This is pretty much exactly how I would run anti remote work PR campaign.
Lets go through some basics. Click through articles on the blog. Is there a single one you couldn't write? No, really. This is the kind of stuff you give to/get from a copywriter. Everything is formulaic, you could write the same kind of posts about literally anything. It's a craft.
Now go through related social media. New accounts posting and moding. All relatively fresh.
Obviously, I have no proof. SM part is also how you would work if you wanted to remain anonymous, sure, but how do you explain this blog? Start of the whole thing being few months after CEOs started whining about how much superior in office experience is could have common causes. And obviously every story is possible - there probably are people doing it. Did they really start that recently?
Admittedly, asking for few dollars from people to get into better parts of discord while claiming to make 6 figures doesn't match exactly. There are reasons to do that (hiding lack of content), but that generally points to creative writing and general grift at least as much.
I guess what I'm saying is wait for major newspapers to pick it up and for people who want everyone in office to use all that as talking points.
That’s the strategy described in the book “Trust Me I’m Lying”.
I had the same feeling as you when reading the article (and a linked one). Feels very shallow. Also the part where they mention doing HTML and CSS. There are probably quite a few gigs like this but it’s strange hearing from a front-end dev without hearing about JS…
Without going into conspiracy territory there’s at least something off here IMO.
There's another site on this topic, Overemployed.com, which looks much more legit. They have an active Discord server.
In fact, I just took a peek inside that Discord server and I see several people bragging about fraudulently working two jobs while using their real names and/or pictures, or otherwise giving enough identifiable information that their employers might recognise them. What a bunch of morons.
Ok, that looks much more like simply another informational product sales funnel. I wouldn't expect a PR firm to setup (or lie about) affiliation with external company (https://we-connect.io/) and running generic ads from CafeMedia.
Bless 'Isaac' grift I guess. What's going on in the original page is unclear to me.
I'm struggling to see an immediate payoff to anyone running an astroturfing campaign. Company directors that think remote work doesn't work for their company have more relevant anecdotes than random blogs (especially random blogs appearing months after mainstream media reported examples of the same phenomenon). And there are considerably less indirect ways for workplace-area caterers and commuter rail to try to hold on to what they have.
The payoffs in satisfaction to people that (i) like bragging/confessing about what they actually do or (ii) like cosplaying the antiwork rebel seems more obvious
I am fully aware this is what my claim comes down to. Even basic future predictions like more general media interest or talking points leaking into everyday discourse could look the same if thing was legit (or a generic grift).
It's really not hard to hide your tracks from general public - literally just setting up new accounts does the trick. The hard part is having the thing reach the surface, but 1) a lot of things here are also really easy to hide (reddit upvotes and posts from accounts with history are cheap) and 2) if you're doing your job right you don't need a lot of it.
Near impossibility of avoiding both false positives and negatives is a pretty fundamental issue/feature of that kind of activity. I really don't know how I could do more meaningful digging.
I'm wondering if the desired outcome (return to the office) would be enough to justify the effort.
But I think that pretty soon, with help of various tools, injecting fake info on the net will be so easy and cheap that the only way to know truth from fake will be with the help of AI agents. If it's not already...
> ...They stick some unfair contract on you and underpay you.
Mr. Article Writer is making $440k/annum from 2 jobs. Somewhere before hitting $200k/annum jobs that excuse goes away. Those sort of earnings aren't what someone can command from a powerless position either.
And the reason it is being called fraud is because he is probably misrepresenting his circumstances - lying directly, in other words. Unless his employer has a sloppy lawyer. He doesn't get a moral pass for lying because there is unfairness in the world. That logic could excuse any crime.
> And the reason it is being called fraud is because he is probably misrepresenting his circumstances
The reason it's being called fraud is because it is fraud. How could it not be? Every full-time contract I've ever had had a clause stipulating that it would be my only employment. If I'd had another job and my boss found out, that would be grounds for instant dismissal.
My wife works in the legal department of a FAANG company and she says this has actually become a big problem for them since the pandemic and the shift to remote work. They've fired a bunch of people after discovering they were "overemployed", and they're increasingly vigilant about it and on the lookout for employees who might be doing it. So if you want to try it yourself, don't assume you won't get caught.
A full time employment contract doesn’t preclude other things which take up significant time such as volunteering, or parenthood. Companies want exclusivity to increase their bargaining position, but they simply fire most of these people rather than sue for damages because it’s difficult to prove any harm.
I take it you've never had a salary pay job in America.
One of my recent jobs had me working 100 hours per week for $130k (base salary). Every job I've ever had expected overtime without extra pay. One job had me working through every holiday without bonus.
I've had some shitty jobs, but it wasn't illegal for them to demand this out of me.
My contract says that I'm expected to work Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm with a one hour lunch break (so 40 hours) but it also has some vague, ambiguous language about "occasionally" working "additional hours" as business demands it. So they can make me work 50-60 hours in one week and it wouldn't breach my contract.
Well now we're just arguing semantics, but here's Dictionary.com's definition of fraud: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage."
I don't know if getting a second job wouldn't be fraud in a strict legalistic sense, but it definitely meets the above definition.
Anyway, if you wanna do it, go ahead. I'm not going to risk it myself, but I've worked at plenty of companies which were badly-enough run that I can imagine getting away with this kind of behaviour. I've also worked for employers who treated me like garbage, so I can understand why some people might have no objection to treating their employer like garbage.
I'm pretty sure a lot of what is described would fall under fraud in most jurisdictions if these things are in either of the contracts, as they tend to be in mine.
1. Length of hours worked per week and work start and end - if you are supposed to be working in times between 8 and 17 with a total of 37.5 hours worked per week if you do a couple 1 hour meetings between 9 and 16 for employer B every day then you have defrauded employer A because it would be impossible for you to make that 37.5 hours between 8 and 17 they are paying you for. You have deceived the company that you are working for them and receiving compensation while working for another company. It's pretty open and shut in legal terms and no but what about lying to a date pontificating is going to change that.
2. Do the contracts with companies have clauses about how they own everything you product technology wise while working for them?
on edit: changed time usage from American to Military Time / European in one instance so all usages were aligned.
Until you fail to deliver something on time, employer gets angry and either fires you or worse finds out about you breaching contract and sues.
Then you would be paying through the nose and lawyering up. I know exactly of one such case only, though. I live in EU, and heard it was resolved by mediation but expensive for the party who breached it.
I heard about a few more cases where someone was caught illegally subcontracting. These also tend to be much cleaner.
If you do it smart they won’t be able to prove any wrongdoing. E.g. your second job should be contract work through your own offshore LLC, so you won’t show up in The Work Number and similar databases.
A different evasion tactic could be getting paid in crypto.
> Every full-time contract I've ever had had a clause stipulating that it would be my only employment.
I, the opposite. I'm explicit that I plan to work other jobs and work it into the contract. Nobody really cares; or at least aren't in a position to display care. If you're paying $200k-type salaries, you've already shown your cards that you're desperate!
The only time I experienced a little back and forth was one organization that had obligations to their customers for the workers not be engaged in work at other companies for data security reasons, with a formal rule that workers not work anywhere else to cover their bases, but as I like to do my other work in unrelated industries it was crafted as an exception without much trouble.
2 out of 6 of the engineers we hired this year were overemployed and never mentioned it till we worked it out. One was just straight up kinda useless, the other was manipulative and a smooth talker and was good at claiming having a hand in others work when he did very little, think he was working at least 3 jobs.
Not sure if it’s just our hiring is kinda useless but I’d be very reluctant to agree to anyone full WFH after being burned, risk isn’t worth burning time or money for.
A job is not really supposed to get someone into that top 1%. The "capitalism" thing isn't a secret, to be wealthy you need to own capital. If we organise so that people who are shrewd with resources get power, the results are better. The obvious alternative is people who work hard which which sounds good and that is about all the idea has going for it. It leads to poor outcomes for everyone.
The amount of good someone can do as an individual caps out pretty quickly but can get someone into a solid 10% top earners if they are exceptional. Beyond that, wealth and income come from how well a body deploys resources. Top 30% incomes are more than high enough to start buying in to assets - or they were before the central banks started tilting the board. But the response to that shouldn't be more lies.
If you read the other articles, there more certainly is misrepresentation going on(mouse jigglers to fake being online). The second job is an 80 hour a week contract. So you’re looking at 120 hours on paper and a person who is saying that doing so has allowed for more time to do things in their private life…
> Mr. Article Writer is making $440k/annum from 2 jobs
He only claims to do this, but it could be just some fiction. I find it hard to believe that he is able to do this with a year of self taught practice to land two jobs paying 220k or he's extremely lucky to pass technical interviews.
I really understand your perspective, in the US companies are quite close to feifdoms with only minimal oversight and with the only real added benefit over being a serf that you can traverse to some other fiefdom that treats you the same or marginally better.
It strikes me though, that this comment is very US-centric. In parts of Europe (I'm talking about Sweden specifically here): employee protections are very strong.
> All employment contracts are one sided. They have more power. They stick some unfair contract on you and underpay you.
I can't give examples off the top of my head, but it is widely accepted that if an employment contract omits a certain topic: then whatever that topic is will fall on the side of the employee in a court of law, it is absurdly hard to fire people.
All these things have pros and cons, but it does mean effectively that once you're employed then you have a social safety net that even banks recognise and provides a lot of psychological safety too.
I'm just saying: your perspective feels contra to my experience so it's at least not universal.
You could write a million words trying to justify this.
However, if you are selling the same hour of effort to two or more people then you are lying to, stealing from and defrauding them. That is totally black and white.
People are entitled to respond to the unfair state of the world in many ways, but it doesn’t justify theft.
As an aside, I am amazed at how sites like HN can virtue signal with the best of them, then conduct mental gymnastics to claim that double billing isn’t fraudulent. Cmon guys surely anyone can see this isn’t right?
I am not selling one hour of effort, I am selling the result of what an average employee could accomplish with one hour of effort. If I can accomplish in half an hour what someone expects to take a full hour, then I have another half hour left to sell and by all rights should do so.
If you can convince your employer to write that into your contract, then absolutely. (If you're at the $200k dev salary skill level, you absolutely should be able to get paid very well as a contractor based on milestones, not for hours, and have a lot more lifestyle flexibility if you're productive)
But of course one reason for preferring regular salaried employment instead is actually not being able to accomplish the work in double the time but having a certain amount of skill in persuading people you're just ramping up or other people are holding up your productivity...
The employment contract is an outdated relic from factory work, when it was actually reasonable to measure work in hours and an 8 hour shift made sense.
There are no ethical obligations for employees to follow employment contacts because there is a massive power imbalance. Workers are forced to accept humiliating and ridiculous terms, like peeing in a cup to pass a drug test, just so that they can survive.
2-3 hours a day of productive work is standard for office jobs. There's no reason to work more than that; you won't get paid more, they will just take advantage of you. There is nothing wrong with working another job in that case, so that you are paid proportionally to your output.
It's not "theft" to pay someone the compensation they agreed to receive, any more than it's theft to buy an item for what the shop agrees to sell it at (which will also be less than you actually value it at, unless you're very bad at purchasing decisions...)
There are situations where people accepting a certain job at a certain wage might do so with somewhat less than free choice (that's where livability comes in), but that doesn't include ones where they've got another job paying $200k.
> That 200K earner likely produces much more than 200K in value.
Of course, the business has to live from something, accept the risks.
The point is that these are not people driven to the corner who have no other option to survive than to steal. These people have enough funds to start their own businesses, but I guess defrauding is easier.
This is why the managers are on us with grooming and estimations and then are unhappy when every minute is not accounted for. Stop stealing, you're making the job much worse for the others - and that's what actually shortens our lives.
This whole argument falls apart because there are perfectly legal and honest ways to work multiple "jobs". Do contract work or create your own company and offer IT services. Get your own employees and "stick some unfair contract on them and underpay them". See if it really works.
And for being sympathetic: are you towards the rest of the people in the teams this fraud is part of? Do you want to poison the market so it rejects remote work? Do you want more employee surveillance?
"Elon Musk is bad so I can do whatever I want!" - Think about the kind of world this brings about.
just to add, is not that the person is stealing money. The person is working for it, the bare minimum, but the employer still happy to pay that salary or else they would have the person fired.
now imagine being paid the same for busting your ass 14 hours a day, and someone doing the bare minimum being paid the same? People should stop overworking. People's salary represents the minimum amount of money that their boss is willing to pay for the work, so to the minimum amount of work required.
Questions like "what are your expectations?", usually can be read as "how low can you go?".
Ugggh reading stuff like this is painful… this is the stuff that ruins remote work for everyone. I’d be more understanding if you spent your free time working on personal projects. It’s a different deal when you are misrepresenting yourself to multiple people and teams
Users here love to go on about how work should be evaluated by output rather than time spent, but I suspect they actually don't want their managers hounding them for an explanation on why stuff took longer than estimated.
Right now you usually get the benefit of the doubt that you tried your best and if it took longer it's because it was harder than expected or there was extra stuff you had to get done. I don't want a system where it's assumed you are working 3 jobs and if it took too long you didn't output enough.
The OE community (a rabbit hole I just went down) actually advocates that the folks doing this don't lies. And it's all predicated on the assumption that J1, J2, J3 don't actually require, from a competent person, a full 40 hours of work each week to accomplish the normal expected goals of the position.
I know that in my own work, having experienced periods of burnout where I just didn't have the energy for more, that 15 hours a week is perfectly sufficient to get the job done in a way that keeps everyone happy. This, of course, may vary from time to time. Occasionally urgent tasks come down the pipeline that have me working a 60 hour work week. Currently I'm in an extended period of time where I don't have much time to do anything outside of critical and urgent tasks. But historically, I've devoted a lot of my time to pet projects, areas of personal interest that might bear little or no fruit on my primary responsibilities (though sometimes they do, to great effect) and I'd occupy my time going down rabbit holes of either professional development or curiosity or whatever.
I think organizations kind of understand this on some level too, for certain types of workers. We're paid to do the 15 hours of work that absolutely has to get done every week, but otherwise we're paid to be available as latent capacity ready to be spun into action when a situation calls for it.
I definitely think there are some ethical consideration here that shouldn't be ignored. If working multiple jobs I don't think it's ethical to short change either of them on what they expect from the position as a result of working multiple jobs. But I look at top level execs where I'm at and lots of other places and see them collecting honorariums or other types of payment for sitting on boards of other businesses or even renting out their time as consultants, and it seems ridiculous that I shouldn't be allowed to do the same (To be clear, I don't actually do that right now) provided I'm fulfilling the tasks of J1.
I think that this is a net negative for literally everybody except the ones that are taking advantage (and will be for them in the long term too). I personally can tell when someone isn’t shipping as much as they are capable of but I give folks slack because I don’t expect people to be really firing on all cylinders 40 hours a week. This is basically going to cause skeptical managers/leads in the short term, complete erosion of trust in the long term. I don’t know what the solution is, I just know this ethically hurts and the outcome won’t be good.
I can’t lie that I thought about this with the last job I took in 2020. It’s hard to deny that you can sometimes put in less time logged in and still meet the minimum bar, or even the same bar. End of the day the ethical burden and logistics just didn’t make it seem worth the extra money for me. Maybe I’m just well paid and my life is already full time wise.
Even quitting remote jobs can be taken advantage of though. Why quit when you get a new job? Why don’t you just occasionally show up to meetings and stop working? It would probably take a good 6 months for corporate America to fire you. My HR friend tells me they can’t even say negative things about when when they verify your employment… I wonder if these same OE people would have similar thoughts about that as well.
And I know it’s not you saying this but, hiding information is also lying. I talk to the people on my team about everything in my life, I spend more hours with them than my family most days. I would consider it a lie if I never mentioned I was working another full time job. If you were honest with them, I’m sure at the very least they would think a little differently about the next time you missed a deadline. And I think the honesty is an important part about being accountable. You are taking advantage of your teams/manager’s trust by working more jobs without telling them
yes, the concept of OE is very new to me and I'm very ambivalent on some of it's implications the the necessary logistical hurdles to make it work that walk the edge, and sometime over it, of what I consider ethical obligations.
But in considering the concept of OE, it seems undeniable to me that a person capable of adequately completing the tasks of a full time job in 20 hours a week shouldn't be obliged to to seek out additional work, unpaid, to fill their time. In practice this happens! And people do things like walk around and talk to co workers for long stretches of time, take a long lunch, checkout reddit or go down the rabbit hole of an HN thread for a while! Countless people already work jobs 20 hours a week churning out quality work. OE simply says "Use that free time to do a different 20 hour job like that".
In the abstract, I can't see a problem with that. In particular cases, I think a person should look carefully at their contract and what they have agreed to do to determine if their circumstances would allow them to enter the realm of OE without crossing ethical lines by violating an explicit agreement. The unspoken socially constructed expectations about a 40-hour work week though? I don't see an issue in ignoring them if your employment contract isn't specific on the issue.
Like most situations, I think it's more helpful to take a systematic view here. Simplified, more workers are hired than needed and they are expected to pretend to work 40 hours and managers are incentivised to keep that going for their own careers. Not too sure what happens up the chain from here, but others can probably fill in some details.
Overall, this is expected behaviour from a sub-optimal system. We shouldn't blame the workers for that.
Yes, I think it’s newly suboptimal now. In the old days, remote work was rare to find so I think it was just difficult for folks to find situations where they could take advantage. We will now see managers/orgs figure out productivity issues in other ways and react to fix them. Maybe we will see a pull back on remote work. Maybe they will start to spy on our activity either through spyware or income reporting. They have already done some of this. I will say, workers will not get the last laugh
To take the Machiavellian view, if you want to be nice, be nice to your wife and your kids. But not at work.
Companies always look out for themselves. I have sympathy here for the OE who is simply looking out for themselves.
IANAL - most definitely not - but it seems to me there is no crime here. Breach of contract, sure, absolutely - unarguable. Consequences - dismissal and no reference. But crime? Many employment contracts say 40 hours, any hours these days. Mine does. Show me a tech worker whose contract says they stop work at 5.30? That would preclude on-call, overtime, etc. So it's possibly a defence, should it be needed, that the OE is available for 40 hours a week, and not his fault that all 40 hours aren't needed, so he interleaves this with responsibilities for another employer. There are, after all, more than 40 hours in a week.
Honestly, I don't feel bad for the companies who hire the person. I feel bad for the people who need to work with them. I'm sure we've all worked with people who aren't pull their weight and it drags things down and makes everything a little bit worse. Even if you don't end up doing more work because of them, which you often will, it's just crap having one person who takes 3-days to do a 4-hour task.
At work, I don't go the extra mile because it'll help the company or will make them more money. I do them because it's helping someone out. The woman from finance needs an export of the data, I'll create her an export because it makes her life easier. The guy from devops needs a bug fixed because it's annoying the living hell out of him. I'll fix it after hours so it stops annoying him. For the most part I don't care about the company. But I do care about the people around me.
Also IANAL, but if you're contract says 40 hours, you're to work for 40 hours. Doesn't matter if they're needed or not. If they're not needed you stand/sit and wait for new work. Working for another company while getting paid to work for another would almost certainly be considered fraud in many countries. Especially those where lying on your CV is fraud.
Agreed, if and only if the overemployment results in a detrimental service from the employee to the employer - as you say, if someone isn't pulling their weight and the reason for that is they're doing something else for someone else, then fair enough. Bang to rights.
On the contract point - beg to disagree. Sorry to invoke everyone's favourite villain, but if a certain oligarch can be CEO at three different companies and do an effective job, that kind of example makes ordinary Joes think, why not me? Not just him either - MPs in the UK often have second, third jobs even though their constituency business should take 40 hours. I've no idea about the US but I'd imagine senators, representatives also have other positions, boards and so forth. Is it one rule for the rich and another for the peons?
Personally I'm like you, I like being useful and if I'm in a fallow period I tend to fill it. But the argument itself, you should be working for 40 hours regardless, how far does that extend during working hours? Are we allowed to walk the dog? Collect the kids from school? Put a load of washing on? Sweep up? Load the dishwasher? The logical conclusion from '40 hours, do or die' is that we should do none of those things, as these are time theft from the employer.
> Not just him either - MPs in the UK often have second, third jobs even though their constituency business should take 40 hours. I've no idea about the US but I'd imagine senators, representatives also have other positions, boards and so forth. Is it one rule for the rich and another for the peons?
You're entitled to have as many jobs as you want. If the contract allows you to work whatever hours you want it's fine. But you'll find the UK courts will make you pay back salary if it's found you have 2 jobs that allow you to work from home but state the work hours at 9-5 for both of them.
> But the argument itself, you should be working for 40 hours regardless, how far does that extend during working hours? Are we allowed to walk the dog? Collect the kids from school? Put a load of washing on? Sweep up? Load the dishwasher? The logical conclusion from '40 hours, do or die' is that we should do none of those things, as these are time theft from the employer.
Again, we'll go for UK law. You're entitled to breaks and in fact your employer is legally obligated to ensure you take breaks. So taking a break to put a load of washinng on or take your dog for a walk or just sit there and watch youtube is entirely allowed. Obivously, if it's found you're working 20 hours instead of 40 hours your employer is entitled to fire you for gross misconduct.
> I'm sure we've all worked with people who aren't pull their weight
This presumes anyone notices that weight isn't being pulled, which is confusing.
Obviously people get away with this scheme for long periods of time, it stands to reason that the overemployed person could have satisfied teammates in all contexts.
People who get mad about this are projecting their own insecurities onto this situation, as if it must be obvious that someone is cheating and getting away with it by harming others. The world is not fair in that way. Sometimes people cheat, no one gets harmed, and the cheater is better off.
I’ve worked at multiple companies where people have been coming up to their probation period and people
Have pointed out that they aren’t pull their weight. These people kept their job because managers often think 0.5x is better than 0x. In one case, the guy was falling asleep in meetings in person.
I joined Meta in 2021 remotely, but when my stock grants lost 50% their value overnight, I secretly started working for my previous company. Sorry Mark, it’s only fair this way!
I was pleasantly surprised that the pace of work at Meta was so slow that I was able to do one week’s worth of work in a day, and the rest of the time was spent waiting for various crap processes (for insiders: LAMAs, privacy reviews, design reviews, experiment plans, diff reviews from colleagues in other timezones etc.). In the end I still had so much free time on my hand that I actually took up a third gig as well, and still didn’t feel any burnout.
For me, overemployment is 100% the future. I don’t think it’s unethical if you’re a high performer in both (or all three) of your jobs, which I am (I received “exceeds expectations” in most categories on my Meta PSC).
I think there's an interesting social conflict in these stories.
A state wants to maximize the output of its working population. More output, more taxes, more power. A company wants to capture all of the produced value of the employee's time and labor.
So, if an employee is underutilized, the state should want them to get another job and produce more, while the company would prefer they sit around and do nothing because they might get bored and produce something for the company's benefit.
This regularly pops up in the Cleared world with people asking if it will interfere with a clearance.
I’ve had to advise multiple people it’s a very good way to be denied for a clearance.
The reasoning is simple for anyone who is curious: if there is anything that you are hiding from anyone that can be used to exert leverage over you that’s an instant issue that can cause denial or revocation of a clearance.
There's an old saying: in you need something done fast, give it to the most busy person in the office. It sounds like bullshit but it works.
This kind of people needing to juggle two job are always "on", and probably have by necessity a much higher ability to prioritize correctly. I'm guessing here, but considering they managed not to get fired after 2 months, I think I'm guessing good.
So yeah, they won't be doing all the bells and whistles the middle manager wants from them. But if you manage to structure your company so the important stuff is the one that actually needs to gets done - they won't be a bad employee. Possible even above average.
Note here that the opposite of the overachiever with two jobs is the guy that pushes papers and stays on facebook. How much is he doing _valuable_ work in 8 hours? Yeah.
Sure, we'd all want perfectly adjusted people that work 8 hours like clockwork then go play golf. I personally don't know any.
You can only avoid so many meetings though. In software most teams have some kind of regular standup schedule. How do you know that the standup times of 2-3 jobs won't overlap before starting those jobs? Or what if the standup schedule for one jobs changes and now you can't attend? You can only miss so many of these before it's a big red flag.
Not saying it’s scrupulous but it’s discussed as well - they generally have two laptops and apparently have two zooms going at the same time at times too it seems. I can see how you could choreograph around two stand ups like that with practice!
A work contract (or in some states even a work law) usually forbids working another full gig, so in virtually all cases those stories are severe work contract violations which get you immediately fired. Besides that, those stories are one of the reason why remote work gets more restricted. On a third point, i believe many of those people have mental health issues. It should be obvious that leading such a lifestyle isn’t compatible with a stable, truthful mental state. So i‘m not sure if there is a winner in this game.
There's a lot of things in work contracts that are not enforceable. Doesn't stop them from being put into the contract (it intimidates enough people to slow things down).
I'm going to need a bit more than "It's in the contract." What's case law and state law say about working multiple gigs? I know in most of the West Coast you can't claim IP developed outside work hours and not using work resources. Doesn't stop virtually every company here from trying.
A really rough breakdown is an employee is somebody who is bound to the directives of the company he is working for. Ie. cant by themselves choose their working hours freely (amount as well as time) or what they are working on.
This looks somewhat ok for a more in-depth explanation:
That's essentially the same criteria used in America, and CEO would generally be considered an employee in America. Where does the CEO get excluded?
Your link notes that managerial positions carry certain exemptions, which is true in my country too, but that doesn't preclude managers from being employees.
Directors are generally not considered employees unless they also work as an employee serving some other function in the business. This appears to be true in Germany as well. Are we simply mixing up directors and CEOs?
Many of these people make a ton of money. They could retire or take a break for a decade after working 2-3 years like this. And some people are wired differently. Coming from academia where 12 hour, 6 day weeks were my life for a decade, the tech job (which was categorized back then in glassdoor as a bit demanding) was a joke. It took me months to accept that saturdays were truly free days where I didn’t have to do anything.
If I were in a company that cared less, I totally would have considered this option. But thankfully I landed in a place that let me grow at whatever pace I wanted and I focused on my main job fully and reaped it’s benefits.
It’s not for everyone. It’s not for most people. But some people seem fine with such a life. Most successful professors at least in biology I know live like that all their lives. Tbh they live quite long lived and often have the acuity in their 70s you don’t even find in the average 20yo.
I myself rejected that tbh, as much as I was able to do it. Didn’t think the mediocre crap they were doing was worth that effort. If some day I find something I truly care about maybe sure.
Policies vary. Where I work, you can seek permissions to work an outside gig that is "regular or continuing". The request might very well be met with a firm "Uh, yeah, no, nope. Not signing off on that." I actually don't know, I don't know anyone whose made the request.
On the other hand, the requirement to ask permission only applies to "regular and continuing* work. If it isn't "regular" (say, temporary contractor gigs) then there is no obligation to report or request permissions. Verbiage on the issue says the employee is responsible for making a reasonable determination on whether or not it's regular or irregular.
So, rules vary. Intel for example has baked into their employee code of conduct the assumption that some people will have outside employment &/or businesses, and simply provides a detailed code of conduct around how to navigate any issues that might arise from it: https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents...
The tech world especially is in the era of the "side hustle". Taking on an actual extra full time job under the premise that a person can do both in under the nominally required 40-hour work week probably (well hell, all but definitely) pushed the limits a bit over the line, but some type of outside employment is often not impossible & well within the guidelines of many reasonable companies.
When there are loopholes, there are people exploiting them. They bear the risks and reap the rewards until the opportunities dry up. But... maybe it's a win-win situation with the employers: they have a worker good enough for the salary, which is often better than no worker, and the overworker is free to overwork.
I don't think these people have more mental health issues than people working more than 60h for a single company. It's definitely not compatible with me. I don't want to be deceiving coworkers and management to keep me afloat. But these issues aside, the idea of doubling your task pool so you can always work on the most impactful problems is enticing.
This is probably likely. All the articles read very vague with nice round numbers and examples. A front end dev that started in 2019 who is working an 80 hour a week contract as a senior dev as a side gig?
In my corner of the world this appears to be more common or just tolerated more since most of the IT workers are, for lack of a better word, pretend contractors(for tax reasons), so companies can't impose certain restrictions or else the tax authority will recognize this relationship as employment and demand taxes and social security payments retroactively.
Since late 2019 each contract of mine started including a clause stating that I should prioritize this particular client. That is the extent to which they went to date with restrictions.
I'm also required to notify them of any other client that I might have. Apparently they're keeping an eye on the overemployed.
In any case most people in my team had some kind of side gig, or had this project as the side gig and we decided to be open about it.
I know people who have been pulling 2-3 contracts for years now. That being said the most overemployed is already experiencing heart issues in his 30s, so he might have to back down soon.
I both have a small child and am too chicken to actually try it, but to be completely honest large organisations have such narrow roles and move at such a slow pace that it's not difficult to meet expectations while having two "full time"(heavy quotes here) contracts.
Personally I use this slack to spend more time with my family. My salary overtook my lifestyle expectations in 2019 so finances are not a problem.
> I’m happy with my decision to work multiple jobs at once, because not only do I feel like its given me more time with my family and friends
I wonder how this is the case - generally you would have less time doing this unless you are working the jobs concurrently, in which case, that is incredibly unethical and likely to get you fired from both companies if either found out
You tell your manager you'll finish implementing a critical feature in 6 weeks. Manager knows it's not a trivial task, and while he'd like it to be finished sooner because it impacts company revenue, he accepts your 6-week estimate and communicates it to the rest of the program. You split your time with another two employers, and work hard to finish the feature on time... in 6 weeks. Your manager rates your work as satisfactory.
The unethical part: Your 6-week estimate was based on the knowledge that you'd be splitting your time, but your manager naturally assumed you were giving them all your working hours within those 6 weeks. You relied on the manager's trust, and you tacitly exaggerated the level of effort required to complete the work.
If 6 hours is very reasonable for the average employee but you manage to do it in 3 to the same degree of quality and aren't being compensated anything extra above that average then I think the more pressing and larger unethical issue is the method by which compensation is determined.
I think there's a certain amount of cognitive dissonance being experienced here. The idea of a 40 hour work week is so deeply ingrained that there's a deep seated feeling of obligation toward working that time. In reality? The company has defined a scope of work according the 40 hour socially constructed time and assigned a value of $X for the work they think should be done during that time. If someone can do the expected work in 20 hours what are they supposed to do, be punished by getting even more work than colleagues compensated at the same level?
No, in practice-- and you'll see this all the time if you look for it-- many people lengthen the time they take to complete their work to fill a full 40 hours. Breaks, casual extended conversations with co workers over non-work related things, heck walking to meetings and waiting for others to arrive and then walking back-- that dead time is eliminated with remote work.
The power structure is weighted against the employee with respect to the creation of these policies. That makes ethical considerations a bit murky, a person cannot work in society without working under policies of this sort, there is no free market of labor to allow for competition etc.
So the real question is, is it unethical to violate a code of conduct that you do not regard as fair & equitable, applying unequally to the top C-level execs compensated by their positions on various boards of other companies but with comparable-- to your level of employment-- options closed off by corporate policy to common workers. Is it unethical violate that code of conduct when imposed upon you without recourse or ability to negotiate it.
I view this in the light of the philosophy of civil disobedience. I.e., a person may (or should) act against those prohibitions with which they disagree. Though also that you do so with eyes wide open on the potentials consequences of that disobedience. In the case of OE, that means accepting without complaint getting fired if an employer discovers the dual jobs.
I want to be clear though-- When I look on OE as a reasonable endeavor I do so only if the employee is actually doing the chunk of work expected of them in a satisfactory way. There's a lot of nonsense and busy work that can be cut out and efficiencies realized if a person puts their mind to it to perform a full time job's expected workload in well under 40 hours. WFH makes this even easier. I also would regard it as unethical to do this if the job is paid as an hourly wage. In that case there is an explicit contract to work $X hours. That's a bit more than just an employee handbook policy and I have a harder time reconciling sandbagging hours there even if you're getting the the work done because you explicitely agreed to receive $x for each hour of work performed. If it takes you less time, take the appropriate pay and find other OE work to fill your time or whatever you want. The key thing is that a person should do the work they agreed to do, otherwise you're just a scam artist.
Yes, which is why we are probably going to see a huge crackdown on remote work where everyone's output is carefully reviewed and if you have a slow week you'll be audited to check your output matched the 40 hours work expected.
The assholes like the OP author are going to make remote work suck for everyone.
Even if your contract doesn't mention hours, I'm pretty sure that somewhere in there there's a clause that forbids you from taking on a second full time job (or even a part time job without getting approval from your employer).
My contract doesn't forbid it. Employee policy does stipulate that "regular and ongoing" work must be approved. So, in my case, if I wanted to step into the OE world (I don't) I'd be limited to irregular work-- short term fixed length contract work I suppose, and then I'm under no obligation to seek approval. This seems at least a little common. A quick search on it turned up the intel employee handbook which actually has the assumption of outside work completely baked into it, and simply sets about the policies under which is must be performed.
But for cases where it would actually forbid another job: Why feel obligated to adhere to that? If you're doing the expected work load in 20 hours, and are not compensated for seeking out additional work, the unspoken norms and social contract between worker & employee is fundamentally flawed very much in favor of the company. It's a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too situation. The company wants the freedom to fire a worker who can't complete their work on time and therefore doesn't deserve the $X compensation at the same time that they expect and feel entitled to the windfall reaped by their good fortune to stumble upon a worker who can do 2x the work at the same salary. OE is not for me, by the hypocrisy of the power imbalance and socially constructed norms around this stuff should not be taboo or held of on a pedestal as principles of labor <-> money exchange that can't be questioned.
It's only unethical if you subscribe to the same set of ethics as the ones corporation propagate, ones where all of the terms are favorable to them when they happen to get an above average worker. I don't see it as unethical to violate a workplace policy with ethical foundations that are not compatible with my own interests and respectful of my own capabilities so long as I'm still getting the expected work done.
Generally if you don’t have hour specific verbiage in your contract, there is much more room to maneuver, but a lot of people are working through billing hours. At this points things get much more complicated and most people won’t have the organization to compartmentalize enough to get through an audit.
I don't think it's illegal to work multiple jobs at once. At most, this person might be violating a company policy at one of their jobs (or, more realistically, any would fire them without cause as an at-will employee/contractor).
That isn't meant to be a defense of this (I think it's unhealthy on a personal level, and immensely risky on a reputational level); just that fraud might be the wrong nail to hammer.
Edit: On the other hand, some of their other posts imply willful deception of their employers (like outright lying about being unable to attend meetings). It's possible that would constitute employment fraud.
This whole "movement" is really strange to me, because, as always, this depends on where you live.
Where I live, this is entirely illegal. So, to me, it always is just a different word for fraud.
Then again, we have actual employment contracts where a whole lot of legalese will say what restrictions each party of the contract (employer and employee) has.
I am under the impression that employment contracts arent really a thing in the USA.
> Such as its illegal to work more than 40 hours average
You are also confused about this law. In the EU you can't force employees to work more than these hours but it's up to the employee they can agree to work more hours if they want to. It's NOT illegal to work more than those hours.
> Its also illegal to work more than 10 hours in one day
Wrong again the law is that a company can't force you to work these hours. That's different from being illegal for you to work more than those hours.
> Or the fact that basically 100% of employment contracts say the amount of hours you have to work. And telling your employer you did without doing so is fraud
It's a breach of contract NOT fraud.
You really need to actually read the rules on these protections as I think you're misinformed.
Ill translate the relevant part for you (you can use DeepL or something if you want to crosscheck):
"Für Arbeitnehmer mit Hauptjob und Nebenjob gelten diese Arbeitszeiten
- Man darf in der Regel maximal 48 Stunden die Woche arbeiten.
- Wenn man (zeitweilig) die Stunden pro Tag erhöht, ist eine wöchentliche Arbeitszeit von bis zu 60 Stunden möglich, wenn innerhalb eines halben Jahres die Wochenarbeitszeit auf durchschnittlich 48 Stunden ausgeglichen wird."
The following working hours are relevant for employees with main and sidejob:
- You are only allowed to work maximum 48 hours per week on average
- If one decides (temporarily) to increase the time worked per day, a maximum 60 hours per week is possible, as long as the average worked hours stay at 48 hours per week in a 6 month timeframe.
I can't interpret German legal documents correctly so I'll take your word. Note that this isn't an employee protection as it places a severe limit on your rights. It is strange this hasn't been challenged based upon the fact it contravenes Article 23(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifically "free choice of employment".
That's not to say you are wrong but if working too much means you get a fine I don't think I'll ever want to work in that country. I would go so far as to say that's way worse than the limited laws in the US.
I would note here that the overemployeed here is generally not work 100+ hours but working two full time jobs in 40-50 hours so they well could manage to be within that work time law.
Here is a more appropriate discussion about overemployment in Germany without fraud being mentioned at all as it wouldn't be fraud if you stick to the 48 hours:
These kind of laws are called „Schutzgesetze“. Protection laws. Where individual rights are limited to protect individuals from what lawmakers perceive as negative effects.
You are definitely free to your opinion on this. It’s a social difference. I wouldn’t want to have it differently. Otherwise employers tend to force employees to work more than that time „by choice“. (Read: force by peer pressure etc)
The problem with the second part is that contracts have hours you need to work noted in them. If you have one contract for 40 hours and another for 8 per week, without telling either employer about this, you’re likely not committing fraud. Just fireable offices due to the contract disputes you mentioned.
But if you have two 40 hour contracts, either you will have to work 80 hours a week (the lesser offense, and in reality „wo kein Kläger da kein Richter“. German Idiom for „where there’s nobody to sue, there is no justice (to rule on this)“ ) or commit fraud by not working the 40 hours for at least one employer. (I’m talking about Arbeitszeitbetrug here) (Betrug = fraud)
The issue is, generally people in these kind of stories always work less than they should. I’d be majorly annoyed if a colleague fucked me over because he was working a second job at the same time.
Personally, my code of ethics is pretty simple. Be fair. That means I expect my employer to be fair to me, and I will be fair to my employer. So this whole overemployment thing rubs me the wrong way, just as an employer forcing people to do overtime would.
To be 100% clear. I have nothing against sidegigs. Those are also semi-common in Germany. But you should be open with your employer about it and not fuck over your colleagues by scheduling work for both at the same time.
As for your link. They’re talking about the employer side and how to deal with sidegigs. All relevant from what I saw. They didn’t touch on what to do if an employer is lying about his hours worked, unless I missed it.
They are very much correct with the part about being a freelancer being a possible „workaround“. Freelancers aren’t bound to the work time issues, as they aren’t employees. Being a freelancer is more complicated than in the USA though, from what I understand.
As a general point, in Germany working multiple jobs is less common than in the USA, at least from what I can gather from US social media. So that might explain one of the disconnects we are having here.
If you work "at-will" there's explicitly no restriction against working multiple jobs unless its specified by an employment contract (which few people in "at-will" employment regions have).
Of course, each employer may have a policy forbidding it and thus could fire you on at-will terms if they found out, but that's a long way away from fraud in any legal sense.
Fraud is a lot more specific than just lying (either outright or as would be the case most often when it comes to having multiple jobs: lying by omission).
I'm not defending the act of working multiple jobs with full-time expectations here, I think in many cases it would be at best unprofessional, but it would take a very specific set of circumstances for it to come close to reaching the high bar of fraud.
>”there's explicitly no restriction against working multiple jobs unless its specified by an employment contract”
I feel like there is no such restriction for working multiple jobs concurrently because such a thing wasn’t feasible or widespread before remote work. I have a feeling that working multiple jobs at the same time won’t be considered fraud in the legal sense, but employment contracts will quickly adapt to include clauses to preclude overlapping employment.
But it's not uncommon to sit on multiple boards at the same time that a person is the CEO in their full time job. It can all start to add up a bit. Are they working extra hours? Does the CEO position not require a full 40 of their time? I suspect there are many in both categories.
I was curious so I looked at the employment agreements for my last three jobs, and as far as I could tell, none of them explicitly forbade working elsewhere, nor required or expected 8 hours a day dedicated to work.
You didn't explicitly have a clause saying something like "40 hour work week, Monday to Friday 8 AM to 5 PM"? Pretty standard where I live (Sweden), making this type of shenanigans virtually impossible (at least I haven't heard of this being a thing). I mean, it may not say "you have WORK these 8 hours a day", but they expect you to be available for this job exclusively.
Not sure fraud is the right word, but the companies are expecting him to be working 40hrs a week and I'm guessing he is not doing that, which is at the very least dishonest. Perhaps he is actually working 80hrs a week in which case this is not fraud for sure.
But he mentions someone had 7 jobs and was working 20(??) hours a week which means he's basically scamming all those companies.
In my experience of highly paid tech jobs you're generally on salary and your work is managed by some clueless project manager with some notion of how many points you can accomplish in a week. If you find yourself in that situation, and you can do "40hrs" of work in 10 hours, getting a second or even third job of that nature seems like the quickest way to increase your earnings.
You will not convince me you can complete "40hrs" of work in "10 hours," doofus.
That's just 10 hours of more effective work. The other 30 hours you're lying to me and cheating me out of what I'm paying you.
Of course, you can get away with it, because you're clever, there's way too much money in tech jobs sometimes, and people are trusting - and you deliver! Even if the work product is only meh; it's better than what those other chumps were doing, right?!
Until you get caught; until someone in the recruiting community in your field/stack/industry catches wind of this post or that post; or you slip up and double book stakeholder meetings; or your background check shows multiple employers; or ....
I disagree that an employer is paying for 40 hours of my time: They're paying for output and results. I think rational employer would concede the same.
> Until you get caught
It's not as true today, but across 2020/2021 that couldn't possibly matter less. If this person was caught, then what? They fire them and give them 4-12 weeks severance? A year ago a good dev could have another job lined up before sundown.
Regardless of whether the managers are clueless or not, software companies operate on trust that the engineers' estimates of how long work will take, is based on the difficulty of the work with the natural assumption that you are devoting all your working hours to that work, and that there's not some hidden multiplier in your work estimates because you're splitting time with other jobs.
Unless you tell your team and your manager "I only work 1/x of my time at this job", it is deceit.
Typically most full time jobs say nothing about time commitments. In the old days, pre-remote work, presence was often valued more than productivity at many companies. Today, “presence” is about keeping your slack dot green. Could you pull off over-employment with a small startup? Probably not. But a couple of bloated corporations? Absolutely.
I've only worked at 2 different mid-sized US tech companies but they both had "we expect you to work full-time, full-time is defined as 38-40 hours of work". Even if they didn't explicitly have that, if you're working a full-time job then that means you're working at least 30 hours otherwise it's not a full-time job by definition alone.
I typically avoid anything other than small companies. But with the last mid-size company I worked for, there definitely was not enough “real work” to fill 40 hours, or even 30. I had to learn to pace myself. But I still had to be available, on-site, during that time. With remote work “over employment”, people are taking advantage of those inefficiencies.
My contract says absolutely nothing about the amount of time, times of arrival & departure, or anything else of the sort. It's a straightforward document that lays out compensation details with a job description attached, nothing more.
I'm not an OE nor do I seek to be, but once I get over the cognitive dissonance of the deeply embedded social construct of a 40=hour work week, I see no reason why a person who fulfills all of the requirements in a job description to the complete satisfaction of their employer in under 40 hours should owe them anything more. Will they be paid more for it? (I'll answer that, because I do it. the answer is nope nope nope)
Thought experiment: two people sit next to each other in identical jobs and identical work loads split between them, jobs spec'ed out as needing to complete X work each week. Emp_1 is mediocre are requires a full 40 hours to complete their X/2 tasked each week and earn their $100k. Fine. Emp_2 is smarter and faster and can solve the same problems and work more efficiently complete their X/2 tasks in only 20 hours for the same $100k. That's fair! they both did the same amount of work only in varying amounts of time and the workplace puts a price tag of $100k on that chunk of work.
But what's Emp_2 to do? 20 hours to fill. Massive stretched of boredom. Perhaps even the appearance that they're lazy because they often don't seem to be working. Sure, they could seek out other tasks, but why? That wasn't the labor contract. That wasn't the agreement. And for damn sure they can't go to their boss and say "Hey I've got 20 hours a week to fill let me do a second job for an extra $100k". Not. Going. To. Happen.
The worker-employer relationship is not a benevolent one No matter how well you get along with your boss the inherent nature of the relationship between an employee and a corporation is tinged with a hint of adversarial. The company isn't paying out of altruistic goodness of their hear motives. They're paying $X for @Y work. (This is all assuming a salaried and not hourly wage). If you take $X, you owe @Y, and nothing more. If you finish @Y in half the expected time then the explicit contract, if not the implicit social construct, does not say you own @Y*2 work. (Barring contract that may actually set performance benchmarks and additional compensation that employees are obligated to work towards, of course)
I see no reason at all why a person capable of doing a chunk of work predetermines to take 40 hours and pay a given sum of money should be obligated to fill time above & beyond that chunk of work when completed under time, and without additional compensation.
When I go above and beyond, I'm not doing it for the company, I'm doing it out of loyalty to co-workers and an excellent boss who makes my life easier in countless ways.
I work in the US. My contract reappointment letter-- essentially the mew contract in effect as of my reappointment after annual review-- is basically a paragraph that says "blah blah reappointed for next you subject to available funding blah blah" and I sign it and send to hr.
I just checked the employee handbook to be sure, and there's nothing about standard work hours/break etc. Probably because most workers are in a union where the union contract spells out some of those things in more detail. But I'm not in a union, I'm an exempt "unlimited" employee which essentially means I do not have a set amount of hours I'm obligated to work. I'm obligated to work the hours required to perform the work I receive. In theory the expectation is a person will mainly have about 40 hours of work to do, and in practice that sometimes there will be crunch time and you'll have to do a bit more and you can't complain or ask for overtime. With respect to OE, it seems perfectly reasonable that this be double edged, and should I accomplish all expected tasks in < 40 hours I'm no more obligate to work longer than my employer is obligated to pay me more when I exceed 40 hours.
In all honesty though, my work does roughly take 40 hours to complete, my job there's always more to be done that time allows and my boss & I work together to prioritize without any expectation that I regularly go over 40 unless something either 1) goes horribly wrong or 2) comes out of nowhere and needs to be addressed ASAP. There's some, but not complete, overlap between #1 nd #2.
All of which is to say that I can easily see how someone could meet the average expectations of a job in much less than 40 hours, especially at $Large_Company where employees are interchangeable widgets and 40 hours is the socially defined amount of time that a least-common-denominator person meeting the minimum requirements needs to complete the job's tasks.
I'm fascinated by this (new) concept, but I'm absolutely not looking to jump over into the OE world. There is enough ethical murkiness that I'm just not interested even if I think a person could, if careful navigate that path. I also like my current job and, as I said, have a backlog of work. I'm in a position of high responsibility of critical importance and it is not the sort of job where I'm only expected to do a discrete pre-define chunk of work each week/month/etc. So I would very much feel bad and unethical if I cut into it's time to do some other work. But I can see how that's not true of all jobs.
Personally I would never land multiple jobs at the same time because I have strong ethics. My employee pays me for creating value, and that is a daily mantra you should repeat yourself everyday, especially if you’re remote. Overemployment would just lead to a mediocre work for every employee you have. I’ve been remote months before the pandemic and the most difficult thing is to keep focus, not the required focus on the assigned task, but on the big picture, on the direction and the main goals the company wants to accomplish, how you can help accomplish them and push more value than requested. That’s how you get paid well, how you build a long relationship made of trust, the kind of trust that raise your pay every year without asking. Let’s be honest overemployment is just another word for describing low effort programming, the production of yet another can of digital trash, and I just wish companies go back to the (un?)balanced ratio of remote/in person job like it was before the pandemic
Wow you’re like the definition of a corporate drone haha.
The OP here definitely paints a pretty bleak picture from the standpoint of the employer, but the general area of working side gigs is pretty grey. I am a full time dev and took on a pretty limited position as a part time tennis coach at a high school. Am I putting out garbage output for my company?
Companies broadly will glass ceiling pay for employees who don’t go into higher management roles (exceptions like acquihires exist). So yeah keep adding value but they won’t pay a million a year as a developer. Even if you came up with ideas and executed them and made them millions. It is a commodity market in general.
In this sense you get paid well but they want you to think how to make the shareholders rich (which might be the employee if their lucky but that shareholding or option is rarely contingent on performance but on staying employed until vesting at most)
On the other hand employment is cushy in that you just get paid in less than 30 days and don’t need to think about a bunch of business stuff like marketing or
contract negotiations so hence why it is popular.
Should companies be allowed to have other customers? Should they reduce their prices to cover costs to get to a standardized “market rate” profit for a company. I guess like a co-op.
It is well understood that full time jobs don't always require, well, your full time. But at certain times you might run into a bottleneck which requires you to work extra hours.
Playing the employment juggle is fine as long as you don't run into any serious challenges, and especially not in all positions simultaneously.
For front end, this could maybe work if your job requires a light touch and mostly off the shelf parts with a tiny bit of glue.
But good luck trying to debug an elusive issue that has something to do with parallel computing in your distributed services while in another job you were just assigned to replace a piece of the stack in a legacy system.
I personally don't think there's anything morally wrong about working several jobs, as long as you can deliver the full capacity when needed. I've been avoiding doing this myself for this reason. When the narrow straights hit, I need to be able to fulfill my position.
When I fulltime consulted, I would often do something similar between clients. Never liked it as it remove time for education, reading, thinking, family / friends etc.
The breakdown is that he has one fulltime job of 140k + 80 hours a week capacity for 75 USD. If he saturates that, he is working 120 hours out of the 168 hours there is in a week, ie. under 7 hours of sleep while still working weekends and no time for other activities than work also excluding eating, toilet visits, etc.
Whether this is misrepresentation or legal, we would need to know the contracts of. But unless these are made by companies overly in favour of him, I doubt. Especially because he does not do anything specialised (75$/hour is in the low end of commodity software development).
Personally I would rather spend time specialising in a craft that pays better and work less and increase the potential hourly rate rather than the potential yearly income.
IMO, overemployment discussion in IT is related to what is the expectations for a software engineer vs a programmer; and full time vs freelancing.
I expected for a senior software engineer to not only know the tech stack, but to have initiative, ownership, mentoring, and be able to understand and translate business requirements to tech solutions. Coding is just a small part of the role.
However, many software engineers behave as a 'programmer' only, the senior title is just to show that they have a bit more experience with the tech. They only do something if a Jira is assign to them, and many time they don't understand or question the jira. So it's obvious that they will have a lot of free time.
For me, if someone wants to do many jobs, they should be looking into freelancing. Where the client don't care on how you work, just that the agreed work is delivered.
If this person is making the money that they claim, doing things that sound like discovery would get them terminated and possibly legal action, why would they risk putting up a Web site about it?
Is the Web site going to turn into enough money to justify the risk to the $440K/yr. they claim?
Or do they not actually have those "overemployed" jobs -- and then this site is to generate money similar to the usual get-rich-quick scheme influencers, or to get dirt on people who sign up (for blackmail, or selling info to employers), or some other purpose?
I’m actually curious now if we look for these over employment seekers. Clearly they’re smart, and if we make an open contract, then both parties can extract maximal benefit from each other. Tech companies have a hard time ensuring engineers put their time, but with these folks perhaps they would be happy to time their work given the special situation they have.
Some people like to play the game of How Much and How Far. You can tell young people all you want that it's a game of Fuck Around and Find Out, but nobody believes it'll happen to them until they're dealing with the consequences.
No. J1 is salaried, not hourly. so long as they perform the expected workload to satisfaction I see no fraud or ethical issue.
For J2, an hourly job, the explicitly point out that they work every hour:
>My take home pay from this job after taxes is about $4,400 every two weeks if I work all 80 hours which I have been doing for the past year.
J3 is also hourly but they don't specify the exact # of hours they bill for nor state directly that they work/don't work all of those hours. But given J2, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that they're not working the appropriate amount of hours billed. Yes, they may not be, but we don't know, and their other statements indicate that may not be the case, so there's no grounds to level the accusation that it's outright fraud.
But it's not really overemployment if they're working 80+ hours a week. Either they're lying, just working 3 jobs (which isn't overemployment because working more to earn more is normal), or they're committing fraud on their contract positions.
How can you do this as a regular employee?
At least in my european country your employer has to pay social security insurance and that cant be paid twice. Therefore if you find 2 jobs you will sooner or later run into issues.
Also...Where are these companies where you dont have any overlapping meetings?
In the UK tax is somewhat disconnected from payroll. So that e.g. a second job would attract a different tax code.
Different tax codes are applied for many, many different reasons though. I'm still a company director, although the company doesn't trade any longer, so I'm required to self-assess and pay my tax yearly. My tax code through my employer is slightly different as a result. If my tax code were ever pulled up as an issue by my employer my answer would be the above, coupled with 'mind your own business', because it is my business and not theirs.
NI payments can be deferred to the higher rate (2%) on a second job to prevent overpayments. I know this from when I (legitimately, and with the full knowledge of both employers) had two jobs.
As a regular employee I believe the companies would be informed of not needing to pay the full amount, and would pay something proportional. I do not know how many details are shared with them. This seemed to be the case when I was temporarily working for 2 companies in Spain more than a decade ago.
In the US, the employee would get the overpaid taxes back as a tax credit when they file taxes. But the employee could change their tax withholding using form W-4 so that the federal taxes are not overpaid.
I’ve pretty much always run my own businesses or worked as a specialist (non technical) consultant.
A few years back I was offered an interesting sounding fixed term contract working for an EU company that had acquired a US company and wanted me to help integrate the two businesses and establish their presence in my market. Basically having a bunch of zoom meetings, and having some external meetings.
The acquiring company had an office in my city. I worked remotely most of the time but would go in maybe two consecutive days each month for politics.
This was truly my first experience working in a large-ish office with around 80 people in one big open plan space.
If I was going in I’d arrive around 8.15am as I get up early and I could drive door to door in 20 minutes if I left before 8.05am. If I left after 8.05am I hit school traffic and it would take me 90 minutes to drive.
The parent company has set working hours of 9.30am to 5.30pm.
At 9.25 people would start drifting in. By 9.45 most people were in. People would chat, make a coffee, make breakfast. By 10.30 things had pretty much settled down and everyone would be at a desk reading email. Around 11.30 most people would have a coffee, either from the kitchen or they would go out to the coffee place five minutes away. By midday everyone would be back at their desks. At 12.30 the lunch guy would come with his trolley and people would pick sandwiches, salads and soups. You could pre order or buy from him there and then. This always caused lots of hilarity and excitement. Most people broke for lunch between 1pm and 1.30pm so would either go out or go eat in the kitchen or breakout area. 2pm to 2.30pm was a constant stream of people coming back, making another coffee, settling back to their desks. By 3pm everyone would be diligently working and it remained like that till about 4.45pm when you could see people looking at the clock and beginning to slow down. By 5pm most people were beginning to tidy their desks, put coffee cups into the dishwasher, unplugging headphones and chatting to their neighbours. By 5.35 the office would be deserted apart from me and a couple of other people working deadlines or on late calls. I would normally leave around 6pm to avoid traffic - or later if I had something I wanted to finish. I didn’t care if I was going in early and staying late because I didn’t have set working hours: I was hired on the basis stuff would get done, and I reported into an EVP in a completely different time zone on a call once a week.
It was a real eye opener. I never thought I worked particularly hard but I got five times as much done in a day when I wasn’t in that office. Most people were doing at most 3.5 hours of sustained work each day and the rest was just time wasting. Often they’d spend two of those hours in chaotic 10 to 15 person meetings. I sat in on a couple of those once. No agenda. No minutes. No action points. They were insanely messy and unproductive.
On a normal day I get 8 or 9 hours of productive meaningful work done from home without feeling at all overloaded - because I get up at 6am, make a coffee, have a shower, do some exercise, get a couple of hours done, take my dog for a walk, call my assistant while I’m out, get a coffee, after maybe an hour and a half go back, do another three hours or so, take the dog out to the park, play with him for an hour, call a friend while we are walking back or dictate documents for my assistant to pick up, do some stuff in the house for an hour or so, then another three or four hours. Some days I only need to do a couple of hours of “transactional stuff” like replying to emails or assigning tasks or writing stuff up which means I have lots of time to do proper work.
People focus on “40 hour weeks” but I feel like most people in offices do way less than 40 hours work in a week.
The ability to work 8 honest, focussed hours a day is a special skill that needs to be acquired and cultivated. Many people never learned this and are doing ok in their careers. This includes many in that middle management layer that would have to enforce, or at least recognize and reward those productive 8 hours from employees in the first place.
It used to be different, and I started my worklife in a large, old-school company and experienced many departments working in a very structured way, people sitting at their desks working steadily througout the day, with a clearly defined scope and not under a huge amout of pressure but ultimately under a boss' supervision.
Work has changed, incentives have changed, and what do you do with that 8-hour-work superpower? Finish all the tickets from the board, revealing how slow everyone else is? End up with the truly unsolvable and unrewarding work? Try to take initiative and fix things the analyst hasn't specified, liaison with other teams until your boss tells you to stop? Learn job specific tech on the job but feel awkward watching a video series or setting up sample projects on the work machine?
Why are there so many people missing the bigger picture -- "the system is rigged, you'll never make enough to escape the wage slavery on the shitty salaries, bitch, moan, complaint!"
There's those types ^^^
Then there's the folks who shut up - do the work - and build shit. They're the ones who're taking the chance on hiring you dorks, knowing that you lack the initiative to build for the sake of the product, and are in a position where you value a paycheck versus the effort to build and the journey. This world is built on opportunity that was seized by opportunists - NOT built on complaining and swindling and the easy-road.
So, take your $150k+benefits, shove it in your piggy bank, and get back to work. Then when you have enough to fuck off - go build your own shit, and see how your perspective changes when you need to hire. Think if you want to hire someone who's doing 10% or 5% or whatever.
I think you're looking through one end of the looking glass. There's another.
There are companies who tolerate C- teammates and reward them the same or quite close to the A+ teammates. It's where the whole "10X" appellation came from. One person pulling the dead weight around. It's a meme at this point. I've witnessed it plenty in my career.
So yes, from your hiring perspective, it's fraudulent for anyone to do anything but give you their 100% at all times.
But if you reward the C- guy and the A+ guy the same, I would argue you are not holding up your end of the firing bargain, or at least the accountability bargain.
In that scenario, it might be completely rational for the A+ guy to do the math and realize that he does better for him or herself by being two C- performers at two different jobs, each within companies that either don't know any better, or are too poorly managed and not rewarding their star performers.
Similarly, there are all sorts of imbalances in the workplace that are not accounted for, and someone might chafe at. Childless employees are expected to put in more hours/overtime/crunches than parents. Smokers are excused for multiple daily breaks. Older people are out for medical reasons more often than younger. Chronic illness is it's own thing. It exists all over the place. On one hand, it's sympathetic and realistic. On the other hand, if you don't have "life" chipping away at your productivity and causing you to miss work opportunities like these others, it's hardly fair if you're not rewarded.
I've done the "overemployed" thing, but I try to only hold one W2 position when I do so. I believe that's slightly more honest.
At the moment I hold a sole 1099 contract and am involved technically in multiple startups. My conscience is clear right now. If I get bored, though, and unchallenged -- I'll be out interviewing.
> Similarly, there are all sorts of imbalances in the workplace that are not accounted for, and someone might chafe at. [...] On the other hand, if you don't have "life" chipping away at your productivity and causing you to miss work opportunities like these others, it's hardly fair if you're not rewarded.
I see this as a bit like insurance, though, where the healthy overpay while the less healthy underpay. It's not fair to the former at the time, but you pay into it because you never know when you might suddenly find yourself among the later.
You're assuming these people aren't actually doing the work. Dig into the OE community a bit. I just surfaced from that rabbit hold and its fascinating but one of the premises of the community is that responsible practitioners should actually be performing all of the job requirement, not coasting by on 5%, 20%, etc. Ever work with someone better, smarter, faster than you in every way? I have. They didn't need the full 40 to get the job done, the job that they were being paid to do.
Most salaries position doesn't describe specific tasks after the completion of which you'd be free - it's more that you're expected to do the maximum tasks your salaried hours would have you complete, to the max of your abilities.
If you do two jobs at the same time, i find it highly improbably that you'd be doing both to the max of your abilities.
If you do two jobs but serially - aka, a different job after hours of the first, you'd be burning yourself out i imagine.
Two people qualified for a position both get the job (two openings). The job is only worth a certain amount to the company so they both get the same pay.
Both are qualified but one is much, much better than the other. The slower one gets a perfectly acceptable, maybe even very good amount of work done in the allotted time, the company is happy!
The other worker gets the same amount of work done but in only 20 hours of time each week. (This isn't hypothetical, I've seen it play out many times) But they still only get the same pay. And, as it turned out, the company hired two people to do the job because there's only two people's worth of work to do (at the expected normal pace of the slower worker)
What's to be done? What is a fair solution here? Does fast worker slow things down since there's absolutely nothing to be gained from working faster, and they'll otherwise look lazy for half the week doing northing? What do they owe their employer, who made an agreement with them to do $X amount for $Y dollars with the expectation that it would (and normally does) take a person 40 hours to complete.
I don't see an equitable solution here that says "Faster worker must find more work to do at the same pay rate". That is not a meritocracy. But the idiosyncrasies & cultural norms of modern working conditions don't allow a worker to negotiate with an employer in terms of "Hey Company, you say that block of work is worth $100k over a normal work week. I'll take the $100k but it will only take me Monday & Tuesday to get it done, but that's great! You get what you need much earlier and I won't even ask for more money!"
No, instead we're fixated on the concept of a 40 hour work week as a on-size-fits-all model. And I can't for the life of me understand why a more talented worker should have to give more value per unit of time to their company for the full 40 hours a week without additional compensation, except for the fact of the social construct rooted in our collective sense of workforce norms.
Hell I've even had it happen to me-- not claiming I'm a superstar, I don't work twice as fast or anything, but some things I'm a little faster at. Early in my career I worked in a department that had a slow current workload. The only available tasks was catching up writing some end user documentation, something a senior colleague (but not a supervisor) expected to take me the rest of the day. I'm a decent writer and a decent technical writer though so I was done by lunch time, screen shots, annotations, narrative and all. done, handed in.
So I had nothing to do. There was no work, at all. So I opened a web browser and poked around some interesting site, only to have that colleague see me and proceed to ream me out as though I'd committed some horror. In front of the entire rest of the work group. It was one of the most infuriating and embarrassing moments of my career, and completely unjustified because even after all of that she could only make vague gestures in the vein of well find something!
It's ridiculous. If companies are-- understandably! --not going to pay higher performers more for the same job just because they get it done faster since they have ample other "normal speed" workers who would take that place, there's no reason for them to do it, but there's also no reason the employee shouldnt be able to say "hey I did what you pay me for so I'm going to got do this other thing.
Try to distance yourself from the idea that employees are signing on for a 40 hour work week: there's no verbiage of the sort in my contract. Once you separate that from the equation it becomes a negotiated exchange for the amount of labor needed to get the company's expectations of the job done, and if that's 20 hours instead of their expected-normal-capability-persons's 40 hours why should a person owe them more?
Nope, I found this fascinating so did a bit of searching. There a whole community (maybe a movement?) around OE (Over Employment), how to go about while 1) Legitimately doing the work required of you but 2) The practicalities of hiding dual employment status since it's often frowned upon if not outright banned (thoug some places baked it into their assumptions that employees may do this and simply set guidelines around how it must be done..
High level execs, especially in the C-level suites, are very commonly collecting multiple pay checks for sitting on the boards or advisory panels of a half dozen or more corporate entities. Why on earth should they be allowed to engage in that sort of activity while when others beneath them can't? Is the CEO putting in a 40 hour work week when they spend a decent % of their time jetting to their next board meeting for some other company or sitting in on conference calls for them etc.?
> High level execs, especially in the C-level suites, are very commonly collecting multiple pay checks for sitting on the boards or advisory panels of a half dozen or more corporate entities.
which is fine as long as those boards knows of it, none of this is hidden. And as board members, you needed to have at least some sort of financial interest in the company, or be able to convince the shareholders of said company to elect you into the board, and you can assume that they do so knowing that you might sit on multiple boards.
Maybe if we don't want people to hide it, we should eliminate the stigma and stop threatening to fire people who do it. Maybe instead we should focus on measuring performance through the work people deliver instead of micromanaging what people do in their free time.
And maybe we should educate the bosses that "full-time" work doesn't mean you own 40 hours of a person's time per week on a set schedule. You have the right to assign that person tasks and expect them to be completed within a reasonable time. If it gets done in less time than you expect and that employee pockets those hours to use on a side project or a second job, it's none of your business. And if they do the work at midnight instead of 4pm, that's also none of your business. Your business is the work getting done before the deadline. That's it.
> You have the right to assign that person tasks and expect them to be completed within a reasonable time. If it gets done in less time than you expect and that employee pockets those hours to use on a side project or a second job, it's none of your business.
this is what a contractor does. You get paid per result/project/output. If you get it done fast, you can choose to take on more jobs from elsewhere.
But this is not what is expected of a salaried employee. As an employee, you're expected to complete the max number of jobs in your allotted time. If you are assigned N tasks, and you are able to finish early, then the logical next step is to assign you N+1 tasks next time, until such that you end up using your 40hr week.
What's expected of a salaried employee by the sort of boss who has that expectation is a fantasy. Very few people actually deliver that. What people actually do is their assigned tasks, complete that in well under 40 hours, then spend a ton of time at work socializing, taking long lunches, zoning out to reddit or something, and most especially doing make-work: filler activities that look like work but isn't terribly productive.
From what I have observed over the years, a lot of people do make-work without even realizing it all due to the perception that they "owe" their employer 40 hours. So they waste countless hours of their time doing filler work to meet that obligation and convince themselves it was useful so they can sound convincing to their boss. It's not a lie if you believe it. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful drug.
But as soon as you realize that obligation is a fantasy we all pretend to uphold, you free yourself to focus only on the work that actually matters and reclaim whatever time is left to do other things that actually matter too.
Nobody should feel any guilt whatsoever for reclaiming that filler time to use for their personal enrichment, a side project, or a second job. And no boss should be under any illusion that people doing that is anything other than widespread and inevitable. Bosses can't stop it. And if they fire people they "detect" doing it, they'll probably just end up replacing that employee with another one who will do it more stealthily.
But if we want a better society, maybe we should stop creating the requirement of stealth and just be honest with each other that "full-time" work is an illusion and it's been an illusion since the rise of the knowledge economy. We're not factory workers. You're not paying us for presence, you're paying us for deliverables. Act like it.
It is. There's an OE community (Maybe a movement at this point). Where I work you're actually allowed, with permission, to have outside employment. But there was a case where a remote worker was found out to be working another full time job at the same time. They didn't have permission, and they were fired, even though their boss had no actual complaints. (I think it was discovered through that experien system that aggregates worker history & salary, which most companies subscribe to.)
It happens, it's real. And believe it or not, there are many "full time" jobs out there that can be done by a competent professional in half the time.
You can freeze you experian data so no new changes are added. I just found out about it when I went down the OE rabbit hole to see if this was legit and I'm well and truly creeped out by what's collected there. I'm perfectly fine "noping" out of yet another massive corporation tracking me in depth & detail without my explicit approval, so I have started the process of getting such a freeze.
What's the agreement? 40 hours alone is not sufficient information. 40 hours of what?
Having personally done this "overemployed" thing in some form for 15 years now, I write it right into the contracts. I deliver 40 hours of availability, and bill as such, with recognition in the contract that I may choose to work elsewhere when I am not needed, including provisions to prioritize another engagement, even when my availability is needed, under certain circumstances.
> Obviously he’s not working the full 40.
If by work you mean fulfilling the obligations of the agreement, he might be, depending on the nature of the agreement. Per my contracts, I can theoretically, when my availability isn't called on, work 40 hours sitting on the couch watching TV. I sell hours of availability. If that availability is not used, that is not my concern and not my business.
> It’s no different than if my mechanic, lawyer, etc does a project in 2 hrs, and bills me 4 hrs.
If you hired a staff mechanic or lawyer then it is likely that you will pay for 4 hours (or, perhaps more commonly, 8 hours) of work even if they only have 2 hours worth of work to do. It turns out that not all agreements are equivalent.
Which brings us back to the top. What's the agreement?
Which guy? The author of the article, which I read over a second time after reading your comment to make sure, doesn't appear to mention being paid by the hour.
A full time job by convention an social construct consists of a 40 hour work week but in practice the tend to encompass a certain body of work that's expected to be done every week. If that work can be done in 20 hours-- no random chit chat with co workers over bs non-work related stuff, foot travel to different meeting locations where you lose (at minimum) 15 minutes on both ends of the the meeting purely due to getting to a meeting location and waiting for others to arrive...remote work eliminates a lot of the BS overhead of in-office work of this sort. (don't get me wrong, some people-- including me-- find value and a certain amount of mental health balance in having that extra person contact. but not everyone)
Eliminating this in the post covid era of more pervasive acceptance of WFH means that even more of an employees time is freed above & beyond what's required to get the job done.
Sure, you might argue that you owe the full 40 hours, that you should find other projections, do more etc. But WHY! That isn't the agreement we make with employers. We agree to do a specific job for a specific wage and companies try somewhat to calibrate them into task chunks they feel should take roughly 40 hours a week. But the heart of the matter is that you're paid to do the job and NOT to fill a seat for 40 hours. Vanishingly few people get any sort of overtime or even comp time when those job tasks require 45, 50, 60+ hours of work each week. Why on earth should they be paid less or be prohibited from occupying their time more productively if their able to perform the ostensibly 40-hour chunk of work in only 15 or 20 hours?
I really don't think the OE approach is for me, but apart from pushing through the cognitive dissonance imposed by the social construct of the 40 hour work week seared into the public consciousness, I see not ethical or a priori reason why OE is bad or fraudulent or unethical of anything of that sort. All stipulating that the person is actually performing the required tasks of all jobs at the expected level of competency
Most jobs I have had are designed to apply pressure make sure you do the hours. Usually too much: I get behind on the 1 job and with the 40 and get pulled into rooms. I wonder where the laid back jobs are? Or do you have to mystify what you do. For example be the only k8s guy and then say “deploy a new cluster? give me a
week!”, and a
couple more days to
scale it up to 6 nodes!
> For example be the only k8s guy and then say “deploy a new cluster? give me a week!”, and a couple more days to scale it up to 6 nodes!
It's this. It only works at big companies. You carve out a niche where you don't have to work with anyone too entrenched in the enterprise muck, then you match the average rate of work and discover it takes basically no effort if you keep your code clean.
There are armies of developers out there that would legitimately take a week to "deploy a simple cluster" (I know basically nothing about k8s but can extrapolate to different things in other tech stacks). There are plenty that would legitimately take a month.
Big companies hire scores of cookie cutter junior consultants that have zero experience with the tech they're using, then erect incomprehensible mountains of accidental complexity that basically permastun the entire organisation.
On your typical 2000 developer team, the company is usually being held up by 50 or so devs that have managed to blast a path through the bullshit and deliver something useful. The other 1950 or so developers are doing absolutely fuck all. Most projects get cancelled. Most of the people I've worked with in enterprise I wouldn't even be able to tell you if they were trying their best or playing video games all day. It's all just cacophonous noise that you can occasionally pull a working feature from if you're lucky.
I find people that haven't worked in a few of these environments vastly underestimate the lack of productivity that drives a big organisation. It's the entire thing that makes startups possible. If it wasn't like this, we'd all have no shot against competitors with that much manpower and money.