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How Overemployment Movement Is Impacting IT Industry

The timing is right for IT workers to join the overemployed movement — thanks to a shortage of IT professionals and the surge in remote work opportunities.

What could be better than landing a job in the IT industry? Landing multiple jobs, accepting all of them, and putting in the minimal effort required to keep each one long enough to get rich.

That, at least, is the premise behind the so-called "overemployed" movement, which encourages workers in the tech industry to maximize income by holding multiple remote jobs simultaneously.

Will overemployment be the future for IT jobs? Probably not. But it's worth looking at how overemployment is impacting the IT industry — and the people who work in it.

What Does 'Overemployed' Mean?

"Overemployed" is a tongue-in-cheek term that refers to holding multiple jobs at once, typically with the goal of maximizing income while minimizing the time and effort devoted to each job. Workers in such positions are "overemployed" because they have more jobs than they actually need — or more than the typical full-time employee holds down.

The core idea behind the overemployed movement is that, because many jobs now allow employees to work remotely and without rigid schedules, it's feasible to work more than one job at once without employers catching on. You simply work from home and do your best to schedule meetings at your various jobs around each other, so that your coworkers and managers never find out that you're overemployed.

All the while, of course, you're raking in multiple salaries. Some proponents of overemployment claim that the technique has allowed them to earn seven-figure sums each year, as opposed to the measly salaries in the low $100,000s that they earned prior to becoming overemployed.

As for any ethical implications of two-, three, or four-timing employers, most overemployed workers don't seem worried. The sentiment in the overemployed community is that employers don't have employees' backs in the post-recession, post-pension, post-union economy, so workers have the right to work as many jobs as they can get away with.

The overemployed concept, which has gained traction since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge in remote work opportunities, has a growing community, centered on websites such as and a subreddit dedicated to overemployed strivers. Adherents of the overemployed movement use these channels to share insights about how to gain and hold multiple jobs simultaneously.

Overemployment and IT

Overemployment isn't limited to the tech industry. Theoretically, you could become overemployed in any industry where you can find jobs that let you work remotely and without a fixed schedule.

But IT jobs in particular are good candidates for people seeking overemployment. Most IT jobs can be done from anywhere, which makes it easier to land a remote position in IT than it is in fields that require physical attendance. IT jobs also tend to pay well, so if you want to earn a lot of money quickly — as most overemployed people do — IT is an obvious place to do it.

On top of this, the fact that IT roles are often results-oriented — and sometimes even "degree-blind," meaning they don't require specific credentials — may in some way reinforce the attraction of overemployment-seekers to IT jobs. If the only thing your employer officially cares about is whether you get your job done to the employer's satisfaction — as opposed to which degrees you have or whether you sit in front of a computer for an arbitrary period of time each day — overemployment may seem not only practical, but actually fair and equitable from both the employee's and employer's perspectives.

The Future of Overemployed IT Workers

Judging by the amount of discussion of overemployment on social media sites, it would seem that more than a few IT workers are overemployed. That said, it's impossible to say how many IT jobs are held by people who are working other jobs simultaneously. Overemployed folks don't want to be found out, so it's hard to count them.

Overemployment also does not yet seem to be a major concern among IT employers. I've yet to see a CEO or CIO complain about workers who are robbing the company by working multiple jobs at once. Nor have I heard of widespread adoption of measures intended to root out overemployed workers. Employee-monitoring software is a thing, but it doesn't seem to have gained any special traction due to the overemployment movement.

On the contrary, if anything, businesses today seem to be inadvertently going out of their way to make overemployment a possibility, especially for IT roles. Concerns about tech skills shortages, combined with the competitive post-pandemic job market, mean that work-from-home jobs with flexible scheduling are in abundant supply.

It's hard to imagine these opportunities lasting over the long term, however. Sustained economic turbulence is likely to result in a job market that is less friendly toward workers in the near future, even within tech. The slow but steady return to a "normal" work mindset — in place of the pandemic-era survival mode that defined many executives' approach to operations during the past two years — may also mean that employers will have less tolerance for workers who have minimal live interaction with their bosses or colleagues.

And, of course, it's hard in some ways to imagine employees remaining overemployed over the long term, even in an IT economy that strongly favors workers. You may be able to last months, or even a few years, while putting very low effort into each job because you are overemployed. But sooner or later, your habits might catch up with you. Plus, you certainly can't do things like be the on-call engineer or participate in projects that require a lot of real-time collaboration if you are doing these things for multiple employers at once.

But that may not matter for the overemployed. If your goal is to make a large sum of money quickly, then retire, maybe you can get away with it, especially in the present IT economy.


One of the many unanticipated ways that the pandemic changed the IT industry was creating conditions ripe for overemployment. Although most IT workers are probably settling for just one job, it has never been easier to hold multiple roles simultaneously, loyalty to your employer be damned. The question is whether these opportunities will last — which seems unlikely.

About the author

Christopher Tozzi headshot Christopher Tozzi is a technology analyst with subject matter expertise in cloud computing, application development, open source software, virtualization, containers and more. He also lectures at a major university in the Albany, New York, area. His book, "For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution," was published by MIT Press.
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