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Why Full-Time Employment Isn't For Me

As I have been thrusted into the workforce after graduating Uni (with little support mind you) my reaction over time to looking for full-time positions has been not very positive. I'm very glad to work for people, and I have done a fair bit of volunteering and casual work (several years). But the idea of working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with little breaks just makes me feel imprisoned.

Here are some reasons why I don't want to work full-time

  • Mental illness
    • High stress in a full-time job has actually caused me to develop a mental illness. It was rather bad.
  • Working on code/tech 8 hours a day, 5 days a week is probably unhealthy for most people
  • I have a strong desire to work on creative projects (eg. Arduino, games, web)
  • I have a strong desire to learn new things
    • Programming languages
    • Making mobile apps
    • Making desktop programs
    • The broad world of web development
  • I have some community responsibilities
    • Hobart Hackerspace - sometimes needed for help, I'm the treasurer
    • Hobart Makers - useful to be around during the day at Enterprize, I'm the treasurer
  • I despise getting up early (before 8AM or so)
  • As above, I'm a night owl
  • I like the flexibility to take breaks away from work, for various reasons (during the week!)
    • Holidays (may want to take more than the allowed amount for a certain job)
    • A new game gets released
    • Events happening during the day at Enterprize for example
  • Have the flexibility to work on weekends, and have a break day during the week so I'm not working all the time
  • Game/code jams - be able to do them and work the week after, after taking a day off to relax
    • GovHack 2019 was particularly successful and lucrative - I would like to be able to do these events and not burn myself out during the week
  • I have regular week night social commitments that take up time I would have liked to use for creative projects and learning (if I was working full time) These take up 2-3 nights per week.
    • Hobart Hackerspace
    • Board games
    • Hobart Makers
    • Dungeons and Dragons/RPGs
    • Social events at Enterprize
  • I like being able to take on littler jobs and responsibilities. Like Game Time LAN (NDIS), Arduino projects for people, working with CSIRO, workshops, hosting the VR course by James Riggall, volunteering for Hackerspace/Makers, etc
  • Have the time for normal hobbies, eg. guitar, bike riding, walks, drawing, etc

What I plan to do for self-employment

I've just started to work on my business plan for self-employment. Here are some things I aim to do:

  • Workshops
    • General computer and technology usage workshops for all ages (esp. elderly)
    • Technical workshops
    • Robotics
    • Programming
  • Tech support - help using and fixing computers
  • Programming
    • Web development
    • Python
  • Electronics (embedded systems)
    • Arduino/AVR
  • Try to restart the Game Time LAN gaming sessions for people with disabilities

Hopefully, I can find some regular work (eg. with the workshops) that can pay the bills. And the other work can be bonuses that I really enjoy and contribute in a positive way.

Update 19/02/2020 I thought of some more reasons why I don't like full-time work!

  • Taking breaks to work on something different - It's not quite a holiday, but working on one of your own projects can be rejuvenating to your motivation. Doing something creative and interesting to you can give you a little boost when you go back to work. Google actually lets employees do this, but hardly any other tech companies do (Hello, my previous employer).
  • Travelling on the weekend - Two days (the weekend) isn't quite enough to go for a quick trip to another state. You spend up to a whole day travelling, leaving two half days to explore. Three days would be ideal - then you have one full day to go see things.
  • Tech conferences and talks - One example is LCA (Linux Conference Australia) - a week-long conference. I would not like this to use up my holidays as it's fairly work related. I don't know if employers will let me go to these and not use holiday time.

So the running theme is that I like to have more flexibility.

Key reasons

  • Strong interests that are time consuming
  • Being worn out when working and having strong tech interests (mental health)
  • Responsibilities (NDIS LANs, Hackerspace, etc)
  • I like flexibility a lot and anticipate interruptions
  • I'm very self-driven and I like to dictate what I do to a significant degree

Update 26/02/2020

I've been writing my business plan, and it made me think of another important reason. Relating to previous reasons listed.

  • I would like to sustain my broad range of skills, by being able to continue learning about them, and applying them to work clients and personal projects. In a full-time job, it is unlikely that I will be able to do this*

*In my previous full-time job, it gave me a broad range of projects that covered my skills fairly well. It was however a very stressful (and isolating) job that drove me into mental illness. Working my own hours and choosing my own projects dramatically reduces chances of mental illness recurring.

Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels

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