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Is it okay if you hate computers as a software engineer?

 
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Maybe this should be in job discussion, but, I don't want to complain and draw attention, and it is not really a disaster. Don't take my frustration and rant too seriously. And this must be a very strange statement coming from a software engineer. But I have a problem. I hate computers.

Now, I am not really bad at my job. I can program. I am not really good either. I have been told today they will not renew my contract. It is my own fault. I have not studied computers for a while. I can update my knowledge. I am intelligent. But I am just hating computers. I did not hate computers say thirty years ago. I am 49. So about ten years ago I had the first problems with RSI. Pain in my arms, shoulders when I was working too long. So for ten years now, I am only using computers at work. If my daughter has a virus on her computer system, she calls the help desk. She knows her dad does not do computers out of office hours. I am helping her with various other stuff, like translations, application letters. She now studies something soft, and I even helped her understand her philosophy class. I studied languages, German, to do something beneficial for my career. But when I was listening to Deutschlandfunk radio and when they started to talk about computers, I shut down the radio. My first reaction was, no, not computers again. Computers is job, computers is dissatisfied customers. Outside the office I presently avoid any contact with the computer. I am not using computers for leisure, I do sport, I watch TV, I listen to the radio. I don't use laptop, smart phone, tablets. All this has the association work, managers, customers, problems. After twenty years of working in IT, computers emotionally mean problems to me. Even the consumer goodies normal people like!

I am a bit depressed today, since they did not renew my contract, but any suggestions how to make me like computers again?

And are there any other people like me, that because they are overfed with computers at their work, the thing that had a very positive association when they were young, is beginning to become something that is now associated with problems, or am I just getting a little crazy?

Please perk me up a little. :-)




 
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It sounds to me that you don't hate computers, but you hate everything that you associate with computers, mainly things that have to do with your job and all the problems you encounter there. Computers are just the trigger that make you think of all those things.

If you dislike the job and dealing with managers, problems and dissatisfied customers so much, then maybe you should find out if there's something else that you would want to do. If you would do different work that doesn't have to do with computers so much, then maybe you discover that computers are great as a hobby - when you only use them for what you want to do, without the problems that other people put on your shoulders.

I have photography and making music (playing guitar) as hobbies, and those are both things I would never want to do professionally. I think those things would quickly not be any fun anymore when I would have to do them because my income depended on them.

Good luck with finding new work (assuming you're going to look for a new job).
 
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It sounds to me like you are burned out and need a break. I agree with Jesper that it sounds like you have lots of negative associations with computers, not the computer themselves. Things like long hours, bad managers, even the RSI pain. If you could take a break from it for a year or so you might rediscover the fascination that drew you to it in the first place.

If you can't work at something that doesn't involve computers, maybe there is something that's very different from software development such as teaching?
 
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It's not a perfect fit, that's for sure.
 
Jan de Boer
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J. Kevin Robbins wrote:even the RSI pain.



I would say even mainly the RSI pain. Because of RSI I only use the computer for the stress associated things. I cannot use it for gaming, browsing, reading, since my arms need rest. I only use it for work. And I love teaching by the way, it kind off is like acting, performing. I would like to do that, and it would help to get permanently rid of the RSI too. That is a good idea. Not exactly know where to start there though. I think I am pretty good at teaching too. At least my daughter and the teenage girl next door said they really liked me when I helped them with their studies. Also at the athletic club, they like my trainings. But I don't have a teacher qualification. And I still don't hate logic in software programming, I still like to read about design patters and coding. Then I use a paper book though, not the computer.

Thank for replying, all of you! Bit at the end of the rope, like said.
 
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Jan de Boer wrote:I would say even mainly the RSI pain.


Jan, sorry to read about your RSI pains. Hope you get your groove back!

Reading about your RSI problems reminded me of this nice talk on how he overcome his RSI and managed to code using some simple speech recognition hacks. Perhaps you can have a look at speech recognition and other accessibility software to help avoid typing too much.
 
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Karthik Shiraly wrote: speech recognition and other accessibility software to help avoid typing too much.



We had a discussion about using voice recognition software to code a few months back.
 
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Jesper de Jong wrote:If you dislike the job and dealing with managers, problems and dissatisfied customers so much, then maybe you should find out if there's something else that you would want to do.



True that. Perhaps you might want to consider looking at something else. You have 20 years of experience in IT and that REALLY IS something. So bottom line, you have a fall back if everything else should fail. CHEERS!!
 
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I can say that I hate computers to some degree too. When they freeze, slow network, program doesn't do/give the expected result... basically when things not going well in general. And the more of these things going on or accumulate, get even worse. If you had the time factor (eg everything is urgent) then ...

So I don't think that way or at least try not to but think of how such and such can be improved/designed etc.

Simply put think like if you are the creator, not the user. But then it's the "user" who buy and use computers/software.
 
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It is amazing how small a thing can cause RSI, and the right small adjustment can eliminate it. I was once at a point where any surgeon would have done rotator cuff surgery on both my arms, but a small change and four months later I was as good as new.

The psychological aspect of your problem I can't fix. I've given up trying on those.


 
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Jan de Boer wrote:I am a bit depressed today, since they did not renew my contract, but any suggestions how to make me like computers again?

And are there any other people like me, that because they are overfed with computers at their work, the thing that had a very positive association when they were young, is beginning to become something that is now associated with problems, or am I just getting a little crazy?


How about becoming a JavaRanch moderator? Or contributor.

We don't pay, but it sounds to me like your immediate problem is "the blues", not your bank balance; and believe me, there's nothing that boosts your self-esteem more than getting a "thank you" from someone that you've just guided to a solution.

I was fired from my job about 8 years ago - primarily, I think, because I didn't speak Dutch (I live in Belgium, and language is very political here), and they didn't feel I was "integrating" enough - at least, those were the main points they listed when they fired me. Now? I do odd jobs for people on a contract basis, and they're happy to have me. I don't make as much as I did before but, since I'm 57, I don't expect to - and I also don't need to - and I'm MUCH happier now than I was back then.
Also: I have a lot more free time - hence the amount I "lurk" on this site.

For me, the immediate solution was sites like this. I actually started on the Oracle site (I think they call themselves OTN), but found their "elitist" attitude a bit smug; so it was a real eye-opener when I found this one.

Ideally, what I'd like to be doing is teaching too, but I have the same problem as you: no qualifications - although I'm not sure that that's necessarily a barrier to joining a company as a 'trainer'. I "did computers" for 30 years as a job, so nobody could accuse me of teaching because I can't "do". And, to be honest, I'm not sure I'd want to go back to IT now - at least not as an "employee" - but there's an awful lot of knowledge stored up there (somewhere ).

My advice: Take it slow. You've been hit in the gut, and it takes a bit of time to get over. Mull things over and maybe help out a few people on this site (or ones like it). Another alternative is contracting: and it's an area where grey hair is NOT a disadvantage.

My 2¢. HIH.

Winston
 
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I kinda relate with this. I am not inclined to computers during my younger years but I opted to take up Computer Engineering for my college degree. Reason? I don't know, I guess I'm fascinated by the title of an "Engineer" now I have been working with the same company for 13 years for a position not related to computers.
 
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