Marc Grabanski, CEO & UI Developer of Frontend Masters

Response to Full-Time Employment

August 10, 2008

I received a request for employment from a company who had gotten funding and was trying to assemble an, “all star team” (I made the above logo for fun). Most of the time I do not respond, but in this case the person hiring took so much time crafting the email that I decide that I needed to email back. My response was largely canned, but at least I took the time to respond:

I am currently not seeking full-time employment, however I do consult for agencies that know my work or have worked with me in the past. I find that working relationships are most beneficial if the agency has had experience with my work, because they are able to accurately judge my abilities. Typically, I am sought after for prototyping and user interface development. My rate is ___ per hour.

He then responded with a line of questions regarding why I was only open to consulting. Here was my response, which I think sums up a lot of where I am at in my professional life:

Employer: Thanks for the reply. May I ask why you are not open to full-time employment? Do you prefer consulting work?

Marc: Consulting allows me the ability to work from home and keep working for agencies to a minimum. I try to stick to 24 hours of consulting per week, allowing the rest of my time to be dedicated to personal projects. My projects are worth their weight in gold, more valuable to me than the fleeting cash that I get from consulting. That said, I still need to pay bills and I do love to do client work when it suits my talents and abilities.

Employer: One thing to mention is that we could talk about giving you the option to do consulting work on the side, while being a full-time employee of ours.

Marc: I tried full-time employment with working on side projects and got burnt out, so this is not an added benefit. Full-time employment is too demanding on time. You only have so many fresh-thinking development hours in a week. My opinion is that if you do 60+ hours in a week, than a lot of that time you weren’t spending on pressing your abilities to the maximum - not only do you end up having no life, but you most likely wasted a lot of time with clouded thinking. The goal here is efficiency and making time as effective as possible.

Employer: We need an all-star team to turn our company into a multi-million dollar enterprise and we think you could be a great asset to our team.

Marc: Thanks again for considering me for your all-star team. As far as making a company into a multi-million dollar enterprise… I have worked with fortune 50 companies (UnitedHealth Group, HSBC, 3M and Ford) and have seen them make millions off of my work, which is a reason that ultimately led me to go off on my own as soon as I could.I am happy to make people money, but the fact is that if you are full-time, then your rate is pretty much set and you don’t have the time to dedicate to creating your own ideas.

Employer: Will you consider it with the right pay? Let me know.

Marc:I do not consider full-time to be an option right now because it limits me from doing the projects that I feel the need to create.

Overall the goal is to create ideas, and full-time employment doesn’t allow me to do that at this point in my life.

Marc Grabanski, CEO & UI Developer of Frontend Masters

Career Journal on Web Dev, Business, & Life

<< Four Types of Web Developers, Which are You? Ode to JWT Minneapolis >>