Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta. developer.okta.com

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10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

RE: Money or Personal Satisfaction?

Nanik is blogging about choices as a developer, and starting a family.

It's hard now with family and soon baby is coming to the family, I start thinking what not we don't need in life - baby clothes, education, daily needments, medicines , insurance, etc. Some of you might say "Hey! why don't you do contract work?" well it's not easy especially with the current economic climate where everywhere you turn around you see IT people unemployed or getting laid off and people are willing to work for half the price than what the market rate is. At the end of the day If I calculate how much I have left from what I can get for contact work, it's not much. I don't know what will happen 2-5 years from now, will people stay and become developer even if the pay is bad? or will people start looking for other alternative that will enable them to collect enough money for all the necessary things in life and feel happy about it?

Go CONTRACT!! At least that's been the best for me for the last couple of years. I'm still getting fairly good rates and think that for the most part - developers are still way overpaid. I know many teachers (including Julie's Mom, 2 Aunts and an Uncle) and while they do fairly well - Julie and I were making more than them 2 years out of school - and they'd been working for 20 years! What's up with that?! And morever, developers (for the most part) actually like what they do! Think of all the folks out there that hate their jobs - and don't make squat. At least I really enjoy it - I'm doing one of my hobbies as work everyday. Like I tell Julie, she works WAAAYY harder than me everyday, I'm just a keyboard monkey.

While I enjoy contract work for its flexibility and feeling of freedom, it's awesome to work at a company with good people and a good product. When I worked at eDeploy.com as a full-time employee (Director of Web Development - how do ya like that title ;-), the pay was a lot lower than other companies, but it was the best job I've ever had. Of course, great people and Friday Lunches at Ironworks Brewery were great benefits. I'll never forget Friday lunches - what a great team-building activity - even if the food sucked, the beer was good.

The problem with our current economy is you're probably going to get a lower salary regardless of whether you work full-time or salary. I feel more secure at my current job as a contractor than as an employee. They're doing a round of layoffs on the 10th - Yikes! I hope no one on my team gets the Ax - and I doubt anyone will. The biggest downfalls of being a contractor are 1) paying for health insurance and 2) the uncertainty of your next job. However, I'd rather be actively looking for my next gig than getting laid off. I've been through that - and it really sucks. Health insurace costs are ridiculous - Julie has found reasonable prices from NASE, but it's still $300/month. The worst part - they don't cover pregnancy/birth costs until you've been covered by them for 25 months. And then they only cover $6000. Abbie cost $14000, but our insurance only paid $7000. Pretty cheap for how awesome she is.

Back to the point of this post... I've had a couple jobs where the money was awesome - but the job sucked. And it was the most miserable experience of my life. Julie had a similar job with KPMG where she was traveling to Dallas, Texas every week (she hates to travel). My worst was a contracting position at IBM, a year out of school, where I was making more than my 30-year-veteran boss. All he did for the 6 months I worked there was have me train someone to take over my job. So go for the personal satisfaction - you'll never know how much you had in your bank account next year - but you'll surely remember how much you were satisfied with your life. Smile more, play with your kids, and see if you can inspire a Friday Lunch crowd at your job. All will do wonders for your mood.

Posted in General at Jan 06 2003, 11:35:28 PM MST Add a Comment
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