I worked 80 hour weeks (including some time on weekends) for about a year and half as an early developer at a startup (employee 15) a bunch of years ago. The startup failed (pity-acquired by an investor a couple years after I left; common shareholders got nothing). I did learn a lot, and was fortunately paid very near market-rate, but it was at the expense of my physical and mental health, and social life during that period. And boy was I burned out by the end. Fortunately I was single and had no family, and even then it took a huge toll.
At my current company (been there 6 years, joined as around employee 70), I tend to work ~45-hour weeks (with occasional very-short-term spikes near a product launch). The company is successful (IPO last year). I've learned a lot, but most importantly I'm happy. I have a busy social life, time for a SO, and take 4-6 weeks of vacation a year (as one of the relatively few people who actually takes full advantage of the unlimited vacation policy). Don't get me wrong: I work hard. I get a lot done. I just get it done without grinding myself down into nothing.
In my experience there's a negative correlation between long hours and success&happiness. Certainly there are people who have found success through (or perhaps despite?) long hours. And maybe many of them have brainwashed themselves into believing all that has made them happy, and maybe even some of them are genuinely happy.
I just don't think it's worth it -- for me. Everyone has a different definition of success: for some it's making 7 figures and retiring at 30 comfortably. For others it's making 9 figures and retiring lavishly. For others it's making less, but having a steady, secure job, and having copious time for hobbies, friends, and family. And everything in between.
I think it's difficult to draw the line. For some people, working themselves nearly to death is actually what they want to do. I think that's fine, but the problem becomes when that is (as it somewhat is now) the norm, and people who don't want to do that, have to do so anyway just to survive in the industry.
There's a real lack of awareness of an openness about the toll crazy hours extract from all too many people, not just in startups but in many larger companies as well, and the prevalence of them not just in tech but among so many professions.
A tiny fraction of society can lay back and relax off of a 2% or less interest on their investments, while so many of the rest are working until they collapse (physically or mentally), and it's considered business as usual -- and if you can't keep up you are stepped over and forgotten as the rest get on with getting ahead.
Something Autodesk has offered for years and gives away. Available for IOS, Android, and browser. This guy is killing himself to build a me-too product.
* Build an idea that already exists, is cheap, and well-executed by another company
* Build something that is so limited in scope that it could be replaced by a competitor (or your OS) basically overnight
Autodesk stopped offering HomeStyler. It's now offered by 北京居然设计家家居连锁集团有限公司, which is www.shejijia.com, a big furniture retailer in China. The software isn't the hard part. It's the furniture catalog. Such programs are only useful with a big 3D model catalog, and the party that has the incentive to provide that is a furniture dealer.
Amazon needs that capability. Develop a good 3D capture program specialized for furniture and you might have something. Something that guides you through taking enough images to get the whole object into the model cleanly. Make that available to Amazon sellers. Or eBay sellers.
Beyond this, as an employee I think it is insane for a company to expect you to work the same as a co-founder for relatively little. If the culture was to be working 70 hours per week or essentially always needing to have your phone with you and be available, then it's the sign of a toxic work culture. I can kind of understand around "crunch time" even though I think it's a symptom of bad time management and probably announcing something before you should have. I can kind of understand a founder putting in that much work, even if I do think it's unhealthy, but not an employee.
Or it could be a sign that you work in ops.
I don't see how the study, which was done on manufacturing / production workers, necessarily applies to knowledge workers or entrepreneurs?
My experience working 80-90 hr weeks was that as long as I had flexibility to vary the tasks I didn't sense any drop in productivity. In many cases the fewer context switches increased the amount of "flow", and projects went more quickly than they would have.
I might have produced more output, but all the mistakes I've made have to be fixed at some point, sometimes by someone other than me, and there's a real cost to that. The longer a bug lingers, generally the more expensive it is to fix (even if it's being fixed by the person who wrote it in the first place). The kind of death marches we're talking about rarely involve time to go back to fix any but the worst bugs or pay down any technical debt, at least not until much later down the line.
And regardless of that, why would I want to spend all my waking hours writing code? Life is so much more than that. (You're welcome to disagree with that, but I dare say you'd be in the minority.)
Did your experience rigorously measure how many mistakes (bugs, if you're a developer) you made during hours over 56 relative to baseline, and how much it cost someone else down the road in cleanup and opportunity costs to fix them?
With programmers, at least, they can keep writing code well into 100 hours a week and beyond, but the trustworthiness of that code falls off, and that's a problem. It's a well-known result that fixing bugs costs many times more than not making them to begin with.
Want to go see a movie in the middle of the day, take a nap, or take a two hour lunch to regroup? No one cares.
For startups especially it's do-or-die, so this type of pressure will never go away.
Imagine you had two 5-person startups each building a social media management platform to capitalize on a growing market. The space is quickly becoming crowded, and while not winner-take-all, most entrants will fail.
Company A: They work 90 hour weeks, weekends included. The willingly give up their social lives, take no vacations, and work as hard as they can. They'll sleep at the office if they have to.
Company B: They work 40 hour weeks, and take a normal amount of time off. At the end of the day they go home and relax with family/friends.
Either company could succeed in the end, but which has the better chance? Which attracts more VC interest? Who gives a better impression to prospective clients? Who builds a fully functional platform first?
In my experience Company A often trounces Company B.
This is independent of the business value of the code, which of course matters in an entirely different way. However, that's not really the responsibility of the engineer so much as it is the business leaders.
Like say if the you are already scoring 80/100. Going to 90 will almost take same the effort it took going from 0-80. Going 5 more marks higher will mean a similar long slog effort. It was simply his way of saying doing big stuff required insane amounts of effort. Often not justifiable.
I have seen something similar in competitive programming too. After a while solving regular problem gives your very little exposure in return, to keep your returns coming, you have to up your problem difficulty level at every step. And that consumes time.
That didn't stop one fellow, many years ago, from trying exactly this. He'd commit code that was simply reindentation/style changes, send emails, etc, late at night, in an attempt to paper over the fact that he was simply a weak contributor that produced low quality code.
Everyone saw straight through him and recognized the absurdity for what it was.
Maintain work-life balance. If the company you work for doesn't support that choice, work somewhere else. It is an absolute lie that "most jobs" need you to "seem like you work 24/7", and perpetuating that lie only makes it easier for the bad actors to justify their behaviour.
Hey, guess what happens when you tell someone you work in programming in a large (tech) city? They immediately write you out of their life as someone who is A) boring and B) working 24/7 anyways.
Maybe this is something that has been changing recently - I hear people griping about "brogrammers" now, though I've never actually met one, so far as I know. And perhaps Burning Man culture is not the binding force it used to be, now that the event has gone mainstream.
It did take me at least a year before I really started making any friends here, but my experience has been that... once you find your way in, you're in.
Yep, that's been 100% my experience. I don't know what a "brogrammer" is, only that apparently I am one and they are scum. And I've been here for 3 years. It's been getting worse; two years ago people would at least talk to me for more than a few minutes at a time. One year ago people would grudgingly give me a chance, but you could see them clocking out once tech stuff came up.
This year, the resentment is palpable. And I'm so tired of putting in so much and ... I just can't do this anymore.
So mission accomplished; congratufuckinglations.
And I'll bet you dislike Trump's anti-immigration policies, to boot. So do I, but unlike people here I put my money where my mouth is.
Every tech worker in Seattle and SF is able to afford the very high rents in those cities while the local population cannot. They are absolutely being pushed out by the influx of these people who are raising the pricing floor.
I don't know anybody in this city who I don't work with. I have never had more than one conversation with someone who I wasn't about to pay for something.
It's awful. It's so lonely. And I've never run into this issue in other places. I work less than 9-5 and have hobbies outside of work, but...nothing.
I've never run into this issue. But, not making friends in a new city may just mean it's a personality issue vs a friend making issue.
Have you tried dating apps? They have a friend option.
It's baffling and honestly distressing; I've made friends before in other places. I don't have political views anathema to how most people in the area think. I try to be respectful and unobtrusive and kind. I honestly moved here thinking it'd be full of weirdos like me. I dunno, maybe that's the problem.
And don't even get me started on dating apps.
Just off the top of my head one thing that comes to mind is that age might play a role. I've noticed that making new friends in a new place has been more difficult since I entered my thirties.
Another could definitely be culture. While I believe almost every city beyond a certain size will have 'pockets' of particular types of people, and thus that it should be possible to make friends anywhere, I've definitely found that in some places my kind of crowd is kind of 'hidden' within the more popular culture(s). This seems to be more an issue in smaller cities, but still.
Anyways, I didn't mean to insult you or treat you like a specimen, so I'm sorry if that's how I came across. I'd honestly love to talk about this more if you're open to it. If so, you can find my email address on my profile.
Again, sorry for upsetting you! I hope things improve for you.
There's a big problem with taking a city and shoving a bunch of milquetoast bland new grads in. People hate them, and eventually grow a filter to just ignore them. You'll never convince them that you're any different; it's a waste of time trying.
I think that's the main problem. If you found people who shared your interests, it wouldn't matter what they thought about your job. Assuming there really isn't anyone in your city that shares your interests (or few enough that means finding them is prohibitively difficult), then your only recourse might be to move elsewhere... absent finding new interests, heh.
And then the third class was cancelled for lack of sign-ups.
I have BEEN trying, constantly, and it doesn't matter at all.
I agree that going to art classes, language classes, etc are a good way to meet people - I do wonder if the people there are more likely to want to discuss their passions rather than their jobs (hopefully). Might even be less flaky since it's hopefully activities they find more interesting than work.
If you want someone to talk to in the area, feel free to shoot me an email (throwaway account here).
But I'd be happy with a close friend who was capable of...oh, say talking and rational thought. At some point I want to write, and I dunno, it seems like you need to really understand people to write well. That's not gonna be easy when the only interaction people will afford me without scowling is complementing their dog.
People here aren't even interested in talking about their interests.
Just move to New York.
Personally I think it's better for social anxiety than alcohol - sativa strains, anyways - but it's not always that easy.
I mean yes, many cops are corrupt and if you're black and in a poor neighborhood the cops can shoot you for anything, but that doesn't really have to do with marijuana laws specifically.
Or would it be fair for me to assume that you also think black cops are targeting white citizens for unfair arrests?
So far I had been whining about how we have really bad inherent work cultures here in Japan. Its a norm for everyone to work overtime : 9am to 10pm is extremely normal. "Hardworking" guys send emails at 2 am and next day when I check my inbox, I'm somewhere burdened if my boss would expect the same of me. Clearly no one here understands that longer hours != more productivity.
If the pioneer locations in the industry were to promote such culture, I wonder if countries like Japan would ever grow out of its current mindset validating their methods even more so.
My main disagreement with this type of quote is how do you account for R&D? You have to try things out, not all of them work out, you throw things away, things don't work out as expected. If you're in a true startup, money is tight, deadlines are agressive, you have to put in the time.
These types of statements discredit the "do or die" moments on which companies are built on.
My wife's job has offices in a bunch of countries. Recently she was talking to someone they borrowed from Europe for a few weeks. They observed that in the U.S. they work many more hours, but take coffee breaks and intermingle work and leisure. They were suggesting they work fewer hours, but are more focused when at work. It's hard to tell, but I'd say their "output" is comparable (maybe an edge to the team in Europe).
If you ask me, R&D on a tight budget and timeline is the worst time to be overworked and exhausted, as it renders you less creative, and far more prone to make mistakes.
Obviously it's a cost-benefit curve, but the research shows the benefits don't outweigh the costs beyond about 60 hours per week.
I respect people who say they don't want to work the hours I do, but there are those who enjoy work and spend lots of hours at work. Just because it is not for everybody does not mean that there are not those who choose to spend a great real of time at work.
Some places do a 37.5 hour work week, 9-5 with a 30 minute lunch. Others do 9-6 with an hour. There's also no shortage of places (such as my workplace) that do 35 hour work week, 9-5 with 1 hour lunch.
Well, assuming you work for a company that puts much stock in ass-in-seat time (which, lucky for me, I don't).
You won't be able to do 100% remote though.