Gray Watson Personal Thoughts 1998.07.24
End of a long week

2045 @ Work

A good day at work. Lots of stuff got done. Always behind schedule it seems. Why is that exactly? I know of course. I don't plan well. I tend to fart around initially. Don't get me wrong I am always working, but just not necessarily the stuff I should be working on. Then I have my bouts of productivity. I'm in such a puppy now. Stand back.

Being a Programmer

There are a lot of benefits in being a computer programmer (I call myself a hacker). I recommend it highly in case you are in the market for a profession.

There used to be a time in this country when being an engineer (this was before desktop computers kids) were the most prestigious majors in college. During the Depression and wars American universities put out Civil, Mechanical, Chemical, ... Engineers who helped build the great dams and interstate highway systems. Certainly at the top engineering institutions in the country this is still the case. However in most of the colleges these days, the two top professions are physicians and lawyers.

Now doctors are being squeezed hard these days, universal health care or not, by pressure from the Medicare/Medicaid Federal systems who continually push to cut costs (remember, this is a good thing of course). The competition for even the mediocre schools and hospital jobs is astounding. Let alone the hours, the days, and the years of training (oh yeah and the cost).

The legal profession on the other hand is one of those self replicating blobs like the movie. Every heard the one about a small town that could not support one lawyer but definitely could support two? This is the way it is. I have a feeling that we could do away with (let's be generous) about 60% of the lawyers in this country (or the globe) without losing much. I mean sure there would be some sort of "paperwork depression" or some such but that would last maybe a month at the most.

Now I don't at all mean for you to head out and start cleaning out the ranks yourself. No, no. Actually for most of the lawyers you really have to feel sorry for them. Quite a large percentage are not happy folks. A number of friends and acquaintances worked all their way through law school to be disillusioned with their daily fare. Exactly what were they expecting? Some sort of save the planet, rescue the rape victims, protect the Constitution (without joining the ACLU of course), perform your civic duty sort of job -- plus getting lots of bucks?

Certainly there are those in the legal profession who are supporting our criminal justice system. For them I have the utmost respect and admiration. Not only are they forced to work in the most codified nooks and crannies of our governmental systems (whether at the local, state or national levels) but they also work for, in general, a very ungrateful clientele -- examples of which are the criminal and the taxpayer.

But aside from these men a women, what exactly do lawyers produce -- what value do they add to our society? The bulk of our economic system, on which our capitalist society is so firmly entrenched, is based upon the selling of goods for capital (or other goods). GNP == Gross National Product. The sum of all of our production.

Ooops gotta run. Now that I've hopefully ruined your idea of becoming a lawyer like your father, I need to fill you in on the benefits of becoming a computer programmer (trumpets sound in the distance). More on this later.

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