In which I finally figure out a way of explaining my job to people who do not work with computers every day.

That Thing That I Do That People Pay Me to Do

649 words about industry — 17:00 · 7th May 2016

Almost all of the words, not names of things though, you are about to read were written using only the ten hundred most used words.

My uncle, and most of my family, often look at me with a scared face when talking about work. They all enjoy bringing it up, asking and talking about work—

“How is work going?” they will ask.

—but they always seem scared at the words about to come out of my mouth.

I know this because I apparently, and I am repeating my uncle’s words now, “work with computers.”


Not right but not wrong either.

A little like if I said that he, “works with things you use to make other things.”

I do not think it is his fault though. A lot of people who do the same kind of work I do barely seem to know what they are doing, never mind those who are not.

Some times we like to make fun of people for not understanding what we do—Yeah, sorry about that—but maybe the fault lies with us. Maybe, just maybe—crazy thought I know—we have not bothered explaining it enough?

We are bad at explaining things.

Instead we just say, “It is easy. You just sudo npm install blorg blorg and then hited oniefetuh tiepuni cis. And then ekigitir rafitat risemes nenedal nin. Easy.”

Yeah. If you ever say the words, “It is easy,” please make sure the doors hits your ass on the way out.

Do not worry if you did not understand the earlier words. Only three of those words actually mean anything and the rest are not words, to show what we sound like to other people.

The question then becomes, can we change this?

A smaller picture of the bigger picture of the flying space car.
A smaller picture of the bigger picture of the flying space car.

Not long ago, a place you can visit from a computer drew a picture with words called Up Goer Five in which the person who made it explains the Saturn V, a flying space car using only the ten hundred most used words.

With amazing words like;

Thing to help people escape really fast if there is a problem and everything is on fire so they decide not to go to space. Up Goer Five,

And if Randall Munroe, the person who made it, can explain all the parts of a flying space car, than I can explain what I do between 9 and 5. I mean, it is not big thoughts about flying space cars, is it?

To give you an idea of which words he used, here are the twenty most used words.

the, I, to, and, a, of, was, he, you, it, in, her, she, that, my, his, me, on, with, at

Using only the ten hundred most used words, Randall Munroe also wrote The Space Doctor’s Big Idea which is a great group of words that explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and you should definitely go read. Right after this one.

And back to me.

This is for my uncle and those from my family who has ever wondered what my job actually is.

I make the places you can visit from a computer. Most of the places you can visit from a computer do not work for everyone even though they should. I make them work for everyone instead of just the people that it is easy for.

Now you know.

And by visiting this place from a computer, also called Up Goer Five, you can also write groups of words using only the ten hundred most used words.

You’ve just read That Thing That I Do That People Pay Me to Do.

In which, 6 years ago, I wrote 649 words about industry and I covered topics, such as: up goer five, web design, jobs, and writing.