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Back Doors and Side Doors

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So many people I know must feel like this. I know I do:

Over the last few weeks several neighbors have stopped by to introduce themselves, and invariably they are older than we are, more established, and have careers in medicine or law. And when they ask what we do, both Jon and I sort of flinch and exchange a quick look that says IT’S YOUR TURN TO LIE. We’re web developers, we say, and that is never enough, they just can’t leave it alone, and one of us will try to explain that I have a website. This thing. That I do. And because we’re being all coy about it I just know, from the very worried expressions on their faces, that these neighbors think that we run a porn site.

It’s because I’m getting older, I imagine, meeting regular people (with careers) who ask about me (who has none). It started at radio, went into marketing, and now it’s developing communities online (I just picked up this Harry Potter forum, for example). Who knows what it’ll be next, but I really feel like, more and more, I just have to lie, or simplify it to one thing, which is impossible. It’s like Cory Doctorow said in Eastern Standard Tribe:

I’ve spent my life going in the back door and coming out the side door. That’s the way it is now. When it only takes two years for your job to morph into something that would have been unimaginable twenty-four months before, it’s not really practical to go in through the front door. Not really practical to get the degree, the certification, the appropriate experience. I mean, even if you went back to university, the major you’d need by the time you graduated would be in a subject that hadn’t been invented when you enrolled. So I’m good at back doors and side doors.

One thing’s fore sure: my boredom problem is definitely solved. :)

* Filed by Julien at 12:44 pm under random


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

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2 Responses to “Back Doors and Side Doors”

  1. Whitney Says:

    Man, isn’t that the truth. Boredom is not a problem; time management and getting people to understand that you are working in sneakers and a t-shirt can be. In the long run, the only person I really need to impress is myself, and well, my clients, but it will be nice to get a rap that will be easier for people to understand.
    One of the best parts of helping organize Pocamp NYC was seeing the job titles people chose- things like Creative Genius. I don’t think these are things that translate to some people in the “traditional” world of suits and ties- it sounds intriguing, but fake. It used to bother me, but I now find it pretty amusing, especially when they find they really need our help and expertise. Doesn’t sound so silly anymore, does it?

  2. Subverting Social Roles « in over your head Says:

    [...] involves taking on false authority in order to bypass security measures. If you want to get in the back door and out the side the way the best do in the internet age, you need to do it the same [...]

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