I spend my days contracting but as far as I am concerned it is no different in full time employment. When you are tasked with building a solution to a problem you always have to keep an eye on the clock, you don’t generally have the freedom to experiment, you need to develop a working solution to a problem as soon as technically possible.
When you have been developing for a while it is pretty much guaranteed that you aren’t going to get too many chances to develop something completely different to anything you have done before, unless you are very lucky, which I admit I have been on occasion.
Two nights ago I was working on the CSS sub system for Dlayer, I’d been having some trouble coming up with a working solution and after a while the solution finally popped into my head. Getting the code to do what I wanted meant re-writing about 250 lines of code and modifying the structure of two of the tables in the database. I’d planned the solution but until I got to testing it wasn’t obvious that it wasn’t fully fit for purpose, about 80% there.
Once the additional testing was complete and I had confirmed the feature was complete, for now, I noticed how pleased I was, I was generally happy after solving the puzzle.
I’m hoping it isn’t just me but I don’t really get the same satisfaction from work, yes there is always the satisfaction that what you have developed works, it passes the tests and meets the original specification but the sense of joy just doesn’t occur.
Dlayer is the most complex application I have ever worked on and it is also quite a distance from the other work I have developed over the last decade. Due to being something new there are lots of new problem to solve but my joy isn’t just limited to solving new problems. I’ve written plenty of small applications for personal use/learning and even when the challenge wasn’t too high I recall getting the same sense of joy.
What is the point of the post, well quite simply I can’t ever imagine not working on personal projects, as satisfying as work is it can’t match the joy and freedom you get when working on a personal project.
Pretty sure my Mrs hopes this isn’t the case, she is starting to get tired of me working till 2, 3am again and again and……..