If you work with pixels you should be thankful

Months ago, while exiting my office, I ran into a man installing carpet in the hallway. On his hands and knees, he was applying glue to the floor, and then carefully affixing the carpet tiles.

We'd made small talk before.  I asked: "How are you doing today?"

"I'd trade jobs with you in a second" he responded.

Like everyone else, there are days where I get frustrated working in the software industry. But when I take a step back, I realize that I have it pretty good. I get to work at a (standing) desk, with a coffee (beer on Friday afternoons) in a climate controlled office. My knees don't know the pain of pressing against concrete 8 hours a day. I don't think I've ever had a workplace injury (paper cut). When it's -30 C in Edmonton, and construction crews are working outside, we're calling our landlord because it's "just a little bit too cool." And all of this comes with a generous salary.

We really are spoiled.

I'm not saying we shouldn't enjoy these perks; just that we need to be grateful for them. We need to realize, daily, that we're lucky to do what we do. We need to appreciate that there are many, many people who would love to have the opportunity that we have.

For me, this realization makes me want to work hard every day, because there are much harder jobs out there. I'm going to fight the feelings of ego and entitlement that can creep up in our industry. When I get upset, I'm going to ask myself: "Is this really worth moaning about?" And most importantly: I'm going to show respect to all those folks busting their asses in non-climate-controlled offices.

Working with pixels is a privilege. Let's be thankful.

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Published on August 17th, 2012
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