Death of a Programmer. Life of a Farmer.

Every person has their own idea of the things that keep them alive, and conversely, the things that slowly drain their lives away.  Finding and figuring out which is which is not the easiest thing to do, and many people spend all of their days being content with not knowing the difference.  For me, it took a lot of death to find what keeps me alive.

After the realization that sitting behind a desk pumping out code was one of the things that was slowly draining me (as I explain in this post) , I embarked on the journey to build a tiny house and work on a local farm.  From day one on the farm, the feeling of life was almost palpable as I helped out with daily chores and the hundreds of other things that needed to get done.  This particular farm is a bit different than your average farm in a lot of ways.  Mainly, it’s an incredibly new farm.  It started on a 50 acre plot for meat and layer chickens, and in the last year has grown to 300 acres to house chickens, lambs, cows, pigs, some small cabins, and some gardens.  The best thing about this farm, in my humble opinion, is that it’s so new that the day-to-day processes aren’t completely worked out, and there is a lot of infrastructure needing to be built.  There also aren’t many hands helping out on a daily basis so I get to participate in a lot.

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My first week on the farm was cold, rainy, and most of the others were pretty miserable.  I, however, had the biggest smile on my face, and energy bursting out of me.  I know that this is likely to fade as the years go on, but I can’t describe how great it felt to be outside working with my hands on a Thursday.  All in a couple days my entire life force shifted inside of me, and every person I ran into that week was blown away by how obvious this shift was.  One of the greatest things about this shift was I was able to put my positivity into the farm, the animals, and the people around me.  My old coworkers would attest to the fact that this was not a by-product of my day-to-day life as a programmer.

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My second week was when some of the realities of working on a farm started to sink in.  Personally, I was physically exhausted by the end of each day.  I’ve always been somewhat of a night owl, but I was in bed by about 9:00pm every night.  I also started to lose weight which for most people is a good thing, but I was already as thin as a board in the first place.  As far as the farm goes, I was subjected to things that have been so distant in my old life as a grocery store consumer.  One of the lambs in the newly erected pole barn had been sick for a few weeks, and we had been feeding him extra alfalfa, and some tinctures that were mixed by the owner.  He usually had a difficult time standing up on his own, but we would hand-feed him then walk him around a bit to get the blood pumping.  However, on the last day of the second week, I walked down the long gravel trail to the pole barn and could feel the weight of something wrong.  As I stepped through the gate, I found this lamb laying in a pile of his own excrement and the life almost entirely gone from his eyes and body.  I called the owner, and after a few disgruntled swear words, she said she’d be down there in a bit with the .22 caliber rifle.  After the deed was done, we had a short ceremony for the lamb to thank him for his life.  To complete the cycle of life, I had to pick him up, carry him back up the road and bury him in the back part of the rows of 100-foot long compost piles.  The weight of that moment carried out through the day, but there was still much more life to attend to and the farm must carry on.

From a bit of death, and a lot of hard work came a million more moments that fed my soul, and carried their weight in gold.  My programmer tan (or lack there of) slowly transformed into a legitimate farmer’s tan, and added a lively color back to my cheeks.  The initial loss of weight slowly transformed into a legitimate feeling of being hungry.  Instead of getting out of my desk at noon to go to lunch because that’s what I do at noon, I eat often throughout the day.  Coupled with the tough work, it actually makes food taste so much better.  I can even feel how much stronger my body is getting, and I haven’t had to step foot in a gym.

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I get to engineer things to make the farmers’ and the animals’ lives more comfortable, and more efficient.

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I get to bring my two sons with me where I get to teach them what I’m learning myself, and I get to spend some of the most quality time I could ever spend with them.

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I had the time and freedom to play some music with my oldest son at the local pub.  I am fortunately reminded of and get to witness what it’s like to watch the sun rise over the trees while I bottle-feed lambs, or feed hay to the cows.  I even took the leap of purchasing the trailer for my tiny house.  I fortunately found a company that sells them for cheaper than you can buy them online, so I purchased one with four more feet!  It’s currently being custom built and should arrive in the next couple weeks.

I am fully aware that this is not the path that everyone would choose to keep them alive, but the decision to leave my desk and say, “Hello” to the real world is one that has paid me in ways that money simply cannot.  The old me who believed in slaving away at a desk just for a dollar to “support” my family had to die in order for the new, stronger, happier man to come alive.

76 thoughts on “Death of a Programmer. Life of a Farmer.

  1. This is truly amazing what you’re doing!!! Your writing is incredibly inspiring to me, and I hope you keep everything up!

  2. I have to be honest…. you’re crazy! Maybe it’s just because you’re young but theres no way I would take chance on farming as a career over programming. Maybe if they paid you a salary, benefits, and paid vacation, but I highly doubt thats the case. Im really interested in seeing if you stick with this…

    • “Maybe if they paid you a salary, benefits, and paid vacation”

      Maybe we don’t need all those things and we’ve over complicated our lives with our modern views of real need vs perceived need

      • Perhaps the importance of a salary and paid vacation are only perceived needs, but “benefits” includes healthcare. Is that really a perceived need?

      • ‘Maybe we don’t need all those things and we’ve over complicated our lives with our modern views of real need vs perceived need”

        Go work on a farm for 30 years, have no money, and get cancer. Now tell me how overly complicated our lives are.

        Life is complicated and issues don’t have easy answers. Start to realize this and help fix it rather then living in a dream.

        Best of luck OP, I hope more folks are inspired to understand what goes into the production of the food they eat, a less committed way might be to learn about responsible hunting and fishing. http://www.stevenrinella.com/ has great ideas around these issues :)

        • Sorry to hear that your life is complicated, but really, for most people, life isn’t, or at least shouldn’t, be complicated.

          “Go work on a farm for 30 years, have no money, and get cancer.”

          What if you get a heart attack tomorrow? What if you get in a car accident because you walk around in cities so much? What if you get injured in a freak accident?

          I don’t think your life is as complicated as you make it.

    • Crazy is the worst of all the words that describe this. He is helping life to expand, which is amazing thing when you have direct contact with it and can feel sprinkling of life energy while it grows and grows and grows… Lots of people would say that sitting behind desk for some ‘benefits’ and salary to buy unnecessary things is crazy, just think of it. Isn’t it crazy to spend 40 years of life on it?

    • That’s the point. Every day is a vacation when you’re doing something you love that feeds your soul. Nobody has to issue you that kind of vacation/ Money doesn’t buy it. And as for benefits…yeah.

    • Will you have the strength to endure the payment towards the cost of your decision? Time will tell. Yes, most likely you will continue your new journey, but will that be without procrastination, cynicism and a sense of being martyr? I hope time does not change your loving, engaging nature and may the sense of futility stay away from you All your life…

  3. Very cool stuff your doing. Many aren’t truly happy sitting behind a desk all day and you appear to be one of them. Sometimes the simple life is the most fulfilling. I’m sure your boys just love it.

  4. Now thats a story :). My mind has been wondering the same things. How i miss the real part of life. Hope i can find my way as you did. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Have you considered doing a startup, before going all that wild into the farming ?
    And what actually drove you to this decision, except for the long hours of slavery at your job ?

    I’m the workaholic guy and I thought of how it would be to do something completely different. I don’t enjoy visiting other places and most of my life but I always considered about doing something outside or not as geeky as I am :)

    • Alex, as I mentioned in the post, it took a lot of things falling apart or dying to drive me to this. After a great period of loss, I was forced to really sit back and find what was important to me. I don’t know if I’m meant to be a farmer for life, or anything in particular for life. What I do know is that the choice I made has offered a lot in the ways of freedom to get where I want to go. I say if there’s something you’re really passionate about, take the jump. Go for it!

  6. At first sight i’m thinking YES I WANT THIS TOO, but immediately after i start thinking, how am i going to provide, is this sustainable, what if the farm fails. Money money money, do you worry about this? Or do you have fallbacks, ie large savings or will you just go back to programming if this fails?

    But i envy you.

    • Marthyn, your comment hits very close to home for me because that’s exactly how I was living my life. I was constantly living in fear of not having money, and not being able to support my kids. To be honest, that fear drove me for a very long time, and really there’s nothing wrong with it if that’s how you want to live. I’m currently making money at the farm, and when I’m done building the tiny house I will be able to save more of it. My children are still insured, comfortable, well-fed, and live a pretty amazing life.

      Of course if the farm went under, or all of this blows up into flames then I will have to re-evaluate what I’m doing, but that’s not happening at this moment in time. Though I’m burnt out on it right now, I feel fortunate to have learned to be a programmer as it is an incredibly stable thing to fall back on if I need to. However, I will continue to build this tiny house, and find creative ways to live a life where I’m more free to do what’s best for me and my kids.

  7. Thanks so much for this post. I have to say I feel the same way about programming now. I have been thinking about trying something different, something more down to earth for a few years now (Blacksmithing maybe? :P) but its so hard to draw yourself away from the comfort and stability of software dev work.

    How did the opportunity come about? did you find it or did it find you?

    Congrats on going out there and living the dream!

    • Jock, the opportunity sort of found me after I put the intention out there that this is what I wanted to do. I’m also very fortunate to live where I live, as this obviously plays a big part. The interesting thing is that I didn’t “know” what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to live more freely. Once I started striving for that, opportunities, people, and events just started opening up to make possible what I’m doing today. If blacksmithing is something you’re interested in, then get that out there! Talk to people about it. Find people in your area that are involved with it, or are also interested in it. Learn more about it on your own. You really have to get started towards something before anything begins to happen. You may have to sacrifice along the way, but I can promise that if you get started, the world will start to open up for you. Thanks for the words, and I really hope you find a way to do what you want to do!

  8. What are your plans for your kids education etc? Or did you cash out in your options to make it really big and that you don’t have to worry about the money? It will be awesome to know that.

    • Anil, I am more than happy to share this part with you as it is what made the decision very difficult. I do plan on writing more about this in a post, but to put it simply, I am not wealthy. My children are being raised by myself, their mother, and a whole lot of other incredible individuals. We’ve done a mixture of home schooling and public schooling along the way, and will continue to put emphasis on their education. My kids and I are fortunate to live in a very interesting community where learning is a part of every day. Artists, farmers, scientists, chefs, and even programmers make up just some of the people that share and teach my children each day. They’re also active in activities such as karate, soccer, drum lessons, etc. Sure my oldest cannot recite the names of every president, but what has that really done for anyone who can? At this moment in time, this lifestyle works really well for me and my family. Life seems to change often, so as my children’s needs change, so will I.

      • Indeed, our school system has become a bubble of waste, like most things capitalism touches. Envisioned as way to train workers for the assembly line and in the image of the assembly line, our school system is soul sucking the students and the teachers. And only because the laws and money fence us in to it. Those who have ‘succeeded’ in our world have only done so on the shoulders of others. Convincing other people to do your work for you is the bureaucratic credo of most corporations. And even so, the services and products we produce only enable higher population densities than is good for us and the planet. Thank you for reminding us that there is life outside the cubicle.

        • capitalism is what spoiled the school system? laughable mate! the school system sucks because it is run by the state… distinctly not capitalist.

          • And it has to be run by the state because if it were run by private industry, in other words capitalism, then we’d have the same 1%-99% ratio of people with anything higher than grade school education as we have in general wealth distribution right now. At best, we’ll have the same system we have in private colleges where the students that can afford it are stepping off private jets to tour the facilities while everyone else is working six jobs and sweating a tenth of a point in GPA lest they lose their scholarship and grant money.

  9. I applaud you for doing this as well. Our family is also considering this…health and life, add in a dash of technical and we have the right mixture.

  10. Here’s to :
    – taking the plunge and deciding to do what makes you happy!
    – not giving up and sticking to it
    – being brave for doing something no one else (of programmers) is doing

    Leap, and the net will appear. – John Burroughs

  11. Why do you have pictures of adorable animals you ultimately harvest for meat? You raise them, “love them” and then slaughter them. How brutal.

    • I would encourage you to find out more where your food comes from. I’d rather eat meat raised by myself and/or people I know than meat from large factories. Animals raised with care, and love. “Slaughtering” them is a part of the process, and it’s never something I look forward to doing. I am much happier knowing exactly where my food comes from.

      • I find it patronizing posting “cutesy” pictures of animals while we systematically enslave and slaughter these sentient beings. The ugly truth of farming wont be posted here, only pictures of “happy animals”. Please show us the full life cycle of your farm.

        • Well, I appreciate your view on all of this, and I can agree with some of it. For the record, I do try to get some of that point across in this post: the fact that working on a farm exposes you to the full circle of life and death. However, the point of my blog is to not only document my personal journey of working on a farm and building a tiny house, but also to try and inspire people along the way. I don’t feel that graphic pictures are necessary in that context. However, if the email address you provided were not a fictitious one, I would be more than happy to send you some resources that document the other side of things. Let me know if this is something you would like to see.

      • Hey Robert, thanks a lot for the post. I do think the community is the key to making all this work. I am a program for most of of my life and two years ago I stopped everything and found a group of artists friends in Europe. We even looked out for a few land and house. However, in the end the visa issue prevented me from going forward. I am very curious how you found your community here in US. If you don’t want to share public, it would great if you can share this with you via email. Thanks.

  12. Yes! This is awesome to read.

    Personally, I grew up on a horse ranch with my best friend living on an organic farm. I grew up doing ranch and farm work. I am so glad to not be doing that work any more, but I completely understand what you are talking about when you say it feeds your soul. I go up to my mom’s house and ride horses every once in a while and it makes me feel light.

  13. After 12 years in office i work now with mental disabled people and after 4 years the smile is still there, (i´m Dutch sorry for my English ;))
    Enjoy and do the things you like, caress the time with your love ones.

  14. You have made an great step. I have been programming for over 38 years, and been a farmer’s husband for over 30 years. I have spent most weekends doing the kind of things you are now enjoying. I have been saving money since my early years and in June 2016 I will be 59-1/2. The magic age of full access to my retirement savings. There is no question in my mind what I am going to do! Initially they (my desk job folks) wanted me to work part time after I retired. I actually thought about it. But I am going to go cold turkey as I can see no benefit in programming that bests any benefit of farming. We have a small farming operation, and my wife and I are the sole workers. As you have so discovered, nothing can compare to working outside, in the sun and breeze, winter or summer with livestock and their related tasks.

    Kind regards, and thanks for sharing.
    Kevin

  15. Rock on brother! I did something similar after retiring from the USMC as a Cyber Security Dude; now I raise Brangus Cattle. I don’t regret serving my country, but I do wish I could have broken FREE earlier in life. The “Desk” truly is slow death my friend..Be well…

  16. a shot with a 22? that should be made with a sharp blade! with honor!

    besides mi insta-rant, isn’t the same to be a 300 acres farmer (turn to the metric system, barbarians) to be a papero farmer ( meaning to sow and reaping potatoes) for about $2 the hour

    heartfelt, may you do real great and can support your family and feel plenty satisfied with your life, but you talk about “to get your eyes open” when in reality you hadn’t opened for nothing, just looking a little sideways

    written by someone in the middle of nowhere, who struggles (luckyly, i have to recognize) to make a day to day and has seen far worse and far better

    you had the right to not publish this if doesn’t like it, or answer me if you fashion it

  17. Thanks for the post. Inspiring. I’ve had this same dream for a few years now, but never had the balls to do it. All the best to you – I hope it works out.

    Curious…how much thinking/preparation did you do before taking the plunge?

    • Ben, that’s a tough question to answer really. “Thinking” is how I chose programming as a career, and in some ways was what caused me to lose a lot of who I am. There was plenty of preparation, and mulling over what I really wanted to do with my life, but it all boiled down to choosing freedom over obligation. This took zero thinking, and 100% following my heart. Of course I’ve had to think about details, money, logistics, etc., but as soon as I chose to follow this feeling, the world kind of made a lot of my decisions for me and brought me here. The main thing I’d like to make a point of is that if you’re unhappy with where you are or what you’re doing, then find out what it is that you really want, and follow it with your utmost intention. It may not manifest how you thought, but the world will open up eventually and provide a space for it.

  18. At one stage I had the best of both worlds; living on and farming 8 acres while writing Unix device drivers. Whenever I ran into a major software problem, I could go and shovel dirt. We had milch-goats, sheep, chickens and vegetables. Probably cost us more that eating supermarket food, but we were much healthier than at any other stage. I am looking forward to getting back to this sort of life (circumstances change).

    I also used to slaughter my own meat (sheep, chickens, rabbits). If you are not prepared to face where it comes from, you should not eat it. IMHO, self-slaughter is far more humane than an abattoir. And you know that the meat is free of steroids and other junk.

    Enjoy it, and enjoy your children. They will learn far more about life than most of their peers, as well as truly valuable skills (like digging holes and driving nails and caring for other living beings) . This has to be one of the best things that you have done in your life.

  19. I am very inspired by you Rob. This story will be one that I never forget. I am driven only by the fear you speak of and it bothers me deeply. In my heart I know God did not create me to sit at my desk for years and years while my life passes by. I pray that Gob blesses you and your family with great happiness and joy. I hope to do as you have and also say “hello world” one day!

  20. Thank you! your post is inspiring. I’ve read some of the comments about what to do about money and the rest. I’ve seen a village in morocco where the chicken and the eggs are the actual currency. The transaction sometimes needs half chicken :) and people find their way. I got your point on where your food come from and it’s unfortunate that big corporations are making cash feeding people hormones and steroids.

    I’m interested in knowing the difficulties you run into during the transition. I know it’s difficult sometimes to just move from one home to an other.

    Thanks

  21. Your “hello real world” is great and inspiring. The only thing for me is the other way around. I was not born in this world rich. we had to strive and do everything ourselves since I was young. When I was 3 me and my brother 5 was left home alone because our parents had to do some kind of work that pays really less. Just to get us started with our journey to life. I was not that good of a kid in school. Skipped school more than I go to class. (Because we had so little, madness drove me to do bad things) My parents sent me to the province and do some of the things that gives life. All I can say is, life is hard there and you will learn much from it. So I worked hard, earned some money to go to some small public school and went to college to study something I really wanted when i was a child. I didnt really do that well as a computer engineer but it ended up to be great. with luck and some faith, i became a programmer. Worked my ass for 5 years, went to another country to earn more. Moved to a better role and significantly better pay, so now im helping my family and people that cared for me when I was young where they helped me in every way and believed in me.

    So what Im saying is, its not the end of the line for you. Its not what we want thats why we work to earn more money. Its for the people you care for and because you dont want them to go through what you have experienced. And looking at them with joy in your heart that you helped them greatly, and thats just life for me..

    Im not hoping to get you back into programming and all that, but just sharing my thoughts of what life is and what it gave me. Now my kids enjoy the life that i give them even though its not that much. My family is everything for me.

    It all depends on you on how you tackle your time. A balanced work and family life is the best there is.

    • I love your side of the experience, vitusdoom! I find it fascinating to learn from those who grew up in different environments, and to learn the things that motivate them to achieve their own goals. I was not brought up wealthy by any means either, and my family struggled with money the majority of my life as well. I too was a pretty bad kid as a teenager. Getting into a lot of trouble, skipping classes, ultimately dropping out of school, and moving out of my parents house as a teenager were just the beginnings. At that time in my life, those experiences were what drove me to get my stuff together, get back into school, go to college, and study computer science. I’m incredibly fortunate for all of those experiences, but at this moment in time it has made me realize that I am even more fortunate to have the option to do what I’m doing.

      To be honest, I don’t know how this is going to pan out, but I’m entirely alright with that. For me personally, I am in a place where I see a far greater goal in life. Not made of money, but made of freedom. Everyone has their own definition of freedom, and a lot of people find that having a lot of money offers the key to finding it. I feel like finding a way to live completely debt-free, with little to no bills is the best start of the journey to freedom (again, entirely a personal opinion). The “normal” American dream of being tied down to a 30-year mortgage for the entire amount the bank will credit you for, seems to be one of the biggest catalysts to making people feel like they “need” the money. Student loans are another thing, but this is really a different conversation.

      At the end of the day, I hope not to make everyone think programming sucks and farming is awesome, but rather to inspire people to find what it is they want and to go get it. I’m hoping this all just helps people realize there are always creative options around if you’re willing to really go for it. I’m really inspired by what you wrote, and incredibly glad that you’ve been able to give your children the life that you do. I think we can both agree that’s one of the greatest things that life can offer. Thank you so much for taking the time to write what you did!

      • Amen to that brother. That is your way of life and thinking and no one can stop you. you deserve the freedom after seeing the reality outside of the box. You may or may not come back to working at the office but bare in mind that life is only a one time thing. If you enjoy what you are doing then go on and continue on helping others by that.

        If you look at it in the other way, you might as well use your knowledge and skills and build something where you can automate everything you do. And do what you do best. 😉 Have fun there bro. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about life and I have shared mine as well. May we learn from all of these and be better in what we are doing.

        Cheers,
        Vitusdoom

    • Hahaha, if this is the start of a “language wars” conversation, I won’t bite any farther than this. I’ve had experience with a couple handfuls of languages in a few different contexts. Java and C++ were the big ones from college, but I went towards web-programming for my career. I spent the majority of my time writing code in PHP, and Ruby.

  22. Read the whole story. Glad to know your thoughts & changes in life.

    Want to follow up on your journey in next couple of years see if it worked out well.

  23. I think I discovered time travel. I found an article written by a future version on myself. A web developer turned farmer. Ironically, my personal site is called ‘mayhem and chaos’ — that which I want to be removed from in the corporate world for a ‘simpler’ life on a homestead and tiny house! By Yah bless you in your walk!

  24. Let me guess, you were a Java programmer; can’t blame you if so, manure is preferable to Java any day.

  25. Hi, I’m currently reading Your Money Or Your Life, and your story is very much real life example of wisdoms in the book. Thank you very much for sharing this.

  26. Same for me. I love managing software projects but one day it was enough. I quit and started selling real estate. I already owned one rental property and shared my love of being a landlord with others. Turns out i am good at it and every day feels like a vacation as a take someone i just met out to invest their money often earned from programming :)

  27. This looks like a great start.

    I wish you all best luck for you and your family.
    I worked with a relative of mine as a carpenter during my childhood, sometimes i feel like that was the best thing that i could do in a sustainable fashion. Nature is much better than plaza buildings to spend most of our lives. I envy you.
    Respectfully.

  28. Cheers to you for having the courage to step out of the steady paycheck comfort zone into a world where nothing is guaranteed on a written contract. It seems more and more people seem to be craving the simple life and the satisfaction it brings in this growing world of technology. Even more than just the paycheck though, you left an entire known life and found a new one exploding with energy. How exciting!!!

    Whatever happens in your journey isn’t near as scary as the thought of never having one. Thank you for your inspiring and fun story.

  29. Stay away from goats – they are the Federal Aviation Administration’s Advanced Automation System of farm animals.

  30. Very inspiring. As a web developer I totally understand where you’re coming from. About a year ago… 14 years into a life immersed in programming; it began to dawn on me that I no longer enjoyed it… In fact I came to the realization of how much I actually hated web development.

    I almost felt that I was going mad sitting behind my desk and staring into an endless entanglement of code, but somehow, with Gods help I have learned to cope with it for now.

    I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to make the leap and live the farm life, but maybe I should be more proactive about it, time isn’t slowing down and I’ve been slowly declining in energy and ambition.

    Thanks for the article! It’s good to know there are others out there that feel this same way about life.

    Best regards,
    Brandon L.

    • Brandon, I know this sounds insanely cliché, but life is far too short to feel stuck in something you don’t want to do. I don’t advocate doing anything irresponsible to whatever your situation may be, but my advice would be to be more proactive. Put the intention of what you want out there, and things will work out in some way eventually. Even if it’s just talking to people about it, going to meetups, or whatever. It’s not always easy, or as planned, but the world has a funny way of opening up for you when you do that.

      Good luck with wherever you go!

    • James, I was initially going with Tumbleweed, but their prices are incredibly high, and they also don’t frame outside the wheel wells on their utility trailers. The company I went with is actually local to NC where I live, called Proline Trailers. In my research, I found that most local shops will custom fabricate one for you for much cheaper than anything online. I’m getting a custom built 24′ trailer with 2 x 7,000 lb axels for about a thousand dollars less than a 20′ 2 x 5,200 lb axel Tumbleweed trailer delivered to my door.

  31. It’s so funny reading this because becoming a software developer was my happy transition. I used to work in Sales and even though I could fake it pretty good, it was totally draining on my soul. Now that I’m a programmer I’m so much happier, I feel like my brain is being used and people respect me, whereas in Sales people just treated me like crap all day and thought they knew more than me. Every other day in my new career something will happen and my co-workers will say, “How you liking your job now?” almost expecting me to say how much I hate it and all I say is, “Y’all don’t even know what a shitty job is!”
    Congrats on finding a career that can feed your soul :)

  32. Fellow C++ programmer and father of 5 here. I grew up in the city, but worked on my grandfather’s dairy farm during the summers and grew to love it. I have loved being a programmer too, and I am good at it. But in the last year or two it feels like it’s sucking life out of me, and if I don’t do something, I’ll die before I’m 40. I’ve become this cranky depressed zombie and my wife and kids have certainly noticed a change.

    They say farming is the only truly honest work.

    I have spent the last few months searching for farm land. Unfortunately land here (near extended family) is prohibitively expensive, so I must look out-of-state – places like Missouri, Kentucky, Tennesse, North Carolina, etc…

    My fear has intensified as I have gotten more serious in my search. How will I provide for my wife and 5 kids? How would this move impact their lives down the road? Would I be doing more harm than good by moving them away from all of their cousins and grandparents? Will I still enjoy it even if money is very tight? What if the community ends up being a poor fit? What if I end up not being very good at farming? What if I end up regretting the decision? etc…

    I have found myself in an uncomfortable spot where I don’t have the courage to make the leap, but I also can’t keep going the way I am. Perhaps I can find a programming job where I can work remotely, then farm on the side. Something tells me I’d rather just be outside, connected to the land…

    How on earth did you overcome this fear?

  33. It’s interesting to hear your story. I am a programmer by day, and run a mini-farm as a hobby – it’s difficult work, and can be heartbreaking, for sure, but I think it keeps me balanced and in touch with the Earth.

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