Question: do you like coding but hate your job?


If your answer is yes, I wonder how many people this applies to. I loved coding in college and have had times where I’ve enjoyed my work, but over the course or about 20 years, I’d say I’ve disliked at least half. Some years, it’s been bad enough to make me want to do something else, like become a plumber or something.

I don’t know if most careers are like this, but it seems to me, if you enjoy your work, then you would enjoy your job more than I do. Yet it doesn’t feel like that is the case with most of the people I have worked with.


One thing that stands out to me is that during education, things seem a lot more promising than the job might actually be like. In my case I studied computer architecture, compiler theory, AI etc. Maybe for a couple of weeks total in a more than 20 year long career have I worked on something equally interesting.

Probably some people are able to find more interesting jobs in this sector, but they sure don’t seem to grow on trees.

When you’re an apprentice plumber you pretty much see what the job is going to be like.


The first job I ever did out of college was awful. I quit after 3 months. The thing is, if I had stayed, gotten a handful of promotions over the years, I’d have a couple of million dollars in a 401K now. It was a fortune 500 company, not one of the terribly ethical one’s either, but it payed well and had a fantastic 401K match. I wouldn’t be able to retire but I’d be able to take a job that I wanted as long as it had benefits.

And, I’d have spent 30 years of misery in a job.

Now, I work in government, pretty much the same deal as the first job, a bit more interesting, and while I won’t retire with that much money, I’ll have a decent pension. I just gotta stick it out a bit longer and the end is visible, although not here, yet.

My job, now, isn’t too bad. I can live with it. It was pretty awful for the first two years though. And that’s kind of the deal, if you can detach from the job, treat it as a job, and it checks other boxes, then why not do it? If something is fun, really fun, people wind up doing it on the cheap, and the other boxes don’t get checked.

I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this unless you are pretty gifted and get lucky enough to find the right niche. I like the idea of “follow your bliss” I just never figured out how to do that.


When I first got a software development job, I was ecstatic. I like to code, and now I will be getting paid to code, I thought.

I don’t think I understood myself well enough. I didn’t like to code, I liked making things.

Coding for a living ironically deprives me of the ability to make things. For the most part it’s tracking down bugs, adding a field to a form, making minor modifications to existing workflows. And even when I do get a chance to be creative, I essentially only sell off that creativity and never see it again, it’s not really mine, and they only care about it as far as it generates revenue. The money aspect of things is another burden, not being able to necessarily create the best thing, or sometimes even a truly adequate thing, because it would take so many hours and the budget is X.

As someone creatively minded I also have to take into account that I can’t even think about what I want to think about during the day because one’s job hijacks your entire brain for 40 hours a week. It’s actually kind of depressing as I think about it.

By my second job, I realized that I was miserable. Worse, I realized I was going to keep being miserable. I want to roll out of bed excited to do work. Right now I feel like I would give anything to care about what I was doing. I don’t care about the money anymore, I just want some kind of purpose. When I look at job postings for the most part I think, maybe this will be alright, maybe I can last about 6 months here before the dread starts to set in.


Reading what you write here makes me think about how I feel about my current job. This is by far the best job I’ve ever had in terms of pay and benefits and the company is great, but I feel like I don’t enjoy my role as much because I’m not really free. Much of what I do day in and day out is fix bugs and write features according to other people’s design. Even when I come up with a clever solution for a difficult problem it can still easily get discarded because so and so didn’t agree with it or want it done his own way. I’ve been thinking perhaps having a side project could help; something completely unrelated to what I do for work, but by the time I’m done with my day I’m so exhausted and drained that getting into code is the last thing I want to do.