Programming professionally can be a rewarding and fun life long career, sometimes. It depends on where you work more than anything. It can also be a tedious and life sucking journey that leads to sitting for 8 x 5 x 4 x 12 = 1920 hours per year in an uncomfortable chair if you're not careful. I've felt both ways through my career. To some, it is more the latter and sometimes they do something about it. And so here is a list of some notable people who said enough is enough, and gave up the world of for loops and TPS reports to do something completely different in their pursuit of happiness.
You may have heard his jingle "Code Monkey", which was featured on the animated show with the same name. Jonathan Coulton was a VB.NET developer back in his hay day. He graduated from Yale in 1993 and was employed at Cluen as a programmer. Cluen is a maker of recruiting software and has been around for over 3 decades. But they did so without Mr Coulton's help. Jonathan Coulton chose the world of Indy Folk Rock instead, and has never looked back. And you can't blame him. He's reached #1 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers list and #125 in Billboard 200. His music has also been featured on Portal 2 as well as on other video game titles.
Where is he now? Jonathan spends part of his year touring. He still makes music and has worked on a comic book with Greg Park entitled "Code Monkey Save World", which was successfully funded on Kickstarter within 12 hours. And more recently on another title, entitled "The Princess Who Saved Herself" once again with Greg Park who was also successfully funded on Kickstarter.
This blog is written and owned by an ex programmer, who after over a decade in the business decided that he had enough. As he puts it "Written with love | Because f#%$ code". He has taken a huge plunge into something totally unknown and it sounds like he's finally starting to live his life. When he describes his usual work day in an office, it resembles what alot of programmers that I know go through day in and day out, including myself. And the only difference is that he decided to do something about it. Something big.
So where is he now? Well, he's decided to build himself a tiny house and move to a local farm to work and live there. He's done what I tell myself I'm doing every morning that I get up for work. An an entirely new experience to him, he's learning as he goes along. To read more about his adventures on the farm, check out his blog post right here.
Craig Ramini spent years working in Silicon Valley and somewhat late in his life made the choice to leave it behind for something he was passionate about. After a year off trying to figure out what that was, he found his answer. And that answer was cheese. But not just any cheese. But buffalo mozzarella like the kind that is produced in Italy. One of the hardest cheeses to produce in the US, but apparently one of the most melt in your mouth kind as well. With about $100,000 in the bank, Craig went on to purchase 5 water buffalo and leased land near Tomales California. Knowing nothing about cheese production, he learned as he went along.
Craig and his wife managed to own 41 water buffalo and got production to 67 pounds of fresh mozzarella per week. He didn't care about titles or salary, he just wanted to do something that would make him happy.
The takeaway? If you don't like what you're doing, then find something that you do enjoy. These guys spent years in offices disliking their lives and not blinking and just letting life slip them by. So many people that I know do just that and the big goal is that trip around the world in their mid 60's. 3 different programmers, with 3 different dreams and with 1 goal in mind, a happy and fulfilling life now not later.