Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

August 17, 2023

Yes, It is absolutely fine to code (or work) ‘just for the money’

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:16 PM

Once again we are seeing a flurry of messages on various social media sites talking about coding for money. My feed on Mastodon had a few folks post screenshots from other sites with some inspired takes and I especially love the one below (and the response):

Yes, It’s ok to code for money.

These pseudo-intellectuals who have never faced the possibility of not having enough money, mostly because they were born rich or managed to luck into a job that gives them enough money have the guts to tell people that it is not ok to code for money. They have the financial cushion to decide that they will do something for free but not everyone has that option. This is the same nonsense the artists have been getting for years now that you should paint/write/create for passion and not for money. They are told by folks who have money that if you are poor and suffering then your art is more ‘pure’. Personally I think it is just an excuse not to pay the artists.

This attitude is a leftover from the colonial thinking where it was considered crass / common for the nobility to work for a living and working was something that only the common folks did. There have been numerous documented instances where folks were actually disowned by their family because they actually worked for their living or ran a business. This was called Dérogeance and included engagement in certain professions and occupations considered to be “lowly”. In particular, it prevented the nobility from engaging in commerce and retail trade.

I love computers and am lucky that I get to work on something that is my passion. However, I know enough people in the industry who don’t like computers and are in it for the money and Guess what? that is perfectly ok. I remember in school I had a classmate who hated programming but was planning to do a degree in Computer Science. So I asked him why he was doing that even though he hated coding, and he responded saying that is where the money is. At the time we made fun of him but now that I think of it, he made money and once he was comfortably settled he switched roles and has moved on to something they enjoy doing. It is perfectly fine not to want to come home from work and start coding away on a personal project.

Long story short, telling people that it is not ok to do things ‘just for the money’ is extremely classicist / rude and frankly it is none of your business why anyone is in the industry. You are not the gatekeeper for the industry and can just buzz off…

– Suramya

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