If you’re tired of working long hours, a part-time—or even just 4 days a week—programming jobs seems appealing. You’ll still get paid, you’ll still hopefully enjoy your job—but you’ll also have more time for other things in your life.
Hypothetically you could negotiate for more free time, but obviously no company would ever agree to a shorter workweek, right?
And indeed there are plenty of people—on Hacker News especially—who will explain to you in great detail why this can’t be done, that no manager would ever agree to this, that it’s a logical impossibility, a mirage, a delusion, not even worth considering.
The fact is there are quite a few software developers who work less than full-time. And to help convince you, I figured I would share just a few of the examples I know of.
I’ve done it
Personally I’ve worked at three different software jobs at between 28 and 35 hours a week. And before that, when I left my last full-time job, my manager offered to help me find a part-time job there so that I would stay.
People who have read my book have done it
Since I appreciated having a shorter workweek so much, I ended up writing a book about negotiating a 3-day weekend, and a number of people who read my book have successfully done so.
I could share quotes from people who did it, and the sales page above includes just some of them, but you might feel that lacks a little credibility. So let’s move on—
People I’ve interviewed have done it
I also interviewed a number of people for the book, including a guy by the name of Mike who has been working 4 days a week for 15 years now. You can read the full interview with Mike if you want to get his perspective.
But he’s just one person, so let’s move on to the final category: random people on the Internet.
Random people on the Internet have done it
Here’s just a sample:
pushcx on lobste.rs: “I’ve worked part-time for about six years of my career.”
Seitsebb on lobste.rs: “I work four days a week and can recommend it.”
stsp on lobste.rs: “I was fortunate enough to be able to negotiate [Fridays off] while employed and it had a very positive impact on both my work and quality of life in general.”
acflint on dev.to: “I negotiated a 4 day weekend so I could spend time on my side project … and enjoy life more.”
autarch on Hacker News: “As part of my negotiations for my current job, I negotiated a 4-day (32 hour) work week. I take Fridays off and do my own projects and volunteer work.”
Boycy on Hacker News: “I asked my then employer if I could drop to 4 days a week, pro-rata, and was surprised when the answer was yes!”
notacoward on Hacker News: “When I reduced my hours, I was amused to notice that everyone from the VP who approved it down to the person in HR who handled the paperwork said they wished they could do the same. I told them all that they could.”
lubonay on Hacker News: “I worked on a 4-day week for about a year between 2017 and 2018 for a small consultancy company.”
duckworthd on Hacker News: “I’ve been working a 4 day/week schedule for 1.5 years now.”
I could go on, but no doubt this is getting repetitive.
You can do it too
Want to join us and get more time for yourself?
For most programmers, the easiest place to negotiate a 3-day weekend is at your current job.