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I recently changed jobs, and while negotiating salary with the new company, realized that they weren't going to be able to match my salary expectations.

The work was interesting though and very well suited to my skillset so I asked to work a 30 hour week instead so I could do a little freelancing on the side and make up the difference.

6 months later I haven't started freelancing at all, and I simply enjoy the extra time I have to pursue other interests. The unexpected part though is that I am undeniably more productive than I've ever been while working less actual hours.

I definitely use some of the free time for thinking, but I think I also end up being vastly more efficient when I'm in work mode as well.

My best work experience was when I had a job where a 35 hours week was mandatory and strictly enforced. I had time and energy for other things and was super motivated at work. Nobody wasted time with unproductive stuff like never ending meetings.

I'm reading this as a mandatory maximum, yes? How does a strictly-enforced 35 hour week work in practice? And in what industry would you encounter such a thing?

We had to badge in and out every morning and evening. You could accumulate some overtime for a few weeks but at some point you had to take time off. The industry was manufacturing.

In my current role I'm a "cloud security architect" where my employer has a hard stop at 40 hours per week. When those 40 hours are exhausted, I'm done for the week.

Company provides critical financial infrastructure in the US.

How are incidents handled? Does your company have admins that take shifts on call?

I'm sure they do. But that's not part of my role.

When you're paid by the hour bc you're in a union (which I was before even in a corporate research lab).

That sounds terrible to me. Some of my favorite working experiences are wrestling with a gnarling technical problem deep into the night.

We could work overtime for a while but at some point we had to take the time off. Unless you enjoy working 80hrs/week permanently there won't be a problem.

I hate any environment where my hours are strictly monitored and controlled. Badging in and out is ridiculous to me.

If you like unpaid overtime, go for it!

It's not "unpaid" overtime if I'm a highly-compensated salaried employee. I'm a professional and expect to be treated as such—sometimes I'll barely come into the office at all, sometimes I'll be in a lot. Judge me on my results.

I am sure you know that most of us don't experience it that way. 40 hours is usually the minimum hours worked. And this minimum is enforced. The only allowed deviation is to work more.

I'm in the exact same situations (though maybe 18 months in).

I play a lot of music to make up for it. The gigs don't pay as well as that other 10 hours a week would have paid, but breaking up my work into two separate fields is valuable to me.

I've seen colleagues try < 100% work and what would end up happening is that they would work the usual hours, but just get part-pay. There are really no solid checks and balances other than a manager's goodwill when you start working part-time. The only way you can actually curtail hours is if the manager says "ok, s/he is working part-time, so I'll give them fewer responsibilities." Quite often, project deadlines and not-so-nice managers ensure that you end up working full or more hours even if you are officially part-time.

There is the whole "I stop working when I hit my hours, because they are explicitly set at 30 hours" deal... that's been working for me.

Like, I'm on 10-4MF, and they give me a check every two weeks. They have some good will from me so if I have to put out a fire at 9pm and I can, I do it.

But I'm not a "full time" employee. If the responsibilities don't get met in the time allotted, they aren't going to get met. It's not like I get to work less if I figure out how to get my work done in less time... I don't see why I'd work more just cause they give me assignments that take more than 30 hours a week.

If you do something like 3 ten hour days, that makes it much less likely that you will drift into working more than you signed up for. Ten hour days are already longer than the standard 8 (so less social pressure from leaving early or arriving late) and your days out of the office create a bright line that is easier to maintain.

The company I'm working for is European, so they tend to be a lot more realistic about working hours than American companies (I spent most of my career in SF).

That said, I think employees also have a responsibility to push back on insane hours. If you're good at what you do, then you have far more leverage as a developer​ than just about any other type of employee.

totally! i work 15-20 hrs a week, if that? i firmly believe that software would be a happier, better place if more people did that. i dont make alot of money, but i dont feel the need for alot of money since the extra time has so much value on its own.

Which company is this?

Sorry not comfortable sharing the name, but I can say it's a small startup in Europe. In general you'll find startups to be much more open to these types of arrangements.

European startups also tend to be more chill about working hours than American startups (I'm from SF so I've seen it all).

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