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When your profession is your passion, not your job...

Category Everything Else
Bruce Elgort posted a short LCTY entry yesterday, and he touched on how few people read blogs and/or know what RSS is in the tech audience.  It also dovetailed with a conversation we had on the way to the event.  We both assume that since we run in circles where blogging and RSS is nearly required, *everyone* must view it that way.  Not the case, but why?  Julian posted a *great* comment (in that it sums up my feelings exactly) about this situation:

I think the key to understanding the low number of people who read blogs or know anything about RSS is to understand how few people actually think of their jobs as anything more than... a job.

For most people, they're in the technology business because that's what they're getting paid to do. Ideally they have some knack for understanding technology too, but that's not a given (based on people I've met). But in any case, they're not going to spend their free time reading about technology any more than a fry cook at McDonalds is going to go home and read forums and blogs about deep frying potatos (I have no idea whether or not there are forums and blogs on such a subject, but the Internet continues to amaze me).

Anyway, point is that most Notes people aren't going to read Notes blogs because they don't find Notes (or any technology) especially interesting in the first place. Why on earth would they torture themselves by reading about the Notes community in their spare time? When they'd rather be watching DVDs or going to bars or something?

That's my take, anyway. I know plenty of computer professionals who don't even go home to check their personal e-mail at night. Their attitude is: I've been sitting in front of a computer all day, I'm not going to go home and do it some more.

Sorry for copying your comment in its entirety, Julian, but I really liked it.

I've often wondered what I would do if I didn't work with computers.  And the answer is...  I don't know.  This is what I'm wired to do.  This is where I get my kicks.  I read and review tech books because I LIKE TO!  I write about technology because I LIKE TO!  I don't drag myself to work each day, dreading yet another eight hours of programming.  I like what I do!  The thought of shutting down my work computer and not touching a keyboard until the next morning is something that doesn't even click with me.  Why wouldn't you work to improve your skills or learn new stuff on your own time?  I realize that there are times in life when you can't free up the bandwidth to do as much as you'd like...  young kids, other commitments, etc.  But to say you don't have time to read a tech book or study something because you have to watch American Idol, Survivor, and the new episode of Lost doesn't cut it.

The only place I disagree with Julian is where he says "I know plenty of computer professionals".  I think I would have just said programmers.  I reserve "professional" for us "losers" who "don't have a life".  :)


Gravatar Image1 - I'll have more to comment on this later but I had to post this in the mean time. Geekery comes in many flavors, and when I'm not at work, I'm a bit of a food geek.....<br><br>"How to Read a French Fry: And Other Stories of Intriguing Kitchen Science"<br><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0618379436/sr=8-2/qid=1144506209/ref=pd_bbs_2/104-5201139-4673529?%5Fencoding=UTF8" rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0618379436/sr=8-2/qid=1144506209/ref=pd_bbs_2/104-5201139-4673529?%5Fencoding=UTF8</a>

Gravatar Image2 - I tend to agree with you. Notes /Domino is not only my job, but also a hobby, or a passion. I subscribe to newsletters from Lotus Usergroup, Lotus Advisor, Domino Power etc, and I'm also receving RSS feed from about 20 different Domino blogs.

Not everything's interesting, but there are lots of good tips to make my working days easier, and to make my Domino evironment better.

I also do search for new Domino Applications at the internet and test them in my test domain. Lots of goodies out there...

Gravatar Image3 - Thanks Tom! Glad you agree (but sad that you're confirming my pessimistic view on reality).

Funny about your "computer professional" comment too. I was actually thinking more about admins and tech support people than programmers when I wrote that. I think they tend to be more disconnected with their work than developers are. My experience anyway.

- Julian

Gravatar Image4 - I definitely relate. I probably lost a lot of the passion this past year moving into management... it's fun and all and I'm enjoying it... but it's not the same as it was when I was playing with code and new products. Now most evenings I just leave the laptop at the office.

Gravatar Image5 - Thanks for the comments. I was deliberately being "extreme" in order to highlight the situation. I know that being a developer doesn't mean that you can't be interested in anything else. I'll be the first to admit that I'm rather unbalanced in my interests. Where I have a problem is with the individuals who want to be though "above average" in what they do, but only want to expend the absolute minimum in effort on the job.

Can't have it both ways...

Gravatar Image6 - If I wasn't doing something tech related, it would be home building / landscape architecture related... or photography... or growing apples

I actually have worked hard to be crash proof... meaning if the tech sector crashes, I'm not going to worry about tomorrow. I love technology and do spend a lot of my personal time on it, but it's not the only thing I am "into". Unfortunately, it's the only thing I'm into that I have become proficient enough at such that it pays well. If I could have this much fun and money designing gardens and landscapes, I'd be leaving coding far behind. Proficiency training to me is something you do because you want to be excellent, not just because you're a geek. In any profession, I don't get the "just show up for work" mentality.

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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