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> 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?

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.

I've been in a similar situation in another company, where the whole team was working 12 hour days for a week or two to meet a deadline, but those didn't really feel productive... and the project ultimately failed. I believe it was mismanaged, which caused the overtime in the first place and made all those extra hours not worth it.

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.

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