There was a comment at Yegge’s post about good Agile, bad Agile that caught my eye:
To the people who complained that because they have other priorities besides programming (families, hobbies, etc) they’ve been lumped in a “lesser programmers” category I can only say this: if you have other priorities besides programming, then you are, by definition, a lesser programmer.
Not that you aren’t skilled, brilliant, whatever, it just means that your footprint on the world of programming will be shallow. You won’t be of a magazine, you won’t be giving keynotes at OSCON.
To be truly outstanding in any field requires that you be obsessed. People who influence their fields don’t go home on time. The always need to stay an extra hour or eight. Not because they need money or because they have a deadline, but because they need to work out an idea.
They know going home would be pointless anyway. They might say hello to their wives and children, but their mind would be elsewhere.
Don’t take it as an insult, it’s just reality. The hour-a-day jogger isn’t going to make the Olympics. The eight-hour-a-day programmer isn’t going to write Linux. If that isn’t obvious to you then no amount of hours would be likely to make you exceptional so don’t worry about it.
There are so many assumptions associated with this comment that one wonders where to start. The fact that it’s taken as a given that all great programmers are men? That one can’t be great in one’s field unless one is obsessed? That one can’t have a life outside of technology and still obtain a respected position in the field?
I point out this comment, not because the views are unique, but because they are typical of many in the tech field–a view fostered by companies such as Google (and Yahoo! and other ‘Web 2.0′ companies), who use star treatment to make its workers feel ‘special’, as it slowly sucks them dry.
We women have seen the beast, though, and recognize it for what it is: a facade. No wonder we’re actively discouraged from being members of this profession.