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Many people have spoken about the benefit of your SE answers to your future job prospects:

But is it possible that a future employer looking at your questions and answers on SE sites would notice your activity during work hours and view this as a negative rather than a positive?

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3 Answers 3

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I had someone ask me during a phone screen the other day how I balanced Stack Overflow and work. My answer was simple: I use Stack Overflow when I'm waiting on work to catch up to me. There are plenty of times (Compiling, answering emails, researching problems) that Stack Overflow becomes the 'place to go' instead of web surfing. At least here I learn something while I'm waiting. Otherwise I'd be cruising Penny-Arcade and XKCD.

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code's compiling... –  Tobias Kienzler Aug 20 '10 at 10:10

I really, really doubt it. I've done the resume review thing. Any — absolutely any —  activity I can find outside the doldrums of the resume is a major plus.

Jon Skeet (208,458) works for Google. Marc Gravell (160,544) works with Stack Overflow Inc. I can't imagine anyone spent a single second thinking "I wonder if these guys will get any work done if they are so awesome on that web site thing."

If I received a resume from the author of a book, I'm not going to say "How is this person going to work for me if they're out there writing book!" I'm going to find that book and see what good work they do. I can't imaging feeling any differently for a Stack Overflow user.

If the content is good, it's a net plus.

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+1 BTW, I found out we live in the same County today –  staticx Aug 20 '10 at 1:58
    
It's fine for Google and SO inc because they are quite forward thinking, but most development work you get in Australia is with small business and plenty of them wouldn't agree. –  xiaohouzi79 Aug 20 '10 at 2:02

Everything is possible. For certain, if I hire someone I don't expect to pay them to answer questions on SO, no matter how addictive it is.

If it happens once in a while it's ok, if one of my employees answers more than 10 questions a day during work then it's not.

But then again, how can they know what are this person's work hours, and if he or she was employed at the time?

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Their CV/resume would indicate whether they were employed at the time. –  Andrew Grimm Aug 20 '10 at 0:05
    
@Andrew: it would be weird if it included working hours too, and besides, many people have very flexible working hours (like I do) –  Andreas Bonini Aug 20 '10 at 0:26
    
Besides, they could hit up Stack Overflow when the application is building, over their lunch break, or in some kind of other down time. –  Thomas Owens Aug 20 '10 at 0:42
    
I interpreted "employed at the time" as having a paycheck, as opposed to being unemployed. –  Andrew Grimm Aug 20 '10 at 3:52
    
@Andrew: that's what I meant, and yes you are right (I haven't thought of that), but I was still pointing out issue #2 –  Andreas Bonini Aug 20 '10 at 4:16

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