A New Way to Think About "Full-Time" Work

March 28, 2020

Now that we have several full-time and part-time employees, I thought it would benefit us to work towards an understanding of what "full-time" means. Spoiler alert: it is not a specific number of hours. I'm writing this as a public post in the hopes that it may foster discussion on the topic.

First, let me share some of the experiences that have shaped my beliefs.

I remember sitting in a high school history class when I learned what a "Horatio Alger story" was. It is one of the few things I remember. I was terrible at history. I was much more interested in the future. Why isn't there a "future" class in schools?

Back to the story. I knew right then that one day I would have a Horatio Alger story of my own. Yet, most of my career I've felt that I should hide my desire to be an entrepreneur from my employer. (side note: we want to hire people who want to be entrepreneurs)

This gets better. I actually have a Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship (Go Gators!). Now technically, according to the diploma, I have a "Master of Science with a major in Business Administration - Entrepreneurship." To prevent suspicions of my entrepreneurial ambitions, I've always left the "Entrepreneurship" part of my degree off of my resume.

During the interview for the last position that I held prior to becoming self-employed, I couldn't hold back any longer. I was employed at Dish Network and interviewing for a more senior position. When asked about my career goals, I said, "I want to be like Charlie." Charlie Ergen was the founder of Dish Network, so I figured that would be hard for them to get upset about. I finally found an angle to be honest.

We live in the land of the "American dream" and "you can be anything you want," but I've never felt that I could openly talk about my aspirations to be an entrepreneur with my employer. It doesn't have to be this way. Employers can encourage entrepreneurship, and that is what we will do. Working full-time at A2J Tech isn't exclusive. If you have another passion that you want to pursue or a business that already has a few clients, we encourage you to keep those things going.

As an employer, I would be tickled pink to have team members start their own businesses. Even more, I want to provide seed money to employees to start their own businesses.

I recognize that not every employer can or should offer this same flexibility. But since we can, I believe we should.

Now take everything I said above about entrepreneurship and replace it with parenting or something that you especially care about. If someone's goal is to be a great parent, employers should encourage and support that.

How can our company offer this flexibility from a financial standpoint? Everyone is paid hourly. This ensures that our costs stay aligned with our revenues.

I have a hard time with the concept of salaried positions. I have two reasons for this. First, it doesn't give the company and the employee the mutual flexibility for compensation (costs) to be aligned with the amount of time worked (revenues). Second, it creates an adversarial incentive structure. A salaried employee that will receive the same compensation regardless of how many hours they work is incentivized to work the least hours they can (without getting noticed). A business owner with salaried employees is incentivized to have them work "as much as the business needs," since there are no additional costs for each hour worked.

As an employee, I wanted to be compensated fairly. If I worked extra, I wanted to be paid more. If I worked less, I expected to make less. Fair.

So what is working full-time at A2J Tech?

  • It is meeting the expectations of the position and serving the needs of our clients
  • It is each person finding their own harmony between work, family, and their other endeavors
  • It is freedom for each person to follow their north star

A2J Tech exists for the benefit of its clients and employees, not for its own benefit. I'll elaborate on this in a future post, "The Selfless Organization."

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