What Is The Best Way To Freelance & Network While Working For A Company?

Written By John Sonmez

What if you could have an open relationship with your company?

In this Simple Programmer episode, I dive deep into this question.

Are you currently working with a company but want to search for freelance jobs as well as network with other companies?

So, in this case, you need to do it right so you don't get fired or get yourself in some serious trouble.


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Full transcript:

John:               Hey, John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com. I got this question. I’m going to keep the name anonymous. We’re just going to call this guy Joe and you’ll see why in a minute. I’m calling this—I’m saying that Joe is asking to have an open relationship with his employer. You’ll see what I mean here in a second here.

He says, “Hi John, premise I’d—” oh, well, he said, “I’d like you to change my name.” Okay, so I did that. Premise taken care of. Okay, let’s get into the subject. Anyway, “I’ve been following your blog and I even bought your book Soft Skills” Soft Skills, buy it if you don’t have it. “And they are really good. I had a mind shift. Before, I thought the only way to become financially independent was to start a company, grow it and eventually sell it. Now, after seeing your example I realize there are many roads to Rome. I also like the explanation on options and I’m putting into practice your blogging advice.”

He says, “Now the question. I work for a big corp. in Europe and I’m paid quite well. The job is all right but not super exciting as I have little time to learn new things or to polish projects. In the next week there is a job fair here and I would like to attend. Basically I want to network a bit and perhaps find some additional freelancing work. I’m afraid how this would be seen by my colleagues if they happen to be there. I’d like also to start doing “explorative” interviews with companies. I’m applying for the opening with only the intent of making connections. What is your opinion on these 2 ideas? What would you say if you met some HRs at the job fair? Thanks a lot, Joe.”

So now you can see why I called this that Joe wants to have an “open relationship” with the employer. He wants to see other people, interview with other companies, right? Do a little bit of freelancing working, go to some job fairs, right? How can you do this? The first thing I would say, so let’s handle the job fair thing, right? What would you do if you met someone from HR at the job fair? Well, here’s my simple answer Joe, bring a friend along to the job fair with you and if you run into anyone from your company say that your buddy is looking for a new job and you’re helping him out which can be the truth. Find someone who’s looking for a new job. Then you can go to the job fair, you can network and you don’t have to worry because you can just say that you’re helping your buddy get into the industry, you’re helping him or her find a new job. I think that can take care of that problem.

As far as some of the other things that you said here, to network and perhaps get some freelancing work and doing explorative interviews I think that’s a good idea to make—I mean here’s the thing, right, I joked and said that you’re in an open—you want to be in an “open relationship” with your employer, well the thing is you’re not actually married to your employer in the first place. You don’t really have—a lot of people attach this high level of commitment to their employer and I think probably in the industrial era at least in the US that was kind of true, but employers sort of did the same thing, right? They took care of you, they had pensions, they had all this kind of benefits and you were like family. It’s not like that anymore. Now it’s sort of like—what is that, is it Tinder? It’s like one night stand. It’s more like casual relationships with employee, right? Everyone is getting what they want out of the deal type of thing. Friends with benefits to keep the analogy going.

Anyway, so my point is don’t be so loyal to your company. Obviously you don’t want to do things that are going to cause you problems but don’t be worried about it. I mean if you’re going to interview with other people, with other companies go ahead and do that. Don’t be too concerned. Don’t be out there just sharing that you’re looking for other jobs or other opportunities. That wouldn’t be good but you can do what you want to do and just manage the rest. I don’t think that you’re going to—as long as you’re not broadcasting the fact that you hate your job and your boss sucks and I’m interviewing at other companies, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. In fact, a little healthy competition doesn’t hurt, right? I mean if you’re—if wind—word drops through the wind, through a little birdie that you were doing some interviews or that you’re looking at other companies it could help your situation, it could actually help you to get a raise.

It’s the opposite—it’s not the same as expressing discontent. If you have a disgruntled employee that’s looking for another job you’re looking to kick them out the door as well, but if they’re a good worker and they’re happy with the environment and they might be looking around, well, it might actually help you. It might not hurt you.

Anyway, Joe, I hope this helps you. Good luck with your open relationship. Hope you find what you’re looking for out there. If you’ve got a question for me, email me at john@simpleprogrammer.com. I answer all kinds of employment relationship advice so whatever your question is you can email me. If you like this channel if you like this video, subscribe. Take care.