr 28, 2001 at 19:49 UTC
    It screams alright, very loudly in fact, you just have to want to hear it. At least that's how it was for me.

    When I was a little kid, I was always messing around with computers, mind you I wasn't hacking everything in sight like some kids I knew, I almost wish I had though, I find that those people know a lot more than me right now. As I grew up, I had many different career path's before me, the two most prominant were woodworking and computer programming. Part of me really wanted to go with woodworking, I loved creating things. The other part (guess I have two parts :)) told me that I can create just as much with computers, and I can still use woodworking as a hobby. So I went to college to become a programmer.

    After about a year I was really frustrated with everything, programming classes didn't seem to apply to what I wanted to do with computers. So I asked myself what exactly I wanted to do. What I learned from that was I wanted to use my artistic ability with programming to create things, what I didn't know, the only thing I could think of were games. At this time I was messing around with creating user interfaces for a Worldgroup based BBS (for those of you who haven't heard of Worldgroup, it was a BBS software package that provided both terminal emulation and a Windows client for graphical displays, much like modern webpages, only a lot simpler). I didn't realize I was already working with something that fit what I wanted to do.

    Classed continued...and I was getting more and more frustrated by them.

    My step-father, when I was griping about classes, said that once I get into the real world, I don't have to work on projects like I did in class, that there are so many different things you can do with a programming degree. That was an epiphany for me, I suddenly realized that I already had a job that I really liked (web development for the university) where I could be artistically creative and still code interesting things. And this was all sitting before me, I just wasn't seeing it.

    I guess all I can really say about it is just stop and look around at what you are doing in life. If it doesn't feel right, it's not, don't try to make it right. If you don't know what else to do, explore your other interests, you may have missed something that was sitting right in front of you.


    "I'm sure Edison turned himself a lot of colors before he invented the lightbulb." - H.S.
Re: I'm thankful for my job
by tinman (Curate) on Apr 28, 2001 at 22:29 UTC

    I'm one of those who were probably deaf to the call of computing until very late :o)

    I had absolutely no idea until about 6 years ago, that I wanted to have anything to do with computers... Well, I had lots of other career plans at that time.. I was in pre-med (well, the equivalent of pre-med in my country). and preparing for exams that would take me to med school... well, suddenly, I realized that *this* was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.. not to disparage the medical profession in any way, but I knew that sort of job wasn't for me...

    But at that time, I honestly didn't know what else to do... I loved Chemistry, so maybe that ? well, I wasn't sure.. then, while I was making up my mind, I got this job as an accounts assistant.. until then my only use for computers were to play chess.. I played a lot of chess at that time.. but now I was exposed to more of the computers abilities... ok, it was only spreadsheets and word processing, but I had never really imagined computers as being (*I laugh when I think of this*) quite so useful...

    As would befit a person who only used BBC-BASIC computers to play chess, I had nary a clue as to how to "operate" this thing... it all seemed like voodoo to me..

    In a way, I suppose it was that feeling that I didn't know enough about it that prompted me to save up money from the job, and enroll for a programming course.. (what better way to learn about a computer than programming, eh ? :o) I cast around for a language to learn, and then a friend told me that there was this cute language called C, which was pretty useful to him, so maybe I should learn it..I did, I loved every minute of it, although the first few days were incredibly hard..Once I got over my initial phobia/ignorance of computers, the rest seemed to naturally fall into place for me...

    When I had to make a decision about retaking my exams, I knew what I wanted to do... so I got into a CS/IS degree stream... lots (in fact, almost everyone I knew at the time) told me I was crazy... that there was nothing better than being in med-school, but I knew this was what I wanted to do....

    When I was at university, things seemed to fall into place too... What I was doing didn't seem like "study", because I liked it so much...I still want to be very good at what I do, so the learning has never stopped, but I flatter myself by thinking that I bring a relatively newbie perspective to computing, because I haven't been in it for very long...

    Sometimes though, I actually do wonder... what would I be doing if I hadn't taken that programming course... or if I hadn't enrolled in that degree.. ? I don't know. but I do know I wouldn't swap places with anyone else...

Some are called, some just drop by and stay for life
by TheoPetersen (Priest) on Apr 28, 2001 at 22:06 UTC
    Don't ask me what I want to be when I grow up. I'm only 39 :)

    Early in high school I planned on a military career. When I started college I figured on physics, or chemistry; some respectable science career. Along the way I got paid to program, and became hooked; everything I've done since has included programming, though it wasn't usually my job title.

    I had a moment similar to your fence digging epiphany, while working at a steel mill. Watching the guys climbing around on machines that were rolling bars of red-hot steel made me realize that writing and programming are really good jobs :)

    I've been a programmer for what, 19 years now, but I find it funny that I never considered it my calling. For a long time I wondered if I'd missed my calling (I used to joke that it saw me coming and ran away). I'm not one of those "programming is just a job" types; I program for fun and write about it in my spare time.

    Maybe finding your calling is like finding True Love. When I stopped looking for a relationship, one found me, and now I'm married with two kids. I hope that doesn't mean I've grown up though -- I still don't know what I want to do then :)

    I'm thankful for my job too. It lets me pursue other things, including parenting, the latest, most wonderful challenge and the most satisfying to date. Thanks for posting this reminder.

(redmist) Re: I'm thankful for my job
by redmist (Deacon) on Apr 28, 2001 at 21:08 UTC

    Mine has always creamed in my ear till it bled so much that I had to get a new one. It must be different for everyone though. Ever since sixth grade, I knew that I wanted to be a firefighter/paramedic. I can't really imagine doing anything else, besides programming (but I wouldn't find that very satisfying as a long-term career).

    Silicon Cowboy

      Mine has always creamed in my ear till it bled so much that I had to get a new one.

      Hmm, out of context with this typo is really freudian in a J. Edgar Hoover way

Re: I'm thankful for my job
by BMaximus (Chaplain) on Apr 29, 2001 at 05:04 UTC
    While I was using the post hole digger (for four hours) I had a chance to reflect on my current projects. It was amazing. I had such a clarity of thought on some problems that I need to overcome.

    Sometimes we find problems we need to solve to be the most difficult when were under the gun to produce. Your sitting at your desk, in front of your computer, wondering how your going to solve the problem. The answer is there yet you can't get it out. Its like a word on the tip of your toungue, and your trying hard to get it out.

    Have you ever noticed that the harder you try when your in that position the farther away the answer is from you? You sit there stewing about it thinking that the answer will come to you. But the longer you do it, the more frustraited you get. I believe thats this the equivalent of writers' block. I guess we can call it coder's block. We can't seem to get the answers out. But when we go and do something else. Usualy something physical like working in the yard, going for a walk or (yes some do do this) workout. The answer comes to us and 90% of the time we feel enlightened. The other 10% we slap our foreheads and say "Now why didn't I think of that earlier?!".

    I believe that when you do something physical and your not programing you tend to relax more and let things go. When your relaxed, answers come easier.


    My Medition Today: When do we know that we find our calling? Does it scream at us, or is it silently there all the while?

    I had always been in to computers. Ever since I had my first computer (an Apple 2c). I knew I was good but it wasn't what I wanted to make a career out of. I went to college to be a Veterinarian. It didn't work out so well. Went to electronics next. That was ok, but it wasn't what I wanted. All through that I was building and fixing computers for others. I believe I'm very good at what I do. I like what I do and enjoy "Playing G-d on the computer". But I don't think this is my calling. I more or less gave in to the fact that I could do it and do it well. I believe my calling is something else and that this is just a step to it. I don't believe I know everything there is to know in programing. I'm always learning new things and meeting new people. That's what I enjoy the most about coding.

Re: I'm thankful for my job
by dws (Chancellor) on Apr 29, 2001 at 09:05 UTC
    When do we know that we find our calling? Does it scream at us, or is it silently there all the while?

    For some of us, the calling isn't always a clear beacon, and we have to rely on a process of elimination to clear out the clutter so the calling can be heard.

    Listen to the little voice that says "No, I don't want to go there," or "Yuck, get me out of here!" or "I never want to do that again."

    Listening to the little voice kept me safely away from careers in Sales and Law, where I might now be a wealthy alchoholic. Instead, I discovered Perl. And that made all the difference.

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