One Day Programmers: Your day will never come


If you’re a programmer (or indeed, in any related technical field, like web design, sysadmin etc), you know how to build stuff. You know how to take an idea and make it something worthwhile. Chances are, you’ve made a lot of money for your employers.

So you wonder, why are you doing all this work for others? You could start your own thing.

You think about starting your own company, working the hours you want, cutting out the middle man.

You think about writing a book, and becoming The Expert in your field.

You think about writing that cool open source program that will be used by everyone from Google to that hot new startup.

And then you do nothing.

Why is that?

You want to start something. One day, you think to yourself. One day, I’ll do it. And then they’ll see. You’ll finally show them the stuff you’re made of.

And that’s where you make your first mistake.

One day never comes.

You will never get extra time.

Your boss will never let you clock off early so you can build your own stuff. You’ll still be stuck pulling the same long hours for the same miserable pay.

Your spouse will never get a job with an investment bank and agree to support you (don’t laugh. I thought like this like for a long time, till my wife asked me to stop eating wild mushrooms).

You will always be short of time. You’ll need to squeeze every minute you have. Whether you start today, or ten years from now. Besides, if you spent even one hour in the last week watching TV, you have time to start your own project.

So why aren’t you starting today?

Maybe you did start. But you realised how hard the road is. How long and lonely it is. You start, but find the long grind very depressing. And so you give up.

And that’s where you make your second mistake.

You never finish anything. It’s not enough to have great ideas. You need to finish them too.

So find people like yourself. Form a group. Motivate each other. Offer help to others, and get support from them. That’s the only way to succeed. It’s hard for all of us. The road is hard enough without tripping over your own shoelaces. You will face many problems– don’t let stupid things like disappointment or depression stop you.

Form a group, and start today. Don’t wait for one day.

One day will never come.


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15 thoughts on “One Day Programmers: Your day will never come

  • Bogdan

    I 100% agree. It is similar to those that say, “Man, I wish I was rich. Or I wish I did this or that.” Well, do it. There are some constraints in life that prevent some individuals from accomplishing the things they want, but the majority simply fail to give themselves a push towards the right direction.

    • Shantnu Post author

      Indeed. Your chances of success are increased by 100% if you actually get off your posterior and do something :)

    • Yakov

      Your comment only applies to minor things but the wah you’ve written it is so general that it sounds like people are only poor because they aren’t motivated. So yes, this advice is helpful for people who never learned to play the guitar or who always wanted to sail a boat but since all other outcomes–specifically economic ones–are determined by chance, there’s only so much we can do. The real lesson to take from this is that we need to motivate ourselves to work together in solidarity against traitors who steal our labor.

      • Shantnu Post author

        Yakov,

        I never said anything about people being poor because they aren’t motivated. Where did you get that from?

        My blog is aimed at programmers in first world countries who are certainly not “poor” by any definition.

        All I’m trying to say is, if you feel miserable and want to start your business one day, don’t wait, and start something now. The road is hard and long, and you won’t get anywhere by planning and thinking.

        • Daniel Benavides

          And what is the word programmer of the first world means?
          The ones who make systems programming or just isolated apps.

          Thanks in advance

  • Jake

    I can deal with the having no time. I can deal with the 4 hours sleep because I’m doing too many things. I can put my all into buckling down and striking something out…

    But I can’t figure out what to do.
    I have no brilliant ideas.

    And that problem alone will drive me into madness one day.

    • Shantnu Post author

      Ahhhh, the old “I don’t have any ideas” myth.

      Dude, just start something. Anything. Ideas are worth nothing. The problems with ideas is that they will enslave you (I got this from the excellent Amy Hoy, who blogs at http://unicornfree.com )

      Choose something that irritates you, no matter how small, and build a solution for it. You will then need to improve it based on feedback, but you won’t get that unless you have something tangible. This is a huge topic that I can’t really discuss in a comment. I’ll try to write about this in a future blog. Meanwhile, feel free to contact me offline.

      • Shantnu Post author

        Actually, you need hard work to finish implementing your ideas. The cliched 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

    • Shantnu Post author

      Well done. Be sure to go for small things that you can finish in a month, at most. Ideally, in a week. It is very satisfying to finish stuff, and gives you the courage to carry on through the hard times.