Its time to apply KISS principle to career

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You might have heard from IT employees that there is no work-life balance in IT due to unrealistic deadlines, long working hours, etc. I did work crazy hours in the first 7 or 8 years of my career, but not anymore. Fortunately, I have been working in the companies that value work-life balance, and I never had to work beyond 8 hours in the recent past.

However, I have been working on writing blogs, making videos, etc. in my free time. Though I enjoy doing it, it is taking a toll on my health. I am not going to blame anyone for this because I am the one willingly doing it out of passion for sharing my knowledge.

I have been working remotely from home for the past 4 years, and unknowingly, my screen time increased a lot. As I have been enjoying doing this additional work (blogging, YouTube, etc), I didn’t realize that I am spending too much time on the screen. More importantly, I am not doing any physical activity, and I am not following good food habits.

Recently, me, my wife and kid all got sick at the same time, and it was a very stressful time for me and my family. My wife and kid recovered within a week, but I took more time to recover. I got pneumonia and the lungs were severely infected. The normal CRP level is 0–6, and mine was 123. At one point of time, I was not able to breathe properly, and my heart beat rate was 120+ (60-100 was normal range), and I was admitted to the hospital. After being hospitalized for 10 days, I got recovered, but I am still not feeling 100% normal. The doctor said it is due to stress, lack of physical activity and low immunity.

While lying on the hospital bed, I was thinking of what I have been doing wrong and what I should do to avoid this in the future. In the process of retrospection, the following things came to my mind:

  • Lot of content creation: In 2023, I have created quite a bit of content.

    IMO, it is a lot of content creation which involves a lot of research, preparation, recording, editing, etc.

  • Tried to understand negativity towards Java: I have been using Java for the past 17+ years, and really like Java as a language and the ecosystem. But quite often I see people talking very negatively about Java, and say there are much better languages than Java. So, I thought of actually learning some of these languages and frameworks to understand what is so special about them. I have learned decent enough Go, Python (Django and FastAPI). Well, they have some nice features that Java doesn’t have until recently. But when I look at the overall ecosystem, I still feel Java, and it’s ecosystem is much better than these languages. I can take a 5 year old Java application and run it without any issues, but I can’t say the same about Python or NodeJS. I am not saying Java is the best language, but it is a damn good language with a powerful ecosystem.

    I think many of these loudmouths who talk negatively about Java are either inexperienced or have some agenda(clicks and revenue). Any real experienced developer will acknowledge that every language has its pros and cons, and there is no one language that fits all. Especially, when it comes to large enterprises, Java is still the most popular language for a good reason.

  • Tried to understand is FP really better than OOP: Another thing I have been seeing is people talking about Functional Programming and how it is better than OOP. I haven’t really used FP in any of my projects, so I thought of learning it. I see the merits of some of the FP concepts such as pure functions, immutability, lazy evaluation, etc, but I don’t think it is better than OOP. Specifically, I find mixing pure + side-effect functions using all those monads, monoids, functors, etc very confusing. I felt that pure FP code needs lot more unpacking in the mind than OOP or procedural code. I am not experienced enough in FP, so I can’t say it’s better than OOP or not. I just realized Pure FP is not my cup of tea.

  • Too much time on Twitter: I really enjoyed interacting with people on Twitter, but I think I am spending too much time on Twitter. Especially in the recent times, somehow people are becoming more judgemental and aggressive. After being on Twitter for several years, I learned not to engage with some known assholes, but occasionally I end up engaging with new people who turn out to be trolls or sad people venting their anger on random people on internet. In any case, I think I should reduce my time on Twitter.

After considering all this, I came to the conclusion that I should be doing LESS so that I can focus MORE on my personal life and health. So, here are a few things I am planning to change in 2024:

  • Learn new things on need-basis: It’s common to have FOMO as things are rapidly evolving in the IT world. But, there is no way you can learn everything, so I will learn new things only when I need them. If you are really good at one programming language, you can learn another language quickly. So, I am going to continue with Java and Kotlin. Within Java itself there are many things I need to learn such as Virtual Threads, CRaC, etc.

  • Put aside the fancy stuff: As I said earlier, I feel Pure FP is not my cup of tea (at least for now). Also, there is crazy hype around AI tools such as ChatGPT, Bard, LLMs, etc. While they are interesting, I am not sure how they are going to be used in large enterprises in the real world. I will wait and see how these things evolve and then decide whether to learn them or not.

  • Daily Routine changes: I am going to change my daily routine to include some physical activity and better diet.

    • Don’t check the phone till 9 AM.
    • Consistently do some physical activity such as walking, cycling, etc.
    • Less junk food, sweets, etc.

I know being aware of the problem is just the first step, and I need to take action to change my habits. I really need to keep it simple by ignoring/avoiding all the unnecessary things and focus on what is important to me.

I got my first wakeup call in 2016, but I didn’t change my habits. Now, I got the second wakeup call, and I really want to change my habits. I don’t even want to think about the third wakeup call.

I need to often remind myself of the following quote:

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

I wish you all a very happy and healthy new year 2024.

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