Vivek Haldar

The lure of work

It is common to see and hear of people compromising their health and relationships for work. It has become a staple of the modern world.

To me, the crucial question is: what is the lure of work, specifically for engineers? I find it hard to believe that somebody pushed themselves to this level of personal sacrifice because their manager pushed them, or because they were coerced in some way. There has to be a deeper reason: they did it because they wanted to. Haven’t we all sometimes treated work as a refuge from home, rather than the other way round. Question is: why, in spite of the obvious costs? What is the lure of work?

I remember when I got my first computer, a PC AT, back in high school. I couldn’t get my hands off it for the next thirty six hours, at which point my body refused to co-operate. Afterwards, I spent hours every day on it, tinkering, learning, exploring… having fun, losing myself.

This is pretty much the story of every computer geek, right?

You grow up, you build deeper relationships, you get responsibilities, you have the entire world inundating you. It’s all very enriching and exciting. Yet, you find yourself always coming back to this inanimate object that is almost a shelter. Tinkering, exploring, learning… having fun, losing yourself.

The world of humans is messy, unpredictable, and–this is the part that infuriates you the most, the part you simply don’t get, the part that will forever make you an outsider–unreasonable. Humans are unreasonable. Your whole life, you’ve trusted one thing to save you. And saved you it has, again and again, without fail. That one thing is reason. Computers are a tool of reason, to be handled by people who obey the code of reason. People who are involved with computers, they’re reasonable, just like you. You all share a deep, unspoken bond. You’re all worshipers in the church of reason.

Welcome home.