I’ve made the case the best time to work may be during a pandemic. With fewer things to do, you might as well spend more time making more money. Further, if you are able to work from home, you could actually figure out a way to work less and still get paid in full!
Since March 2020, I’ve talked to many tech friends about their work schedules. About 80 percent of them said they loved the flexibility of working from home because they had more freedom. They also said they were able to work fewer hours and get the same amount of work done. As a result, they could play more tennis during the day, catch a SF Giants matinee game, take long naps, and travel everywhere.
Hearing about their flexible work schedules made me really think about going back to work full-time. Our worlds were converging, therefore, I thought I might as well get paid. Besides, with two young children, having subsidized health care, paid time off, 401(k) matching, and a steady paycheck sounded good.
But my wife knocked some sense back into me by asking whether any of my tech friends had kids. None did. Therefore, the freedom my friends had working from home would be different from the freedom I was imagining.
I put my dreams of getting paid to do less aside until now.
In Search Of The 2-Hour Work Day For Full-Time Pay
My ideal number of hours to work a day is four; two hours in the morning before the kids wake up, one hour in the afternoon, and then one hour in the evening. Three to four hours is the ideal amount of productivity without going into the FML zone.
However, recently, I discovered there are some people who only work two hours a day and get paid full-time! Better.com, a digital mortgage company in the SF Bay Area, recently laid off 900 employees. Vishal Garg, the CEO, accused over 250 of those 900 laid off to be stealing from the company by only working two hours a day.
In a Blind post, Garg wrote, “You guys know that at least 250 of the people terminated were working an average of 2 hours a day while clocking in 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system? They were stealing from you and stealing from our customers who pay the bills that pay our bills. Get educated.”
On the one hand, getting laid off several weeks before the winter holidays is a real bummer. This used to happen all the time in banking so firms could save on paying out year-end bonuses. On the other hand, I am fascinated how employees were able to only work two hours a day on average for so long.
Rationally, I think most of us would happily take a job that pays full-time while letting us work part-time. Garg’s comment is validation that working from home can be really awesome for a lot of employees!
Work From Home Joy
Here’s a great comment from a Financial Samurai reader named Dave, who started working from home once the pandemic began.
I am in sales and my job is 100x easier post-pandemic. I used to spend about 20 hours a week in an office and 20 hours traveling to see customers. Half the office time was wasted socializing or just being there to show face.
Now, with WFH, I work about 15 hours a week and have been for 1.8 years. I’m early 30s and in sales and make about $300,000 a year. I could work more but it’s not worth it at this point.
I don’t have a side hustle because I’m not interested in working more. The only problem is I spend about 3-4 hours a day not doing anything work-related. But I’m checking my phone every 5-10 minutes to see if my boss messaged me or if there’s any customer issue.
I believe this makes me live in a bit of an anxious state but I’ll take it! This won’t last forever though, it’s just a lucky period until work travel starts again probably next spring.
So Much Free Time
Given working 15 hours a week is within my ideal number of hours to work a week, I asked Dave what he does with the rest of his time. He responded,
Nothing too exciting. I play golf a lot and I exercise almost every day at 3pm when the gym is empty. I go to a lot of self-care type appointments like physical therapy, chiropractor, mental therapy, massages, or other doctors which eats up a lot of time with travel to the offices.
Further, I sometimes take a nap after the gym from 4-5 to recharge for the night. My wife works more than me so I do a lot of household chores during the day. I listen to podcasts or read financial blogs (-;
Not bad. Not bad at all!
Industries That Pay More And Let You Work Less
I really thought running a lifestyle business was the best way to get paid more and work less. However, since starting Financial Samurai in 2009, I’ve had many weeks where I have ended up working normal 40+ hours because there was always something to do. And when I first started, I wanted to do everything.
Today, I’m better at working ~20 hours a week. The main reason is parenthood followed by knowing more precisely what I want.
Here are three lucrative industries that probably have a better work/life balance thanks to the pandemic.
1) Management Consulting: Less travel, so probably less work. Can you imagine having to get on a plane every Sunday to meet a client on Monday? Then you’ve got to live out of a hotel room until Friday and fly back home. Sure, it can be fun for the first year or two. But after a while, traveling so much gets old real fast.
2) Technology: No more commuting to work, but a lot more video conference calls. The largest firms like Google, Facebook, and Apple continue to delay going back to work. They’ve also allowed more people to permanently work from home or have hybrid schedules. But the key is not having to sit at your desk all day once your responsibilities are done.
3) Law: Lawyers seem to be benefitting too. Here’s one reader’s comment: As a litigator, most of my work (reviewing documents, legal research, brief writing) can now be done remotely. Client calls were already frequently done via telephone/videoconferencing. Depositions of witnesses are a bit more complicated when you’re not in the room with the witness. But I’ve actually enjoyed them more remotely than having to deal with the extra time/hassle of going to wherever the witness is located for a deposition.
Lucrative Industries That Probably Have Been Hurt
Banking is another high-paying industry. Unfortunately, business is booming with so many mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs. Further, the bull market is creating a lot more wealth to manage and a lot more trading volume.
We also heard heavy complaining from some GS analysts for inhumane work conditions. Therefore, banking is unlikely an industry that will enable employees to work less. Although, the rank and file employees all got big raises during the pandemic.
Venture Capital is a pretty cushy job. You get paid big bucks while investing other people’s money with no downside. No need to go through the grind of building a business either. If your investments turn sour, the limited partners won’t find out for 5-10 years. By then, you can start another fund. But I suspect the pandemic has made being a VC less fun because there are less boondoggles.
How Companies Track Work From Home Employees
Employers can surveil your conversations in any company-run software. Assume that everything you type on your work laptop and work phone is monitored. Therefore, never conduct personal business on work equipment.
Employers can also see everything you write in email. They aren’t constantly reading what you write. However, if you write emails that contains certain keywords, they can get automatically flagged to the administrator for review. Therefore, please don’t use blasphemous, discriminatory, foul, or suspicious language.
During my exiting process in 2012, I almost blew up my severance package. While e-mailing some personal files to my personal e-mail address, I accidentally e-mailed a client data file. HR was alerted immediately and I was sent to the principal’s office.
The client data file had client names, contact info, and revenue information. Luckily, after making me sweat an entire weekend, HR was forgiving because I told them it was a mistake and the file was five years old. I also reiterated I wasn’t going to a competitor. I was retiring from the industry altogether.
Most workplaces now use Slack, Google Workplace, and Microsoft Teams to do remote work. All of these work systems have monitoring features. VPNs and remote-desktop software have the same web-browsing monitoring as at a physical office. Finally, video recordings can all monitor who is looking at the camera or not.
How To Evade Company Surveillance
If you don’t want your employer to track your keystrokes, mouse movements, and the websites you visit, perhaps there’s a way.
1) Set expectations up front.
Let’s say you’re a parent. You can tell your boss that between 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM you won’t be online because you are driving your son to preschool. Then from 3:10 PM to 4:30 PM, you will also be offline because you’ve got to pick him up. Each way takes 25-35 minutes, depending on traffic.
You should also make clear when you like to take your breaks. These include your bathroom breaks, walk breaks, smoke breaks, lunch breaks, and snack breaks. You probably want to just share your lunch break time slot at first, because all these breaks tend to add up to a lot of unproductive time!
Given we tend to always have our phones on us, we might as well keep them on and connected just in case a colleague does need to reach us.
The reality is, so long as you are getting your work done and attending mandatory meetings, you should be fine. Your boss is busy. She doesn’t have time to monitor your every move. Nor does she probably want to.
The average hours worked a week is actually less than 40 in America. Not bad.
2) Join a winning company.
When a company is growing rapidly and/or making tons of money, you might get more surveillance leeway. It’s usually when there’s a negative change in business when companies start cost-cutting and clamping down on waste.
For example, I presume Better.com wouldn’t have laid off 900 employees if the refinancing boom didn’t slow down due to a rise in rates. When things are booming, mortgage companies need all the manpower they can get, even if it’s just for two hours a day!
Therefore, if you want to have more flexibility at work, you might want to join an established company that is still growing quickly versus a startup or an ex-growth company. In other words, it may be better to join Google than a Series A startup or an AT&T.
3) Buy a mouse jiggler and use a green screen.
If you’re really sneaky, you could buy a mouse jiggler on Amazon to keep you logged in and active while you go play a round of golf. This is what one of my tech friends who works from home suggested. You might even ask someone you trust to keep you logged in. However, there are ethical issues with these methods and you’ll probably get reprimanded if your company finds out.
Here’s another strategy where a guy uses a green screen on his company work calls while doing whatever he wants. His whole series is hilarious!
Want to work out while on a company call? No problem! Green screen!
Evading company surveillance is just going to get harder with more “bossware” software. Therefore, it’s better to be upfront about your daily routine. Further, your boss is being monitored as well. And she probably also wants some time off during the day.
The Demand For Labor Is Strong
Companies need to be careful not to overdo their surveillance monitoring of employees. Nobody wants to feel like Big Brother or Big Sister is always watching. A surveillance culture will negatively affect hiring. At the same time, companies have the right to get the agreed-upon full day’s work.
It’s just that ~80% of the people I’ve spoken to since the pandemic began have said they’ve taken advantage of being able to work from home. Even parents, who’ve had to juggle both childcare and work, have said they’ve been able to use more company time to take care of their children.
In a strong labor environment, WFH employees can probably continue to work less and get paid the same if they want to. However, if there is ever another 10%+ correction in the stock market, I would tighten up the slacking and be more productive. Employees should also strategically be better employees during year-end bonus and promotion times.
As for me, I’m still on the path of taking it down next year. Given I believe one of the worst times to retire is during a pandemic, I decided to work harder since 2020. But once my two years of sprinting is over, I’m done. Even if I could work only two hours a day and get paid full time, I’m going to leave these work opportunities for others.
Readers, anybody else able to work less and get paid more during the pandemic? What are some ways in which you or others evade company surveillance? Wouldn’t companies risk alienating their employees if they surveil too much? What other industries or jobs are enabling employees to work less and get paid more? What about the ethics of not working a full day while getting paid for a full day’s work?
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Hi I’m over 50 with a lot of different experience. I’ve been driving myself crazy trying to find a legit work from home job. I don’t know where to turn. I know I still have good qualities to offer someone. I could even start my own thing. I just don’t know where to turn or who to trust.
Donald Ray Harrison says
On the other hand, if you work in the defense industry, working 2 hours/day and charging 8 hours/day can not only result in you being terminated for cause, the company will have to repay the government for the mischarged hours as well as fines that are assessed. In my mind, 2 hours and getting paid is just stealing. Call me old fashioned, but my agreement (and my word) with the company is to work 8 hours/day for which I am paid. Anything less is stealing.
Financial Samurai says
I do wonder whether the employees really only worked 2 hours a day. Bc that is excessive. 4-5 hours a day seems more realistic.
Ah the defense industry, my tax dollars at waste.
>or an AT&T
Haha. I worked at ATT. They have been tracking employees for years. Software shows which apps are in focus and for how long. They grant view access at the manager level.
However layoffs and rebadging were based on location and which offices they wanted shut down.
ATT used to be flush with cash but CEO gave billions to TMobile then overpaid tens of billions for DirectTV and Time Warner and granted himself a generous retirement pkg. So they had to reduce expenses in labor.
Financial Samurai says
Oh man, one of my dog investments with an 8% yield! At one point, it was performing. But not for long. So sad.
I think the 40 hour work week, or in tech the always available work week, took a well deserved hit during the pandemic.
The focus now should be more on results and value than hours worked, both for employer and employee.
Some careers are already built this way. Some can’t be. My advice would be to find a career with employers that values value, not hours. Seek jobs that provide leverage, full commission sales for example, where the system is already built this way. If you’re not in that type of job, be creative and apply your own leverage once you’ve established your value. Maximize your $/hour, and then find the number of hours that works for you.
Financial Samurai says
Focusing on value is great for entrepreneurs, hustlers, and the self-motivated.
Sam, you’re the man. I always appreciate your writing and insight. Selfishly, I ask that you at least keep working on Financial Samurai… maybe get it down to 1 hour a day? :-)
Olaf, the Mile High Finance Guy says
I find it hard to believe that 250 of the 900, or nearly 30% of those laid off, were truly only working two hours a day. Personally, it seems more of a way to dehumanize and cast them as enemies so that those remaining don’t feel poorly about the layoffs. If it is genuinely the case that 30% were faking their hours, then that reflects more poorly on management for creating bullshit jobs in the first place (queue the book Bullshit Jobs: A Theory).
There is a ton of blowback on LinkedIn, and I’m sure on Glassdoor and others, about them. Good luck getting quality people to join! They are marked now. That CEO will be learning a valuable PR lesson.
Olaf, the Mile High Finance Guy says
And he now has been “forced” to take vacation while the board evaluates his prior actions.
David @ Filled With Money says
The Green Screen idea is hilarious. I remember one interview that I went through. Halfway through the interview, I realized the guy is using a software or an embedded system to mask his background! It was hilarious. I wanted to point it out but refrained and remained professional.
One sentence stuck out at me. You mentioned that layoffs in banking would happen around December to avoid paying out bonuses, did companies actually avoid paying bonuses that way? A lot of banking folks I know who got laid off around October/November/December got paid 100% of their bonus, even without working the full year.
It wouldn’t be like “95%” like the working folks who were left behind would get come actual bonus cycle. It would actually be the full on 100% plus severance pay.
Yeah – What kind of work? You left out a pretty big part there pal/gal
Financial Samurai says
I’ve been fortunate to work from home for the past 17 years, way back when AIM messenger was the only real option.
I spent the majority of that time working for a company where my responsibilities increased slightly, but my efficiency increased dramatically. What used to take me 8 hours could eventually be done in 2 hours. There’s a moral line that has to be weighed, IMO, when you increase your efficiency. Are you being paid to get a job done, or are you being paid to work for 8 hours? I battled with that question for many years.
Eventually, I decided that I’d prefer to run my own business with my own clients and avoid the moral battle. I opted to charge by the project rather than by the hour, since I had increased my efficiency. That switch allowed me to more than double my income while only working less than an hour each day. Granted, I have two toddlers, so it doesn’t always feel like <1 hour work days.
Financial Samurai says
Well said on the dilemma.
Working less than one hour a day and doubling your income is great! What is it that you do?
I could get used to one hour a day of work as well probably, especially for more money.
This pandemic has been boon to some tech employees. I am comfortable with my main job and can usually wrap things up with 10-20 hours per week. Its a full time job. So i picked a second contracting job that i work 40 hours and get paid nicely. I am able to do this as none of them are expecting to me in work place. Few people i know are even working three gigs. We can argue al day whether it is ethical but end of day both clients are happy
Financial Samurai says
Amazing! The best of both worlds and a great way to supercharge your savings and investments.
It is absolutely a brand new world folks. Everybody needs to adapt.
Al Corrupt says
“ If you’re really sneaky, you could buy a mouse jiggler on Amazon to keep you logged in and active while you go play a round of golf.”
Instead of spending $$ on a mouse juggler, just put your mouse on top of an analog watch.
Financial Samurai says
Does that really work? Seems like not enough motion. I have some analog watches.
they’ve got youtube videos you can rest your mouse on top of. these work great and don’t require a $30 purchase!
R Blue says
The pandemic has been an absolute Godsend for my career. I have ADHD and always struggled working in an office, especially in open office environments. I often had to plead with management to move desks when I was near noisy/high traffic areas. This eventually gets me unfairly labeled as a “problem employee” even though I’m just desperately trying to get work done. (Somehow it’s my fault I have trouble working when I’m sitting next to someone bouncing and jiggling their legs all day so that the floors shake and my monitors sway back and forth.)
Now that I’m remote I can take a lot less ADHD medication which is better for my body anyway. I’ve received nothing but extremely high accolades for my work and my manager just told me he put me in for a $20k raise.
I also never have to go back into the office again and I’m finally making what I deserve. I’m not constantly overstimulated which makes me a lot less irritable which is better for everyone (especially me!).
My manager also allows us to work remotely abroad (as long as the duration doesn’t mess up taxes). I took advantage of this and was able to spend a month working remotely in Europe over the summer. I did touristy things during the day then worked a few hours in the evening.
Financial Samurai says
Wonderful perspective! Thanks for sharing. Such an important benefit for those with ADHD and other things that may not be obvious.
R Blue says
I forgot to mention I work in tech and also work only a handful of hours a day now.
The caveat is that I’m really quick to get my work done and I’m an expert in my field. It took me over a decade to get to this point.
I could get another 40% pay bump working somewhere more corporate but I’d be losing a lot of flexibility and probably be stuck sitting at my computer for 8+ hrs a day in pointless scrum/agile meetings. I’d also be well over the $170k “happiness” threshold for taxes you recently wrote about. Maybe once I’m married I’ll look for a higher paying job, but for now I’m going to enjoy things while they last.
I have another way to only work 2 hours a day and get paid a full time wage. You work for the same small business for thirty years. After 10 years you buy it and then work your ass off for another 20 years. You save and invest all your profits. You spend countless hours training and then firing employees until you finally get the right fit. You then pay them more than their skill set is worth so they don’t rob you blind. Then you turn 50 and wonder what the hell am I doing and just show up to the office enough that they still know your the boss.
Financial Samurai says
LOL, awesome! Make sure you kick your feet up on the desk too while they pass by.
Maybe even a cigar in hand!
This post really rubs me the wrong way. I have worked remotely for a tech company on salary since 1997 as a software engineer/implementor. I am paid to support implementations, write code, and configure systems. Rarely more than a 40-hour work week. My company expects me to be there, working 8 hours a day, because that is what is actually needed in order to complete the work. I can’t write the same complex software in 2 hours. I can’t help coworkers if I’m not there. I have to be available to spend 2 hours troubleshooting with a customer. I can spend literally days writing and testing code. There’s no way I can blow of any time at all during the day, I will be unsuccessful at my job if I do that.
You give remote workers a bad name, and cause employers to not trust us. If your compensation is based on commission, blow it off all you want. But you should make it clear that not everyone’s job is structured to blow off 50-75% of the work day.
And if professionals are charging customers for time not worked (attorneys, etc), I’m gonna be real mad about that.
What bothers me the most about this is exactly what happened at Better.com. Clearly they expect employees to BE THERE doing their jobs. They eliminated 900 people because, it seems, they have this attitude. You give the impression that anyone can do this. You should clarify, not everyone can or should do this, it’s completely dependent on the employer’s expectations. Don’t buy apps to make it look like you’re working. Actually do the job they are asking you to do.
Sorry, but I take a lot of pride in the excellent work I have done and would not have been successful with the attitude you prescribe. I hope employers know that there are people who won’t try to cheat them.
Financial Samurai says
I’m sure your doing a great job! And I think most people don’t work only 2 hours a day and get paid, which is why this topic is so fascinating to me and others.
All I know is that every single tech friend that I have spoken to you I said the pandemic has made work easier for them. So I was excited to see proof that hours are less for SOME who get laid off at Better.
sounds like you might need help in work efficiency.
True, I delivered for my clients and they weren’t paying for my hours but for my results. $250 isn’t high for a consultant either, it was the same thing my lawyer/partner charged. Some people doing what I did in other states charged nearly twice that.
Just curious, 250/hour for what type of consulting? Tech?
My former employer was monitoring us many, many years before the pandemic started. I can’t remember if they sent out a notice about it to all employees, but I knew about it because I was in management.
Some of the things they tracked were arrival time, applications in use, websites visited, and keyword triggers in emails. When I first started they were super slack and you could find people playing solitaire and minesweeper on their PCs, but over time they stripped all of the non work related applications off of our computers.
Then they blocked the vast majority of the internet including all retail sites because they noticed too many people clocking non work related internet usage. Supposedly they could also remotely access individual computers without alerting you and monitor everything you were doing. I sure don’t miss those days!
Financial Samurai says
Hope they didn’t block FS!
Do you think the mouse wiggler device would work?
On the flip side, I’ve valued mastering my field over the years and certainly couldn’t have done that at two hours a day. There often comes a time in careers where it makes sense to work a few odd consulting hours sharing your hard won knowledge, but personally I’ve got more learning I want to do before switching to that track.
Accidentally Retired says
I love this approach, because I think a lot of people are stuck in the false hustle mentality in that you have to work many hours to make much money. I have found that it is simply not the case once you build up a base set of knowledge (and of course work in the right industry). In fact, for me personally, I found I could work as CEO and still work 40 hours a week or less.
Like Snazster said, you get paid for what you know. So once you put in the hours and build up a skillset, you certainly can and should charge the max for it. My Dad for instance, has been doing this for years. He is a lawyer and has worked part-time for about 15 years. He simply charges $300-400 an hour and picks up work here and there. Bing, bang, boom.
The pandemic has been great for my satisfaction with my legal career! I have billed more hours than ever while spending less time overall time on work (inclusive of all the BS). I save a ton of time when I work from home by cutting out the commute, not socializing at work, and not spending a lot of time getting ready to work in a professional office. As a transactional attorney, I can do 100% of my job from home. And I’m so profitable for my firm that I don’t answer to anyone but my loyal clients, and I come and go from my office whenever I want to drive into the city. I still work 40 hours a week but it’s on my time and I enjoy the work. I have a nanny at home so I can pop in on the kids when they’re not in school, which is really nice, and our nanny also helps run our household, which is even nicer. I don’t mind working 40 hours now that I have a good setup at home.
Are you billing for time that you don’t actually work? As the client of an attorney, this worries me.
Not at all. I stated above that I am still working 40 hours a week but I’m more efficient and satisfied now. In the past, on top of billable work, I spent 1.5-2 hours on my round trip commute, 30 minutes to get ready to work in a professional office, and I probably waisted 1-2 hours socializing and going to lunches, so 2-4 hours of nonbillable work on top of billable work. Now I just do my billable work and go into the office once a week to touch base with colleagues. And my clients are large institutions who wouldn’t hire me if they thought I was overbilling them.
Maybe I am missing something here. I have friends working for all the big tech companies. In the prepandemic days they worked pretty hard. These days they are “digital nomads”, taking midday naps or working on their garden. Right now all of those companies are making money hands over fist. Better.com is an example that as soon as things turn a little tight there will be a lot more oversight over who is taking calls from the golf course and who is really working hard at home.
None of these companies got to where they are by people working 2 hrs a day. If right now we are in a weird place where it is possible to tolerate this performance, I can’t see how that is sustainable.
I’ve lost the reference but, way back in high school, I once read that there are two kinds of people that get paid: Those who are paid for what they do, and those who are paid for what they know.
To illustrate, while a brain surgeon and a cocktail server may both work hard and know a lot about their jobs, it is pretty clear which of the two types they each are.
In James Michener’s novel, Chesapeake, which I also read while in high school, there is a scene where a grizzled old captain of a crab harvesting raft comes upon a rich man’s yacht, stuck on sandbar. The owner and his guests are helpless and at wit’s end.
The crab boat captain comes along side and tells the rich man that he will get the yacht off the sandbar for fifty dollars (a small fortune in the 1800s). The rich man readily agrees, and the crab boat captain, aided by his scruffy crew, ingeniously hooks up a bunch of ropes and pullies and has the yacht free in fifteen minutes.
As the crab boat captain is on the yacht, collecting his fifty dollars, one of the rich man’s guests sneers and says something about that being an awful lot of money for fifteen minutes work. The crab boat captain replies with, “Oh no, getting him off the sandbar? That was free. A gift. He’s just paying me for knowing how to do it.”
I thought about both of these quite a bit and they had a huge impact on my path through life.
I know a lot and I get paid a lot, but the only work I do is occasionally hitting keys on a keyboard on and off, at a relatively slow rate. Maybe two hours a day when little is going on, as I write programs to automate anything I have to do routinely, with reports to me when anything is amiss, and I hardly ever even take meetings anymore.
Perhaps I could be outsourced but that wouldn’t save any money and would result in a loss of capability and flexibility for the organization.
It would be more satisfying for me to be hands-on all the time, but that’s not really an option at my level and I am not willing to find a reduced position making less money for doing more and needing to know less.
Fortunately, learning and applying new things seems to be an aptitude of mine (something I both enjoy and some talent at).
The green screen videos are hilarious! Thanks for sharing. I think most bosses know that a lot more employees are slacking off at home. The key is to find a boss who also wants to slack off more at home. Company culture starts from the top.
And maybe slacking off is not the right word. Instead, finding a better work life balance instead. If you have a boss with a family, s/he should be more understanding.
I can’t speak for all of my colleagues, but law is another industry that has been immeasurably improved (at least in terms of work-life balance) by the pandemic. As a litigator, most of my work (reviewing documents, legal research, brief writing) can be done remotely. Client calls were already frequently done via telephone/videoconferencing. Depositions of witnesses are a bit more complicated when you’re not in the room with the witness, but I’ve actually enjoyed them more remotely than having to deal with the extra time/hassle of going to wherever the witness is located for a deposition. And routine court hearings — which used to involve dressing up, travelling all the way to the courthouse, going through court security, getting to the courtroom early, waiting through other cases until your case is called, all for a routine status update to the Court on where the case is — are way better, as you cut out most of the “wasted” time on a video conference (which benefits clients as well with lower costs).
And my 10 foot commute from kitchen to the office is WAY better than 1 hour each way on trains (particularly when you factor in that it gives me more time when I can actually work, versus the commute time lost, as working on a train is doable but not the easiest). I’m hoping, post-pandemic, that we/I can shift to just 1 day a week in the office (for networking and meetings). The pandemic sucks, but it sure has improved my enjoyment of my job.
Financial Samurai says
Thanks for the insight! I’m going to add it to the post!
For the last five years I was able to earn six figures working less than 2 hours a day. In fact a lot of the time I did zero work all week and still got paid. Its not that hard, just bill at least $250 an hour and that is $2,000 for an eight hour work week or $100K for a year. Eight hours a week is 1.6 hours a day. Now $100K isn’t that big a salary but it does represent 100% of my family’s pretax spending on average. In my case I wasn’t even having to track my hours. I billed my 17 clients a flat fee regardless of how much or how little I worked, and they were fine with that because I was literally the only guy in my state with the ability to work in my niche. And I saved all of my clients millions in easily documentable annual savings for the $100K I cost them. I shut that down earlier this year, it was more work than I wanted to keep doing when I already have enough money. But it was a nice off ramp from a demanding job to full retirement. And it did not involve any trickery.
Sounds like a good gig. But I think that is a bit deceiving in the current context. You weren’t “pretending” and billing a 40 hr work week. You had a good thing going but you were getting paid great rate for honest number of hours worked.
What kind of work?