Youd be forgiven if you found my blog so far to have a faint anti-IT odor. I mean, the word escape is right there in the tag line. But the computer business, like the rest of the world, is mostly full of good people who put in an honest day of work. And Im not just saying that because some of my co-workers are likely to read this. Let me be clear: its not them, its me.
I dont need to tell you, the reader of a personal log on the world-wide web, how transformative technology can be. And I do believe that, in the long term, automation makes peoples lives better. The work I will soon be leaving is largely that of automating business processes, which really does make everything cheaper. And, truth be told, IT is an industry barely past the Model-T Ford level of maturity. There are so many wonders left to discover and fruits left to reap.
So why wont I be reaping them? I discovered that, unlike my coworkers, I am not motivated by the joy of the work in and of itself. I enjoy problem solving, but my personality demands that there be a immediate and tangible human need on the other end of the problem. I crave feedback and input. Again, this exists in IT, but to a much smaller degree than average. Responses arrive on a weekly or monthly basis, not daily. Furthermore, I am a very social person. Yeah, yeah, everyone claims to be a people person, but seriously, Im a deeply ingrained extrovert. Some of my readers will already know that since January 2009 my position has been one of full-time telecommuting. While Ive been grateful for the financial stability and continuity of work this provides, the truth is I am slowly going nuts in a windowless office with no one to talk to day after day.
Ive often said that if I lived in San Francisco I might well have stayed a developer for ever. Surely I would have taken a chance on the startup community which is full of creative people and constant interaction. Again, no slight to my current team or boss but the vast majority of IT jobs, even development jobs, rarely pack that kind of punch. Its time to produce more than efficiency for a corporate law firm.
Will I stop writing software? I hope not! Theres a Facebook app I thought of years ago just begging to be built, and I havent even scratched the surface of all the various music- or education- related packages out there. Computing is a fantastic tool for education and communication, and I have little doubt I will always carry my skills with me. In fact, Ill probably love the job of programming a lot more when Im building something I can use in my teaching job.