Some thirty-year-old just put a post up on theJoel On Software Forum: Should I get out of tech while I’m reasonably young?
Now, our youth-obsessed North American Culture bugs more more than a little, and I took the time to reply. I’d like to share a bit of that reply here:
When Steve Yeggae is on Stack Overflow, complaining that he is old because he saw the original “transformers” cartoon movie in the theater, we’ve got a problem as an industry. The fact is, we’ve got a job where you sit at a desk and your experience grows with age. People continue to be olympic athletes, and competitive at it, well into their forties. “It’s a young man’s game” is something people should be saying at seventy-two, not thirty two.
All this reminds me of the Muppets. Yet, the Muppets. My family is currently watching the first season of the Muppets via NetFlix. Each show has all the muppets plus one guest. The guest is actually /established/ in the entertainment field.
Of course, back then, you couldn’t really get started until you were early 20’s, so all of the entertainers are in their 30’s at least, with the occasional Bob Hope who was in his 50’s. Not an “over the hill” joke in the bunch, these folks were finally ‘making it’ when they hit the muppet show, just beginning to get to the top of the ladder at 35.
Because it took them ten years to have done anything of substance and be recognized for it.
It’s taken me something like that long to be recogized in the field. (Yes, last month “Creative Chaos” made the top 100 blogs for dev managers.)
Those first ten years are the beginning of the story, not the end. And the reality is that I’m not an old dude; it’s only a bizarre culture change that said so. It is also a recent culture change – the muppets certainly didn’t feel that way in the 1970’s.
Now compare that to the britney spears/ justin timberlake / christina aguilera / 20-is-over-the-hill culture we have today.
The problem with the 15-year-old teen idol, is, well, they haven’t really done anything yet. And that’s the problem with the 15-year-old coding genius. Sure, one is in a million is Shawn Fanning.
The rest … aren’t.
The Mickey Mouse Club is getting old too, gosh, they must be 24 now. hmmm … Taylor Swift?
I think you get the point.