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Are There Any Fun Tech Jobs Left?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the a-place-where-you-enjoy-your-work dept.

News 584

er0ck asks: "My first job out of college was working for an Internet Startup. They gave me some books and told me to learn Perl. Our office was a refurbished factory, with lots of light and open space. Best of all, we could bring our nerf toys in to work (and use them!). Four months later, the company went under. Several dot bomb jobs later, I work for my state government. Is anyone still having fun at their tech job?" I think that with the economic downturn, more companies are concentrating on survival more than being "fun". Are there any "fun" tech jobs left, or have they all suffered from the Economic Darwinism of the early 21st century?

"[Government work is] steady work, but boring at times. (I don't think they'd approve of the Nerf guns). Without the pressure of staying in business, projects sometimes stagnate, leaving us with little to do. During these slow times, I help behind the scenes at; It's a fun site, and they are switching to Perl for their admin backend. It keeps my skills sharp, and wards off the boredom.

My questions to the Slashdot community are:

  1. Can you have a fun tech job, without the worry of being suddenly unemployed?
  2. If you are you forced (as I am) to get your fun on the side what are some good projects to get involved in?
  3. What do you to unwind and have a bit of 'fun' in the workplace?"

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Right... (4, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334336)

"Best of all, we could bring our nerf toys in to work (and use them!). Four months later, the company went under."

Gee, imagine that.

Re:Right... (3, Funny)

FFFish (7567) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334352)

Even better, they apparently hired him to write Perl scripts, when he didn't know Perl at all.

Whatta stellar business plan!

Me, I'm gonna hire rubbies outta the back alleys, and go for an IPO. I figure they'll work for aftershave, so I won't even have to give away stock options!

Re:Right... (0)

prator (71051) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334397)

Gee, imagine that.

Real insightful.

I've worked in various groups for the company I'm currently with, and one of the most productive, creative groups I worked for had the highest percentage of Nerf wars of any gruop I've been with.

It breaks up the monotony. Of course, most of the time you want to be able to concentrate on your work, but I know if I stare at the same problem for too long, I go into a zombie mode. Nothing like a small Nerf football whizzing past your head to bring you out of that.


Re:Right... (-1)

beee (98582) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334437)

if it's done right, a 'relaxed' work environment can be a win-win for both employers and employees. it's a pretty touchy balance though. some companies spend more time nerfing than they do working, and usually end up failing.

Learn to read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334487)

Real insightful

Actually, it was funny, not insightful. It says so right in the header.

Re:Right... (Score:3, Funny)

Re:Right... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334497)

Is this where the sweet meet to beat their meat?

Glad (1)

SiMac (409541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334337)

Glad I'm not old enough to have a job.

Well... (1)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334339)

Best of all, we could bring our nerf toys in to work (and use them!). Four months later, the company went under.

Ever hear of "cause and effect?"

Fun? Job? (1)

jerw134 (409531) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334341)

Wow, I never hear those two words in the same sentence. Unless someone is saying "My job is not fun. But, I also don't know anyone who works in a tech job. So maybe I am totally wrong. Who knows?

Re:Fun? Job? (2)

empesey (207806) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334508)

, I never hear those two words in the same sentence. Unless someone is saying "My job is not fun.

I hear these whiners all the time. I wish they'd shut up and stop whining or get a job the do like. This is America. People are free to find a job that they're happy in (assuming it's legal). If they can't find one, maybe it's not the job that's that problem.

I hate my Job. (1)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334342)

It sucks. I want a new one.

Please Hire me.

fun? (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334344)

if your job isn't fun for you, get a new job. working the state sounds interesting to me. your job should be rewarding, don't waste your life hating your job, do something you love.

Re:fun? (-1)

beee (98582) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334371)

hippie alert.

Re:fun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334414)

Those damn hippies and their desire to enjoy life.

All fun jobs are in here (-1)

ubertroll (153053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334354)

* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a| | \ | | a
t| `. | | : t
s` | | \| | s
e \ | / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~--| \ | x
* \ \-~ ~-\ | *
g \ \ .--------.__\| | g
o \ \_// ((> \ | o
a \ . C ) _ ((> | / a
t /\ | C )/ \ (> |/ t
s / /\| C) | (> / \ s
e | ( C__)\__/ // / / \ e
x | \ | \\__// (/ | x
* | \ \) `---- --' | *
g | \ \ / / | g
o | / | | \ | o
a | | / \ \ | a
t | / / | | \ |t
s | / / \/\/ | |s
e | / / | | | |e
x | | | | | |x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *

What do I do to unwind? (1)

evarlast (52885) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334356)

Black and Tans with friends.

Never underestimate the importance of a good social life. Even if it is with the people you work with, leave the work talk at work and have a good time. It doesn't matter what you enjoy, clubs, dancing, bars, drinking, playing sports, or watching sports. The key to steal a slogan is to just do it.

Its easy as a techie to go home from work and 'work' on your own projects. This is the time that most open source work gets done. But the beast that can do that more than once a week is a rare one. Most humans need something else.

Social interaction is more than irc, aim, etc... There is much to be said for physical interaction. I suppose there was a time when I got some satisfaction out of conversing with people online. Now I use it merely as another means of communication with people I already know, not as a means to communicate with new people.

In short, drink beer.

I have a 'fun' work enviornment... (1)

ONU CS Geek (323473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334360)

even though I work with seven techs. I work at the hell desk of a private college in NW Ohio, where I'm the phone and cable tech. I started out doing PC troubleshooting on the 'front line.' (there's only one extension for the help desk, so only one person at a time runs it)

It is a relaxed work enviornment. We brought our water guns in during the summer, have snowball fights in the winter, and change eachother's passwords on a quazi-daily basis. The things like that interject humour into our lives, and during our meetings and when we communicate, we're always told that we look like we have no stress. It boils down to doing what you enjoy and to make it as comfortable as you can doing it. If that means making-busy that cute freshmen girl's phone so you can go flirt (boss read: fix it), so be it.

Have fun, but introduce it slowly if your department has never seen it never know where it will end up.

Correlation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334361)

Perhaps those companies you worked for went under because they didn't put enough focus on getting the work done, rather than playing around?

Having said that, I think that the opposite, that of feeling bored or under too much pressure at work, can have a worse effect than a laid-back attitude.

It's still possible, kinda (1)

Zenithal (115213) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334362)

I work for a dot com that actually has a working business model, imagine that? Unfortunate thing is that we started a little late and never did get big investment. Turned out to be the best thing for us.

I think what it really comes down to is that a lot of people out there assigned the wrong reason to dot com failures. Your business has to have a realistic way to make money, it just that simple. So many of these companies started up with a euphoric misconception that the money would just stream in from nowhere somehow. I don't think it had a whole lot to do with it being fun or not.

I had a nerf gun in our office along with a couple of other people, mines broke now, a small bout of hand to hand combat. It would be allowed again if I could afford it.

After nearly 6 months without a paycheque things are looking up again, but the office has been fun the whole time. The trick is just to remember that having fun in the office is intended to raise productivity. As soon as you're going into work to relax and unwind, you're having a little too much.

What is a "fun job"? (5, Insightful)

BillyGoatThree (324006) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334363)

Playing with nerf guns in a converted factory is fun...but is it a job?

My job is as a programmer/admin. I enjoy it and the company receives good value. Pre-1995 this would have been defined as heaven. To you dot-bomb losers it is apparently hell.

uhm (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334364)

is it just me or does this guy seem to want a job where he can run around shooting co-workers with nerf guns? was that even fun when you could do it?? it sounds like it would get old in about 10 minutes. you need to stop obsessing over the fact that no one these days is going to let you play like a child when you're supposed to coding perl or whatever it is you do.

Re:uhm (1)

darkfrog (98352) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334395)

My first job out of college was working for an Internet Startup. They gave me some books and told me to learn Perl

Perhaps this is the problem... he graduated from college to get into the software/internet world, and he STILL didn't know Perl?!?!

Is this an educational system problem, or is it a just an individual's problem?

Seems like everyone graduating with that type of future in mind should definately already know perl... I knew perl in High School for Pete's sake!

Re:uhm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334513)

It might come as a surprise to you that learning programming languages is not considered a valid academic pursuit.

Fun is for suckers (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334366)

Beware those jobs that offer a fun environment with nerf toys, free soda and all that. More often than not, it is a ploy to make you put in those uncompensated hours of overtime. A lot of companies use these incentives because they are extremely inexpensive compared to paying you for each hour you work.

Maybe it is just the contractor in me speaking, but when it comes down to it - pay me the money and I will take care of having my own fun outside of work. That doesn't I don't love the work I do, it just means that I do a great job at it because I love the work, not the silly cheapo incentives.

nothing is more fun (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334368)

than selling drugs to kids

Why Don't You... (1)

grantedparole (95617) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334369)

Hey, Why don't you quit your job and start your own company? Then you could bring in all the nerf guns you want.

Can you imagine... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334370)

A huge throbbing cock in your mouth?

Thank you.

Cocks Ucker, Fag.

I know where you can find a job. (0)

INicheI (513673) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334372)

There is this excellent little site called freqmodu [] (non-paying job). But seriously if I were you, I would stay at the job you have now, and go around looking for sites to write for (getting no money, but since there is nothing to do at your gov job you can just update the site at work). Get your name out there and within a year or so you could work your way up, earning name recognition. I got a job at PSXN [] and they are still looking for people (that is if you like games), there are many more out there, but work you way up.

Shouldn't this be in the humour section? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334373)

"Best of all, we could bring our nerf toys in to work (and use them!). Four months later, the company went under. Several dot bomb jobs later, I work for my state government."

Clearly the Nerf Toy simulator he was developing went unappreciated by the masses. I'm kind of surprised that State Government hired him though. They usually have pretty low standards. I would think he would be overqualified for a government job given that he has ambition, even if it is to find a job where he can play with Nerf Toys again. 8^}

just do it. (1)

bluelip (123578) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334376)

I work for the state. We have "stress breaks". An occasional rubber band zinging by, tossing a football for five minutes, a practical joke, a long lunch, a few quake rounds, a round based game such as civ:ctp, or just having everyone tell a joke. It makes the work much more enjoyable and when we're finished, we're refreshed and more productibe anyhow. Yes, we have nerf guns, but we decided they weren't too good for general play, but they worked great when everyone ganged up on a person that made a stupid remark or asked dumb question.

Are there any tech jobs left - period! (2)

Snowfox (34467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334378)

I'm doing okay, but my girlfriend's having nothing but trouble.

She's a fresh-out-of-school programmer, and she's been looking for C/C++/Java work here in Chicago. Three months of firing off resumes in every direction, and she hasn't gotten so much as a single interview.

It seems like nobody is hiring programmers fresh out of school - or not in Chicago, at least!

What's the experience been like for others who have just graduated? Is this something of a fluke, or something more to do with her gender than her experience? (I don't know if I want to believe that in this day and age...) Or does the surplus of available tech workers from the dot-com fallout mean trouble for entry-level programmers?

Re:Are there any tech jobs left - period! (1)

KelsoLundeen (454249) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334435)

Hey, here's a tip: work for the state.


Forget this "fun" shit.

Think instead "enjoyment."

Where can I find an "enjoyable" job?

Urge your girlfriend to check out tech jobs with Chicago/State of Illinois agencies. Really. She'll be *very* surprised. There are a lot of openings for enjoyable, high-tech jobs.

Will they be firing fucking nerfguns?

No, because that's a bunch of shit for losers who don't know what a job is and think they need to be entertained all day long by stupid shit like slinkys and nerfballs and other toys.

But if your girlfriend is serious about working -- and wants a steady, reliable paycheck -- take a gander at state websites and job openings.

Re:Are there any tech jobs left - period! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334447)

Seems strange. I've never been out of work since before I started my study... It seems to "find" me. Perhaps it's because I just do what I do regardless of whether I'm being paid or not and eventually somebody feels sorry for me and pays me anyway. Maybe your g/f could start hacking the linux kernel, eventually somebody will notice and give her a paid job.

Re:Are there any tech jobs left - period! (1)

the_radix (454343) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334489)

I would completely agree that no place is hiring programmers straight out of school. I'm graduating in a year, and every single place that was hiring c/c++ programmers has said, "Sorry, we want someone with previous experience." Hm.

I'm one of the top five coders at my university here, and my skills don't mean squat because I can't get hired and get some experience because I don't have any experience!

bool experience=0 ;

void look_for_job(void) {
if (experience)
experience+=1 ;


while (!experience)
look_for_job() ;

Re:Are there any tech jobs left - period! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334512)

Dude. experience should be an int. Adding to a bool? Not cool. Top 5 coders in a school of 5, maybed.

Re:Are there any tech jobs left - period! (1)

mwadams (520080) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334491)

Just to give you an anecdotal insight into the jobs market as I see it from a hirers PoV... In the current economic climate, we've changed our model from hiring permies to commissioning entire projects from contractors. This helps us manage our budget more effectively, and doesn't leave us with the potential millstone of permanent staff should the whole worldwide healthcare industry go pear-shaped in the next 12 months. This decision makes it damned difficult for new people to break into the marketplace. However, we'd still consider a newbie if they could demonstrate competence to us, (and perhaps a willingness to be more erm...cost effective...than experienced personnel). For example - 3 months unemployed sounds like a fantastic opportunity to begin to build a portfolio of useful tools and applications - or hang out on the DevelopMentor Java mailing list (or wherever) and do some research, build your skills, get your name known by helping other, even more new-bies out. In fact, I hate CVs! They are uniformally lousy and uninformative. That said, the last project I kicked off went to a startup consultancy who happened to mail us a prospectus; a couple of meetings later, they'd got the job, and the guy doing the work is fresh from his Doctorate. So there is hope - but you've got to think laterally.

Re:Are there any tech jobs left - period! (1)

Kithraya (34530) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334498)

I don't know if this will help you or not, but things aren't any better for the Nashville, TN area job market. I've had a couple of offers, but many of my peers haven't been able to even get an interview. It's not that these people aren't any good at what they do, but evidently they're just not good enough.

I'm nearing graduation. There was a "career fair" at my university recently. Far too many of the companies that were there said they weren't hiring right now, and most of those weren't even taking resumes. The rumor is that they were paid to set up a booth, but that's another story. The point is that a lot of companies just aren't hiring right now.

Another reply to your message suggested looking for government work. I mostly agree. It'd be a good hold-over until something better opens up, at least.

Education (1)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334379)

To me, I have fun in teaching students about programming. Teasing them with tricky questions and see their faces as you unravel the answers. It's really funny, you can see jaw drops from some and you can feel superior too. :-)

Or, you can apply for webmasters/admin in campuses. Consulting befuddled students and meanwhile having some nostalgia on how you did the same when you were at their age. :-)

You can expect that working in educational setting is stable, without being worried to get fired. That's only if you have Master's/Ph.D's degree. The salary is a bit lower, but if you want a stable life, this is definitely worth a try.

Re:Education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334443)

"To me, I have fun in teaching students about programming. Teasing them with tricky questions and see their faces as you unravel the answers. It's really funny,you can see jaw drops from some and you can feel superior too. :-) "

Obviously you aren't that intellegent because you are feeling superior to students who are LEARNING the subject. Please find another career and save the world from spreading your idiocy through the students.

Re:Education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334455)

Neither am I "intelligent".

well i am having a fun job (1)

john_uy (187459) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334380)

well i am having a fun job working. well i don't really call it work since i treat it like playing. i am a systems administrator for a school and although the pay is not high compared to the US tech job pay, i do have a very fun time meeting with other people and doing things and see them accomplished and be appreciated by other people.

we get to play with expensive equipment (good thing this is a university and we are in spend mode all the time.)

but the main thing is when you do things, you do it great. your output should be dependent on the input (salary). bring out the best and people will see it. you'll not worry about finding other jobs.

for our past times, we play counterstrike with all the other employees in work. we even have regular tournaments. that is fun. we also do have parties, excursions, etc. mingle with other people. humans are social creatures and do not stare all day in front of the monitor. :-(

for projects, well if you see things that can be done better, why not. from web sites, workstation management, hardware management, etc. you do it good.

i hope that everyone will have a happy time in their jobs and they will have stable work.


"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

my apologies (1)

john_uy (187459) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334417)

i forgot to place not in the 3rd paragraph. it should have read:
your output should not be dependent on the input (salary).

One cmpany seems to have survived... (1)

Snootch (453246) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334381)

...and done very well indeed - Google!

Take a look this [] - doesn't sound like they've been hit too bad by this downturn...boy I'd love to work there! :^)

I hear they use massive Linux clusters, too, which I'd love to get my mitts on.

What a dumb question (4, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334392)

"Are there any more Fun jobs?!??!!"

Yes, there are. For years people have been loving their jobs because they enjoy what they are paid for. Not for playing around in a sandbox like you are in Grade 1.

And its not only tech people who enjoy their job. Its doctors (excitement/feel like they are helping people), ministers/counsolers (spiritual fullfillment) and even fishermen (enjoy the surroundings/hard-work enjoyment).

I think this guy needs an attiude change/reality-check.

Re:What a dumb question (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334459)

thank you, these are the words i was searching for. there's more to life than acting like a child. there are plenty of jobs out there i'd be incredibly enthused to have, and after i graduate i plan on getting one of them. and no, they don't involve flirting with males by shooting them with fake guns.

Stephen King, author, dead at 54 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334394)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

My job's pretty good (2)

PacketMaster (65250) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334398)

I'd have to say that I have a pretty fun job. I'm the network administrator at a small but growing publishing company in Akron, OH. Fortunately when I graduated 2 years ago, I didn't succumb to the temptations of a .com. My company isn't quite as relaxed about things as a .com was, but we have gym facilities, a lake with tables and umbrellas, a softball team, our fair share of little toys in our cubes, lots of company outings that are actually fun, flextime, etc.. I mean, a job isn't supposed to be fun 24-7. There's stress and some not-so-fun things, but for the most part I really enjoy my job.

Depends... (1)

PollMastah (174649) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334400)

... on what you mean by "fun".

I'm working at a consulting company and we have to work with a very large codebase with mixed new and old code of varying degrees of quality. And it's often a pain to add new things or optimize old things because a lot of cruft has built up over the years. Nevertheless, it's fun to be, in that it's challenging and gratifying when you know that what you did makes the code cleaner, better, and faster.

There are also times when it's just plain annoying, when you're faced with a virtual tower of cards of badly-written but working code. You wish you could rewrite it to make it better, but you're also afraid everything might just start tumbling down. And it's very frustrating to know that you could fix it, but unable to do it because of time constraints or fear of breaking everything (due to other code relying on buggy behaviour).

Nevertheless, I consider my job quite fun. I think most of it comes from the fact that I work with a very inspiring person who also shares my ideals of what is good code, etc.. And even when we know we don't want to touch that piece of ugly code, although we'd love to "fix" it, we can share the wish that had we the chance, we'd do it better. We can talk about what design methods would've been better, and how perhaps we can work towards that in the future, etc.. And I think it's this personal connection that makes the difference -- the job itself can be quite a bore at times, but when you know someone else is with you on it, it makes a world of difference.

Just my $0.02.

Nerf Toys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334406)

The problem is that most people can't handle having nerf toys at the office. With this type of atmosphere, the type where you CAN bring nerf toys into work, most people are not productive. This could be because of their maturity level or because they really do not like what they do and should consider changing careers. Have you noticed that almost all of the companies you have heard of that had this type of atmosphere has gone under? It's the people that are the problem, please grow up or I will not hire you.

at a college (1)

Emby_Pete (523678) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334407)

I teach computer science at one of the colleges here in Missouri. Playing on servers all day and getting paid for it... talk about fun!

I'm lucky (2)

11thangel (103409) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334411)

Being a student at this point, I don't have any absolute need for income. I work with my own company out of my friend's basement. We manage enough income to pay for the power bills. Our current goal is to learn as much as possible about both computers and electronics as well as business that we can have a workable product out the door by the time we finish college. The best part is that by the time we actually expect income off of this we will have made many connections inside the business world and gained enough experience that we will have a better chance of success. Hopefull y the economy will be a bit better in 4 years when we get out of school.

Tolerance (1)

effer (155937) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334412)

My job's devolved to routine support on the "tough cases" (ie, those which either involve assholes or require my knowledge of the 500+ person tech infrastructure). I resolved to not work for my boss but to simply punch the clock and pursue those elements of the job that give me personal satisfaction. I will work strongly for my department as I have respect for our Director that extends beyond the prerequisite respect that profesionalism dictates.
Still, it sucks sometimes and the "high" is gone.
I'm no longer loving and eager to go to work. For the first time in my life (I'm 37) I look forward to the end of the day most of the time.

MMMM PENIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334416)

I love sucking cocks, they're so yummy. Everybody should suck at least 1 cock every day. Unless you're a woman - they're terrible at sucking cock.

-- jraxis []

Re:MMMM PENIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334429)

dammit dammit dammit that is not jraxis!!! everyone already KNOWS i only fuck five yearold GIRLS!!! mm wait... i do like cock!! gimme gimme!!

-- jraxis []

Re:MMMM PENIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334458)

yeah right everyone knows i fuck five year old boys constantly, i shove my cock up their ass and also suck their cocks

-- jraxis []

Re:MMMM PENIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334471)

lol who r u guys n y do u all hate raxis? i kno him from dalnet hes pretty cool

Re:MMMM PENIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334495)

Hehe looks like somebody's doing some meta-impersonation :)

Govt work can be of embarassing M$ (0)

angry_clown_penis (261127) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334422)

I work for the Federal Government and like the majority of /.ers I am dedicated to open source. The particular division of the Army that I contract for runs nothing but NT boxes. So I promptly created a few apps using PERL on top of Linux that, to the commanding general's folks, appear like fire to cavemen. The trick was to code them at home on a DHCP enabled laptop, tell the General's right hand men that you have something that they MUST see, bring it in,plug it into the network, demo it and voila! Just like that I got my job description rewritten and a ** LINUX ** box set up amongst the sea of NT boxes.

Man oh man, the way the blood drained out of the M$ lovin' PMs face when he was told to put up a Linux box was priceless!

They are really gonna positively sh*t when I demo slash as an internal news mechanism!

So YES! If you are in a government job and you want to have some fun with your M$ friends, let me know, I'll give you a couple of the apps I developed for the Army.

Re:Govt work can be of embarassing M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334472)

like the majority of /.ers I am dedicated to open source

they're so dedicated that 80% of page views are internet explorer here. get a clue. not everyone here believes ESR/RMS propoganda.

Re:Govt work can be of embarassing M$ (-1)

Spootnik (518145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334476)

The General let you install Linux? I didn't know that communism was allowed in US Army.

Make it fun. (1)

SnickleFritz (17110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334423)

I work for state gov. also. If you have any skills, you should be able to sell fun projects there with no problem. Our state is having big budget problems. It's our perfect opportunity to get Linux, PHP, and new ideas to be heard, and seriously considered. Budget problems have given us unbelievable opportunities. Guess what, it makes the job fun.

Don't go through your career thinking that someone is going to make it fun for you. Nerf toy time might be fun, but you will have to make the time up.

Here is a bright idea, try and start your own company. See how much toy time you get. Keep it in perspective.

fun is overrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334424)

What is fun anyway? I've worked jobs where the work sucked, the boss sucked, the office sucked, but I really enjoyed all my coworkers and we all had a great time bitching about how much the place sucked. Was that a fun job? I worked at a videogame magazine where we got to play videogames all day, talk about videogames all day, and write about videogames all day -- when we weren't being sucked up to and given toys by PR people. All I ever felt was stress about the job, my stupid coworkers, etc. Was that job fun?

The point is, it isn't the JOB that's fun or not, it's whether or not you enjoy working there.

No, they're all gone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334425)

I really fucking hate working in the tech industry ... I used to love it, but now I want out more than anything. The problem is, what else can I do? It's hard to walk away from the money, and I really don't have any other applicable skils. But I'd walk away from this shit in a minute if I could. I often think we need an IT union - yes, there are pros and cons but something needs to be done about these insane hours. There was a time when I enjoyed toying around with computers as a hobby, now I get home and think "fuck this." I'm really burnt out, I can't be the only one.

No Older kids in Diapers at Disneyland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334426)

I think that this is so unfair, we have the RIGHT to go to Disneyland and keep our six year old son in just diapers (it makes it so much easier, don't have to wait in line for the bathroom, and plus the rides can scare him and he would pee without even knowing)

Disney employees told us that he would have to wear pants over his diaper, but we saw several four year old girls still in diapers that they didn't care about. Some of the meven had pacifiers, but they were at least four years old.

The darndest places are fun (2)

M. Silver (141590) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334428)

I ended up working at a bank. Yeah, you'd think it'd be the ultimate suitplace, and I'm not even really sure why I went in for the interview, other than the qualifications were exactly me.

It was one of those fun group interviews, and it started sounding like a fun place to work, but the clincher was when it came time for the other managers to ask me their questions, and the programming manager's question was "Rubber bands: office supply, or weapon?"

I got the job when my answer was "Office supply. I have *Nerf*."

The rest of the bank viewed the MIS department with tolerant amusement, but they weren't quite as stuffy as you'd expect either. (Each department had goofy "Camp" signs. Computer Operations was Camp Kickalottapeopleoff or some such, Foreclosures was Camp Usendadamoneyukeepadahouse, things like that.) They're still in business, though I quit to become a SAHM, after corrupting all their RPG programmers by teaching them Perl.

My husband, on t'other hand, works for A Really Big Airplane Manufacturer Who's Laying A Lot Of People Off Next Year, and it's definitely big-company mentality, even in the various IT departments. You can still be a nonconformist, though; I just bought him some Frigits, which he's using on the metal cube-dividing cabinets, and he came home and reported that he's now "famous."

You belong in Special Olympics (-1)

Spootnik (518145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334431)

Depends on your perception of fun tech job. If you enjoy running around with a Nerf gun, unemployement is not to blame, the problem is between the chair and keyboard.

addendum (1)

effer (155937) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334432)

I brought in my mighty Nerf gattling gun one friday and had security on my sorry ass as the mother sounds like a machine gun! Anyone have a silencer for these?

Even the funnest tech jobs are no fun any more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334434)

I worked for one of the "crown jewel" internet companies (five letters, starts with "Y").

When I started there years ago, it was fun, it was exciting, the people were smart, the management was actually smarter, and life was great.

Then the crash, lots of management bailed, the clue quotient dropped, and the fun atmosphere became more and more sterile (in the name of "professionalism"). Of course, that meant that all the smart talent who could find a job elsewhere or who didn't need a job (because they did really well on options from the beginning) all started bailing out, which of course reduced the clue quotient further, making it even less attractive for "those with clue" who remained. Basically, it became a nice predictable cascade-failure where the clueful people all leave faster and faster.

The answer is, near as I can tell: No. There are no fun tech jobs any more, not really. You may find a job where the job ITSELF is fun (some unique challenge, an itch you're scratching), but the days of a fun work environment are over.

Tough call... (1)

KC7GR (473279) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334436)

Very tough indeed. I disagree with the implication from other posters that the fact that you could bring nerf toys in (and use them, yes) was the cause of the company's downfall. No job should be "sterile" per se... it's critical that there -always- be room for some small amount of humor or fun.

Anyway... I'm kind of in the same situation, if a little more stable with my current employer. By hobby, training, and natural interests, I'm a hardware hack. Always have been, always will be. I'm far more comfortable with a soldering iron in one hand and an oscilloscope probe in the other than I'll ever be with a keyboard and display in front of me.

My problem is that all the "interesting" (to me, anyway) jobs in engineering, specifically avionics, require a four-year degree. So, I spend my days as a (somewhat) frustrated engineering tech masquerading as a Unix SysAdmin, and going to school at night towards my degree. Before that, I was a PC support guy. Before that, I was in datacomm and networking. Do we see a pattern here?

The bottom line, I think, is that you need to know for sure what you're interested in, and then work towards it in any way you can. Sometimes, it can take years before you know, beyond any shadow of doubt, what you want to be doing. Heck, I didn't realize I really wanted engineering until I turned 37!

My favorite projects involve avionic systems modification/refit. This is the process of taking older hardware, seeing what it does, and updating it to make it better or more efficient. My biggest fear is that there may not be too many positions left doing this by the time I graduate (about 2005 or so at the current rate, earlier if I can push myself).

But you know what? I'm going to do it anyway, no matter WHAT the industry does! Never, EVER believe you're "over the hill" to do what you really want in life!! That's a great way to lock yourself into a tailspin.

The bottom line? Don't worry so much about whether a job is "fun." Find an occupation YOU think is fun, and push for it with everything you've got.

Oh... almost forgot. Get your ham radio license, too. That's always fun. ;-)

Good hunting.

It's up to you. (1)

Kingpin (40003) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334438)

You have several options.

- Make the job a way for you to get experiences,
ie. don't be afraid to travel abroad etc.

- Make yourself invaluable, it's hard work, but
once there, any company will go great lengths
and listen to you if you're bored.

- Start your own. There's lots of money in making
internet software for small companies. When you
work for yourself, things are much more fun as
YOU make the decisions, ie. technology etc. and
you take on the challenges, and not just hide
out as an anonymous mouse at BigCompany (tm).

Re:It's up to you. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334509)

Yes, travel rules. Used to work for a place with lots of nerf toys, gradually the free soda etc dissapeared [thanks to BigCompany]. Never had the desire to go to a dot bomb- did not work out for most people who took those routes. Now, I do open source and get paid for it. I always have fun!

Work is what you make of it. If you make it fun.. it's fun.

Embedded Systems Programming (1)

the coose (171981) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334439)

I program video conferencing set top boxes conforming to ITU H.324, H.323, and H.320 standards. We developed our own OS; the whole binary image fits in under 1 Meg of memory (Flash). Now I know most of the Slashdot readers are IT types and if you go this route, it's highly probable that you'll end up in a government or Fortune 500 job where you maintain "the net". But if you want a fun job, I suggest getting one where you not only develop the software but also the hardware - where everything is done from the ground up. I promise you - you'll never be bored.

Fun Tech Jobs (-1)

thelopez (83271) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334440)

Currently I am employed by Intel Corp as a software engineer. My job at Intel is to design and develop applications to help the motherboard engineers do their jobs. I also develop a lot of applications for process automation. If my job fun? Well it really is, no hard schedules, meaning since our group doesn't sell product we don't have to worry about meeting hard deadlines. We also get to pick what applications we get to develop. To wind down I play games, lately it is Dragon Court.

The Lopez

Re:Fun Tech Jobs (-1)

Spootnik (518145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334500)

Must be why Intel junk is so expensive, you're paid to play games.

Fun? (1)

James Foster (226728) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334445)

If you can't find a job that you find fun in your industry... (technology in this case) perhaps you're in the wrong industry?

Lots of light? (2)

Tet (2721) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334449)

Our office was a refurbished factory, with lots of light

Nope, I just don't get it. Lots of light and a technical job are two terms that just don't mix. Lots of light means reflections on your screen, which leads to increased headaches. Any real techie lives in a darkened room/area. I'm having a constant running battle with others in our office to have the lights kept off at my end of the room.

Re:Lots of light? (1)

DavidChapLoeb (128398) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334473)

Mileage varies on this one. I like to work in a room with plenty of natural light, with my screens pointed so that they don't get hit by it. (Typically, this means that the monitors are under or next to the windows).

It works for me. If I work too long in a room without natural light, I get depressed and maudlin, and I start writing uncommented spaghetti code.

Ever consider... (3, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334451)

...teaching others what you know about IT? I teach at several local community colleges, after five years of consulting work and finally being laid off at my last job. The pay is decent ($35-$40 per classroom hour), I can set my own schedule, and I can teach pretty much what I want the way I want. It gives me a great excuse to play on lots of *nix machines, write programs, and learn from my students as well.

Instead of lining the pockets of greedy company owners/CEOs, I work for a non-profit organization which is there to support you, rather than hinder your progress. Layoffs? College enrollments are on the rise due to the massive numbers of IT layoffs! Have you ever heard of a college instructor getting laid off? It simply doesn't happen, because of the inverse relationship between IT employment levels and the need for college-level IT instruction.

Plus, I find teaching to be immensely satisfying, both on a personal and spiritual level. What more noble endeavor is there than to help others? I can safely say that I've never felt "personally satisfied" at any consultant gig I've done.

If you're happy following all the other unemployed IT sharks that are being chummed by headhunters with no jobs to offer and companies intent on building their resume files for when the "turnaround" comes, more power to you. If you're looking for something that's not only fun, but honorable, check out your local colleges.

mmm kiddie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334452)

i like to fuck my own sister's feet!!! --jraxis

Re:mmm kiddie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334504)

Dammit that's not me! I don't fuck any females, only males!

-- jraxis []

/usr/bin/yes/! (1)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334456)

Yes, I would say I am doing exactly what I have wanted and still want. Ofcourse there have been days when I have had to do stuff that was not for me (like run the company ;) but you have to do things that you dont like to do things that you like.

However, I don't believe that it could be possible if I would have been working for someone else.

What do I do then? Ummmm... I [] dunno ;)

NO (1)

nycdewd (160297) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334462)

I got the last one. Sorry. They are all gone now and will be for many years to come.

One word... (1)

dregoth (84089) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334464)


If you don't want to get rich... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334465)

K-12 school systems are fun most of the time, aren't prone to layoffs, and you've got lots of geek kids around with lots of enthusiasm.

Schools are required to use technology more and more now and good tech help willing to work for "average" pay is hard to find.

You may not end up being rich but you'll sleep better at night!

Take your work to your job (1)

cdraus (522373) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334467)

I've always lived by that, and it seems to work (err no pun intended there). I work in a job where the "work" is exactly what I did before somebody paid me to do it. If your job isn't "fun" maybe you need to look at your "work"....

Depends what you mean by "fun" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334469)

I'd just like to point out two oft-overlooked facts here.

  1. If your idea of a "fun tech job" involves spending a week learning HTML, reading the first five chapters of a book on Perl and then calling yourself an expert web developer, you're SOL. With the worsening world economy, employers will be laying people off or slowing down recruitment. Consequently, you're going to need to know your stuff if you want to get a decent job. This is fine for the people who do, and always have, bother to learn their subject and keep their skills up to date. It's tough luck for those who've only been in the market for a year or two, who started right in the middle of the never-going-to-make-it boom, and who have gotten used to being hired even though they have no great skills to write home about.
  2. On the other hand, as companies need to employ fewer but better quality staff to keep going in an adverse climate, they will need to offer genuinely good deals in order to attract those staff. Average IT workers want the average rate; good workers want several times that, and a few nice perks, among them an enjoyable job. Conversely, good companies that treat their staff well do tend to get well-motivated and loyal staff in return. The productivity of those staff is much higher, and the reason that such good companies tend to do well relative to others, even in an adverse business climate. It's a shame so few management groups recognise this clear and well-proven fact about working conditions and act accordingly.

The trick is not "fun", but "interesting" (1)

EricFenderson (64220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334470)

I work at one might call a tech job. In my spare time (I'm a full-time student) I head into work where I administer the Internet-side of a network on Debian. In addition I do programming and R/D when the need arises. The key is not to look for a "fun" job where you can shoot nerf guns, but one where you'll be forgiven for not knowing everything.

See, my boss isn't afraid to pay me to sit and read up on some technology I might need, or that might benefit the company's projects. This is what you need to look for - an employer who is interested not only in your performance, but your *growth* as an employee and a geek.

I'm not sure how long most people would have to look for a job like this - I lucked out and snagged it as my first tech job, and I'm not ready to trade it for anything. The experience I get is incredible this way, and in a geeky sort of dork way, it's really really fun.

Well... (1)

codeforprofit2 (457961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334477)

Without income no company can survive. Many of the dot-coms really has to charge more for their service, they can't live on thin air, it just can't happen.

I think that the fact that the public has gotten used to the idea of not paying anything for anything will be one of the most difficult issues for these kind of companies.

When it comes to software development we will have basically the same problem. Tons of people who lives on their parents, venture capital or the goverment (studying for example) are flooding the market with free stuff. This is not a very big problem today but I suspect it will get worse in the comming years.

I miss dotcom work. (1)

72beetle (177347) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334479)

I worked for 3 dotcom startups before getting to where I am now, and I really miss the work - what I do now is dull, unimaginative, repititious, and frustrating... I went from being a nicely flexible jack of all trades, doing whatever needed to be done to get the day's tasks completed, to being slotted into a rigidly defined (and ridiculously micromanaged) dba for a poorly written foxpro dos tracking system for a gas turbine repair company that fears change like rabbits fear wolves.

The market sucks - especially if you're a generalist who thrives on constant challenge and learning new technology as soon as it's available and applying it as fast as you can to your projects. Work hasn't been fun for me since I joined the brick-and-mortar world of IT. I'm hoping that in a couple of years, we'll see a new boom, but until then, I'm just miserably punching the timeclock and biding my time.

p.s. we had Nerf guns in our offices during the startup days, but rarely had time to use them.

Of course there are (1)

schvenk (466484) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334480)

Find work doing what you love, and your job will be fun.

Nerf toys and funky offices are temporary diversions that can't possibly make for long-term job satisfaction. I think many Internet startups cultivated this environment in the hopes of keeping employees at work longer and getting more out of them. But if you work somewhere where people do good work because it's meaningful to them, it'll be a fun job and the company might have more of a chance at success.

The job isn't the fun part (1)

FaasNat (522755) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334483)

Well, my job isn't fun (tech support), but everyone in my department is pretty close (it's only 5 guys) and we do have some fun after work. After hours we participate in some networked computer games and some nerf wars. Our manager is fine with it as long as our work does not fall behind and he even participates sometimes.

I think if we didn't have this to blow off some steam after talking to all those customers, we'd all go insane.

Actually, yes, I am still having fun! (1)

anzha (138288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334484)

But then again, I didn't go the dotcom/bomb route. I picked companies that had a proven track record and the work was interesting. The money - at this point - isn't as important as the work.

The questions I asked myself when I looked at a job were as follows. Will I be bored? Will I learn something? Will this job not work as above, but also work to advance my career?

And the all important: will I get bragging rights? ;)

Then again I am also divorced with no kids. Don't get me wrong: the money I make is good, as good as my father the EE makes with over 25 years of experience. It's just not 6 figures like what the dotbombs were throwing around for a while.

My sage advice? (lol) Look for a job while you are snug as a bug in another, even if it's a POS one. Be picky. Look at the employer's record. etc., etc.

I am probably preaching to those that need it least, but...somethings need reiterating.

The advertising industry ... (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334492)

I'm the system administrator for Stone & Ward [] . After the two year headache of getting their network and Macs up to par, life is easy. I get about two phone calls a day for general support, and one weekend a month I do server maintenance. The rest of the time I 'play'. Because they're creative types, they plan all kinds of fun events to keep the troops happy, and I get to go to everything. Like Burnout Break, an 'all expenses paid day on the lake', with jet skis, hamburgers and beer.

I would say the only problem is support the 20+ Mac users, but after you get a friendly demeanor going, they're easy to get along with and actually start to solve their own problems.

Now I'm working on projects that are fun for me, that eventually Stone & Ward will see benifits from. Like playing with different Linux distros for an in-house webserver (that doubles as an Infiltration [] server :) Or building a RAS to take advantage of our 24 phone lines and 6mbit connection that don't get used after hours. I also have a planned network backup solution that uses an ATA RAID controller [] and a bunch of big hard drives [] . It would give them four months of hourly incremental backups.


Want fun? Try game programming! (1)

JoeFaust (25587) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334493)

I came out of school and got a job coding Java for a Consulting company. They paid me a lot of money, but no amount of money was worth spending 9 of 12 months living in various hotels.

So I sent my resume out to some local game companies, and the rest is history.

I get to:
  • Write C++ & Java Client Code
  • Write C++ & Java Server Code
  • Play Dungeons and Dragons every Thursday night with friends at work
  • Stay late at work and play the latest games when they come out

A lot of people seem to have the impression that getting a job in the Game industry is really really tough. For Engineers/Programmers, this is definitely not the case. Sure, at entry level the pay is typically not on par with "business coding", but for me at least, a smaller salary is a tiny price to pay for the blessing of a job that I love.

If you're a coder, and you like games, and you'd like to work on games, send that resume out. You might surprise yourself.


job fun != nerf toys (5, Insightful)

Laxitive (10360) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334494)

I have a bit to comment on this. I've heard way too many people equate jobs where you get to do whatever you want, with jobs that are fun. Job enjoyability very little to do with a lot of the things tech guys harp about.

For me anyway, an funfactor of a job has very little to do with foosbal tables, or nerf guns, or anything like that. A job is enjoyable if I get to do work that's enjoyable. For the past few months, I've been working at an embedded tech company that's somewhat prosperous.

At the beginning of the term, the boss just came over, dropped a couple specification manuals on us (me, co-worker), and told us to implement it. That was cool. No micro-management - we went to him when we had questions or doubts. For starting from scratch, and not knowing the hardware or the codebase, we got a decent amount of work accomplished.

The answer to your question is YES. There are really nice, enjoyable jobs out there. Find a company that's doing interesting work - no, not the next e-business we're going to revolutionize the world with our web-frontend loss-leader 'solution' funded on venture capital and no chance of profit.

It's about the work man. I became a programmer because I love programming, because solving hard problems using logic (I love math too ;)) makes me feel good.

So what sets you off? compilers? virtual machines? optimization? datbase? graphics? ai? infrastructure? app-coding? embedded systems? low-level?

There's tons of companies out there doing interesing stuff, that need good people to work on interesting problems. So find one and get in.

If you're not into your work, no amount of nerf playing will take away the fact that you don't enjoy your work - it just means you'll get less done, and be dead weight for your company and get fired, or not be fired (which indicates bad management and that the company is headed nowhere fast).

rest and relaxation (0)

Fred Millington (444639) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334496)

I sleep more at my tech job than actual work. So, as far as whether its fun or not, I wouldnt know. Definately relaxing though.

Web Ninja... (2)

Bonker (243350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334499)

You wouldn't think that there are any positions like this left.

I'm a webmaster/artist for a medium-sized company in Texas that handles financial data. My duties range from in-company photographer to web design to server administration. I don't make *quite* as much as the developers we employ, but I do make quite a bit more than 'industry standard'. Also, I get to delve into all aspects of my job, unlike the developers who are stuck coding Java 40 hours a week. I've become siginificantly more experienced at photography, and I've increased my art skills. I was strictly an Apache admin before I started, but now, because this is a '31 Flavors' shop, I know as much about IIS as I do about Apache. (And yes, I keep the MS servers patched against things like Code Red and Nimda.)

If you can find a position like this, I highly recommend it.

If it isn't fun, give up. (2)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334501)

Working in tech should be fun without screwing around. I work as a *NIX admin because I love working with Solaris and Linux. I like hacking at shell scripts, trying to make windows work with Samba, and finding clever ways to lock my servers down.

If you don't consider the work itself to be fun, you really need to find another line of work.

That said, I just found a job with a small government contractor. We get free food and drinks, shoot huge rubber bands at each other, chill on the patio, etc.. So yes, those jobs still exist.

I have a fun job with legos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2334503)

I am a web programmer at, we develop curriculum for afterschool and gifted and talented programs.

I love my job, while I don't actually get to develop with legos I get a chance to be around them and have some fun every day. We also have chess curriculum so I get to play chess with the teacher quite a bit.

They would approve of nerf toys I am not much into that...

Also, we've been around for 15 years so I feel pretty secure in my job.

ncook at pcsedu dot com

Pretend you're working, and play Team Fortress... (1)

DarklordJonnyDigital (522978) | more than 12 years ago | (#2334510)

I'm a student and part time web designer. The advantage to this is that I work for myself and can play all the Counterstrike [] I like when I get bored. The downside is that I haven't been paid any actual currency yet, and my school won't let me have a kool designer goatee beard.

er0ck asked:
"If you are you forced (as I am) to get your fun on the side what are some good projects to get involved in?"

I think the best thing to do is to get a job doing something you like doing, or get paid lots of money for. When you can get both, it's an added bonus. The best kind of project to get involved with is something you find interesting, and something you're good at. It really depends what kind of job you've got and what projects are available.

Failing that, get a job that pays more money. Eventually you'll be promoted to a millionare cushy desk job, Bill Gates [] -like, and will be able to play Counterstrike [] and Team Fortress all day. See you there.

er0ck also asked, "What do you to unwind and have a bit of 'fun' in the workplace?"

That's easy. Pretend you're working and play Team Fortress a lot. :)

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