Saturday, October 15, 2005

Late retirement

Back when I was in college (this spring in fact), I was watching a presentation that was part of the conference our department held once per semester. The presentation was about social security or something like that. At the end, one of the guests - an American professor - got up and asked the also American lecturer whether his models included the fact that a lot of baby boomers may not be looking forward to retirement to begin with. Actually, he and a lot of his peers could not see any good reason why they should retire - ever!

I spend a lot of time on JoS?off, listening to software developers drool about how they will retire early and spend the rest of their lives doing something interesting. If they're even considering it, I would assume that they are top-notch professionals who make above average salaries. That would make them computer enthusiasts, people who genuinely love programming. So why do they dream about a condition where they would never have to produce another line of code again? And even if the early retirement would leave them open to code for fun, helping out on Open Source projects and the like, why not find a good working environment right now and stick to it?

Is it really impossible to find an Awesome Software Employer in the US any more? Has the ASE become a mythical beast?

Maybe software developers are not a good example - they do burn out, and they do need to constantly learn new languages to stay useful. But what about other professions? My dad is a journalist, primarily a theater critic. He quit working for a newspaper fulltime a couple years ago; since then he's been contributing articles, translating plays and writing books, all from home. Why the hell should he ever quit and live off the state pension? Why should he stop doing the things he loves?

Why should anyone?

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