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The Value of Physical Labor

Pinball Wizard (161942) writes | more than 11 years ago

User Journal 5

Got outside yesterday and did some work around the yard(raking, trimming, pulling weeds, etc.) And you know what? It felt really good. There's been something I've been pondering for quite awhile now, probably since I saw Office Space, you know, the line where Peter says something to the effect of "man wasn't designed to sit in cubicles staring at computer screens all day". Well, sitting at a computer for ungodly hours is how I've spent the last six months between work and school, averaginGot outside yesterday and did some work around the yard(raking, trimming, pulling weeds, etc.) And you know what? It felt really good. There's been something I've been pondering for quite awhile now, probably since I saw Office Space, you know, the line where Peter says something to the effect of "man wasn't designed to sit in cubicles staring at computer screens all day". Well, sitting at a computer for ungodly hours is how I've spent the last six months between work and school, averaging 70-80 hours per week. As a result, my eyes hurt, I'm getting flabby, and my wrists/forearms are sore.

I think I've come to a decision. As much as I love programming, I don't think I will be completely happy doing it full time. On the other hand I used to work outside and do physical labor most of the time. I wouldn't be happy with that either.

So, what I really want to do in my heart of hearts is to have two occupations. One where I can do physical work and get fresh air and excersize, and the other where I can satisfy my need to use my brain.

A couple of problems present themselves with this goal. First, most employers want you full time, especially in programming jobs. Well, I realize that in order to acheive happiness, not to mention financial security, that I'm going to have to find work as an independent contractor, either doing consulting, writing shareware stuff and selling it, or something else to that effect. No problem, thats been a goal of mine for years. The second thing I worry about is that if I try to do two things part time I risk losing the edge to people willing to work 70-80 hours a week at one particular thing.

Any thoughts you might have on this subject are greatly appreciated. Regardless, I know I can't go through life sitting on my ass looking at a computer screen. At least not all day every day. I need other stimulation, in the form of physical work to be completely happy.

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Bicycle! (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5027777)

Can you ride a bicycle to work? Excellent workout, zero fuel cost, faster than city traffic (sometimes).

Re:Bicycle! (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5030038)

i bike to/from campus almost everyday, depending on the weather. about 13 blocks or so, parts of which are indeed faster in a bike lane than what it would take to drive depending on time of day. Takes about 15 minutes on the bike, 30 to walk. Driving, however, just isnt worth it unless I'm _really_ running late.

Only problem about biking is getting behind a bus or a car that's exhausting blue smoke. The lack of oxygen gets rough, as is whatever it takes to get around the offending vehicle.

Re:Bicycle! (1)

Pinball Wizard (161942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5030229)

Yes, and I do when I can. Its not feasible on days I work and go to school. What I'm really talking about, however is the life I'd like to design for myself. Wanting to work with my hands part time goes beyond being fit and excercise.


Still, its a moot point for now - I'm working my way through college, and I have a couple of years to go. Doing computer work is the most financially feasible way to stay afloat at this time.


However, if I ever got to the point where I could pull six figures, I'd gladly trade half of it in order to work part time. :)

Staring at computer screens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5028002)

I work as an independent contractor, and as of today I cut my hours in front of the computer back to 25. I did this for a variety of reasons, some in line with what you are thinking. I want to search for more meaningful work in my field (video post production) and give myself time for non computer related pursuits.

Getting outside is good, I worry about losing the edge also. But there will always be someone willing to work 90 hours a week and have no family or social life, getting carpal tunnel, and generally not living life, so I think if they want it that bad, let them have it.

I want to make my mark with originality and quality of my work, not sheer quantity. I find that the more slack I cut myself, and the more I exercise and enjoy my hobbies, the more motivated and creative I can be at work. Conversely, the more I force myself to work, the less productive I become (and the more frequent my visits to slashdot!)

More power to you.

I agree. (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 11 years ago | (#5030665)

I'd like to get a job that involves physical labour. At 1 time I wanted to do some landscaping, bceause I like improving the environment, and using my hands. I really enjoy physical labour, because it is much easier to see how much work was achieved.

Right now I am planning on joining the navy, which you probably already knew. I'm hoping that it will provide enough exercise.

I hope that you find what you need. Keep us updated.
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