The problem with being a programmer...

I just broke up with a girl I've been seeing the past 2 months, that I was really into.

But in the end, it became a question of, either i'm with her, or I'm with my work.

I don't think that would happen with other professions, at least, not as easily.

I think, with other professions or projects, you tell someone "I need to work" and it's really fucking understood. "Ok, you need to work"

They understand it. If I was a lawyer.. I have a case. if I was a carpenter, I have a wall to build,
or a house. Etc. All understood things. Or physical things that can be seen.

But with programming, first of all, I work my own hours, I write software and then sell it. I do it all myself, I own my own business. I don't have normal hours like a job, but I do know my requirements, which is at LEAST 8 hours a day of solid, uninterrupted work.

If I had a "job" it would be like "gotta go to work" and that would be it.

But, because I work for myself, and because the things I build, aren't like something you physically see, nobody gets it.

My parents, as supportive as they are, will never understand how I just implemented a new design pattern and like, leveled up because of it.

They see software... buttons, and even then, when I try to explain what excites me, it's like trying to get a 3 year old interested in calculus.

How could they possibly understand the richness of what I do, how fulfilling it is
and how much I love it, when all they see
is me on a computer, clicking keys.

The same for this girl I dated.

The only place I feel where people understand,
is here.

Do you have any similar experiences to share?
Would love to hear it right now.

  • 28
    Same with my family. I met a few devs this school year, and they are cool but one of them is super good, like actually, but he probs thinks I’m shit anyway.

    Baseline is, try to find secs in your area, I struggled for 4 years like you.
  • 7
  • 38
    You expect people to 100% understand something that's a relatively new profession, and that's a bit unreasonable.

    Lawyers have been around for hundreds of years, so naturally people get it.

    Programming on the other hand, is new compared to that.

    With that said, don't date people that are childish and shallow and fail to see that you have a work life on top of your relationship. Obviously easier said than done, but many people give off red flags.
  • 10
    @Stuxnet yeah... she's hot though
  • 9
    @rant1ng Ahh shit it happens.

    I'd say something about hot girls being shallow, but most of the hot girls I've talked to are actually the nicest people I've known lmao.
  • 1
    @Stuxnet very true.
  • 0
  • 16
    Same issue here. I completely cut ties with my family (for what a blood bond is worth, I find the word "family" rather distasteful) and don't have a girlfriend, so fortunately I don't have to deal with those.. but my home supervisors and everyone I meet when I finally get the balls to go out and into a café, they all think I'm some kind of freak for using a hekur turminel and think (I shit you not, my home supervisor actually told me this) that a datacenter is obviously something you'd find in a basement. Showed them Google's datacenters (which I personally find quite pretty) and the idea of it being like a big-ass hangar full of servers and massive dedicated power plants.. you must've seen their faces XD

    "But all that technical stuff is too complicated anyway."
    No wonder that engineers are usually not too fond of muggles.

    That said, yesterday I went to an old classmate of mine in a reunion after 6 years.. 6 people, drinking and smoking pot essentially. 3 of us were technologists, while the other 3 were apparently into politics. When politics became the topic, we techies of course couldn't chime in, but even while stoned like a shrimp I put in some effort to listen and understand what they were talking about. Can that really not be expected of others when we talk about technology? I mean, they could totally learn a thing or two from it.

    Bottom line I guess is that it's kind of a lost case to get tech topics into the heads of the uninitiated. And we have the oversimplification of everything into Knopkes that would make even a 3-year old's toys more complicated to thank for that.. long live abstraction, long live oversimplification, long live making stupid users even more stupid!!! I hate this world. If it wasn't for devRant, I probably would've gotten so depressed that I'd have killed myself long ago.
  • 10
    My two cents, I think this is really petty on your part. Not everyone you socialize with is going to know everything about what you do. I don't know all the intricacies of Human Communication or Statistics when my partner talks to me about it, but she doesn't go "well he doesn't know about Shakespeare so I'm breaking up with him".

    Also, the biggest problem with working from home is the concept of "work". Realistically, to make working from home work (heh), I'm of the opinion that you need a space dedicated for work, that acts as your office. Don't program on the couch in the living room, because that makes you available and not in that work mindset. You go to your "office", now you're in the mindset to get shit done, the people who live with you know "they're working, I shouldn't disturb them".
  • 9
    People outside will never understand. My SO (bless her heart) listens when I'm excited about something and I forget that I might as well be showing ancient Latin to her, but when I finish telling hey I usually say "you didn't understand any of what I just said, did you" and she will reply along the lines of "nothing. But I'm happy you get excited about your work"

    If you want your parents to understand, you have to bring it into a familiar context. Building houses can be a good place to start. You have a foundation. You can add rooms (domains) and wirering (connectivity) to it. But one you have a house and realise it's getting bigger and the foundation won't hold it in the long run, it's a huge pain to exchange the foundation, and on a live system, it's like fixing the breaks of a car while you're going 100 mph down the free way (I don't remember where I read that but I stole it from somewhere).
  • 10
    @Condor did you just call non engineers muggles 😍!
  • 8
    Sorry but this is BS. My two cents: You took the easy way out not to face any complications.

    Sad, but if your work is more important for you than a relationship, that is your decision.
  • 8
    @ceee of course 🙃 to non-techies we might as well be wizards anyway 😜
  • 2
    @Condor The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb anyways.
  • 2
    Yeah, a few months ago I broke up too, for the same reason, been single for a while now.
  • 2
    What if what you do is actually useless
  • 2
    You made the only choice that indicates you are well adjusted, broad in scope, sensitive, and definitely relationship material. Now for the bad news, lad. As George Harrison said, "Beware of maya."
    I presume you're in your early 20s. When I was in my early 20s, "Emotional Rescue" by The Rolling Stones had gone to #1 and was on its way down the charts, US President Ronald Reagan narrowly missed snuffing it from a would be assassin's bullet, &c.
    My hope for you is that you're not broadsided by a situation/person wot disguises itself and, after it's too late, you find yourself damaged.
    ["Oh, Christ. I've gone off on another one of my fucking A Course In Miracles Tangents! One day I'll go so far off on one I'll never be heard from again!"]
    AFA a relationship, when you meet somebody you think is special, give it a year before you make any heavy decisions.
    the girl in question is at this moment sinking her codependent talons into somebody else.
  • 7
    It’s a similar story when you work remotely. I did 99% work from home over 7 years divided between two companies, save for the first one flying me to their offices sometimes. Family and friends thought just because I was home all day, I had all this spare time to run around or visit with them or do things for them. No, ya’ll, I actually have to work my shift and produce stuff, but I can come by after 5. My neighbors actually thought I didn’t have a job and was a stay at home mom. Given I lived way out in the country, I can only imagine what they thought I did to pay the bills.
  • 2
    @irene like spamming with messages and notifications just to get someone's attention. Ever had a whole bunch of notifs coming in all at once? It's like your phone doesn't even know which sound/vibration/thing to do first
  • 2
    Whenever I play games my wife yell at me and either force me to continue my side projects or to learn something new which will help me to grow.
    And I still play game ofc as I'm an Idiot.
  • 3
    @Condor yes we are 😊😍
  • 0
    @irene lucky you
  • 4
    my parents don't really understand it either but I tend to be able to break it down or summarize it to a level they can understand. Or I give them a comparison with something they have a clue about and then they understand.

    About the girl: well, if she cannot understand the way you work or how your kind of job works, after you tried to break it down for her, than she is not for you. If you never tried to break it down for her or explain it to her with terms she can relate to, it's sort of your fault.

    Every job is different, and we as programmers don't necessarily know how other jobs works either.

    Essentially, it all comes down to the one side trying to explain it as not complex as possible, and the other side taking their time and being open to try and understand. If one of the sides is not doing this, then it won't work out. Be it friendship or relationship.
  • 4
    The trick when explaining your accomplishments is to relate them to another field that others will understand.

    Sometimes the explanation is just, "I spent the whole day pulling my hair out trying to fix an issue that would take 4 years of college to properly explain to you. I could really use a hug."

    Those two sentences. Exactly. (Second one optional, of course.)

    Also, if that doesn't work on your gf, if she still just sees you as "wasting all your time in front of that damn computer," she's not fit to date a programmer. Plain and simple. If any person isn't willing to accept that things they don't understand can still be important, they're not worth our time.
  • 3
    I think its hard for people to differanciate when you are literally working in your living room. I would at least have a home office or go somewhere else to work like a café or something. So people understand that you are working and not just slouching on the couch
  • 0
    @rutee07 lol

    You were a girl, then.

    Fuck it, hot is hot.

    Pick you up at 8
  • 4
    There is a happy ending to the story. After we broke up she saw this post and it made her reevaluate how she responds to my work. It also made me rethink a few things too. We've been back together and really strong ever since. Sometimes it takes a break up for both people to realize what they were missing.

    I want to thank everyone who responded to this a lot if you had some very intelligent and wise things to say. Thank you.

    This morning after coding for 3 days with barely any sleep she told me to go to bed. I woke up to a totally clean apartment. Took my breath away. That's love.

    Love you baby, if you ever read this.

    I just want to say one thing to the people who made the very good point that if I choose my work over the woman I'm dating or love that my priorities are wack.

    I totally agree. But the nature of my work is there is a lot of up-front effort in order to set something in motion that creates residual income for years.


    Love you guys love this community
  • 5
    Same problem here...

    Me: Hey, I've got home office tommorow.
    Her: You have a day off? Nice you can clean the house, repair xxx, do xxxx.....
    Me: No, I am working normally. I will just sit home and not in office.
    Her: Aha, ok.

    When she comes home:
    Her: Hey, you did nothing of the things I told you! Instead you are sitting with the computer here!
    Me: @#$!$!#!@@!$!#!@@
  • 3
    @sudoguy fucking EXACTLY

    i don't get why people can't wrap their head around this

    like I tell them, pretty much every second I am home, I am working.

    They seriously don't get it. Like they think by "work" I mean, play video games or fuck around on facebook cuz that's waht they do all day

    its like no, like today, since this morning I spent the last 6 hours implementing a feature on one of my sites. 6 straight fucking hours. Just pushed it out to a live site. Nervous as hell, but it's done. Crossing fingers

    You guys get that.

    That's actual work. I have real work stress and real work issues.

    But no, I'm "on my computer"

    like it's a toy or something

    I think this deserves a second rant .
  • 0
    Same here,

    But in my case parents are greedy. They want me to earn more so they can brag about it to others.

    Every time I get a rise they won't be happy.
  • 1
    @ceee @condor you are into harry potter books/movies too?
  • 1
    Been in similar situation she was studying programming too but for some reason she demanded that I spend 2h of my work time with her and that i should do it whenever she wants even though she knew that even if its remote its still a job so i don’t think it matters if its a techie person or not its all in the brains
  • 1
    @echonox I used to be into it long ago.. my sister had a collector's box with all the 7 books in it etc. So I've read those, watched the movies, etc. In this context, muggles="non-technical users" though 😜
  • 0
    @Condor sure I understand what muggles are, have that collection too haven’t read them yet.
  • 2
    @echonox Yos 🤩, a low-key Potterhead.
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