One of the limitations of being an individual contributor, really a challenge for everyone who works in an organization is the perception of activity.
There are down times to the cycle of business but the individual contributor generally doesn’t have the freedom to maximize those times. At it’s lowest and most core level the PIC is hamstrung by organizational structure such as measured vacation times, measured sick leave, and work hours, and the most evil of all time related concepts: Mandatory Overtime*.
So when business is in a slow cycle, the PIC doesn’t have the flexibility to slow things down.. there is no cap to the number of hours you can put in.. but there is a cap to the numbers you can take off.
It seems this is an area that a better solution can be found.
*When I say mandatory overtime, I don’t mean, something that has to be done because if it doesn’t get done some fundamental service or challenge doesn’t get met.. no Mandatory overtime in this scenario is the requirement of 50-60 hour work weeks.. the culture of time = money, even if there really is no need to put in the overtime.