Why I don’t code in my free time, and why you should not, too.

Just read a story that bogged my mind. A “Technical/team lead” told a story, as an interviewer, he asked “a very good” candidate,  what does he/she like, and what does he/she do on his/her spare time.

The answers were reading books, watching movies, and cooking.

The candidate did not get hired, even thought he/she excelled at other technical questions. The interviewer expected him/her to “work” on his/her spare time. Like a pet project – to learn something new, or to sharpen the skills. The interviewer hired another candidate who does exactly that.

I’m glad I was not neither in that kind of interview, nor I have that kind of boss.

Outside of the working hours, my free time is mine. I get paid for working 8 hours/day, and that’s the only time the employer has control over what I do (and to some extend, how I do it). Other than that, it belongs to me and my family, and there is absolutely no reason I have to spend it on something that “pleases” my current boss (or any potential employer). As long as I complete the work as I’m asked for, I should not have to spend more time at home thinking about work. I might spend time learning something – reading an article, writing a blog post (like this one), watching a few Pluralsight courses but if and only if I’m up to it.

If there is a new technology/tool/framework that is required for my daily job, it’s my employer’s responsibility to provide me time and resources needed for me to learn/master that. I can throw in something extra, spending a couple of hours during weekend, but’s that only for my own good (so I can be a hero and save the day!). And even that, should not be the norm.

If you find yourself having to spend your own, precious, free time, doing your your side projects so you can keep up with your work – beware, you might be being exploited by your employer. They are expecting you to do the training yourself, so they can cut cost on their own.

That’s not a healthy mindset.

Training must be part of the job, and the employer must provide the necessary resources (time/allowance to buy books/courses/tickets to conferences). Growing an employee to be more experienced and competent is much, much cheaper than finding a new one.

And always remember, your time, outside of working hours, belongs to you, your life, and your family.

Not your boss.

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