Employment Vs Self-Employment
I’m thinking about this a lot lately. Until now, I’ve always enjoyed my job and what opportunities it brought to me but lately I’m thinking more and more about a change. Either by changing jobs or by going fully self-employed. I’ve always worked on the side somehow but my day job was what actually paid the bills.
However, all this brought me to think about the actual topic of employment vs. self-employment. I think both have their pros and cons. It’s relative safety vs freedom. A traditional job gives you the safety of receiving your paycheck every two to four weeks, having a 401k or an equivalent, and in some countries even the safety of being able to stay at home sick while still being paid. All this comes at the cost of having to follow a certain path that’s dictated by your company. You can’t do whatever you want, and although many companies offer very flexible schedules these days, you’re still not completely free when to go where. And, what many people tend to oversee: You can be fired at any time.
Self-employment on the other hand comes at the risk of not getting paid at all for some time. But you are free to do whatever you like. If you don’t feel like working, you don’t have to. You can even choose what you want to work on, and decide yourself when you do your work and where. You are, however, responsible for nearly everything. You are the CEO, CTO, CMO, XXO, etc. of your company. If you don’t go out selling, you may have a hard time finding work that’s paid. If you don’t feel like working, you won’t earn money.
In the end, I think it’s a lot about your mentality and personality. Some people aren’t made to be employed and others are made to enjoy the safety of a well-paid job. And don’t misunderstand me, that’s perfectly fine. I think we’ve come a long way where nearly everyone is enabled to to what they really love. They only have to go down a certain path.
What about you? What personality are you? What is your mentality? I’d love to read about it!
I deal a lot with software architecture every day, it’s my job. One thing I notice, though, is a tendency to overengineer software architectures. Many engineers try to create an architecture that is capable of doing everything, just in case. The issue is that it is nearly impossible to create the perfect software architecture especially in the beginning. It’s like when we write software. We should start as simple as possible and then iterate further as new requirements arise or existing ones change. We don’t need a horizontally scalable eventing system like Kafka when all we currently have is one API service and a frontend. The same holds true for database systems. Yes, we can place a Postgres, a Redis, a MongoDB, and then place CQRS right on top of it, just in case someone wants to use it, or we go one step back, and try to imagine if we could also solve some issues with components we already have at hand. Only if we then see that this wouldn’t work, we can go forth and add to the system what solves our issue(s). I like the statement Redux makes: “If you don’t know whether you need Redux, you don’t need it”. Every advanced concept and component used adds to the complexity of a software or system. Keeping complexity as low as possible is guaranteed to benefit the overall maintainability.
Do you know what I really like? When a company that offers a product that needs software engineers to integrate, use, apply, whatever it, also offers real engineers to help me with doing exactly that. There are only a few technical documentations I really like. All the others are, in my opinion and for me personally, usually lacking. This is sometimes due to a lack of time, or a lack of resources, or due an explicit decision to use technical writers without too much of a software engineering background. But when a company employs DevRel engineers and embraces DevRel at all, that’s (for me) the first step in the right direction. When engineers who have all the time available for technical documentation are enabled to build prototypes, test out their own product, and then write technical documentation and blog posts, or make videos (whatever works), the outcome is usually pretty great. Those are resources I can usually follow and understand. And when some creativity is involved, there is always something that at least touches my current use case. I’m definitely hooked for DevRel!
Before you go on reading, I have to make this legal disclaimer: I am working in the financial industry but I am no official accredited financial advisor and I don’t give you financial advice. I only give you information, you have to decide what you do with it.
In times of negative interest and with the whole market shifting from a traditional model that is driven by huge Wall Street firms to a more modern one, driven by us, the people, investing has never been more important. You don’t get much for money in your bank account anymore. In the worst case, you even have to pay for that money. This means that you always lose money, either through inflation and/or through fees.
The internet has brought in-depth education to anyone. You can basically learn online what some investment managers had to learn at university some years go. The basics aren’t even that difficult: You can get into stocks by choosing a smartphone broker of your choice, opening an account and transferring money. If stocks seem too risky to you, go with ETFs. Before that market shift, an S&P500 ETF brought about 7-10% a year. That is more than any interest you’ll ever get. It also won’t make you rich fast but it will give you the opportunity to learn about the market and how it behaves.
Would you be interested in learning more? Drop me a message. I’ve learned enough over the years to be able to provide education for this topic.
Finding The Time To Learn
Many of us have families and other obligations. That’s how it simply is. And sometimes, finding the time to learn something new can be simply non-existent. But did you know that 15 minutes of focused learning can already be enough? This is how I currently manage to learn something nearly every day. On some days it makes ‘click’ after one session, sometimes I need three days. But I’m constantly working on it. All this next to a full-time job, a family, and my side-hustles.
The best thing to do is to reserve a 15-minute spot in your day where you know that you are still awake and concentrated enough to be able to consume information. This can be right after staying up or before going to bed. Maybe it’s also right in the middle of the day but that’s not essential. Just reserve this exact spot and never ever (only in case of an emergency) use this spot for something else. Make sure that no one interrupts you during this time and take your learning material and learn for 15 straight minutes. You’ll wonder how good this strategy can actually work although it might be that you first have to get used to it.