Thoughts on being a 5:01 Developer

This is old news, but I’m unemployed at the moment. It’s kind of a big deal for other people since I look like I’m job-hopping, but the reasons are perfectly valid. Anyway, all I’ve been doing during the past few weeks are going to events, meeting people, and finding a job.

During my quest in finding the perfect next job, I met the CEO of a local startup company here in the Philippines. He invited me over to their office and we had an interesting talk about a programmer’s habit and productivity. He was proud of how the developers at their company are very passionate about software development. He mentioned how their developers staying later than they’re supposed in the office to is pretty normal and how they are craftsmen who prefer to improve their craft instead of watching movies on a Sunday afternoon. While I agree about the whole “passionate about programming” idea, I kind of disagreed with how he thinks that a developer should work his ass off everyday and still improve his craft when he gets home. Of course, that may not be what the CEO is thinking, but that’s the impression I got from him.

A couple of days later, a blog post contradicting the 501 manifesto appeared and stirred Hacker News and Reddit. I don’t know if it was coincidence, but I suddenly remembered the conversation I had with the CEO since it was relevant to the discussion.

After reading the article and remembering our conversation, I suddenly felt insulted because I felt like I was the person the CEO was talking about. I leave the office immediately when I feel don’t feel any reason to stay, I play video games or do other stuff when I have free time instead of improving my craft - I’m a 501 Developer. I’m not really in the position to talk about productivity because I’ve only been working professionally for a few months, but I think it makes sense when I say that a programmer shouldn’t be expected to give their all 100% of the time. Doing something like that would be crazy and would only result in burnout.

I love programming, and I would probably do it until I die, but I don’t like the idea of doing it all the time. I have other interests and priorities to attend to, and ignoring them to do programming would probably lead me to hate doing it. This post should serve as a heads up to my future employers. I could work my ass off when the situation calls for it, but you can’t make me do it all the time. After all, we don’t live to work, we work to live.


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