Software Engineers: Vote with Your Money

Jonathan Watson
3 min readApr 13, 2022


A lot of software engineers today make above average salaries. Many of them over six figures. And yet for many of them, this money is a new and often unfamiliar world.

I’m not going to talk here about financial planning and smart money habits, although they are incredibly important for software engineers to develop. Instead, I’d like to talk about the power that comes with this significant salary.

Is He Talking about Boycotting?

A bit of history: the term “boycott” originated with Captain Charles Boycott in Ireland over 140 years ago. Interestingly enough, it was a group of people who banded together to deny service to a single individual, Charles Boycott, over evictions. In modern times, it is more equivalent to a labor strike.

Today, it commonly refers to refusing to patronize a company. But the two contexts go hand-in-hand. The most recent boycott in my consciousness at time of writing is the Kellogg’s boycott to support striking workers.

This isn’t necessarily a group effort. I’m just talking to you, an individual. The reason I’m speaking to software engineers is that they are my people.

My goal is to encourage you to make conscious decisions about where you spend your money. In short? Vote with your money.

With Increased Means…

Not everyone agrees with me. But I believe that with increased means comes additional responsibilities.

Did he just Uncle Ben us? Maybe.

There are people on the edge of society barely scraping by. They don’t have the luxury of shopping at a certain store. Or avoiding certain brands because they aren’t ethically sourced. They buy the cheapest item they can, simply to survive.

But you and I have options. As a software engineer with a comfortable salary, I have the opportunity to be selective.

So when I see companies that treat their workers poorly? I stop shopping there.

To be fair, I also try and do other things like contact the company, reach out to lawmakers, write in-depth reviews online, and more. But you’ve got to hit them where it hurts: their balance sheets.

When You Know, You Know

There are a lot of things that we just don’t think about in our daily lives. We can’t. Or we would be overwhelmed. How much of a reduced carbon footprint do you really get by shopping at Store A vs. Store B? Should I factor in the additional gas it takes to drive to Store B instead? You’ll go mad trying to analyze everything.

But when something is raised up in front of me, I believe it is my responsibility to do my best.

And so, whenever I can, I vote with my money. By buying local. By searching for ethically sourced goods. By looking for companies that abide by fair business practices. By avoiding products sold by companies that terrorize their workers.

Your vote matters. We can change the world, just by taking the time to spend carefully.



Jonathan Watson

Jonathan is a Senior Software Engineer in the Atlanta area. When not cranking out React, he enjoys teaching and traveling.