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    The most important thing for me in finding meaningful jobs has been networking.

    Two of the three most meaningful jobs in my career (Human Genome Project for the Broad Institute and AWS where I work now) were both jobs I got because of my network. Be nice to people, make a point of being friendly and helpful, and horde contact information like a dragon hordes jewels. LinkedIn can be helpful for this.

    Also, I’ve found that not being picky about job titles can be incredibly helpful. After I spent the first part of my career as a Sysadmin (this is YEARS ago when that job still was a thing) a friend said “Hey, you can code Perl right? And you know a fair bit about UNIX? We have this release engineer opening” and that was the next 15 years of my life :)

    If you’re not money focused there are plenty of resources out there for jobs in the not for profit community like idealist. Good luck!

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      I was waiting for you to show up in this thread. :)

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        Thanks? I think? Not sure how to take that :) I care a lot about career issues - hiring, finding the right job, interviewing, and the like, and have thought about it all quite a bit through the years.

        If you think I’m off base or creating less signal than noise message me and I’ll try to do better.

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          No, you’re good. I have just seen you post about how your career is meaningful before. Keep on keeping on.

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        horde contact information like a dragon hordes jewels haha! Yeah friends from previous work and events is how I got my current work. I totally appreciate that.

        I think it is interesting that nonprofit has come up a few times. I think that seems like a shortcut to meaning, but I think people find meaning in building something that really communicates their ideas well. I am not sure. I don’t really have fully formed thoughts around that yet. Thank you!

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        I have never found meaning in my work, apart from when I was a musician.

        I love my work now, but I expressly wanted to work in a boring industry (because “boring” industries are usually full of money), with technology I enjoy (typed FP), and with a general healthy working arrangement (output, not hours; distributed team by default; async communication by default; lots of autonomy). It is satisfying being able to solve problems for industry people. I have never been satisfied implementing dumb solutions to problems using dumb technologies just because a middle manager forced me to. That I currently get to develop my typed FP skills every day on the job and generally work in a sane way is meaning enough for me.

        If I really wanted meaning from my work, I would have to go work in genetic engineering with CRISPR or something. There are a couple of diseases/viruses I would love to punch squarely on the nose, but I’m not sure how transferable my skills as a slightly cargo-culty web developer are. It’s probably better that I focus on my business, try and get rich, and then invest in other businesses working on the problems I care about.

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          That is interesting. Really nothing wrong with working for money. and sounds like you have interesting aspirations as well, just not your focus right now. Thanks for sharing!

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          Quit and decided to do whatever I felt like. Don’t feel bad about it as there is plenty of potential off it helping someone in need, all the results beeing open source … Not for the faint of heart perhaps, sucks being broke all the time but it beats existensiall dispair and depression from working yourself half to death for a job that means nothin to you :D

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            Thank you! I hope you can keep it up. 3 months ago, I am not sure I would have agreed with you that being broke is better, but I am starting to come around.

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            I find my work at the Wikimedia Foundation (the non-profit that runs Wikipedia and its sister projects) very meaningful. I don’t mean to idealize the organization itself; it comes with all kinds of normal organizational annoyances and dysfunctions – but almost every day that I work here, I feel like I’m making a fairly direct contribution to humanity. I feel very clearly that I’m using my skills and experience to be a net-positive force for good in the world.

            In many past corporate jobs, it was always very challenging to prove that to myself. I could only invent some tortured, convoluted indirect reasoning, something like: “I work on infrastructure for a commercial streaming music service, and the users are getting good entertainment value for their dollar, and we’re hopefully not doing anything overtly wrong to them, and perhaps the little bit of increased musical joy they experience through our advantages over alternative music services makes them happier human beings who might also then accomplish other more-meaningful things in their own lives”. Here, at the WMF, I feel like my work is directly contributing to the availability of free information and knowledge to the world’s citizens. We build the infrastructure for reading and contributing to the world’s public repository of information, we try to find ways to eliminate bias and falsehood in it, and we fight against tyrannical censorship and surveillance of this repository around the globe, and my daily work makes those things happen.

            How did you find it?

            I worked passionately on an open source side project for years. It’s a niche tool written to high quality standards, and it serves the needs of a very tiny community of hackers at the intersection of people running big Internet stuff globally, but refusing commercial solutions to the problem space. Eventually the existing engineers at Wikimedia took notice of the project and started using it in their infrastructure and sending me feature requests, and this ended up being the opening to eventually being hired there (not hired to work on this project specifically, but hired generally into what’s now called their Site Reliability Engineering team, who happened to be making use of my project).

            How would you advise someone else find something similar?

            I don’t know, that’s a hard question. I feel like I did a lot of hard work over the years on technical things that I was passionate about and that stretched my limits and helped me to grow in technical ability. That’s not directly “meaningful”, but it was on a shallower level very satisfying to me. That and I stuck to my open source principles in keeping the project pure, and not trying to immediately go monetize some startup around an open core version of it or whatever. It still remains a pure open source project with no funding, which I happen to work on in my spare time, or on occasion on job-time when we need specific feature improvements.

            I don’t think these things directly lead to meaningful work, but what they did do was raise my technical abilities and visibility to the point that people doing meaningful work came looking for me. I’m not sure I ever would’ve stumbled on this job of my own accord, or realized it was a possibility, until they came looking for me.

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              Thank you! your story is super inspiring actually. I see a lot of what I would want in my work in your story. Would it be fair to say the overarching narrative of your career path is, “stay true to my values and get noticed”? Because I think that is a bit of what I hope for in my work, though there is an insane part of me that worries that even then I wouldn’t be happy.

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              Without identifying my employer, I work in a green-ish related industry. (Not direct green tech, but has a potential to lower cost of food production.)

              • How did you find it?

              LinkedIn job postings. I had no prior connection to the company.

              • Was there any particular things you looked for in yourself or in the project?

              Positive, collaborative work environment was a big one for me. I also refused to work for a ad delivery company (or at least the division responsible for it, did consider a position working at Google on hardware.) Green tech or a humanitarian interest was also a huge draw for me.

              • Did you know immediately or did it take some time?

              I’m interpreting this as “did I know it was meaningful work.” Yeah, the mission of the company seemed meaningful to me, and the position allows me to have a large impact on it.

              • Did you immediately dive in or was it the culmination of years of work/selfstudy?

              I’m about 5 years into my engineering career, and I developed my general project management skills, understanding of business process alongside a strong focus on test-driven development and learning how not to shoot myself in the foot with C++.

              • Why did you want to do it?

              I was drifting too far into project management away from engineering work. I prefer doing engineering to feel like I am contributing to a project. And I moved. Classic predictors of a job change.

              • How would you advise someone else find something similar?
              1. Save up 6 months of living expenses. Seriously, the power to quit your full time job and just focus on practicing interviewing problems and researching companies is huge. Takes all the stress out of it.
              2. Introspect on your values. Everyone draws the line on what ethical and meaningful work means to them at different places. Look at different companies and see how you feel about working for them.
              3. Don’t set your heart on any one place. There are tons of companies. In this employment market, as long as you are averagely competent you will find a job. Take your time and feel free to make sure it is the right one.
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                Thank you! I particularly like the 3 points at the bottom. I think I started this introspecting because I have enough saved that I don’t need to immediately worry about having work. It is weird feeling lucky to be able to feel somewhat uncomfortable about what I want without feeling totally lost and poor.

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                Adding the shoulder buttons to my Clockwork Pi Gameshell. Can’t say enough good things about this little sucker. Quality engineering all the way down. It comes in modular components that you assemble. What’s impressive about that is that the skill level required is exactly zero. Each board has a little case/box it slides into, you slide the boxes into the handheld shell/case, and wire them together with beautifully labeled cables. The assembly instructions are very good and there’s a companion Youtube video in case you need to actually see it being put together.

                The launcher is currently written in Python, but is being rewritten in Go, and it’s all open source.

                I also plan to run through the PICO-8 tutorials. I haven’t had this much fun programming since the Atari 800 :) Everything - graphics, sprites, sounds et al is accessible from the interactive command prompt, and all the tools you need (sprite editor, sound effects editor, sequencer, map editor, code editor) come built in.

                It’s like geek escapist heaven :)

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                  I totally recommend checking out TIC-80 too if you like PICO-8. It is exciting to have a variety of fantasy consoles to play with. :)

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                    tic-80 is awesome and also has the advantage of being 100% open source, but there are display problems on the clockwork pi and I’m kinda fixated on that as my target platform these days :)

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                    Darn it, now I really want one of those….

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                      Yeah. Definitely having fun. Also just discovered that it runs VNC perfectly so I can use it paired with a tablet as an ultra mobile Linux dev platform with X applications support!

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                        Cannnnnn it emulate a PlayStation 1 effectively? I am looking for an excuse to go back to Final Fantasy Tactics…

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                          Runs PSX Rearmed like a champ

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                    Is there a list of all of the Lobste.rs sibling communities?

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                      Yep: https://github.com/lobsters/lobsters/wiki

                      (There are likely more we’re unaware of; they’re under no obligation to tell us they exist.)

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                        Thank you! very cool to see lobsters being used more!

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                          It’s just such an ingenious piece of code – I’m sure it will end up being used across the whole spectrum of subjects!

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                      I have had a lot of success with elm without webpack. Is that just for reloading, or does it help with something else?

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                        Webpack tends to work a lot better if you have multiple Elm pages i.e multiple entry points. I’m the co-author of the webpack plugin, and also worked on sprockets plugin. I’ve been in charge of managing the sprockets -> webpack shift at NRI, and we’ve seen some considerable speed gains thanks to moving to webpack, both in developement and on deploy. This is because the node-elm-compiler has a bunch of benefit, including but not limited to: 1) better change detection in deps, 2) the use of a tmp file in order to avoid long IO, 3) a more intelligent way of looking up things to build (i.e using a webpack entry point rather than sprockets crawling through all the pages).

                        There’s nothing wrong with using sprockets or any other approach. I’ve seen lots of people use other approaches such as a manual build system using gulp. Use whatever works for you. If your existing tools are webpack based or speed might be an issue, then you might be better off using webpack. That isn’t a one-fits-all case though, webpack can be slower with Elm depending on your set up.

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                        I am curious what projects being rewritten in Rust would have the biggest payoff. Rewriting everything is interesting, but my intuition is that some projects would benefit more.