Entertainment, Hobbies, and Work

July 15th 2016

Everyone finds non-day-job fulfillment in different ways.

For some it's taking photos. For some it's watching TV. For some it's video games. For others it's insert any possible form of entertainment here.

Each of these has an opportunity cost.

For every minute I'm taking photos, I'm not becoming a better writer. For every minute I'm watching TV, I'm not becoming a better programmer. For every minute I'm playing video games I'm not becoming a better photographer.

And it goes on and on with every imaginable form of entertainment and every possible creative endeavor.

I think it's easy to feel better than someone else because your hobby appears more worthwhile or productive. Or to feel better than someone else because your form of entertainment has a higher perceived intellectual value. It's important to distinguish between what makes us feel better, versus what actually makes us better. I'd argue that our side projects and 16-hour days make us feel better about our work and impact, but might not be necessarily making us fundamentally better people.

It's tough because I do believe in working hard and building things that bring value to the world. But I'd be arrogant to sit here on a high horse and think that everyone should share my same beliefs. And it's wrongfully naive of me to assume that working on side projects is somehow better than anyone out there busting their ass to catch 'em all.

Work shaming is a frustrating reality of the tech industry. Frustrating because on the one hand it can motivate me to get off my ass and build things! But it's also a dangerous peer pressure mechanism that creates burned-out, cynical, and jaded human beings.

I want to believe there's a balance in there, somewhere.

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