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Show HN: 30 Hour Jobs – a job board for shorter work weeks (30hourjobs.com)
558 points by nbrempel on May 14, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 137 comments

If you want a shorter workweek you should definitely sign up for the 30 Hour Jobs list (https://30hourjobs.com/), but—keep in mind there just aren't that many companies that have advertised positions that qualify.

Which doesn't mean you should give up. What you can do as a programmer is _negotiate_ a shorter workweek. I've done it at multiple jobs, personally.

Here's one programmer I talked who has been working 4 day a week for 15 years: https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/01/08/part-time-programmer...

And if you want to do it yourself, the easiest place to do it is at your current job: https://codewithoutrules.com/2019/01/25/4-day-workweek-easy-...

(And for those who will chime in explaining how no company will ever agree to this, here are some more examples of people who have done it: https://codewithoutrules.com/2019/05/09/part-time-software-d...)

I actually tried this at my last job, the idea was to start swapping raises for time since I value my time and life far more than the diminishing returns from more (fairly but) heavily taxed raises but the startup I was at was incredibly zealous about long hours so I left.

In this new job I'm hoping to build up a negotiating position where this will be possible again, this time I think the company culture might support it.

So it very much depends on the company and you need to cement your value before you can try it so it's a high risk strategy.

This won't work at a company that inherently values long hours, yes.

And it's much easier at a job you've been at for a while, yes, because then you're much more valuable in a whole bunch of ways. It is doable at new jobs, but that is much harder the first time around.

So you have the right plan:

1. Get a job at company that isn't obsessed with long hours.

2. Stick around for a year so you're extra-valuable.

3. Negotiate shorter workweek.

You will then have easier time negotiating at later jobs, especially if you don't quit ("thanks for the offer, I'd love to come work for you. however, at current job I work 4 days a week... do you think you could match that?")

I started working 30 hours / 4 days a week in my last job. When I started looking for a new job, I told everyone up front that my working time will be 30 hours.

IMHO it was much easier that way than if I had first started full time. Sure, naming your terms will turn off companies that don't like people that have terms, or that absolutely want their workers to be there every day. But that might actually be a good culture filter.

Oh, you don't start full-time on the second job. For the second job you just only ask for shorter workweek _after_ you have the offer.

Obviously it worked out for you with being upfront, so that's great. But you get more offers if you only ask for it once offer is in hand, and more offers == stronger negotiating position.

That seems pretty dishonest to me. You don't have offers in-hand for part time work, you have offers in-hand for full-time work, unless it's brought up during the interview process - and hopefully pretty early, allowing them to bail early if that won't work for them.

> That seems pretty dishonest to me.

It's no more dishonest than the firm not providing their salary constraints up front before/during the interview process.

I don't think two wrongs make something right.

It’s not wrong though. They are offering their terms, to which you are providing a counter offer that includes your terms. Standard negotiation practice.

Not following through with the fully executed agreement is what would be dishonest.

The problem I see is that the term is a pretty exceptional one. The employer reasonably thinks you both have been talking about a full-time position.

It's like going through the whole interview process with a company that's clearly hiring in-office positions, and then only after getting an offer, telling them you will only work remotely. It would be different if it were really part of the negotiation - ie they're offering way less than your asking/current salary, and you're countering with part-time for that same salary (or other benefits) to compensate.

For retail transactions we have bait-and-switch laws which address the same type of issue.

Personally I'd be pissed at whoever wasted my time like that, and wouldn't hire them based on the ethics they're displaying. If they brought it up during the interview process - even as just something they're looking for - I'd respect the fact that they gave me the option of considering it as part of the evaluation, giving me the option to clarify and end the process early if it just wouldn't work for the employer.

This is something I couldn't put into words but that was part of my thinking process. I personally would feel really bad if I knowingly hid this crucial bit of information during the process and then made it my requirement.

Maybe in some other work culture you have to be sneaky if you want a part-time job. Here in Finland I'd expect at least one third of IT companies to happily allow 80% time if you just bring it up.

I think the issue is that salaries are such an arbitrary business as it is.

Pulling out the ok, I'll trade you 25% salary for 25% time at the last minute is pushing the limit.

Then again, I don't think I would personally have a problem with it so maybe you're right?

Most places will check salary constraints at the onset these days. Or at least it's almost standard practice here in Sydney for both recruiter and non recruiters alike.

I do agree though it's a bit on the nose, the expectation is that you'll be working full time hours, not part-time.

Every employer I've had has been _very_ happy with me. And the two companies which hired me not-full-time probably wouldn't have even interviewed me at all if I'd said I wanted a 4-day-workweek upfront.

So basically I am doing a disservice to employers if they filter me out prematurely because they don't know what I can do.

I _do_ make sure to ask about work/life balance early on, so as to prevent wasted time on both sides.

Also, the extra free time will enable you to prepare for a new place. Searching and working fulltime simultaneously is hard.

I've been working between 4 and 2 days a week for more than 5 years now. I am never going back to 5 days. Never.

Are you working as an employee?

Are you classified as a part-time or full-time?

How does this affect your benefits?

Dealing with a drop in pay is one thing, but I think a lot of people are worried about how it will affect how they qualify for things like health insurance coverage, vacation time, etc.

In the US, for IRS purposes of "you must give health insurance or pay a penalty", full-time is 30 hours a week or more. (Specifically companies with >50 employees, IIRC). So as long as you're working 30 hours a week you should be getting health insurance same as the full-time employees.

See https://www.irs.gov/affordable-care-act/employers/identifyin...

(Some health insurance plans in fact _require_ people to be >=30 hours a week to be included on it.)

I am a freelancer. Though working on long term projects - a typical engagement would be between 1 and 3 years. I am lucky enough to live in a country where health insurance is not linked to one's employment.

Tim Ferris got famous (arguably) writing a book about this. It's a bit winding and some of the content is out of date, but the general concepts are good - Four Hour Workweek, probably most here have already heard of it / read it though.

I'm mildly surprised at people's skepticism though, this has been a thing for a while.

His main point is to have people start their own businesses. Whereas what I'm talking about (and in fact also wrote a book about: https://codewithoutrules.com/3dayweekend/) is working shorter hours while still being an employee.

Well, I won't argue what the main point is, I have no idea (I remember the book as being very meandering). But he definitely addressed how someone should get less hours at their job. As I recall:

1. Find an excuse to work from home. Sick, doctor's appointment, just say you wanna work from home, whatever.

2. On that day, get more work done than you've ever done before.

3. Do this consistently.

4. Request regular fridays off, point to your increased productivity.

5. Rinse and repeat until you're totally remote.

6. Reduce actual working hours, taking advantage of less distracting environment and more flexible hours to maintain productivity.

7. Automate wherever possible.

The problem with this is that his book is at this point well known, but at the same time his book made less (but still productive) work more socially accepted, so it's better to just go the honest way.

Does he really suggest lying to your employer?

To take a sick day off? I don't really remember, don't let me put words in his mouth. As I recall it was framed like "find a way to get a day off. Wait until you need to take a sick day if need be."

I really wouldn't read too much into my decade-old-take. I read the book last in 2014.

komali2's comment is accurate.

That's exactly what Tim was talking about in sections of his book, negotiating reduced hours as an employee with existing employers.

I'm not even sure "start your own business" was the main point of 4HWW, so much as it was "Work yourself less on tedium".

This was from memory, and my recollection is he then segues into "and now use this free time to start your dropshipping business or whatever". Perhaps I'm misremembering, though.

I think you're right - it was something like "now you have all this free time, you can do this drop shipping thing to make yourself totally independent of work. Maybe you quit one day!"

The trick is to build yourself a four-hour workweek by starting a business that tells people how great a four-hour workweek is.

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. I had an ex-employer want me back. They have a 40hr/week culture, mostly onsite, ass-in-seat. I asked for part time (3 days per week) remote. They didn't love it initially. Probably hadn't occurred to them as an option, but after consideration they accepted. Better 24hrs/week than zero I suppose. And I was more motivated to add value for the few precious hours I was on the clock. I bet I produced nearly as well as anyone else physically there (but mentally less focused)

Reading the two links, you are advocating for _negotiating_ a shorter workweek AND a salary cut, no?

Typically this ends up involving a salary cut, yes.

However: the point is to negotiate. And if you're negotiating you can also negotiate other things at the same time. Including your pay.

For my book on negotiating a shorter workweek (https://codewithoutrules.com/3dayweekend) I interviewed multiple people, and I've also heard from readers who successfully negotiated shorter workweeks, and a common theme was that they also negotiated a higher salary while they were at it. Or switched to higher paying jobs, etc.. So even with 20% reduction in pay, they still did OK.

If you're already a great negotiator you might be at top of your expected salary range—but then if you're a programmer at the top of your salary range you're probably in good shape financially to reduce your pay a little.

In the past few years I’ve gone to 30 hour weeks. It really frustrated my managers at Google, but as an hourly contractor I neither needed the extra money nor wanted to be at work any more than that. Working 40 hours feels like I’m just burning my life away.

Even though the managers didn’t like it, they kept extending my contract until the two year maximum came up. Then I found a new employer who was eager to hire me. I told them if I could work four days a week and about 30 hours a week, I’d take the job.

He agreed and actually it’s working really well for both of us. He doesn’t actually need a huge amount of work done, I’m just working on some side projects he never has time for. The perpetual three day weekends give me a genuine sense of freedom on weekends that I haven’t felt before. Previously the two day weekend was stressful. With the three day weekend I have plenty of time for side projects (which I do constantly), and I’ve recently bought a mountain bike. Ive finally got time to do my weekend chores while still enjoying myself. And I work 10-30 hours a week in a really chill environment. All my bills are paid and I have time to live my life. I’m 34.

It’s hard to find this kind of situation, but let me assure you - it’s well worth pursuing and it’s life changing.

Also my managers at google didn’t like my 30 hour a week schedule and they didn’t want to hire me full time at the end of my contract, but they also didn’t let me go. If you want to explore this, make yourself useful and be a little pushy. It’s well worth it.

I'm a manager in SRE at Google, and one of my reports went to 50% time in Q4 last year.

So far this has worked quite well, and the support the company has provided to me as the manager, and to the report has been excellent.

There are some tooling issues (especially around oncall) - but otherwise it has been quite a smooth transition.

Thank you for the comment. It’s good to hear this may be possible. I actually really enjoyed alphabet in some ways, but I do not want to commit so much of my life to work.

Here’s some more context if you’re curious:

Just before I left, as FTE positions were being discussed on other projects (the role I was hired in disappeared after 6 months and they had moved me to something I didn’t like), I had a walk and talk with my skip level. I was told that the pay for engineers at X was partially because of the expectation of the quantity of work. My skip level told me that on previous projects they had worked 60 hour weeks, and that this kind of thing is necessary sometimes in the types of projects done at X. My other coworkers and friends at X told me 35 hours was normal for FTEs, but this manager seemed to clearly believe my 20-30 hour schedule had no place at X for an FTE.

I wasn’t necessarily ideal for that role, as again I did not even apply for the job they moved me to (something I appreciated versus termination when my original role got reorg’d away). But I never heard from anyone that something like 50% time would be possible. I think X is under a lot of headcount pressure, so my skip level was probably responding to that.

Anyway I’m not sure if that is relevant. I also had issues at ABC for the way they treated TVCs (I was one) and my new job is definitely what’s right for me. But I’d love to hear that more partial time roles are entertained at alphabet. Maybe in time it will become more common there.

Have you considered taking Wednesdays off? I can't remember where I saw it (probably HN), but it breaks up long work weeks so that you only have two consecutive work days in a row. I'd be eager to try that if I had a 30 hour work week.

I haven’t! The four day a week gig is relatively new, but Monday off is pretty nice!

I used to do it. It’s pretty nice.

I was once in a position where I really wanted this, I even made a post on Ask HN ~2 years ago in hopes to generate some discussion and find resources about it [1].

Things have changed for me since then. A year ago, out of mostly good luck, I landed on a fully remote software engineer position (not having remote experience before). We don't have an overwork culture and stick to mostly 40-hour work weeks. Some days are longer and some are shorter, sure, like in most tech startups.

Ultimately, it feels like I'm saving much, much more time just by not commuting. This is not just saving the 2-3 hours per day commute (typical for SF bay area), which is huge on its own, but also a lot of little pieces of time throughout the day -- you can sneak in time to do some housework chores during idling minutes at work (unload the dishwasher when you take your coffee mug back to the kitchen!), you can make a quick lunch in ~2 minutes at home instead of having to go out (even down to the cafe to line up for free food, in the case of big cos).

The end result is that even though I still work mostly 40-hour work weeks, it feels almost like moving to part time work. The best thing about it is you still get full benefits (health insurance is expensive on your own!), and base pay is relatively decent (not as high as SF startups, but still a lot higher than part time employment). And I'm doing fulfilling work that I like, and spending my time productively, to boot.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14808178

>you can make a quick lunch in ~2 minutes at home

Do you mean either 1) just heating up some left-over food, or 2) just heating up an instant meal packet of some kind?

Because otherwise I don't know how you can make a lunch in 2 minutes - only other possibility I can think of is sandwich(es) with already ready-made or already-prepared ingredients. Note: emphasis on the word "make", not "buy".

I'll have you know that chocolate is a perfectly scrumptious lunch. You don't need to heat it, but that is fine.

Sandwich recipe: Spread chocolate sauce on a chocolate bar. Spread chocolate frosting on another chocolate bar. Place them together, frosting against sauce, to finish the sandwich.

I've read that ancient Central / South Americans used to have chocolate mainly as a drink, and sometimes with chillies (both plants - cacao and chile - originated thereabouts, I've read). I've recently started having a cup or two of warm milk with sambar podi (powder, a hottish Indian spice mix :) First thought it was an unconventional idea that I had come up with, then later remembered that there are masala milk powders sold in India (not containing milk powder, just with masalas (spice mixes) which you mix (boil or heat) with regular milk and then drink it). Good for health, particularly in winter or for colds, and tastes good too.




Ha ha. I like chocolate, but that amount would be a bit too much for me, unless you're kidding :)

Not the parent, but I work from home and yes, very often it's a sandwich for lunch. Or more than one sandwich throughout the day, since with complete schedule freedom you are not tied to conventions like lunch hours.

I cook a warm meal for dinner. Works for me.

Sandwiches can be great :) I prefer only whole-wheat or other whole-grain breads (for both sandwiches as well as other uses), and healthy sandwich ingredients, although I'm not rigid about it - I will go for less healthy ingredients sometimes, or if I cannot avoid them, on occasion. (The healthy ones tend to taste better too, anyway.)

I work from home too.

My lunch is usually a bowl of oatmeal (custom mix of ingredients) - takes 30 seconds to prep and 2.5 mins in the microwave (usually while I'm making coffee anyway).

That's pretty close to the ~2min claim. Not sure that should be taken literally anyway :)

Oatmeal - interesting. Just got into eating oats now and then, recently, and finding it tasty. Knew about the health benefits from a while before, but had hardly ever eaten it (except possibly as a kid), although I've been into consuming other whole grains cereals / legumes / millets for a while now. Many millets have a lower glycemic index, which is good for people with sugar problems, and also some are lower in gluten or gluten-free, which is good for people who have issues with gluten, I've heard/read. I know people who deal with these foodstuffs in business, is how I got to know of this.

>That's pretty close to the ~2min claim. Not sure that should be taken literally anyway :)

Good point :)

I buy an 'ancient grain' porridge mix which is probably somewhere around 70+% oats, and the rest various other common cereal grains. Or just use a large-flake variety of rolled oats. Then I add a generous amount of oat bran (which is a great on it's own for cereal if you're gluten sensitive), Hemp hearts (great nutty flavor), and some ground flax seed (not flax meal, which will turn your cereal into glue). I add a couple tablespoons of Splenda and cinnamon as well. I create/fill a ~ 1.5 litre plastic container of my cereal mix ahead of time (every few weeks).

1/3 cup skim milk, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup cereal in a serving bowl. Microwave until it boils, let it sit for a few minutes before eating to cool down, thicken up, and soften the oat flakes a bit more. Adjust liquid if you like it thinner or thicker. If I'm feeling decadent, I'll add a bit of butter and a little bit of brown sugar for extra tastiness. :)

It's also filling with tons of fibre so I'm not hungry again until dinner.

That method / recipe sounds interesting - thanks for sharing.

I did not know about hemp hearts, just googled them a bit, sounds good. I knew a bit about flax but have not eaten it much - will check that out more too.

Man, I miss remote work so much. Those little things you describe, like being able to toss a load of laundry in the wash mid-day, really add up to a lot of sanity long term. Going into an office everyday makes my home life sometimes feel like it's just a bunch of prep-work accounting for the fact that I'll be going back into the office again the next day.

this is pretty much my position. I've been working from home, for 8 or 9 years. The commute is around 2 hours each way. So saving 4 hours + other random delays is heaven. I've been offered work on twice my salary but all include travel. No chance i'll take them. Quality of life > Extra monies

May I ask where you work? I am seeking a remote software/senior software engineer position. Thanks

Not who you asked, but there are lots of companies.

I found my current role through a SO job posting. It was actually pretty quick.

Hey everyone,

I created this newsletter and job board because I’ve noticed a trend in companies measuring employee output with results instead of hours worked.

I strongly believe that overwork is a problem in society right now. I’m hoping to bolster the community of people that share this belief and to help solve this problem.

I should also clarify that 30 Hour Jobs is the title here but I would like to capture companies of all sorts that support a flexible work week or simply embrace work/life balance and/or reduced hours in some way.

You stole my idea. :)

Anyway, maybe you should put interviews of people who made it successfully. Surely there are some people who work 20-30 hours per week in this world and make some good money.

That's a great idea, thanks! :)

We have 2 engineers at IPinfo.io that have ~30 hour jobs, and I'm sure they'd be interested in talking. Email me at ben@ipinfo.io and I can out you in touch. We're also open to hiring more people with similar hours!

Hey I think I'm one of them! I've actually worked 30h weeks for the past 2.5 years. It's amazing, i'll be happy to talk about it.

Thanks Ben! I'll shoot you an email.

Please also don't hesitate to put up your openings on the job board :)


I finally verified that yes, 30 hours is acceptable where I work. It's been done, along with 32, and possibly shorter. Most of the benefits are pro-rated, but we'd still cover the health insurance fully. You could still work more and get paid for those extra hours, but the benefits would be according to how many hours you signed up to work.

Examples: If you sign up for 30 hours but work 50 hours, you get 75% benefits and 125% pay. If you sign up for 32 hours but work 38 hours, you get 80% benefits and 95% pay.


Too bad this "Show HN" is pretty dead at this point. :-(

I renegotiated my job down to 4 days taking a 20% salary cut (a bit less because of progressive taxes). I’m a bit flexible, sometimes working 5 days a week and then 3. This is a win-win for me and my employer because in dire times I can sometimes work 125%.

On the downside it feels I do about the same amount of work as I was doing when I worked 100%. Just less slack. But then I’m well paid for my 80% (after some raises).

I did the same thing around 2 years ago, going from 5x 7.5h days to 4x 7.5h days, taking a 20% pay cut in the process.

The extra family and side-project time I get has been well worth it.

I honestly don't feel like I'm any less productive, my employer is getting a pretty good deal!

I had a similar situation and also felt like I was getting the short end of the stick sometimes; I was working harder during those 4 days than I was when I was working 5 days. But 3-day weekends every week are so amazing. It's like taking a 20% paycut to change an hour-long commute into a 10-minute commute (which, 2x/day and 5x/week, would be the equivalent time advantage). which is also definitely worth it.

I find it odd people are willing to take such a huge pay cut. A lot are probably working more hours each day, and in any case could have negotiated 4 days with zero pay cut. There is a case to be made that the week wouldn't be 20% less productive, and not quitting for a job with your preferred schedule is a win for the employer...

I think 30 hours is much more realistic for cognitively intensive work. Assuming people are not wasting a lot of time.

So this makes sense to me. And I love that the jobs I am seeing on there are remote.

However, the 30 hours thing reminds me of one issue that has occurred for me as a remote contract worker over the years which is a lack of benefits. Now, I know that supposedly everyone can just charge a ton of money and then easily cover all of their own insurance and other needs. For many people that works out. However, there is a large section of the market that, whether people want to admit it or not, does not have resources that really stretch to cover benefits with the pay that they offer.

And so these small companies hire people like me who want or need remote work, and they specifically avoid going over 30 hours so that they can get around laws related to benefits. I have had several 'contracts' like this. They were all in my opinion normal employment except that they made a weak attempt at avoiding employment laws by forbidding invoicing over 30 hours and maybe a few other things.

To be honest, I am very bad at networking and have been glad to have those opportunities. However, not having things like health insurance or a retirement fund is a pretty big issue.

I know everyone wants to judge productivity instead of hours per week. But, I feel that 40 hours per week is a reasonable amount to request and that MOST (not all) employees are better managed by an hour standard instead of a productivity standard (which is hard to measure anyways). All of my employees work from home and at first I was all about judging by productivity, but then I realized it was being abused for the most part and that if I set rules for timings and hours worked, it would be simpler and easier, at least for now.

> I feel that 40 hours per week is a reasonable amount

I disagree. I want to work less and live more.

I'm genuinely curious why anyone would think differently. Life is not work - get out and live a little.

24 (3x8 or 4x6) should be what we shoot for as the new norm for ordinary employment. That's the tipping point where selling your time to someone else isn't necessarily the main thing you do with your life, even if you're "fully employed" through ordinary retirement age.

> 40 hours per week is a reasonable amount to request

It feels reasonable only because we are used to it and it's a standard. I think we should start redefining what full-time means.

40 is WAY too much. I was last on 3 days a week and had an acceptable amount of time to pursue other interests when not working. Spending so much time on one thing is not healthy. It's better to have more time for family, creativity, outdoors time, etc. This will be the future norm.

Abused how?

The productivity bar keeps going up. People end up doing work while at home etc to keep up.

I don't think that's what OP meant. OP was the one setting the productivity bar so I took it to mean employees were abusing it in whatever way.

Could you not standardise productivity units?

I once had an employer who was financially constrained and needed to reduce my time on my project to 50%. I was given the choice of working the other half of my time on another project, or simply only working 50% time at the company (along with a 50% pay cut).

I chose the latter and had the time of my life. It felt kinda like my contracting days in the sense that I had a ridiculous amount of free time, except I didn't have to chase contracts or report hours. I still got paid twice a month and kept my benefits.

Some people thought I was crazy for choosing that option, but I typically value my time more than money, and any engineer can live just fine on 50% pay.

So nice to see more and more companies focusing on sustainable working hours.

I'm curious how you go about finding these companies to write about. Have you already heard of them? Do they reach out? Do you have some special search terms to find them?

At the moment I spend time researching companies and other related media myself. https://keyvalues.io has been a great resource!

There are some readers of the newsletter that have shared their own employer’s work/life balance philosophies and open positions too which has been great.

in crazy liberal Europe you see plenty of IT jobs advertised as 80-100%, i.e. potential for the candidate to negotiate a 4 vs 5 day work week. (examples https://www.jobs.ch/en/vacancies/information-technology-tele... )

My colleagues in Switzerland who took this path were either fathers that directed that extra day to their child, or people with a vibe for the outdoors and exploring . It gave an impression of financial stability and level-headedness in my mind. And demonstrated that these people were employable and valuable enough to contribute good value over 4 days per week.

So I think it is a good look for an employer to have these approaches in place. As downsides for the rest of us, yes meetings would sometimes need to be delayed and certain crunch periods had the awkward obstacle of a 3-day weekend for some team members, but I hope the 80% employee demonstrates flexibility to help hit deliveries when necessary.

> yes meetings would sometimes need to be delayed and certain crunch periods had the awkward obstacle of a 3-day weekend for some team members

If both are an issue, then it is a sure sign the company has other issues.

I for one don't agree about hours in general, be it 30 hours or 40 hours per week. I like to think in goals, do we have to finish X this quarter? Break down the task into segments, and break it down more into weekly sprints. You can then estimate what tasks can be done for the week without taking into account hours worked. The only caveat is you need an experienced engineer/product that knows the complexity of the feature and/or codebase. We've found this has let to happier employees since the work is variable with some weeks being heavy work, and some light so there's a good balance of stress. You are also able to manage your own time so if you work better early morning or late at night, you can do it as long as you're productive. This also opens up more opportunities for you to use your "regular" 9-5 time to workout or go places. For example, you'd be surprised on how nice it is to go shopping in the mall on a wed at 1pm or watch a movie mon at 10am.

Many people strongly prefer a predictable work week (be it 30 hours or 50 hours) since they have families, hobbies, etc.

If my boss came to me and told me the next few weeks I had to work every day until 8pm instead of 6pm, it would obliterate my life outside work. And I'd start looking for a new job...

The first job I clicked on is advertising a 40 hour working week.. https://jobs.30hourjobs.com/jobs/4d4823a6-661c-451a-8418-6e8...

You can read more about thoughtbot in issue #2: https://us19.campaign-archive.com/?u=f8a0d9af744b2eb7002632d...

While I absolutely support allowing employees to spend a day a week on self-improvement, even if I were willing to consider those hours not work hours, it'd still be 32 hours.

I think it's because 30 supposedly sounds/looks better than 32. 32 is 4x8 after all, so I imagine many "30h jobs" would turn out to be 32h.

Example: https://wildbit.com/blog/2017/10/19/4-day-work-week-update (also found a job offer by this company on the board).

That's not any more of a "30 hours job" than Google with its freaky fridays.

As someone approaching middles ages with a family to take care of, this is something I really appreciate and have bookmarked. I hope it takes off and does well.

why is 30 the go-to length for shorter work weeks? I chose 32 because it's 4/5 of 40. I work four days a week instead of five and im not worried about how many hours I put in.

I've been part time for a year and a half. I realized I was earning more money than I needed and that I wanted more time to enjoy life. My employer, a FAANG company, offered a proportional cut to salary and stock grants.

My 5-day week is (not unsual at) 37.5h - so 4/5 is 30.

After 30 hours is full time and they may need to pay benefits.

at-least 30 hours is full time, 30 hour or 32 hour employee requires benefits.

Number of hours still seems like the wrong unit of measurement to me. Shouldn't companies care more about productivity?

If I am still productive at 60 hours and I am being paid a salary, then why not work me 60 hours? Employers care about getting things done, employees care about how their time is spent. Employers need (~)happy employees. I think hours is the right measurement here.

Perhaps the issue is exempt employees? I don't see why I shouldn't be paid hourly.

Yep. My "salary" is really just my hourly rate times the number of hours in the year if I work 40-hour weeks. I can get 50% more pay if I work 60-hour weeks.

It's easy to measure workers by how many hours their ass is in their seat per day, so that's what gets measured and that's how we're judged.

I'm tempted to say I'd rather be paid per bug/feature, with the pay rate increasing based on the complexity of the bug/feature, so that when I think I have enough money I can say no to additional work without repercussions -- but workers in other industries organized against [piece work](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piece_work) for a reason.

Per bug you say? I'm gonna write me a new minivan this afternoon!


A rational company would, but in practice lots of companies either don't know how to measure productivity, or they are confused enough to believe that long hours will result in more output.

So as an employee you want to ensure you have a hard limit on how many hours you're expected to work (40 for regular jobs, or as in this case, less than that).

And what's a good productivity metric?

That'd be very job-specific.

It's probably misguided to aim for highly quantitative measurements. If productivity is measured as output per input, you have a lot of flexibility in how to define the relevant output - e.g. hitting well-defined product goals or milestones (versus e.g. lines of code, which seems wrong).

Widgets created

commits per day

I agree - google/check out something called the "Results Only Work Environment" or "ROWE" it's a great framework for this.

They care about productivity, but that's more difficult to measure directly, so they need some proxy metric for it. Hours worked seems like a reasonable metric that can be applied to the broader workforce.

Right I get why - but it's crazy to think that the vast majority of companies give up measuring the thing that everyone knows matters, especially when gearing your incentives around it should be better for everyone. (except low productivity workers I guess?)

Can you even define productivity? On the surface it appears as easy as getting work done, which if only a single person is on the team that may be enough. But once you add a group of people together, mapping a teams productivity to a single metric that can be applied to each individual becomes much harder if not impossible.

Basketball has had this problem for a long time. The plus/minus metric was invented as an attempt to address all the things players do while on the floor, but do not directly relate to an easy to capture metric. It also tries to address players who put their own personal productivity over that of the team.

Managing to secure work-from-home employment, initially three days, and currently four days, allowed me to keep working when we hit a high needs situation with one of our kids.

Sometimes working less than five days a week can be not so much a work/life balance choice for the privileged, but a work/life necessity thrust upon you by circumstance.

So I applaud your efforts to provide more options.

I also applaud your providing RSS feeds for dinosaurs like me. I recommend adding a <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml"> element to the <head> of the page to improve it's visibility.

I really hope this picks up and I'll keep a close eye on this job board for sure. Great idea!

Interesting, but I don't think it is as easily cracked as simply creating a 30hr job board.

Certainly there are people who want to work 30hrs because on balance they will be more productive per hour. Perhaps even enough to offset the overall reduction in work hours. However, there are also people who simply want to do less work. Being the job board that collects applicants who's primary variable is minimizing hours worked is not a super positive signal.

From the employer perspective many of the most important and high value jobs are more likely to be perceived as 50hr/week jobs rather than 30hr/week jobs. Not to mention that 30hrs is a common break point between fulltime and part time, with the associated legal differences in benefits and such.

Sadly a 50hr job board might be vastly more successful.

"Minimizing hours worked" is a great positive sign. You hire a programmer to solve problems (or better yet, identify and solve problems), not to sit on their butt for the maximum number of hours.

There's always a limited amount of resources (time, money, etc), regardless of how many hours are worked. So someone whose goal is minimizing hours worked will tend to come up with much better solutions than someone whose only solution is to work longer hours. Because instead of saying "I'll just work longer!" they'll actively try to come up with a fundamentally more efficient solution.

(Long version: https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/02/11/working-long-hours/)

> "Minimizing hours worked" is a great positive sign. You hire a programmer to solve problems (or better yet, identify and solve problems), not to sit on their butt for the maximum number of hours.

That assumes the client is paying by the problem and not by the other. Sadly, while there is project work, every place I've worked has also had a huge emphasis on billable hours.

Yeah, billable hours is bad (for everyone). Jonathan Stark talks about this a lot: https://jonathanstark.com/

Lots of programming jobs aren't tied to that, though.

> Sadly a 50hr job board might be vastly more successful.

Among employers, maybe, but those misgivings you mentioned would apply to the employees on a 50-hr board: "there are also [companies which] simply want to [get more] work...not a super positive signal."

I am planning my first hire and I will follow the 1 day per month off.

It can be a Monday or a Friday per month, it cannot be moved to other month and accumulated for longer vacations.

This day can be used to catch up obligations, relax or be combined with a normal vacation time to extend the off period.

That just sounds unnecessarily complicated, why not just some number up to 12 extra days' regular holiday?

Balancing out a missing team member 12 times a year for one day vs. once a year for up to 16 days (12 days + 2 weekends with 2 days each) is much more justifiable for the employer.

Why not just hire for 4 days a week. You'll get a lot of applicants. Maybe start doing 4 days yourself...

Self-promotion, but I wrote about my search for part-time work in a full-time world: https://smalldata.dev/posts/pay-me-less/

What you're doing (only mentioning you want part-time after you get offer) is a good first step. More suggestions:

1. You're underselling yourself in this page, so you might be doing that in your interviews too. E.g. "SALE! For a limited time only - 40% off!" Yes, it's a joke, but you don't want to make jokes about how you're cheap when you're looking for a job.

2. Let's say you talk to company A, they give you offer for 100% time, you say "can I have 60%?" and they say "no". Don't walk away. Instead, say "let me think about that for a week or two." Now, when the next week you get offer from company B, you can say "I have an offer from another company, but I like you more... maybe we can work something out. How about 60%?"

Having that extra offer makes you seem more valuable.

3. Don't give up. Sometime this takes a while, and if you treat this as something you're practicing, every interview you do you will help you improve.

(I also wrote a book about negotiating a 3-day weekend; 60% is harder, but it's the same basic advice: https://codewithoutrules.com/3dayweekend/)

6 years ago (pretty early in my career) I was working for a small consulting company in San Fransisco and negotiated a 4 day workweek for a paycut (as well as going remote). The schedule was awesome, but I did see one big downside - you inherently start falling behind the full time employees. Everyone else is working full time, so they tend to accomplish more than you. Also, you end up missing out on important meetings that will inevitably happen on your day off. Over time, when important projects came up, they would not be given to me since I would deliver them slower and also sometimes didn't have background on them since I missed meetings where they were discussed. Eventually I quit out of boredom and career stagnation.

I am curious if you experienced any of these things, how you handled them, or how you managed to avoid them.

Now, I find that the model that works better for me is to work full time, but take big (many month) breaks between projects. I would still love to work 4 days a week though, just didn't work out for me in practice.

What you're describing are symptoms of not-so-great management, basically. Similar problems will occur if you're the only remote employee. And to be fair not-so-great management is fairly common.

I actually think if you work less you can and often will learn to become more productive (https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/02/11/working-long-hours/). But—a priori one would expect you to accomplish 80% of what others do, and that should be fine with a good manager.

So some ideas:

* You want to choose your day off so there isn't conflict with important meetings. If important meetings happen randomly, yes, this can be an issue.

* Become more productive. That is, produce more within the limits of your time. A lot of this is attitude—"I have limited time, how do I get this done more efficiently?" Sometimes that means spending more time planning! I talk a bit about that here: https://codewithoutrules.com/2016/08/25/the-01x-programmer/ and https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/10/10/beyond-senior-softwa... and https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/05/20/staying-focused/, in a variety of different approaches. And other articles on my site.

* Get a job someplace with good management. They do exist.

* If there's a variety of tasks, focus on ones where you can have high impact without requirement for fast turnaround. E.g. I did this at one job where there was the "we need this tool tomorrow!!!" tasks, but also the "if we don't get this algorithm working in 6 months, all this work is wasted". So I took on the algorithm, because a lot of the work was _thinking_, instead of desperately churning out code.

I will use this when I can hire. BUT there is an interesting angle on this is it means managers need to get enough value out of a 30hr team member.

There are lots of smart optimizations I could use to do that (clear roles, efficient meetings, managing task intensity), but there is this general problem of who is holding the risk in the business.

If you miss a client commitment or the sales people want to blame losing a sale on someone else, the first place they are going to go is the 30hr person "not pulling their weight."

In development, I think most pro developers would be massively more productive if they didn't have to waste away in an office 8h/day. But when you get out into the field where the business is about relationships, which are in turn about perceptions and commitments, in an enterprise environment, I guarantee a customer will say, "nice product, but if you can't demonstrate your ability to get me feature X by next quarter, and this competitor can, I'm going to scuttle this deal."

The salesperson whose commission is riding on this goes back to the product manager and says, "We're going to lose this high profile deal the CEO is watching because your engineers are soft and lazy? wtf?"

The PM goes to the CTO and says, "the survival of the company depends on deals like this, I need your people to burn the midnight oil."

CTO goes to engineering manager, "so this 30hr/week person, get them full time or get them out, we can't have this liability."

Eng manager says, "but they are my best developer! This is how we attract and retain the talent that makes this possible!"

CTO says, "get it done."

Eng manager writes email and starts the manage-out paper trail to 30hr person, "as per my last request to get these items done, we need to improve your performance..."

30hr super-developer receives weirdly formal email from manager, updates linkedin, starts pinging recruiters.

I'd wager 30hr weeks are a great way for startups to get talent they couldn't otherwise afford, but it will be temporary in their growth phase, as the above scenario is inevitable once they have momentum.

Basically the CTO in the scenario you give is incompetent. If you work for an incompetent CTO (and they are legion, to be fair) you're going to have problems, yes.

Have all your team members work 30h and the "not pulling their weight" argument is gone.

Or if that is not sustainable/beneficial for other types of jobs than developer, only apply the 30h to your developer team. But do it consistent per team.

Another thought, I haven't seen this dynamic with part-time employees, so I don't think it applies to 30h employees either. Have you seen this with part-time employees?

Interestingly, part time is a different relationship than a compensation structure that is vague and discretionary. Part time people don't get high profile projects because when it's high profile, the point is to have every resource on it.

Regarding the CTO being incompetent in the other comment, the CTO is not incompetent for delegating authority to "get it done." Their priority is delivery and positioning the company. Do they seem weak? Sure, but how much political capital should a CTO spend on a part time jr. staff member vs. the sales organization?

The thoughtbot jobs say they are 40 hour a week jobs in the description.

Officially my employee works 40 hours because of the benefits if he were to need support from the government (ie parental leave, sickness leading to not being able to work). Off the record he does 30 hour weeks as I believe he will stay happy and more productive that way. I also pay full for gym membership and other stuff he might need.

Might be the same case here?

"30 Hour Jobs" is the title but the site is intended to capture all sorts of working environments that embrace reduced working hours or flexible work in some capacity.

You can read more about thoughtbot in issue #2: https://us19.campaign-archive.com/?u=f8a0d9af744b2eb7002632d...

>"30 Hour Jobs is a job board for job seekers and employers who believe that shorter workweeks can lead to increased productivity and higher job satisfaction."

Doesn't mean you actually have to offer only 30 hrs.

Does kind of defeat the purpose though.

I work 4 days a week from home, one day off. No commute, having a whole day with my daughter (wife works on that day) and it's great! I also think I will look back at this time and really appreciate my decision when I get older.

I also know we are very lucky to be in a position to live like that. Others just don't have the luxury and need to work more because of the money.

The issue is that when you work 30 hours you are still really working with the same output as 40 hours. You will basically squeeze the 5 days into 4.

I honestly feel it's easier to find a regular job and work from home 1 or 2 days a week and manage your week in such a way that you perform all your tasks in 4 days.

IT managers really need to heed this advice. Not everyone is working for Tesla. There may be a few times a year one needs to sprint through. And that's even fun. But consistent 50+ hours workweeks are bad for company, bad for employee and bad for the economy.

I’m surprised there’s a listing based in San Francisco. I’m not surprised many of them are remote.

If I had the option to reduce my working hours by 25%, I would actually prefer to accrue the extra time as vacation, so that I can take several weeks off at once.

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