You Either Give Back Or You Don't

Aug 13, 2011

By Jamison Dance

There is an interesting discussion on Hacker News right now about using tech skills to do something meaningful. One strategy is just to use your skills to make money, and then give some to charities or worthy causes when you are rich.

kentf had a very insightful comment:

This is a great question and something I struggle with everyday. All I know is that the typical answer of.

“Well, I am going to do this thing that makes money and then when I am rich I will give back”

Is [bull crap]. You either give back or you don’t. It’s not a question of time and money.

I try and do as much local charity work as I can, I try to be present when listening to friends and family. I try and treat my wife and my family as the most important people in the world so that they can bring that love to other places, but I hear what you saying.

I want to be working on things that change the world. I think at some level, we all want to be.

I like that idea, and I think it even applies more generally than doing volunteer work or giving to charity. Putting off doing something important to you until your circumstances change is a good way to never do it. I know I struggle with this a lot. Good advice in general.

Jamison Dance enjoys kittens, making computers smarter and the magic of children's laughter. He tweets at @jergason and GitHubs as jergason. He also podcasts on JavaScript Jabber and Soft Skills Engineering.