I've been on other side of the fence (CTO) -- and I've been positively impressed by people that manage to do something on the side (side projects, business, open-source, meetups..). I was actually more likely to hire them as well -- those people learn on their own expense. Not a single regret hiring such a person. Even if they quit, they still rooted for companies success as much as they could (recommended to their friends, gave technical advice for free then we needed)
I grown so accustomed to this. That I've been open about this to my potential clients -- "Hey. I know what it takes to run a business. I have offline business that works without me being around, I built my own apps. I can speak your language, I can understand your business challenges".
Your not the first person who mentions that I shouldn't speak about that. But I have issues with lying... and it feels so wrong that people see this from a negative side...
It's all about who you're working with and how it's done. In an ideal world where we didn't have to sell ourselves to eat, we would be able to turn down every gig where we get a bad feeling about the other party.
But as we start to build up that bolus of cash to buffer ourselves from people we don't like, we get more opportunities to be our authentic selves. I wish this didn't have to be the case, but that is the capitalistic system we live in.
The last thing I want to do is tell people not to be their authentic selves. That's horrible. It's the reason I'm working so hard to build a cash machine that sustains my creative endeavors. Life is way better with more freedom.
Still, some people are at the very beginning of their careers, don't have a lot in investments, and face a situation where they have to work for someone they don't like, just to get started. And in that situation, I think it's fair to say, "just play along until you've saved up enough money or find something better. These people you don't like don't need to know your life story."
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We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.