Whenever I see people who obviously work far harder than me (I’m in a 10-20h week I’d say, with a few big spike weeks in a year) but earn far less, I realize I have no clue how the economy works. Apparently I’m nearly an order of magnitude more valuable than an honest service worker working 40h/week at minimum wage.

@vgr I was sad to see the same problem with game-makers vs web-devs, where the talent gap (difference in gung-fu) is huge but the financial outcome is entirely the inverse.

@ykgoon @vgr has to do with legibility I think. Games have sales, hard numbers. For consumer or saas apps money is just thrown in the general direction of product creation similar to not knowing which half of marketing spend is useful.

@vgr Different risk appetites, different compensation?

@vgr I'm sure there's an aphorism somewhere in there about entropy and risk but it's not rolling off my tongue.

@vgr a friend used to play online poker professionaly. he said that the only important skill to make money was picking a the right table. Being a talented or dedicated poker player was an afterthought

@Harry_Pottash The role of risk (and luck) in economics is underappreciated.

Also: unfair.

Luck is not a heritable, nor competitively selectable, trait.


@dredmorbius @vgr
agreed. also which market or industry you work in makes a bigger difference. a good carpenter makes less than a crappy programmer

@Harry_Pottash Hell, you can be /the best carpenter the world has ever seen/ and /still/ be absolutely crucified!

(Too soon?)


@dredmorbius @Harry_Pottash Well was Jesus actually a good carpenter? Being a good messiah says nothing about how well he handled a saw

@vgr You /know/ what I'm going to say, don't you?

"Judge not, lest ye be judged."



@vgr Adam Smith's 5 factors are worth consideering:

> First, the agreeableness or disagreeableness of the employments themselves; secondly, the easiness and cheapness, or the difficulty and expense of learning them; thirdly, the constancy or inconstancy of employment in them; fourthly, the small or great trust which must be reposed in those who exercise them; and, fifthly, the probability or improbability of success in them.

@vgr Also note that Smith argues that "A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him", and that employers have inherent and unfair advantages.

Also that the market's notion of exchange value is not necessarily fair, equitable, or fully reflective of real costs.

@vgr TBH that sounds quite nice, if it can be sustainable. I tried working 0 hours per week after a couple decades of 50+ and nearly went insane. The stuff I know how to do well tends to be all-consuming, though.

@vgr I want to try consulting again, if I can find a decent biz model / inbound funnel that doesn't require spending the other 20 hr/wk chasing contracts or hiring warm bodies to stand in for me.

@bueno also of course you have to lower your financial expectations. I make roughly what I used to when I left my last job on average, but if I’d stayed I’d probably be making more at the job.

@bueno @vgr me too. I'd love to have more burst oriented work. The regular schedule drags on me. I also get really bored working on the same problem for years.

@britt @bueno people keep suggesting using refactorings/ribbonfarm as a sort of hub for generating and directing leads to people. If I knew how to operationalize that, I would. We do have this server for which we're paying $20/mo anyway, so I'm open to bright ideas. A single-page that pulls from hashtag here like or maybe?

@bueno it’s not sustainable. Requires severely panicking once a year to find yet another temporary lifeline 😆

Pursuing gigs is horrible and I don’t do it. Consulting is only fun if it’s 100% inbound interest. This basically means writing/speaking.

@vgr I think about this a lot. My wife is a teacher (both harder work, and more important, than the software development I do) but gets paid less.

I try to remember that your salary doesn't depend on how hard you work, whether the work you're doing makes the world a better place, or even on how much you contribute to the company's bottom line, but solely on one thing: how hard you would be to replace.

It ain't remotely fair.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Refactor Camp

Mastodon instance for attendees of Refactor Camp, and members of various online/offline groups that have grown out of it. Related local groups with varying levels of activity exist in the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, and Austin.

Kinda/sorta sponsored by the Ribbonfarm Blogamatic Universe.

If you already know a few people in this neck of the woods, try and pick a handle they'll recognize when you sign up. Please note that the registration confirmation email may end up in your spam folder, so check there. It should come from administrator Zach Faddis.