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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/i-absolutely-hated-studying-engineering-i-liked-19425318.aspx

Subject:  Re: When did you realize and where are you now? Date:  8/7/2003  9:35 AM
Author:  GusSmed Number:  126 of 5068

I absolutely hated studying engineering. I liked law a little better, but because my legal speciality was so heavy on the engineering, it just wasn't much fun.

So why did you choose this as a specialty to being with? I know most people don't like work, but I'd think you would have chosen something that you thought you would like.

Take my own case. I love games. I was a board game fanatic since the time I was 8 years old. I also discovered, around the same age, that I found programming fascinating. I watched a educational TV program that taught the basics of programming for an imaginary processor around that age, and I'd spend hours writing up stupid little programs for the imaginary processor that did nothing at all useful.

Naturally, when I built my first computer from a kit at age 12, the very first thing I tried to do was write a game. That pattern continued through high school - the main thing I did with my spare time was write text games in BASIC for an HP 2000.

It would have been natural for me to enter the game industry, but when I first started working in 1982 there were precious few jobs to be found in programming that weren't COBOL drones for MIS departments, let alone game jobs. So I went into business application programming, and discovered I hated it. I liked programming, but the subject matter was boring.

This was an example of going into a field that I basically loved, but discovering that the actual day to day practice wasn't actually much fun. Being a professional usually seems to entail a good deal of choice in initial career, so I'd think this syndrome was common among professionals who hate the very nature of their jobs, rather than the specific company they're working for.

As for me, I eventually did get into the game industry. What bugs me these days is that it's awfully unstable - two companies I've worked for have essentially gone belly-up, one of them through actual bankruptcy - and that there's precious little opportunity for a programmer who also loves design. Which is why I spent a lot of time thinking about FIRE these days.

- Gus
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