surume 5 days ago

I LOVE my job!! I am a Front-End developer who specializes in React and Next.JS applications, and I usually spend my days building and fixing new marketing websites for Fortune 500 companies like Toyota, Mazda, Coca Cola, McDonalds, etc

The problem is, I have a rather low intellect. My IQ is medium/low, so I am not capable of solving complex algorithms, and my brain processing power is nowhere near some of the other guys that I work with, so I can't build truly incredible feats of engineering like 3d rendering engines or voice recognition systems.

And yet, despite my shameful lack of smarts, I feel truly satisfied by my job, because it is the right fit for my capabilities. I build and fix UI's, have a fantastic manager, am supported by a positive and helpful team which practices positive communication strategies, and regularly get rewarded with compliments for my work.

I'm not a big fish swimming in a small pond, nor am I a small fish swimming in a big one - my pond and I are in balance, and there are no sharks or parasites in it, and that keeps me happy every day.

Please God one day they will invent a therapy that will give me Einstein's IQ. Until then, this will have to do. Hope this helps.

  • windowshopping 5 days ago

    > The problem is, I have a rather low intellect. My IQ is medium/low, so I am not capable of solving complex algorithms, and my brain processing power is nowhere near some of the other guys that I work with, so I can't build truly incredible feats of engineering like 3d rendering engines or voice recognition systems.

    You need to forever stop worrying about your IQ. You will become happier, more capable, and more confident the moment you realize that your abilities, individuality, and worth cannot be reduced to a number calculated by a series of similarly formulaic logic puzzles. You don't have to be Einstein to make contributions to the world. When you are stuck thinking that way, there will always be someone smarter and more impressive and you will never be happy.

  • dgrr19 5 days ago

    I refuse to know my IQ because it would limit myself on the process of achieving something. Don't think about it. I live in Europe, I have no degree, which for many is a career killer, but I managed to work for 2 US companies and one trading company developing actual trading systems, and I am trying to make my own. Some people would consider me smart, but I don't think I am, I just like to go step by step solving problems. So just don't think about it. You'll achieve what you want to with effort, don't limit yourself.

    • badpun 5 days ago

      IQ is just one thing. I've scored highly on similar tests of math and verbal aptitude, but I have poor memory and have very little energy. These two (especially the energy) limit me to only the simple and, most importantly, non-demanding coding jobs, i.e. enterprise software backend work.

    • WheelsAtLarge 5 days ago

      This 100%. You love your job and you're happy. You hit the lottery. I've read about high IQ individuals that just couldn't make life work for them for what ever reason. IQ is not that important to succeed in life. Please don't focus on it. Just learn to fight the projects one bit at a time until you get them done.

      I advice you to read about Richard Feynman's way to learn. It will help you get past your perceived limitations. You should also read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

      Congrats on your job satisfaction.

  • xupybd 5 days ago

    You're probably much smarter than you give yourself credit for. You are achieving at a very high level.

    • thorvaldsson 5 days ago

      I concur.

      It sounds like the coworkers are perhaps more knowledgeable in some areas, rather than necessarily having higher IQ's.

      And getting to work with people who are more knowledgeable than you is exactly where you want to be.

      Never be the smartest person in the room (unless I guess if you are trying to sell or buy something).

      • mcv 5 days ago

        IQ doesn't mean everything. Some people with very high IQs are terrible at making use of them. Theoretical smarts aren't always as practical as practical smarts.

  • xdfgh1112 5 days ago

    > My IQ is medium/low, so I am not capable of solving complex algorithms, and my brain processing power is nowhere near some of the other guys that I work with, so I can't build truly incredible feats of engineering like 3d rendering engines or voice recognition systems.

    So you're like 99% of developers then.

    • kal40 5 days ago

      You think that 99% of developers have low to medium IQ?

      • inkubus 5 days ago

        99% of developers "can't build truly incredible feats of engineering like 3d rendering engines or voice recognition systems."

      • giantg2 3 days ago

        IQ and building "incredible feats of engineering" are separate things.

        High IQ is helpful or maybe even necessary to build incredible things. However, many people with high IQs build regular stuff or even nothing at all.

  • MaxPengwing 5 days ago

    IQ tests are not useful to anything other than predicting social outcome on larger groups IMHO, well that and using it for what it was intended: measuring child development against peers in the same age group.

    Trust me on this, once you stop caring about it, the easier your life will be. Without anxiety and imposter syndrome feelings, you can focus on what matters.

    Besides, high IQ is nothing if you do not have social skills, soft skills are just as if not more important to get things done and to be happy.

  • qsort 3 days ago

    > Please God one day they will invent a therapy that will give me Einstein's IQ.

    Have you ever read Flowers for Algernon? Your post reminded me of that story.

  • cableshaft 5 days ago

    > so I can't build truly incredible feats of engineering like 3d rendering engines or voice recognition systems.

    I wouldn't worry too much about that, there's plenty of great existing libraries you can learn to get the same results as if you had built it yourself anyway.

  • codegeek 5 days ago

    IQ is overrated. There are a lot of other things that matter more to be happy and successful in life. Just focus on your work and forget about IQ unless you are trying to be a rocket scientist or something ?

  • BenoitP 5 days ago

    Aside from the self-bashing over IQ, this is what high emotional intelligence looks like. It is refreshing to read your comment!

fortituded0002 5 days ago

I'm cofounder of a small company and wear many hats - writing code, roadmap planning, mentoring, product design, etc. The diversity of skills needed is fantastic and loads of fun.

But the biggest benefit is I get to set set the culture of the company without having to answer to anyone else. I worked for years in corporate tech companies (FAANG) and while I could create little pockets of healthy spaces, there were always people getting in the way of creating a truly psychologically safe place for people. It's a huge relief not having to worry about that anymore and instead I can fully tap into the psychology of motivation, treat people with fairness and empathy, and be transparent without getting into trouble with leadership. It's made the job more satisfying and everyone we work with gets along amazingly well while being incredibly supportive of each other.

  • jamal-kumar 5 days ago

    I'm in the same boat, I've had a few experiences of really awful work environments in the past like what you described and while that was honestly bearable for the most part it's just so much better being in companies where people actually give a damn about each other on a personal level.

  • ssgodderidge 5 days ago

    It’s amazing how a few bad bananas can negatively impact a culture, isn’t it. The most attractive thing to me about entrepreneurship is what you described. FAANG companies so often have a few bad actors that set off a series of actions and reactions that lead to political, emotional turmoil. Better to make a culture yourself.

  • RamblingCTO 5 days ago

    I would've written almost the same thing. CTO and co-founder here. I'll also add the part that I can be friends with so many amazing people and support them even outside the workspace. It's really rewarding.

  • Raphomet 5 days ago

    You are living my dream. Happy to hear it's going well.

  • xigurat 5 days ago

    I could have rewritten this my self. Same story here...

  • intelVISA 5 days ago

    The ideal endgame imo. I'm slightly jealous but also happy for you :)

PragmaticPulp 5 days ago

Coworkers will make or break a job for me.

I can enjoy even menial work if I'm surrounded by friendly people who like doing a good job.

I can loathe any work if I have to deal with unqualified, socially combative, or unnecessarily difficult coworkers.

The job also needs to be focused on delivering the product, not constantly fighting corporate dysfunction, attending meetings, and jumping through managerial hoops.

  • jimt1234 5 days ago

    YES! ^^^ My favorite job, years ago, involved co-workers that I actually enjoyed spending time with. I looked forward to going into the office. I enjoyed staying late. The bosses/managers were generally jerks, but my co-workers were great.

  • jjice 4 days ago

    One of the few things I miss about in person work is the banter that happens more organically in an office. I do love my job and enjoy my coworkers still, but it's not the same. Sometimes I'll grab a beer with some old coworkers and that's always a blast.

    Even back in high school and college when I was working generic minimum wage jobs, coworkers could make or break it. So many good times collecting trash and cleaning bathrooms with Ashwin, but the same thing with Dave was dreadful. Turns out spending time with people you like leads to happiness, who would have though :)

  • dede4metal 5 days ago

    This 100 %, I am in academia since 2013 changing every couple of years the team I work with. Everytime I have loved my job was when I was working with people I liked. Not necessary that I liked them outside of work (maybe we never even went to the pub together) but we liked each other in the way we were at work.

  • brianmcc 5 days ago

    It's a shame job ads are so focused on bullet points of technology, I'd much rather see info such as "really friendly and helpful team who are smart and effective but not in an insufferable way, working on generally interesting stuff" :-)

  • snarf21 5 days ago

    Yeah, that makes a big difference.

    I also work at a place that has a social good (healthcare). The ability to materially help someone manage their disease on a daily basis is fulfilling. This is true in a way that helping people arbitrage crypto could never be. I've found the daily grind of tickets is different when you are helping people versus trying to finish UI that is designed to trick people into clicking on ads or whatnot.

cperciva 5 days ago

I get regular emails from Tarsnap users thanking me for making it possible for them to recover data which they lost. The work itself isn't all that satisfying, but knowing that it's having a positive impact is very satisfying.

Interestingly, nobody has ever written to thank me for keeping their data secure. But I suppose security is something which is generally only noticed when it's missing.

  • xupybd 5 days ago

    Wow! This is what I love about HN. You get people like the founder of Tarsnap responding to questions.

    • calderknight 5 days ago

      hn famous for this comment chain:

      • 93po 4 days ago

        I either didn't realize or forgot this exchange also included Drew Houston talking about his then freshly launched Dropbox product.

        Also interesting to see that shitty, toxic commenting was also prevalent on HN in 2007.

  • jl2718 4 days ago

    > nobody has ever written to thank me for keeping their data secure

    Somewhat related, I wonder if responding to lawful access / key disclosure requests is at least a little bit funny for you.

    • cperciva 4 days ago

      Rather to my surprise, I have never received such a request. I don't know if this is because Tarsnap users aren't of interest to the relevant agencies, because they know they wouldn't get anything useful, or because I'm in Canada -- I wouldn't be surprised if US agencies preferred to request data directly from Amazon rather than making a request to someone outside of their jurisdiction.

throwaway012323 5 days ago

You want an honest answer? Because our profession pays well.

I love programming, and I do it as a hobby, but if it didn't pay well, I wouldn't do it as a job. I would do whatever job I am capable of that pays the most.

I am just beyond lucky that programming pays well, because being poor in this world sucks.

  • klntsky 5 days ago

    Why are we at the stage where one needs a throwaway account for such a normal opinion. Society, huh

    • gernb 5 days ago

      I don't consider that a normal nor a healthy opinion. I'd choose happiness over money. Sure there is some level of money that's so low I wouldn't be happy but that just again means I'd choose happiness.

      Happiness isn't making the most money possible, at least not for most people. Happiness, for most people, is having a life of people, relationships, meaning and a big part of all of that is working with people you love on something you love.

      You're likely to spend 80,000hrs working. It would be nice not to just have to endure those 80,000hrs but actually enjoy them.

      • VoodooJuJu 5 days ago

        >I don't consider that a normal nor a healthy opinion. I'd choose happiness over money.

        You've never gone hungry.

      • klntsky 5 days ago

        This is a very individualistic position, to the point of being self-centered. Not everyone sees themselves as the "consumer" of happiness. Sometimes we are in a position where we are producing it for the others. For example, kids can't share the joy of all the interesting projects or cool tech at their parent's job.

        But the absence of money or their parent overworking due to low pay can easily affect them.

  • amelius 5 days ago

    Do you change jobs often? I hear that's the best way to increase your salary.

aowen 5 days ago

I do! I'm a server software engineer at a video game company. Here are some highlights:

- I get to work on a game that I enjoy playing. I've worked on some games that I didn't care for (or I was not the target audience), and it's still fun work, but when you genuinely like the game, and play it in your free time, ah! It's such a joy.

- At my current company, I'm working with some of the most skilled people I've ever met. To be surrounded by awesome people is inspiring. Just by being themselves, they push me to be a better engineer, because I want to be able to stand alongside them and call them colleagues.

- I'm paid well! I'm certainly not in the FAANG salary range, but to be honest, I'm making more than nearly everyone I know outside of work. I count myself extraordinarily lucky, my salary is certainly outside the norm for my age group.

- In terms of the work itself: I enjoy problem solving and helping people out. I get to do a little bit of both every day. Those are the day-to-day fulfillments that I really appreciate.

  • boberoni 5 days ago

    Do you mind me asking how you got into server software engineering for a video game? Also, how is the work-life balance. I feel like I shy away from game dev because of the horror stories, but working on backend servers for an online multiplayer game sounds like a fun challenge.

    • aowen 5 days ago

      > Do you mind me asking how you got into server software engineering for a video game?

      Honestly, it was just chance. My first job out of university was at a smaller studio, and they needed a junior to help out on the backend. That being said..."be lucky" isn't very useful.

      Some more useful info: there are a few different things one can do on the backend of a multiplayer game. There's the core game replication logic, there's web server/matchmaking/database work, or just infrastructure management type of work.

      I think core game server work is the most specialized. For an authoritative server, it's the kind of work where you write the game server's simulation of the game and replicate it to all the clients. Games can also be peer-to-peer, but I don't have any experience in that area. The people I know who excel in this area have strong math and computer network skills. A book like "Multiplayer Game Programming: Architecting Networked Games" is an example of problems in this space.

      Web server application work is what I do. Includes work like writing matchmaking services, authn & authz, robust purchasing flows (both in game and real money transactions), retrieving/storing database state. I think someone could break into video games if they have previous experience doing web server development, even if they haven't necessarily solved the same types of problems. I've worked with people who had web server experience outside of games.

      Infrastructure work is exactly that. Involves the usual sort of work like IaC, CI/CD, cloud providers like AWS, Azure, GCP. Sometimes they're called dev ops engineers.

      > how is the work-life balance.

      It really depends on the company & the team. The places I've worked highly value work life balance and reject crunch culture. There have been some late nights to solve an outage or hit a deadline, but those have been far and few between.

      I think probing about it at the interview stage and reading reviews about the company on sites like glassdoor are the best way to avoid the hellscapes.

    • intelVISA 5 days ago

      Depending on engine it's mostly YAML hell unless you work with Unreal and get tricked into building custom netdrivers... then it's PF_RING hell instead.

anonym29 5 days ago

Satisfying enough. Corporate red team at a big tech company, so I spend most days hacking first-party / internally developed software at said big tech company - usually developing exploits / PoC for novel vulnerabilities. But also sometimes longer engagements, including physical / SE at times. My favorite so far has been a long engagement where my team surreptitiously embedded ourselves into a build pipeline for a major tech product that goes out to 40m+ consumers, and added an innocuous flag to the source at build time as proof, starting from a physical break-in scenario without using our badges to enter the building.

The worst part of the job by far is drafting and editing reports. This sometimes goes on for several days.

I like it primarily because I get all the excitement of being a nation-state level adversary / threat actor / "bad guy", with none of the legal/moral/ethical risks/harms - my work ultimately contributes towards making our products (and thus our consumers) safer from such threats.

  • Mandatum 5 days ago


    • generated 5 days ago

      Nah Alex doesn't use that many slashes as an alternative to grammar.

karmakaze 5 days ago

I'm at a big company that I ended up at by default not knowing how long I'd stick it out. At first I didn't think I'd like it, the pace was far too slow coming from startups. Since then, I've been on numerous large and successful projects. What I enjoy most is working with the team, designing together, and leveling each-other up. The codebase is large and many parts are old, there's a lot we'd like to change about it. We never get a full rewrite, but small and sometimes not-so-small parts of the system do get rewritten, or rather a replacement gets written and incrementally convert over to it. It's great to see the system evolve and improve. It's best when you have a good idea of the direction to go and take steps to get there. The tools are 'boring technology' but within that medium you learn to find ways to solve hard problems in compact and efficient ways.

Emergencies are rare, though I'm always on last line of support I never get paged except rare times I'm also on first line. Daytime support requests go to a person selected from a large rotation. About the only complaint is that shipping code can sometimes take a while go get through CI/CD as the test suite is large and arbitrary/intermittent failures can happen and take several tries in some cases. Meetings are either very project focused or larger informational ones can be watched async.

Work is remote, work from home, but we do have team meetings most days and often pair/screen-share working on specific problems. Sometimes we do mob-programming in larger groups. One thing that's great is that deadlines are not decided too far in advance. Only when the work is approaching completion is a date chosen to align with an external event to release major features.

  • sublinear 5 days ago

    100% agree with this. I got into a similar role around the 6 year mark in my career. It was definitely an adjustment, but I just can't disagree with the work life balance and support I get from being part of a bigger organization. It gave me a whole different perspective on what my career could be like. Sure my work isn't as much coding as it used to be, but when I'm called upon I still crank it out.

    Oh and of course the obligatory replybait: It's the kind of existential work to a business that cannot be replaced by AI :)

danwee 5 days ago

I don't love my job, I love my career.

Why I don't love my job:

- I'm making someone else rich

- I don't believe in 99.99% of the ideas/business out there. But I need to pay the bills

- 99.99% of the time we work on useless stuff just for the sake of "selling more". Usually this stuff is hidden behind a "think customer first" kind of slogans (e.g., the new UI for Tesla cars)

- developers around me (including myself) know little about their profession. Software engineering is all about opinions. "Good practices" are not laws/theorems, so there's always plenty of room for debate and different opinions. It's always a waste of time because at the end of the day we are building crap

- current software engineering practices are crap as well (e.g., agile manifesto, agile implementation, scrum), and the tooling is in baby steps (react, npm, python package managers, golang dependency management, etc.)

That being said, I don't dislike my job. It pays the bills, and since I care deeply enough about my career, I can fulfill my daily work duties in a couple of hours, leaving me the rest of the day to explore more insightful stuff. I love my career. Computer Science is beautiful and makes me learn more about it every day. I think that feeling will never get old, so I'm lucky.

dec0dedab0de 5 days ago

I used to love having the freedom to figure out a need in whatever way made the most sense, without too much oversight, and working on things that actually helped people in the company. My only distractions from coding were Bi-weekly status meetings, and calls with future/current users to figure out their needs. Then scrum snuck it's way in under the guise of agile, and I've been a ball of anxiety ever since. Always either late for a meeting, or an arbitrary deadline, and unofficially spending most of my time teaching people with way better educations than me. I'm addicted to the money and healthcare, and because my contract forbids it I have no portfolio to show prospective new employers. It no longer feels like freedom, or problem solving, it feels like I'm stuck doing busy work, even though it's essentially the same job.

  • innocentoldguy 5 days ago

    I quit programming because of Scrum. Programming used to be awesome, but Scrum turned it into the equivalent of digging ditches for my dad when I was a teenager.

    • dgb23 5 days ago

      Seems drastic to me. Most companies don’t do Scrum or similar.

  • sshine 5 days ago

    Scrum sure does feel like it was made for managing people do work they don’t like.

utdiscant 5 days ago

This is quite interesting to me, because I don't really have a good understanding of why my job is satisfying. I am the CEO of a small profitable SaaS startup.

I find almost all of my day-to-day tasks quite boring (answer sales emails, performance reviews, accounting, support, etc). But somehow, I still really love working.

I guess one of the factors is a feeling of ownership and agency. I can decide what I want to do and when. When something good happens to the company, it feels like that is also happening to me (this can also be hard sometimes when things don't go well).

Another important factor is that as "the boss", you can pick your own team. It seems like most work-frustration I hear from friends have to do with bad coworkers. I don't have bad coworkers. If I did, I could let them go, and I can try to avoid hiring those people.

mcv 5 days ago

Everything is a graph at my job, and I love graphs. We're using neo4j, but not just a single instance; we're providing a platform for users to setup their own neo4j instances. We offer various tools to import, edit and extend graphs. There graphs are defined by a taxonomy that's a graph, and users can define their own taxonomy according to a root taxonomy which is also a graph. It's graphs all the way down here, which is great if you love graphs.

And we get a lot of freedom. Neo4j does not use a schema to validate whether the data obeys a particular structure, so currently our taxonomies aren't binding, but I'm trying to figure out if I can make them binding in neo4j by stretching the plugin mechanisms a bit further than we've done so far. Not because anyone told me to, but because I think it's something we need.

It's a very relaxed atmosphere to dive deep into some very interesting topics.

dmitrygr 5 days ago

Having worked at a few places that make consumer electronics, Apple is a breath of fresh air!

Here is how it goes when you find an issue with a qualcomm chip (which is what you are using if you want to make anything fast and portable): (1) they ignore you, (2) they tell you to fuck off, (3) they ignore you some more, (4) they tell you that because your design is not a 100% copy of their reference design, they cannot support you, (5) they delay, (6) they tell you that a new chip came out and you should try that, while not specifying if anything was actually fixed.

Here is how it goes at Apple: (1) you think you might have an issue, (2) in < 30 minutes you have a meeting/slack channel with the team that designed the chip and can clarify/discuss as needed.

It is incredibly cool to know that every part of the device is made in the same company - it means that no matter what your issue is, someone will care and try to resolve it!

  • amelius 5 days ago

    > It is incredibly cool to know that every part of the device is made in the same company

    Apple still uses Qualcomm chips.

    • dmitrygr 5 days ago

      In my job, I only deal with Apple silicon chips

stodor89 5 days ago

I'm working as a gameplay programmer for a small indie game studio (20 people, 6 of them programmers). The project is a strategy game.

* I love the people -- I enjoy working with creative folks (artists, designers). As for programmers, everyone who worked in gamedev for 5+ years is batshit insane in their own way, so they're fun to be around, too.

* The project is exciting, and no one will do it if we don't. I'd absolutely LOVE to play the game we're making.

* I'm somewhat irreplaceable due to the nature of small teams working on big projects in a developing country. People with comparable experience prefer moving to Sweden or US for reasons I don't quite understand ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

* The salary is good for where I live. Nothing outrageous, but I can get a house, a car, and would still have some money to spare.

* 100% full remote

* I'm a bit overqualified. In other words, at the exchange of ~20% lower salary, I get the extra time to do things my way, or even slack off half the day if I feel like it.

There is one single reason I'm considering moving (to even less developed place), and it's that I'm concerned the complete lack of stress in my day-to-day life will turn me into a weakling, and when bad things come (and they always do), I won't be ready.

  • arduinomancer 5 days ago

    Also working in games but as a graphics programmer and I agree with a lot of this, working with the other disciplines is really cool.

    Once the game releases its really satisfying to watch people playing it on twitch and seeing stuff you worked on in it.

    IMO working in games can be a really good balance of fun/still making good money if you end up at a good studio.

blown_gasket 5 days ago

I don't like tooling to get in the way of me doing my job. I work in infrastructure engineering (server ops) where due to the vast infrastructure doing things manually is not an option. Due to this I get to write a lot of code, which I enjoy. In a number of languages; some I enjoy more than others.

I also get to deal with the hottest platforms just enough (public cloud, on-prem K8s, etc) while getting to maintain the vast on-prem server infrastructure that is the majority of my job. I'm not a fan of Terraform, Ansible, Chef, etc (I don't hate them and I've used them extensively elsewhere) so I enjoy that I've given the autonomy to write the actual code to do what needs to be done rather than use a platform that just takes in a config file.

So simply put, my job let's me do the technical work how I want (with team collaboration of course).

koalala 5 days ago

Algorithmic trader, quantitative researcher, 'retail trader' here. When your strategies are trend-heavy, most of the time you're slowly bleeding out, waiting and doubting your simulations, wondering whether the market has fundamentally changed etc, but a few times a year it's like you're printing money and you finally don't feel like an idiot anymore.

  • canada2020 5 days ago

    By “retail trader”, do you mean you do this all by yourself?

    • 93po 4 days ago

      This is usually a reference to the types of securities he trades in - stuff that's available to the general public. It's normal to focus on certain security types even when working at larger firms/groups.

animuchan 5 days ago

When I was satisfied with my job, it was because I worked on stuff that's highly visible and somewhat impactful.

But then the company grew, and I found myself relegated to some armpit of one of our backend systems, with legacy code so bad Lovecraft credited it as an inspiration. What I work on tends to be completely invisible and doesn't feel aligned with the company's successes at all. Now I find my job saddening.

  • jakswa 5 days ago

    I feel this pretty hard, but left the small-turned-big company within the last year.

    So I thrashed around in your latter section for a few years. Luckily the old organization gave me space to work on what I choose, if I could come up with impactful things. But turns out those things are usually visible by leadership, not the dev with his head buried in guts of the company.

    Jury's still out on the new company but the difference in impact was visible from Day -1 (I was given access to datadog and spotted some random, high-throughput DB path that needed an index).

add-sub-mul-div 5 days ago

My current job is drudgery due to agile. But for most of my career I've found it enjoyable to have the kind of space and freedom and ownership of work that I don't have now. Earning trust and getting to exercise my own judgment about what to work on every day without Jira and sprints. Owning entire projects rather than having work I could do myself split among 3 people and getting blocked or delayed at every step.

Tcepsa 5 days ago

I work at a fairly large organization (>1000 employees) as something of a jack-of-all-trades-having-to-do-with-software-development. There are several different groups within this org pursuing a variety of projects, many of which involve software in some way (sometimes as their main thing, sometimes in support of their main thing). Over the last decade+ of working there I have managed to develop a positive enough reputation with a wide enough network that I can choose from a variety of interesting opportunities. Some are longer works that I support for years, some are shorter prototyping or POC efforts, and some are stepping in for a couple of days or weeks to bridge a gap, implement a specific feature, or address a particular issue.

I also get to act in a variety of roles, from developer to architect to reviewer/advisor to tech lead. I'm working to move away from formal leadership of people or projects (I seem to have a confounding inversely proportional relationship with Formal Responsibility: the more of it I have, the less I am able to accomplish) and this may ultimately have a negative impact on my career-total-compensation; the org has formal personnel and project management tracks but not really anything for ICs. However, it is having a very positive impact on both my productivity and my mental health. It is a relatively recent change, so we'll have to see what my raise looks like next year; maybe management will see my impact as an interconnected contributor as even greater than when I was a manager.

I am full-time remote with a pretty flexible schedule (attend all important meetings and get in my 80 hours every two weeks and it mostly doesn't matter if I'm writing code at 10AM or 10PM) and generally I get to work with whatever coding tools I prefer (need to get my Emacs-Jira integration MVP finished though, because Jira is a tremendous productivity sink for me and some of my projects use it)

masterWayne 5 days ago

I guess I'll be an odd-ball here. I'm an Architect. A real one - that designs built spaces. The hours are insane and the pay is crap. But I absolutely love it because I get to create things in real world. Shakespeare said " All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;" I get to design that stage, add a piece of my imagination into the real world. I also code and mess around with ML and game engines to see how agents could create spaces with discrete elements. There are many times I think of jumping ship to UI/UX or AR development due to my graphic, design and problem solving skills, but , the amount of satisfaction I get solving a real world problem with design is more meaningful to me than to be able to afford a decent living wage.

  • vvvvvvvvvvvvv 5 days ago

    Me too, albeit an unlicensed one, and I truly wish I shared your enthusiasm.

    I'm aligned with your perspective in principle, but in practice the low wage (in a high cost-of-living city) has been financially disastrous and has led me to reconsider the viability of continuing. I like problem solving and working with space, but I spend every day on the computer, completely alienated from the physical reality of what I am designing. 75%+ of the projects I've worked on will never be built.

    I often think about switching to tech to close the gap between representation and output; if I am creating digital content all day, I would prefer that to be the end in itself. Much faster, too. Lack of feedback loops from unbuilt work, or projects that take 3-5 years to complete is a serious detriment to learning, progress, and innovation.

    I suppose my reply is off-topic, given the title of the thread, but I am curious to know if my position is at all relatable, and if not, where your experience might differ. Is it really worth the sacrifice?

  • horns4lyfe 5 days ago

    I’ve seen other architects working crazy hours for just ok, pay why does that happen so often?

    • masterWayne 5 days ago

      Its a profession based on commission. The real challenge is landing a project. the partners/bosses of the firm take that risk. Lets say for instance, a residential project costs around a million $ to build. A architect makes about 5%-8% on average of that cost as fees = $80k. This is spread across lets say 3 people for a duration of 12-24 months. To conceptualise, design, develop a scheme, coordinate with the client, consultant and contractors and the develop detailed schedules and drawings whilst reviewing materials, samples and building code etc., does take an insane amount of time. Its like making a manual on how to build something for real. (Imagine this process as making an ikea design manual for an SOC or the latest iPhone) only, each iPhone is different and comes with lots of requirements and varied configurations.

      Its also a profession based on experience and the more you have it, the better your chances of landing a bigger project. Hence people put in way too many hours than humanely required - with the hope that they climb the ladder or gain enough experience to start their own practice.

RangerScience 5 days ago

Yep! I’m writing Ruby/Rails code (which feeds my soul), I get opportunity to play/flex/perfect in doing that, it’s for a good mission (teen mental health) and the team is great (particularly my manager, we have absurdly amazing communication).

There have been a couple of rough patches, note.

But it comes down: Daily, I get to use my mastery over something I enjoy doing; and “monthly” I get an impact on the world I’m proud of.

jason-phillips 5 days ago

I love that feeling after successfully completing and handing off a project, the ebullient sense of elation. There's nothing else like it in the world.

I'm a software engineer and solutions architect.

  • ssgodderidge 5 days ago

    I have found way more satisfaction while building something for the consumer masses, rather than system-to-system integrations.

DoingIsLearning 5 days ago


I work in R&D in the Medical Devices space.

I fully appreciate I could be making a lot more money in other domains (namely distributed systems) but for me the drive and happiness that comes with creating something that I feel _really_ matters is not easily replaceable.

I am not sticking around that long, this is my way of leaving things slightly better.

  • nextos 5 days ago

    Interesting, what distributed systems skills do you use in medical devices?

    • DoingIsLearning 5 days ago

      I would say the work is 60% different flavours of RTOS/ bare metal systems (with a lot of DSP algo design) in a distributed architecture with messaging systems and then maybe 20% building up call home servers for support and updates.

ge96 5 days ago

I don't. Eventually I want to switch but just started. Only thing I like is it's not very repetitive but main thing I want is problem solving. Maintenance is part of the job but yeah.

ohm 5 days ago

Working in pentesting and I like my job because for the majority of the time I’m treated like an adult and left alone to do my job. I’m also surrounded by smart and passionate individuals that make me want to keep learning and enjoy working. The work itself can be exciting when doing internal or external network testing. Finding a new vulnerability, thinking of a new attack vector, chaining multiple attacks and getting privileged access is always a thrill. Web app testing can be fun when testing newly build or older apps but boring if the app was tested multiples times already. Mobile testing is interesting and it can be fun bypassing controls. Wireless testing could be fun as well. Red team and physical tests are a thrill but not good for the heart. Code reviews not many want to do but are helpful when combined with web app testing.

Something else that’s fun is making a tool that helps people save time during engagements.

After a while the job is repetitive though and the thrill fades away. I’m at a point where I want to try something new but not sure where to go. I don’t want to go back to doing tickets or being on call. I also like having flexible working hours.

maCDzP 5 days ago

I enjoy my job a lot. I work at a public utilities company in a managerial role.

We sometimes have interesting problems that requires us to think a lot. That’s a lot of fun.

My colleagues are funny, so we laugh a lot.

There’s a lot of red tape that sometimes drives me nuts. On the other hand it’s really satisfying to manage red tape efficiently.

This is probably an unpopular opinion but being good at office politics can be satisfying.

Oh, and being able to program at my company is a superpower. Superpowers are fun.

frost_knight 5 days ago

I'm a consultant for Red Hat. I'm assigned a number of clients at a time, travel onsite (or work remote) to fix or build their systems, and sometimes supervise small teams as part of larger engagements.

Red Hat gives me my assignments for the next few weeks or months, tell me what end result everyone wants to see, and sends me to go get it done. I'm 100% trusted to do the job, no micromanagement. If I need help I'm a phone call away from expert engineers in all of our products. I have a TS clearance, so I'm onsite more often than not because I'm working on disconnected networks.

While I technically have a manager, they're more like a handler or mission control. He hands me my tasks, tells me the lay of the land, and gives me access to anything I need for the job. I'm not really "managed" on a day-to-day basis. Every engagement has it's own project manager that I work with closely but even that is a peer relationship, no supervisory.

I travel constantly but love it. 200+ nights in a hotel every year for the past 5 years. My wife's job is mostly remote, so she joins me on occasion, and I can get her plane tickets with my racked up mileage points. I can "pay" for our vacations entirely with loyalty points (car, hotel, plane).

One thing I love about Red Hat is everyone pushes each other forward. Co-workers reach down and pull their colleagues up behind them. Never before have I felt such a sense that my colleagues have my back all the way. A very "we're all in this together" attitude throughout the company. Also, while you're always encouraged to move up the promotion ladder if you want, if you've found a niche that you're comfy in then that's supported to. There's no up-or-out like some organizations, and no forced ranking thank Yoba.

tl;dr Red Hat completely trusts me to do my job, and does everything it can to help me succeed. It's awesome.

esel2k 5 days ago

In a big corporate but in the digital department that has a culture I can identify myself with: faster paced, use OKR, try to get better everytime, smaller teams. I am head of digital product (team of 3 direct reports). But as others said the advantage of big corporations is that I have a good work life balance, good benefits and more or leas safe. We are just going through a massive cost saving but we try to keep internal employees - so far not really mass layoffs even if the numbers look bad.

On top of that the ability to look into the core business (not software) I can learn alot of things and evtl change jobs every couple of years easily. Yea I admit I don’t enjoy every Monday but hey my overall life is pretty good in combination with that job.

ok_dad 5 days ago

I don’t, I’m constantly doing shit work to paper over deficiencies in our data model and software.

herbst 5 days ago

I own a niche affiliate website that I've grown over the last year's. Today I am earning a good salary by checking in with my affiliates once a month or so.

There are no business hours, no schedule, no one being mad if I don't answer for a few days. What I call work is 90% just working on new things I think are interesting right now for me and 10% talking to customers and fixing things.

Before that took of I earned most my money trough a small (niche) online shop. Which is more work, but still very rewarding IMO.

Edit:// Quality of work is mainly not waking up early for me and having long weekends whenever I want.

scarface74 5 days ago

I work at $BigTech in cloud consulting. I’ve liked the idea of “putting myself out of a job” for the last decade as I bumped around between smaller companies before 2020.

My job gives me the chance to do that - I see a problem, I work with the customer to come up with a solution, I design and develop an MVP, I teach their developers and DevOps folks and I move on to the next project.

Even though I work at a huge company, my project teams are small and focused and I get to wear a lot of hats - pre-sales, project management, developer, architect, Devops, etc depending on the project.

Working remotely is a huge plus.

arnaudperalta 5 days ago

Yeah, the product manager lets us trying a lot of technical things for the benefits of the long-term development of the project. And also a heavy trust in every teammate skills.

maliker 5 days ago

Somewhat. I'm definitely grateful that I found work in a mission-driven field (energy), where I'm a research manager for a non-profit. The day to day is a lot of grant administration, a little bit of research, a decent amount of helping the next generation of researchers implement their ideas. I stay because I believe in the mission and I can be effective in furthering it (and they pay is decent). This is probably all anyone can expect from a job, right?

andrea76 5 days ago

I love coffee pauses. They are useful to "reset" your mind. Too much work will ruin your brain. And sociality between co-workers is a must.

ezedv 5 days ago

I'm a Blockchain dev, so working in this field is highly satisfying for me; it's a cutting edge technology and it's evolving very quickly. As blockchain technology is relatively a new field, there are many opportunities for career growth and advancement. Besides, I think its community is a vibrant and supportive one.

I find my job very satisfying because of the opportunities for career growth and advancement within the company (Rather Labs). It is a honor to be part of a reputable blockchain company that is known for its innovative and reliable solutions.

All in all, working in the field of blockchain technology is a highly satisfying and fulfilling career choice, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in being part of this exciting and growing industry.

tehCorner 5 days ago

The only time in my life i was satisified with my job was at the start of my career when I spent a couple of years at CERN, there was a lot of freedom to try new things and technologies, you could generate great imapct and the people around was very nice.

  • Syntonicles 5 days ago

    That's a little bit sad, but understandable at the same time. I can't imagine working at some place like CERN, especially early in your career when you're just excited to be a part of things. That's a tough act to follow.

nephanth 5 days ago

Honestly, I feel satisfied when I succeed. My job has long periods of scrambling in the dark for relatively few periods where everything works and you've made something great. I like the feelings of accomplishments when it finally works

ipaddr 4 days ago

Just being able to use a computer to work is great. I like to type fast and stare at a blinking cursor. I like to hear the roar of a modem connecting.

What makes my job satisfying is working with computers from home. Releasing something important in the evening. That feeling of unease/excitement when your code first enters production front staging. The regular hours and I've been working myself out of meetings by empowering others.

jjice 4 days ago

(Software Engineer): Depends on the problems being solved. Not everything that a business wants me to do is going to be an interesting problem. The ration of interesting to mundane has been good enough to keep me engaged and I'm pretty happy with that.

As long as there's consistent interesting work to do, I can handle some boring tickets here and there.

moomoo11 4 days ago

I love my job because I’ve taken projects at work from git init to becoming full blown products that make hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

From emptiness to something.

It truly feels divine, like I am a creator. It’s a wonderful experience.

Any job where you build things is a job I would enjoy. To take something from nothing to something that people love and tell you is making their (work) life better is quite humbling.

thorvaldsson 5 days ago

In the past, what has made me love a job have been the people I got to interact with on a daily bases.

In some areas I was the expert, but in so many others they had the expertise, and so I got to learn a lot from them. And not just in terms of technology and software.

We built up a comradery strong enough that to this day I still regularly meet with old team mates from previous positions to catch up and stay in touch.

Second to that were the problems that needed solving. Still important but not as much as the team.

askvictor 5 days ago

Embedded software engineer in the renewables sector. I feel somewhat competent in what I do, I love my team and management, I have a sense of purpose. The pay is sufficient; not as much as elsewhere, but that doesn't really matter given the rest of it. The work is sometimes fun, sometimes stressful and sometimes boring. The team culture and sense of purpose makes the hard times feel fine.

I'm pretty much at the centre of the Ikigai venn diagram.

loeg 5 days ago

It gives me money to pay the bills, save for retirement, and buy fun things. The work has challenges and matches well to my skills and experience. There are concrete outcomes I can point to as significant projects I've taken to fruition. And it isn't so stressful or annoying that it negatively impacts the rest of my life too much.

I don't love working and think I would retire if I could afford to do so. But it's not too bad.

irrational 5 days ago

Good manager (treats us like adults, leaves us alone, trusts us to know what we are doing), good coworkers, good pay, good benefits, 401k match, lots of paid time off (11 holidays, 1 week off in the summer, no work Fridays during the summer, 1 day of PTO each pay period that rolls over year to year, and 6 week sabbatical every 5 years), beautiful campus, challenging work (never bored), good work/life balance.

cyphax 5 days ago

As a teacher, my job is very satisfying, because it helps people in a useful and direct manner, and I get to contribute to the education developers get before they go out in the field. I learn much more now than I did working as a software developer, and for me it's a better way to be involved with the craft as opposed to just applying it myself for, ultimately, company profit.

jmbwell 5 days ago

My biggest hits of satisfaction seem to come when I learn something and when I finish something. In between is exploration.

The biggest drags seem to be repeating work I’ve done before, and being told not to make something as good as I think it should be.

So, exploring, discovering new things, and using what I’ve learned to do something excellently. Which can be hard sometimes. There isn’t always something new that needs doing!

SeriousM 5 days ago

5 years ago I got the opportunity to take over a project suite and was allowed to port from to c#, including build a new architecture that holds the work of a single developer for 10 years. I love creating structure and consistency, so this was a very nice doing. Today I just know almost every line of code in it and I can use the work to help my colleagues learning architecture.

andirk 5 days ago

When I had a jobs (I always have more than one, it's a good idea), I liked it because I respected their paying me and I respected the product, and they respected me making their product more money than they give me. It's a match made in heaven, until you get laid off, and then you don't care because always have more than 1 source of income. Onward and upward!

shultays 5 days ago

Pays the bills, WFH, no overtime and stable company

bluedino 5 days ago

I get paid to play with computers. Linux cluster admin. It's frustrating to deal with customers, bad code, old software, old hardware, but I still enjoy playing with the new stuff and making everything work together, digging through code and figuring out why stuff doesn't work.

mattbgates 4 days ago

I get to design landing pages using HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript. What is there not to like? Match colors to brands, CTAB and image placement, advertise, and sell. Putting my psychology degree to work.

xupybd 5 days ago

I love my job because I get to have a huge amount of creative input. I get to suggest pretty much all of the technology we use. I get to understand the business domain fully, even take part in informing business decisions.

I get respect and have the ability to influence outcomes.

midoridensha 5 days ago

It's much, much better than working in fields like Medieval peasants, and better than working any kind of manual labor job. It pays well, lets me live the lifestyle I want, and doesn't drive me crazy. Being intellectually interesting is just a bonus.

kevmo314 5 days ago

It's a technical problem that feels like it should be easy to solve but turns out it's not.

And also turns out it's sufficiently difficult that not many people are interested in solving it/believe it can be solved. I'm here to prove them wrong.

MaxPengwing 5 days ago

a wise mentor of mine once said, a Job can have Great Coworkers, Great Pay, or Satisfying tasks. You if you find a good job, it has one of them, a great job will have two, but the unicorn of all three is neigh impossible to find.

Personally I hate my job, 10 years in tech support is not fun. But Recently I've started to work as CSM and I love it, it's new & exciting and I get to learn about business and strategy. I get to impact our customers before they make the mistakes that put them in contact with support. The pay is decent, the coworkers are great, and the job satisfaction is real.

So I guess I found my Unicorn for now.

  • 93po 4 days ago

    > Great Coworkers, Great Pay, or Satisfying tasks.

    I feel like this becomes much more achievable when you become a SME for a niche field that you care about and is also in high demand.

1270018080 5 days ago

Writing code is fun. The fundamental part of the job is something I enjoy doing. As you move up the ladder you do less and less, but it's still there. Also the pay. I am still retiring ASAP but the day to day is bearable.

kingcai 5 days ago

I work on FOSS (pytorch) that I used to use a lot during research. It feels like I've come full circle and I'm giving back.

Also I'm well compensated and surrounded by smart and kind people.

crossroadsguy 5 days ago

Pays a decent salary at the end of every month. Satisfying enough for me. Non-arseholes colleagues for a change are a bonus.

giantg2 3 days ago

I don't. It sucks. Although, it does pay ok money.

rg111 5 days ago

- no regular meetings

- no micromanaging

- no fixed hours, purely target driven work

- bosses are true gentlemen

- pay is thin, but higher than local market

- humane company, understands my issues

leke 5 days ago

Number one is because I get to solve problems, and there are lots of points other people hit here too.

tom85 5 days ago

I teach and see people learn. Few things can be more satisfying than that.

Lapsa 5 days ago

cause it's easy. I get paid for what I know instead of repetitive, exhausting manual labor

johlits 5 days ago

It fills my time.