Sometimes I feel like going into software engineering as a career might have been a mistake. I love computers, and I love setting up my environment and tools in just exactly the right ways, but when it comes to pushing actual work forward, including on my own hobby projects, I struggle so much...

A random example: I'll spend hours getting emacs to use the right lsp server for clang and utterly enjoy the process, but doing the actual exercises from K&R drains me and brings me no joy.

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Do others struggle with similar things? Sometimes I feel that I like the tools more than the actual work that these tools are for, and that just isn't right...

@gueorgui Well you seem to not have a project worthy of your time, so you tinker into config files instead due to the expectation from yourself that being there will start something?
Otherwise, maybe you could move from dev to something more akin to IT infra like devops? I have a lot of friends that went this way.

@thomasorus DevOps is a bit closer to eternal emacs config fiddling, for sure! I'll have to think about it...

@gueorgui Or maybe you need some fresh experiences in development. If you've been in the same position or doing the same type of products for years, nothing changes much. I feel the same with doing the same frontends for banks for years now, I'm trying to go into a position where I'll have more various problems to solve.

@gueorgui Sometimes. Although frustrations with LSP configuration on Emacs is what led me to Kakoune.
More often I read stuff instead of writing, not even with a specific goal in mind, just whatever catches my eye. So instead of actually working on packaging devkitPRO on Guix and getting started on my Scheme OS project, I read DS dev wikis and the Loko Scheme source code.

@gueorgui I’ve been struggling with this for a few years now, and related feelings of inadequacy. I had ‘professional dotfiles hacker’ in my profile for a while. I’ve always flipped between being profoundly dissatisfied with my current tools and being infatuated with new tools. I think Emacs makes this worse since it’s so programmable; it probably scratches whatever itch, or satisfies whatever would let me get on with something more productive (well, aligned with my personal goals).

@gueorgui it's never too late to do something else.. or be so fed up that you throw your hands in the air and buy a sailboat to go around the world.


sounds like a spiritual entropy problem

I have it

have you tried changing locations?

@gueorgui it sounds a little bit like you are motivated to work on a solution when it directly goes to the goal, but have a harder time finding motivation when the connection is more abstract.

Do you think that writing c code would be motivational if it were directly the way to solve a problem? That's how I did most of my career and skills development, throw myself at a problem and a set of tools to solve it with and just keep working until it works. Then I have tools that I'm familiar with, and I can use them to solve other problems.

@gueorgui I'm not sure if getting emacs to use the right LSP server for clang is any less "real work" compared to doing K&R exercises, especially if you document and share your findings (extra points if you can contribute to the upstream documentation).

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