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Ask HN: How can I find 20-25 hour week programming jobs?
38 points by bholabalak 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 26 comments
I'm presently in a full time 40 hour week job. The actual amount of time spent working is hardly every more than 4 hours. Rest is lunch + meetings + other things. I feel I will happier and more productive if take up a 20-25 week job. How can I find such jobs?

Some options:

* Negotiate shorter workweek at your current job. Many people have successfully done this to reduce workweek.

* Become a consultant or contractor. If you do it right (and that's hard!) you can work shorter workweek. Or you can do OK and work shorter workweek and make less money.

* Negotiate shorter workweek at new job. This is much harder, but doable.

In my case, I was a consultant, got part time job with one of my consulting clients, then negotiated short workweek at new job. First two (consulting, first job) were <30 hours a week (when I started, at least), second job was 35 hour workweek.

(Also, every once in a while I've seen part time jobs advertised.)

Talk a bit more about this here (https://codewithoutrules.com/saneworkweek/), and a lot more in book which will be available as soon as I write the sales page (sign up at that page to hear about it).

ThanksMy company is not very strict about work hours, as in, you can decide to come and leave at your own timings but everyone stays pretty much 8 hours a day as a norm. My fear is that I will be seen as someone who doesn't want to do work if I leave early, but as other comments have suggested if I keep the expectations from me clear and deliver, reducing work hours shouldn't be an issue. If they see that I can do the work in only 5 hours a day, I fear they will increase the work I have. Does this usually happen? I'm a fresh grad so don't have much experience about how things work in the industry.

Depends on your manager. If he thinks your work is great and it's solid for 5 hours, he might let you get away with it. If he's a hard-A or has pressure of his own to get serious deadlines, he'll give you more work. Depends on what his motivations are. It all depends on where he sees you fitting in achieving his objectives. If you're non-critical and on the side, it might not matter as much to him.

This is not stuff you can do as a fresh grad, typically. Don't try this until you've been around long enough to demonstrate how much work you do and it's clear your boss trusts you. And even then probably really hard to do without a lot of experience.

I have the exact same experience. Adding a comment to add support to this approach.

Step 2 is a bit South Park.

Should've been separate bullet points, not ordered bullet points. Fixed.

Sorry, didn't get the reference.


(source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zc4bGkU05o)

This was also popular in Slashdot comments.

You can do it as a consultant/freelancer but you will have to build up your reputation first.

Expect 1 year of underemployment where you have either no work, or strategically discounted/pro-bono work so when you are doing something it's 60 hour weeks for shit pay.

Once you have a couple clients in your portfolio you can spend another year or two making normal consultant wages, but as you will be focusing on becoming know you can't turn down any work so expect 40-60 hour weeks.

Finally, after 3 years you'll have a solid reputation and if you played your cards right, work should start to find you. You can put less effort into marketing and start managing shorter weeks.

Don't go this way if you want something easy though. It's nothing of the sort. But I can smell the freedom and I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm earlier in my self employed consulting journey then you are and I'm seeing a similar pattern. When I'm busy I'm extremely busy working lots of hours, but then I'll have some time off and it usually means marketing/networking, haha, it's not easy, but I do like the freedom.

Look for positions with flexible working hours. On paper I work a full 40 hour work week but to be honest I probably work half of that and just take off when I'm done for the day. These positions exist, but are seldom advertised as such

In Germany you can always lower your hours as long as it isn't mission critical for the company that you are there 40h a week.

But I guess the easiest way is becoming a freelancer. Just tell your clients you only have 20h a week time.

You also have to ask the question, what is work?

I mean, if you got a dev job, you aren't coding 40h a week. Yes, on a good day it's 8h, but you probably won't have 5 good days in a row. So, how much do you really code in your 40h, how often are you doing something else? Also, how often are you thinking about job related problems while not getting paid?

I would recommend you sitting down with your manager and defining metrics of success for your job. "If I get this X done then Y is was I am being evaluated on." By doing this you can essentially cut down your work hours significantly. You can make the case that as long as your work is being done and your method of evaluation is progressing upward then there is no reason you can't work flex hours. This goes industry to industry but I worked at a large tech company and had success in that.

I got the same question for a different title: Project Manager or Product Manager. I feel like the second is a bit easier, because features to work on can be isolated better and being very close to your team is not so critical, but for both I see no easy path.

Maybe Fiverr? You could offer a specific task for some amount of time... Or vice versa, someone has a task and you offer you service and deliver e.g. after a week, but worked 50% on it...

Is the goal to then find a 20-25hr per week job and then only spend 10-12.5hrs working? Or is the goal to increase the percentage of time at work spent working?

I don't follow, what's the goal here?

Do you not consider the "meetings + other things" work? If that's what is required as part of your job, how would working less hours help?

Have you tried your local city's craigslist? I think you might be able to find employers there that are accommodating on schedule/time.

Where are you located? Have you applied to jobs & asked to work half time?

I'm located in Mumbai, India. I have searched for jobs but didn't see any advertisement for part-time jobs. My friends in other companies work much longer hours than me.

You can't. Remember the dummies in school who studied 10-12 hours every day? They're your peers now, and you're expected to behave like them.

Incorrect; I've had multiple full-time part-time jobs (once two at a time, which worked out really well). I don't quite understand where you're coming from here.

Sadly there's some truth to this. I'd really hoped that once I was adult it'd be easier to distance myself from people who reward effort for effort's sake.

On a related note, it's also really hard to distance yourself from people who "are doing it wrong" in general. I can't tell you the amount of effort I've had to waste learning a topic that from a distance I could vaguely tell was not worth learning, just so I could have reasonable arguments as to why it's inferior to some other idea. This is particularly frustrating in tech because of the complexity of many tech stacks, that just getting to a point where you can sound like an expert just to provide counterpoints can be exhausting.

That's part of the job, though: deciding on technologies requires some knowledge. But I'm not sure I get what you're saying: you know it's inferior how? A "feeling" isn't a valid reason for discounting tech.

This is the real world where people are compensated at a rate that correlates with their (perceived) value.

People regularly deliver a value that nets them a good income without putting in 40+ hours a week.

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