The great (dev) discontent

Or why we (IT pros) are always so dissatisfied of the work we have?

Recently I came across this post (and presentation) through a friend’s tweet. Written by a Github engineer, it tries to explain which policies the company has adopted to improve the retention of their employees. I think is very interesting, especially the part about letting people float between different jobs under the same company.

But this also raised the question of why we (as developers, designers, IT professionals, etc.) are always so unsatisfied of the job we have. I personally know colleagues that change a job every six months (I am not saying is good or bad, I’m just saying it’s a fact). Look in your social timeline, and surely someone will be complaining about how he feels bad at work, how things are not working as they should, how his management is a bunch of monkeys without any idea of what they are doing, and so on.

If you think about it, there are no many other industries where the employees have such a high turnover (it come to my mind the professional football playing; but that at the end implies we are no more than a privileged and spoiled category!). And surely a lot of complains we hear around are absolutely true.

It’s also true that we are absolutely passionate about our job (workaholic, you know? people working 16 hours a day in front of a laptop, anyone?); that everyday we give  all we have in what we do, and for this reason we pretend the same commitment or dedication or – even worse – competence from the other people with which we are dealing daily on our workplaces.

So, I can understand both the point of views, the employer and the employee (that, must not forget, very often thinks to be an unappreciated superstar, while is just looking for an advancement in his career or a salary increase). But this is not what I wanted to bring to attention.

The point is: if this is a problem – and yes, definitely is a problem in the long term – then sooner or later we will have to face it and try to figure out how to reduce it to an acceptable, physiological level (like with the unemployment, here we enter in the field of the social sciences, where everything is complex and unpredictable).

Probably at the conferences we go to listen – but also to speak – it would be better to start discussing about these subjects, instead of continuously – and sometimes uselessly – debate of BEM, responsiveness and Unicorns. Don’t you agree?

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