It was clear that the work was impossible, but the committee wouldn't budge on the fact that I had to finish it. I was working around the clock and then laying in bed for a few hours worrying before working some more, and I absolutely couldn't take it anymore.
I decided the only solution was to drop out, which meant the postdoc would rescind my offer, and I'd have to break the new lease, cancel the move, etc. I went into the admin office to let them know I was simply not coming into the lab anymore and they could do whatever they wanted to do about it.
Suddenly the "must do" list evaporated and they said I could just write up my work and graduate. So I did, and I got the phd and went off to the postdoc and it all turned out fine-- it turns out all I needed to do was decide to throw my life away and really mean it, in order to call their bluff.
I think the experience gave me a better sense of when I'm approaching the burnout zone, so that I can better avoid it. I've also never experienced anything even close to this in a work environment -- if my job was like that, I'd quit in a hot second and go work somewhere not-awful. It was only the fact that they were holding the degree hostage that caused me to feel forced to overwork myself into an unhealthy state.
The CEO of the startup I'd just blown-off a job at (showed up the first week, "worked at home" for another couple of weeks, then stopped showing up entirely) drove over and knocked on my door to find out what was going on. Drunk off my ass, I told him, and that I'd get some help. So I made That Call and got some help. Did about three weeks of inpatient care (Stanford recovery unit, and then a place in the Santa Cruz mountains), then moved into a halfway house and spent a lot of time in AA meetings [AA is controversial, I know]. Never spent another night in that townhouse, wound up selling it. That CEO hired me back as a consultant a few months after I got out of inpatient.
I've got 18 years sober now, much of which I've spent working on software at great companies on products you've almost certainly heard of and probably used. Married, with a teen-age son, and doing better financially than I ever would have imagined. Still going to AA meetings, though nowhere near as often as I probably should.
I find it especially difficult to deal with the mismatch between my sense of what I can do, which is calibrated to my former self, and what I can actually deliver. I desperately need to believe that what I am going through is a temporary perturbation, so I keep trying to "shake it off", and I make plans and commitments from a sense of self that is still stubbornly calibrated to who I was then and not what I am today. As the months turn into years, that sense of competence seems increasingly fantastical and dubious. Was I ever good at my job? Did I suck then, too, and just fail to realize it?
These doubts are compounded by the fact that I have changed employers and change teams multiple times so no one I work with now is acquainted with that former self. But he really did exist, at one point. I swear he did. At least I think he did.
> When you are playing really well ... you cant even imagine playing badly. And when you are playing badly, you cant even remember what it felt like to play well.
(Tiger Woods: How Low Can He Go http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/tiger-woods-how-l...)
I was burned out, not only from the work, but from spending my entire life following orders - from school to the workplace. So I quit my job after 5 months despite the fact that that's considered sacrilege, with maybe $13k in my bank account.
I spent the next 3 months pursuing nothing but my hobby at the time (music production). The first month was possibly the best month of my entire life. It was the first time I truly felt free - no homework, no stress of finding a job, no having to be in an office from 9:30-5:30 M-F.
Then I ran out of money, so I had to start applying for jobs again. Ended up getting a much better job (both pay-wise and quality-wise), so it worked out.
But I continue working because I'm saving a lot of money every month. Currently have almost $100k in the bank. After this job, I'm going to take at least a good year off to do what I want to do, not what the labor markets force me to. I have a lot of passion in certain areas that I'm not able to devote full attention to due to work. I want to have a much greater positive impact on the world than being some menial code monkey working on proprietary software or a corporate Kool-Aid drinking cock sucker.
I've realized that I will never be happy in a traditional job. Being subservient and following orders is not in my nature.
The results till that day were modest at best, and that's because stabilizing the transition state is only part of what a real enzyme should do, and even though the professors are supposed to teach you this in your biochem/chemical biology deep-dive courses in grad school YMMV, and it's easy to sell a starry eyed grad student, especially when the prof doesn't know any better, too.
Anyways my buddy's project was even worse - he was supposed to make a protease (an enzyme that degrages proteins). And if you look at proteases, their clefts wrap around the protein even more than an antibody ever could (they have shallow clefts), because burying the reaction away from water is a critical aspect of their function.
He spent three years working in a lab that demanded 80+ hour workweeks. Towards the end his sleep cycle had flipped, he was playing around making geometric designs with his pipet tips, and spending much of his workday playing a flash website gameboy tetris, and many days going to the casino to play poker instead of work.
finally his boss modified his project, instructing him to graft a metalloprotease domain, onto the antibody in an attempt to get it working. A breath of fresh air! Suddenly he was invigorated with a new approach to the project. But not long after that, he was back to the old routine of being burned out, and totally unproductive, spending hours on trivialities, like trying to strip metals from his water supply to really get it right and get it working. In the end, it never worked.
It turned out that the metalloprotease domain was designed by Homme Hellinga. Years after this, the scientific community discovered that Homme Hellinga was faking his enzyme design work.
I think your choice of words "spectacular" & "crawl back to reality" shows that our society is still not ready to fully accept mental diseases. This is not personal but why would you think they have to crawl back to reality? I don't think they ever left.
When I woke up one morning, everything seemed really blurred. I could not precisely get where I was in the room and, when I tried to talk to my parents, they seemed really far away. I was also deeply tired and just wanted to sleep.
After 2 scary days like this, we went to a neurologist. He looked at me and asked my parents to leave the room. Looking at me, he told me: "I know you take hard drugs. Tell me anything about it so I can help you". I have never taken any drug. When he realized this, he did a lot of tests but found nothing. He just asked me to rest.
After 2 long weeks, I slowly got better and finally fully recovered. The neurologist told us it was probably some kind of burnout. It happened 2 other times few years after but it was less intense and I am now able to feel more precisely when I work too hard or sleep too little and that there are some risks.
Lost major supplier responsible for about 1/2 our gross profit at about the same time our broad market entered recession, two key employees were mired in divorce proceedings, and another key employee left to fight CNS lymphoma. Three years and about three soul crushing false recoveries later we emerged with a lot of work ahead to rebuild and reduce debt.
The advice... expect nothing. Don't let the highs carry you or the lows crush you. Recognize circumstances outside your control and shut the door on them when it comes to your opinion of yourself. Earthquakes rock the brilliant and dullards al the same and sometimes having survived the experience is accomplishment enough.
I continued this habit working long hours once I started my full time job espeixally because I was depressed after breaking up with my then-gf. I would committ 80-100 hours per week. I am talking about 9-9 or longer and on the weekend 9-5 or whenever I get tired. If major outage, I would be up all night. I would drop my dinner and solve whatever issues came up. I would skip lunch to get my code deployed or whatever. I would have 9-5 meetings and then continued my work afterward. I pretty much did everything I can before my offshore team takes over. I would just write an email and tell them I got most of the problems taken care of, just monitor the issues.
Relationship with coworkers and managment, and with my gf all added up.
This went on for about 6-7 years since college.
I am 26 now.
Then I attempted suicide, twice, this year. The second time, a number of HNer might remember, I posted here my goodbye. I still haven't had the chance to thank the dozens of people who sent me emails.
I am doing much better, although I can never work that many hours now , and I also will never do much coding after work unless I really feel like doing so. If I go back to work, I expect myself work 9-5 and only overtime if I have to.
Then when burnout struck me hard, I realized that I just don't want to open my laptop anymore. Also, even side project started to feel like a burden to me.
Then I decided, enough is enough and I need to do some changes to my life.
- I did join a gym near my house.
- I stopped coding in evenings. I would wake up early and code for 2-3 hours in morning and be content with whatever I achieve during that time.
- Evening hours after office would be only for gym, relaxing, having dinner and watching TV.
Believe me, it was the best decision I did for myself. My health both mental and physical improved drastically and I started loving coding again.
The worst one... I was producing music and sound with a friend for a prime time TV show. We were supposed to start working on the music in February to air the show in October.
The project suffered from many production problems. The executive producer was the son of a billionaire who owns one of the biggest TV networks in Latin America and had never done this before. One of the directors was a junkie and a drunk. Money ran out. Actors were not showing up to the stage. It got ugly.
Eventually we started working on the music and FX in September, weeks before airing. We were 2 guys in charge of producing episodes of 45 minutes. Music, FX, dialog cutting, etc, at the rate of 2 episodes per week. I slept less than 20 hours per week and drank 5+ red bulls every day. I don't know how I didn't end up in a hospital.
Even worse, the mastering engineer destroyed our already bad job. We didn't know about that because we never had time to watch the show on TV and listen to the final audio that was being aired.
This went on for about 2 months until someone figured out the show was crap and they started cutting heads. We were fired, and they never payed us about 50% of the work.
I thought making music for an important TV show would be the best thing in my life, but it killed my musical soul.
The way I see it, this kind of tiredness can't be met by a good night's sleep. It's a tiredness of the soul.
Sadly, what I have found is that to cope with the tiredness, boredom, stress and loneliness of my 'successful' life, I have turned time and time again to pornography. My use has spiralled and includes really quite violent, and in some cases illegal, stuff. And I have hated myself for it. I don't even enjoy it.
The problem is that the porn addiction itself exacerbated and accelerated the burnout process, and further isolated me.
Now I have decided to take some time out, with friends and well away from any internet connection, to break the cycle and re-sensitize myself. I need to breathe and feel my body again and feel connected to life and other people. In a few days I will be away from the Internet in a beautiful place in nature with good, supportive people to be with me.
And for the first time, I intend to be open and share this struggle and let them know really how dark it has gotten in here.
Lessons learned: 1) money does not make you happy. If you don't know how to be happy with little, you won't be happier when you have a lot. 2) job and career is not everything. Healthy work-life balance means a lot.
.. Actually kinda hard to put all the thoughts, feelings and experiences of turbulent 7 years in only some sentences.
Last July I ran a migration (SaaS CRM company) that should have taken 3-4 weeks with 1 week of downtime, but the client insisted on 1 week with 4 days of downtime. It was the first major migration moving this platform out of beta and I loved that product (and that client) more than anything, so I said fine.
I made it super clear to my boss that this was going to fucked up and this was a bad idea, but I was down to try. Long story short I work 20+ hours a day for 7 days (heavily helped by, in retrospect, pretty dangerous amounts of adderall/provigil/Ritalin/caffeine/ambien for when I actually did need to sleep) and we got it down.
During the last day of QA I clasped in my office from exhaustion and went temporarily blind, ended up in the ER. That didn't matter though because the migration was a resounding success - client was happy, executives were happy, product was stable.
My boss was incredible (truly the best boss I'll ever have) and was ready to give me anything I wanted... except a budget for more staff, which was really the issue here. This product was my baby and I was going to ensure its success no matter what happened.
Put in my notice three weeks later. They told me to name my price and title bump to stay, but weren't willing to let me hire the two or three staff I knew I needed. I offered to stay as long as they needed to help with the transition but turned down all their bonuses because I didn't want to be beholden to them.
I finally left 6 months later to make slightly less money with a slightly higher title at a company that gave me the team I knew I needed. I still miss that company more than anything, getting to see a mission criticalcproduct go from idea to being used by massive multinational companies was incredible and an experience I doubt I'll ever have again.
FWIW I'm still in touch with people from my old team and the company has since hired three more staff (plus the two existing staff the team already had) and a VP to manage the team. By not giving me to staff support I asked for and letting me burn out the company has "lost" somewhere around $800k in new staff costs alone.
Took the decision to start from a blank canvas around last September, and up until February I only recall having several days off (Christmas, NYE etc). Worked in the day, the evenings and weekends. Impending sense of doom only seemed to subside when I made progress - this feedback loop kept me hooked and driving forwards.
Launched the site (https://www.construct.net) a couple of months later, but it burnt me out. Had to take a fairly significant amount of time off to switch off. I was waking up in the night with a horrible twisting in my chest and random bursts of adrenaline. Not healthy!
The site has been up and running and selling now for months really well, so I am proud and relieved.
* Learnt how to make a scalable site
* Re-writes are always significantly better written
* Learnt a LOT
* My health!
Also, you can't retrofit scalability which is a lesson I learnt the hard way. Seems obvious but I had a years work at stake so had to give it a try and having the guts to scrap everything and start again was incredibly painful but has worked out well long term. Feels very comparable to learning to backup.
When I look back at those several months - I honestly remember very little of it. As our startup has grown we've also learnt than I'm now becoming a significant bottleneck as my bandwidth isn't unlimited and it's a huge relief that we're now taking steps to address this.
I'm also not someone who can easily ask for help and leave it until it's too much to handle. This was a big contributing factor.
Not a "spectacular" burn out story but I teetered very close on the edge of something quite negative - I'm not exactly sure what but I'm glad I avoided it.
The first few months were hell, but I read up on CBT, stoicism, meditation, habits and personal health and slowly, with a lot of work my mental state started to improve. There were a lot of weeks were it felt like I was regressing but I kept practicing healthy self-talk and eventually got through the rough spots. Being out of work, I worked on side projects to keep my skills sharp and learn new things whenever I was feeling good enough.
It's been a year now, and I've never been happier. After maybe 9 months I was feeling strong enough to "re-enter society," so I started applying for jobs. Nothing's materialized yet but I'm confident I'll get back on own feet sooner or later. Regardless of the current job-hunt stress, I think it was unequivocally worth it to straighten out.
The books that helped me most:
Late last year while my business hours were at a low ebb, I was asked if I could pitch in for six months as lead developer on a government web portal. I'd taken a similar contract two years before when my own business was ramping up, and not found it too taxing to meet the needs of my own clients on evenings and weekends. I didn't factor in two things: I now had twice as many clients, and a cynical dynamic called "Murphy's Law".
Almost as soon as I signed the government contract, clients began requesting (different) extensions to the framework. Without the contract I would have been at full capacity. I found myself starting work for my own clients at 4.00am every morning, then heading off to lead the web portal development team, then putting in more hours for my own clients at the end of the day ... plus weekends. This state of affairs continued with very little respite for the entire six months.
Knowing normal life will resume at a fixed future point is often enough to get through something like this. But my health suffered increasingly as time passed. In the last few weeks I was very sick indeed. I was asked to renew the government contract for a further six months but had the sense to turn that offer down. Two days after the contract finished I had to be admitted to hospital. I was seriously ill, and it has taken two months to get back to the level of health I usually enjoy.
Yes, I was foolish to accept that contract. I have learnt a lesson I won't forget.
My burnout is continuing into year four. Working at a big name company for a year now and haven't written a single line of code. I feel so apart from the team I'm on. Still have periods where I can't think, but now nobody notices when I don't come in, sometimes for weeks at a time. The big salary doesn't count for much when loan payments and city rent take the majority. Haven't seen my family in three years, missed both my grandparents' funerals.
I still think it was the right decision to leave the Midwest, but I wish it didn't take so much sacrifice.
Here's a picture of it, written GNU pic (I say GNU because I got James to put in a construct called the `i'th so you could do for loops. So the picture is adjustable, I can change the cpus variable and it will draw the picture with the new number of cpus. That's GNU pic unique.)
It was a big failure. For lots of reasons. Scott (ceo) insisted that it ship with Solaris rather than SunOS, nobody wanted Solaris (somewhere I have a tape of me presenting it at the Moscone center and someone was beating me up about the Solaris issue, I finally lost it and said "I know, I hate Solaris too, I was forced into it". My boss said "find all copies of that tape and destroy them". Yeah Solaris).
Sun was focussed on SMP machines, they thought that would solve all the world's problems, clusters just couldn't do it. Which completely missed the point. Sunbox shipped with SMP machines in the rack, I think 4 processors sparcstation 10's.
I pushed it along through sheer will power. It was like a little dude pushing on an oil tanker, I actually pushed Sun a degree or two off their stated path. But there was a ton of "Larry is trying to kill SMP" fud.
But it was too much. I burned out and my boss, Ken Okin (fantastic dude for many reasons), said "Go home, I'll call you when I need you". When I say "too much" I mean it. I was either in, or about to be in, a nervous breakdown and Ken saw that. I came back in after about 3 months and Ken took one look at me and said "I said I'd call you, go home!". Just to be clear, Sun was paying me to stay home.
So I did, for almost a year. My job became playing pool, but that's a story for another day (and probably boring to this crowd).
I did see my product manager years later, up in Tahoe skiing. He came over, bought a beer, and said "I guess you were right about that cluster thing". This was after google did 10,000 machine clusters that worked really really well, way better than any single SMP machine hope to do. Kudos to him for admitting it even if it was obvious.
I've picked up every hitchhiker I could since 2008, during the housing market crash. That was the year I saw a very clean looking man with a dog hitchhiking out of town. Being young and dumb, I picked him up. He was a construction worker, and told me the story of how he'd lost everything during the crash. He'd just sold his truck and was trying to make it to Spokane, where he'd heard there was still some commercial work going on. It took him two days to hitchhike from Seattle to Yakima; that's normally a two hour drive. That hit home. My entire extended family had lost their construction business during the crash. I've been picking people up ever since.
So I pulled over on the side of the highway just outside of Omak and offered a ride.
We start with some small talk. He's looking for work picking fruit and was striking out in Omak, so he figured he'd move along further south. I tell him I'm headed through Wenatchee, which about that time was ramping up for the cherry season. He'd never heard of Wenatchee, but it sounds agreeable to him. I thought that a little odd, but then he starts asking me what I was doing up in Omak.
I tell him about the router I was trying to install. He asks what brand it is (Cisco). He starts asking more questions about what was wrong. We're about 10 minutes in to troubleshooting the problem verbally when I realize he knows way more about networking than I do. Finally I point blank ask him why the hell he's picking fruit.
Turns out he had been working in LA as a Linux admin. He was also working on a side project, basically Pinterest for outfits, when his girlfriend took exception to the time he was spending on the project. He didn't go in to great detail, but it became pretty clear to me he had seriously, dramatically, burnt out, and the girlfriend was just a trigger.
He decided to forget everything and take a bus north to do some manual work for a while. He was still sending money back to her to make the car payments. This guy had abandoned everything, traveled to the middle of nowhere, slept in bushes, and done manual labor in the sun all because he was sick of life as he'd been living it.
I tried offering him a laptop. He wouldn't take it. He didn't want it. Said what he needed was a bicycle. As we crested a hill in to the Wenatchee valley, he became quite excited about the size of the town and the number of orchards he could see in the distance. I dropped him off soon after. I'm pretty sure I saw him riding a bicycle in downtown Wenatchee some time later.
This event still fucks with me years later. It could just as easily become my story, or your story. Mental health is fragile. Take burnout seriously.
After 6 months, I was more or less better again, but picked up some minor bad habits I still haven't really kicked. Quitting PhD was the best thing I ever did for myself.
I was working at a consulting agency as a linux sysadmin pulling crazy hours for two years. I ran support for a client that had an app that in house devs had 'modified' and a mission critical file transfer service. I was on a team of two with 24/7 on call support. Thing was, no one ever called the other guy so I was always the one getting 5am phone calls on Saturday mornings. Weekly late night (8pm - 3am) deployments were common and considered successful in the eyes of the company.
After about a year of this my lifelong struggle with depression started to reemerge. Feelings of loneliness and doubt began to crop up and I would cry uncontrollably on my commute back home from work. It was around this time that the daily suicidal thoughts took a turn for the worse. It was all I could think about, every minute of the day.
One day I was chatting with a co-worker and my boss when they complimented me on some recent weight loss. I was in a mood that day and told them the truth: I was having trouble eating. I wasn't eating breakfast or lunch and most nights would trade dinner for whiskey. After my weight loss was noticed, I decided to hide the fact I couldn't eat by telling everyone I was on a new diet. Side note: I had gained a considerable amount of weight over the time I spent at that company. I recently celebrated my 100 lbs weight loss.
I continued to lose weight, though not entirely by choice. The suicidal thoughts were deafening, blocking out any hope or joy in my life. I had become my job and saw no way out.
Eventually the client I was working for no longer needed my services and I was removed from the contract. I tried to celebrate but was so numb inside I didn't feel any happiness at all. I took a week off but still had the same feelings of dread and depression. I did a lot of reading on burnout and realized I was on that slippery slope.
After returning from my sole week off, I was placed 'on the bench'. For those who have never worked at a consultating agency, this means you still get a paycheck but have no work to do. It also means you are in a constant state of fear for your job until the agency finds you a new billable position. That didn't help much to lighten my mood.
I made the switch from sysadmin to webdev during this 'bench' period. I was able to secure a position as an internal React.js dev and for a few weeks started to climb out of burnout. I thought I could start being happy again with my new role but my company had different plans for me.
As I was still 'on the bench' and not billable, the company decided to move me to a new contract doing dev work for M$ sharepoint. The project was in shambles, had no tech lead, and the only other dev had decided to format the site with tables (!) as he didn't know any other way. I expressed how displeased I was but my complaint fell on deaf ears. I decided I couldn't take it anymore.
After convincing the manager to make me 'lead sharepoint dev', I put my two weeks in. I had setup a job at a boat rental I had worked at in summers past. I now work the same hours but get paid for every hour, which is great.
I took a full month off after my two weeks. Spent the time laying around the house and playing video games. One of the best months of my life. I thought a lot about where I had been and where I was headed. I started hanging out with friends & family again and realized I was on the right track.
I can now saw I've never felt better in my life. I lost a bunch of weight, met a girl, and genuinely enjoy every hour of every day. The choking thoughts of dread and suicide are gone, replaced by the joy and happiness I thought I would never have again. I recently started my own consulting company and have vowed to never let myself dip back into burnout again. Every day is a new journey; you just have to find a way to make it work while not wanting to die every day.
My advice is to recognize the signs of burnout early. It is far too easy to attempt to 'push through' and stress yourself out more. Many companies are willing to sacrifice your well being only to turn around and ask for more. Dont be afraid to run far, far away from any place that prioritizes their bottom line over your mental health.
apologize for formatting, wrote this on mobile.
So, it all started last year. My mother who has been suffering from lung cancer for three years was doing pretty well - given the condition she has to deal with.
Then, all of the sudden, my brother has died in an accident. My mom took that with the pain I guess only a mother can feel, but to my surprise she was braver than I thought.
I, however, pushed all the pain away and started to work as hell. Within weeks I took new responsibilities at work place, travelled a lot and to make things even worse, fell in love with a co-worker of mine. This ruined my years lasting relationship, but at that moment, I thought, it was worth it.
Turned out, it was not. My new relationship became a nightmare. Passive aggression all over, paired with depression, illegit accusations and stark disputes all over. Of course, all of this happened only when we were alone.
I have always been a very "stable" person, but at this time, I began asking myself what am I doing here. My mother is about to die, my brother had passed away, I left my girlfriend, who was my partner and my best friend for years for a girl who is so full of negativity. And the few moments I have for myself, I am doing hard work.
It was too much for me. I collapsed and could not do anything. Thanks to a good friend of mine, who brought me to the hospital. I went to a private clinic specialised on trauma and depression in a very nice area.
I had sports, psychological sessions, creativity and relaxation all over the day for a while.
I came back stronger than ever before. For me, key was to really enjoy every single moment. "Love it, leave it or change it", has become my slogan more than ever. Contrary to my situation before, I just applied it also to the very small parts of life. And, my focus changed from "leave it" to "change it". I am thankful for what I have, even if this is something I currently struggle with. But when I am really thankful from the deepest of my heart, I find the strength to change it. I started giving a fuck what people I don't care about think about me and instead started to reveal true feelings to the people I really want to have in my life.I learnt to say "no". I have never been overloaded with work from mean co-workers or managers who just piled their shit on my table. It was more I actively searched for work that somehow sounded "interesting" or a meaningful CV bullet point. I have been the mean manager of myself. I stopped that. Saying no to a thing that just sounds "pretty cool", but is actually not meaningful in my life, is the best lesson I ever got taught.
And, best of all: I quitted my job and just agreed to to stuff for the company as contractor until they find another person to work on it. I joined the company of a good friend of mine, which is outside the tech world, doing half of the hours I used to do and get the same amount of money. And the best thing, I can now learn and play with technology with no pressure which makes me more productive. And with that knowledge I feel I can help my friend surviving with his non-tech company in the storm of digitalization.
What happened : A disastrous startup failure. While the people I worked with were nice, everything we did failed so completely and utterly, that I lost my mind. Part of it was a seriously underperforming founder, partly just really bad situations. We could not achieve even 10% of any of our goals. Everything was a miserable failure, we were living together in an apartment and since the other founders left after the failure, I lost my home too and had to go crawling back to my parents' place to recover mentally. I had no desire or strength to do anything at the time.
The worst part was, that it was a decent idea that has already worked in some markets and I saw myself as the ideal customer. Our team, on paper, was strong and had diverse skillsets. I had put all of my hopes into making this a win.
Now, I am left with no idea of what to do next, and still no motivation to do anything either. The only thing I always wanted to do, is a door that is permanently closed now (due to age. I'm young, but that path closes at 25. I didn't pursue it because I used to be a dumb kid who wasn't mature enough to make hard decisions early on in his life).
My GRE score expires next year, so I am considering a higher degree and a move to the US or Canada. Maybe even a Phd, since I did some research work in college and liked doing it. But I am terrified of a big commitment now.
The quality of startups in my country is really low, and while I have interviewed with a few, nothing stuck out.
A few good, big companies are there, where I SHOULD apply, but haven't. I have failed in everything I have done, even prior to my startup. Nothing has worked, and nothing has amounted to anything. So why even attempt right?
Advice to others : Do what you REALLY want to do, and stick to the most proven/established way of accomplishing it. Startups should be attempted ONLY if there's no other way at all of doing what you love. That precludes 99.999% of the cases.
I loved my job, programming and developing software was what I always wanted to do, and had been very successful doing it for years. My company was shooting for new areas, with underwhelming results so far, but trying nevertheless.
Then, at one point, my personal life took a serious blow, one that relatively quickly destroyed my relationship with my spouse, but without the ability to separate or divorce. Social and family-at-large life, which had never been intense but was always satisfying, vanished. During that time, my company's situation simultaneously degraded in quality of projects, budgets and general outlook, and my job increased in scope with a lot less hands on programming, less resources, more management, more teams and more firefighting (human and technical). Like in the personal side, I was professionally stuck without the ability to make drastic changes.
After a few months of this, with increasingly frequent episodes of stress and anxiety, I ran out of steam and blew up completely. I took a leave under medical supervision, doing therapy and working on coming to terms with all the various aspects of what I was dealing with. Despite the newly available time to do whatever I wanted (within reason), I couldn't do anything at all. My mind ached to do some coding for its own sake, but it took a long time before my body could again be able to keep focus on anything for more than a few minutes.
Time has passed. Therapy helped, coming to terms has continued to advance at a very slow pace but is still very far from complete. My focus came back, and I went back to work in pretty much the same circumstances, professional and personal, that I was before the blowup. Part of the anxiety turned into desire to overcome challenges, another part remained (and still does) as energy-draining anxiety.
I wake up every day knowing that I'm not over it. I remind myself that me and everyone around me wants, and to various degrees needs, me to go on. I hope that things work out, and it is quite possible that they will, although it is impossible to predict how, when or to what extent. I have learned to allow myself some room to, in the bad days, not be the nice and strong person I want to be, and instead let weakness take over while I try to rest. One weak day something bad may happen. Many days trying to stay strong may lead me down the hole again, hard. I just try not to think of, or control, the future much anymore.
Last job. Unremarkable but comfortable corporate job in web/backend development. Longest stint I had done in my life, at least going back to elementary school. Been there over 5 years. Got promoted to senior. My boss got bumped up a step and another developer on the team got promoted to his role as my new boss. Long story short, my new boss had it out for me. I started to get reports from fellow team members that my boss was dumping on me to others.
I ignored it until the annual review came up. After years of positive reviews, I got a minimally acceptable review. I challenged it and a couple weeks later I was slapped with a PIP. The allegations in the PIP were complete nonsense. (In one instance, they actually cited a bug I had fixed at the documented request of the project manager on one of our major applications as evidence I had been working on unassigned tasks.) This is when the burnout started.
I talked to a few people whose knowledge and advice I trusted on the subject and they said basically the same thing, "This is a battle you can't win. Get out as soon as you can." I heeded their advice. I put my head down and continued to do my job (more carefully and scrupulously than I ever had) and started looking for a new job. I don't regret this. Actually, I had already been actively looking by this time. But I started broadening my standard. There is one other thing I wish I had done at this point. (Spoiler: this is when I should have talked to a lawyer.)
As I had come to expect being a regular HN reader: finding a new job as a senior developer of a certain age nowadays can be tough. Especially when you're outside a major tech hub and not able to easily relocate. After six month and a couple frustratingly close calls, I still didn't have a new job. Six month review comes around. New PIP. New bogus allegations. I was fuming. This is when my burnout peaked. It was affecting my sleep and I developed a weird hives-like rash on my the back of my legs.
I was ready to quit but a friend recommended talking to an employment lawyer she knew. So I scheduled a consultation. I wanted to know if I could sue for defamation or something like that since the claims management was making about my performance were completely unfounded and I could cite documentation, code, and project management records to demonstrate it. He told me to get real. If I couldn't demonstrate flagrant discriminate on the basis of a protected class (race, sex, or age), I was wasting his time and my money. My company could fire me at will and the only reason they were keeping me around was to "paper my file" so they could quash anything as silly as I what I was dreaming up.
However, he also advised me not to quit my job. That's just what my boss and HR were hoping I would do. He said unless they fired me "with cause", for which poor performance does not qualify, I should stick it out. That way I wouldn't give up my claims for unemployment or COBRA. He said they might even offer my a minimal severance when they let me go. So I resolved to stick around until they fired me. I also started to push back against my manager's harassment. I tried to be polite but firm. But I started openly using the term harassment in talking with him.
Once HR got wind that I had used that term, they were involved. There were meetings with our HR reps and mediated sitdowns with my boss. They even initiated something called a 360-degree review for my boss.
This lasted for another 2 or 3 months. The whole time I knew I was doomed but at least I now had the satisfaction of feeling like I was sticking up for myself and enjoying the chaos that was swirling around the team instead of feeling like I was suffering the brunt of it. Finally, one Friday afternoon, my boss and I got into a voluble debate about some trivial technical matter, some tests I was working on IIRC, that he had called me into his office to needle me about. Monday morning I was called into a conference room, where I found my boss and our HR rep waiting. My boss read a statement notifying me I was terminated immediately. I was walked back to my desk by the HR rep to collect my personal belonging and walked out of the building. I wasn't offered a severance. But I felt liberated. I signed up for Obamacare, kept my dental benefits under COBRA, and HR didn't challenge my unemployment claim. Rash disappeared after a couple months. It took me about 6 months to find a new job. And no joke that 6 months was tough. I had to work much harder at finding my new job than I ever did at my old job.
The one lesson I can offer from this experience, the one thing I wished I had done sooner: as soon as you think your boss is out for you, consult with an employment lawyer. It will be worth the $200-$300 it costs.
I poured everything into that role, shunning personal relationships with all but a few very close friends.
I made the calculus that, like others in the same company before me, I'd put my time in and after 5-7 years I'd downshift roles. Write some papers, some patents, put everything I'd learned into product and service development.
Thing is, I didn't appreciate how much the company and company culture was changing even as I was helping drive that change.
The company changed from focusing on experience to certifications. Personal loyalties were almost frowned upon. If you were a technical professional you had to demonstrate that you filed for multiple patents per year (in my role I was actively discouraged from filing patents for corporate politics reasonsI could always file later).
In very short order I lost my team and lost my role. It turned out that while I was excellent at "internet stuff", I sucked at corporate politics. Once real money started being spent on infrastructure and applications I grew a target on my back large enough for its own corporate task force.
Multiple executives pulled me aside to tell me bluntly that I had no future at the company, but I didn't listen, I'd been there close to a decade, doing "internet stuff" most of that time, how could they throw that all away?
I got a consolation role in another organization at the company which lasted a year and then the entire organization was disbanded.
In parallel in my limited personal life, both of my parents were dying, with their deaths bracketing 9/11 by months on either side.
9/11 destroyed the neighborhood I had been living it.
By 2002 I walked away from all of it.
And I've mostly stayed away since then. I made quite a bit of money in the 1990s, not enough to be a VC, enough to semiretire.
Every now and then I resurface and work with a startup for awhile, but I just can't pour myself in anymore the way people expect. It's just a job. I hope the startup does well, but I've become too jaded.
I briefly tried raising money, but found VCs were turned off that I walked away from the 7x24 lifestyle and my conservative approach to growing a business did not comport with their goals for portfolio returns.
So, yeah, it was a meh experience. I remain surprised that I survived the final year of working insane hours for the company even as I knew that they would jettison me as soon as I was no longer capable of working 18 hour days 6 days a week.
I'm in a much better space mentally, but it took over a decade after that experience before I "felt better".
My family and personal relationships take priority, and I actively turn down gigs and new work if they conflict with that choice.
I don't really have any advice. I feel like I wasted a decade creating capital value for a company way out of proportion to my compensation. And another decade wasted "recovering" from rejection from that company.
I guess my only advice would be, when you do burn out figure out an acceptable cover story if you decide to ever return to tech. Recruiters & head hunters, let alone hiring managers, will avoid at all costs anyone who admits to having burned out.
10 months into the job, CTO #3 had been forced out, DoE #2 had just turned in her resignation and we were completely unable to attract experienced engineers of any quality. COO assumed direct control of the engineers while marketing and sales kept themselves busy as "product people." I was looking for a new job and getting ready to jump ship when marketing and sales, giddy as children, came up with the idea of pivoting into EdTech. I was offered the chance to lead a small team in building out these new products and because I was a young engineer with ambitions wildly out of proportion with my experience and skills, I accepted. What resulted was the most stressful 10 months of my life. The hours (14-18 M-F and 10-12 on weekends) were doable but I was constantly second-guessed and undermined. My engineering teammates were all incredibly supportive and I would turn to the more senior guys for advice on navigating the technical landmines but it was a war everyday with everyone else. We had market research from parents, students, teachers and school administrators that would be ignored by the product guys in favor of "instinct." We had UI/UX designs that we paid for that were ignored in favor of "I like this better though." I can't even count the number of times I had "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse" quoted at me. I had marketing guys bully their way onto our sprint boards so they could move their half-baked, pet features onto the top of the pile. I had sales guys promising clients features that weren't even possible given our budget and deadlines.
I finally broke and set up some rules, some bullshit and some good, so we could make some progress. For starters, my team took over our main conference room and kept it locked. I told them to ignore any form of communication about the project from anyone that wasn't based out of the conference room. I would cancel or skip all internal meetings with sales and marketing and would only attend meetings one-on-one with the COO. I made sure that no one went on a sales call for the product we were building unless one of the team was on the call with them. I would monitor our sprint boards to see what features were being pushed up on the sly. And then I would delete them. In the end we managed to push out a fairly polished product (really nice beta) with about a quarter of all the promised features. Our clients did end up buying it but no one really loved it and no one really hated it. I quit 4 months later when I was asked if I was interested in leading the team to build out more features.
The entire experience was terrible during but I kept going because I thought it would look nice on my CV (it does). I took six months off to "crawl back to reality" as you put it and realized halfway through that there was no reality to crawl back to because I had lived reality in all it's HD, 4K shitty goodness. Sometimes when people are assholes you can be a bigger asshole back and win and sometimes you can't. That's all there is to it.
but maybe that's ok. sometimes life is more exciting than it needs to be.
To handle stress and not burn out, you need:
1) A sense of self. You need to not just understand but to feel that no matter what happens at the office, and even if things go wrong, you'll be OK. You do this by having a life outside of work - friends and a social life not connected to your workplace or even industry, hobbies or side projects that give you confidence outside of your professional life, and people who care about you for non-professional reasons.
2) To compartmentalize. Work is work, and just part of your life. While it cannot be completely so, what happens at work shouldn't affect your outside life in too large a degree. Success at work should bring you some kind of satisfaction, and failure should make you reconsider your choices, but not to a too large extent. You can only compartmentalize if you have the things in 1); you need more than 1 thing that is important to you in your life.
If you overwork, you can't have 1) because you simple don't have the time or energy to cultivate it; you can't compartmentalize and leave work at the office, and work pressure will cause negative stress in all aspects of your life, resulting in burn out.
Even in high-level positions you should aim to stick to a 9-5 schedule as much as possible because otherwise you won't have the mental energy to be effective.
Also, not VC backed. A 'real' company, that actually makes money because people buy their products. Our expectations of how many developers are needed for things is inflated by the prevalence of unprofitable venture backed firms that over hire.
Consider that Todd Howard's team that built Skyrim consisted of roughly 100 people.
Epic Games employed 250 people as of 2016. Most of those are not developers. Yet, their Unreal Engine 4 changelogs are mind blowing:
Jetbrains is doing well for themselves, but it's far from unprecedented.
I'm curious how this breaks down between developers, customer support, marketing, and admin. My guess is that developers might be a fairly small fraction of he 700...
If the application takes off, usually you'll drop the cross-platform approach and re-write in the native variants - IMHO obviously. In that lens you're better off iterating quickly and then diving into specific native builds. I'm sure there are many that will disagree.
If you know React really well, then React Native might make more sense. Weex is good if you're coming from Vue, but the technology is still relatively new (and documentation is light).
You might want to have someone look over the language on the documentation pages as there a lots of subtle (and not so subtle!) mistakes: https://talkbot.io/docs?/Introduction-0/What-is-a-bot?-1
* Underestimation of difficulty whether through cynicism (burn the devs) or cluelessness
* Inadequate training and expectation devs can just piggy back learning technology x from scratch whilst writing production software using it
* Trying to use one off contracts as a way of building resellable products
* Insistence that all devs time must be billable and trying to defy gravity in ignoring skills rot etc. through lack of investment in training
* Expectation that devs can be swapped between technologies without problems
* Swapping people in and out of projects as if this will not affect progress
* Deliberate hoarding of information as a means of disempowering devs
All of this inevitably leads to a bunch of pissed off devs. The ones that are happy to eat it become the golden boys and get promotions. Those that point out the bullshit leave once they can and are replaced with the desperate at the bottom who sooner or later arrive at the same position of wanting to leave once they realise what's going on. I think tech can be pretty miserable if you are not in the upper echelon of lucky types that can score a position at a Google, Facebook etc.
Oh and a couple more:
* Give no feedback unless things go wrong
* Treat your highly educated, intelligent and motivated devs like children by misusing agile in order to micromanage them
You might think startups are small enough that this couldn't happen but that was actually where my worst experience was. The founders are visibly in a meeting with a couple people, maybe "suits", maybe not. They come out of the meeting and the next day your priorities are rewritten. Cool beans, that's a thing that can happen and that's not my issue. My issue is, why? What are the goals we are trying to hit now? What's the plan? Why is that better than the old plan?
This is especially important IMHO for more senior engineers responsible for architecture and stuff, because those matters can greatly affect the architecture. Telling me why lets me start getting a grasp on what parts of the code are long term and what can be considered a short term hack, what the scaling levels I need to shoot for, and all sorts of other things that are very hard to determine if you just come to me with "And actually, our customers need a new widget to frozzle the frobazz now more than they need to dopple the dipple now."
Not necessarily the biggest issue, there's a lot of other suggestions here that are probably bigger in most places, but this is one that has frustrated me.
(I'll also say this is one you may be able to help fix yourself, simply by asking. If you are in that senior role I think you pretty much have a professional obligation to ask, and I would not be shy about working that into the conversation one way or another.)
* Spending too much on marketing/sales before people want the product. They usually just end up burning their brand if the product is too low quality.
* Too much focus on building multiple small features rather than focusing on the value proposition.
* Trying to negotiate deadlines for product development. "We don't have two months to finish this. Let's do this in one." In software estimation, there's the estimate, the target, and the commitment. If the commitment and estimate are far off, it should be questioned why, not negotiated.
* Hiring two mediocre developers at half the salary of one good developer. They usually can't solve problems past a certain treshhold.
* Importing tech talent, rather than promoting. Usually the people who have built the product have a better understanding of the tech stack than someone else they import.
* Startups that rely on low quality people to skimp on the budget. These people later form the DNA of the company and make it difficult to improve, if they're not the type who improve themselves.
There seems to be some sort of quasi-religious belief in the fundamental averageness of humans; consequently the difference between developer salaries at any company varies by maybe 50%, whereas the productivity varies by at least a full order of magnitude.
Until "management" realizes this, the only way that a developer on the upper end of the productivity scale can capture their value is to found their own company. I sometimes wonder what would happen if some company simply offered to pay 3X the market rate and mercilessly filter the results.
The first chapter says: "The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature." Sorry Google Memo Dude. DeMarco and Lister called it in the 80s.
Speaking of DeMarco, he also wrote a book about controlling software projects before Peopleware. Then in 2009 he denounced it. 
To understand controls real role, you need to distinguish between two drastically different kinds of projects: * Project A will eventually cost about a million dollars and produce value of around $1.1 million. * Project B will eventually cost about a million dollars and produce value of more than $50 million. Whats immediately apparent is that control is really important for Project A but almost not at all important for Project B. This leads us to the odd conclusion that strict control is something that matters a lot on relatively useless projects and much less on useful projects. It suggests that the more you focus on control, the more likely youre working on a project thats striving to deliver something of relatively minor value.
: https://www.computer.org/cms/Computer.org/ComputingNow/homep...: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peopleware:_Productive_Project...
* Reorganizing seemingly for the sake of reorganizing. Result: Every time the new organization has settled somewhat and people know who to interact with to make things flow smoothly, everything is upended and back to square one.
* Trying to make our products buzzword compliant without understanding the consequences - we've on occasion been instructed to incorporate technologies which are hardly fit for purpose simply because 'everyone else is doing it' (Where 'everyone' is the companies featured in whatever magazine the CEO leafed through on his latest flight. Yes, I exaggerate a bit for effect.)
* Misguided cost savings; most of what hardware we use, we buy in small quantities - say, a few hundred items a year, maximum. Yet purchasing are constantly measured on whether they are able to source an 'equivalent' product at a lower price. Hence, we may find ourselves with a $20,000 unit being replaced by a $19,995 one - order quantity, 5/year - and spend $10,000 on engineering hours to update templates, redo interfaces &c.
* Assuming a man is a man is a man and that anyone is easily and quickly replaceable (except management, of course) - and not taking the time and productivity loss associated with training new colleagues into account.
Edit: An E-mail just landed in my inbox reminding me of another:
* Trying to quantify anything and everything, one focuses on the metrics which are easy to measure, rather than the ones which matter. As a result, the organization adapts and focuses on the metrics being measured, not the ones which matter - with foreseeable consequences for productivity.
* Building a one more generation of product than the market supports (so you build a new version when the market has moved on to something new).
* Rewarding productivity over quality.
* Managing to a second order effect. For example when Nestle' bought Dryers they managed to 'most profit per gallon' which rewarded people who substituted inferior (and cheaper) components, that lead to lower overall sales and that leads to lower overall revenue. Had they managed to overall revenue they might have caught the decline sooner.
* Creating environments where nobody trusts anyone else and so no one is honest. Leads to people not understanding the reality of a situation until the situation forces the disconnect into the mainstream.
* Rewarding popular popular employees differently than rank and file. Or generally unevenly enforcing or applying standards.
* Tolerating misbehavior out of fear of losing an employee. If I could fire anyone in management who said, "Yeah but if we call them on it they will quit! See what a bind that puts us in?" I believe the world would be a better place.
There are lots of things, that is why there are so many management books :-)
1) believing you can dramatically change the performance of an employee -- it's very rare to save someone and less experienced managers always believe they can.
1.5) corollary to the above: not realizing the team is aware and waiting for you to fix the problem and won't thank you for taking longer to do what's necessary.
2) believing that people don't know what you're thinking -- people see you coming a mile off.
3) thinking you can wait to fix a compensation problem until the next comp review -- everyone waits too long on these.
4) believing HR when they tell you that you can't do something that's right for your team -- what they're really saying is that you have to go up the ladder until you find someone who can force them to make an exception.
5) not properly prioritizing the personal/social stuff -- at least this is my personal failing, and why ultimately management has not stuck for me.
6) believing your technical opinion matters -- I've seen way too many VP's making technical decisions that they are too far from the work to make, trust your team!
It'd be fun to see a list of these from the non-management point of view. I'd start off with the inverse of #6 above:
1) believing your technical opinion matters -- the business is what ultimately matters.
Here's what happens when a manager tries to fill tickets himself: his sense of control of the project is derived not from relationships of trust and cooperation with his reports, but from direct involvement in the code. So naturally, any challenging or critical piece of code ends up getting written by him (because otherwise, how could he be confident about it?)
The manager is essentially holding two jobs at once so they end up working late or being overly stressed at work.
The devs will feel intimidated to make architecture decisions, because they know if they do something their manager doesn't like, it will get refactored.
They will also feel as if they are only given the "grunt work" as all the challenging work is taken on by their manager.
The code itself is in a constant state of instability because there is a tension between the manager needing the other employees' help to get the code written on time, while also needing to have that complete control and mastery over the code that can only come from writing it yourself. So people's work gets overwritten continually.
This is very bad and it's very common - managers should learn to delegate as that is an essential part of their job. If they can't delegate they should remain as an individual contributor and not move into management.
The worst is when you get two or more managers attending the same meeting. Then nothing will get done as they eat up all of the meeting time arguing about business rules, magnifying the complexity of the system until you end up with some Rube Goldberg chain of logic that they will completely forget minutes after they've left the meeting. A good manager knows to trust their employees and only intervenes to make sure those employees have the resources they need to do their jobs. The most effective managers are humble and respect the expertise of the experts they hire.
- Focusing on fixing problems, rather than preventing problems
- Acting as yes-men to bad upper-management strategy, thereby creating a layer of indirection between the people who think it's a good plan vs the engineers who can explain why it's not quite that easy
- Trying to use software tools (e.g. Jira's burndown charts) to quantitatively/"objectively" measure engineers
* Preaching about the virtues of a flat organizational structure, but making unilateral decisions.
* Hiring people for a particular challenging job, but have them work on menial unchallenging tasks.
* Creating multiple layers of management for a tiny team.
* Facilitating post mortems that would be better facilitated by a neutral third party.
* Using vague management speak as a deliberate strategy to never be held responsible for anything.
* Rewarding politics with promotions.
* Marginalizing experienced employees.
* Talking too much about culture.
* Trying to be the company thought leader instead of helping people do their best work.
* Assuming that everyone underneath you views you as a career mentor.
* Negging employees.
* New hire managers: Firing incumbent employees after youve only been on the job for a few weeks.
* New hire managers: Not doing 1:1s with everyone who reports to you.
* New hire managers: Create sweeping changes like re-orgs after a few weeks on the job.
* New hire managers: Doing things a certain way because it worked well at a previous company.
* New hire managers: Changing office work hours to suit your personal life.
(Similar problems can happen when a bunch of people with no management skills decide to found a company and start hiring people.)
Estimates get shortened. Technical decisions are overruled for business or political reason. Warnings about undesirable outcomes are ignored. Sheer impossibility deemed surmountable.
I feel this is the worst mistake by management because the technical people are the ones who suffer for it. Overtime, inferior software, frustration, technical debt, lack of quality, are all things management doesn't really care about because they can always just push people harder to get what they want.
Never dealt with them, but a place to start.
I have not worked with him. Caveat emptor.
I feel that while I have learnt a few basic words it's very difficult to get any fluency using such an app.
I guess the best way to learn a new language is to directly immerse yourself into the environment but that's not possible for me. So I was wondering what other ways are there to learn a new language and what worked for you..
What works for me is learning on a "need to know" basis. JS and Python are not so different than Perl, and most all languages have common traits and features so it comes down to learning syntax a lot of times.
I am not very fluent. I reference APIs and sample code, and head to Stackoverflow for answers a lot, but only when I need to and I don't hesitate when I need to because you can waste a lot of time doing that.
There is a large difference between spoken and written. If you want to be able to converse in it, you need to develop an ear for it. I have an ear for German, which I never studied in school. I never developed an ear for French, though I studied it in both high school and college. I can make conversation in German. I can read and writes little French, but trying to verbally exchange pleasantries in French is hard.
Decide what your goal is. Realize that understanding is easier than replying, both verbally and in writing.
Listening to book on that walk is how I unplug and is probably the best habit I've ever picked up. I'm 40lbs lighter, probably 100 or so books better read and have a nice collection of destroyed Nike trophies.
(b) Recently settled on a plan of spending ~30 minutes after work explicitly checking social media/net stuff, but removing the firefox icon from my sidebar/dock after that. Not having that icon there gives just enough friction that I'll end up in a calmer loop of doing digital artwork (my second job) or wandering off to read. Any important emails gets taken care of during dead time at the day-job, or pre-written in textedit.
I have a studio-based art hobby, and have made it habit to spend 1-2 hours daily in there free from internet,phones,and TV (music is ok tho). More time spent on weekends when I can fit it into my schedule.
It does wonders for my anxiety and stress levels, sort of like a brain nap without sleeping.
I would spend more time daily, but work and life get in the way.
I also try to read for 30mins-1hr at the end of the day, but by the time I get to it I usually fall asleep quickly.
I also exercise quite a bit as well, but don't really consider that to unplugging -- it feels more like plugging myself into fitness + outdoors, which feels like another form of work tbh.
I'm neither popular enough on Twitter or Facebook to be receiving notifications on a regular basis.
I have no need to get slack notifications unless I'm directly @'d and that's rare.
I don't belong to any WhatsApp group, because that's bloody annoying.
So, no. No need to switch off. I can carry on about my day, phone at my side and it only bings at me if it's actually important.
Only notification I get is using my cell phone as an alarm clock that auto-dismisses after 5 seconds.
I go to Temple in the morning and evening. Read both religious and secular books. Nap and if the weather is nice a walk in the forest nearby.
So my evenings are usually unplugged, at least from interactive computer stuff, but still making allowances for TV and music.
The other activity is listening to music. Fully. I bought a turntable last year and that changed my listening habit. I usually put on a record and give it all my focus, almost like meditation.
Ideally a full day off every week. Day off means a hike or a real disconnect. Being in San Francisco it's good to get out of the city and remind yourself of how beautiful Northern California is.
Just add, also around the pool in the evenings with a beer or a little cocktail again just talking and no electronic and no music even...
Before when the kids were younger the best was sports few times a week (hockey, basketball, soccer, football) - it was just great, raw emotions, etc :-)
Want people to be happy? Give them no benefits, no health care, no 401K, no bonuses, and plow all of that into salary. People would rather have bragging rights about how much they make. Doesn't matter if you point out that they get a bigger package when the employer pays the health care (if the employee pays then they pay with after tax money).
It is mind blowing to realize that people that are way smarter than me are stupid about money. But I've definitely seen that pattern.
I ignored what they wanted and gave them good health care, did 2:1 match into their 401K, and did bonuses so we didn't get double taxed (corporate and personal).
* Assuming that the I (as a mgr) am in charge of their career. As a manager I can coach you but you have to have some sort of goal other than "be employed". Take some initiative.
* Thinking that pure technical merit of an idea will magically sell it to me (manager) and above.
* Under estimating the effort to get something complete.
* Not talking to people. If you go back n forth a couple times via email or chat and can't resolve something, talk in person. Before you complain to me about another person or team, please have at least talked to them first.
Thinking more broadly - I think a very positive behavior in employees is actively seeking and integrating feedback. Many people have a mindset where feedback comes to them. Being proactive on this front can be be really transformative.
Thinking over my stint at running a few teams, so long as we hired well, there was literally nothing I could complain about, but there were infinitely many more shortcomings I could see in myself.
(Disclaimer: I don't actually manage them. I'm kind of a lead, but nothing more.)
The discussions are taking place on Ethereum reddit, I suppose, or maybe on other Ethereum-related subreddits and forums.
Those forums are usually hives of scum and villainy, as you would expect. Scammers scamming other scammers.
Because of existing code, making a new token is relatively easy; you take an existing one and change some variables. Yes, it doesn't do anything useful, but it doesn't need to; you just need a pretty website, where you put """"whitepaper"""" and a pretty photos and some """graphs""", repeat the word "decentralized" a few time and you are ready to dump.
Since there is no regulation, those things are popping up one after the other. Want to create HackerNewsCoin for a new decentralized platform for programming discussion? Why not. Promise a release date for a very vaguely described project, far along in the future that everyone forgets by then, and you are all set. Does it make sense? No, but you get rich out of other people wanting to get rich.
Unlike with investing, there is no actual value being made here. Just people wanting to get rich quickly. There is no substance, just scams on top of scams.
It's a pretty cynical view, but worth digesting.
> The fundamental innovation in Bitcoin the social dynamics of the gold rush phase, which distribute cryptocurrency tokens widely for almost free. This creates a self-organized distributed boiler room to market Bitcoin. Bitcoin needs nothing else to get as big as it has; this is convenient because it has nothing else. Bitcoin has no utility as a means of transaction or a store of value. The blockchain is the world's worst database. The long line of very smart people on the other side of this bet have been scammed, are scamming, or both. Bitcoin will, accordingly, go to zero with the inevitability of gravity.
Sure, it's still decentralized. But now in order to buy things, we'll have to realize some sort of standardization. Of course, there are things like the Pot Coin, which obviously has only been deployed for a certain purpose.
So maybe everything is relative to BTC anyways, just specialized for different markets.
Apologies for the stream-of-consciousness format.
Even 0x is a protocol for trading tokens. That implies you need tokens worth trading...
ICO madness is just a symptom of the crypto bubble. Which is itself a symptom of the tech bubble. Who do you think is buying into all these cryptocurrency assets - Software engineers and other tech employees with a large amount of disposable income due to the meteoric rise in tech salaries.
The linux kernel developers that have jumped ship from LKML to bitcoin can be found on the bitcoin-dev mailing list: https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-d...
Also, bitcoin/linux developers should not be blamed for these ICOs -- many of these schemes are totally unrelated and would just as easily be using centralized databases for their shares.
Altcoins exploded in 2013 with their initial offerings listed here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?board=159.0
.. and since then you can go look up "ERC20" and find some Slack stuff.
There are many people who have become virtual currency millionaires. At that point anyone would be looking to diversify. Purchasing traditional assets would mean paying taxes on the coins. Purchasing ICOs just diversifies your coin holdings into an even more speculative asset class.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1mkxci6vvo Investment Panel with Naval Ravikant, Meltem Demirors, and Garry Tan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnHRnlrO6bQ Payments Panel with Balaji Srinivasan, Elizabeth Stark, and Ryan Charles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrSn3zx2GbM A conversation with Naval Ravikant (who is very prescient in this field)
Some money is also from investors escaping currency devaluations or restrictions (ex. China). I've heard of quant traders who are porting public equity algos to crypto. Naval R. Also Said on a recent podcast that some cryptocurrency traders meet in person to do trades too.
Would be interested in hearing what other things people have heard (or can confirm). I have a feeling some big whales(or syndicates) are participating in market making bc of the small caps of some of these coins, and that may cause a lot of boom-busts. Regardless, I'm still really bullish on crypto/blockchain as a whole though!
For example, I participated in a token offering 18 months ago which has produced a sizable value. I then took 20% of the gain and spread it across new token offerings.
At scale, think of everyone whom invested in Bitcoin early and Ethereum at the ICO. Their gains are used to reinvest into the crypto ecosystem at the earliest stages, thus, keeping their fortunes regenerating and growing.
As far as the ICOs....yeah I don't get why you'd buy into that unless you truly believe in the vision and team, and so many of these stories are super shallow. I go with what other commenters are saying, that many of them are shams, they go big on FB/Google advertising to attract rubes, or they're being used for money laundering.
However, I also think that there's room for an ecosystem like this eventually, hence my investment. Just seems like early days and a lot of people taking money because they can. And maybe I'm just the rube though!
Highly recommended. It's healthy to take a step back from all the 'money talk' and hear about why blockchain was invented. This is good for Mass adoption. Blockchain is good, the money run on Bitcoin adds it's piece to the pie.
You know what they say about fools and their money. It's taking money in with no actual repercussion if any of your plans fail. It's hilarious how formulaic they are all now. They take some already existent service idea, throw 3 "decentralized ooh ahh" points at the top, and then show pictures of 10 people's faces at the bottom (employees and "advisors").
It's very 2k era dotcom bubble "how do I get rich quick?"
Worth less, maybe.
Tensions in North Korea? Maybe South Koreans buy digital currency.
Magnitsky Act or sanctions preventing Russians from moving money to the US or other countries? Maybe they buy digital currency.
Real estate market sky high, maybe people who sell take the profit and use it to buy digital currency, seeing as the stock market is also at an all-time high.
Shameless plug: https://www.cryptoground.com/what-if?amount=1&coin=all&month...You can check returns of currencies here :P
Truly the least substantial asset I have ever seen. I hope the SEC goes feral on them, and soon.
Most of us know the internet has been around in different forms for many decades, but it wasn't until the 1990s that commercial use took off. Easy distribution of information was the killer technology: web pages and search engines made instant trips to the library for the silliest questions a normal thing. Amazon was one of the first to get online retail sales right: they picked a fungible type of merchandise (books, which are 99% software and 1% hardware, so you don't really need to try before you buy a specific copy, which means you're fine with a mail-order shopping model). Clearly this wasn't just something cool -- it was a better way of doing things that are a part of everyone's daily life.
But then lots of other folks piled on with increasingly worse "me too!" ideas. Pets.com is the poster child: yeah, you can buy dog food over the internet, but _should_ you? But there was lots of demand in the form of people realizing a little too late that the internet was a huge investment opportunity, and "Amazon except for kitty litter" was close enough to scratch the itch, so the money piled in.
The most positive angle of the dot-com bust is that a lot of incredible technology did come out of it. Google was far from the first search engine, but it had the benefit of learning from the mistakes of Lycos, InfoSeek, Yahoo, AltaVista, and Excite. Facebook was SixDegrees except targeting an amazing combination of elites (top-tier colleges) and young adults experiencing newfound freedom + maximum horniness (college students). Even Microsoft has successfully reinvented itself as a pretty good PaaS provider.
So here we are. Bitcoin started ages ago, in 2009. Some people got it at first, and many to this day still dismiss it as a scam (though I know nobody who understands the technology and thinks it's anything but genuinely revolutionary). But increasingly, people are realizing that, like the internet, Bitcoin has introduced killer technology: decentralized distribution of truth. I haven't yet seen the Amazon of Bitcoin that so obviously connects commercial potential with this new blockchain technology -- perhaps it is Bitcoin itself, where a large percentage of the world stores at least some of its wealth there and it becomes part of the fabric of daily lives -- but there is no doubt that it will arrive, and that there will be more of them soon after that, and that there will be a day in our lifetimes when we can't imagine how we lived our lives needing to consult a government, or an agency, or a giant corporation, or a bureaucracy to learn the truth whether we possess liquid assets, whether we own property, whether we have a professional credential, etc.
Unfortunately (but just like the late 1990s), most of the current ventures are garbage, and nobody knows which is which. Moreover, some of them weren't even created in good faith -- just like IPOs in the late 1990s, some of these offerings are patently absurd. So lots of wealth will be transferred, much unfairly and much semi-randomly. Many people will be hurt.
But out of it will come the next Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
Steer clear of it. If this is their mental model of how work should be done, imagine what it is like inside the company.
I would also wonder, if in the US, what laws they might be breaking for this "hiring" process.
If there are 200 developers who are willing to participate in such a tournament, then its most likely that they are either jobless, or looking for a better position or find this kind of tournament fair game.
Regarding getting paid for your code, I just want to ask do you get paid for writing/designing programs or solving problems when you go give a regular interview. Of course not. Apart from perhaps from a free lunch at the onsite facility and the travel tickets, do you ever expect to be paid your average hourly rate when you go to give interviews at companies like Google or Apple. I don't think so.
If someone whines about getting paid, then you need to assume that the person has either made it or is not jobless. A lot of jobless people would go great distances to land a job - sitting in a AC room for a day writing programs is surely not that unpleasant a demand.
I am sure that a lot of folks here would have a very different opinion if they were jobless/homeless or looking desperately for a job.
However I will not feel comfortable working for this company knowing this is their hiring process, they pay no respect to a developer's skill to communicate and work with others, their knowledge in building software at large scale, ability in bringing improvement to other people's skills and the company's processes. Sorry to be blunt but it sounds to me they're trying to hire code monkeys/coding robots not software developers.
I think they are relying on recruiting younger developers.
They found the regulatory environment absolutely crippling. After banging their head against the wall too long, they eventually gave up.
I'd say going with an experienced incubator/mentor/etc in this space would be a great idea. https://rockhealth.com/ is one good example. They can give you access to health care companies, networks, mentors, etc.
The profit motive means technology works as follows, particularly in health care: if you can build it and corner a healthy market, shut up and take my money. If you want to give it away or sell it as a loss, please leave a message at the beep.
Don't worry about building in all kinds of bells and whistles. Sounds like what little you have is more than good enough- call that company back and stop acting so profligate with the IP if you want them to throw the marketing and compliance resources at a project that desperately needs them.
- "Baseline Correction with Asymmetric Least Squares Smoothing" by Paul H. C. Eilers and Hans F.M. Boelens. They used it for chromatography and spectroscopy but I've had great results applying that to detect and remove the baseline from ECG. The article provides 11 lines of MATLAB code to illustrate.
- Savitzky-Golay filter: For smoothing. I liked it for some of the noisy signals.
- Poincar plot for RR intervals.
A presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk-CF7klLdA
An article: https://martinjeeblog.com/2012/11/20/what-is-programmer-anar...
Software cannot make sure careers are on track and goals are met. Yes software can track a todo list but career goals are a human activity to coach employees. Imagine someone that is purely working on say mobile apps part of the product set but wants to get some experience on the backend. Thats a conversation since they may not feel comfortable (e.g. an introvert) jumping on backend tasks since that might introduce some conflict with the team. Finding out what motivates a person is a conversation, not a web form.
If you have a small group of people that are self-motivated (aka manager of one) working together on various software projects, what would status reports or time tracking be used for?
- Self-organizing and Self-directed employees are often the hardest to find.
- The HR process, when done correctly, allows individuals to join a group to realize their potential that they may not have elsewhere.
- The group's goals would have to be somehow set. I recall Clay Shirky's excellent essay on how a group is it's own worst enemy and can't help but wonder how it might play out in an environment like this.
Software could arguably replace status reports and time-tracking, but a compelling incentive system needs to be put in place to encourage this behavior. It's often my experience that people skimp on administrative duties when left to their own devices, including myself.
"Software" at its current manifestation cannot manage career tracks. Machine learning may change.
Senior management level do not have time to deal with employee problems. They generally are tasked with higher order duties, which generally fill their 40 or so hours.
All evidence suggest that the first layer of management is needed.
Ultimately, the answer to most "do I need a lawyer" questions is, yes, when the stakes are non-trivial.
This will very likely have tax implications as the IP has some value, and companies cannot (usually) just give away assets to an individual.
Once you own the IP, you can do (almost) anything you want with it, including start a VC-backed company.
I tried a bunch of other lisps but disliked them for various reasons. Clojure is nice because of the tooling, but I disliked being tied to the JVM and all what that means.
CL has some very nice implementations (Allegro CL has a limited free version that has forever changed how I think a programming environment should be).
In the end I found guile scheme which is great. The threading situation is good and getting better, the language has all the comfortable srfi's that implementations like chez lack, and it has nice community.
The reason I chose guile over chicken was the r6rs compatibility, which made supporting both chez and guile rather easy. Other than that, I'd say that the chicken community is probably the nicest one online. Chicken is really a fine scheme as well.
I am not a programmer though, and what I want is for programming to be just fun. Not enterprise ready, not web6.0-cool. just fun.
Shameless self-plug: I just finished my racket-like for l-loops for guile: https://bitbucket.org/bjoli/guile-for-loops
I also spend some time with clojure around the time of v1.0-1.2 and quite liked it, but it's maturity level and the JVM made it less attractive in the long run.
I like scheme as well, but because of the spartan(to use a nice word) spec, If I actually want to get stuff done I'd have to chose just one implementation and it's associated libraries, rather than rely on portable code.
Handbook of Neuroevolution Through Erlang by Gene Sher makes a compelling argument (with detailed, varied examples) that Erlang is the perfect language with which to implement neural nets.
Lisp has always been associated with AI, of course. Nowadays it's all Python, Java and R for machine learning, but Lisp can do just as well, plus more: Lisp has an affinity for recursion, and its homoiconicity will - I suspect - prove fundamental for true AI. One can't just 'strap on' its features to those other languages (including Elixir: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7623991).
So, obviously the right tool for the job is LFE!
Common Lisp is well-optimized for application programming. It has excellent compilers, and good debugging support.
TXR Lisp is geared toward scripting; it is a very agile, ergonomic Lisp dialect. It has minimal dependencies and builds as a single executable with some satellite library files in your /usr/share tree, yet is loaded with features.
TXR Lisp is a Lisp-2, but thanks to a square bracket notation, the coder can seamlessly shift into Lisp-1 style programming with higher order functions. Though it has the equivalent of CL's funcall function and function operator, they are almost never used, and there is no #' (hash quote) notation at all.
I am currently working on the aarch64 (64 bit ARM) port of TXR which I hope to be able to include in version 184.
I started the TXR project around this time of year in 2009, which makes it 8 years old now.
Simple, strongly typed, and really really easy to write and read.
On top of that, its fairly easy to compile as well, which gets rid of a bunch of distribution problems that come with other Lisps.
My first in-production experience was converting a monolithic Python web app to Scheme.
We wrote a library that brought a lot of Python conventions over to make things easier. Like an import macro that automatically namespaces things. (And we copied Clojure's "->)" macro for closing all open parentheses).
Total conversion for ~18,000 LOC Python to ~7,000 LOC Scheme took about nine weeks. The speed-up was about 2.5x.
And despite the much smaller codebase for Scheme - we actually added a whole heap of features, whilst matching all old features. (A bug or two as well, but that's to be expected).
Scheme is just really well suited to parsing, and rewriting itself as necessary.
So far as I'm aware, that stack is still running three years later, so Scheme wasn't just a fad for the team (who picked it up in about a week or so).
I'm very happy with Guile and its performance has greatly been improved with version 2.2 (not that performance was a problem before); one thing I miss in Guile is the picture language that Racket comes with.
For over a decade I wrote mainly in C++ doing a lot of Windows programming, usually games or simulations. Mix in some VB and C# when I didn't want to battle the Win32 API. I was used to seeing codebases with 100k+ loc and hundreds of megabytes of code files. xkcd COMPILING is real!
While working at BitTorrent in 2013, a coworker back introduced me to his little server that distributes uTorrent executable to everybody. It was an implementation of this paper for a general purpose rules-based engine with a snappy (Clojurescript?) front-end. The whole thing was ~5k loc, and ran on surprisingly small hardware compared to it's traffic.
From there I was hooked. My project sizes are radically smaller, it's LISP, and I can go wherever Java goes. I wrote about my experiences with AWS Lambdas last year , for example. The community itself is outstanding. They are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Because the community focuses on small libraries that are composable, those libraries become remarkably stable. Several heavily used libraries haven't had commits in months or years.
It has standarized, well-documented, proven-for-decades way of doing necessary, common day to day stuff like conditions and restarts (aka "exception handling"), package system, or object-oriented-programming. Consider, for example, that Scheme has no standard way of organizing your code into packages and namespaces. Nor standard exception handling system; you are expected to use a lib, use what the particular Scheme implementation you are using offers or roll your own using the (extremely powerful) continuations feature. Scheme also doesn't have a standard OOP system like CLOS. You can implement all of this in Scheme, but Common Lisp has this standarized, proven, well-documented way for all of that. This makes reading others' people code easily, because common stuff is going to be done in a standard way that you already know.
It is a Lisp-2 which, for me, makes programming comfortable. People always talk about how macros in Common Lisp are "unhygienic" by default, but it is trivially easy to write a hygienic macro on Common Lisp.
It is an ANSI standard and the Common Lisp implementations largely comply with the standard, which means that I can take my code and run it with no changes (or very slight changes) on awesome Lisp implementations like LispWorks, SBCL, CLISP and many others.
There is a big amount of documentation available and in the last 10 years the amount of libraries, books and tooling has increased to make CL programming nicer than ever.
The implementations can be really high performance. SBCL can be had for free and it's performance is awesome. It is amazing that a dynamic programming language could be that fast. Also the implementations are mostly very nice to the programmer.
Common Lisp also allows to do low-level stuff if you like, for example it has full support for bitwise binary manipulation. Numeric support is magnificent and standarized: All CL implementations support real, fractional, complex, int, arbitrary precision numbers, and work with them really quickly.
Clojure seems more limited compared to Scheme or Common Lisp, being tailored for doing everything the functional way; while both CL and Scheme allow you to be 'eclectic' and use whatever programming paradigm the situation calls for.
The ecosystem is great. I wouldn't use it for anything big on prod though, but it's easy to experiment with and is fun.
It has Pulsar, which is miles ahead of any other lisp's threading abilities.
I wish it had a more mature static typing story, but I guess you can't have everything.
You can argue Clisp is easier to get a quick project going with, but short of that rather old project nothing with a setup any less capable than "lein new" is going to compare for dashing something out real quick.
Sublime text has something similar that gives you the usages of a function when you hover over its name. Its not as 100 percent accurate as strict static code analysis, but it works pretty well for function names that are not duplicated everywhere.
grep -inr 'X'
Technically speaking, of course Youtube could have a download button, but if they did, as far as the Viacoms of the world are concerned, they're just enabling piracy, and taking control away from content owners.
Download videos and playlists to watch offline for up to 30 days when you arent connected to the internet.
By assuming the content will be watched by a human, they can throttle buffering to transfer only what's needed for human consumption, thus spreading out the network load.
I am neither an anti vaxxer nor pro vax. I get hated on by both camps. Neither side is very rational about this. So, you should probably put this in, say, the same box as religion and try to a) be respectful of their right to live their lives as they see fit and b) avoid the topic.
Some people react very badly to the current vaccines and when this is not recognised by those who are pro-vaccination, this just re-enforces the anti-vaccination viewpoint.
As a child I was around others who were infectious with chicken pox, never got sick. But as an adult, I came close to dying from chicken pox that I got off my children. No reaction as a child but near deadly as an adult.
Yet Tetanus vaccines (which I have had at various times) cause me no side effects at all, even though most people I know have a fairly severe pain reaction for a period of time after the injections.
When it is not recognised that there have been manufacturing errors in various vaccines over time or that there are proportion of people who suffer very adverse effects from vaccines (up to and including death), this only goes to strengthened the viewpoint that vaccines are dangerous for those who are against vaccinations.
I have come across various people who know that a specific vaccine would kill them or their children but have the viewpoint that everyone else must get vaccinated so that they (the unvaccinated) would be protected.
Where we should be putting our research is to find some sort of standardised way to pre-test an individual for efficacy or adversity of any specific vaccine.
There is no point giving a vaccine to someone who will have strongly adverse side-effects to it, nor is there any point in giving a vaccine to someone where that vaccine will provide no additional protection to the person. Too often, the excuse of "herd immunity" is used without thought to whether or not this actually true for any specific vaccine. The problem here is that, if the vaccine works and gives you immunity, then what reason are you concerned about that someone else hasn't had their shots, other than passing this disease onto other unvaccinated people.
I don't bother with a flu shot. But if you want it, go for it. I know people who get sick every year after they have had their vaccines for the flu. I know of one fellow did this religiously every year and every year he got sick. After discussing this problem with his doctor, it was suggested that, over a period of three weeks, he get a one third dose. Since then, he hadn't got sick.
Vaccines have made significant inroads into certain diseases that cause a great deal of grief for many in society. But no vaccine is 100% effective and every vaccine will adversely affect some proportion of the population (however small that might be).
Instead of demonising those against vaccinations, maybe, this demonising should be against the companies that push the affordability of drugs and vaccines (and all the other related medical technology) beyond the capability of those who need it most just because they can and it will be most profitable to them to do so.
Most have heard of Martin Shkreli and his antics with drug prices. What many don't realise is that he was just following the general principles of the drug manufacturers, he was just a little too obvious about it.
_Do you want to work for people who are too to small-minded to realise the benefits of game programming?
_Personally I would be honest, and try and find a job with pragmatic people, that I would enjoy and find rewarding.
_What if you get a job with a 'serious' company only to discover that they are idiots and you quit after a few months?
_In short, be yourself. You'll be happier.
It might be not great for pay, but generally game devs have no trouble landing jobs in non gaming fields.
Also a lot of enterprise user facing applications run on Unity/Unreal.
Just use it as a filter. If you get that reaction, you most definitely don't want to work at that place. Save yourself the time.
In fact, if the interviewer(s) who have that reaction were to take a permanent marker and scrawl "ignorant, low-caliber trash" across their foreheads, it'd accomplish the exact same thing as their outward disdain for game programming.
At first I thought this was rather curious. What on earth would SpaceX want to do with game devs?
Then I found this article.http://www.businessinsider.com/why-is-spacex-at-a-video-game...
Turns out it's not uncommon for SpaceX to hire game devs. Apparently if you can make a relatively sophisticated game (especially an online multiplayer game), you can make software for a rocket.
So there you have it, game dev experience is good, and it sounds like that interviewer you talked to is a liability to his company for passing on great talent.
However, here's some additional unsolicited advice: a useful rule of thumb for any portfolio, reference or experience info you may want to bring up during the interview is: Include only the information that will support/advance your changes of getting the job you want
As a contrived example, if you've done a tonne of PHP work but have recently switched to Haskell and want to do more of that, your resume should highlight whatever Haskell stuff you did do, even if trivial, and only mention PHP in passing ("I've also done plenty of work in various other languages such as PHP" - this is not to say to not include the projects, just don't bring up the PHP part).
Specific to your situation, if you've got web/app dev references, code, etc, put them up front. But if not (probably the case here), the games/demos will (should!) be a great showcase of your passion and ability to deliver, and are useful as an indication of how clean / well thought out / polished your code is. The smart interviewers will recognize this.
It has caused people to ask, "Why would you want a job like this when it's clear you want to make games"
Best Interiview is where I made the Management guy quite nervouse because the conversation with the tech guy was going so well It looked like he was going to quit to go make games also.
Beside what many already mentioned (developing games is actually quite complex, so keep doing that and don't hide it!) I'd suggest you to take a look at developer jobs around Europe. I'm working as a developer in Berlin and I can tell you there are a lot of great opportunities here if you are willing to relocate. Feel free to get in touch if you need anything! Buona fortuna!
Most "game developers" don't even ship anything (currently including myself) so what I would be concerned about is not having a game, which itself puts you ahead of a lot of people, but what the quality of the game is, and what it demonstrates about your abilities as a programmer. Games can be incredibly complex and difficult to build and can demonstrate a myriad of useful skills. As someone with a CS degree in, basically, "C# CRUD apps that talk to Access" who dabbles in game development on the side, I definitely respect it. Even using a framework like Unity doesn't make it easy, just easier.
Unfortunately (although somewhat deservedly) Unity development and indie game development so there might be a bit of friction involved if that's all you have in your portfolio.
But no, I wouldn't remove them, certainly not if they're any good.
Unfortunately I don't have any personal experience here. But there are many gamers in the 'serious' business software jobs I have worked here in the US. I'm watching someone play super mario galaxy right now, and it would be much more challenging than making crud apps.
So when you're talking to a (dry and boring?) ERP company, they might not have much affinity with games. On that same note, a game company might not have much affinity with ERP / MSFT MFC stuff. You should probably focus on the technologies used more than on it being actual games when talking to an interviewer.
So you're going from one extreme, to the other. :)
Sociological question for anyone willing to answer, why is it seen as a "bad skill" in Italy?
* I've hired over 30 programmers in my career and 2 former game developers are on my current team.
Ask yourself: do you want to work at a company or your coworkers think game programming is bad?
If people was clever enough,they would understand that creativity and curiosity are necessary things in order to make you a better programmer.
We are reaching a world where new ideas and new point views are necessary. att.Daniel
It probably helps with some of the "cool" places. I would certainly value it as a plus in "general skill level", but that's because I'm cool.
It will probably not help or even be held against you with the "uncool" places. If it comes down to it, why would they hire you instead of the clown that has experience in <related enterprise crap> instead?
I also make a flashcard if I spend a long time debugging something so that I make sure to keep the knowledge that I gained from the bug hunt.
Bonus: Alkido. I've installed Alkido and read a bunch of books (epub) on my phone. I read during commute. I haven't found other apps that don't suck (they all ask for way too many permissions, access contacts and information like WiFi, etc, which I find ridiculous).
We also want to improve how we track lessons learned in product development so that when a new project is kicked off the designers can look back at previous dev jobs.
We have used wikis and ticket systems but they are mostly in house built tools. Just wondering if there are more professional grade tools that you have used.
Just like you and your peers have a culture of liking Open Source, macs, etc. he/she likely has a strong bias (culture?) towards Microsoft solution stack.
See if you can get some time on the persons calendar and ask open ended questions about the shift in technology. Rewriting an entire product or changing an IT stack from one tech to another is costly, even more so if 50% of the staff turn-over.
* Does management see this as cheaper?
* Do they value having a vendor they can call and an SLA support contract? Lots of large companies like this - "you can't be wrong in picking IBM" is a joke phrase for a reason.
* Is there some vision they have where they were convinced some tech will enable it? I've seen this too, they get convinced of some new way of doing things by consultants for a company, which comes along with using that companies tech stack. But mgmt doesn't care about the tech stack they care about how it can help the business.
* Does this person view Open Source tech like Node, Go, PHP as "amateur hour"? They could have a strong bias of using stuff from name brand companies.
It probably boils down to the IT Director having a different world-view than you and other devs.
If it's not a mom-n-pop shop trying to save pennies and dimes - it makes sense from CTO standpoint.
Think about it. Can you prove that your current CTO is getting kickbacks? If not, then is it fair for you to talk aloud without having any evidence for your case?
Imagine what would happen if you start this kind of Gossip in your office. May degrade the culture that you value so much.
Now, the CTO seems to be doing what he is supposed to do. I am sure if you were the CTO, you would have wanted your favorite stack to be adopted by as many people under you as possible. Or it could be just that in the grand plan, eventually everyone in your company would have to move on to a single stack.
Maybe your reluctance to MS Stack comes from lack of sufficient knowledge of the stack and the resulting fear of unknown if you are forced onto the stack.
My simple advice to you my friend is this : Don't spread rumors in your workplace based on biases or prejudices and if you don't like the way in which company is headed, you should look elsewhere for places where you will feel better in line with company's vision and its policies.
It's probably a more strategic decision to standardise on one stack.