This person is to be despised. Not because they don't want to work, but because they want to cheat the system. They want to have their cake and eat it too.
They're making it worse for everyone that would like to work from home rather than a crowded office post-pandemic every time they get caught (or flaunt it in a news article). This article will get pointed at when managers want to bring employees back into the office.
If you want a better work-life balance then that's a fair decision to make, but not at the expense of everyone else.
These other jobs seem like a weird combination to me, how long did he last in them? What does his resume look like that he can get employed. How does someone who likes to shirk off consider getting a job as a software engineer considering the extra hours of interviewing, take home projects etc. you have to do?
When and why did he learn to become a software engineer, it was only after he started working as one that he realized he could really shirk off?
Finally how did he manage to stay employed when pretty much everywhere nowadays does some sort of standup where everyone sees you had a ticket that was supposed to take 2 hours and then you took a day, and then the next, and then the next. At some point fairly quickly it becomes obvious you real slow.
I learned very early in my software career that software at giant employers is half decoration and bullshit for people who need patterns, frameworks, and toys to do their jobs. That is a tremendous amount of unnecessary fluff that wastes people’s time. I also learned that by not dicking around with all the bullshit you could finish your entire days work in less than 2 hours (often producing a more durable and better performing solution) freeing up the rest of the day for scenic walks, side projects, self-education, and leisure reading.
I fondly recally the HasThisTypePatternTriedToSneakInSomeGenericOrParameterizedTypePatternMatchingStuffAnywhereVisitor
I recently fired someone because they had 3 engineering jobs (all full time). He got fired from the other 2 jobs, too.
He found our company from “Who’s Hiring” on HN.
The CEOs of the other companies he was working for said to me on a number of occasions “this would be a great story for New York Times”.
hmm, a feat I have not as yet been able to match.
> When he worked in a call centre, he would mute the phone, rather than answer it.
Call center employees are heavily monitored, and have a lot of metrics, like number of subscriptions or whatever is relevant. Color me skeptical.
In some areas, and at lower compensation levels, there's such an extreme shortage of "computer scientists" that people will take a weekend course and then start sending out their CV ... and land a job. Or else, why would there be so many mediocre code boot-camps?
I would assume for the same reason there are so many ads that say send for my amazing money making secrets book and learn to become rich! Or on the other hand because there is no real connection between the ability to get people in to take your course in the hopes of getting a job and the actual ability after the class of those people to get a job.
Typically it's a friend or acquaintance of the writer, and that inspires the writer to pitch the story and they're incentivised to do so to get paid.
> Finally how did he manage to stay employed when pretty much everywhere nowadays does some sort of standup where everyone sees you had a ticket that was supposed to take 2 hours and then you took a day, and then the next, and then the next. At some point fairly quickly it becomes obvious you real slow.
Yup, that's a surefire recipe to get onto a PIP within a few months. But maybe he doesn't work in tech companies but at some large corp doing some silo function and the expected work is just low enough for this to fly under the radar.
So a company suspicious enough to monitor computer usage but not suspicious or concerned enough to wonder about why this guy is watching youtube all day long.
Whenever I've experienced computers going to sleep on me at inopportune times I've found the system settings that control that and turn it off.
on edit: I just find it weird that this experienced shirker of tasks who is working in tech didn't think of this or that his chosen solution evidently didn't get him fired.
Focus on the results. Set the timelines and goals, and let the employee work however they want. If they deliver as agreed upon then what's the issue?
I'm not interested in the technical solutions to this, they're abhorrent also. With regard to results, timelines and goals all of those are incredibly hard to measure accurately in a product delivery context.
If the persons contract says "will deliver X by Y date" then by all means work the hours required and no more. What this persons contract actually says is "Will work 8hrs a day, 5 days a week, on whatever tasks are assigned. Will be paid $$$". 'Gavin' is not doing this, and he's not even just being a bit flexible. He's actively pretending to work when he's not -- that's fraud / contract violation.
The fact that Guardian used this example simply causes them to lose credibility.
Any half wit can see that Gavin’s case is not one of people opting to choose work where they have more time rather than money.
This is yet another clear example of people trying to sell ads by creating “engagement” via content that causes outrage, even though it is nonsensical.
I cannot solely blame the lack of journalists’ integrity, as I cannot imagine dealing with the challenges of a business model that got nuked in the span of 10 to 20 years.
If no tasks are assigned then how does blocking those hours benefit anyone? And if tasks are assigned, then what does it matter beyond the deadline being met?
It just doesn't work. Complexity of tasks, scope, resources all make for something that is very hard to measure.
I agree with your sentiment, but it's hard to execute.
However, the high-functioning teams I've been part of are certainly not checking if you're sitting in your seat at 9/5. They're not even worried if you take a long lunch, because they know that you can't cram every second of the day with programming work, but doing so 'in secret' is not okay.
Whether there's trust (on both sides) to effectively make progress is an entirely different issue. Remote work just makes it more explicit.
Ah, but timelines can be influenced by how quickly something can be delivered. Scrum does this and encourages this as well. How many tickets are allocated to a sprint is dependent on the team velocity. If an employer sees that you can do more in time interval X, then he’ll put more on your plate. Many employers abhor a time vacuum and will fill it to squeeze out the most value.
So one defense is to take your time. The more you bust your ass, the more you have on your plate. Another is to place strict limits on the time at work. Bust your ass all you want, but check out at time X every day.
My point though is that many people are both overworked and have no work boundaries, which is the worst of both. Taking control back so that work serves their life instead of the other way around is much needed and good to see.
So what is a person to do, when the system cheats them? Seems reasonable to cheat back.
Entire armies of people are employed to extract as much wealth from you as possible. They bombard you with advertizements at every opportunity on the street and in your home, pushing you crap you don't need while conditioning you to equate having them with power, status, sex and success.
Scientists and engineers construct the most technologically elaborate optimizations to have unsupervised black box AI machines make whatever moves legal or novel to take everything you have and make your life miserable without justice or recourse.
You did read all of the EULA before accepting, right? Oh wait I was born here I never signed the constitution!
Everything I have was created by other people. This can’t work if everyone takes more than they give.
He is just a symptom of the dysfunctional economic system we have created.
This may not seem fair to those who embrace it, but Gavin's point is that the system doesn't present him with a fair choice.
We may not agree, but philosophically this seems to be a sound position, especially since the cost of rejecting the system is extremely high.
> We may not agree, but philosophically this seems to be a sound position, especially since the cost of rejecting the system is extremely high.
Why doesn't he just work a part time job if he wants more leisure time? He's a software engineer. He could easily make enough to get by with a very light workload without being dishonest with an employer
>And his boss? “My boss is happy with the work I’m doing,” he says. “Or more accurately, the work he thinks I’m doing.”
This indicates that Gavin is accomplishing all of the tasks that his employer expects him to accomplish. If he's able to do this between the hours of 8:30am and 11am then how is it different from someone who takes from 9am to 5pm to do the same work? It sounds to me like Gavin has already taken an easier, perhaps lower paying position that is not very demanding on his skills and so he is able to complete all of his assigned tasks in a short amount of time and then play hooky for the rest of the day.
If he instead were to work the whole day it's likely he could complete 3 times as many tasks, do you think his employer would willingly pay him 3 times as much though?
He can try to negotiate something based on output, but what he's doing is a dick move
If someone asks me to work at 20% of a fair salary, I have two options: a) laugh at their face and reject the offer or b) accept and only work 20% of the time.
I always went with a) because I never had a shortage of work offers. But I can understand why someone who needs the money will choose b). In a way, this is a fight against the immoral behavior of big corporations.
Since then I've spent 5 years driving through 55 countries (Alaska to Argentina and Around Africa). I've gone on week-long wilderness moose and bison hunting trips near the Arctic Circle, I've played a lot of disc golf, snowboarded many 100 day seasons, hiked for thousands of hours and generally enjoyed a huge amount of "free" time.
I've poked lava with a stick, climbed a 20,000ft active volcano, gone skydiving, got lots of SCUBA certificates, had to veer off road not to hit lions and elephants and met all kinds of interesting people all over the world. I've also published a couple of books and achieved a few life goals like speaking on stage at major events, getting published in magazines I highly respect. All of that was only possible because I had the time.
Of course, I have way less money than I did before. I've spent 6 years of my adult life living in a tent. I've never owned a new phone (actually I've never really had a phone), no tv, basically never buy anything new at all.
I'm also about a thousand times happier than before.
We all have a limited number of hours we get to live, and how you spend them is your choice. I find it's most heavily constrained by how you choose to spend money. If you choose to spend less at every opportunity, that means you'll be able to work a lot less. Find ways to find enjoyment and fulfillment that don't cost money - i.e. a walk in the mountains or throwing the Frisbee instead of a day at Disneyland or going to the movies. These days I "work" something like 10-20 hours a week on my own passion projects, which provides enough money for the lifestyle I want to live (for the last 8 years I've earned around $15k-$20k a year, total)
I volunteer at the mountain as either ski patrol or a snowboard instructor. I do 13 days of work (almost always before the mountain even opens - setting up signs, fences, shovelling snow, etc.) and then get a free season pass and have no other responsibilities for the year.
Even when buying a pass it's $900 for the year... which means I just pickup 2 weeks of some odd jobs to pay for it.
I bought my snowboard gear around 7 years ago (used).. so at this point it has cost cents per day.
I have no money from "when I was a software engineer", so it's not like I'm living on some big slush fund or something - I just make smart decisions now about how much money I spend, because that directly dictates how much I'll have to go to work.
It is simply about being careful how you spend money, because the more you spend, the more you'll have to go to work.
Some French kids I met in Colombia driving around the world said "We don't like homeschooling... we like worldschooling!" with huge smiles.
These guys drove the length of West Africa with small children, an epic adventure - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc61AxCQQR4
Time is freedom, pursue and protect it at all costs.
I don't agree with the lying but it happens all the time, remote and in-office, as a symptom of clock-watching micromanagement by employers. That needs to go, and employees switching from actually putting in those long unproductive hours to quitting for better conditions is a positive move.
The article is about that if you only read the first five paragraphs. Gavin and his shenanigans aren't the real focus of the article.
A boss that trusts their team will not blink when something that sounds easy turns out to take long. You're advocating for a culture where everybody's forced to estimate their work and is held accountable when they go over. I thought we all got past that?
What I predict is that aggregate demand isn't going up exponentially anymore because of the aging population. Why is that a problem? Because productivity is growing exponentially as well. The economists of the early 20th century expected that we will simply work less as the robots do more.
The problem with the protestant work ethic is that there is no need for more and more work. If you work a fixed 40 hour work week and your output is growing exponentially your consumption has to grow exponentially as well. This isn't happening so either people spend an increasing amount of money on limited housing or they do increasingly less productive work in the service sector. Lots of people compete for "limited" full time jobs that keep an entire human busy.
E.g. 10 people consume as much as 8 people can produce. The obvious solution would be a 32 hour work week but instead 8 people work 40 hours and 2 people work 0 hours. The first 8 will become increasingly competitive to avoid becoming the bottom 2. Of course this is overly simplified. Some people actually consume everything they produce and therefore shouldn't be bound by work hour restrictions.
The hustle culture is just the boring result of a prisoners dilemma.
I’m not out here stealing from my job like Gavin but my attitude towards work is probably the same as him. Some of us just grin and bear it instead.
I recommend you do the same work of the next person on the team and shirk the rest. Any company that despises this practice is trying to get something from you they aren't willing to pay for.
I assure you, your company doesn't deliver 3x what it promised in their contracts.
If you are salaried, you promise to be available for so many hours a week and do duties as assigned. Perfect. Honor that end of the contract and shirk away.
Dont let the capitalists invent a morality to shame you to give them 100% while they are in a meeting with their lawyer on how to incorporate in Luxembourg and strongarm municipalities into giving them handouts.
I have to actively fight my own lazy tendencies every single day to make sure I don't become Gavin.
In my opinion people got it backwards. Hard work doesn't result in high incomes. High incomes result in hard work.