I came across an Ask Slashdot question that touches upon something that has really been bothering me lately - as a professional programmer, how can you keep programming fun enough to dabble in your favourite Free or Open-Source or personal project after work at home? Many a time, I am just too mentally tired to do any useful programming work at home on weekdays and I would like to keep the weekends free for other non-programming activities (reading books, socialising with friends, watching movies, etc.). So where is the time for a poor hacker to work on his favourite projects? Some of the possibilities:
- Work for a company that will actually pay you for your work on your favourite project. Not everyone can be so lucky and sometimes there are other factors (location preference, desired minimum salary, etc.) which make this impossible. In addition, I have this weird problem where a thing becomes totally uninteresting to me and a chore the moment I am asked or expected to work on it by someone else. :-(
- Work for a company where the day job is not so taxing (usually) on your creative juices, yet pays you well enough to bring food to your table and to pay for your loans (mortgages). In Bangalore, this is a possibility. ;-)
- Switch professions - get a job that does not involve programming. The problem with this, apart from the need to be educationally qualified to do such a job, is the danger of the job getting too boring or too interesting - the former can be disastrous while the latter saps into your creative juices just the way a programming job does.
- Forget about personal projects for a while, concentrate on your job, wait for the Peter Principle to take effect and get promoted into management - you will then have more money as well as a job that does not involve coding. Personally, this will profoundly depress me, killing all the enthusiasm I have.