Negotiating for your dream workscape

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In the ever-evolving landscape of work, the lines between our professional and personal lives are blurring, giving rise to a new breed of career-minded individuals. We are the dreamers who seek to lead ourselves through the maze of work life and decisions, striving for a harmonious blend of a fulfilling job, side hustles, and the ability to retain our creative freedom through intellectual property (IP). In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the art of negotiating with prospective employers, all while embracing our right to chase our dreams.

Dream Big, Negotiate Bigger

Know Your Worth and Desire

Before you even set foot in the negotiation room, you must recognise your own value. It’s not just about your skills and experience; it’s also about your dreams and aspirations. You are allowed to want things – be it a job that excites you, side hustles that fulfill your creative spirit, or the freedom to retain your intellectual property. These desires are valid, and they should guide your negotiation strategy.


Embrace Open Communication

Transparency is your ally when you’re negotiating with a prospective employer. Your side hustles and creative endeavours deserve to be heard. Share your ambitions with your potential employer, explaining how they complement your main job, enhance your skills, and add value to your overall work. This open dialogue can lay the foundation for a fruitful negotiation.


Navigating the Murky Waters of Conflict of Interest

Set Clear Boundaries

Balancing multiple commitments requires well-defined boundaries. Establish a clear demarcation between your full-time job and side hustles to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Discuss these boundaries with your employer, ensuring that they align with your vision for the future.


The Fine Print: Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements

Prospective employers might request you to sign non-compete or non-disclosure agreements. It’s essential to read the fine print. Negotiate any clauses that could stifle your side hustles or impede your intellectual property rights. Remember, you are entitled to protect your interests.


Safeguarding Your Creative Freedom: Intellectual Property Rights

Understand Company Policies

Each company has its own stance on intellectual property rights. Get familiar with your employer’s policies regarding ownership of work-related intellectual property. Some companies may claim ownership of work created during your employment, while others may grant you more creative freedom.


Craft Your Intellectual Property Strategy

During the negotiation process, pay close attention to any clauses related to intellectual property. Aim to retain ownership of the content you create outside of work hours or make clear distinctions between what belongs to your employer and what remains yours. Your creative spirit deserves to flourish.


Championing Your Employment Rights

Knowledge is Power

Understanding your employment rights is paramount. In many parts of the world, employees enjoy certain legal protections, including the right to pursue side hustles that don’t interfere with their primary job. Arm yourself with knowledge about your rights, ensuring you can navigate your career confidently.


Seek Professional Guidance

Should concerns arise regarding potential conflicts of interest, intellectual property rights, or your employment contract, don’t hesitate to consult with an employment law expert. They can provide tailored guidance, helping you navigate any legal complexities that may arise on your journey.


In the realm of career and ambition, you are not just allowed to want things – you are encouraged to chase your dreams and take steps to achieve them. Negotiating with a prospective employer to harmonise your work, side hustles, and intellectual property rights is a testament to your vision and determination. Remember that effective negotiation isn’t just about what you can get; it’s about what you deserve.

As you embark on your journey to lead yourself through the world of work, may you find the balance that fuels your passions, the freedom to retain your creative spirit, and the fulfillment that comes from pursuing your dreams. You are not just navigating your workscape; you are crafting your destiny, one negotiation at a time.



Helen Palmer, Founder of Self unLimited, has not followed a traditional path in her ‘career’ – nor does she intend to. It’s been her experience that she’s made plans, then life happened and new opportunities presented themselves. In order to have personal fulfilment and met professional commitments, she’s learnt about her rights and negotiating for a harmonious relationship between self and an employer.


Photo by Daniele Franchi on Unsplash