A 40-hour workweek is enough hours to consume a huge part of your life. And once you add in your commute, you might be spending 50+ hours a week on your job. Then of course there’s crunch time, when your hours are even longer.
You don’t want to sacrifice your personal life to your job.
You don’t want to burn out.
You don’t want to work yourself to death.
You’d much rather work 32 hours a week, not 40, or 50, or 60. But while companies might be willing to pay a lot for developers, in practice you can’t help feeling most companies won’t let you work fewer hours.
If you could work shorter hours at all your future jobs—
If every weekend was a 3-day weekend—
—then you could get back your energy. You could get back the time you want—the time you need. Energy and time for your own projects, your family, your friends, your own choices.
You don’t want to become a consultant, because running a business seems like huge time investment. You want to be hired by a company, as a normal employee.
Unfortunately, jobs with 3-day weekends aren’t easy to find. The closest thing you’ll find are part-time programming jobs, and even those are practically non-existent. A quick search for “Software Engineer” on a job board found 215,000 full-time jobs—and only 3,600 part-time jobs. And in practice many of those weren’t part-time jobs: some were internships, some were actually full-time, one was a retail job at the MIT bookstore (it’s a good bookstore, but I doubt they pay programmer salaries).
Unless you want to work retail, jobs with shorter hours are not the norm, and so companies don’t offer them. After all, many companies would much rather you work 60 hours a week: they’re not going to offer you 30 hours a week if they can help it.
Even if you could find such a job, how would you pay the bills? You couldn’t live off half your current salary. If you need your current pay, that means you need to work your current working hours, right? And what about health insurance?
But what if you could have a 3-day weekend, and still make a decent salary with the benefits you need? You’d be enjoying your extra free time while keeping the same lifestyle.
So how do you find this dream job? Given that almost no companies advertise them, your remaining option is negotiating a custom deal. You could negotiate a 3-day weekend, and negotiate for enough extra money to make it worth your while.
But even if that’s possible, you don’t really know how to go about negotiating. You’ve never negotiated for reduced hours before, after all:
You wish you could negotiate that 3-day weekend right now—but you don’t really know where to look or how to do it.
If you had the skills, knowledge, and experience to get the hours, salary, and benefits you need—
If negotiating a 3-day weekend was something you could do over and over again—
You could join those of us who’ve already done it:
How do programmers with a 3-day weekend spend their extra time? Here are some answers I’ve heard:
What would you do with your extra day if you had a 3-day weekend?
Are you ready to take the next step, and find the job you’ve been dreaming of?
As you saw, almost no companies offer reduced hours or 3-day weekends. If you want a 3-day weekend, if you want more time that belongs to you, you need to learn how to negotiate to get the job you want. And you can learn how by reading my book, Negotiate a 3-Day Weekend.
Here’s what a reader of an earlier iteration of the book has to say: “Inspired by your book I actually negotiated an offer from a new company to work 32 hours per week, my first part-time job ever… I’m so looking forward to those free Fridays!”
The book will teach you how to negotiate a programming job with a 3-day weekend (or maybe Wednesdays off instead, that can be nice too). Based on my personal negotiating experience, real-world stories of other programmers who negotiated reduced hours, and extensive research, you’ll learn:
The book isn’t done yet, but you can get started now. Sign up below to get my favorite 15-minute negotiating exercise: it’ll help you practice your skills and free up some time at work. You’ll also be the first to know when Negotiate a 3-Day Weekend is released.
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BTW, if you really want to get started today, you can buy the previous iteration of this book, The Programmer’s Guide to a Sane Workweek. It’s broader in scope than the new book, but it still has a number of chapters specifically dedicated to negotiation in general and reduced hours in particular.
You’ll get two books for the price of one:
- The Programmer’s Guide to a Sane Workweek in PDF, Kindle, and epub formats. And you’ll get it today.
- Negotiate a 3-Day Weekend when it’s released, with even more practical advice on negotiating reduced hours.
You can negotiate that 3-day weekend even faster if you buy the book now (just US$39+taxes).
Hi! I’m Itamar. I’ve been writing software since 1995 or so. As an employee I’ve worked for companies small and big, ranging from 8-person startups to a year at Google as a product manager (my previous employer got acquired). And as a consultant I’ve written software for a similarly broad range of companies.
As far as I can remember, certainly in the past 10 years, I’ve never worked more than 40 hours a week. Sometimes I’ve worked remotely, more often in person. And in the past few years I’ve been working less than 40 hours. I wrote this book in the hopes of helping you and other programmers get a shorter workweek, just like I have.