There’s a possibility I might be given a permanent position at the food pantry where I volunteer.
This is no ordinary small-town food pantry. We feed thousands of families in this area, many of them working poor. One week last year we took in 10 tons of donated food, much of it from local manufacturers. The numbers are staggering, as is the need.
Too many people here wouldn’t have gas to get to work if they had to buy the food we distribute to them. This state has the lowest average wages in the country.
When I’ve been between development jobs, I’ve spent two mornings a week working the shelves and climbing the ladders and rolling the pallets. I’ve learned most of the ropes. Somehow, the place and the people and the work have gotten into my blood. Coming home sweaty and sore from a morning at the pantry leaves me more fulfilled than a whole day of coding.
It’s not even a conscious thing, but I remember many times during my quarter century in tech work where I asked myself just who was benefiting from my efforts. This line of questioning was most disturbing when working for a less than philanthropic employer. I’ve never felt guilty about what I’ve earned and how far I’ve gotten, but I’ve never forgotten the resources and privileges and family support I was blessed enough to be born into.
I love writing software, just as I love making music. What would happen if software became the hobby instead of the occupation? Actually, it’ll be a little of both, because expanding and improving the pantry will involve some software work. Lucky for me, it’s inventory/warehousing stuff, which I’ve always enjoyed.
I’m at the age where giving back feels righter than ever. In my spare time, I can contribute to open-source projects without the stress and the pace of paid development work.