Should geeks be poor?

One blogger wrote the following, “The startup time (on my crappy laptop) of the latest JBoss application server is only 28 seconds rdquo;. I “m not going to talk about JBoss here though. I didn “t like “on my crappy laptop rdquo; part. I don “t know personally the guy who wrote this statement, but he “s a book author and a speaker at the software conferences. Why he has to work on a crappy laptop? Is being poor an attribute of our trade?

Recently, I “ve been watching online a video interview given by another senior software developer / business owner. He was talking about geek topics, but I was looking at his ripped sleeve of the sweatshirt hellip; No, it was not ripped on purpose like these Jesus Jeans. It was old, and the threads (on fabric) got weak references, if you know what I mean hellip; Why he didn “t care about his look? Cause geeks shouldn “t care?

In late nineties, I was working as a freelancer developing. My client was a small company, and this lady, the co-owner of the company (and a seasoned software developer) made a statement, “All people who drive Lexuses are assholes rdquo;. She said it casually during lunch. Why? I didn “t ask. I was a well-trained contractor. The customer is always right. This was the time when I bought my first Lexus. I didn “t drive it to work though. It was for my wife, who “s also a software developer. She was working for a large corporation. I asked her to park this car on a large distance from her colleagues who “ve driven beaten up Toyota “s and pickup trucks. I asked her to play by the rules.

Interestingly enough, this lady, the company owner, didn “t pay my last invoice ($11K) ndash; they declared bankruptcy and there was nothing I could do about it other than making this lousy statement 12 years after: “People who don “t pay their contractors for the work well done are assholes! rdquo;

Why American lawyers and medical doctors drive expensive cars? They want to show they “re successful and have large clientele. Why software developers drive 5-year old Toyotas and Hondas? Because they want to show they “re smart ndash; why paying money for the new car if an old one doesn “t need anything but oil change?

If this is the case, why do you expect a nice annual salary raise or bonus? Your boss looks at the clothes you wear and at the car you drive hellip; Subconsciously he assumes that a $2000 bonus will last you for a long time.

Ten years ago I was working on a project for a financial company. This young girl, a software developer, shared with me her little secret, “I never purchase clothes at K-Mart. I go to Wallmart cause it “s cheaper there. rdquo; At the same time she was shopping for the house in the $700K price range. Why neglect the presentation layer? Why invest only in the back end that no one sees?

My fellow American programmers! There are only a couple of days left till we call 2010 a history. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a successful and prosperous 2011. But please hellip; get a new car. Come to work early and park it right by the “Employee of the month rdquo; spot. Get a new pair of pants and a dozen of shirts. Get a new laptop. A MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM will do it, and don “t tell me that Dell of comparable configuration costs half price. Geeks can “t work on crappy laptops. Professional must play on Stradivari instruments. Let “s show THEM that we need better salaries and bonuses cause we know how to spend money too!

Happy New Year!

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