Developers mill


Are we all just hamsters in a wheel?

3 Sep, 2021 · 3 min read

I have wanted to write this article for a while now, and somehow it never happened.

I’ve been talking to other developers about the topic of a developer mill, and more people seem to acknowledge this theory.

So what exactly is this theory?

We’re all hamsters in a wheel

Hamster in wheel

That sounds a bit morbid, right, but hear me out. We get a job. We must run the fastest to spin the wheel because once we get tired or slow, another hamster will take over and run the wheel for us, spinning us off.

Now you might start to think, hmm, right, I’ve been part of this, and from my experience, I’ve been one of those. We get a job and think we have to work ridiculous hours (often unpaid) to please the wheel.

And the moment we stop for some water, we get replaced. Because, well, quite frankly, there are enough hamsters around.

And we, as the hamsters, are part of the process because what would happen if we all stopped running the wheel?

Would the world collapse? I don’t think so.

But then, what’s the goal that we should want to achieve? For me, it’s about making an impact, not being another hamster in another wheel. Instead: being the hamster that changes the direction of the wheel, or dares to take a break.

Quite frankly, it’s a very toxic environment. And we, the hamsters, should stand up for ourselves.

The nuances hamster wheel

Hamster flying off wheel

Luckily there are innovative wheels as well, wheels that want to please us! Hey, it might be one of those wheels that drop treats at the end.

And those wheels should be chased. Being in tech is not an easy job. The wheels keep upgrading, and we might not know how to operate them at one point, but that’s ok. We can take a step back and relearns the basics of spinning the new wheel.

Why is this important

I think it’s vital to teach newcomers, beginners, and people making a transition in tech that it’s ok not to blow themselves up spinning the wheel.

The experienced and wise hamsters should educate the young and wild ones on finding a perfect balance.

We might call these the guiding hamsters, there to guide those in need of guidance.

Today, my call is for you to evaluate which hamster you are and if that’s where you want to be.

If not, let’s make that change together and talk about this. 🐹

Thank you for reading, and let’s connect!

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