“Work will never love you back”

Dear new developer,

I heard this phrase on a podcast from a reporter and it struck home.

I don’t know how old you are.

I don’t know if software development is your first career or your fifth.

I don’t know if you have a family.

But, I do know that work can be mighty fulfilling.

I also know that, at the end of the day, it has been my relationships with people, with family and friends, that has been the source of long, lasting joy in my life.

Sure, I’m proud of some of the work projects I’ve been part of:

  • Supporting two different Kentucky Derby races, 20 years apart (playing the long game).
  • Helping build and then running the top real estate website in Colorado (by number of visits), helping hundreds of thousands of people find homes.
  • Taking a business idea from a PowerPoint deck/Google Forms prototype to an app processing hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, as a founding CTO.
  • Writing a few posts that were ranked in the top five on Hacker News.
  • Publishing books, including one based on content from this blog.

Some of these were hard. Some were lucrative. Some were lucky. Some were all three.

But now, none of these compares in terms of joy to a hug from a friend or family member. Since this isn’t a blog about my personal life, I won’t elucidate further, but trust me.

Here’s a quote that beautifully sums up what I’m trying to say (big thanks to Ian for sharing the source):

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.

Brian Dyson

Brian was the CEO of Coca-Cola. A freakin’ CEO of freakin’ Coca-Cola is telling us to have balance in our life and to weigh family, health, friends and spirit more than career accomplishment.


Work hard. Make your money, have your impact, grow your career.

But don’t forget the most valuable things in life aren’t found in a job.



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