Secondly, I strongly recommend, if you don’t already, to just maybe see a therapist? It seems like you’ve got some cool things going on and like you could be a cool person, and sometimes it’s tough to reach out. I had to myself recently.
In fact, people will be surprised what the body can do (go read up on ultra-marathoners, etc...). Few regular gym goers are even close to needing rest days, and instead use it as an excuse not to go.
I totally get you about the ultra marathoners. What I don't see is those people using their skills to benefit anything else in their lives. Sure, it's amazing to see someone, especially someone in their 50s or 60s, run 300+ miles. It's also sad to see them devote so much of their time to training and fueling that they have nothing left for anything else in their lives. I used to do 30-60 miles of fast walking in a week. Even at that level my job and social life took a hit.
I think for anyone who is serious about hitting the recommended levels of fitness and exercise, a few hours a week, spread out into 3-4 visits, is more than enough. You should probably try to get some low intensity exercise every day, like walking and simple yoga, while maintaining good posture. If you do that, you'll stay fit, increase the chances of living a long life, and have enough time and energy left over for the important things in life.
It is the same reason I have headphones with some sort of entertainment when I walk or use treadmills. The same reason my spouse reads while on the stationary bike. These activities are an absolutely dreadful way to spend time. Especially when one could be home making artwork or music or devoting time to cooking something creative or even watching silly videos.
By trying some other activity instead of wasting their time and other people's.
I've never found an enjoyable workout activity. The closest I've come to it being bearable is walking as transportation - and sometimes that leads me to staying home rather than do social things. It is horrible without headphones and horrible in the rain or snow.
All of these "workouts" and "exercise" have mind-numbing boredom as a side dish.
For me, exercising is like breathing. It is not about liking/disliking, it's about doing because it is how the body works.
The creative stuff is simply someone being bored doing a repetitive. It is the same reason folks get creative in the shower or while driving. You can also learn things to be more creative. There may be a slight edge to the extra blood flow, but I'm not sure that is backed scientifically like the boredom is.
Face it, some people simply hate this sort of thing.
I've never, ever found something I enjoy doing for extended periods of time. There is even less out there that you can do if you happen to be poor.
You need adequate resting time as well.
The rule is if it doesn't ache for a couple days after, you need to go harder/heavier.
Sounds like he's not making the most of his workouts.
You can actually do a full body workout with just 5 compound exercises: https://stronglifts.com/5x5/ and believe me when I say that after doing just 5 sets of 5 reps at your max of a deadlift you will be tired as hell.
That's not a good rule. Once you've past the first few months of resistance training, not being sore after a workout is not an indication that you didn't work out hard enough. It's very possible to work hard and have little to no soreness while making reliable strength gains.
In general you really want to get to place where you're working out more days per week, for a smaller amount of time each session (with a targeted muscle group). There shouldn't be much soreness at all unless you've over-exerting yourself.
It's an extremely common misconception that you need to work yourself to soreness to facilitate muscle breakdown and repair. But that's actually inefficient. The only reason it's even so common in people new to training is because they tend to workout with someone who is significantly more advanced (or enthusiastic) than they are.
Which is why I'll never, ever actually work out. Seriously, not only do I hate the time spent getting most activity, but now you are telling me I'm supposed to hurt for days afterwards? No, thank you. Not without being under the direct supervision of medical professionals who tell me I really need this sort of pain.
True. I wasn't talking about only being buff. I view working out as something I do to be mentally and physically healthy for life. I think some physical activity every day is key for physical and mental well being.
> The rule is if it doesn't ache for a couple days after, you need to go harder/heavier.
I disagree here. I've done many programs (used the 5x5 you mentioned for years to max out at a #525 deadlift), and rarely get sore from a weight workout. The only time I get sore now is if I take time off and come back.
On non-gym days, I go for a 1-2 hours walk in the park/woods in the evening. It's very soothing and meditative (thanks in no small part to being unplugged from electronics), plus you can still get sweaty if you walk fast enough. Obiously, you also get plenty of oxygen vs the gym.
You have a career, now it's time to have a life. You owe it to yourself.
I've felt this way all my life, even before I read Chamfort. I always valued quality relationships with people, not just any relationship with anyone. To me, being alone is much better than being in the wrong company.
It's very hard to find good, well-mannered people with moral integrity. At least it is for me. And based on everything I see around me, those people are just rare. Most people tolerate each other, instead of actively wanting to be friends/whatever with each other. I don't fully understand why that is. But is just is. I'm curious to see other's thoughts on this subject, though.
 - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/03...
So much of this, I feel that 100%. And people who are like-minded to me feel the same. I think I have 6-7 people/friends like that, it took me time to find them, and I said many times no to "regular ok" people who are not ok to me. Additionally (don't take it too seriously) people who say they don't like people in general (like me :D ) are the ones who I like and who "do have a bar" at all.
To me it seems like most people are not in "real friendships " just accidentally sharing similar background in a space and time so they benefit some of the pros of having a "regular" relationship (eg. friendship).
Chamfort, again, put it more eloquently than I can: "If you aren't misanthrope by age 40, you never liked the world anyway"
I guess the initial shock for me was that people know what they are doing and what kind of harm/pain they are causing, and at every step of the way they choose to do it. I've seen this all around me and I've experienced some of it myself and I just don't understand why is it so. There really isn't a need for it, people like and choose to do it. That's kinda scary to me.
Once you start thinking about this subject, you will inevitably realize the same, as a plethora of philosophers did earlier and since always, basically.
The only people content with the situation seem those that never started thinking about it anyway. Ignorance is a bliss? :)
People might have tended to "tolerate" others because it was harder to survive without the others, when technologies were not that advanced. But do a lot of people really want to be with the others that much? This I really doubt.
Also I feel the couple mentioned in that article might have well been better off if they could actually pursue their passions instead of focusing solely on personal relationships, or why not both indeed.
Yep. Bad companies/relationships also reserve "space & time" and the "need" of possible new ones.
Like others I think you should see a therapist about it.
Work - Gym - Netflix, misses so many things from reaching a balanced life.
A person needs to interact with others apart from their work and gym. Also I do understand that through e.g Netflix you are sort of interacting with 'others' points of views etc e.g getting emotional about your favourite character etc. Thing is that this needs to happen in your real life as well apart from the imaginary world of watching a film or online gaming for example.
I too for some years while growing up got stuck into computer games, and it felt like it was the only thing I liked to do. I got out of it and I am happy I did so, now I have a family, I go out, I go to the gym, I like working too, I do play video games for 1-2 hours a day on my off time and I am quite happy that I explored and learnt that there are way more things in life than just video games.
I hope that helps you understand that you also need some human interaction in your personal life.
Difference between you and me is that I worked heavily on it. I understood that I need to be more open to conversations and more kind. Also that not everyone speaks the online gaming culture language I do, people would not laugh at my brutal jokes cause not everyone plays games out there or has been subjected to trolling etc, and not everyone would diminish things so easily as I and other gamers would do. I lost all the extra weight and anytime the obnoxious douche would try to come out and be weird or mean to people I'd say no to him. If it did happen and I was a douche to someone, which can happen even today after many years I'd own up to it and be sorry and ask for forgiveness.
Nothing in this life is a given and yes some people like me and you have to put extra work in order to make things happen. Its totally doable though.
I'd also suggest you to find a therapist that you like and can trust and get some help on it.
Hope that helps you on your quest.
What makes you say that?
You also need to find some things outside work. Joining a sports league would help. You get your exercise and meet people. Jiu Jitsu is fun and many gyms treat all the members like extended family. It's also mentally challenging (think physical chess), so it gets your mind off of work.
2 hours a day of solo gym exercise is pathological unless you have some really good reason to be doing it and it's making someone happy. Which it clearly isn't.
It's possible to get to 'intermediate' powerlifter level on about 2-3 hours a week. There are of course many other goals, but 12 hours a week in the gym is almost certainly reaching diminishing returns for almost any of the goals I can think of (with the possible exception of really hardcore bodybuilding or endurance work).
Also +1 for "make sure the people you roll with are not idiots". I guess my role is to follow you around agreeing with you.
Further, make you that the person that you are 2 minutes after the roll starts isn't an idiot. My IQ often drops about 10 points her minute of the roll, so I'll go in saying to myself "OK, today I'm going to work the Shaolin sweep from knee shield half", a minute later it's "I'm going to get whatever I can get from knee shield half", a minute later it's "let's just wrestlefk my way to top position any old how and then work a principled submission" and by the end of the roll it's "smash this fool with everything I've got like it's the Abu Dhabi trials". I am very aware of this tendency and work like hell to avoid it, but it's important to recognize that idiot-avoidance isn't just about other people.
No real story. I'm not a BJJ expert or anything, but my experience has almost always been starting from the knees. I have seen more MMA style gyms that I would avoid at my age. I'm too old to be punched in the face or thrown from standing :D
> Also +1 for "make sure the people you roll with are not idiots"
I broke my ankle playing basketball b/c of a new guy who showed up to play and ran through me while I had an open layup. I would have gotten in a fight if I could walk haha. Instead we had some choice words for him, and never saw him at the game again.
> Further, make you that the person that you are 2 minutes after the roll starts isn't an idiot....
Great point (and I'm going to get meta here), this is important to learn in life. How many times are you at work and a couple minutes into a discussion you or someone else loses their cool? It takes discipline to see that and stop it from happening. Martial arts really do teach so much beyond the activity itself.
Everyone eventually dies alone, but do not let that sadden you. A full life is measured in the depths of sorrow from that truth, not in avoiding it.
Dying is terrible, but there is definitely a difference between being surrounded by loved ones and being all alone or among strangers.
"Everyone dies alone" is one of those things that is sort of technically correct, but has absolutely nothing to do with what people mean when they talk about dying alone.
I don't know, dude. My dad died, but I'm not even sure he knew we were around him. He had been in a coma after a stroke for a couple of weeks at that point. The same goes for folks that just die in their sleep - I'm not sure it matters. I hope they weren't actually lonely, but I wish that for lots of folks.
The sad part is the way there.
I since changed my schedule to 40 min, 3 times a week, 2 sets, maximum reps till failure with pyramids.
Most gains in strength i have ever achieved with the least amount of work I have ever done.
Less time - more ROI
check out @maclulich on Insta -- I can back it up.
2 sets, each exercise, 3-4 exercises per day.
For example (in kgs):
1. Deadlifts, 145x20, 150x13
2. Hamstring curls, 60x25, 65x18
3. Dumbbell bench, 32x24, 34x18
4. Lat pull down, 40x25, 44x18
Massive nervous system overload with high reps.
This usually leaves me shaking and needing a 5-10 min rest at the end in the changing rooms before having the energy to change and leave.
It's maximum effort in 40 min, and at least for me, it works.
Increase reps/weight as u cross the 20+ rep barrier.
If you are unhappy you should change. Take that as given.
I will second the people who say two hours is a lot. Honestly more time with lighter amounts of activity (thinking walking rather than deadlifting) is actually healthier for you in the long run. The human body is a 250,000 year old OS with the last update maybe 10,000 years ago, and for most of that time we sat around and ate a badger (or similar) maybe once a week.
If you want friends, join a group that does some light activity and then hangs out. Kickball is fun as is hiking or ultimate frisbee or kickboxing. Working out and friends can go together! Two birds stoned in the hand is worth three sober in the bush, or something.
Something like this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDWyqnGhmWY
Maybe you want to ask yourself what you are working out for. If working out is actively eating into the reason that you are working out for, then I hope you can see the damage or at least the redundancy caused by extra workouts.
Also, you could take a look at some workout-esque hobbies. Bouldering has become very popular recently. Maybe try playing a sport that is high intensity (like squash or swimming)
Death, alone or accompanied, is inherently irrelevant. That you're even thinking about it suggests you're aware on some level that this pattern isn't a good use of your life.
If you're going to the gym that often, you must be in great physical shape. Go climb a mountain, working at computers endlessly is for suckers.
An alternate viewpoint on this - perhaps it will help you:
Regardless of whether you agree with Big Clive on this, his channel is amazing - IMHO at least :-)
What do you do, if I may ask?
>t. Same except managed to find energy to enjoy my weekends.
The secret is healthy diet, 8 hours sleep, drinking water, and limit in alcohol
It's not really a secret. We all know this, but few execute (common theme in life?).
I know it's not trivial, but it can't be impossible either. I doubt he would starve if he got a part-time dev job (are those easy to find? I have no idea). I agree wholeheartedly with all that he said. I think a life of work-home-work without breathing is almost meaningless unless you can have possibly unreasonable amounts of fun and freedom in the job (few if any industries allow/demand this kind of work). Indeed if a job allows for fun and freedom markets will usually exploit this advantage to try and push you to work even more (if you let them of course).
I'm still a student but I'll certainly look for a job that's either totally fulfilling (rare) or allows as much freedom as possible while maintaining a reasonable lifestyle and quality of life.
The elephant in the room is that all of those housekeeping tasks used to generally be done during the week by a second householder. So what happened?! Rather than double income households actually resulting in getting ahead, economic feedback simply made it the new normal!
Similar destruction of economic progress happened when Walmart (et al) gutted local business - a lot of high-margin employers went away, yet prices weren't allowed to go down. So rather than local economies' costs at least going down along with their pay, they only got the downside.
Taking into account women entering the workforce plus general technological progress, "full time employment" these days should be under 15 hours per week!
I downvoted you because of this extraordinary claim. If you're going to make a claim like this you need to provide evidence. Not only that but the government doesn't even have direct control of property values and indirect control is at the local level.
The main goal of inflationary monetary policy is the shameless "maximum employment". Since the cost of manufactured goods will not go down (technological progress and fundamental economic optimization), in order for CPE to continue to rise then some other component must go up. The closest consumers get to new money creation is taking out loans for housing, therefore the price of housing goes up.
Edit: I very much hope I'm wrong.
I do see a danger of a future where a small percentage of people work long hours and everyone else is unemployed.
Only very poorly run ones with crappy per-hour productivity.
Still means a longer job search, but it's definitely possible.
Key trick: ask for shorter workweek only _after_ you have the job offer. That way they don't just filter you out in advance, and they're already in a mental state of wanting you.
I've negotiated for shorter workweek at three jobs so far, and did it this way at last two. And people who have read my book on negotiating a 3-day weekend (https://codewithoutrules.com/3dayweekend/) or that I've interviewed about their independent experience doing this (https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/01/08/part-time-programmer...) have done it as well.
But the reality is that being constantly tired is unproductive and having 50% more time off is huge.
Or do as I'm striving to do and work 5 days a week for less and less of the year. I aim for 35 weeks, basically 2/3 on, 1/3 off. And then I find when I consult for 2 or 4 more weeks it's like a bonus.
It also allows you to work a little harder on Fridays when there's a tanigble endpoint.
Once you have the money to cushion the blow, you can start pushing back on demands for your time with a lot more confidence. A thing I've personally found is that my employer just wants results and things done on time and when needed. They don't particularly care how much time I'm physically in the office working.
Is it actually true to say there is an market equilibrium at 40 hours? I'm no expert, but 40h seems heavily reinforced by regulation (FLSA comes up on search). Without government intervention, I'd not see much stopping a race to the bottom, at least for a significant part of the job market.
I wonder if less wealth inequality would give more leverage to the average citizen, enough so that this additional bargaining power would make a significant difference on the job market. Influences like that might explain the systems trends over longer time periods...
You can. Anyone that says you can't hasn't tried hard enough.
Ask your boss. Tell them you want a better work-life balance, tell them it's really important to you and that it's something you will prioritize. Work 4 days a week and get 4/5th of the pay. Step down to 3 days a week later.
If your boss won't come at it, find one that will. Your time is so much more important than more money.
Its worth noting that “tried hard” isn’t a good description of the things necessary. You need to creatively manoever into a position to do so and you need to know how to do that.
It’s really nice. That’s an errand day, or sometimes hang out with friends day, and sometimes just a sleep in lazy day.
Does 10% less pay (more like 8% less after taxes) affect me? No, not really.
But if you want to do a lot of things beside work, 3 days is best.
It’s also a bit dependent on life situation. When I left university I was perfectly good with 3/5ths salary, but now with a family to support that would be hard.
1) Ask for a 30 hour work week, or find a company that can offer this. Your salary should still be high enough to aim for a comfortable retirement at 65.
2) Adopt a more frugal lifestyle and increase your savings rate.
You need to save a few million dollars to retire with $40-$80k in investment income. It should be very possible to do this with a backend developer's salary over a period of 10-15 years, and then you should be able to retire in your 30s or 40s. You should also aim to increase your salary by changing jobs every few years (or get a job at a FAANG.)
3) Build side projects or a startup and try to get some passive income (or an exit)
Write all your startup ideas down and keep looking for opportunities. It can be hard to build products in the evenings or weekends, especially if you're already burnt out from your normal job. So this option works best when combined with part-time freelance work:
4) Become a freelancer and work part-time while you work on your own projects
Bonus: Move to a place with a very low cost of living.
Working 10-20 hours per week gives you a lot of free time and much longer weekends. But it also gives you a lot of time and energy to work on your own ideas.
Note that working 10 hours per week is a terrible idea if you just spend the rest of your time working on hobbies that don't make any money. If you do that, then you won't even be able to retire at 65, and you probably won't be able to save money for emergencies. Only do this if you spend the rest of your time trying to build a business.
If you can't get anything to work after ~10 years of trying, then you should still have plenty of time to go back to a full-time job and save for retirement.
You need a lot less than a few million dollars if you're willing to live at a more reasonable retirement income. I mean, you won't have to commute anymore, or buy all those services that did things you never had time for, or pay for daycare, or live in an overpriced city, etc. Hell if you move to a country with a lower cost of living, as you suggested, you'll need even less.
You would be surprised how little of what you consider "necessities" of your lifestyle you actually need, or miss when they are gone.
I'm living in Thailand, and $40k goes a long way. Many people would be happy with this lifestyle, but it's not quite enough for me, and I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life here. I'd much rather have $80-100k and live somewhere like Toronto. But to each their own.
It took me a while to build this frugal-yet-fulfilling lifestyle, but it was so worth it.
By spending that 3.5% on living, you are actually losing a portion of your wealth each year.
In order to remain "flat", you need to be earning 7%, in order to spend 3.5%.
...but of course, this also completely ignores the risk. Assets don't give 7% for free. The investor is accepting the risk - that's the whole point. So in reality, you need to be earning closer to 10% in order to mitigate the risk of a default on those assets.
Living off of investment income is almost never really winning battle.
It's also very important to decrease your expenses during a market crash, and to never panic sell. You could also have some other income streams like rental properties, or software businesses.
If you just want to hold cash and bonds, retire at 30, and expect to live until you're 100, then you need to save up 70 * 100000 = $7 million, and spend $100k per year until you die. (Although $100k in 2089 will be worth a lot less than 2019.)
And who knows, maybe longevity treatments and gene therapies will become widely available in the next 70 years, and people might live until they are 200. Or even indefinitely. If you think that might be a possibility, then you should definitely invest in the stock market instead of keeping everything in cash. There is such a thing as "too little risk" when it comes to investing.
2 people can easily live lavish life in India (something like Goa or a nice hill station) for ~$2000 a month.
Healthcare is not as bad, especially in urban locations. People speak English well, and it isn't that far, given that people drive ~10 hours across states to meet family anyways.
If no one else steals this 'idea' , I might just think of implementing it 20 years down the line.
$2000/month here is about the salary of a senior PHP engineer with 15 years experience, so it'll take you far.
No amount of personal wealth makes a Texas suburb walkable. No amount of personal wealth makes it possible to skateboard on Tokyo sidewalks. No amount of personal wealth makes the downtown park you live next to actually be nice.
Beyond that, most places in SEA have caught on and if you have money, the society around you will figure out how to charge you enough to get it from you, especially if you're used to a pretty high standard of living
How would a few million be possible? What is your contextual salary for this position, and their expected expenses?
If you're dual income for part of that 15 years, you'll have far more money, or you can retire a few years earlier.
Not at all. I joined a FAANG company less than a year ago, am not a software engineer, and I'm at about $250k. Senior software engineers are closer to $400k-$500k. See levels.fyi.
EDIT: You mentioned salary, but I think you're referring to total comp. Base salary at these companies is indeed lower than $200k except for non-senior positions.
Total comp is great and all, but unless you're liquidating immediately after you receive a grant then you're adding another variable into the mix of things that need to go right.
And the stock portion of your comp being valuable is dependent on the company doing well. True for FAANG, but that's only because by definition that group is the companies that are doing well!
A $200K equivalent RSU grant spread over four years could end up being worth 20K a year or 200K a year, depending on whether you get lucky or not. Remember that the biggest tech companies 15 years ago included Dell, Delphi, Cisco and Yahoo.
Why aren't you liquidating immediately after you receive a grant? Why would you choose to doubly leverage on your primary source of income, and, as you accurately point out, add another source of risk?
- The company tanks. You maybe retained some of the value of your stock, but you're still on a sinking ship.
- The company takes off. Thanks to loss aversion you feel like you lost money that is rightfully yours. And your idiot co-worker who held just turned up for work in a supercar.
Who knows what the future holds, but if you started at FAANG in 2004 you would have far more than a couple million by now. The financial crisis is a fantastic time to invest in index funds.
That’s a bit on the high end, but I guess not SV/FAANG impossible.
I dream about a 30-hour work week for all of the reasons listed in the parent article... I would take a 25% paycut for one without second thought
As someone who also works a reasonable 40-hour a week job, I cannot emphasize enough how much of a difference working remote has made.
I used to commute an hour each direction in the DC area, and (like the author) spent time preparing meals, getting dressed, etc. I have since moved to the NC area to work remote, and quality of life improvement is incredible:
- I can get to work immediately with no commute, and when I'm done, I don't have to get in a car to get home.
- Lunch break involves making a healthy lunch in my own kitchen, then reading a book while I eat in the comfort of my own home.
- I am a coffee enthusiast, and I love being able to make a french press, pour-over, or cold brew right in my kitchen.
- Crappy weather and accidents on the roads no longer have any effect on my workday.
- I get the exact office setup I want.
- I can go work at a coffee shop, an outdoor park, or even at the beach (all of which I have done), if I want a change of scenery.
WRT to the central point: I hate the _concept_ of living for the weekend, and have taken intentional and proactive steps to ensure that I don't fall into that trap.
Just a few examples:
- Get up early, and make time for what matters. I like to work out in the mornings, and also make sure to do any hobbies or side projects during this time, as my brain is fresh.
- Make yourself stop working at the appropriate time. This will differ depending on your job and your personal preference, but I draw a line in the sand and do not let myself work any later than 6 PM. My personal time is very important to me, and even though I love my job, I will never choose it over my personal time.
- Make sure to do things you like during the week, too. This really just involves not allowing yourself to believe that you can only make time for yourself on the weekends. Sometimes I'll get up early and meet someone for breakfast at a restaurant, sometimes I'll do a fun hobby in the evening, like rock climbing. If your job is flexible enough you could even step away for a quick break during the day to do something outside, like bicycling or kayaking, if that's your thing.
It's interesting how jaded I am of driving in general. There are certain intersections in my town where it's common to get stuck at a red light that lasts for minutes. Things like this put me on complete life tilt. All I think about is "how can anyone put up with this every day?". I'm no longer surprised why people go berserk out of no where.
I really don't know how people do it. Getting stuck in traffic or waiting on long red lights sucks the life out of you because it's such an utter waste of time. Maybe I'm just not used to it (I drive, but it's usually outside of rush hour), but man, I am pretty sure I couldn't exist in a world where I had to do the traffic grind daily.
Honestly, one would think that 'less stress' and a more peaceable mindset give one more resilience in dealing with such things, but just the opposite.
To deal with traffic you almost have to 'give up' on the notion of doing something quickly and resign to the reality of it, which is what happens if you have to deal with it daily.
When working from home I avoid doing absolutely anything during rush hour.
That's the only way to treat driving IMO. If you let yourself get upset at 'delays', you will drive rashly to make up for it, and eventually you will cause an accident.
Every time you get in a car you should expect delays, and expect dangerous driving from others.
That's one thing that stuck with me when I attended a class with a Buddhist teacher. He said meditation shouldn't make you more stress resilient but more aware of the damage stress causes so you avoid it.
Weird... now that you mention this, I recall that during grad school when I had complete control over my time (and essentially worked remotely), I would get so angry sitting at red lights. Now that I have a corporate job, they no longer seem to bother me. Maybe you're on to something.
The reason it bothers me so much is that it makes me feel like I'm more so a slave to "the man" than I already am, even while being a freelancer.
Inefficient rules are in place by an unignorable authority who cares nothing about you other than to take your tax money every quarter (or go to prison / be homeless, neither of which are reasonable options). It's just a constant reminder to how little freedom most people have in today's world.
I don't think it would bother me as much if it were efficient. It's the compounding fact that as a whole we pay such a massive amount of $ towards taxes but we can't figure out how to make transportation suck less.
This is my choice -- I could work totally remote, but I have found it necessary in order to resolve some issues to go in.
The difference is even more stunning when you are only doing it 20% of the time. I am fried when I get home, and commuting in Houston on a regular basis can take years off your life.
People get sucked into living like this slowly and don't realize how damaging it is.
I'm super lucky and 1) Work from home 2 days a week, and 3) When I do travel to the office, I rotate my day forward to start from 5:30 am and finish at 2:30 - 3 pm to avoid traffic.
15 years ago in Houston, 6:30 am was adequate to avoid most traffic when commuting from the Northside, nowadays, you need to be out the door about 4:30 am. That's a huge change. Traffic on I45 ramps up in the Spring area, right around 5 am.
I really enjoy my work. However, I still occasionally think to myself “man, this kinda sucks”. I think it’s because I feel the need to put my productivity in something original, something that is born from my personal passion only.
After I graduated from college, I actually kept a year-long “break” and just stayed at home. On this “break”, I set up daily tasks for myself to see what I could accomplish on my own. I did creative, productive stuff from 5 to 7 hours a day. I was learning Spanish. Programming. Piano. All on my own. It was a really awesome year. The problem in the long run, of course, is that I don’t get any money from those. It was only possible because I was still living with my parents. I would really like to do all of those activities as often as I could back then, but it’s just not possible now with a job.
I hope to soon have a solution for this: a business. Currently I’m slowly working on a software project on my free time, with the aim of it eventually creating a solid income, with a relatively small need of maintenance. Not overly confident that it’ll work out, but I’ll do my best to be able to do the stuff I want, as long as I want, while also being able to live comfortably. That’s the dream.
It's not necessarily fast, but it can work! I started in 2015 blogging, wrote & launched a book in 2016, and quit my job in 2018 to focus on my own products. I don't make nearly as much (yet!) but 100% of my time is my own and I can grow it at my own pace.
I'm currently doing something similar at the moment, and I can't imagine I would want to go back to a traditional M-F 9-5 schedule.
1) Use my spare time to study a more lucrative field, and negotiate a four-day work week. The pitfall here is that I need to spend all of my spare time working, so that I may be able to work less in the future (and it’s not guaranteed that I will).
2) Move to a country where the cost of living is cheap, and freelance with international clients. The pitfall here is that I have to move away from all the people I care about. I may also end up introducing more stress into my life by living as a foreigner and relying on a freelance income.
3) Invest all of my time into starting my own business (for pitfalls, see 1).
4) Negotiate a four-day work week on my current wage, live a much more ascetic lifestyle, and only save a small amount of money for my future.
5) Marry into a wealthy family.
6) Find a duffel bag with a few million dollars in it.
Does anyone have any better ideas?
assuming you are in software development field, it is tricky to get into a more lucrative one, probably easier to just stay here.
> Move to a country where the cost of living is cheap, and freelance with international clients
Not long-term sustainable. Might work for couple years (especially if you are single and have perfect health), but after a lot of problem will show up – relatives, friends, connections, etc. Also, you might want your own home.
Overall, you listed it. Other ideas are:
1. embrace it. Be consistent in your hobbies, and dedicate one day to it (like Saturday). It is tough for new hobbies, but if you are already in it, might be just fine. Not everybody has to produce something artsy and from their passion – your family, what you like might be enough. Try to reflect on it sometime, it might clear some things for you.
2. Retire early. If you live more frugally (or not so posh, depending on your preferences), you can easily save plenty of money, which will allow you to retire not in 65, but around ~45 (number depends heavily, but you got the idea).
3. Aggressively negotiate vacation days, and take off 1–2 days at the end/beginning of the week. You'll work much less (you'll notice it), and taking 2 days off reduces 2 weeks into 4 days work week.
The presumption is that you get paid less when you work less. And this is true, to an extent: when I've negotiated a shorter workweek I've typically gotten paid correspondingly less, e.g. at 4 days a week get paid 80% time.
1. My experience (https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/02/11/working-long-hours/), and that of others (https://lobste.rs/s/hvjwd6/how_become_part_time_programmer#c...) is that working less makes you more productive. You learn how to prioritize, how to avoid wasting time, you're force to plan more... basically you end up a much effective programmer and employee.
As a better employee, you can get a better baseline salary. So you're getting 80% of a higher salary.
2. The key to getting a shorter workweek is negotiating. If you have better negotiating skills you can get a higher salary, e.g. merely asking for more than the company's initial offer will usually give you a 10% boost (https://codewithoutrules.com/2019/01/18/negotiate-like-6-yea...). Knowing how to present yourself in a job interview and resume can also give you a salary boost (https://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/).
So again, it's possible to get 80% of a higher salary.
You'll still get paid less than you could have otherwise... but beyond a certain point I and others at least have found time to be more important than money.
> In addition the 5th day should be used for lifelong education
I've been doing Ruby on Rails for four years and even that -- a relatively stable, mature framework -- is a grindy treadmill of continual learning because any project you're rotated onto will have 492 gems you're not familiar with, most of which are utility classes but some of which are essentially miniframeworks. I can barely consider myself "full stack" at this point because I think even fulltime JS devs must struggle with that explosion.
Though I've come to point where I'm starting to approach it strategically. For the most part the only thing that really matters is how employable you are. So long as you can find a job that meets your standards you are fine as you learn the minutiae on the job and it's always different for every job so you can't prepare in advance.
With that in mind this year I'm focusing mostly on the fundamentals doing deep dives into knowledge with extremely long half-life. I've got about 280 hours of courses I'm making my way through on Pluralsight this year. I'm about 1/4 the way through. Just started my SQL playlist and already I'm so glad I'm taking the time to dive deep on it. The difference between now and the end of the year will be night and day.
And given the problem of loneliness that is arising, it might be less smart to reduce the work week (giving people more time to be alone), than to just make work less intense and forgiving. I.e, I suspect 56.5h is better than 48h.
I had been working on a side project most weekends for the last 10 years and been particularly busy in the last year so I forgot what it felt like to just waste time. Wasting time feels great.
In this cut-throat competitive industry, it does feel like a luxury through.
As a software engineer, I can't afford to not be on the cutting edge. I have the feeling that if I stopped working for just 6 months, my career would be over.
I recently started a new position after very little time looking with a >80k raise.
I've felt the same pressure to stay current. But, turns out it's all about how you can frame what you bring to the table vs what you can't.
That's not true. There are many companies who are still writing and maintaining new code in Java 1.6 for example.
> Today I just wasted the second half of the day doing nothing at all; just watching mind-numbing videos on Youtube.
I try to do this and just can't. I get antsy. When I 'binge' Netflix is max 2 episodes and I have to go do something. Usually, I just go workout. If I've already worked out twice, then I'll read a book. Or, I'll work on the long list of home projects I have going on, etc...
Do these people work at FAANG? Probably not, but if you want to work there you are accepting the stress that comes along the position.
Since I moved to the US I've been working 60 hour weeks, which I don't mind since I'm doing what I love and largely on my own terms. However, the act of keeping time is the thing that stresses me out the most.
When I started transitioning from a programmer to a CEO I have weeks where my calendar has 20 events and meetings on it and the thought of it in itself is stressful. Since then I've learned what my limits are and keep large blocks of time on my calendar to myself which I use to code or to just squander it on something semi productive like brainstorming future product ideas with one of our engineers.
As Kanye says "time is extremely valuable and I prefer to waste it."
Stop following hype and focus on practical business solutions. You'll have no problem finding work after doing so.
You need to remember that things like Wordpress solve the majority of business needs and skills related to it are in demand next time you feel like you need to keep a constant pulse on what's popular to the HN crowd.
I work on enterprise "Line of Business" applications and WordPress has no place in that world.
I'd agree it solves most of the "we need a website" needs. And some of the "we need to be able to sell shit through our website" needs. But not "the majority of business needs".
Though I agree with your fundamental assessment of just focus on how to deliver business value and less on hype. It's true. But I'm going to hazard a guess and say it's possibly more true for some segments of the population than others.
I don't know, I don't ask for their take on the market. However, I've consulted with businesses where "We use Wordpress for X" is incredibly common to hear and they don't have problems with it, even if it wouldn't be my first choice of a platform.
> But not "the majority of business needs".
The majority of businesses are small or medium-sized, where Wordpress with a few standard or custom plugins are enough to suit their needs.
Wordpress certainly isn't a good platform for IT and software, and I'm not aware of any SaaS companies trying to use it for their business.
Wow. Ok. Some businesses even use it for inventory management. Can't work out whether that's slightly better or slightly worse than a spreadsheet. I guess there are all kinds of options on the market and someone somewhere has whipped up a WordPress version.
Barrier to entry is low and there's a glut of cheap Wordpress developers out there, too, so companies that don't have a budget for an entire IT department can still get by with hiring a few engineers when they're needed.
Again, not my first choice, but it seems to work.
If you are referring to the framework of the month and the buzzword of the year - no, you can stay away from the type of company that follows the hype.
There are many companies that prefer stability over hype. They usually do industrial automation, aeronautics, civil infrastructure, banking and all sort of non-flashy things.
Everything is really about trade-offs, but I think if you are single, a 40 hour work week is probably not enough to make you feel like you are on a hedonic treadmill. I'm currently working at my dream company, but over the next few years, my goal is to reach financial independence as quickly as possible via some side project. 95% of startups fail, but at least in the valley, most of these startups are VC funded and have big ambitions. I'd say if your goal is to simply reach $2-3 million for financial independence, the failure rate is a bit lower for some small project that fills a niche market need.
You know the phrase, "working for the weekend"? From the actual hours in office, piled up non-work responsibilities, constant stress from the job... I was working all of the time for... for what, retirement? That's a horrifying thing to think through end-to-end, especially when you step back from your job for a while to realize, in most cases, for most people, it's just a job.
American culture is masochistically obsessed with attaching human value and worth to "work ethic" or "career success". It's a nice distraction (probably not on accident), but I'm fairly there's more to life and I glad it didn't take 30 straight years working to figure that out. And now I guess I'm repeating it here to try and solidify it for myself.
The older I've gotten, the shorter everything has
gotten. Whether it's based in the natural warping
of time perception as we age
People in their time working years are relied upon heavily by family and employers.
This is generally true even if you avoid having children, which is the probably most significant time investment a person can make.
Of course, you can live a "lone wolf" lifestyle but this is difficult for most people if they have any family at all.
I think the biggest reason this is not universal is because not everybody hates their job or working. I get an incredible amount of Joy doing what I do. So much so that when I get home I have plenty of energy to do a little more on my own personal projects. This is obviously not true every single day but the vast majority of days it is.
That dosent mean I don’t love my wife or my family, quite the contrary I spend as much time as possible with them and love them very much.
But it does mean that I don’t love TV or much of the other bullshit.
This article is a great read, with a different sort of take on life:
Idealists will say not to take a job unless it lets you do something cool and world-changing like that. Well okay, but there is a LOT of code to be written in the world. Somebody has to write the boring stuff. And 99.999% of it is boring. If every developer held out for the chance to write the fun stuff the world would just not work.
It's like if everybody held out for some kind of job they passionately cared about. Theoretically cool, but who'd sweep the floors and shovel the horse shit out of the stables?
Nothing that a short stint in the developing world doing a non-desk job for a month or so can't help put perspective on...
After that, programming is so far from exhausting that I work overtime just because I feel like I'm not doing my fair share any more.
Greenfield work is a lot less tiring, but much more rare in my experience. It's also a career path of it's own and hard to get on. I.e. you need greenfield experience to get a coveted greenfield job role.
I am considering getting into tutoring/teaching programming and I might find that a lot less tiring, covering the basics X times rather than wrangling the spaghetti code day in and day out.
E.g. this guy I interviewed has been working 4 days a week for 15 years: https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/01/08/part-time-programmer...
I've personally not worked 40 hour weeks since 2012, because, too much stuff to do, especially with a family.
If you don't have negotiation experience, well, I started out a terrible negotiator and eventually figured out how, so you can too. And if you'd like to skip over all the mistakes and research I did and just know what it takes to negotiate a shorter workweek as a programmer, I've written a book that can help you: https://codewithoutrules.com/3dayweekend/
I haven't heard of software engineers in VC startup land or corporate world hiring personal assistants but in the freelance / consulting world it's very common and an amazing way to "level up" yourself as a professional. It's ok to need help and it's ok to hire someone who enjoys helping with personal or professional admin tasks.
You can start out with a virtual assistant for a few hundred bucks a month and can find one on Craigslist or a branded service like Zirtual.
I have a VA help with routine marketing / admin tasks in my business and then impromptu one-off personal tasks like booking flights, hiring task rabbits, booking doctors' appointments, etc.
I know not everyone is in a place to afford this but I think most engineers are if they are thoughtful about their finances. I'd highly recommend trying it out.
Assuming you're happy with your relationship with work and it's a healthy relationship, and you still don't have enough time, getting professional admin help from someone might help.
However I do think the author is making it sound harder than it is... if you don't have kids, I don't see how you can run out of time on the weekends to do basic things or not do those things during the week (esp. chores and errands). I also experience a general feeling of malaise thinking about time wasted during the weekends on internet/games/socializing when I could have been cultivating new skills or working on entrepreneurship but that's definitely mostly my fault.
I'm in my mid-late twenties however, where the time is certainly much more valuable to me. A lot of the things I find most fun are rather physically demanding, you can go much harder for much longer on a mountain bike or on skis the younger you are.
I guess there's an argument that you can retire earlier if you work more right, but I think I'd get less out of that than having more time now. Maybe that'll prove to be a mistake in the long run, who knows.
Honestly there wasn't much to it I just asked, but also made it clear I'd be leaving if the answer was no. Company already had some part-timers (though they are mostly new parents, so our motivations differ.)
Even if they're strict about 4x10 or 5x8 as a software dev I find it winds up being more like 50+ hour week anyway because of the need to invest in continuing education (which is 99% reinventing the wheel in Today's Favorite Framework/Language, but that's how it goes)
Also if the wealth disparity between the rich and the poor is growing, clearly there is room in the budget to relax work schedules for most who want or need it. For jobs that require mostly problem solving, one might argue that a shorter workweek could actually increase productivity.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I actually started a newsletter for job listings with shorter hours and other related stuff just last week:
I'd far rather have a six-day work week, or perhaps even seven, and then three consecutive months off per year to do some real travel or something.
Pretty sure this is a minority viewpoint, but curious if anyone else feels the same.
When I first went out on my own, the line between weekends and workweek melted so I always felt like I was working even on weekends. As time went by I realized that I did not share that feeling the author mentions and it feels great! I can go shopping any time, see a movie at 11 am if I want to on a Monday and skip the crowds when everyone is out doing the same things on the same day.
Modern workplaces are not built for productivity- they are places where you go to waste time, time that could be spent on yourself.
I used to think business would not compete on a shorter work week but then I looked at how I spent time at work - most of t was idle time once you count the breaks, lunch, chit chat, browsing when you’re fried. All of this added up to a significant amount of time no matter the position I occupied. It gets worse when you are in a managerial position. Why on earth anyone would want to subject themselves to wasting time at work instead of enjoying it at home (unless they had problems at home) is not clear. I think we are stuck in this perpetual need of having to outwork the other. To show that we are hard working and will do anything to provide for our families. Except, in many cases more time does not directly result in more money. Sure, you spend more time sitting on your butt and claiming working hours or because your boss demands it, but are you really getting more done? In an office environment I can tell you with absolute certainty the answer is no.
So if you are a manager, a CEO or anyone in a position to do something about this insane self-infliction, please evaluate your values, how you think employees spend their time and be the change.
This person has overcommitted themselves in their personal life to the point where it is conflicting with their work responsibilities.
You can choose to live a different life. In 20 years in tech, its the rare person who asks "should we?" instead of "can we?"
Should you work yourself to death? Probably not. Can you? Sure. Was it a well considered choice to do so?
I've yet to really see any other companies do it, and I'm thinking of instituting that policy in our current startup, but it deserves serious consideration.
I felt this doing data entry for $20/hr at Elections Ontario. My single most effective co-op term because it really motivated me to get into a career I love and bust my ass to never work a day in my life again.
I can relate to the feelings in this article. But, for what it’s worth I’ve found that cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, and sleep, and exercise, really help.