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All of the above doesn’t leave much time for fun. To keep my sanity, I squeeze every bit of free time out of life to ensure that I’m not missing out on opportunities. Of course spending time with my family is fun, but for the sake of separation I’ll be excluding that time from this section (I feel I did the Family section justice). As part of my free time at home I enjoy building side projects. I love creating beautiful web applications that could benefit the lives of others. My passion is creating things for others through programming. I love the feeling I get when someone enjoys something I’ve made. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve started hundreds of side projects, “finished” a few (is a project ever really finished?) and am working on a promising one right now. I love it and can’t get enough, but I pace myself so that I don’t squander precious time with my family.
Thanks to the reality of what I’ve stated above, time with my friends has come to a halt as of late. I don’t boil this down to being a programmer, though. It’s much more aligned with a change in priorities. In the past year I’ve graduated from college, gotten married, and brought our first-born into the world. Combine those three with getting plunged into the working world and it’s a lot at once. I might be an edge case, and I hope to change it someday, but as of right now that’s life.
For programmers whose work isn’t the most important area of their life, the family is. In my case, everything I do is motivated by my family. I don’t currently get to spend as much time with my wife and son as I’d like, but I hope to be in a position that allows me to spend more time them relatively soon. I’m lucky in that I work about 45 hours a week right now (some developers work much, much more) which gives me around 123 hours to spend elsewhere. Not bad relative to some programmers.
Work for a programmer is their bread and butter. It’s usually where we get to program the most. In my case, I program, review/monitor analytics, look for new areas to collect data on, and implement all of the above each day. I also take breaks to keep my sanity and drink copious amounts of coffee (a lot of decaf, though, I like the taste). I tried to write a chronological hour-by-hour timeline, but failed since my days can vary wildly.
The work environment for a developer can vary from terrible to downright entertaining. Most companies know that a happy, comfortable programmer is an efficient one. The ones that don’t know this typically can’t keep programmers on board for very long.
Monday to Friday: I work around 18 hours per day and I don’t even notice they were so many hours. I recover my dignity this way.
Friday night to Sunday: I hit vodka like there’s no tomorrow, probably do some crazy things in some club. I loose my dignity somewhere I don’t recall.
Corollary: Dignity is a renewable resource.