Over the past few months I have been feeling burned out with my career. I feel like I have lost focus on why I got into software in the first place. I am a hacker and a geek who loves things like learning new languages each year or geeking out with Order theory. But lately, I have been pulled more into the world of project management and endless meetings. I am spread so thin across so many different projects and initiatives that I spend my days planning and telling other people what to do, but very little time doing any real work myself. Of course planning and leading people is very important and if you “get it” you need to help other people “get it”, but for hard core engineers this can wear on you quickly. Every few years I tend to be get pulled out of engineering toward management, which I guess means someone thinks I am doing something right, but I have to find my way back.
So what to do? I need to get back to the basics and do some hard core hacking. What does that mean? I have been actively contributing to several open source projects over the past few years. Open source is very rewarding, but I think doing a large project in my first language (C) will remind me why I love programming. Maybe write an operating system; my own BSD distro? Or maybe a new language?