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This is an absurd expectation, and not healthy at all for individuals or the industry.

I think the absurd expectation is the “at home” bit. Why can’t you experiment at work? Practice your craft at ...work?

I do a lot of reading at home. Some tech, some non tech. However not a lot of side project work at home. Baby, wife and dog come first when I’m home.

I'd say you can and you should. Unless you're working in a Jira sweatshop, you have some slack in between tasks. To the extent you're hired as a professional and being expected to perform creative work, learning is part of the job description and it's fair to do some on employer time. Good companies recognize this explicitly, though I'm yet to be in one that would frown on people who don't just stick to solving tickets as fast as they possibly can.

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