Those of us in the technology sector see it all the time: co-workers who put in incredible hours coding away as though they have nothing else in their lives. And quite often, they don’t.
I used to be one of those people.
When I was working on HomeSite over a decade ago, I rarely left my desk. If I wasn’t coding, I was answering email or doing some other work-related task. I hardly slept, ate far too much junk food, and traded my health for what I thought was a successful career as a software developer.
If that sounds familiar to you, do yourself a favor and stop living this way. It’s not worth it. Eventually you’ll look back and wish you would’ve spent more time getting out and meeting people (non-geeky people, that is), and you’ll look down at your pizza-filled belly and wonder how you let yourself get so unhealthy.
A friend of mine plays for the NFL, and despite the obvious differences in our chosen careers, we’ve also noticed some similarities. When they’re in their 20’s, football players often have their youth eaten up by their jobs, and they reach their mid-30’s with little to show for their lives outside of career-related highs and lows. By the time they hit 40, their sagging health reflects the stress and damage they did to themselves when they were younger. Sounds an awful lot like the world of software development, doesn’t it?
These days, I have a great wife, two wonderful kids, and a nice social life that doesn’t involve anything remotely tech-related. Sure, I still have late-night coding frenzies every now and then, but for the most part I stop work at a decent hour and de-geek myself by spending time with my friends and family.
And you know what? I write better code because of it, and I make better decisions at work because of it. Not submerging myself in tech all the time actually makes me more productive when I’m sitting in front of the keyboard. Wish I would’ve know that when I was in my 20’s!