Author Topic: How can I convince myself I'm not a software developer (and related musings)  (Read 3142 times)

ender

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In my job and past few years, I've written a lot of code and on the whole enjoy it. I am pretty competent at developing and like learning about things. Technically my job position is in engineering, manufacturing engineering to be specific.

The problem is - I don't love the actual work of programming. I like it just fine. I'm good at it. But I don't love it. But I really want what I perceive to be the benefits of it as fits an MMM lifestyle. Considerably higher flexibility in terms of location, hours, and overall career movement.

However, I am good at and actually love the people's side of work much more. I constantly am pondering psychology, how people are motivated, how to manage, how to manage/lead projects, how to facilitate meetings, etc - this is something I love doing. I do this for fun all the time. Understanding the business/people side simply is something I love doing. Especially since I can wield my technical background in this environment as an incredibly powerful career building asset. Project management is definitely the types of things I do naturally and find myself drawn towards. But it doesn't feel like it has as much MMM lifestyle support longer term.

This seems inexplicable to me, but I feel myself desiring the development types of positions I would enjoy/succeed in but primarily because of the non-work related benefits (which aren't necessarily as real as I might hope, anyways). It seems really obvious to me what I love doing and up until this point actually enjoy working at is what I should pursue from a career perspective but for some reason I just feel this compelling, "development is better" perspective.

Any perspective would be appreciated, this sort of thing makes me feel ridiculously absurd for wondering about... can a less technical job be as supportive of a MMM lifestyle? Either fewer hours or working remote? Or am I just crazy.

Gray Matter

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I'm not sure there is one MMM lifestyle.  Perhaps some guiding principals (do what makes you happy, tread lightly on the planet, spend money thoughtfully and on important things).  Mostly I think it's about examining what you want out of your life and your money. 

I love the people side of business as well, so working remotely is not something I would ever consider and I don't think that makes me non-mustachian as long as I strive for the best commute possible.  If you think you'd earn less in project management, you may save less, but making that decision for quality of work life is not inherently anti-mustachian.  I just took a 40% pay cut to do more meaningful work, which may delay retirement by a few years, but I'm OK with that.

That said, good project managers make good money, and though I think it's important to be on site for many of the meetings, I would think you could work remotely some.  Also, if you were independent, you could select projects and take time off in between.  A project manager who gets both the people side of things and the technical side of things would be really valuable.

Good luck with your decision!

Kaminoge

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... can a less technical job be as supportive of a MMM lifestyle? Either fewer hours or working remote? Or am I just crazy.

My understanding is that a MMM lifestyle is one where you are making thoughtful decisions about what actually increases the quality of your life. And (what I think many people on this site fail to understand) is that that's different for all of us. I mean look at MMM, I don't want to get into the "what counts as retirement argument" but keep in mind he actually still works at construction. A job that it would be completely impossible to do remotely. But since he's enjoying it then who cares?

Loads of us on this site work in jobs that don't have many of the benefits that you are focusing on but I don't thing that makes us less Mustachian. Why would I want to trade a job I enjoy (teaching - which has comparitively lousy pay, requires my physical presence at all times and is limited career wise) for something that I wouldn't enjoy (being an actuary for example)? That would make no sense. So I focus on living within my means, saving a reasonable amount and enjoying all the benefits which my career choice does have (including 12 weeks a year of paid holidays...).

There are many paths through life. Find what works for you and don't get distracted by an arbitrary set of rules.


Kaminoge

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I just thought of a story.

One of my colleagues is the theatre teacher. He's great at his job and really seems to enjoy it.

We got chatting the other day and he was telling me that when he wanted to go to university his parents gave him a list of "approved" courses (ie ones they were prepared to fund). All very practical stuff and nothing that fitted with his passions. He took their advice, studied computer science, got a good job in the city in London. Did really well at it, rose quickly, ended up doing a lot of project management and making good money.

Pity he didn't enjoy it at all.

Decided to take a year off and teach English. To cut a long story short he ended up (through a variety of events) working as an English teacher, then as an actor, then realised his passion was fitted to being a theatre teacher. Went back and retrained. Along the way acquired a wife (who he would never have met if he'd stayed in London because she is Brazilian and they met in Rio). Now he's a teacher. Probably no chance of early retirement (he's got a couple of kids now) but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't trade it all for that job in the city and early retirement.

ender

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That said, good project managers make good money, and though I think it's important to be on site for many of the meetings, I would think you could work remotely some.  Also, if you were independent, you could select projects and take time off in between.  A project manager who gets both the people side of things and the technical side of things would be really valuable.

Yeah, I've thought some about this, most project managers are not very technical. It seems a career path in the people side would be easier as a result, something like being a big fish in a small pond.

I wonder if the solution is ultimately a combination of "some work from home, some on site" type of arrangement? That's not necessarily the worst thing in the world either.

My understanding is that a MMM lifestyle is one where you are making thoughtful decisions about what actually increases the quality of your life. And (what I think many people on this site fail to understand) is that that's different for all of us. I mean look at MMM, I don't want to get into the "what counts as retirement argument" but keep in mind he actually still works at construction. A job that it would be completely impossible to do remotely. But since he's enjoying it then who cares?

I think one of the drawbacks in reading this forum frequently is I strive for an ideal "MMM life" not realizing how it looks different in everyone's life.



Kaminoge

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I think one of the drawbacks in reading this forum frequently is I strive for an ideal "MMM life" not realizing how it looks different in everyone's life.

If you don't already I'd recommend reading from a range of sources. There's heaps of these type of websites/forums out there (I often check out other ones I see mentioned on here) and there's also plenty of books (4 Hour Work Week, Your Money or Your Life, The Richest Man in Babylon...) which deal with money type issues but in different ways. I think MMM has some great suggestions but it's no good using his life as an exact template unless you are an exact match (which would be a little creepy).