We own you
Justin Jackson

Re “We own your time” is a strong statement and in the tech industry this can feel true. But remember that legally the only time that a company owns is your contracted hours.

There are times when we work more than our contracted hours;because we’ve got lost in time problem solving, or there’s a deadline, etc…. If this happens a lot work through the issue with your company, look to resolve scheduling problems, ask if someone else be employed etc. If this doesn’t work start a stealth job search, explore other options.

As for the statement “We own your network/influence”. This cuts both ways - you bring your network with you when you start a job, the company introduces you to new contacts. You grow as a person and your company grows too.

The statement that companies want you to “Use your social network to promote the company” ignores the fact that you are responsible for your social media posts. If you’re asked to post something you don’t agree with then do not do it. But before you push back ask what you have posted on your feed. If it’s just cat pictures then it is fair enough to say no. But if you’ve promoted other events then why not promote work ones, especially if the other events were in your company’s line of work. You were proud to attend the other events, what does not promoting a work’s one say? Sharing work posts about blogs by colleauges is a great way to support them.

Viewing requests to “Go to events in the evening” as bad ignores the benefits for you and your company of attending. If you can do this do it. Meetups are a great way to learn new skills, techniques and keep up to date with the industry. Share what you learn with your team and company where relevant. There may be colleauges who wanted to attend but couldn’t due to family commitments/transport etc. Sharing your learnings allows you to clarify them and impact your team’s journey. So many people complain about bad practice without sharing what good practice is. As a team you can grow from your learning, and tackle the issues that frustrate your team and company.

“We own your IP”, this is an interesting statement in some cases your companies clients may own your IP. If you attend hacks it’s important to explore IP rights with both your employer and the hackathon to ensure that you do not breach any IP rules.

And finally back to the we own your time statement make sure you spend free time with family and friends. They will always be there for you regardless of what happens with your career. Also make sure you have hobbies outside of your chosen career path, this makes you a more rounded and interesting person.