March 29, 2012

You can't have your cake...

This is the dilemma that I face nearly every day in the software industry, and I imagine others do as well:

I work for a company that provides very competitive salaries and has really nice benefits IMO, most importantly health and dental insurance for me and my son. While this is great, there's one problem: the work I do isn't particularly satisfying. There are a number of reasons why I'm not satisfied with the work I'm doing, most of which have to do with the type of software I'm building and the audience for that software.

What do I want?

I'd like to be making software that's changing the world. I'd like to be changing the way people think, or at least the way they think about software. I'd like to feel like I'm conducting new and interesting experiments every day, not unlike a research scientist. I'd like to be involved in every possible business process, from sales and marketing to project management to production to release to maintenance.

Sound familiar? Sure, that's what a lot of startups are trying to do every day. So why don't I just go work for a startup? Well, the problem with many startups is that they don't offer competitive salaries, nor do they offer many benefits (including health and dental insurance in many cases). With my son turning one a week from now, that just won't work for me.

I guess I can't have my cake and eat it, too.