The world is full of contradictions. Tens of thousands of people are working for several companies at the same time, and tens of thousands more are losing their jobs at tech giants. How to deal with all this? I don’t know, but it’s certainly worth discussing.
1. Overemployment = underdelivery?
We start with a taboo subject that has recently received a lot of attention in the media – mainly in the US. Journalists and employers have ‘discovered’ a completely ‘new’ phenomenon. After a good few years of working remotely, it has become clear that there are many people who work two (three or four) jobs. Secretly, of course.
Do you think I was joking when I wrote about four full-time jobs? No, just take a peek at Tik-Tok, where you will meet Cali. Cali recently boasted about working for four companies at the same time, reaching an audience of 2 million. Recipients made no secret of their fascination and some of their outrage. Cali’s response was a brief “Am I toxic? Lol”. If you are not convinced by Tik-Tok, just go to Reddit. There you will find a community of 119,000 people suggesting that so-called overemployment can be very profitable.
Vanity Fair quotes some of the contributions from developers on Reddit and confirms that this is popular especially in Silicon Valley. One engineer boasts of earning $200k a year for 15 hours of work and an additional $95k for reviewing source code that no one sends him. There are others who claim to have been employed in five positions at once, starting at US$16/hour and going up to US$1.2M a year. It probably goes without saying how this translates into efficiency in each of these companies.
Many such ‘stories’ are written by internet trolls, probably part-time. But the problem can be serious, and not just from the employers’ point of view. I am leaving out the ethics, as this is a matter of individual judgement. Rather, I am referring to the inherent elements of overemployment. These include the stress created by the fear of being ‘detected’, especially when our contract prohibits competitive activity. Added to this is the need to remain ‘average’ so as not to stand out from the team and not to be given too many new tasks. As a consequence, this leads to a stagnant career where money is at a very high level, but the level of satisfaction with personal progress is quite the opposite.
Nevertheless, I think that working several jobs at the same time will become more and more ‘popular’, especially in the context of the coming recession. Thus, doctors and nurses, who have long been working more than eight hours a day, will also be joined by programmers.
Has overemployment already reached Europe? When I look at the data on the most overworked nationalities (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Rumunia in the TOP20), I have some suspicions…
2. Here’s a browser your boss will love
Let’s leave workaholism behind, because here comes a browser that can effectively relieve you of it… or the opposite.
SigmaOS is a London-based start-up that has set out to create a browser for efficiency nerds. The concept is liked by investors, as evidenced by the $4 million funding. From the project’s website you can already download version 1.0 (for now only for macOS) and see how it differs from all those chromes and firefoxes.
Don’t let your first impression fool you! SigmaOS is a pretty interesting workspace. You can create separate “Workplaces” in it to store selected websites. In this way, you group your work and create personalised categories for yourself. The individual tabs, on the other hand, are conceived as tasks which you close once you have completed your work on the specific page. In this way, your page backlog cleans up and the associations with Jira come to mind…
Depending on your needs, you can also split your browser screen in two to keep the most important information at hand (e.g. a cheat sheet to write code) or enable focus mode, which hides unnecessary buttons and functions. Of course, AdBlock is built in, so apart from social media you really won’t be distracted by anything.
I think this type of browser will appeal to more than just geeks. Bosses will like it too. I guarantee it.
3. Amazon this time
If you read us regularly, you’ll know that the last topic in Career Weekly has been sounding similar for the past few weeks. This time (unfortunately) it won’t be different. Amazon has joined the companies cutting jobs, almost equalling Facebook in the ‘Layoffs of the Year’ category. 10,000 people are likely to part ways with the e-commerce giant, with more redundancies planned for 2023. In the case of Amazon, the news was “semi-official” for a long time, but the situation has now been commented on by the current CEO, Andy Jassy. The reasons for the layoffs will come as no surprise to you, so I will simply leave you with a link to the CEO’s statement here.
In this case, it is not only the causes and consequences that are similar. Like other tech giants, Amazon scored a PR fail. Shortly after the layoffs it launched a brand new marketing campaign under the slogan “Joy is made”:
“What a happy year!” – shouted 10,000 people. And started praying that the next year would not be “happier”.