I was in your shoes ~15 years ago. My biggest fear was to become a corporate programmer for some bullshit company.
Here's what I did about it:
1. I asked the most attractive & wonderful girl out on a date. Mind you, I am a geeky programmer and nobody's going to mistake me for a sex icon anytime soon. Nevertheless, she was impressed by my boldness and said yes. Now we're married with three kids.
2. I started a company as CEO. It failed. But being CEO stretched me into a new role and I grew immensely.
3. I'm now working on a project that I think has a huge potential for positive impact on the world. I'm not motivated by money or glory this time around, but just want to see if I can grow and pull it off.
I guess to sum it up: know what you want out of life and then be bold and take risks.
> I'm now working on a project that I think has a huge potential for positive impact on the world. I'm not motivated by money or glory this time around, but just want to see if I can grow and pull it off.
As a new-grad, when I read this I cannot help but guess that you've somehow covered yourself for the future by saving for retirement. I can only envision myself not being at least partially motivated by "money or glory" until I can secure future financial stability.
Having kids changed this a lot for me, but I don't of course recommend having kids because 'you are bored'. An alternative would be to go live and work in a different country, especially that isn't too touristy or western. I guess anything that completely uproots your life and takes you out of your comfort zone will do it.
Another thing I do is some side hussle but with more of a structured plan than I have before. This supplies hope that one day I can make an income without needing a job.
I'm not OP, but I can share a story that just happened a few minutes ago that illuminates how having a child helped me see the wonder in daily life.
My daughter is almost three and we live in a Canadian province that's in the midst of a serious cold snap. We got some snow last night. The drive to daycare was slower than usual - roads were extremely slippery and it was an all around ugly commute.
We drive by a performing arts/theatre complex on our way to daycare. The Arts Centre has very bright lights. With a light snow fall and ice crystals in the air, it looked like the light shone up in columns in the sky. Lauren was blown away by it, "See daddy, see daddy!"
I have seen that effect so many hundreds of times in my life that I don't even notice it, but my toddler was absolutely mesmerized by it. There is a lot of wonder in the world and, for me at least, having a little person pointing out all that wonder really helped!
For the love of all that you consider holy, don't have kids because you're bored!
Why would you adjust to something you can't imagine doing for years? That sounds crazy.
Instead, learn what you can, save money, make connections, and then leave. As tech workers you are likely to be in high demand and could switch jobs, go contract, start a company (services or startup). Lots of options.
I worked at a job for a few years in my early 20s, had a quarter life crisis, and left to travel. After a few months I found myself pulled back to technology, and that showed me that while the company I was at wasn't a good fit, the domain was.
Also, the folks you work with in your first job may pop up again and again in your career, so don't burn any bridges when you leave.
This is an existential algorithm that everyone alive has to go through. It seems to me that you're asking about the solutions people who live in joy have found and/or made. It always involves a 'higher purpose'.
Some inherited them, some build them from the bottom of a terrible hole. Nobody alive has been able to create a new one from scratch.
Personally I found my purpose through lots of lectures and research into the ground truth of physical and metaphorical reality that all humans are subject to here on earth. Hint, lots of the solutions I 'discovered' and understood have been well established for millennia, a.k.a. there's no secret. Still, just as an addict has to want to change we have to find that purpose for ourselves.
I sometimes imagine going back to explain to myself as a teenager what I do for a job now. When you were young, what did you want to do? We are still accountable to that person we were. As a teenager, did you want a corporate job and a gym membership? I wanted to be the guy in a massively successful band behind a mountain of synths and sound equipment. In the end I design studio equipment for a living instead and play in bands in the evenings. I can live with myself.
I have children and I am infatuated with helping them grow, learn and become good humans.
I also am at a job with unlimited vacation and took 8 weeks PTO last year. So I make up for the days that are boring with my vacations.
I don't feel the urge to "change the world" and I'm perfectly happy working hard at work on interesting problems, and coming home to my family and just being happy, which is the benefit of being almost 50.
Unlimited vacation is common in Silicon Valley. It's not really unlimited vacation but it's really just a company policy of "work when you need to work, take a break when you need to take a break". Some people are more effective at taking PTO on unlimited vacations than others, however.
Did you have to fight for that time off? Or did you just ask? Did you get any grief in the office for taking so much time off?
I am interested because on the one hand there is policy, and on the other there is social reality. I imagine it takes some effort to make an unlimited vacation policy work in a team where some people might begrudge other people having time off.
Nope. My team is very chill. No one keeps track, I don't even fill out anything and my boss is very supportive. As long as I'm doing the work I'm supposed to and I'm performing at a high level, no one cares in my team.
As a preliminarily step, work less, so you have the time to think about what you actually want to do. "8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for what we will" is a good slogan, though these days it should really be less than 8 hours for work.
How about trying running, mountaineering or just being outdoors? If you like it, you can dedicate some of your time to such activities.
Exercising over longer period of time keeps your mind and body busy and in a shape and reduces stress level.
And you find a lot of like minded people in all age groups and can make friends with them.
You'll make decisions. They will have consequences. For good or ill they will change your life forever.
No, but, seriously, I'm scarcely older so I distinctly remember what it's like to be young and watch stuff feel permanent for the first time. Having a job, a house, no immediate plans to leave your city, whatever. You wonder if that's all there is and if it's not why whatever else can't come any faster. You realize you've got mostly what you wanted and everything else you could want seems small or like someone's already done it. And you watch the days stretch and all alike.
So my prescription is:
* Wake up in the middle of the night (or stay up till the middle of the night, but sober). Go outside. Observe that your immediate world isn't, in fact, only what you usually see of it.
* Make older friends, they'll tell you you're full of it.
* Make younger friends, they'll think your boring old man life is the epitome of freedom.
I agree with cycling. The weather conditions, traffic and even the route can be different each time you get on the bike. Heck, getting a flat tire breaks up the monotony really well (also gets me using creative words in the process of getting the tire on and off).
With respect to the route: I absolutely love turning down a road I've always wondered "where does that one go?" I've found some of my favorite "go-to" rides from that. It's such a blast. I feel bad for anyone that doesn't know the joy of road cycling.
Cycling and playing guitar feel like meditation to me. All my usual background thought noise drifts away and I can either just focus on my activity, or enjoy not thinking at all and meander around almost unconsciously for a while. I love them both so much.
This gives purpose to my life. In some sense, having kids is pretty much the meaning of life. Live would be pretty pointless without the kids. People are meant to have kids, and you can conclude this from your choice of evolution or creation. There is an instinct to be satisfied.
I'm only sort of in the tech industry, so maybe that helps. Government contracting rules put a limit on some kinds of insanity. The stuff that goes on in the game industry would never fly. Actually, I have it better than that minimum. My normal work week is 40 hours, and I get paid if I work more. I get more vacation (due to seniority) and flex time, letting me spend more time with the kids.
So I spend the morning with kids, walk or drive to work depending on weather, do stuff to support my country, come home, skip the gym, spend more time with kids, and repeat for 40+ years until retirement.
There is never a perfect time to start having kids, so you won't have any if you wait for that. Just get on it. I got started before I graduated from college.
When your young, you have more time and more possibility to take risks. Travel and learn as much as you can about the world. Once you have a family, your perspective changes, so the opportunities you have available change.
If your out of ideas on what to do, try the dreamline activity from the 4 Hour Work week
or even consider reading How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis.
1) Take a random stroke from a pen and use that as starting point for making something interesting on a piece of paper. Sounds silly but it is fun and I have had a couple of people ask for them when I was done.
2) Go to a second hand store that sells a variety of things. Look all over the store and see if there is an item that screams to come home with you (if you want to make it harder take something with you to donate/sell before going). You never know what you are going to find and you'll have a story to go with it.
Sounds creative but if you are bad at drawing is over all useles
Edit: sorry to hurt your ego, but everyone's way of dealing the empty hole is so invested into it(like religiously) and if you insult their way or propose better you are shattering their ego sometimes
Are you talking about not having free time or not knowing what to do with your free time ? These two are very different issues.
For the latter, it's mind blowing to ask this question in this day and age. There are so many interesting things to try out and do today, you could last 10 life times and not run out.
For example, I love video games. There are endless number of amazing games on PC and console. And enough variety to never really end. You could try that. Sometimes I get FOMO thinking about all the amazing games I will never be able to play due to lack of time. There is a game for every person type and it always keeps life exciting.
You could learn a zillion skills or engage in creative pursuits. Music, rubik cube, programming projects, start a reddit community or participate in one. You catch my drift.
I love working on things that get me excited. If the work is interesting it creates an upward spiral of momentum. Any way you could try different projects or teams until you find that spark? Sorry it’s monotonous now!
I don't get this attitude at all... Find a business domain that excites you, find a company in that domain whose culture suits you, work hard to build skills that help you do your job well and give you personal satisfaction, and then look for opportunities to expand your role and increase the impact you have at work. Then your job won't feel like work...
If the job you currently do can't deliver this, then find something else.
(Plus, of course, what everyone else says about finding a satisfying family life, hobbies, work-life balance, etc)
- Consider working towards an early retirement. There are lot of resources on the internet and you can see if any of them "clicks" for you.
- If you find that for extended periods of time, you have a persistent feeling of "everything is meaningless" and you fail to find joy or meaning in any activity, please see if talking to a counsellor/therapist could help you.
Indeed, this is why I also mentioned the second point. Sometimes, it's a matter of feeling trapped and getting out of it - which is not far off for someone being well paid but living well within their means. The goal can give someone a strong drive. At other times, it's a matter of finding what really is bothering someone deep within their soul. Something entirely unrelated could manifest outwardly as boredom. So, in those cases, seeking to find this, then facing it could help one find a way to accept things or perhaps find a new drive towards an entirely different goal.
Well, living somewhere that gives me 33 days elective holiday and doesn’t try to ration out sick leave helps. But I honestly just enjoy my job. I think relating it to actual people and working at scale gives you the power to think about the direct effect your code is having on people’s lives.
I spent my mid/later 20s becoming increasingly disgusted & sick of commercial software work, quit a job & ended a relationship, spent a few months somewhat depressed, doing very little, visiting family and friends.
At some point I read a lot about climate change -- not sure if I recommend doing this, but it certainly helps to put things in perspective. What will the world be like in 30 years? What do you want to be doing then?
I found in my late 20s I started to take a much longer term perspective on things. I've re-thought my relationship with work: previously work was kind of a thing i did by default, without really thinking why. Now it's something I do to generate money to invest toward things on a 5-10-20+ year time horizon. Maybe I need to grind away at work for 5 years. So what? Not that long. I did contract work for a couple of years and got a large pay rise out of it, which has stuck in subsequent permanent jobs. Work can still be a grind but it pays more than enough and I largely firewall work away from the rest of my life. If you start trying to save money when you haven't really focused on that before, that in itself can become a bit of a game. What's a good "move" to make? Move house to somewhere cheaper. Ride a bike instead of taking the train. Learn to repair your bike when it breaks. Prepare your lunch instead of buying it. Don't spend money on travel. Don't buy things, borrow library books. Don't pay for the gym, go for a run. Don't pay for a new thing, learn how to fix the old thing.
Some of my colleagues who are in their 40s just work part time, either so they can spend more time with family, or just because a couple of days work a week provides them with enough money, and they're far more motivated by having more free time.
Anyway, enough rambling from me. I'm also reminded of an essay I read a while back:
> My dad went through a period of removal when he
> was my age and working as a technician in the
> Bay Area. He got fed up with his job, and figured
> he had enough saved up to quit and live extremely
> cheaply for a while. That ended up being two years.
> I recently asked him how he spent that time, and
> his answer was that he read a lot, rode his bike,
> studied math and electronics, went fishing, had
> long chats with his friend and roommate, and sat
> in the hills, where he taught himself the flute.
> After a while, he says, he realized that a lot of
> his anger about his job and outside circumstances
> had more to do with him than he realized. As he
> put it, “it’s just you with yourself and your own
> crap, so you have to deal with it.” But that time
> also taught my dad about creativity, and the state
> of openness, nothing, maybe even boredom, that it
From Jenny Odell's "how to do nothing". It's worth reading the whole thing.
Hmmm, be careful, because this advice doesn't apply everywhere.
We hire old people. I know we have some past 60, and at least one is about 70. Somebody who decided to "change jobs and tech stack as much as possible" would be not so desirable however, because getting somebody settled in and up to speed will often take roughly a year.