Back in the '60's counterculture, the dreaded "F-word" was one of the mantras of the youth movement. Every time you said it in front of a microphone, the crowd went wild, because it meant you were one of the people instead of one of the suits.
I get the same glee from my own "F-word". It is a magic spell guaranteed to repel every single person who is a problem in this world, with just one syllable.
Yes! Work! I love work! Hard, hard work! Back-breaking work! Brain-wracking work! Work until I'm starving, and somebody has to push the food in my mouth so I can keep working! Work until I actually fall asleep, drolling and snoring, with my fingers still twitching on the keyboard! Work until the snow-shovel slips out of my hands and I collapse face first!
Work like a demon! A dervish! A soulless zombie! A raving, cackling madman! THE POWER OF WORK COMPELLS YOU!
That's what gets things done in the world, is work. Just recently, I have noticed how long I have been reading the Internet without seeing that word in print. Work. Not just busy-work, mind you, but work to accomplish something. Work. Just saying it out loud makes the sun rise, and then all of nature gets up and dances with joy.
Jeff Atwood and Scott Mitchell have been having a little slap-fight over the whole "Teach Yourself $Language in $X Hours" books. And I'd concede the point to Jeff, who's being way too nice about it. And I'm not just saying that because Scott is an ASP evangelist.
Jeff nailed a lot with his 80-20 rule: 20% of the programmers (and computer people in general) are the alphas, go-getters, the geeks. And 80% are the... (what's the word that will draw the least flames while still saying the truth?)... "potted plants". Go read Jeff Atwood to see everything I'm talking about.
Except, more than anything else, the 80-20 can be summed up in two categories: 20% are workers. 80% would rather not work. So they look for shortcuts.
Well, yeah, "6-Minute Abs", "Teach Yourself Programming in 20 Seconds", "Do Anything You Want To On A Computer Without Learning Anything", etc., will always sell. People will always look for it. People will also look for ways to lose all their unwanted weight without dieting and exercise, make money fast and easy, or succeed in their love life without having to become somebody besides an unattractive, mean, loveless troll.
Yeah, hello, can I get a word in, everybody? I'm Penguin Pete, and this whole damn blog is about building that bridge to those 80%. But guess what? I, unlike many out there, know that lying to people and telling them that hard work doesn't exist isn't going to make that 80% move over to our side. I do just the opposite: I tell them "Yes, it's hard, hard work. Just like anything else worth having, it takes a lot of effort. But it won't kill you. I'll help you - that's some of my work - but even if I do, you will still have to work."
You wanna switch to Linux? Learn it. You want to be a master programmer? Study it. You want success? Work. WORKWORKWORKWORKWORKWORK Work.
Call us elitist? Go to hell.
Say we're excluding you? Go to hell.
Want to find an easier way? Waste your time, then. Then, go to hell.
Or as Scott tells it: "I worry that such sentiment from the community will come across as pompousness to those very people whom we should be welcoming."
Well, go ahead and worry. Wring your hands and whimper and quiver your chin while you're at it. And everybody who listens to the Scotts of this world while they worry, may you all turn your back on MY pomposity! Then never improve your lot in life and starve to death and die from exposure and let the other army occupy your country and enslave you, because. you. would. not. work. But at least you didn't have to - God forbid! - deal with any pompousness!
It isn't about respect or my attitude or geeks in a club. I still love you; it's the universe that's telling you to go to hell. If you want to pretend that pomposity stopped you from getting what you want, when it was really that you didn't want to work, then that's your choice.
It takes hard, hard, hard, hard, hard work to get to be very good at computing, or surgery, lawyering, quarterbacking, training seals, winning battles, dealing crack. If you don't want to work, then you don't want to get the reward.
A point I'll be covering in my upcoming book series, starting with "Get Rich Slowly By Busting Your Ass". I always said, why compete with a hundred publishing companies for 1% slice of 80% of the market, when I can take this tack and corner 20%? The hell with telling people lies just because they sound good. We didn't build the Internet for that. You want a soothing fantasy to escape into, go watch TV.
If you're about to comment, and you don't like me, it's because I'm saying the word you don't want to hear. Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. 80% of the people hate that word 'work' - it bruises their insides. But it's what is keeping them from being in the 20%.
Man, it takes me right back to the Fish Cheer! What's that spell? W-O-R-K!!!
Edit: I just wanted to add: It is the position of people like me to point out the natural laws of the universe. The awful, soul-sucking, vile, wretched scum of the Earth have the reciprocal job of making us suffer as much as they can for trying. Each of us do what nature created us to do.