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Code Monkey Like Tab and Mountain Dew...and 40 Hours
February 24, 2010 12:02 PM   Subscribe

What should I know transferring from public sector web design to private?

I am leaving my current C#.NET web design job at a state organization here in Austin. It is my first job and for awhile, I enjoyed the healthy, conservative pace at which business happened. Then conservative became monotonous as I frequently found myself doing nothing. After a long story, I was half-fired, half-resigned.

Government jobs for what I do are sparse, so I perused the private sector too. I quickly got a job interview for a similar position from a private firm in Austin for a few days from now. It's the typical Modern Tech Business: Wii in the corner, foosball table in the lounge. (I'm not keen on naming names, but if you want to do the research, it starts with 'Pro.') I told my dad, a professional academian, and he promptly shat on my enthusiasm. He insisted I'll be working '80 hour weeks' and 'be treated like shit,' based on tales from IT guys in his building. Now my zeal is gone, replaced with angst. I love what I do, but I don't want to be ground into the floor doing it.

I ask the commercial web designers: how much do you work per week for your salary? What comprises your day? Does it burn you out? What does your 'crunch time,' if any, look like?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you a web designer or web developer? And how long have you been working at your current/past gig?

And, for reference, one friend works 9-5 at a web dev firm and I work 9-6:30 (and spare time during weekends).
posted by tmcw at 12:06 PM on February 24, 2010

The private sector generally cares a lot less about certain accessibility guidelines, as they're not bound to follow those guidelines in the same way government sites are (YMMV depending on country.)
posted by davejay at 12:09 PM on February 24, 2010

Listening to an academic about private industry is a recipe for foolish decisions.

Do you like being busy? Then work in private industry.

Do you like slow, structured, predictable routines? Then work in government (or the academy).
posted by dfriedman at 12:16 PM on February 24, 2010

It doesn't burn me out unless I let it. Crunch time varies ridiculously from project to project. I have some weeks where I sit around and do nothing, and I have some weeks where I'm doing twenty things at once, so while I wish I could be making a little more -- it evens out.

Your dad probably talked to some spiteful IT guys who are miserable with their own jobs or he's not happy with the fact that you left a government job. IT is not design or development, and you will have no idea what your schedule is like until you actually go to the job.
posted by june made him a gemini at 12:53 PM on February 24, 2010

Some tech companies grind their employees into dust. Some are just as monotonous and overstaffed as your last job was. Some have lots of crunch time, some have none. It really depends on the specific company (and on the specific job.)

You can generally get a pretty clear idea of what you're walking into by talking to the people doing the job you'll be doing at that specific company, rather than "some IT guys my dad talked to once."
posted by ook at 1:22 PM on February 24, 2010

I'm not an IT guy but I work at a web design/development firm as a web designer/flash programmer. As said above there are some weeks where you don't have a second to breathe and others where I sit around and look at AskMeFi all day. As far as being compensated for my time working I'd say it definitely evens out. "Crunch time" can burn you out but it depends on your personality and whether you strive on the pressure and challenges during those times. The IT guys here generally work longer hours than myself and almost always seem like they're under pressure.
posted by bingwah at 7:44 AM on February 25, 2010

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