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Is "Work Less, Earn More" an Achievable Dream?

Achieving a work-life balance and high earnings can be challenging in the tech industry. How do high-performing developers manage to work less and earn more, and what's your perspective on this approach?

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Top comments (10)

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington • Edited

This reminds me of the "work smarter, not harder" phrase... which makes me wanna respond with another cliche — "easier said, than done."

That sounds more terse than I actually feel though. Truth is, it is pretty tough to work smarter, not harder... and it's also tough to work less and earn more. But, it can be achievable!

Here are some tactics that I think help:

  1. Set boundaries for yourself and others. Give yourself a set time span or max number of hours in the day that you'll work and don't exceed that. If you must, you can break your rules every once in a while, but let your manager know that you're doing more and try to negotiate time off in exchange.
  2. Talk to your organization honestly and openly about what it's going to take for you to get paid X (whatever X may be). Also, let them know that your time is important to you.
  3. Show your worth! Show them that you can do good work efficiently; log your achievements somewhere, so that you and others can see it. Also, you can demonstrate your leadership skills by working with others in your org to achieve a big project in a good timeline. Again, make sure to communicate this to your boss and team so that they know the important role you play.
  4. Find a job that you mostly enjoy & where they truly value work/life balance... it's always easier to do the work when you find the job enjoyable. And, if you're at a place where they truly value work/life balance then you're much more likely to be able to negotiate a reasonable contract where you work less and earn more.
manchicken profile image
Mike Stemle

I think it’s possible. Our labor always produces more value than we are paid in wages, and that’s where profit comes from.

If we were to engage in large scale work action, I think we could get a greater share of the value we produce, but I think we’re a ways off.

The amount of solidarity and cohesion necessary for this sort of change would be substantial.

fjones profile image

As someone who went from rank-and-file senior developer to lead developer and then on to team lead... It kinda just happened. These days, my workload is fairly minimal, but my responsibility is massive. But it's also arguably a waste of my skillset, because I'm barely getting any actual software development work done myself.

So, yes, I'm definitely working less, but I'd hesitate to call that a good thing. And oh god all the meetings...

lnahrf profile image
Lev Nahar

That is why I refused to go into management positions. I just can't with all the meetings, I can't.

lnahrf profile image
Lev Nahar • Edited

It is achievable up to a certain point.
A few things happen when you achieve seniority at a workplace:

A) You can complete tasks faster than you did years ago. You are more efficient and therefore can complete complicated tasks with relative ease, which reduces your overall work load (if you’re smart about it).

B) On the other hand, you get invited to more useless meetings, your input is required more often, yours and other team members rely on your expertise, which can slow you down significantly and bloat your day.

With some luck, and some workplace survival skills you can achieve a sweet spot where you still work on interesting topics hands-on (aka “the brain itch”) but your schedule is free and dynamic enough to avoid burning out.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

artxe2 profile image
Yeom suyun

The key is to work less and create more value.
However, it seems that those who can do this generally enjoy working and work a lot.

juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

That's the dream tho.

villelmo profile image
William Torrez • Edited

Is a dream, for example: study less and will have to success in the exam.

Probably you fail and retake the subject. Not exist alternative in the life, the easy life is for the lazy.

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lewisnielsen profile image

I think it's possible. But it all depends on what you do, and your professionalism.
And actually, it's the dream I want to achieve one day

sethsandaru profile image
Seth Phat

Possible but it takes time, determination, courage, and money (to invest).

IMO, "Work less, earn more" won't go with the normal employee contracts. Somehow, in the long run, you can definitely work less but earn more? I don't think so. Not to mention that you're not 100% safe, layoff can happen anytime.

As a Software Engineer, start your own side hustle projects, e.g.:

  • Tools or simple SaaS: Deploy it and find users who actually enjoy using it. Develop premium features and sell,...
  • Content platform (news, videos, forum, etc): Nurture it, learn how to SEO, drive traffic,...
  • Mobile game (I know there are some solo developers out there too)
  • and so many more ideas

Failure definitely there along the way, don't lose hope and determination. Keep pushing for ideas and implementing them.

Use 1-2 hours of your day to pursue your ideal apps. Who knows if it become your next startup?

I have some projects up and running for 4+ years and making good. I'm not stopping just yet, still developing another one.

You can also check out Tony Dinh blog for his journey.