Overemployed in Silicon Valley: How Dozens of Tech Workers Secretly Juggle Multiple Jobs

The first rule of overemployment is that you never talk about being overemployed. As major tech companies implement hiring freezes, lay off workers and batten down the hatches as they anticipate an economic downturn, a slew of Silicon Valley tech workers — mostly programmers and engineers – slyly takes two, three or even four jobs. at the same time and reaping mind-blowing benefits. They spend their days juggling multiple zooms simultaneously, using devices called “mouse jigglers” to make sure their computers don’t go to sleep (which would alert their supervisors that something is going on), and sitting at 12-foot-long desks that are lined with half a dozen laptops and multiple computer monitors as they commute to virtual work and receive salaries of up to $1.2 million a year.

Reddit’s ‘Overemployed’ section, which launched a year ago amid the pandemic, quickly grew to 110,000 members, who spend some of their time sharing tips and tricks on how to be successful at multiple jobs and the rest of their lives. time bragging about the money they earn. This new world of work has its own mini subculture, with new jargon. A first job is called a J1, a second job is a J2, and so on…until a J5. (I haven’t found any workers who have a J6 yet, but I’m sure they are out there.) Second jobs are often referred to as “burner jobs”, such as a burner phone, which can be easily thrown away if something happens. Wrong.

On that rare occasion when you’re forced into two Zoom meetings at once, one overworked worker noted that the trick is actually pretty obvious. “One-ear headphones in each ear, mute very deliberately. Nobody says it’s easy, but it can work. When asked to come into the office a few days a week, or at the very least, for in-person meetings, one employee wrote on Twitter, “I only come into the office with a laptop,” rather than a backpack, so people think the employee just walked out of a meeting, rather than just showing up for work. This way, the worker can come and go as they please, and co-workers think they are walking in or out of a meeting.

It turns out that the first rule of being overemployed or having multiple jobs in Silicon Valley is true. When I started calling trying to figure out who might have two jobs at once, no one wanted to tell the truth, fearing one of their many bosses would find out. But several investors and techies I spoke with knew people engaged in this trend. “Your boss doesn’t know if you’re playing video games or watching a movie while you’re writing code or designing something,” a Silicon Valley tech insider told me. And that realization, this person said, made some workers realize they could use their new available time to double their pay by taking another job.

A source code engineer recently wrote on the forum that he has two jobs, one of which pays $200,000 per year which takes around 15 hours of his time, and another which pays around $95,000 per year , which takes “zero” hours. “I don’t even know if they know I’m there anymore,” the source code engineer wrote on Reddit. “I’m a ‘source code engineer’, some shit they made up, and I’m supposed to deal with source code uploaded by developers, but the problem is the team I work with hasn’t uploaded anything since months, I’ve received a total of 13 emails in 3 months, 10 of which were automated. The programmer was recently considering getting a third job. “All my paychecks keep coming in,” a writes the engineer, “but the fear of being discovered is endless.”

There is also the new version of the famous phrase “Always Be Closing” from the film Glengarry Glen Ross, who, in the Overworked Lands, is now “Always Interviewing”. On the Overemployed website, a guide to working two or more jobs at the same time, there are resources – books to read and “success stories” from people who have successfully held multiple jobs at the time. There’s even a 12-step guide for newcomers, including the tip “Be average” so you don’t stand out from your bosses. “The more attention you pay to yourself, the more people will remember you,” notes the guide. And like fighting club, There’s the first rule of working two jobs remotely: “Don’t talk about working two jobs remotely.”

In another recent post, another software engineer said he graduated in 2017 and bragged about having four jobs, yes, four, which was about $450,000 a year. Another programmer explained how he makes over $500,000 a year from his multiple jobs, some of which are part-time, “contracted” gigs. There are workers who claim to earn as much as $1 million per yearand even a computer scientist who worked five jobs simultaneously, going from $16 an hour to $1.2 million a year with their multiple jobs.

The types of tech companies these people work for range from small startups, with teams of a few dozen, to large corporations of several hundred. But I’ve seen several people bragging on message boards that they also work for Faang companies, including Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google, all of which do extensive background checks on new hires and call for references – tactics that obviously don’t work. to weed out employees who take advantage of a clearly failing system.

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