are you afraid?

Well, you should be.

People in IT tend to complain about their jobs a lot. The most common themes, in no particular order, are:

  • Job is boring.
  • Job is too well paid to find a better one.
  • Boss is annoying.
  • Overworked (for no apparent reason).
  • Corporations suck, but I feel to comfortable to find a startup job.

One thing is notably missing: no one complains about being afraid, EVER. The only emotion there is boredom. People simply get stuck in their less-than-ideal jobs and stay there, often for years. When asked about the possibility of finding something better, they dismiss it as too disruptive. How lazy is that?

If you find quitting your comfortable IT job too hard, too disruptive, too risky, you’re not reasonable or sensible – you’re just plain lazy. If you don’t feel afraid, you’re not pushing your limits far enough. And if you feel bored, you’re not pushing them at all.

sixteen hours.

Things become radically different once you quit your daily job. The first thing you’ll notice is how much time you actually have.

Working a daily job, there’s simply no way to experience this degree of freedom. When you have a job, days generally fall in one of those three categories:

  • Working day. 8 hours sleep, 8 hours work, 2 hours commute, 6 hours left to do whatever you want/have to do. These 6 hours have dozens of things competing for them; balancing them is an art in itself. Also, this gets expontentially harder once you have kids.
  • Weekend day. 8 hours sleep, 16 hours divided between: resting, spending time with friends/family and doing whatever you wanted to do during the week but had no time to.
  • Day off. 8 hours sleep, 16 hours frantically trying to get as much rest as possible.
  • If you’re a heavy drinker (like I once used to be), there’s also a fourth kind: the hangover day. It consists of 8 hours of crappy, restless sleep and 16 hours of suffering.

How does your schedule compare to mine?

  • A day. 8 hours sleep, 16 hours doing whatever I want or need to do.

Unless I’ve committed to meeting a deadline (and it’s approaching), I have complete freedom to choose whatever I want to do. Days of week no longer matter that much – and weekends actually become a bit annoying because stores are closed.

The best thing about living in a free schedule is that I no longer wait for anything. Renovating my flat used to take pathetically long because I could only paint the walls during weekends (it’s just plain unwise to paint without daylight). Now I can work during the afternoon every day and put off coding until late evening – which is the best time to code anyway.

A nice side effect of not waiting is that there’s almost no backlog. I used to have a fat TODO list with things which really should be done; right now I just do whatever needs doing next – and things rarely stay on the TODO list for more than three days. Also, doing some side project no longer involves waiting for free time – unless there’s a deadline, I just sit down and do whatever strikes my imagination. This is the right way of living if you’re an artist – and building open source software is, indeed, an art.

Having my full sixteen-hour day back is something I’ll not give up easily.