Okay bear with me because it’s late at night and I’m a little loopy. But this thought just occurred to me and I wanted to know if it resonates with anybody else. More like a metaphor really.
I’ve been feeling for a long time that I don’t want a career as a software engineer, but rather one as an artist. And more specifically, as a musician. I chose software engineering because it’s practical and art is anything but. And I think a lot about why I have this feeling, and had an interesting thought about skill vs. natural ability. I guess this is also in conjunction with reading Mixerman’s new book and thinking more about what makes a good record.
So here’s the metaphor: I was born with an “extra something.” And that were I to (through hard work and dedication) achieve mastery over an art form such as music, I could finally put my “extra something” on top and it would be truly special. I don’t think I have anything particularly extra special to put on top of a masterful piece of software. I guess we’re all unique and have something of ourselves to add to whatever we do, but maybe we each have this particular “extra something” that we’re just dying to show off. The rub is that this “extra something” is nothing on its own–it’s only in conjunction with a masterful work that it has any existence at all. Kind of like breaking a rule–its significance is directly proportional to how strictly the rest of the rules were followed.
And I think that’s why even though I like software engineering, I can’t abide spending the rest of my career on it. Because then I may never get to use my extra something. And boy will it take some work to get there!
Haha I hope I don’t sound too crazy. What do you think? I’m really curious to see if anyone can relate! (Or if I’m just a tragically typical millennial, haha.)