Self Development September 4, 2020

Side-jobs should be ok


We are all in here because we want to work on something that highly motivates us, aren't we?

From the indie hacker perspective

The part-time version of a full-time $80000 Software Engineer job could be a 4h/day $40000 personal-project-friendly still-generating-recurrent-income job (just replace the figures with whatever makes sense in your area).

I am not talking about freelance or internships. I mean regular IT roles in a company, where one can still be close to the product, the co-workers and the culture.

From the company perspective

40h/week is a magic number. The work we have to do is organized matching that figure but it doesn't have to be.

Maybe we can't pay $200000 to a top engineer, but we can afford him part-time and he would definitely bring more than 50% of his value contributing to key decisions, guiding the team,...

The employee continuously improving his skills... in his free time!

Side-jobs should be ok

I get that this kind of relation between employer and employee can still be a hassel in some aspects, but so it was remote until April 2020.

What do you think?

  1. 5

    I wish this was a thing. The big question in the US is healthcare. As a part-time worker, you don't qualify for employer-sponsored healthcare in many companies. I think this big difference in total compensation is part of the reason that this is less common.

    1. 2

      Yeah, that makes sense. I'm writing this from Europe, where healthcare is not a problem in most cases, but the number of part-time jobs of this kind is more or less zero anyway.

  2. 2

    Did you concider vetted elance platforms like Toptal or Gigster?
    The rates are't great if you're based in North America, but enough to sustain you. And there's a lot of time flexibility, e.g. Toptal has many part-time gigs.
    PM me on Twitter for more details, would be happy to tell more.

    1. 2

      I'd have to keep track of expenses and taxes, always be aware of new opportunities and scheduling them appropriately (or at least try), etc. That would be time I'm not dedicating to things that matter to me, which was kind of the point of avoiding full-time!

      I mean, I think that's a perfectly valid approach, just not what I had in mind while writing this post.

      1. 1

        I agree with your point – there's certainly a learning curve and some overheads.
        JFYI, some engagements on Toptal can last for many months or even years.
        I landed my current main job through Toptal, it's been 1yr 8m with a flexible time arrangement. Just saying 😃

        1. 2

          That's great. I guess that would be pretty close to what I was talking about. Followed you on Twitter btw ;)

  3. 2

    I see a few devs doing 4 day work weeks (in the UK). I've heard IHers talk about doing that before taking the plunge also. Tends to be easier to negotiate once you're already in though, i.e. once you've proved your value

    1. 1

      Tends to be easier to negotiate once you're already in though, i.e. once you've proved your value

      100%! Just started doing this myself a few weeks ago, so excited to have more time to free up time for other pursuits, for making and otherwise.

    2. 1

      I agree, probably it's easier to negotiate that way. I don't see why, though. A company offering 6-figure salaries can't affort "betting" on a 4-day-work-week position? Come on! :D
      By the way, I think this policy would work better applied to entire teams instead of individual employees.

      1. 2

        totally agree! but I think companies see this as making this complicated. I wonder how they could be helped to see the benefits?

        1. 1

          I don't know, maybe offering proper recognition to companies trying new ways!

  4. 1

    I am in this position at the moment. For more than 2 years and a half I've been working part-time or less. But I get you, it's almost impossible to find a role like this. A few of my friends have been trying.

    The company saw that I provide a lot of value for a reduced amount of hours and pay so they are obviously fine with it. I'm fine with it as well because I'm 100% remote and I can do what I want with the extra time (like indie hacking and travel - writing this from Bali 😁)

    Usually with a 50% reduced pay and without saving it can be hard to live in the same place you get your salary from (if you don't own a house) so being able to work remotely is a must in most cases I think. That way you can travel to cheaper places.

    1. 1

      That's great, congratulations on that!
      Would you mind providing a little more context? What kind of role (programmer I guess?), did it start as a part-time position or did you negoitiate your way? Do you work as part of a team? I so, are the rest of the developers also part-time aswell or just you?

      Sorry for the improvised interview, but I'm really curious about it. Feel free yo just skip any question you find inconvenient.

      Take care and thanks for your reply.

      Pd. followed you on Twitter!

      1. 2

        Thanks for the follow buddy 😃

        My situation might be a bit unique (I think) since I started working (full-stack) with the company when I was still in my bachelor course, so I started part-time. I was transitioning to full-time whenever I had more time from Uni or during holidays. After finishing my course I transitioned to full-time for half a year, then because of a few rough no-sales months, I had to transition to reduced work.

        This changed quickly as we started getting a lot of sales right after and I could transition back to full-time after just one month but decided to tell the company that I wish to stay part-time. This month was a rollercoaster for me because, in the beginning, I was panicking, but then I realised how much more creating I became when I don't work full-time. So from the company's perspective, I was still managing to maintain the system and develop new stuff, while working less and getting paid less.

        So yea, since then I decided that I won't work full-time anymore. Maybe if I'm ever contained financially I will take a leap for a while and work more, but now I even manage to save money with part-time so I'm good haha

        Overall I'd say it requires a high level of trust that you can build over time. My team trusts me completely when it comes to the direction of the software and achieving the goals we set.

        Team-wise, we have a small 4-man team (3 directors and me), but I'm the only tech person, so I created and I'm maintaining the whole system and all the apps. Can be tough, requires a lot of self-discipline and planning skills, but I became really good at those with time and now it hardly feels like working haha

        Let me know if you have more questions, I'll be happy to help.

        1. 1

          Very clever not going back to full-time, indeed. The fact that it's a small company surprises me since I think are those small companies, precisely, the ones where the work-force never matches their objectives. It seems yours is one of the few that have a pretty clear idea of what they want (and who they want). That's very valuable!

          Thanks again for your detailed response Razvan, see you on Twitter!

  5. 1

    Just in case anyone is interested, I wrote this thread on Twitter with a couple of examples of companies offering this kind of employment.

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