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The future of work isn't just remote, it's part-time (parttimetech.substack.com)
72 points by ernestipark 7 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 108 comments

If part-time means $320k, hell yes, Sign me up. That's 5x my income (before taxes). But that's not the future. The future is full-time and more. The age structure of the population pyramid doesn't leave much choice.

That's in most of the Western world, of course. There are parts in the world where it looks different, but in those parts $320k is enough to retire.

I would surmise that a greater normalization of part-time work could increase the size of the workforce or at least not decrease it as much as you think. Just looking at parents, there are a ton who drop out of the workforce because they don't want to work full time and care for kids. Or, some people never jump into a career in the first place because of the barrier.

Agreed, population in the U.S. is shrinking if you take out immigration which I have little hope of reform for, add in the number of older people who retired during Covid and aren't coming back and there are going to be a lot of skilled jobs empty with gaps needing to be filled by existing workers.

It sounds like we’ll need to improve worker efficiency then, while at the same time workers are able to demand better working conditions and fewer hours because of competition for them. Company A wants you to work 40 hours, but Company B has better processes and efficiency and can get the same productivity out of 32 hours of work. Because of shrinking/stagnant workforce, this doesn’t cause unemployment to spike, and they still need you for those 32 hours so they’re willing to offer a competitive salary.

Maybe this is a bit over-optimistic, but I think that assuming everyone will just work more hours is equally over-pessimistic! Realistically we’ll likely get something in the middle. But hopefully leaning more towards the optimistic side :)

If you have openings you can't fill, doesn't it make sense to open those up to people with the right skills who can't hold FT jobs?

Isn’t that good for us worker bees? You can set more boundaries because employers have to fight for you

I think you're right.

Somebody has to actually 'make stuff'. With less 'stuff' being produced because workers are going part time, prices will go up. Because prices will go up, people will have to make more money, resulting in...... longer hours.

However, people don't seem to get that if you can do your work completely remotely, you can be outsourced for cheaper.

Layoffs and outsourcing are happening now. Salaries are about to drop.

Buckle up. The ride is going to be bumpy.

Seems like accepting lots of part time work would be a great way help employers pay us less and take away benefits/working hours flexibility. I don't wanna be a gig worker. I want a salary, benefits, and a 4 day work week.

In the example listed, the only difference is a pay cut and the cut isn't that large. Which is also a far cry from usual gig workers which definitely do not get paid anywhere near FANG salaries.

I do think if this transition were to happen, there would have to be far more regulations and standard benefits when it comes to part time workers. Which is also very unlikely, at that point it's far more likely universal basic income becomes a thing than part time workers being treated anywhere near as nicely as your L5 FANG (again example from the article).

I think that's not entirely false, but this is a small subset of what part-time work can really look like today and in the future. There are 4-day work week companies that work 40 hours or 32 hours and still provide benefits (including big cos), you can start your own business, consult (which in and of itself is a very wide range), there is an increasing legitimacy and income path to being a creator, etc. My thesis is that the current cultural, technological, societal winds are going to enable a lot more of this work than ever before. It's still nascent, but I would bet a good chunk of tech employees will be part-time in some capacity over the next few years. And getting that employment from a 'traditional' W2 employer will just be one portion of it.

I would definitely take a pay cut if I could keep my benefits and work 3 days a week.

As it is my company lets us buy extra time off, but it's only 5 days a year. If they gave us the option I would pay for 100

You pay your employer for days off. That's the most American thing I've ever heard.

How about Americans start demanding tens of days of paid time off like in developed countries

Well he's probably salaried a flat amount for the year. So "buying time off" is probably more like "returning money for days I decided not to work"

So unpaid leave. Not super rare to take some of that in Europe, though quite often there are some limitations like max 3-6 month sabbatical every five years.

I get 40 off (30pto, 10 holidays) but pay for 45

This is just unpaid time off, it exists everywhere, no need to pull out the "you dumb americans".

Well I get 23 days off already, I paid extra to get 28, but yeah I hear you.

How about going on strike, unionizing etc. to get the 30 days off that are normal in tech in (parts of) Europe? I know for sure for example that 30 days is the usual everyone gets in most tech companies in Germany. Heck the minimum by law that even a cashier at the supermarket gets is 21 days.

I know, very un-American to even think of that.

It's so funny (actually, mind-boggling) when you first hear about how time off works in lots of North American companies. You get 10 days and then with tenure you get one more day per year. If you're working for a "good" company, you might start with 15 and get 1 per year. But always only up to a max, e.g. after 5 years of tenure, that's it, no more extra days.

And the excuses and explanations employees make for this are mind-boggling. Like "yeah this makes total sense, you wouldn't want to give a recent-grad the same time off as someone with more experience" and such. To which I can just only reply: Why not?

I wish there were an IT union. With apprentices and training and the whole bit. I think not tech businesses would go for it, it's so hard to interview/hire new employees, how nice would it be to just have the union send some more over with whatever skills we need. Sure it would cost more, but it would be worth it.

> Why not?

It usually has less to do with experience than it has to do with "time served". A company wants to incentivise their employees to not quit.

Same question. Why would you punish an employee that is going to be loyally staying at your company by giving them less and incentivizing them to leave you for a different company that gives more vacation from the start?

If I have 10+5 max from tenure and I am in year 2, why would I stay at your company instead of jumping ship to another company that offers 15+5? Or even just flat 15 for that matter.

What's next, you incentivise me not to quit by my health plan only paying 50% of the bills, going up by 10 percentage points with each year of tenure?

Of course much of this gets muddled up in the general overwork culture. Culminating in the 'unlimited vacation' policies that use social pressure to not be 'the guy' that took the most vacation.

> Why would you punish an employee

It's a free market so the employee can go to another company that has a better benefits package, as you implied. It happens all the time, although I would guess that higher pay is a greater incentive than more vacation days (in the US, anyway).

And yeah, an employer has the option to give great full benefits from day one if they think it benefits their company. That happens all the time, too.

Another example in the US that you probably won't like: as a benefit, your employer normally matches a percentage of 401k retirement contributions. But, if you quit you won't get the full amount they matched unless you're fully vested (normally takes at least 2 or 3 years). Rather than striking or unionizing for better benefits, I would rather decouple 401k from employers completely.

For health care, the current situation already stinks. Companies reevaluate their health care plan every year and frequently hop to new providers/plans in order to cut costs. In the meantime employee benefits are always changing. It's not based on tenure, either, so you don't have a sure way to predict what your health care costs will be next year. I would prefer to also decouple health insurance from employers completely.

I bet most employers would prefer not to have to deal with health insurance providers and 401k plan providers anyway.

Yikes, that 401k stuff sounds even worse than Canadian group RRSPs. And I agree, I'd also want to decouple the 401k from employers completely. If large unions were a thing in the US they could potentially lobby the government to make that a reality or is it already possible to have your own individual 401k on top?

As far as I know there aren't any group RRSPs in Canada with vesting periods. The matched amount goes straight into your RRSP (even if they do show the employee and employer portion separately but it's yours to keep for sure). I definitely would love to have those detached fully from employers in the sense that group RRSPs weren't a thing. The investment options inside those are very limited. Unfortunately so far I know of no company that will send an RRSP match to your own individual RRSP but at least individual RRSPs are a thing and have many providers with lots of investment options to choose from. There are some employers though that have group RRSPs that allow you to transfer out at least your own contribution after a short time frame, thus only keeping the matched part locked up in high fee investments.

And yeah agreed on the health plan situation. Same here. Always funny to see the "great news, your health plan got cheaper next year" updates. Never mind that the cheaper plan also pay 80% instead of 100% of certain items. That said, in Canada you aren't completely SOL if you don't have an employer plan and there's still some health care available to you through the provincial insurance programs even if those aren't that great either.

While we're comparing and because I mentioned the great PTO landscape in Germany, the above is still much better than what Germany has for retirement savings (caveat: haven't been employed there for a looong time, so maybe this changed and this is just about the private portion. There's still the regular state pension, not that this is to be expected to be much given how the system works and what demographics are doing to that model). There are private, partially tax sheltered ways to save from your gross income but it's all going to be locked up in some insurance company's "product" until retirement. Including high fees, putting all the risk on you etc. Sort of like a group RRSP but with even worse options and conditions and there's no equivalent of an individual RRSP where you can do whatever you want in a tax sheltered way.

While we're at it, even though we're going quite a bit off topic by now:

Does the US have an equivalent of the TFSA (tax sheltered gains/dividends/interest but you can only contribute after tax money and a max amount per year), which you could use instead of the 401k to some extent?

Germany does not for example. Instead you have a measly 801 EUR of "tax free capital gains". That's the amount of actual gains/dividends/interest per year. So in Germany if you did everything right and started saving for yourself early on and your investments are making say 15000EUR in dividends each year, you gotta pay 25% tax on 14199EUR of those and only receive ~11450EUR. If I did the same in Canada inside a TFSA, I get the full 15000CAD to use or reinvest. That's quite a difference over some years.

> is it already possible to have your own individual 401k on top?

It is possible to open an individual traditional IRA, which is also tax-deferred, but the contribution and income limits are worse than the 401k. A person can have both a 401k and a IRA at the same time, too, so if you don't have an employer that offers a 401k plan then you just miss out and there's no way to replace it.

> Does the US have an equivalent of the TFSA?

I think that would be a Roth IRA, which holds after-tax contributions and allows tax-free withdrawals. It's nice, but it also has low contribution limit and income limits. However, there are games you can play with to get money into a Roth like backdoor conversions, or rollovers from a 401k on years with low income.

> in dividends each year, you gotta pay 25% tax

Yeah that's harsh. In the US you normally pay long term capital gains tax on dividends, which is based on income and maxes out at 20%. If your total income is less than 80k, the rate is 0%.

A company (read: the employer class) != what employees would choose if they designed an equitable workplace for themselves

Sounds to me like a convoluted way to say - unpaid time off.

tbf the ability to buy days off isn't exactly rare in Europe either, it's just the number of starting days off is a lot higher.

How does that essentially differ from unpaid leave?

It doesn't differ at all. Different employers just use different terms for the same thing.

One reason that's not happing is that most people in IT could easily afford a four or even three day work week. Given the current lack of qualified people businesses will be very reluctant to not get the maximum amount of work from the people they have.

in germany, by law, you can demand that your work time is reduced to part time. (i don't know what the limit is, but the demand has to be reasonable, and can only be made in companies with more than 50 people, but apart from that, unless the employer has a good reason, they can't deny it)

Been working part time for the past year (volunteering with the rest).

It's a difficult mindset to get into coming from full time. And I struggle to speak with people who are adamant that they need full time commitment to accomplish anything. But, those are the types of people I don't want to work with.

Although I have now built a decent client base, it was a huge challenge at the start to find remote, freelance and part time software contracts. It was usually a case of finding full time ones and convincing them that I could do part time.

It has been hugely rewarding and I find myself thinking about work a lot less outside of work because it's no longer the biggest chunk of my week (or doesn't feel like it).

Congrats. I'm seeing a lot more friends who have done what you have done How did you find clients?

Working in IT is:

* 3h/day of work

* 2h/day pretending you're working

* 3h/day of bs meetings

2 days a week in standups, retros, planning sessions and despite all that answering to questions like “are we there yet”.

This seems like an ok time to plug a policy idea I have.

I think an alternative to raising minimum wage is to require all companies to offer a lot of paid vacation, like 3 or 4 months of paid vacation every year.

If people need more money, they can use their paid vacation time to work a second job. They'd be working the same 40-hours a week, but would receive double pay, thus increasing their income. It would also increase their security and market mobility because they have 2 jobs. If one job is treating them shitty, then they at least have a second job and more opportunity to get out. It would create more competition among employers to hold onto employees. People will put up with a lot when you're their sole source of food, but if you provide only a portion of their income, you will have to treat workers better.

It would also have a lot of mental health and family benefits throughout all rungs of society, except for the most well off, who already have unlimited PTO.

This idea has received more downvotes overall (which is simply to say it's unpopular), but I've never had anyone explain what they don't like about it.

> I think an alternative to raising minimum wage is to require all companies to offer a lot of paid vacation, like 3 or 4 months of paid vacation every year.

> If people need more money, they can use their paid vacation time to work a second job. They'd be working the same 40-hours a week, but would receive double pay, thus increasing their income.

I’m sorry to jump out at your comment with this but where do you think companies take the money to pay salaries from? Because they don’t print it.

This trend of “we want money and don’t want to work” was magnified during covid and now it spirals out to a completely grotesque level.

If people think it’s so easy to find paying customers to pay for “no work”, why don’t they all just go solo?

No, instead everyone wants to have safety of not having to think where to get paying work from but also get paid for not having to do much.

Eat a cookie and have a cookie.

That's why I propose it as an alternative to raising minimum wage. Iff we're going to force employers to give more, I'd rather see it done through more paid vacation.

Your employer pays you 100% salary for your PTO and pays 100% salary for any bank holiday on the calendar. How do you imagine requiring an employer to pay for your “vacation” only so you go shop around and work somewhere else. Do you even need “vacation“?

I see technical issues: Every day off has a direct cost to it, where does the employer get a person to replace you while you are on your “vacation“? Who foots the bill for the search and training of your replacement? Who’s paying the health insurance? Who’s paying the accident insurance? What happens if you have an accident while on another job during your PTO? If you have a company car, are you going to use it to get to the other job? An employer has a right to request you back to work in exceptional circumstances. What if you are on the other job and the employer requests you back? Are you going to come back rested after your “vacation”? Is it even beneficial for you to work more from the tax perspective? Who gets to decide which PTO is the “real vacation”, and which is the “I go shop around vacation”?

If you’re on minimum wage, how much are you going to make more in those 5 or 10 days? In the US $7.25 x 80? How much will you take home after tax? How many people on a minimum wage work full time and have full time PTO so that they could really benefit from having even more PTO to do some extra work?

If you're going to force employers to give more, a lot of them will just close shop and you'll end up with massive unemployment.

You can propose all you want, but if you want it to have the desired effect, you actually need to think through it and consult experts.

> If you're going to force employers to give more, a lot of them will just close shop and you'll end up with massive unemployment.

Strawman argument. See: countries that already have said 30+days of paid vacation -- without "massive unemployment" (read: France, Germany).

> You can propose all you want, but if you want it to have the desired effect, you actually need to think through it

I'd say the GP has done this and explained it well... but you have avoided its main proposals.

> and consult experts.

Of which, you are definitely not one (read: an expert).

> See: countries that already have said 30+days of paid vacation -- without "massive unemployment" (read: France, Germany).

That’s not how it works, don’t know about France but for sure not in Germany.

In Germany, an employee gets a minimum of 20 days paid vacation AND there are 11 days (most of the country, varies by Bundesland) national public holidays. That accounts to a minimum of 31 days off but it is not 31 days of paid vacation.

I didn't downvote, but something which is spectacularly disruptive to companies and means low paid workers don't get any more money unless they find someone that wants to hire them for only 3 months at a time seems like a complete non-starter.

The companies employing them for their primary job might be interested, in order to fill their 3-month vacancy…

That's fair. Also some people might not want two jobs.

So your proposal is: if one consenting adult wants to pay another consenting adult for working more than 8-9 months out of the year, then one (or both) of them should be kidnapped and sent to prison?[1]

Yeah, that sounds insane.

[1] The logical consequence of breaking your proposal, were it codified into law.

Your point seems to be that regulating employers is insane.

Do you oppose all employer regulations then? What do you think should happen if two consenting adults, one of which is desperate for food, agree to an arrangement where one is paid 3 dollars per hour in exchange for hard work?

> Do you oppose all employer regulations then?


> What do you think should happen if two consenting adults, one of which is desperate for food, agree to an arrangement where one is paid 3 dollars per hour in exchange for work?

I think this should be legal, for if it were illegal, then someone would be getting paid $0/hour (which is less than $3/hour) for no work being done at all.

To cut to the chase: you should just ask me what should happen if someone has exhausted all avenues for sustenance, and failed. Then what should they do? Should they starve?

My answer is: no, it would be morally justified for them to steal resources (i.e. food) from other non-consenting adults in order for them not to die under extreme circumstances like this. But notice that we'd still deem it as "justified theft" (where the theft is still intrinsically wrong, but justified under the extreme circumstances).

Fortunately, "extreme circumstances" are not the conditions we're living under in developed Western countries, where even the poorest people live fabulously wealthy in comparison to almost everyone in human history.

In particular, there doesn't seem to be any need to mandate (under literal threat of kidnap & imprisonment) that people not work more than 9 months per year. That sounds totally insane, especially since no one is forcing anyone to work 12 months per year anyway.

I see where you're coming from. I proposed it as an idea, and specifically an alternative idea to forever raising minimum wage over the decades. In that regard your counter argument of "eliminate minimum wage and all regulations" is outside the realm I was arguing in.

Not in the us it ain’t as full time work tends to be required for health care benefits. And these benefits become (quite) important as workers age or, horrors, commit parenthood or have medical issues. Quitting and paying 4-5x for their medical coverage isn’t realistic.

I always hear medical insurance being a blocker. Which, I find surprising.

I was a contractor a few years back. I simply went to healthcare.gov and purchased a plan. It was a bit overwhelming because there were _so many_ options available, but it was essentially the same as buying car or home insurance.

It's easy but can be expensive as hell. Currently paying $1300/mo in premiums for 4 people on a bronze plan with a 10k deductible and 30% co-insurance.


The options vary greatly depending on state and county. There is also a problem in some states where if your income is too low, there might not be any affordable plans.

For many in tech, it’s probably not as dire as it seems, but it’s definitely not a solved problem.

(Author) This is certainly the biggest barrier for most. That being said, Google, for instance, allows you to work part time and maintain health benefits. Also, as is the case for me, there's a large contingent of married folks who have a spouse who can maintain benefits working a W2 while the other goes part-time.

What about their contractors?

The health insurance google’s TVCs have access to is so much worse than what FTEs get that it’s hardly worth mentioning.

What do you mean? They're contractors, they can die and Google won't bat an eye


Is it possible for part timers to band together and form collectives to get healthcare as a group?

It’s still pretty expensive, comparable to a mortgage, especially if you have a family. It’s a pretty major speed bump for folks just starting out in a contractor role just as a baseline expense.

The future of work is...not working. It's going to look something like UBI and decoupling health insurance from employment. It's going to require widespread changes to our economy and how we define ourselves.

Not everyone is going to need to work.

Remote, asynchronous and part time. Looks like everyone will be a freelancer

Not immediately dropping the standard work week to at or under 32-35 hours is a crime against modernity.

Wait, what about medical insurance etc. You typically do not have those benefits if you do part-time?

Many work for the sake of medical insurance. I have seen 4 software engineers un-retired recently(all in their early 70s), some of them felt retirement boring, some just need either benefit or more money, the latter one bothered me, supposedly software engineers are paid relatively well and shall retire with nice financials.

This was one of my biggest fears before quitting my job. It's turned out to be complete non-issue.

Took me all of 2 hours to sign up for a plan (healthcare.gov or your state's ACA marketplace). It's obviously more expensive than if my employer paid (costs me low hundreds / month) and you may not get exactly the same tier of plan, but you have plenty of options.

It's not 100% ideal, but in my experience it was not nearly as dire as people make it out to be. Your mileage will obviously vary by state, age and family size.

single might be fine,family with kids could be quite different

They still have to manage that money properly. Lifestyle creep can be really difficult to combat.

The big flaw here is the assumption that pay scales directly with hours worked. It doesn't and generally shouldn't. To start with some data, https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/cwc/a-comparison-of-hourly-wage... states that out of 324 occupations analyzed, 182 showed statistically significant lower hourly wages while only 12 showed an increase. It appears that doesn't include the loss of benefits, which makes the difference even starker.

So why do part-time jobs consistently pay less then full-time? Part of it may be the type of worker- employers hire less skilled/able workers into part-time rolls and then convert to full-time if they are good, or part time workers are concentrated in groups that have historically and currently experienced wage discrimination (women are massively overrepresented in part-time work). However, the explanation I find most viable is simple that part-time workers take longer (calendar time) to do everything. If it takes 500 hours of work to get competent at a job, then a FT worker doing 40s will be operating at competency in about 3 months, while a PT employee at 20 hours a week will take 6 months. But it gets worse- every project or task will take longer, and we know the longer things take (calendar time) the more likely they are to be irrelevant when finished. The lead times and slower skilling introduced by working less hours have a real impact on business.

That's not to say doing PT work or having PT workers can't be valuable. They won't even always be paid less- Workers that are already highly skilled (such as PT consultants) can command higher hourly rates (because they only work in highly skilled specialized environments). But generally speaking, we shouldn't expect pay to increase or decrease linearly with hours worked.

Yes, you're absolutely right. There's definitely a cost associated to part time workers.

But that doesn't mean the current 40 or so hours a week (in Australia it's 37.5) is the optimal amount of hours that a worker is productive. If the worker is actually working 20 to 25 of those hours and the rest is made up work then you're not really getting things done any faster.

So I think your analysis rests on the assumption that every hour of those full time hours is actually a productive hour. I think anyone that has worked can probably vouch for the contrary. But I reckon there's a kind of "the emperor is naked and everyone can tell but says nothing" situation, where we want to pretend we are all much more efficient and productive than we actually are. Part of it probably comes from the need that everything needs to be sort of standardised otherwise it'll be too much overhead for management.

So it's a very difficult problem, but I think smaller firms (20 to 100 people) should probably experiment much more. And they kind of are with 4 day weeks and so on.

As much as no one wants to admit it, most software engineers (that I know at least) aren't full-time as much as they are on-call. You work when the work comes down the pipeline. Sometimes that means a lot of OT. Sometimes that means you coast for the afternoon. The only important part is that the work gets done as fast as you can manage when it gets to you.

Of course, at a good company, managers should be refining backlogs and assigning work when queues run low but most companies I've been at don't really care about work beyond what is assigned for the iteration. As long as the final shipping deadline remains on track, they're not going to put in the extra refining effort to move that deadline up, particularly if they're not on the critical path.

Most software engineers I know have always so much work in the pipeline that there’s no way they could habitually just coast for whole afternoons.

Depends on the structure of the org/process. It's true there's almost always more to do, but it's not true that every manager will push their team to do as much as they can. In fact in most cases they don't.

Also even when "fully" allocated, most people don't actually fill 100% of their time with work.

Part time work isn't very practical for most professional / technical / managerial positions. The problem is that there's a certain fixed overhead for training, team meetings, and administration which doesn't depend on hours worked. If you spend 5 hours per week on that stuff then it's only ⅛ of a 40-hour work week but rises to ¼ of a 20-hour work week, leaving only 15 hours of productive time.

Plus there's also fixed corporate charge back expenses which are the same per month regardless of hours worked. Everyone needs a computer, email, phone, software licenses, HR support, etc.

The future of work is consuming exactly the amount of value that you produce and not having your production removed from you

A lot of people in rich western societies produce negative value. I'm not really sure people with < 75 IQ or so can really produce enough value in order to be able to give back to society more than they receive in various forms of welfare.

They just don't have enough skills to be productive in a digital knowledge society.

I guess your future plan is for them to starve?

The only reason so many consume more than they produce is that the distribution of labour is very uneven

Though, it is actually the bourgeoisie class with IQs above 100 that are not producing value

It’s already common to work part time as a software engineer here in Germany. I work 30 hours a week (6 hours a day) and have 75% of a full time salary. I actually get the same amount of vacation as full time since the vacation is based on working five days a week and not working 40 hours a week. There is no loss of benefits.

Very cool. When you say common, can you quantify this at all or are there job boards or listings where people to go find these types of jobs?

I don’t have any numbers, but some job postings will say full time, part time, or will have a minimum number of hours they offer. Some will also give a percentage range of hours they offer of part time to full time.

If the posting doesn’t say, I just brought it up during the initial call so we were on the same page before continuing the interview process. Most German companies didn’t have a problem with it, but I found that UK and US companies did.

Keep in mind working hours are fixed in your contract and it’s not unspecified like in the US.

In the Netherlands, the right to work part time (at companies >= 10 employees) is mandated by law. So every single job is this type of job.

At the Engineering firm I work at I would say roughly 30% of employees work part time.

Is it just pro-rated comp based on time? How do benefits work in the Netherlands?

It's definitely not part time, if anything I'm seeing people work more and more and more.

Is it the future. We already have zero-hour contracts.

The cynic in me just sees larges swathes of white-collar work increasingly falling under zero-hour type capitalistic revenue models, to spin a euphemism.

I don't really buy the idyllic spend half you time raising chickens and the other half coding picture, at least not for 95% of people.

UBI, and to pay "essential workers" more than a "living" wage would be a good start.

I literally just grabbed 60 eggs from my chicken coop, came back to my computer and saw this hit the front page :D. Certainly agree it's not going to work for most people and it's a privileged position, but trends usually start from a small subset of the population and spread. I think the perception of working in IT is a great example of this... think of the movie Office Space, and then how companies like Google completely changed how we think about tech company culture in the early 2000s. Certainly Google was a well-funded golden startup, but eventually this ethos spread to much of tech.

But as soon as you create UBI, you create new inflation, which causes us to increase the UBI. I don't understand the benefit of telling people that don't want to work that they don't have to. Work fights inflation, free flowing money in society creates it.

Of course this will be downvoted because something that has worked for thousands of years is obviously wrong.

The current system isn't even 100 years old. In 1920 a large percentage of people were farmers and women generally didn't have jobs. Things can and do change.

It looks like preppers didn't have to be scared of an asteroid, a pandemic, a solar flare, a nuclear war. Instead society fell from something totally unexpected: No one wants to work anymore.

I'm not entirely convinced anyone ever wanted to work.

There's work and work. I don't like being idle. Many people enjoy sitting around sipping drinks. I'd rather climb hills, create stuff and fix houses. My problem with work is the toxic ingredients:

- bad management

- no leadership

- stupid sociopolitical games

- therefore too much fakeness (toxic diplomacy)

- not enough perfectionism

- side effects of obligations (being paid means you are responsible, means you have to make something happen even if you have no clue what or how)

As a young developer trying to navigate the political aspects of software development, What is toxic diplomacy?

I've not heard the term, yet I feel like I know exactly what that GP means by it. And, it's hard to summarize, it has less/nothing to do with software development and more so just the politics involved in corporate culture. It's like the real ethos of the company (not the projected version) and how to be successful within it, the merits of your work as a software developer will not always be the most important deciding factor and you need to be aware of the various politics within the company. It differs by company but with enough experience you see common themes.

I guess the parent means the tendency of people to report things more positively to the management than they really are and the behavior of some to try to make a good impression to management by telling them exactly what they want to hear. Both might help the individual but typically not the organization

The need to coat everything in layers to avoid hurting feelings all the time. I'm no bully but I've witnessed a lot of dead end discussions where people(myself included) couldn't express themselves freely enough so we just kept going without any real progress.

ps: for instance I could propose a change, but that would imply people who worked in this manner to feel bad or worse, humiliated. So I back off and we keep wasting time. Or that would mean me taking steps to ensure I've discussed that with them privately so they know it's not an attack nor a way to take the light, but a global need for the group to reach better goals in less efforts.

> Instead society fell from something totally unexpected: No one wants to work anymore.

I can't tell if you're joking or not

I recently saw a Twitter thread with citations for sentiments like "nobody wants to work anymore" going back to the 1800's.

This went around a few weeks ago. It's clippings going back 100+ years of people saying no one wants to work anymore.


John Maynard Keynes predicted in the 30s that the combination of extension of industrial production, healthcare, and education/family planning would result in cutting work hours in half and dramatically expanding leisure.

This isn't the fall of society, it's indicative of society advancing. People not working a job doesn't mean they're not working, it means they're putting energies towards things that don't earn them a wage. If you put your time into gardening that's still work, it's just on your own initiative instead of an employers'.

All of that only works for software developers that, at this point, are sleeping on keyboards.

The benefits of progress tend to be lumpy and unevenly distributed to start. But I expect these niceties will eventually trickle out to other fields as people change industries or see how their peers' work lives differ.

There's probably a lot of societal-level interventions needed to bring cost of living under control to make it more viable as well. For example, in my home-town where rents are cheap it's actually hard to staff barbers or beauticians because the pay is good enough to where people can work for maybe 8 or 9 months and have that cover their bills and expenses for a year if they're frugal.

Now it helps that the local economy is really uneven as well, so you have a base of doctors and lawyers earning very high incomes to underwrite these service providers. But that seems pretty familiar for tech-towns like Silicon Valley too, the key difference is cost-of-living. Instead of having all that high-earner money being sunk into real-estate and rents it's sloshing over into the service sector.

As an employee I would love for this to be true. But I think employers, especially in North America will resist this.

There’s already a worker shortage and with the boomer generation retiring we are going to lose further workers. Don’t see how businesses are going to be ok with employees only working part time. I feel like the transition will happen eventually but it’s going to be similar to wfh transition. Much like we had to have COVID to wfh, we may need another similar event like that for part time to get accepted.

>worker shortage

Which industries? Not software, right? Because then I'll read about some 300+ applications per job vacancy, 8 flaming hoops to jump through if the Lady Fortuna grants you an interview, and an absence of courtesy because of how many other grunts are lined up - who has the time to email back an applicant anyway?

My head is spinning, I don't know what to make of it all.

For an opening at a FAANG paying $300k, sure. For, say, a senior Android developer position in a smaller city, you can look for months to get a decent applicant. (You'll get some "sure, I can code in Android" people with 3 months cranking out a little app for someone, but solid people with experience are rare.)

I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but it’s a different problem.

The labour shortage is not constrained to just IT — it’s a global trend. This is one of those things that reasonably easy to verify. Check out the population pyramid in US 0. It’s relatively balanced, but other countries look much worse, see China for example. What this means is that we are not replacing folks that are retiring with new workers, and this process only accelerating. The long term trend seems pretty clear.

0 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_Sta...

The only reason there's wage inflation in software to begin with is because demand for labor exceeds supply. In the long run the 500k wages will compress back closer to median wages in real terms.

Wage has very little to do with value add of the worker, its about the equilibrium price which is determined by supply an demand. Value add just sets a ceiling

OTOH, worker shortage means that employees have greater leverage. Better have someone work part-time for you than for a different employer.

A worker shortage can lead to more part-time work if it's a real shortage. If an employee says their only willing to work part-time and the company says no thanks, is the company really that short on workers?

lemme get the 400k first, and then I'll start thinking about part time

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