I also think overwork is a byproduct of a globally connected society. Humans are happy if they are relatively well off compared to what they know. With smaller societies, we know less and thus expect less from ourselves and our situations. But it becomes more difficult to remain this way as small societies get replaced with large social networks.
As a small example, you can be having a great life one day and feel woefully underpaid the next, and the only thing that has changed is your knowledge that in the valley, people get paid twice the amount you do in the UK.
I believe we need a generational understanding, acceptance, and appropriation of some of the unintended side effects of modern society.
This is super true. I've been congratulating myself all month on my new job, paying me BIG BUCKS, compared to my friends. Well, just found out an old friend of mine also found a new job, getting payed literally twice as much as me. Now I'm in a funk and it's irrational and stupid but I can't help but look at the same number in a totally different way.
Making more money than me is great. Really. If making more money than me is important to you I KNOW I'm having more fun than you are. Somehow, somewhere in the last 5 years or so I've become content. I scratch-build model cars now in my spare time, and that's where I compete - with myself. Crazy fulfilling.
It's easy to be among the top in something in the little group that a kid in high school is exposed to. Even in a big district, there are enough things to be good at that you can be the best at something esoteric. Then you go to a good college for that thing, and come in thinking you're all that, and suddenly realize that you're average. But college exposes you to the fact that there are innumerable niches in that thing, and you can pick one and be among the best at that niche from your graduating class. You then go off to work, thinking you're hot stuff with your new top-of-the-line special credentials, and think you know more than everyone else in your field. Surprise: You don't. You meet someone who's been in the field for 30 years and can solve the special problems that you're uniquely good at in their sleep. And that guy has someone he calls when he can't figure something out.
It's sort of like looking for records in a baseball game: There are so many possible records to set and precedents to break, that there's something new for the announcers to go on about in most every game. There's a lot of room to be unique, special, and valuable.
You will almost certainly never be as good a composer as Mozart, as good a pianist as Horowitz, as good at dancing as any company you can see on TV or as good at singing as even a mediocre performer in a talent show. But you can learn from the best and always get better through hard work.
Being exposed to the idea that 'no, you're not the best and probably never will be, but the real reward is seeing yourself improve step by step through hard work' is invaluable.
I think Ip Man said that. Not sure.
Of course, owners are entitled to do whatever they please with their cars - but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing to see a GT3 RS, or any other track car, spend it’s life in start stop traffic in London.
On the other hand, when I was younger, seeing someone drastically less competent making more money didn't bother me. I thought it would catch up to them, and besides, I want in it just for the money.
Now, I know incompetence won't necessarily have consequences and that those other things don't mean anything, didn't happen, or whatever, and all I got out of the work was money.
Watching those people gets galling.
These days, I enjoy fiddling with knobs on a synthesizer for an hour or watching an old movie with a friend more than I ever did material things. Money can't buy being deep in a conversation where "So it's like Japanese vaporwave?" is a reasonable thing to say.
Oh I don't know. If I'm 50 and am making enough to retire at 65, and my friend retires at 52, I think it will still get to me.
So, among the things 75% of the people alive today might actually do, browsing Facebook might actually be the worst. Depending on your value system.
Facebook is waaaay down the list.
The number of possible Alcoholics don't add up to 75% of the global population. Sexual harassment while bad is not really a temptation for most people. Stealing, is again not things most people even consider.
EX: I may not be average, but I am not in a relationship so I can't exactly cheat. I don't like Alcohol so I am not going to become an Alcoholic. I could go on, but things are really not in my realm of possibility right now.
And how did you arrive at this number?
> The number of possible Alcoholics don't add up to 75% of the global population.
True, but the impact is still significant: alcoholism is among the top causes of death, at least in the US.
~25% to 60% of married people in the US cheet, but only 80% get married. Global data similar, but a significant number never get married which keeps things under 50%.
People who start posting excessive "Look at my life" posts tend to get unfollowed pretty quickly.
I find that this is something that sometimes sort of just happens to me, when I get aware of something I'm doing better now than, say, a year before.
But, I never really consciously decide to do that, because then I find it just doesn't work. Like the cliché of standing in front of a mirror and saying to yourself "today is gonna be a good day" (Has that ever worked for anybody? Where is this meme coming from?)
It's about making sure you take a moment to appreciate the good things you experience. It's about making an effort to not assume malice when there's a plausible positive or neutral explanation for someones behaviour. It's about the fact that if you smile at people and say good morning, they'll return the favour more often than if you frown and don't. It's about making peace with the things you can't change. It's about not dismissing this stuff as happy-clappy bullshit, but about giving you energy to address the things that actually matter, rather than just going around being angry at the world.
Weather is a good example: If you find yourself constantly annoyed at the weather and it's possible for you to do so, why not go to somewhere with a climate that might better suit you?
I guess my point is, I agree, it's not worth it getting constantly worked up over stuff, but also one shouldn't ignore one's feelings towards certain things for a prolonged time.
The former can have quite an effect on the latter though. To take it to one extreme, if you're never happy you're not going to be satisfied with life. But more realistically if these habits often help you feel happy when otherwise you would've been less happy, then that's going to have a positive impact on how satisfied you are with life.
So I'd say rather than simply saying nice things, one should be conscious of when one is thinking negative thoughts and then try to see where they come from and then what can be done about it. Being honest with yourself is a big part of that and I think that's what many people have a hard time with. And of course: If you're happy, also try to notice and cherish that. (If you look in the discussion I've had with another poster in this comment-thread, we've talked a bit about this too)
The converse of this is why stagnation feels bad long term (you don't tend to notice short term, that is just a break taking things easy for a while). Knowing you have not learned/done anything new in a long time can be depressing, and fuels many a mid-life crisis.
Check out: https://youtu.be/meiU6TxysCg
It takes a lot of effort to learn not to resent accomplishments of people you’re “competing” with even if they’re friends and you’re not directly competing with them. It’s a learned behavior to feel good for them instead.
There’s probably a selected reason for this, but it’s possible to overcome it (or at least be aware of its affect).
It’s better to frame life success on something else - like what you want to learn or the type of person you want to be.
Seems like I learned to feel good for other people‘s accomplishments, but I haven‘t unlearned comparing myself to them, and feeling good if I accomplish something they do not.
I feel much happier when people in my social circle are well off and living a great life.
I have also found that helping those around me succeed, whether financially, or personally, usually improves my own quality of life in someway (not always of course).
I also fully agree that one should only compare self to oneself.
After all we are all unique
IMHO happiness is truly achieved when shared :)
In my personal experience, I'd say this is a very unique quality to have. Not all friends and family members can be like this.
A tournament can be called competitive and a participant can be called competitive, but these don't mean quite the same thing.
Evolution is inherently competitive, but humans become competitive by evolution.
In short? No. Fitness is.
The distinction is between competition in the sense of individuals or groups competing, over things that are often irrelevant with respect to evolution, vs the fundamental principle that given a set of environmental constraints and a limited pool of resources, an entity that can repeatedly propagate more effectively than others will tend towards a greater relative abundance.
The fact that many extremely successful species are not individually competitive proves that evolution does not require all winners to be individually competitive.
It's not that we can't cope - human beings have amazing mechanisms to adapt to harsh situations - but rather so many problems are new enough that there is little prior societal understanding and defense for it.
When a problem is widespread enough to affect many members of society, the practices and solutions to that problem eventually enter the social vocabulary and become common knowledge. Social culture is filled with antibodies to past problems - college, seat belts, smoking, fitness - just to name a few things ingrained in society that passively guards our well being.
It's when new problems that affect entire generations emerge too quickly, there's not yet good common advice for how to deal.
The other day I've seen a trailer of a series on Netflix - Mars Generation, I think? I couldn't even finish it, because when I saw those kids doing the things I always wanted, it made me think about all similar realizations - that e.g. my university started doing things with rockets and satellites just after I graduated, that left and right I see cool spacetech opportunities offered to students only, etc. I'm having a hard time dealing with the fact I was just born few years too early. It's a stupid, irrational jealousy.
- Gore Vidal
Is it irrational and stupid? In a society at the limits of of its resources and stuck in a Malthusian trap, there is often zero-sum competition between members of the society.
Until the modern period and real technological growth, most humans lived in societies that were approaching local research constraints. Famine was common. If your neighbor had a bit more, it's likely because you had a bit less.
In that sort of a situation, learning that your peer makes twice as much as you thought is revealing quite a few things: e.g. you could have found a way to get paid much more and society is less equal or 'fair' than you thought.
Somehow only in the things he cares about. He has a car and a much better PC, still he envies my money.
This sort of logic is also part of why social media can be so damaging in general. Sites like Twitter, YouTube and Instagram heavily spotlight outliers who've become incredibly successful at their field, which will by definition make many people feel like failures in comparison.
And well, with most people being very image focused and only showing their successes on these sites, it can give the impression everyone else in the world is wildly successful while you're the only one struggling at all.
Still, that's something the internet reinforces in general really. That regardless of what you're interested in or seemingly good at, that there will always be hundreds or thousands better than you at it.
But yes, the half-empty version is the depressing awareness that you're not really "good" at anything.
I think I've noticed this a bit in myself - before I had broadband internet I was more willing to play around and tinker with things, now I struggle a bit harder to find motivation to try anything I'm not already good at.
When I come across these people, rather than feeling inferior to them, I try to learn what I can from them so that I can do and be better the next time.
Feeling inferior is nothing more than an (likely false) acknowledgement that you don't want to be a lifelong learner.
Better to work and make money and position while you still can. Thats the reality of the modern world. I don't care about the joneses by do I care about my inability to provide in future.
Old age these days is 3-4 decades, I've seen what happens to people who end up with little money when they are old. It makes me insecure and scared. I am not sure how easy or hard it is to decide to end your life before you are too old, I am guessing its not easy to convince yourself.
The fundamental question is whether or not man can evolve enough to not be a greedy piece of shit that's willing to claw and stab his way to the top.
As a 44+ year-old software engineer who is still gainfully employed, and who doesn't see that changing any time soon, I'm not sure what to make of your assertion...?
Are you seriously saying being older than 30 years of age is considered "old"?
You forget a big part I think: planning for your future. You don't know if you'll have a job 10 years from now. If you have kids you know you need a bunch of cash to make sure they get a reasonable education down the road. Of course you'll feel the pressure to prepare for such eventualities. Not everyone is "living in the moment".
Nor is everyone obsessed with being winners, of the moral high ground as in this case.
Sure working your ass off 80h/w will make you a penny or two more but you may die in the process and will have to sacrifice something to make time.
My father passed away with 200+ days of unspent holiday, and I cannot remember a moment with him. I for sure won’t make the same mistake
... You forget a big part I think: planning for your future. ...
Perhaps this view of life has some roots in the Buddhist religion as well.
I do think if I would choose to stay in Europe it would be very hard for me to live in the moment, but I think in Thailand it should be possible. The problem is here you have to pay a lot of taxes, can make little savings and pretty much have to work 40 hours a week to have some disposable income, this is especially true if you have a wife, children, etc... As a software developer it should be easy, when staying in Thailand, to just work perhaps 25 hours a week and have enough income for a very easy, worry-free life.
That has nothing to do with Buddhism, it's because developing countries dont have govt provided social security so old people have to depend on their kids for support.
But suffering tends to be sharper in poorer countries and some people find it stressful to be around so much less hidden suffering than a richer country where the poorer people are invisible.
> “The church should care for any widow who has no one else to care for her. But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God very much....But those who won't care for their own relatives, especially those living in the same household, have denied what we believe. Such people are worse than unbelievers” (1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8)
Migration flows are always away from those cultures, and towards cultures where people do think about the future.
The thing is, everybody likes to dream about the care-free life, but nobody wants to experience the inevitable ultimate results of that: poverty, crime, underachievement (e.g. never accomplishing anything on a long time horizon), and powerlessness at the hands of people who planned.
Never forget the little red hen .
I grew up in a diverse community in Brooklyn NY. There were marked differences in ambition amongst cultures. BUT Not all lack of ambition is negative as I personally witnessed. It may be negative at a society-level, but I witnessed very happy people. Parents who played soccer with their children daily. Parents who were always present at dinner. People who lived paycheck to paycheck, but were happy. Obviously, this is NY, so there are some safety nets for two-sigma cases (medicaid, housing support.)
Remember that ambition often comes with a cost (I worked 10+yrs on Wall Street, most high achievers I worked with rarely made it home for dinner with kids.) So many people I worked with were miserable.
> Migration flows are always away from those cultures, and towards cultures where people do think about the future.
Source? How exactly is the amount of "thinking about the future" determined?
It's better to work 40 hours, follow and help her in school than work 80h and be the stranger that throws money over a wall to send her away from home under the guise of "it is good for you, trust me".
If you can afford to live in luxury with only 40h a week, then it's great, but don't assume that everyone can do it without trade-offs. And if that trade-off is your kid not getting the best chances in education down the road, then it's worth thinking about it twice, if you do love your kids.
... I know for a fact that I am better off than my parents ...
I mean think about it. If you're anything like me, you've spent the first 24 or so years of your life in school (paid for in a large part by the government), and the last 30 years in retirement. That gives you about 54 years of not working and 44 years of working - and that's about 5 days a week, with an extra 21-24 holidays + national holidays.
What I'm saying is, you work relatively little yet with the taxes you pay for that you live a very comfortable life. And the work isn't too bad either most of the time.
People often say the government pay for something without breaking that down and realising it's tax-payers/society who pay. That's always worth remembering IMO.
I agree it's worth remembering that "the government doesn't have its own money", but it's as much - if not more, these days - important to remember that paying taxes and every citizen having their tax money in their pocket are not equivalent scenarios. At the very least, governments use tax money to smooth things out on the wealth spectrum. Whether you're rich or poor, you get the same baseline of education, health, security and convenience.
Honestly I'm not so sure that's true anymore. It's hard to compare our current situation with parents late in their career of course, but I feel like they didn't had the difficulties we experience to access home ownership (that's a thing in europe and valued areas in the us). Also when I look at myself or my friends with reasonably wealthy parents, I am pretty sure most of us will not match our parents' wealth.
In the UK politicians like to talk about social mobility but I can't help feeling that is a lesser issue than equality. People only want to move up the social ladder because they are at the bottom.
Further, I think even the early settlers could have benefited from working smarter, not just harder. Indigenous Americans built shelters using mud and straw that insulated much better than settlers' houses, for example. Imitating the success of people already here might have saved lives.
So true. I have enough money to pay for my apartment, hobbies, new technology etc. I know that a lot of my friends earn 3 times my salary and to be frank, it eats me up inside.
I have not yet found a good way to combat this feeling.
I don't find this very convincing. This would only seem to be the case where the amount of effort is tied to one's salary, but for hourly wages this is much less likely to be true. I also don't think it's a kind of built-in part of our brain structure; this feels like a very "human nature" type argument which is wholly unsubstantiated. It is true that what we consider to be "human nature" (such as the arising of the desire for personal fame) actually originated in definite periods of history. It is also true that various economic orders, those feudalistic, capitalistic, of the slave society etc. bring about different changes in consciousness.
So for that reason, I don't think it's wise to project the desire to be more well off than one's peers as an innate factor especially considering alternative modes of organization in which overwork for this sake does not occur, or at least has no good reason to occur. The trouble with what I'm saying is that humans are 'stamped' with the mark of their current productive forces such that imagining alternatives is not only difficult but it seems utopian and impossible.
I also don't really buy the small society vs big society dichotomy as you have used it here. Even in small societies there are times where people 'earn' more for the same amount of work, are there not? I would argue that the problems you suggest exist are merely exacerbated by a global capitalist society rather than caused by it, but also that they are nevertheless features of any capitalist society.
In smaller societies, you have less people to compare to.
But what about the rise in real estate prices that happened just about when people were getting double income?
Overwork may be market-driven more than we think.
If a place has high standard of living, competition to live there will make people willing to pay more to live there until standard of living is back to the mean.
But your point remains -- costs are out of line from our parents' generation. I cannot afford to buy my father's house even with 4x the salary he made. Salary-Housing multiples are insane and drives people to make poor work choices.
Don't really agree they are the same observations, but do see the similarities.
This is the book:
I worry that this already concedes too much. This allows for just as much stressful dominance of work over the rest of life, and shame over any deviation from this script, as maximizes productivity.
Even if my shorter-work-hours productivity doesn't match my longer-work-hours productivity, I'd still prefer shorter-work-hours, with no guilt over having those preferences. My goal in life is not to optimize everything I do for maximum benefit of my employer; I have my own priorities and trade-offs to worry about.
The socialist counter-argument would be that under such a system people with few employment options or low skills would be forced to work more hours for the same pay and that it’s the government’s job to regulate a reduction in work hours to improve quality of life.
Neither argument is wrong, in practice you need both systems for different people, but the nature of politics, especially in the U.S., requires a binary choice the net result of which is that everyone works more hours.
So we HAVE the option to negotiate fewer hours, no?
What I think would be helpful is getting away from the notion that working 40 hours a week is somehow 'real work' and anything less is for students and housewives or single mothers who can't work more hours. That's a fact that's also reflected in less-than-proportionate pay which you get with may part-time jobs.
So yes, while it may not be illegal to work part time, it's just not a realistic option for many people.
For me - a lot of the things I want to do for myself involves exactly the same kind of activities as my dayjob - but the end goal is mine, and I actually believe in it.
I decided a long time ago that I would never enter into the proper workforce, as most people think of the term. The plan is to go tenure-track and teach the classes I loved to learn. Basically stay in school indefinitely from this point on. I'd rather learn by myself in my own home, but there are benefits here and I "gotta pay the bills".
I had a tenure track job - in addition to teaching classes I loved teaching to amazing students, I had to chase grant money to pay for research that wasn't particularly interesting, but made a case for spending money, so the uni could get their overhead. The research I enjoyed and was good at was small ethnographic studies - you can't really spend a million dollars doing that. I also had to do service (review journal articles, run programs, volunteer at the national level), and of course publish or perish. In fact, the only part teaching played in my job was that I had to maintain a bare minimum in course evals, or I'd get fired. That was it - good teaching couldn't overcome the papers I didn't write.
Later, I landed a lecturer position elsewhere, and that was precisely the kind of job you're talking about: teaching interesting classes. I was paid basically a pittance, but enough that I could pay the bills, and my workload wasn't ridiculous, unlike what you normally hear about adjunct positions.
Unfortunately, the uni had to limit my term to three years, because if they kept me for four they were required to offer me security of employment (tenure for lecturers). SoE would have meant real retirement benefits and a much more competitive salary. To date, this particular lecturer position has rotated staff every two to three years (for decades) because they don't want to have to have a SoE lecturer.
I now work outside of academia. I miss teaching and being relaxed (especially during my lecturer stint), but like I said - those jobs are vanishingly rare.
But I thank you for the advice and the good wishes! Perhaps lecturing will be where I go! What happened with your tenure-track position? Was it too stressful?
It's true that tenure track positions in top universities are scarce. But there are many universities. One of the students in my department just took a lifestyle job in Australia at a university I never heard of. Another student took a faculty position at Harvard. They both appeared thrilled with their choices.
Look at the placement record of any phd program, then adjust for the number of students admitted annually, to estimate your probability to get an academic job. In many fields, a top-50 PhD program virtually guarantees academic employment. In other fields, a top-50 PhD program virtually guarantees unemployment. It is important to walk in with eyes wide open.
Again - my teaching was a vanishingly small part of what actually counted at the Uni where I was a professor, and even my research work wasn't quite right. I wrote a lot of interesting software for gathering video data in classrooms (this was the mid 00s) and analyzing student-teacher interaction really closely to show that general models of learning and teacher activity were pretty thin in terms of how they align with actual classroom activity. None of the software or curriculum I wrote was valued in any way by my peers (didn't count toward a tenure case, only r1 journal pubs count).
I had a really hard time getting that work published (too techy for regular journals, to ed-dy for tech journals, and my absolute-favorite piece sat in review purgatory for literally 26 months before coming back with positive reviews and an editorial rejection for being not quite a fit with the journal - this is what ended up sinking me actually, if I had gotten that particular rejection two years earlier, I could have easily shopped the paper elsewhere and been in much better shape for a tenure case).
But ultimately, I was just not happy professoring, as it turned out to not be the job I wanted it to be. Teaching and research are interesting and fun, committee work and being pressured to write big grants and politicking for courses to be offered and all that were not what I wanted to do (stress and just time away from teaching, writing code and analyzing video). Plus side, I'm a lot happier now that I've figured all that out.
Not true. In my experience there are more opportunities in industry which have equal or greater freedom to research and teach than a typical university tenure track.
We wanted to be able to walk to our office.
We work 3 first days of the week.
We Have meetings and checkins on Thursday.
And use Friday for various products we are developing or just for time to think.
We dont do project prices only daily or weekly and mostly retainer deals.
We are pretty expensive to hire which means mostly series a round startups or larger organizations like Tata.
Our clients dont pay for any overhead on our end and get way better results out of it and we get the time to build up our organization properly.
Unfortunately, I've found that it's rather career-limiting, as people don't care as much if a lowly developer works four-day weeks, but for more senior positions nobody will accept that. I have a choice between fulfilling life and fulfilling career, and I think I'm leaning towards the former.
Life satisfaction I get from that extra day off if quite huge, as I almost get twice as much free time compared to the time I actually work (3/4 vs 2/5). That time allowed me to get better at playing music and rock climbing and I now have time to read and learn more.
Productivity wise, I probably do a little bit less than I did while I worked full-time. But I'm more productive for every hour I work, which is not really a bad deal for my employer. We have several offices, and most people I've been working with remotely didn't notice that I was working part-time for months.
I also got a 20% pay cut, which reduced my after tax income by about 15% (living in Belgium). Lifestyle hasn't changed, but it definitively has an impact on how much money I can save every month. I'm considering buying an house, and working part-time will definitively delay this by a couple of years.
I agree with you that working part-time could seem career-limiting, but my opinion is that it's more like an inner feeling than something my supervisors think of me (it's a little bit awkward to work part-time when most of your colleges work full-time). In the end, the average gap in productivity between an engineer that works part-time compared to the same one that works full-time is way less than between two given engineers.
That's exactly it. I don't think there are any misgivings as to my output, just what having a senior person working 4-day weeks would project. Maybe they're afraid that other people would start choosing that option? I'm not sure.
Then again, I've mostly been getting those comments from other companies, so I think they're just scared of the 4-day thing, and maybe they wouldn't actually be against it after they saw how the relationship works. Some people have told me "I'm worried that someone working four days will be less committed than someone working five", to which my reply is "then, by induction, you'd want everybody working 24/7".
People are generaly apprehensive of new things, and four-day workweeks are no exception.
And, yes, some people translate commitment to "we want you to work 24/7". You probably don't want to work for those people even if you're looking for regular full time job.
It's definitely harder, since less companies will hire you. But on the flip side, since you've already negotiated shorter workweek it's easier to get that at other companies, since you have proof you work well with less hours.
I talk about both the skills and the negotiating tactics involved in my book (https://codewithoutrules.com/saneworkweek/).
It's been working out great ever since, and, as far as I can tell, for both sides.
Currently, I have way more work than I can possibly do in 40 hours, meaning I'm already dropping things on the floor if I only work 40. Working even fewer hours would exacerbate this problem.
For example, you can figure out which features are really necessary, and work on those first. Then when you inevitably run out of time you can say "I did A B and C, but did we really need X Y Z?" "Well... I guess not."
More here: https://codewithoutrules.com/2016/08/25/the-01x-programmer/
They want you there to answer questions.
Workplaces value availability because it's too difficult to design coherent systems and to document them. Instead of that boring old stuff, in the modern workplace, we go fast and break things (or never get them fully working in the first place).
Then we expect workers to be always around so they can be reached on slack when there is a problem.
But hey, I like surfing, and you can't 'reach' a person while they are surfing. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I don't like it either, and I feel like I could contribute a lot more effectively on the fixed price items if I wasn't constantly scrounging up T&M work, maybe I'd even have time to think up decent solutions instead of justifying why I have to spend another 2 hours on issue #blah, but it's an example of why required hours exist.
I got sidetracked.. what I mean is that you need HN, Facebook etc to prevent you from using too much of that precious brain power. Maybe this is different for other areas of work, but IMO it should make not much of a difference whether you are forced to stay at work for 35 or 45 hours - you just will procrastinate more.
Update: Added “more than”.
But use it, and it will tire. Forget to pause and it will tire faster. And neurotransmitters are not an endless resource.
The term "stress" comes from the world of physics. Instead, the article argued, stress resistance is like a muscle. To develop it, you need to exercise it a bit, then STOP. As someone who made working out his hobby, I know rest is an essential part of training. Newbies often utter nonsense like "I will do pushups 7 days a week". It works for the first few days, then you get overtraining and your performance falls below normal.
There are a lot more people in this world whose level is wall pushups than you may realize.
Doing a couple pushups every day won’t kill ya.
Being stressed every day however might.
Also professional athletes are the best of the best. They are genetic freaks, use drugs to help them recover faster, and devote their lives to their sport.
Another difference between professional athletes and normal people is the likelihood of being on drugs that improve performance.
You can do push ups every day, but it's useless.
To elaborate on this...
Lebron James and Roger Federer have both said they sleep 12 hours a day.
Usain Bolt, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Steve Nash sleep up to 10 hours per day.
Most NBA players take naps every game day, sometimes for as long as 3 hours.
That said, not all pro athletes sleep a ton. Tiger Woods said he only sleeps 5 hours a night, for instance. But it seems pretty clear that most of them are sleeping way more than the average office drone.
EDIT: This was poorly worded. Golf is a sport, but I don't know that a professional golfer is an athlete any more than a professional carpenter is an athlete. A professional basketball player is an athlete however.
> Doing a couple pushups every day won’t kill ya.
Your now comparing a group that is new to an action and one that is trained in it. However I would like to rephrase OP's comment to: As a beginner you should recognize rest is more important than constant training.
- Be capable of 100 in normal working hours
- Be expected to deliver 70
- Deliver 80
This provides also a good buffer for errors and other unexpected stuff. And reduces stress.
La Forge: Yeah, well, I told the Captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour.
Scotty: How long will it really take?
La Forge: An hour!
Scotty: Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would really take, did ya?
La Forge: Well, of course I did.
Scotty: Oh, laddie. You've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.
If it's just about making money however, then sure that seems like a sound strategy.
I've never seen an athlete that goes 100% all the time your body just simply cannot take it. Hell someone who always trains at 95% multiple times a day is pretty sure to take some PEDs to help with the recovery.
I know a guy who does strongman competitions for a living. He never gives his 100% outside of competitions (3 to 5 times a year) The guy sleeps like 12 hours a day minimum (~8h at night and 3 or 4 naps), spends more time eating and then training and once he is nearing competition and going for that "peak" performance for a competition training after warmups might mean doing one single rep of deadlift as the whole days routine (probably takes a good 2 or 3 days to fully recover from that with his muscles). There are just some very real limits to the endurance of a human being. (the brain is also an organ just like muscles and has limits and needs rest etc.)
Also in any field, it ofcourse requires time, work and experience to become actually good enough to give yourself some slack.
I'm not sure what the equivalent is for the office worker.
It's not universal, but a surprising number of the greats in all fields work less, not more.
I often think of a comment by Noam Chomsky, about how the industrial revolution promised so much to the people, but many saw it for what it was, little better than chattel slavery, the only difference being you get released to go home at night.
The main problem I've run into is how ingrained the Stockholm syndrome is in people who seem to define themselves by their work. I've been on a break since my last burnout as a senior sysadmin, pursuing a data science degree and doing side projects. I can see the judgement in others when I explain that though... but I don't really care, I feel my pursuits are worthwhile and fulfilling.
People also tend to think your work defines you or themselves when it doesn't and shouldn't. For example, people who don't know me might think I'm "just a sysadmin", but I'm a combat vet who has aspirations of a presidential run some day, and I've spent many years forgoing normal social life in my free time to study the big picture of geopolitics and geostrategy . I don't know if I'll ever be ready for such a huge responsibility, but I'm working on it.
My heroes are men like George Washington and the autodidacts of history, but these days I far too often hear how its impossible to do that anymore.
I disagree. Why artificially limit ourselves like that? We should work on freeing people up to pursue more lofty goals, or maybe I'm still a naive idealist who places too much weight in the principles of the enlightenment.
I have a counterpoint to this. I am from India where if you work normally you will be spending your life in conditions which are not very healthy for you and your family. Your home will be small and in a society where neighbourhood will be lacking in basic facilities like sanitation, security etc.
You might remain happy if you have great friends and a supporting family. But to improve your living standards and getting a healthy lifestyle will ask you for a decent pay which will force you to work more than your peers. And as this is India, the workforce is generally cheap and very competitive so you have to be really good and beat a lot of other people to climb the ladder. And I dare say you can't do that by just doing 'less'.
The thing was I struggled very hard to reach 10 and found a nice balance at around 8 slots of focused work per day (4 hours, ncluding coding and administrative tasks). So a 25 hour work week suggested in the article sounds reasonable to me.
Once you hit the C-Suite you don't even think about work-life balance, because your work is your entire life. I know people like that, who have enough money to retire in their 40s and live in luxury without ever working again, yet they don't want to stop working.
I'm reminded of the best sysadmin I have ever known. You'd see him at weekly staff meetings, but most of the time he'd be in his office, probably playing nethack. He was part of the furniture.
Then he'd go on vacation and all hell would break loose. I figured that was his way of letting everyone know he still existed.
For instance, average GDP per worker is much higher in Norway than the U.S. This proves that large numbers over large numbers may in fact be smaller than small numbers over small numbers. Especially if the small numerator (Norway GDP) is relatively large because it's dominated by a single factor (oil wealth).
"Even on a global level, there is no clear correlation between a country’s productivity and average working hours. With a 38.6-hour work week, for example, the average US employee works 4.6 hours a week longer than a Norwegian. But by GDP, Norway’s workers contribute the equivalent of $78.70 per hour – compared to the US’s $69.60."
This paragraph links to this article on 'no clear correlation' but the article itself says the exact OPPOSITE--that there's no correlation between increased vacation and greater productivity: https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/vacation-time-vs-productivity/
Not only that, but while Norway is indeed #1 of GDP per hour worked, USA is #3 and countries like UK and Canada are a distant #12 and #13, suggesting this obviously does NOT have to do with 'working less': https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)...
Yes. It's like a big small town. It's quite refreshing - though it can be frustrating if you want to get something done.
It's relaxing to be in a place that isn't all about the rat race, but it can be irritating when you want to get up early and do stuff, or when you're dealing with the bureaucracy, or you're trying to plan anything. As with most things, it's a trade off.
No it is not. Good use of my time is whatever I decide is good use of my time. And speaking about this in plural(our time) and absolutes(ultimate) is even worse.
On a good day there's 4 productive hours in me. Cut my salary in half but release some of my time so I can live a little.
. At least for certain occupations / productive superstars who can do full day's of work in 4h.
Upside would be
- 20h a week to invest into family, hobby & entertainment.
- "more jobs" are created ...
- limit supply of labour solving unemployment (no need for UBI anymore?)
- Salaries would creep back up somewhat due to higher productivity per hour
...and not the other way around? It seems like everywhere: even in software, languages and tools that increase the productivity of "lazier" people (aka more "contemplative" or "think a lot, do a little" type of people) are basically always abandoned by industry after the "transplantable" ideas are extracted out of them (Lisp-s, lots of other meta-programming tools like OMeta, lots of functional languages with advanced type systems, lots of ideas for smarter-IDEs, smarter-debuggers etc. - basically what we've chosen to use as professionals is like 20-years behind what "can be done"). And same is true for most consumer facing technologies - nooooobody wants to develop device or apps that minimize user engangement! When this is exactly what the "think a lot, do a little"-people would need to have their output increased without requiring them to work harder.
Also when it comes to online classes and all. There's very, very few content designed to "let it seep in while you have a beer on the beach"... very few "high density but low focus-requirements" educational content. So to make any meaningful progress at learning something, you have to actively make a schedule with hours-lengths chunked of focused time at regular intervals... aka "work hard"! But I know from personal experience that this is not the only way to learn stuff!!! Many of the things I know I've "soaked into my brain" in pretty low-engagement ways that may have taken years to learn what others can learn in weeks of concentrated effort, but... it's just a different feel to it. This kind of knowledge was acquired effortlessly and I can use it effortlessly - I just load up a problem into my mind, and my subconscious just presents me with the solution, no need to actively think about it! And this is just amazing, you get that "god / the-universe downloaded the solution into your brain" kind of high.
Also, at the other end of the spectrum, we don't seem to recognize that a large percent of the population has too low IQs to be able to do any meaningful work in the current world. And yet basically all mind-augmentation technologies are targeted at people that are already smart. Nobody's building a "Siri that could help mentally challenged people work as nuclear engineers", when that could very well work.
Shouldn't we maybe use technology to actively fight against Price's law instead?
Shouldn't we focus on developing technology for achieving more through doing LESS? "Give" less, but "get more in return?" What's even the point of striving for anything else?!
</ dangerous idea>
I'm going to take a guess and say that many developers would like to develop those apps. But marketing/sales/C-level says otherwise.
Othoh, if the price was "license + 1 year free upgrades" you'd be quite likely to cough up a $600 license, because you'll think more in terms of outcome value and not time spent. But though luck, the company selling the subscription thingie would be valued more. So you're not going to do that.
Once you do this, you'll not want to waste too much of your user's time, as they'll choose a more efficient competitor... but you're not going to want to take too little of the user's time or attention either! Now he's subconsciously biased into thinking in terms of price/time-unit and you need to play this game.
The reaction I've had is pretty surprising. A lot of people seem to think it's too difficult for them work less.
Even a few who don't get much money try to get along with it by living in a shared flat before starting to work full-time.