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Programming Until Retirement? 660

DataDragon asks: "Here's the situation- I'm a now 30something computer programmer in Silicon Valley working for one of the local billion+ dollar tech companies. I'm unhappy with my present job, but am thankful that I've got one. Although I pride myself on having written over a million lines of code in my career, with nearly 15 commercial software products under my belt (8 of them were my own concepts from start-to-finish). I've had carpal tunnel for 6 years now, my skillset looks like it came from a 3 year old magazine, and I didn't make good on stock options. Since settling down in a quiet place somewhere and having a family sounds like a great idea to myself and my bride-to-be, I was wondering: instead of all the buzz I always get like Google's 'Do you <insert technology task> in your sleep?' job opportunities I've read about, are there any employers that would rather have a person who: wants to put in an honest day's work; get to know the job and the people well; and a desire to ultimately be a mentor for the company processes, instead of a here-today-gone-tomorrow programmer, who is interested in actually working there until retirement age?"
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Programming Until Retirement?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:35PM (#11442343)
    You have now outlasted your usefulness to the state. Please report to your nearest execution chamber.
    • by freemacmini ( 852263 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:12PM (#11442669)
      Well you have to make a choice. Are you going to be a programmer or are you going to be a manager. Just because you are a good programmer that does not mean you will make a good manager and vice versa. It's good that you are looking at alternatives though. In this economy I don't think you are expected to stay a programmer all your life. People expect forward progress on your resume and your managers are expecting some sort of an initive. Finally you might have to leave your company. In may companies the chances of upward movement depend on turnover and unless you expect people above you to be retiring or quitting soon you should start looking for other opportunities.
      • Well, as mentioned elsewhere on this thread...

        You can make a living as a programmer but you have to reinvent yourself every 3 years.

        Otherwise you will fall into the trap that you mentioned. Say if you've been doing VB for 5 years, suddenly you are in big competition with everybody else or that type of work is quickly drying out.

        So what do you do, like you say, to show 'forward progress' in your resume? You either take a management job (based on your VB experience) or update yourself (i.e. java, .Net, pe
  • Carpal Tunnel? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GreyWolf3000 ( 468618 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:36PM (#11442348) Journal

    Switch to dvorak!

    Being a programmer, you probably want one of the layouts tweaked for programming (that put braces and stuff in easy locations).

    • Re:Carpal Tunnel? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RGTAsheron ( 844946 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:47PM (#11442450) Homepage
      I'll back GreyWolf on that one. I've been programming for a while and had carpal tunnel. I switched and about a month later no longer had any pain :) Takes about 3 days to switch if you use it alot. Also if you change the keys around while your learning it makes it alot easier.
      • Re:Carpal Tunnel? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by juju2112 ( 215107 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @04:04PM (#11443101)
        I've found the exact opposite to be true. If you switch the physical keys around while you're learning Dvorak, you'll just be tempted to look down at the keys to see where they are. If you look at the keys when you're learning, you're not memorizing their locations, and that's the only way to really learn well.
      • Re:Carpal Tunnel? (Score:3, Interesting)

        I switched to Dvorak for awhile. I liked it in general (although it was a pain to remember where all the symbolic keys were).

        The problem was that I often had to solve a problem at a co-worker's desk and switching between Dvorak and Qwerty was just too hard. The worst case of this was when I had to write some sample code (under time pressure) during a job interview. I didn't get the job (although probably not for that reason).

    • I would like to second the parent and also use one of those gel wrist wrests.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Mousing [nih.gov] is the main aggravator and cause of carpal tunnel syndrome; swapping your keys around is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
  • by jemnery ( 562697 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:37PM (#11442350)
    We've got a runner!
  • Yes, there are. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:37PM (#11442351) Journal
    Yes, there are.

    Get the hell out of Silicon Valley and you'll find it.
    • Haven't found anything like that in Silicon Valley. In the 1980's and earlier, computer programming used to be that kind of job. But the dot.com era changed the field and deathmarches are now common rather than a sign of poor project management or cluess PHBs. Most of the jobs I've seen here are developing software that will eventually be a project. I ended up becoming a Sysadmin and eventually leaving IT altogether.

      If you're having health problems due to typing, I'd look at changing your lifestyle--ei
    • Easier said... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 ( 162816 )

      Get the hell out of Silicon Valley and you'll find it.

      I've been trying to get out of Silicon Valley for a while now. It costs too much to live here, there's lots of air polution, and all pavement and tickytacky boxes wear down the soul. Still, I've been stuck here because this is where the jobs have been.

      Except they're not any more, so I really need to get out. But how do I go about that? I can't just pick up and move somewhere and hope I'll find work. And the labor market is ovesupplied everywhere, so

      • Re:Easier said... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @06:09PM (#11443947) Homepage
        I can't just pick up and move somewhere and hope I'll find work. And the labor market is ovesupplied everywhere, so nobody will even look at a nonlocal resume.

        I experienced the same desire to leave the Silicon Valley coupled with wondering how to do it. I sorta started wanting to leave back in '99... the bust hadn't set in, and paychecks were huge, but I was freaked out by the crash I knew was coming. Then I had a kid, and suddenly I was going deeper into debt every month. Couldn't possibly afford to have another kid there, couldn't even really afford the one I had. No chance of buying a house I wanted. We were one missed paycheck away from not knowing what the hell would happen to us, a scary prospect when working in high tech. Considered moving to the east coast near family, but didn't get a single nibble on the resume as the bust was in full bloom.

        My chance to leave came in an unexpected way. The small company I worked for was acquired by a huge company, and this huge company had a fairly liberal work-from-home policy. I inquired and was told I could work from anywhere I cared to move. Coincidentally enough, my wife's company was simultaneously acquired by a huge company, also with a superb work-from-home policy. We knew we had to take the opportunity, and burned rubber moving to a cheaper state. One with a reasonable job market, and WAY better housing prices and cost of living prices.

        It's been a dream come true. The culture here is much more focused on family. We've had our second kid. We're paying off our debt at a radical clip. We live in a house so nice that we couldn't have even afforded to rent one like it in The Valley. We can now afford to have either one of us lose our jobs for over a year and we'd be fine. And the likelihood is that we'd eventually find worthy replacements for our jobs.

        I feel that we got very lucky, but I do think that in our experience lies the potential seed of a way out for someone like yourself: you could seek work at one of these huge companies (IBM, Oracle, HP, etc) with a particular eye open for prospectively working from home, either right away or perhaps after some amount of time on a project. It may take some time, but the good thing about such an approach is that there's no "cliff" of risk - unlike moving somewhere and hoping you pick up a job right away.

        Best of luck.

    • by akc ( 207721 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @04:29PM (#11443303) Homepage
      I think it depends on what sort of company you are with

      I joined my current employer straight from university in 1972. At the time it was a small software development company, writing bespoke software for customers on a paid basis. They key to a long career in the same firm is to continue to re-invent yourself as the experience kicks in, and the industry changes, and to hope that the company continues to be a success and grows. For it is only the ability to take on more responsibility that allows the company to pay you more for the experience you have gained.

      For the first 6 months I didn't really do any programming, more learning how the business worked (how to write proposals to customers! - when I started I didn't even know what a proposal was). Then I got an assignment at the space centre in Germany for a year, and when I came back I was seen as someone with a little experience. So then, not only did I program (I became the expert in RSX-11M on PDP 11s) but I was also expected to supervise others.

      From there - right until the late 1980s, I combined technical work (not just programming, but as I got more experience I designed more and more complex systems) with project and eventually line management. The more senior I got, the less the technical work involved detail and the more it became strategic.

      Some times this would combine with management responsibility for people (and profit) at other times I was setting technical policy for senior management (I was responsibly for getting networked PCs on to peoples desks in those early days of the PC).

      At the beginning of the 1990s, the ability for our company to win projects in which you wrote a bespoke solution for a customer started to decline, and the new business was more about buying in products and configuring them to meet business requirements. So again, my career and my skill sets had to migrate. This time, it was more about understanding the business needs of the customer and being to select and propose the correct solution. So now my career became a combination of consultancy and pre-sales support. I still had to have a technical knowledge of what was possible, but it was now a long time since I had written serious amounts of software as a programmer, and the knowledge of how business operates and how IT can help it became more important.

      And the type of business is changing again, and as it does so does my role. Business Process Outsourcing (possibly offshore) is where the real volume of business is now. My role therfore is to identify, on a worldwide basis, and in my specific business oriented field (IT necessary to allow competitive electricity and gas markets to work), where the market is spending money, and how our company can bring its experience to win business in the BPO area. I am then called upon to both present these issues to potential customers to help win business, but to also present in public forums (conferences, magazine articles etc) these ideas and why they are sound.

      Each of these steps has been a step away from pure programming. Some steps have been scary (its very nerve racking having to present in public in front of a large audience), but ultimately the fact that you have met the challenge is very rewarding. And so today, I am far removed from the original career. But I am still with the same company, in the IT business, its just that I have changed with the times.

      I have described my career, and I am not alone in the company of having people who have been around for a long time and continue to do (to a greater or lesser degree) technical (from an IT sense) sort of work (there are even more who have migrated into pure management). I don't think any of them do serious programming (although sometimes someone will write a small proof of concept or a quick demonstration for a customer), but somehow there careers have migrated to being the "liaison" between the business world and the technical world. I think all of them would say that its a rewarding type of role.

    • Re:Yes, there are. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DonGar ( 204570 )
      There are places in the valley that give people the freedom to work however they want. Where I am currently, we have a very broad mix.

      A lot of folks (myself included) tend to get in late and work late. Quite a few others work 9-5.

      I've heard people (especially managers) say "go home, enjoy the weekend", or "isn't your wife expecting you?" quite often. Only once or twice have I heard them push to get a specific piece done in a big hurry (usually with very good reason). People do it, but because they choose
  • by drgonzo59 ( 747139 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:37PM (#11442357)
    ...Just gotta move to India
  • FFS! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lachlan76 ( 770870 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:38PM (#11442359)
    Get your carpal tunnel treated!

    You really don't want to damage your wrists. if you are a programmer.
    • Re:FFS! (Score:5, Funny)

      by trotski ( 592530 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:53PM (#11442513)
      You really don't want to damage your wrists. if you are a programmer.

      Especially after you've been married for a few years.
    • by pjt33 ( 739471 )
      Google offers the following definitions of FFS: Fee-for-Service, Flash File System, Federal Supply Schedule, Front des forces socialistes. None of those make sense in context, so would you mind elaborating?
  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alric ( 58756 ) <slashdot@nosPam.tenhundfeld.org> on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:38PM (#11442366) Homepage Journal
    All of the software shops I've worked at or been involved with NEED a person in the role you seek, but none of them wants to pay the salary requisite to get a skilled veteran.

    I wish you luck.
    • if they don't want to pay the salary requisite.. then there must an awful short supply of them, since they can ask for whatever they want, no?

      so then the answer would be yes.

      another thing.. he should be ready to relocate.... and it might be a whole lot cheaper to live in that new place(lower salary might do).
    • Re:Irony (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TrekCycling ( 468080 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:15PM (#11442704) Homepage
      One thing to consider is to lower your expenses. My wife and I were in quite the cherry position about a year ago. over $130,000 a year in salary combined, both of us younger than 28, buying our first house and then I was laid off.

      Our first step? Sell the house. Then start paying off all our debts. We may not "own" a house now (I put that in quotes because we wouldn't have owned it for 30 years), but our expenses are relatively fixed, in the process of moving into an apartment we downsized and simplified our life considerably. And now, if I get the opportunity I can take a job like the above AND take the reduced salary. Because even though we knew money wouldn't buy happiness before, now we're putting this principle to practice and organizing our life such that we don't need that much money to live on. Our debts are getting paid off and we're happy, and that's what matters.

      Do we have HDTV? Not anymore. Do we have a house? Not anymore. Do we have more than 1 computer? Not anymore. But our life is simple. We relax much more. We owe much less and our stress has been halved, both on our bodies and on our minds. Something to think about for those stressing about salaries not being commensurate with skills. Money isn't everything.
  • by jred ( 111898 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:39PM (#11442369) Homepage
    My company writes a specific software app for the banking industry. There isn't a single programmer under 30, few (other than the boss) works more than 45 hours a week, and most have been there 5 years or more.

    It's not all that interesting, but it's a decent job. Just don't expect the megabucks.
    • by hrieke ( 126185 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:10PM (#11442642) Homepage
      I'll expand on this a bit:
      Work in dull fields of business: Banking, Insurance, and the like.
      They're dull because of the government regulations that they have to follow, but in return you usually get a good deal out of it: job security, decent pay & vacation, and fairly good co-workers.
      I work in health insurance. I started with _7_ weeks a year vacation time, plus a fairly hands off boss. Never been so productive in my life nor have I ever had a better job (good work too).
  • Try something new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:39PM (#11442370)
    Have you considered starting your own company? Since you seem to be capable and understand that a good employee is vital to a company's overall success beyond each quarter, maybe you could do well if you did things yourself. You also may have a nest egg if you chose to sell the company as you retire.

    I think more people should consider starting their own company since small businesses have always been a staple of the American economy.

    That's just my 2 cents, so take it with a grain of sand I guess.
    • Re:Try something new (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Arcturax ( 454188 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:49PM (#11442473)
      Not to mention that most big companies will lay you off the moment things go a little sour on the numbers, even while the CEO and others at the top get big fat raises. Gain experience as a corporate slave, but get out and do your own thing as soon as you are able. That is my own goal as I can already see the writing on the corporate wall here, I'm only going to be employable as long as I'm young and naive and willing to work for lower pay. So the sooner I can get into a position where I am my own boss, be it a startup, or consulting when needed, the better.
    • Re:Try something new (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lando ( 9348 ) <lando2+slash&gmail,com> on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:47PM (#11442963) Homepage Journal
      Starting your own business sounds great for someone that has never started their own business... However starting your own business is a pretty big gamble... Sure people succeed in creating their own businesses, but look at the statistics...

      Most entrepreneurs fair starting at least 3 times before starting a successful business. A new business also costs money. It is typically recommended that you have enough money to support the business completely for the first 6 months without making a dime, and again there is no guarentee of success.

      I mention it because it seems that people are flippently responding to start a business... It's a long hard road to start a business.

      Furthermore, look at his requirements as I see them at least.

      Work 9-5 programming
      Steady work/job security

      Working your own business, programming becomes the least of your skills. For example off the top of my head here are some of the requirements you need to run your own business.

      Contract law - Always nice to know what your are agreeing to when you start a job.

      Financing - Most people cannot afford to start their own businesses without outside help.. At the least you need to borrow from friends and family (something I actually recommend against since if the business fails your depleting their nestegg as well as yours) to borrowing from banks.

      Business Management - Always good and probably the skill I recognised as the most needed during my own attempts to run a small business. You need to know the basics of business how to incorporate, how to manage employee's, how to determine what to charge...

      Need to work more than 40 hours a week, small business owners in general tend to work a lot more than 40 hours a week, especially when they are first trying to get the company off the ground... This may very with proper financing, but still you'll likely end up working for more than 40 a week.

      And though not really a knowledge requirement as a small business you must constantly seek work. Try to get customers paying a service fee so that you have regular income from month to month rather than requiring new contracts as each finishes...

      These requirements are for a computer oriented business, if he were to go into another type of business he would have to learn about that type of business...

      So lets review his requirements...

      40 hours week --- Nope note likely
      programming --- Not likely, running the business will take a majority of his time
      Steady work --- Not likely, small business has to constantly seek work and anytime there is a fluctuation in the economy you may face a slowdown in work.
      Job Security --- See steady work...

      So as I see it, starting his own business requires none of his requirements.
      • Re:Try something new (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dingbat2005 ( 852396 ) <yves@che z n o u s s e.com> on Saturday January 22, 2005 @05:21PM (#11443683)
        I dissagree with the sentiment that it is difficult and costly to start a business - in our industry, startup costs are much lower than in any other industry especially if you start with a Home-Office IT/programming related type of business.

        Furthermore ... Job Security is a sham. Any reader of /. would've noticed by now the recurring topic of Offshoring and all the "it happened to me too" postings that are usually generated by these postings.

        The important thing is to start small / part-time and to learn as much as you can about how to start a business (and all that entails) before going full bore.

        The statement that most entrepreneurs fail 2 or 3 times before making it is true - I've been there myself, however if you never try in the first place, that's much more of a waste of potential than anything.

        All the reasons you state for NOT starting a business are valid - to a point. However the rewards are often worth it.

        1) Starting a business (as a Corporation or LLC) has alot of tax advantages. As the original poster and many replies stated - the higher your revenues as an employee, the more the government tears into you. Running a corporation gives you access to financial tools that reduce your tax burden (deductions, deferments, etc ...). You get to declare expenses.

        2) You can then redirect the money you save back into the business or other investments. Usually the only time you have to pay big taxes on that money is at the point where you derive big income from it. Even then - you pay less taxes on Capital Gains than you do on normal salaried income.

        YES - it's risky to start a business. But it's worth it when it works out.

        If you don't want to take any chances, then there's another road to follow ...

        It's called "Voluntary Simplicity". There's a book that everybody should read called "Your money or your life" http://tinyurl.com/4qrlb [tinyurl.com] that to a certain extent has changed my life quite a bit.

        Basically - the whole premise of the book is to reduce your expenses as much as possible, get rid of debt and try to live within your means and better yet, reduce your lifestyle so that you can live within smaller means - when you make more money than it costs you to live - that's when things get really interesting.

        There's another notion that people should have ingrained in them ... pay yourself first. Always automatically put aside a certain amount of money (preferably some place that will give you good interest on the money). The money you put aside from the getgo isn't money you'll be tempted to spend later on.

        In any event ... whatever works for you.

  • Do what you enjoy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:39PM (#11442372)
    If you like programming, keep doing it as long as you can. If you don't like programming, stop immediately and do something you like. This applies to any field. On your deathbed you are not going to be worried about stock options, you are going to wonder if you wasted your life or not.
    • My solution to this is to hire a (young) hitman to kill you at some arbitrary time of his decision within the next 30 years, or whenever the health situation starts to look bleak for you. You're gauranteed never to find yourself in this deathbed scenario!
  • by vladd_rom ( 809133 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:41PM (#11442385) Homepage
    As people grow wiser and more experienced inside a company, they tend to move upwards towards mentoring/management-like activities.

    Probably because their experience with coding makes them more suitable for taking decisions regarding project lead and also more suitable for giving answers to questions (in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over again).

    I've noticed that most companies do this - use their internal pool of experienced programmers in order to push them into mentoring/management positions, instead of throwing the management openings at the public and accepting CVs for it.

    On one side, it's a good practice, because only those with previous experience inside the company will have access to those places, and by the time they get there they should know the process inside out. On the other hand, not throwing those positions towards the public makes them lose a full range of potential employees.
    • Often (in fact usually) programmers make the worst managers. I hate companies that try to force reluctant techies into pen-pushing jobs.... the best companies avoid this.

      It's a totally different progression - Junior Manager -> Senior Manager is parallel to Junior Programmer -> Senior Programmer not part of the same progression (I'd expect a Senior Programmer to be paid more than a Junior Manager for a start).
    • On the other hand, not throwing those positions towards the public makes them lose a full range of potential employees.

      Those companies are going to get head-hunters to recruit qualified people from their competitors, or from somebody who has written a book in their field of specialty rather than advertise such positions publicly.
    • Some companies support movement between the "dual ladders" and have positions for very senior engineers. Certainly Siemens had that: my cheif software architect (hi Russell!) was such, and my current employer does too.

      My former Director at Geac, Jacob Slonim, had a standard policy to keep people engaged, learning and growing in value to both themselves and the company: If you went for a promotion on the tech ladder, he'd second you to the business/management side for at least a quarter. A programmer got t

    • *bzzzzzz* wrong answer!

      Having worked in such situations, my experience is that such "promotions" usually end up being bad for the company, the promoted employee, and the poor bastards who get assigned to the new manager. Please refer to the Peter Principle [wikipedia.org] and its corollary, the Dilbert Principle [wikipedia.org].

      Most good s/w engineer types seem to have poor personnel management skills, probably due to careers of deeply detailed, logic driven work. Managing people means delegating (i.e, ignore the details), and hand

  • Tiny businesses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:41PM (#11442387)
    Go to some small businesses that have maybe less than 50 people or so and get them to be more productive by employing all kinds of tech(lease them a server, get some SMS going to their cell phones, smooth out their email, voicemail, etc). It has worked for me. You have to do a lot of different things besides programming, but that is OK. You get to know some people and if you are any good at all, they will love you. You won't make as much as at some billion dollar company and there is some on-callness to it, but you can live.
  • by SteveX ( 5640 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:43PM (#11442411) Homepage
    Larger companies generally have more process and more overhead, but they also have more people who are in it for the long haul, and thus aren't working overtime every day.

    There's always periods where you need to put in time, but in a small company those are the norm; in a big company (I'm talking 10k or more people here) it's more normal to work something close to a regular work day.

    Think IBM, government, HP, Kodak..
    http://www.stevex.org/longtail [stevex.org]
    • by stevesliva ( 648202 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @04:25PM (#11443273) Journal
      Larger companies generally have more process and more overhead, but they also have more people who are in it for the long haul, and thus aren't working overtime every day.
      I think large IT companies--other than Microsoft-- are trying to change that, and they do it at their peril, given the old adage that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. (I normally knock MS for its myopia in all other areas, but I'd say it does its employees well, at least for the time being.) You see this in the move from traditional pensions to portable 401ks and IRAs, fewer stock options, and declining benefits. Large companies no longer want you for life. They want you for now, and they want YOU to insure your future.
  • Alternative jobs. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by srothroc ( 733160 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:43PM (#11442414) Homepage
    You might consider looking for a job at a college or University - the smaller ones in the suburbs often offer a very nice family atmosphere and stable job. I think you would be surprised how far your experience would go in a situation like that; they need people who have skills and who can also communicate well with non-techies - i.e., students and the people who deal with the students. If you have database and/or PHP/ASP skills, you could try to join a web-development team for an academic institution; if not, you could learn them or find another software/technology-based position to apply for at one. I highly recommend it, though - if not for the atmosphere and stability, but also for the free courses. Many institutions allow employees to take courses for free, something that's definitely worth looking into if you're interested in learning. Good luck!
  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:44PM (#11442418) Journal

    In short, your looking for work and you thought /. would be a good place to advertise with a cunningly disguised 'Ask Slashdot.'

    Well that's okay, good luck to you.

    By the way, I'm very self-motivated, a genius in C++ and Python and I could probably squeeze the odd small or non-urgent project in.... ;)
  • My Take (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TempusMagus ( 723668 ) * on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:44PM (#11442421) Homepage Journal
    I am a partner in a small and very sucessful development shop with a staff of about 5 people and to be honest what you describe you are less likely to find as the size of the company increases.

    It's impossible to find that honest open warmth where companies have employees whose primary task is the result of the company being large, i.e. a beauracracy.

    Conversely, many smaller companies are not as capitalized as larger companies so the long-term propects may not be as bright. Then again, most of the people I know working at smaller companies have been there longer than many folks I know working at big companies.

    You might want to consider starting your own company with others who share your vision.

  • Ongoing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:45PM (#11442423) Homepage
    Logistical offices that do things like accounting, customer service, tech support, call centers, etc are the ones that want someone that will put in an honest days work, be friendly, professional, etc. They'll probably rarely expect you to work long hours, and probably not expect any kind of creativity from you.

    Programming jobs, however, are by their very nature, rushed. The company wants the product out the door as fast as it can, so it can start harvesting the rewards. The problem is, they don't want an honest day's work. They want you to work a month at 12 hour days and then either forget about you, or start the 'honest days work' thing while looking for a way to fire you for the next set of gung-ho youngsters willing to forego their lives for 'experience' and 'adequate compensation'
  • by stdin ( 91760 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:45PM (#11442424)
    I'm a 30something programmer myself. I have worked for several tech companies in NorCal (startups that went nowhere), and after an 8 month stint of being unemployed I landed a programming job (mostly Perl no less) at a local CSU. Now I'm happy, I get lots of "perks" (Conferences, Training, etc.), and nobody busts my nuts when I "only" work 8 hours a day. I have good benefits, a good retirement & job stability (unless Schwartznegger screws me), and I work with good people who appreciate my work.
    • I second that. After working for a few large companies, an unstable startup, and one company on a perpetual deathmarch track, my current job as a university all around IT guy is stable, enjoyable, 8-5, and has excellent perks. In particular, our retirement plan is absolutely ridiculous (in a good way) compared to anything I've seen in the corporate sector. I've found the educational environment itself to be a lot more rewarding. You do things to help people, not a bottom line.
  • Totally... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Unreal One ( 21453 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:46PM (#11442436)
    I've spent the past 7+ years working for a relatively small not-profit company and have had a great experience, as well as a lot of impact on the direction of technology in the company. This positive experience seems to be a thread through everyone in my department.

    I'd definately recomend non-profit, or local government organizations as a good place for programmers to spend many years. You won't become a millionaire overnight, but it's good pay, good promotion, working with people you get to know for YEARS, reasonable hours, and probably much lower stress compared to private development houses.
  • Yeah (Score:4, Funny)

    by fizban ( 58094 ) <fizban@umich.edu> on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:46PM (#11442439) Homepage
    Get a doctoral degree, find an academic institution that will fund your work, get tenure and then live out the rest of your life in peace and happiness, all the while contributing your knowledge and wisdom to the next generation of engineers.
  • by edanshekar ( 656936 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:46PM (#11442444)
    I'm not sure if you're refering to your own desire to find a company that you can happily work for till retirement, or asking if there are companies like that out there.

    There are plenty of companies that'd love to have an employee with as much experience as you've mentioned, and in addition, someone with the desire to work for the long term. Projects from start to finish are one thing, but people aren't sticking around for the long haul like they did generations back.

    With outsourcing and mega job opportunities still pumping stock options and elevated pay (check Monster, there ARE companies actively seeking engineers and programmers, offering hugh pay incentives) people are jumping ship when it suits them, even if there seems to be a dearth of jobs for those of us w/o them.

    Company mentalities are different in this post .com era, but I'm sure if you look hard and study well, you'll find someone who'd be as happy to keep you around till a ripe old age (again, DO research any company you're going to sign on with, talk to people who work there, read up on them a ton) and let your program your ass off till retirement.
  • It's no coincidence that Cali spends among the lowest in the US per capita on education, and on adult education. With a constant influx of immigrants, and eager new college grads, why bother paying to nurture talent in-house when you can externalise the costs? Embedded in this milieu, the Silicon Valley companies have absorbed much of this culture: get em young, work em hard, get rid of them when they begin to get a clue, replace them with new recruits with the latest buzzy skills. Rinse and repeat.
  • Gov job (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jbplou ( 732414 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:47PM (#11442454)
    Get a state or federal gov job. They don't merge or get bought out. They are much more secure than private sector tech jobs. Jobs at colleges can be that way too. But it depends some tech jobs at colleges can have there funding pulled out from under them. The programming most likely won't be exciting but your looking for stability more than cutting edge tech.
  • Companies today, especially the billion+ dollar ones (I work for one too), are only interested in making next quarters numbers for the stockholders. Mentoring implies they are going to continue to hire local engineers that you could mentor. What I see happening is companies are only hiring interns locally for grunt work while laying off the rest, while all but the most senior hires are in India and China, with the trend moving to China (why pay $20k for an engineer when you can pay $5k?) The job responsi
  • Based on my experience you need to change the way you're doing things. Not happy with the employers you've had, rethink the way you find jobs.

    This life lesson is from my wife. She was married and divorced before we met. One of the things she noticed was that all of her relationships headed the same way - to disaster. So she consciously changed the way she dated. She forced herself to look for a different type of man, to look in different places for dates. We've been married well over a decade.

    It s

  • the pay isnt great, but the benefits rock, and they are usually VERY VERY stable jobs. No need to worry about being outsourced to india.
  • Carpal Tunnel (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:50PM (#11442476)
    Carpal Tunnel syndrome is now widely thought to be a "brain" problem...

    Typing does not require accurate position of the fingers - so long as you hit the "a" key, it doesn't much matter how you hit it.. Over time the brain doesnt bother to take care over which nerves are activated/sensed, because it appears not to matter. Unfortunately, it does!

    The consequence of this careless activation of "roughly the right nerves" is what is called Carpal Tunnel.

    The cure is to relearn accurate use of the nerves. One of the best ways of doing this has been found to be to learn hand embroidery! Old fashoned watchmaking (or repairling iPods/mobile phones) would probably work too. Most exercise or sports, which require force but little accuracy, will make matters rapidly worse.

    • Re:Carpal Tunnel (Score:3, Informative)

      by epiphani ( 254981 )
      Uhm, Carpal Tunnel is caused by doing any repetative action when your hand is above your wrist. (Hard to describe). Take your arm, and stick it straight out from your body. Now without moving your arm, point up.

      Often, computer folks type on a keyboard which is not flush with their desk. The keyboard sits on the desk, and your wrist sits on the desk too. Thus, your hands are "above" your wrists.

      The opposite is playing guitar. Your wrist is all bent down in order to hit the notes, and this causes tend
    • Re:Carpal Tunnel (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Bullshit. The problem is that humans are animals that are supposed to work hard, run and fight in the freaking forest. Our musculo-skeletal system works best when fully utilized in complete movements. The kind of hovering over a keyboard and tapping at keys stuff puts constant low-level strain on joints and muscles, which is not what the human body is meant for.

      The solution to carpal tunnel is WORK HARDER. Ie, hit the fucking gym and do weights, this will contract muscles fully and help get rid of lactic a

      • Mod parent up! (Score:3, Informative)

        by robinjo ( 15698 )

        The parent coward really knows what (s)he's writing about. I'd only like to add one more thing: Don't rest your hands while you type. Let your arms move around the keyboard. Your elbows can rest on the chair though.

    • Re:Carpal Tunnel (Score:4, Informative)

      by kardar ( 636122 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:51PM (#11442994)
      There's probably a connection between the vitality of your body, mind, and spirit as a whole and the vulnerability you will have to carpal tunnel, but the simple facts are that you do need the equipment - without the equipment, you're taking many steps back.

      A good chair (which costs right around $1000), with good armrests. A good trackball (approx $100), a good keyboard ($200-$1000+). Per employee costs are unacceptable for most people, they would rather just treat you as a disposable tool than a human being.

      The secret is to get to the point where you can have these nice things; and there is no way that you can get these with any amount of certainty if you keep switching jobs over and over. Unfortunately, there are very few things that you can recommend to "the masses", because that's what government is supposed to do.

      I guess even a Logitech trackball, a Microsoft Natural Keyboard, and perhaps some sort of buckwheat pillow or other back-saving device you can purchase for yourself might get you through if you really need the job.

      Disability will get you 65% of what your wage is, and you won't be eligible for that money unless you allow "them" to do surgery on you and so on. Your source of money will be tied to being completely at the mercy of doctors perhaps not even of your own choosing, any refusal or exercise of your rights to refuse medical treatment will leave you liable for any and all money you have recieved up to that point.

      Let's face it - it's not hard to understand - computers have been with us yet a very short time; it's probably best to try to get a job where you can either have the "clout" to get the tools to do the job right and not hurt yourself, or just get a job where you use the computer as little as possible. Either that, or you can get a not-so great paying job having others do completely unnecessary surgery on you. Well, completely unnecessary except for as a means for your employer to save on per-employee costs.

      I became concerned about RSI before I got any symptoms at all; and I found some Northgate split keyboards on e-bay for a good price, got myself a Bodybilt chair, and built myself a custom desk with a fancy articulating keyboard tray I purchased at the local university's clearance sale. I can pretty much type all day, very comfortably - although I do take breaks often because that's what is recommended that you do.

      It's all in the tools you use to accomplish your job, and it also has something to do with your physical, mental, spiritual, emotional health as a whole.

      This is a brave new world we have with computers everywhere in the past few decades - lots of bugs still need to be worked out. One shouldn't for a minute think that anybody actually has thought about any of this stuff or done any kind of research or even had time to worry about it.

      There's lots of info on the web, just keep searching - spend a lot of time searching, reading Google groups, etc... you'll get the big picture eventually.

    • Re:Carpal Tunnel (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spectecjr ( 31235 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @05:16PM (#11443649) Homepage
      Carpal Tunnel syndrome is now widely thought to be a "brain" problem...

      You're making the assumption that most cases are actually carpal tunnel syndrome, and not a misdiagnosis.

      Simple test:
      if you have carpal tunnel pain, wet a hand towel with warm water. Push it into the armpit on the affected arm. Push your arms to your sides, using the pressure to hold the towel in place.

      If it's carpal tunnel, this won't affect the pain. In most cases, however, this alleviates pressure and inflammation on the nerve which runs through your armpit (it's not well protected and is very prone to being pinched, especially if you have any soft tissue swellings.
  • You seem to be the exact kind of guy they like. Tons of experience, willing to work in a team. Now add "passion for technology" to this, and good coding skills (which I'm sure you have) and you'll get hired. If you're lucky, you'll even get an interesting job. You won't get rich on stock options , though, because there aren't any.
  • Start a small company. This company will buy product in bulk and sell it to individual consumers.

    I would suggest crack as your first product.
  • by jsimon12 ( 207119 ) <tzzhc4NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:52PM (#11442500) Homepage
    I remember talking to an older engineer back in 2001 (when tech was crumbling and people were losing jobs) at the giant tech company I was working at. His advice was that these cycles are normal (I think he said he had been through 3 or 4? like the most recent, he was pushing 60) and if you want to remain in the tech industry you need to get used to basically relearning and retooling and regular layoffs. So unless you want to learn a new skill or language every 5 years or don't like dealing with industry ebb and flow then maybe you should look at going back and getting and MBA, there is always room for more managment ;)
  • Yeah, I think the key is not to work for a software development company. Rather, work for a company that needs a software developer. There's lots of development jobs to be had in companies whose primary products may not directly have anything to do with software. That's where you'll find your job security -- and I'm not necessarily talking about IT.

    I work at a small company that develops specialized computer chassis, motherboards, and a few peripherals. Those peripherals often need embedded code develo
  • At long last, a good question on Ask Slashdot. I hope you get the information you want.
  • by mpechner ( 637217 ) * on Saturday January 22, 2005 @02:55PM (#11442528) Homepage
    If you feel you are 3 years out of date, then you've have fallen into a trap. Unlike many professions, this one requires you reinvent yourself every 3 years. Was JSP, now Struts or velocity. Was java collections, now Java 1.5 templates. If you aren't reading a few books a year. Or selling your boss on a technology you want to learn this is what happens.

    You must read and have the spare machine to play with. You must at least browse Dr. Dobbs.

    This is why my resume is upto date after 22 years.

    Now that the y2k issues are dea and gone, Cobol programmers now most commonly say, "So that was a Non fat decaf latte....?"

    Can't turn into the guy that in 1993 walked out of a presentation I gave on Visual Basic because he did not know what a mouse was. This is a true story.

  • Why not be your own firm? Or start one? Find the location where you'd most like to live. Your choice is bound to be similar to other intelligent people such as yourself, who will be showing up in the next few years if they aren't a major factor there already. If there are several choices otherwise equal, take the most affordable place to live. That will be the one attracting more of the "creative economy" types, and so have the greater long-term upward potential. Buy a house. Settle in an make social connec
  • Sounds like you want to be a boss now.
  • My now ex-girlfriend's Dad used to work for IBM and got carpal tunnel.

    He got out of the tech industry completely, bought property and became a landlord. Last I heard, he does renovations and fixes stuff and has plenty of time for other things. While this doesn't sound like the right path for you, I wanted to offer proof of the possibility of a career change for some of your aforementioned reasons.
  • I work for one... Workforce software (http://www.workforcesoftware.com). They make time and attendance software for large companies (1000+). They expect people to work hard and know how to program (99% of the people who apply can't write code), but they treat their employees well and value loyal people.

    On a sidenote, you could try therapeutic massage. That and a split keyboard eliminated my tendonitis (I thought it was carpal tunnel).
  • I've got one word for you.... "defense". There is a real need for people who know software design for large projects, and government contracts for some large projects.
  • I'm a Junior at a 4 year college...

    When I entered, i was able to narrow down in a fraction of a second my choices:

    - Business MIS
    - Computer Science

    I went with Business MIS for several reasons:

    1. Outsourcing is there to stay, like it or not. They outsource programmers, but managment will likely stay put. MIS wins

    2. MIS has more room to grow into upper management in stable companies. MIS wins

    3. MIS has a signifigant business background, and can be applied to non-technology industries if needed. MI
  • Depending on what you know and what you want to do, you can find that kind of job. If you want something that looks like job security, learn COBOL and mainframe programming, and/or AS/400. Those jobs will never die. Move to places like Columbus OH or Hartford CT, work for something like an insurance company. Exciting, no. But you can spend a lot of time writing code.

    If you want to keep doing interesting things, you have to learn new skills. Java/JUnit/XP; C#/.Net; I see a fair lot of ads for Python.
  • are there any employers that would rather have a person who: wants to put in an honest day's work; get to know the job and the people well; and a desire to ultimately be a mentor for the company processes, instead of a here-today-gone-tomorrow programmer, who is interested in actually working there until retirement age?"

    Yes, but not likely in programming/IT/CS. Why not?

    College kids type fast, they know their stuff from programming classes, there's plenty of them, and they work for ramen noodles.

    Have y

  • Carreer Paths (Score:3, Interesting)

    by painandgreed ( 692585 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:08PM (#11442633)

    Nobody seems to be interested in career employees these days. The few people that are career seem to have settled into their jobs over many years and have stability due to politics rather than skill or even need. If you're looking for stability, you might try to look for a job in a city, state or national government. They're about the only ones that expect to be around later without mergers, buy outs or out sourcing(well, they do look at that but not as much as normal companies).

    For your decreased skill set, wrist problems, and unhappyness with your job, I'd say you need to look at management. You're experienced and if you're a people person, you could take a few Project Management classes to impress the suits, brush up on your power point and become one of those people that go to meetings all day so the people who do the actual work don't have to.

  • by ToasterTester ( 95180 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:18PM (#11442735)
    >>>> I've read about, are there any employers that would rather have a person who: wants to put in an honest day's work; get to know the job and the people well; and a desire to ultimately be a mentor for the company processes, instead of a here-today-gone-tomorrow programmer, who is interested in actually working there until retirement age?

    You find a place like that let me know. I will be out of work in a couple weeks. The company I work for lost the contract and new company is only keeping the young/cheap. The old company is using this opportunity to clear out some people since they are moving a lot of work overseas.

    That is what you will be fighting. Outsourcing and young people trying to get a start in the industry willing to work around the clock for half your salary.

    Now some companies instead of going out of the country are moving to state with heavy unemployment and low taxes and opening up shop. But others like the big three letter company I work for are opening up center in Brazil to cut costs.

    Just look at the marketing coming from the big computer companies they are trying to bring back the glass house approach to computing. Let them supply the computers, SA's, developers, and so on . That way you only play for these skills as you need them, why hire them long term.

    So you have a good job hang on to it. If you're as good as you say let other companies know you're looking. Let them recruit you, then you will get a deal worth accepting.
  • by John Murdoch ( 102085 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:22PM (#11442761) Homepage Journal

    The short answer to your question is, "yes." There are companies that want experience, leadership, and mentoring skills. There are companies that want experienced leadership to guide and direct younger minds (and younger wrists) in developing software. And no, Virginia, those companies are not all moving their jobs to India.

    Focus on the technology, or on the business?
    Programmers I've worked with over the years have tended to follow one of two tracks: focus on the technology, or focus on the business. If you focus on the technology, your skills are portable: the risk you take, however, is that your portable skills may be supplanted by a newer, better-marketed technology. (Case in point: Powersoft's PowerBuilder, which was all the rage ten years ago, and has all but disappeared from the marketplace.) To adopt a focus-on-the-technology view, you're committing to a permanent learning curve--and to constantly having to evaluate which of the new technologies are most likely to be worth pursuing.

    Your question sounds to me like you're looking for the other tack: focusing on the business. In that role you're still working with the technology--but you're focused on how to improve the business. You're more technologically-agnostic: you know more about the specifics of the business than any particular tool.

    The key: find a company that views you as an asset, not a cost
    If you've been doing contract work, you're focused on the technology. And you've probably worked for a number of companies that view you as just another piece of meat to put in front of a computer to type code. To them, you're an expense. Far, far better is to find a company that views information technology as an asset--that says "if we do what we do better, smarter, faster, we have a competitive advantage." Those companies will, in turn, challenge you to do more, learn more, and offer more.

    Where I work...
    I work in Engineering, not in Information Systems--developing new products. The company very definitely wants me to do more, much more, of what I'm doing. From an accounting standpoint my work is booked as a depreciable asset--not as a line item on the expense ledger. I'm 46--while I still do quite a bit of coding (and I'm at work now, coding Transact-SQL for a big project), a lot of my day is spent teaching, coaching, and encouraging young programmers.

    Want a gig like mine?
    Some thoughts:

    • Avoid publicly-traded companies (#1): an executive suite change can turn a tech-focused corporation into yet another SAP zombie. Layoffs will soon follow.
    • Avoid publicly-traded companies (#2): If the executive suite geniuses make a mistake, stock analysts will demand a "rebound." Which means layoffs will soon follow.
    • Look for companies for whom the technology is central, not peripheral, to what they do: for example, this former client [eplinc.com] provides data services to small credit unions. Money they spend on programmers and technology is an investment in their product, not an expense to be avoided. And in the event that the company is acquired by somebody else, you're part of the product that they're acquiring.
    • Look for companies that are focused on growth. They will also always be focused on looking into future technologies--which makes it easy to stay focused on new technology as well.
    • Even if you focus on the business, focus on the technology! We live in a changing world, that changes at an ever-faster pace. Very few companies existing in 2005 will be here in 2025--and you're probably not going to retire until 2030 or later. Do not get so focused on the company that you lose sight of the technology--nothing is so agonizing as seeing senior IT guys from a now-bankrupt steel company begging for jobs; and having nothing to show on a resume except having coded in COBOL fifteen years ago.

    Is this just a young man's game?
    I think you'll see

  • by briancnorton ( 586947 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:28PM (#11442808) Homepage
    The federal government works on amazingly diverse and exciting software development projects, and they are looking for people EXACTLY like you. You can make a lot more than normal GS-payscale people, and get to work on incredibly interesting and unique projects. I'm sure that Military and intelligence agencies do some REALLY neat stuff, and you could be a part of it. You also get a real feeling of serving your country. The benefits are REALLY good, and if you plan right, you can make out quite well in retirement.
  • get out, get out (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DuctTape ( 101304 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:41PM (#11442906)
    Not having read any of the other comments, and I hope that I'm not sounding too cynical here, but I think that you have outlived your usefulness and you need to leave the profession.

    I believe that most companies think that they can hire any codemonkey out of college to do what you can do (but their's will need massive rework/refactoring) in 10x the time, even though they're only 1/2 to 1/3 the cost. Plus the older you get, the more time you're going to want to spend with your family (you did manange to pick up one of those along the way, didn't you?), and then there's other outside interests, like neighborhood associations and other civic and church (or Cthulhu) functions. Oh yeah, the older you get, the more time you're going to need for medical visits, and there's a health club in your future where you'll injure yourself once or twice a year.

    And do you really want to continue working in software? Especially with the hours and working conditions? You have to face it, one cannot easily estimate how long software takes to get done (and I'll address that later), and since developers are some of the most optimistic people in the world, you'll invariably end up staying late about 1/3 to 1/2 of the time, especially if a PHB takes everybody's estimates and cuts them by a third, 'cuz he knows you can do it!

    Unless you can find yourself one of the few jobs open at a big software shop like IBM where they have people that hopefully do a good job at estimating effort (and I had a buddy there that they didn't, and he had to essentially work 1 year of 60-hour weeks), you'll end up working at a small coding shop where they'll have to make optimistic projections to get the contract, and hence you're working late... again! And if you work at a place where software isn't the main product, you'll have clueless PHBs that are unable to figure out that software indeed *does* take that long to do, and why aren't you coding yet??!?

    The folks that I know that are older and are making it in software have made names for themselves, have written one or more books, attend OOPSLA where they're presenters or panelists, or are otherwise looked upon as gurus. The rest of them are scraping along, waiting for the axe to fall... again. The true failures I know are those that don't want to update their skill set, or have truly vertical knowledge and are unable/unwilling to move to where their market is.

    Unless a young person I know has true passion for software, and is willing to do the Software Engineering thing, which they used to not emphasize enough in undergrad, I tell them to find something else to do since unless they trip on the pot o' gold (and I know a guy that's been doing MS Access programming from home on a government contract for the past 10+ years that has been pulling in six figures the entire time), they're not going to make it on less-than-passion.

    Now, where do you go from here? Hmmm... that's a really good question. As soon as I know, I'll let you in on it.


    • by MmmDee ( 800731 )
      Interesting read and I can't agree more (speaking as a mid-40's year old former software engineer then manager). It's definitely hard to devote the necessary time in IT toward keeping up with changing technology and business practices while simultaneously devoting more time to family and community activities.
  • by rdean400 ( 322321 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:44PM (#11442939)
    The problem with working somewhere until retirement is that companies and employees are becoming less loyal to each other. Companies will cut staff to save a few bucks and employees will often bolt to wherever they can find the biggest paycheck. Certainly there are a few places where an employee could catch on with a company and work until retirement, but they're becoming harder to find.

    I've had fairly good experience with SMB's that write their own applications or need to customize packaged software. In my experience these have been less deadline-driven environments with less stress as a result. The difference may be that for these businesses, software is a business enabler, rather than the business itself.
  • Yes, absolutely (Score:4, Informative)

    by LadyLucky ( 546115 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @03:59PM (#11443064) Homepage
    We're hiring right now. The commute to New Zealand might be a killer, but we've got plenty of people that are not killing themselves each night (and a few that do).

    http://www.orionhealth.com/careers.htm [orionhealth.com]

    See you at the interview!

  • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Saturday January 22, 2005 @04:01PM (#11443079)
    I've worked commercial and academic. All of those were fun and interesting, but some (mostly commercial) demanded long hours. That late-night work never resulted in the promised recognition.

    Now I work for a govt. research lab. Although money is sometimes tight, and the paperwork is sometimes a pain in the butt, there are some really nice things about it:

    - The pay is good (not mind blowing, but quite good).
    - I work with some of the smartest people I've ever worked with. Almost everyone has a master's degree, and a good fraction have their PhDs.
    - The job stability is pretty good (although no guarantees)
    - Because of the stability, I can feel free to dedicate my efforts to learning the problem domain, rather than staying abreast of each new glitzy programming language. I.e., I can focus on my current job rather than always focusing on being sellable in case I'm laid off.
    - If you land the right job, you get the sense that you're work actually goes to help people, rather than just line the pockets of some rich sociopathological CEO. That's a nice feeling.

    Maybe the most important thing is the regular hours. If you're planning on having kids, it's great for them to expect you home every night for dinner and for you to actually show up. Kids thrive with that kind of stability and with your actually being around when they're awake. They only have one childhood - don't miss it. A slightly more exciting career isn't worth it.
    • by sparkz ( 146432 )
      Getting home in time to see the kids is the best part of my day. When I'm away from home, or just too late home, I miss out on another day of their lives.
      That's a big hit. Okay, I got Customer X's network running smoothly, but little B and baby E didn't see me that day - and I didn't see them. As a one-off, that's okay. Day-to-day, I don't see my role of father as "leave home before the kids are up, get back after they're in bed; maybe see them for a while on the weekend." That is not parenthood.

      A job I w

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant