I type this from my cushy home office, both dogs are in the office with me sleeping off their bunny chasing induced haze. Seriously, I have a damn good life. I get to work the hours I want (mostly) from an office where I have literally no coworkers or bosses shoulder surfing. It’s great, I love it.
I don’t love working from home because it’s easier to slack off, which it is easier to slack off. I love it because when I channel the ADHD super human ability of hyper-focus, I can get a TON of work done in short order.
Hyper-focus is the drug I’m constantly chasing. It’s the high I want. I want to ship and deliver. So while I made myself a giant pot of chili for lunch (working from home while you’re an aspiring Michelin star home chef is a tasty experience), I get on the good ole hacker news. To catch up on the latest tech
gossip er news. He he.
Well, eating my chili I’m reading a story about Interview Fraud. It’s disturbing because in the future, I want to work from home and when I decide to leave my present employer, I want to move to ANOTHER fully remote team. Interview Fraud concerns me, but then I come upon something I’ve encountered in my office before; the guy that works 2, 3 even 4 or 5 jobs at the same time. There’s a website and subreddit dedicated to this discussion (See r/overemployed or overemployed . com).
Meet my friend Billy Bob
Billy Bob isn’t his real name, and he’s not my friend anymore. But let’s change the name of the guy I used to work with to Billy. I worked with Billy at two companies. The first company was a major health insurance company. He was a decent worker but really chill and always down to get a cup of coffee from the cafe downstairs. I love getting coffee with coworkers. 20 minutes to drink some expensive brew while getting to know someone at work is a great team building experience.
Anyways, I come to learn that Billy has 3 jobs. Each job pays him from $75 to $95 an hour and he grosses around $500,000 a year. Holy crap. The funny thing about Billy is Billy is broke. Always broke. Turned out he was funneling money to his $500k house and paid it off in like 5 years and buying coke (The white stuff not the crap in the red can).
After that he helps me land a job making the most money I’ve ever made at that point for a cable company. As it turns out, He only helped me get the job because he could make an additional $10 an hour off my contract; it was a favor to him… Anyways, I’m working at this company now and I learn one day that he now has 4 jobs.
Billy goes on to get fired for watching too much TV at the Cable TV company instead of delivering real value and work.
I eventually get fired from the Cable TV company for reporting that someone was harassing me. How that’s legal, I don’t know.
Enter work from home
Getting fired from the Cable TV company was the best thing to happen to my career. I went on to work in 1099 independent contracting which I have been doing now for 4 years. I love working from home. The trouble is people like Billy Bob are everywhere and they’re a pain to get fired.
I had another guy on my team at the new company, let’s call him Chris. Chris joined my team, made big promises and for 6 months did absolutely no work. As the lead, I spent a significant amount of time trying to get him fired after 2 months of non delivery. I had a $600k budget and this guy would chew up $200k if I didn’t get him off my team. That $600k was all I had for the next year to deliver my massive project on time.
Anyways, I eventually come to getting this guy off my team and eventually he gets fired.
Delivery matters but ethics matter more
Let’s say a job you take on pays you 40 hours of money each week but only require 10 hours worth of effort. What do you do?
First you deliver your commitments. 10 hours a week or so of work? Get it done quickly and show your boss / team that you’re done. Then ASK FOR MORE WORK. There is ALWAYS more work that can be done. If they can’t come up with something for you to do, then go take initiative and find something to do. Start poking holes at what you don’t know, build understanding and fill in the gaps of the project or organization you’re working for. Write unit tests. Get coffee with coworkers. Ask coworkers if you can help.
Deliver real value to your team and to your company. Have some ethics and don’t do the bare minimum. Be honest about your lack of ability to find things to do. I’ve had several jobs that have said; you’re warming the bench right now, bill us 40 and we’ll keep cutting checks for the next few weeks before the next big project comes along. When you’re a bench warmer, then you get to really slack off, because now you have permission. Thats when you could pick up some short term freelance work or better yet; SPA day!
Every team has cycles, holidays slow the WAY DOWN, summer or spring tends to be the busy season for a lot of industries. Work your ass off and feel good about it. It’s boring, mind numbing to come in and do the minimum possible. Contribute, build, create, you have license and even are paid to create. So damn it, go build something.