He doesnt do much other than be available 12-16h 6-7days a week. It's taking more toll than one would expect.
- Why would anyone pick a healer in an MMO group ? What's so great about becoming a healer ? How's that better than playing a DPS, actually contributing to killing the boss and letting someone else worry about your health bar ?
- What is fun about plying support in DOTA ? I mean the fun is being the carry and killing everyone on the other team to win games ? How can anyone willingly waste his gold to buy visibility wards, that is really not fun at all.
The healer/support/manager (="helper") position appeals to people who like to focus less on the pure "productive" task at hand. They like to focus on getting a full picture of everything that is happening, anticipating potential issues, fixing them, and allowing the DPS/carry/engineer (="producers") to be in the best possible position so they can perform their job. This can be fun for some people even if you don't see it that way. This often is really not an easy task. This often is critical for the success of the team.
And just like there are good and bad "producers" there are good and bad "helpers". The skillset is different, the measure of value creation is different, and the fun is different.
I've often struggled to articulate the reasons I enjoy these positions over a "producers" role. This will help - thank you.
I want to know the analogy of healers that rage quit (they do so more than DPSs or Tanks) with the entire manager/subordinate thing ;)
A decade later, you are an expert in the technologies that company uses, are paid well, and have good working conditions. But a recession comes, the company has a couple of bad years, and is taken over by a private equity firm. They decide you are too expensive and you're laid off.
You have 15 years experience as an IC, are a master of your craft, and no one wants to hire you. Principal engineers are promoted from within rather than hire from without. You are willing to start lower down the totem poll at a new place, but hiring managers believe that you'll leave at the first chance, or be disgruntled at the pay/seniority cut, or are just plain intimated by you. Realistically you are looking at a couple of decades of contracting. That's not the worst thing in the world, there are some upsides, but it's not the pure IC work you had been hoping for--it means decades of hustling.
Now look at the other career path. 6-7 years as an IC, 2-3 years as a engineering lead, 4-5 years as a engineering manager. If you get laid off at that point, besides all the engineering manager positions you can go for, you can also position yourself as a engineering VP / CTO of a smaller company. No one is overqualified for that, and the CEO that does the hiring isn't going to be intimated.
I'm not saying that you need to decide that reduced career risk (and probably extra money) are worth moving to the leadership track from the less stressful IC track, but isn't some incomprehensible choice.
I really hope that by the time I get there and get laid off in a recession or restructuring, I'll be retiring. I love software, but not enough to do it for longer than I have to and for someone else.
If you double your hours, raise your pay to 150 units and inflate your lifestyle by 25% (from 80 units to 100 units), you are now making 150, spending 100 (with more luxury), and saving 50 units (250% of what you were saving before).
That might be considered a trade-up (and is more or less the path I chose).
In fact IMHO many prefer availability to productivity. Being available 40-50h a week is rather tiring though and it can affect productivity.
For example I found that I perform better on a 32h/week. The availability problem can be solved by having the team cover the full week (different shifts with overlapping days).
Almost nobody can do more than 3 hours of heavy concentration/flow work regularly. Add another two or three hours for meetings, answering emails, triaging bugs, etc. and you get ~30h per week. When I'm in a position to do so, I tell my team that I'd rather have 3 hours of great work than 6 or 8 hours of mediocre work full of mistakes.
Still, it's an uphill battle culturally. And sometimes even developers don't like it, since they can't hide a lack of output behind hours in the office. I think this is a positive, because as a team lead you notice issues quicker, e.g. if someone is having a rough week. But it's also a good way to "unmask" people who e.g. embellished their skill level during the hiring process and maybe aren't a great fit for the role. That way, you can get them the training they need, or find them a different role.
This is partially true if:
1) you only hire young folks
2) you don't care about long term health of your team
Based on this philosophy I could work 90h/week and get even more done i.e. there is always work to be done but IMHO this way of working is unhealthy and not sustainable.
Personally for me it takes more time than the average to recharge so having a shorter working week helps with recharging and do well next week and be productive. And by that I mean being equally productive to a "full time".
> if you aren't paying 100% attention, that doesn't cost money
I'd argue it can cost you money, in different ways.
I guess it can only go so far because some social time with family and friends have to be focused.
I think "working from home" means something different to different people...
Some of my coworkers view it differently though and it becomes difficult to collaborate because they are running around doing other things during core hours. It is kind of an internal battle because I don't want the privilege taken from me.
"Vacation" travel: Haven't done this myself (outside visiting family) but have had colleagues who did it without issue. Available and worked in the day, did vacation things in the evening presumably.
When they want you to work extra hours, there's no argument. There's the project and the deadline.
Come a slow day or two, though, or the need to take an hour or three for a personal task (see the doctor, for example), and there's no automatic, corresponding flexibility from them.
Oh, your manager may grant you the time, but it's always at their discretion and a "favor" in return for your "good behavior."
Gee, thanks. :-/
By the way, the positions are "exempt", but there's no hour-by-hour management of associates that requires constant attention. The whole definition of "exempt" is skewed to fix labor costs rather than provide (and pay, at a higher fixed level) for real "management of employees". Hell, often I'm not even directly interfacing with anyone who is non-exempt.
Butts in seats. In my mind, it goes along with the "open space" paradigm. It's not actually about being "efficient"; it's about appearances, and control.
Like the one petty tyrant manager who wouldn't let us upgrade woefully outdated and overly expensive process, because he might lose some headcount. His status and "security" were, in his mind -- and perhaps even correctly -- tied to that headcount.
And... I suppose low cube walls helped to "show it off."
P.S. I actually got along pretty well, including with my management. Perhaps too easy-going.
As I've had time to reflect back upon all this, my resentment has grown and hardened. A LOT of wasted time and energy.
If/when you start feeling this way, look around not just at the ostensible work you have to complete, but at the system and environment in which you are expected to complete it.
Which are the real problems?
That's what I've found especially with my current job.
I can sit for a whole long time doing Nothing. I mean literally Nothing. I could tap out to see a 2.5h movie, come back, and nobody would have noticed.
But "I'm available". Oh but of course, I'll press this button for you. Let me refer you to the "subject matter expert". And no, there's nothing explicitly for me to actually do.
I can't wait for this contract to be over.
One thing my colleagues always value that I’m willing to respond at any time. It means most people come to me with their problems and my value to the business has increased (removing blockers from others).
We're all just much more mindful of how we each spend our time these days. We also strive to reduce meetings and lean more on asynchronous communication in order to reduce interrupting each other. That lets everybody focus more and get more high-quality work done in fewer hours.
Our initial write up:
The follow up with what we learned and what we adjusted:
The company needed the help of a senior developer but could not afford a competitive salary, so I offered to take a pay cut along with an extra day off each week. Of course, I was flexible in case my day off needed to be moved around for something important, but that almost never happened.
Thursdays were my off days, and I think this actually boosted my productivity. Aside from what other comments already mentioned about making better use of your time, this setup allowed me to return every Friday recharged and with some fresh perspective and ideas about my current tasks.
The quality of life improvement was great, and my work did not suffer at all. This makes me wonder: if working 32 hours/week can make you more productive than working 40, why the hell do people often put in way more than that?
Sounds like working 80 hours/week would create almost as many problems as it would solve, leaving you with some very questionable "progress". The only way I can imagine doing this is if you do two or three separate jobs, e.g. coding, design and marketing, so you don't get tunnel vision.
I work in a very competitive field, and there are times where I must put in 12- to 16-hour days to ship a project out on time. We get compensation days in lieu of ovetime pay, which has its pros and cons.
On the other hand, I've heard lots of stories like yours, where the project was only possible due to the pure grit of everyone working on it. Most of those stories were in game development, which seems at least twice as chaotic as regular software development.
This winter, I had an excess of vacation, so I took 3 weeks half-off. With only 4 hours, I find myself very focused -- I'll set a reasonable goal, and stay on track for the full time. At the end of my work day, I've accomplished one or two tasks; I feel good about what I've done and still have energy and time to take care of personal business. At the end of a half-time period, I don't feel behind the ball like I do coming back from a full vacation -- I have time to put out fires, respond to requests, etc.
I'd estimate that I get as much done in a 4-hour day as I would in 6 hours of a normal 8-hour day. Honestly, I'd be happy to work half as many hours and take a 25% paycut... if only my employer agreed
It is all about what you value most in life and what sacrifices you want to do to reach there.
So you can:
1. First, get a higher salary.
2. Then, go down to 4 days and take the 20% cut.
Example: when you get a job offer, merely by saying "can you do better?" you can quite often get a 10% higher offer, because usually initial offer is at the bottom of the pay range.
I also happen to live in spain, comparing with other friends working in the same sector, I’m likely above top 10% in salary/age ratio.
Sadly in this country, at age 30 this is 40k€/y that after taxes becomes 29,700€.
Rent alone takes more than a third of that, I take ~3500€ directly for savings, and I need to stretch the rest to cover the rest of my costs, including stuff like medical insurance, gas, etc...
I know this is partly my chosing and the first comment that will come to a lot of people is “move”, but I can’t do it without heavily disrupting my girlfriend’s career (she’s still finishing her studies and working part time). Our hope right now is that her current job might give her the option to (legally) move to the US.
That being said, I'm told negotiation can still help even for hardware people (but I don't have personal experience with how that works).
- It's a sans-serif with contrast, which is a rarity per se, doubly so with stroke widths that don't look weird (considering that the brain is unused to sans-serifs with contrast and usually begins mildly panicking at seeing them in body text). Triply a rarity with interesting letter shapes. Rosario has the perfect contrast: just enough for it to be noticed, but not so much as to look unnatural.
- It has humanistic features, but with sliiight hints at serifs. The glyphs are playful as heck if you look closely, but again just enough to not overstep the boundary of taste.
- Stroke widths, the blackness, is perfect for reading the body text, at least on the screen. It's not one of those twiggy and feeble grotesks. At the same time, its (semi)bold doesn't look like a forest of black concrete slabs: it again has just enough weight to stay out, but not more.
It would be a perfect font for me! If not for one ailment: it only has variations on Latin scripts, and no Cyrillic. Sigh...
For a long time now I've been struggling with balancing work and life. I've recently started playing with the idea of exchanging a pay cut for a 4-day work week (I haven't brought it up to my employer yet though). It seems obvious now, but I haven't previously considered using my vacation days to do a test run.
Most of the points in the article are solid, but the one about improved focus struck me as odd. It seems that the author is conflating the change in work hours with a change in his process. Even without any schedule changes, you'd still benefit from thoughtfully planning your day out. Then again, maybe less time forces you to be more proactive.
I talk about the contrast between the "work longer!" attitude and the "work less hours but still produce the same" here https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/02/11/working-long-hours/ and here https://codewithoutrules.com/2016/08/25/the-01x-programmer/
I've been working a 4 day/week schedule for 1.5 years now. Initially, I took the time off to lead a nonprofit volunteering project but quickly got burned out (4 days work, 1.5~2 days nonprofit work = 5.5~6 days/week). I've since reallocated the extra day to hobbies and am quite happy with the setup. As I've explicitly taken an independent contributor role at work, I feel no need to be 100% available, and my colleagues respect that.
Overall, I'm very happy with my current schedule and will fight tooth and nail to keep it. If you can afford it and have the drive to do something with your extra free time, I highly recommend it.
I had a similar conversation about 8 years ago, moving from 5 days to 4 days.
My boss at the time wasn't too happy with the proposal, and suggested it might just be easier for them to replace me with someone who wanted to put the full effort expected in.
But, as an existing employee you're valuable: you know a lot of things that take a lot of effort for new employee to learn. And so quite often the answer is just "yes", or stalling but "fine, ok, yes" if you push at it.
Of course, some places the managers have no respect at all for employees or understanding of your value. You probably don't want to work those places at all, and if you do this won't work.
If you want a detailed howto, I wrote a book about it: https://codewithoutrules.com/3dayweekend/
While 24 hours is great for personal time I felt like I got out of touch with my company, collegues and work in general.
40 hours a week is just 'getting those 8 hours a day full'.
I felt when working 32 hours I was most productive and did the same work as in a 40 hour week. Every week I started fresh and felt more relaxed over all.
I think that, in Germany, lunch break does not count towards the paid hours in salaried jobs.
7 to 9:30
30min coffee break
10 to 12
1h lunch break
13 to 15:30
30 minute break
16 to 17
| S | M | T | W | T | F | S | 4-day work weeks:
| 0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 4-day weekend
| 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 2-day weekend
| 0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 4-day weekend
| 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 2-day weekend
You've earned the vacation days. If your vacations happen to be every Friday for 8 Fridays in a row because that's what you prefer, that's none of my business.
(Not saying I agree, but that's what they say.)
Forcing someone to take two contiguous weeks out of the office means that someone else will need to be briefed for continuity and there's an enhanced chance of detecting "weirdness" that might be associated with a fraudulent scheme.
What makes you think they have no legal leg to stand on to dictate when you take your holiday?
My understanding is unless you have some contract saying otherwise, they can tell you to take your holiday whenever they want to, and you have no inherent right to take it whenever you want and for whatever length you want.
That's not even just the US - even in countries with stronger employees rights like the UK I believe this is the case.
For example this is the guidance from a union in the UK
> You do not necessarily have the right to choose when you take your holiday and your employer can tell you when to take your leave.
However, if the employee "chooses" not to use up all their accrued vacation time before it expires, generally compensation is not required...
Your boss's stated reasons for compelling you to do a thing are often not his real reasons.
Employer prefers this arrangement. I'm at a small company, if someone leaves for a week.. it's hard, because a client may call & you're the person who can handle their issue an order of magnitude faster than anyone else
When you take a week off, it's hard to readjust to being back. & now you've blown most of your vacation time, so there's nothing to look forward to. Whereas I spent every week feeling a day fresher than everyone else (I took Mondays off, not Fridays). Additionally during Winter I find that a two day weekend isn't long enough for me to recharge, the first day I spend exhausted, & the second day I spend resigning to the fact that it'll all be over the next day. Yes, I realize this is a terrible mentality. But with a three day weekend I was able to really enjoy the middle day
Financial Services sometimes require everyone to have a mandatory 2 week continuous vacation with the idea that fraudulent transactions may turn up.
In both cases I bound it’s a majority.
My brother in law works at Deloitte in Australia and is taking Fridays off for most of the rest of the year using his paternity leave. Sounded like they were pretty supportive but may have to keep an eye on email during that day...
My sister is at a big bank and does 4 days a week but as she describes it "instead of doing 5 days a week and 60 hours, I do 4 days a week and 40 hours". She's still on calls and definitely on email on that "day off".
Most are reasonable, if your department has coverage you’re okay.
I've been clocking in ~50h/week for a couple of years now as a contractor and it's worked well for me. Working remotely helps a lot as there's no commuting and I can start being productive 15 minutes after waking up. I'm also able to distribute the weekly workload as I please (except daily standups). Some days I'll clock in 12 hours, and other days work barely at all.
All clients were happy with this kind of arrangement so far.
On most workdays I find myself so spent that a) I don't want to see people, b) I don't have any mental energy left. I can only do such things on the weekends, but then I'm also fighting with all the chores that have accumulated over the week.
A 4-day work week sounds very appealing because of the challenges mentioned above. An extra day with free and high-energy time would be amazing.
On 4 days I finally feel like I don’t have to spend my weekends preserving my energy. I can actually plan things to do without thinking “oh no, I shouldn’t, that’ll make me too tired for chores/work.” I can have a life!
edit: also, a benefit that people don’t tend to consider is that getting certain chores done is much faster on weekdays. You won’t find queues at the shops, bank, opticians, doctors etc on a Friday morning!
(And a bit also on how you count. Does spending time with your kids count as a chore or free time?)
This assumes your employer will pay you less linearly, my previous employer had paid the half-time staff about a quarter of the full time salary for 25 hour weeks.