The most fun internships/jobs I've ever had were all unpaid, because I could come and go as I please, and literally work on whatever I wanted. The second you're getting paid, your personal interests are thrown out the window, and your job is now to take orders from your boss.
Of course there are exceptions. I'd imagine that being a tenured professor would be pretty sweet (though getting a job like that these days is extremely difficult and competitive), or if you're a doctor then helping save lives in Africa or something would probably be extremely fulfilling. Being a politician seems like it would feel meaningful, and they get paid solid six figure salaries.
But overall, the search for a meaningful job that also pays decently and doesn't require crazy hours is like searching for a unicorn, so for most people with the talent/luck/opportunity of working high paying jobs, achieving financial independence first before seeking meaningful work is probably the smartest move.
The key is the word "meaningful". I know a lot of people (and I used to be one), who would shift from job to job and leave when things weren't right any more. But this typically seems to involve taking what you are as a person as given, preferring instead to simply try and change one's circumstances to match that.
It's much easier to find meaning in your work if you're prepared to allow what you are as a person be up for negotiation somewhat, in addition to wanting to exercise a degree of control over your working circumstances.
A reflection of this is pretty easy to see in the way some people frame their decision-making when deciding whether to get a new job or not. They ask themselves "is this really what I'll want?", as opposed to "is this what the person I'll be after a few years of this will want?" or "will this turn me into a person I want?". By unconsciously taking one's self-image as fixed in that way, it becomes harder to find meaning in work and as a bonus also makes it somewhat more likely that you'll make the wrong decision because your potential future mental state isn't accounted for.
Not saying you do this at all, but that there are a lot of shades of grey between being an intern and having to do what your bosses say slavishly. And a lot of them are only really visible when you look inward at yourself rather than outward at your environment.
I've got a job at the moment that's great because of this - it's not perfect, but being able to work on what I am at the same time as shaping what this job is makes the job of finding a happy means of existence drastically easier.
Relevant quote: “The reasonable man adapts to the world around him, whereas the unreasonable man tries to adapt the world around him to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Something to think about next time you find yourself wanting to just get up and leave when things stop going your way. ;)
Thank you for this!
I think people overestimate how static the "self" actually is—everyone changes over time, and given how many hours a day you spend doing it, a job would almost definitely change you.
It's actually quite fun to think explicitly about what else you could become (and why), I think.
There's no business profit in clean water or air, so capitalism doesn't cover the need. The fact there might be no customers in an area in 50 years is outside the scope of economic patterns. In 40-45 years all the current business leaders will have their pockets lined & be retired... and new leaders will beg the government to fix "the problem no one saw coming"... Shifting businesses profits today for taxpayer-funded fixes later for "economic revitalization" or "environmental repairs"
On top of these issues... if you have bills, you often can't take a pay cut to pull this off. I'd be willing to take a pay cut for meaningful work, but it would still need to cover child care and rent. My wife looked at jobs with the EPA, they offered $50k for masters degree and 8 years of experience. A single family home on 1/5th acre is $500k+. If we both did meaningful work we could not live there, let alone have kids ($1250/month child care).
We decided we just couldn't do meaningful work in the DC area and left. This stinks because we really need to be worried about this stuff for our children's future. But as long as private industry pays 50-75% more, the rising costs of everything to accommodate those well paying jobs chokes out teachers, environmental workers, and low-wage retail jobs (aside from kids still living at home)
Lambda School is an existence proof that you can do good and make money in education. Minerva University looks pretty good too. Udacity and Coursera are helping and have helped a ton of people as well. When I was a kindergarten teacher I used Starfall.com all the time. Mathletics and ixl.com come highly recommended by friends who teach primary school. Outschool.com are working on a teacher student marketplace for classes. Baselang.com is the best place to learn Spanish on the internet, hands down. Italki.com is a pretty good marketplace for language lessons too.
You can’t do much with schools really because schools are run for the benefit of teachers not students but if you want to help students there’s a lot to be done in education, and plenty of people doing it.
whatever meaningful means to you should be a highly personal measure, not the classic, obvious societal ones. It also helps if the macro-benefit of the act is a symptom of the behaviour vs. the goal. example: I ride a bike to work everyday because it's fun, good for me and cheaper than driving. I dn'to it primarily because it's good for the planet, but hey, it's a nice bonus. We need to look for lots of opportunities that do good for others as a consequence of doing well for ourselves, not a subsistute.
The grass is always greener.
I was a tenured professor (the European equivalent). Overall it was a very good position but not necessarily meaningful, and certainly not lucrative. Besides, being somewhat a second-class researcher, I was kind of stuck in my university.
I thought for a long time this was the Graal job, until I realized that there were so many cool things to do. I eventually switched job, and I regret that I hadn't done it before. Simply changing job is very refreshing.
It was such a great two years since I actually managed to finish the core functionality in a way that it was actually usable and not just a proof of concept good enough to make the ministry that funded the project happy.
I learned so so much during this time. I made a lot of mistakes, bad design decisions, but actually understood first hand why they were bad. There was minimal pressure from above, I was 99% running on intrinsic motivation. The professor didn't give a shit at all; he was really nice but I can't recall a single conversation with him about the project. His assistant had the final product in mind but since he was a mathematician with close to zero programming experience he gave me a lot of freedom, just made sure the overall direction I was heading was right, and giving valuable input regarding usability, stemming from years of experience of dealing with university staff. Oh yes, that also was a huge learning experience. Making sure professors and students from all the different faculties won't mess things up royally when interacting with some part of that system. What a little fool I was before that.
Maybe it's because it was the very first job I had, maybe because I was still a naive youngster living in a shared apartment not caring about money other than being able to pay rent and eat, but whenever I think back it still feels like the most enjoyable job I ever had.
What are the other things you have done, in which you have felt more intellectual freedom?
> stochastic kabuki
I love this description of academic politics, thank you.
In other words, what recourse did the university have at that point?
Are you very confident in your skill that you have no worry of being unemployed at all ?
My personal opinion is that people who are not gifted but work very hard and have an average IQ can not take risks like leaving a tenure job unless they are free of financial responsibilities.
What are you thoughts ?
If you don't want a "job" you probably just want a hobby.
In software, you can get into consulting and contract based work. That way you can be somewhat selective about your clients. Focusing on finding contracts where the work you do is contributing to something you value personally.
Having multiple clients also empowers you to feel like you can so "No" to a client without worrying that you will lose your only source of income.
Also, hobbies are a great way to offset the stresses that come from working on projects you do not enjoy. Spend your free time working on something you enjoy, simply for your own joy.
Also, word to the wise: It's important to remember that no matter your employment status, you are _always_ your own boss. It is your life you are living. Choose how you want to live it
It truly is a level of "fuck you" freedom, especially after you've built up your nest egg.
There was an article I think on the New York times about how every representative and senator had to sit and call donors for money pretty much all day as in they have a quota to meet. Once you have donors, it is basically the same thing as having an employer I'd imagine. Especially with large donors.
I imagine self funded billionaires don't have that problem but then that's not limited to politics I would think
My brother pointed out to me the goal really is to be able to control your own schedule. I guess that isn't it.
Off the top of my head, here are a couple of high-impact, high-paying companies that are currently hiring:
- Tala (https://tala.co/)
- Upsolve (https://upsolve.org/)
- Jupiter (https://jupiterintel.com/)
- One Concern (https://www.oneconcern.com/)
- Promise (https://joinpromise.com/)
There's thousands of other companies we've vetted for Dolphin, a jobs app to find high-impact, high-paying work tackling everything from climate change to healthcare reform. We're still building out the MVP but feel free to stay updated at https://www.splashwithdolphin.com.
> Off the top of my head, here are a couple of high-impact, high-paying companies that are currently hiring: - Tala (https://tala.co/) - Upsolve (https://upsolve.org/) - Jupiter (https://jupiterintel.com/) - One Concern (https://www.oneconcern.com/) - Promise (https://joinpromise.com/)
"Meaningful work" does not mean soving social problems (as all your examples in some sense do). I know lots of great mathematicians and physicists who would find it magnitudes more meaningful to solve problems from their respective area, but could neither get a job in academia nor there exist companies where you can work on such questions.
There are many aspects that make a job more desirable: pay of course, but also how meaningful, interesting, flexible, safe, comfortable... it is.
So if you don't want to sacrifice on one aspect, like pay, some else will, and he will get the job. It is especially true if it doesn't require special skills you have.
The worst is if you are an expert in the field of your current well paying but boring job. All that expertise may not translate well into the "more meaningful" job you found. So not only you will be against people who are ready to get paid less but you will also be less competitive.
This means those four variables aren’t as summative as you make out.
For me it is about learning, trust and appreciation, which is a cultural thing.
1. Have at least two years worth of savings, or an alternative source of income that can cover all your basic expenses, or don't do it.
2. Don't take a job that requires you to work harder than you did in your old job. In the beginning, the change will be invigorating, but soon it'll start to wear you down. During my "sabbatical", I worked only six hours a day at most, saving plenty of time for family and personal pursuits.
Also, about working harder - that depends on how hard your old job was; and some of that hardship is sometimes due to working on something you would rather not be doing.
Is it? Farmers hedging against crop failure are getting a useful service, it's allowing them to invest in a crop without the risk of bankruptcy. The same goes for airlines who hedge the price of fuel, not many people would run a business that risked collapse if the price of oil goes up by 10%.
It does make markets more price efficient though, as a small investor I prefer this over being dependent on the whims of someone like Warren Buffet.
massive high frequency trading vampires
It's a relatively small industry, profits in the US peaked at approx $5B in 2009 and have declined since. 
Well, I can tell you from personal experience that mom-and-pop investors can't really compete with co-located HFT algorithms, and that they do seem to shift wealth further into the hands of wealthy investors (who can afford these systems).
The industry did leave a bad taste in my mouth, but I feel they perform an important stabilizing function within the markets. These algorithms tend to be based on massive amounts of historical data, so one can think of them as hyper-rational. I feel (without anything to back it up, of course), they can guard against markets going into emotion-driven feedback loops.
That said, I am a supporter of alternatives such as the Long Term Stock Exchange (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-Term_Stock_Exchange).
I'm not convinced that's true. E.g. see https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228261350_The_Flash...: "We conclude that HFTs did not trigger the Flash Crash, but their responses to the unusually large selling pressure on that day exacerbated market volatility." That doesn't sound at all like "an important stabilizing function".
Is it parasitic? Look at it like mushrooms, which is what hedge funds are to our society.
They both eat dead and rotting tissue. Eg. overleveraged companies or companies which lie to the investors to defraud them. Hedge funds short the hell out of them to clear out space for better companies.
Are mushrooms and financial speculators parasitic if they feed off dead bodies?
How do hedge funds work, and what makes them particularly suited to recycling pathological businesses? Are there any notable examples?
But the basic concept of a hedge is an investment to offset risk you've taken on as part of another investment.
The typical purpose of a hedge is to smooth out your expenses or returns - for example, you can use the futures market to more or less "fix" the price of whatever raw goods your business needs.
Large equity hedge funds take this concept to the "raw goods" of companies on the stock markets. They take a overall long or short position in the market and then offset that by making smart individual long or short bets on companies they think will over/underperform the market.
So to answer your question, what makes them "suited" is the business is based on their ability to identify companies out of step with the market. They do a tremendous amount of research and analysis to accomplish this, and they share this research with their investors so you can make an informed decision on whether to invest in their hedge fund or not.
Think of them as well trained bloodhounds or military scouts, able to spot danger or opportunity before others are aware of it and take swift action to deal with it.
This is demonstrably not true, as shown by a slew of studies on happiness. Past a certain point, more money does not meaningfully impact your life and make things better. That point is different for different people in different locations, but signing up for golden handcuffs is a fantastic way to make yourself miserable.
If you've got a choice between 10% more pay to work with people who make everything suck, and 10% less to work at a place with interesting projects and people you like, take the pay cut. From personal experience, no amount of hobby funding will make up for you hating your job.
More money for the same job is always better, but if it means I have to take a job doing something that doesn’t contribute to my goals, it’s a poor trade. I can always make more money. I can never get back spent time.
I care why exactly about any of that? If the firm goes under then I move to another one. I have no vested interest except in my own level of happiness.
"I'll fix it later."
I suppose this is how the people building our surveillance state justify the work they're doing?
I have friends in their 40s who retired early. And most of them are loosing their minds. It's sad and frustrating to watch. They have nothing much to focus on daily, and after a few years of it, you can see the cognitive decline compared to the rest of the peer group. Their people skills keep degenerating, from lack of constant challenges that the middle aged adult deals with at work or home. And that mounts over time, making lot of things harder and harder.
I get all the frustrations people (rightly) have with institutions, govt and corporate robot wonderland, but I have done more interesting and personally satisfying things being within those structures, than I have done anything outside them.
Financial independence is not just an emergency eject button when faced with difficult choices. It a big asset in the corporate world while competing with a cohort that is deep in debt (alimony/kids college/health expense/mortgages/golf club membership etc etc). Sooner or later everyone in any org knows who can be bought and who can't. Both kind of people have value to the org and impact on the org. People who misunderstand that, end up pushing the eject button prematurely.
That's the first time I've ever read this, so I'm very skeptical.
But if it were me (and I'm working in that age range right now), I'd be jumping on personal projects I've always desired. Writing, in particular. And probably a little tech project stuff in areas that interest me.
May I offer that many of these wealthy people you know aren't intellectually-minded? That's certainly true of most financially successful leaders I've come to interact with.
I've no doubt one's personality slowly changes when no longer chained to authorities saying what to do and when to do it, and when no longer exposed to corporate "culture". That's quite different than one's brain turning to goop. After only a week, my brain feels clearer than ever as the cobwebs of work stress slowly clear away (it still hasn't landed that I don't have to work ever again). Maybe his friends who are "losing their minds" are just seeing the world a bit more clearly? Or perhaps they were uniquely unsuited to retirement, lacking any intellectual pursuits?
I'll probably write an article on my experience in a year or two and let you know if my brain has turned to goop, assuming I can still read/write when that time comes!
Edit: as long as we’re throwing out competing anecdotes, the only person I know personally who retired so early is wildly successful. Far more than he was at work.
If he's wildly successful, did he really retire?
Not a lot of money in that, at least for most people, so I think it's fair to call it retirement.
Now make this happen like 30 years early. There's a lot to be said for having a job but not needing it. It gives you the chance to look up from just waiting for payday and view your position in your org in much greater detail, because you can afford to take a few chances.
Or, more nuanced, everyone involved was able to develop and chill out!
As an adult, I moved back in with my parents for a few months in university, prior to moving out to Toronto. At first it was fine but within a few months the same old conflict with my father came back. Being in 'his' space made it hard to be friends.
I've always admired the way Knuth has spent his "retirement" and this little quote summarizes my goals too: "my role is to be on the bottom of things"
I think that if work is such a big part of your life and identity, then simply going cold-turkey can have adverse effects. Work is often not just work - there's a huge social aspect to it too. Your co-workers, clients / customers, people that you interact with a great deal.
I'm not there yet, and I don't know what will happen when I get there, but I do know that I have a heck of a lot more savings than most of my peers, and it leads to me being a lot more relaxed at work when things start to get stressful (Or maybe I am just more relaxed by nature).
To me, it really comes down to the NN Taleb version of FIRE which is "Fuck You" money.
But even the latter creates a lot of degrees of freedom. Being able to honestly say and act as if you can walk out the door tomorrow if you feel like it does a lot for stress levels.
Personally I agree with you. Financial prudence doesn't need to equate with freaking out at the thought of having a restaurant meal with friends. Nor does having certain organizational routines mean buying into some complete time management "system."
I do think some people feel they need the structure of systems that are at least in principle pretty absolutist though.
The discussion about increasing the savings rate was really illuminating.Some might be put off by the "Extreme" part and the occasional tendency to go to great lengths to save costs, but that should taken as being tailored to oneself.
The forum is also a nice place for lot of interesting discussion with good people.
Obviously, someone struggling to make ends meet and having little retirement savings is hardy in that position.
Oh wait, we're only talking about what people say! Well, sure, people say such things --- in an idle moment when thinking ramifications through is temporarily off the table.
"Gee, I wish I had a more meaningful job, even if it paid less (just as long as I could somehow maintain my current lifestyle). Also, I won't get into numbers about how much less. Maybe just a few hundred dollars a year less, that type of thing."
The key metric would be, how many people act on this impulse. How many Americans are actually switching to lower paid jobs that are more meaningful? And are actually meaningful, that is, and where that is a choice: not being forced to switch to a lower-paying job and then rationalizing it afterward as being more meaningful.
I suspect plenty of people would also take a less meaningful job for more pay. What could be less meaningful then getting money for doing nothing? Yet, that's what a lot of people want, such as anyone who buys a lottery ticket.
You spend too much time at work to not enjoy it. And I value my own time and enjoyment highly. I wouldn't want to sell it for less. The lower side of the software engineer payscale is still enough that I have more than I want day-to-day. The main limits it imposes on me are house/car/early retirement related things.
They get into numbers in the second paragraph; up to 23% of lifetime earnings.
> The key metric would be, how many people act on this impulse.
We can get a rough tally of how many are acting on it from labor stats. And I'm assuming all of these are what people view as "meaningful" work; I work in finance and find it plenty meaningful but I imagine that's a minority view.
Quoth the BLS:
Total employment: 144,733,270
Community and social service: 2,171,820
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations: 1,951,170
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: 8,646,730
Healthcare Support Occupations: 4,117,450
Education, Training, and Library Occupations: 8,779,780
So if those broad areas hit the "meaningful" buttons, you're looking at about 17% of the workforce.
> What could be less meaningful then getting money for doing nothing?
Totally had that doing government contracting. The trouble is you realize it's a trap: if you ever need a real job your lack of doing anything means you're fucked.
> Yet, that's what a lot of people want, such as anyone who buys a lottery ticket.
More realistically, anyone who is investing passively. But that's not a job or your profession, and when people talk about "meaning" they're asking "who am I?" If you're a carpenter, your identity is wrapped up in the houses you build, for instance.
What the article is missing is the classic dichotomy of work to live vs. live to work.
If your profession is who you are, meaningful work is more important in shaping your identity.
But if it's not, the "work to live" paradigm, you're making money to support something else. If you're working to take care of your family, you're a father or a mother first. If you're working to support your art or projects, you're an artist or an engineer regardless of your paid job title.
> Nine out of 10 Americans say they would give up a significant portion of their paycheck–up to 23% of their lifetime earnings–if they could swap their day job for more meaningful work, according to the Harvard Business Review.
Isn't this the same thing? Meaningful is highly personal & contextual, so a problem that matters IMO definitely is meaningful.
Being good at something valaueable that you enjoy is one of the key measures of a life well lived for me, so kudos on that.
Finding meaning in your job doesn't mean that you have to accept terrible pay and long hours. It just means that you've put thought into what you'd like to get out of your career besides a salary. It's possible to find a realistic middle ground between fulfillment and max salary.
Because everyone spends the better part of their day at work, performing work that has no meaning to you comes at huge cost. You will never recover that time.
Personally, I figured I had enough to be comfortable and would rather spend my limited time optimizing things other than my W2. My last career move was an 80% pay cut. In retirement, I would do similar work according to my interests, so why not cut to the chase?
On the other hand, working for an ad-tech company and increasing revenue by 40% through some machine learning would have impact (on the company, clients, users, etc.) but not be particularly meaningful.
Just my own anecdata though.
Ad tech is a second order business. You're helping other businesses fulfill their purpose. I don't blame you for not finding a connection to value there, but that doesn't mean you can't find one in traditional industry.
I created my course at NYU and wrote the book Initiative https://www.amazon.com/Initiative-Proven-Method-Bring-Passio... to create a step-by-step process to unearth each person's passions. I find that reflection alone or taking online quizzes doesn't reveal passions like action does -- that is, taking initiative (thoughtfully, with a process that works).
Recently, one person started blogging his results doing the exercises. As of August 25, here's his latest: https://anthemoftheadventurer.com/2019/08/23/exercise-6-10-p....
1. Learning and growth opportunities at the new place
2. Autonomy around my work
I think people derive meaning when they see that their ideas are appreciated and users care about the product. I liked the people at my previous job, however the first two items were somehow missing.
It also helped that one of the co-founders at the startup was a friend from undergrad.
The bottom line is it's a big risk to take, and such a choice may mean having a more fulfilling career but also having a lot less money in retirement. It would be interesting to see how many of the happy people in the article will still be happy when they are retired.
... and how many of them find themselves with lots of money in retirement, but discover that they have missed their window to spend quality time with the people they love. Spouse has died, children have grown and moved away, etc.
So there are risks in the other direction as well.
In many a European country the company would be illegal in doing this.
Employers only recently got the ability to fire pregnant/breastfeeding women in the EU, and only as part of mass lay-offs.
I don't think working a boring high paying unfulfilling job inherently makes one happier than "saving the world", but having financial security and good work/life balance is certainly superior to working long hours, living paycheck to paycheck, and flirting with poverty.
But I'm convinced that one of the keys to happiness is to live a life that plays to your strengths. If you have a natural aptitude to problem solving etc then you could become a really good engineer, or you could become a mediocre violinist. Which is going to lead to a more fulfilling life?
People are born with natural talents. We should be encouraging people to do what they're good at, not telling them they can do whatever they want to.
The flip side is that the economic contribution of a single employee becomes vanishingly small, affecting the salaries, or rather what you can buy from them.
I agree with you that building your life on top of your natural strengths is the most fulfilling way of spending it (having done so myself), but I think these days it is extremely hard and is only possible if you manage to start your own business and grow it to the point where it can pay your bills.
I don't think most people are against doing what they are good at (or even, what they like), it's just that discoverability is poor and in a lot of cases the most important thing ends up being a certain brand of social or political skill, and not the other secondary skill you might posses. For people to play to their strengths, we need a society that can detect and nurture those strengths, and I don't think we have that right now.
How much money would you pay to free up 50% of your time? I decided that was worth $70k, going from a $100k job to a $30k job while working on a beach.
I have friends my age trying to retire early which means they spent their 20s and now onto their 30s working their ass off which aren't the years I'd be so eager to throw away at work.
Once you have children, then you need to be in the better school districts, in the area with better income security, hence you’re now competing with other parents also trying to secure as much as possible for their children, and on the treadmill you go.
I recently went to a talk on "effective altruism" and came away feeling like that was a better model for impact e.g. make a lot of money and give a lot of it away to organizations and causes where the measurable ROI is the highest.
People who already have a fair amount of wealth independence are the ones who can afford to take “meaningful” jobs. If that’s not you, there’s no shame in being in service to a corporation and getting paid good money for it. Our values of what is meaningful changes over time, and it’s not worth taking paycuts to chase such mercurial ideals.
Well, Musk himself did not take any pay cut, so that should have been a pointer...
>Rey felt like the company found intelligent people and convinced them to push their limits. (...) Six months into the job, Rey was abruptly laid off over the phone
When "changing the world", companies should start with how the treat their own employees...
We tend to love the romantic notion of throwing away the high paying meaningless (to us) job to follow your dream, but in reality it tends to be more of a dream than the way things work.
I wish more people would put some deep thought into (1) defining what meaningful work in their context would look like, and (2) building a strategy for moving from their current state to the desire one that doesn't involve essentially throwing away what they have to start over.
As far as trading money for meaning, I see this as an alternative view on the well known limits of extrinsic motivators; you'll trade any money beyond your personal level for deeper purpose. The key then is figuring out what this amount is, then evolving into meaningfulness.
Now, I would probably take a small cut to do something I was excited about. I've been working with my therapist to try and figure out specifically what that would be, but I haven't had a ton of luck.
Making a positive difference in the world is a great thing to do.
This reminds me of a personal story when I interviewed for a very popular startup in the valley. They boasted of working 12 hours every day. I had a competing offer from a non-startup which required me to work about 7 hours every day. The CTO of the startup agreed to pay me 20% more than the non-startup. I politely explained the CTO that I could work for 12 hours every day, however, I would need a 70% more pay than the non-startup's offer, so that I feel I am being compensated commensurate to the time and effort I spend on the company. The CTO, now visibly upset, said, "If you like working 7 hours every day, please do join that other company!" while completing missing the point that I am okay to work for 7 hours or 12 hours as long as the pay is commensurate. Needless to say, I joined the other company for lesser pay and lesser working hours, and I am quite happy about the decision because it leaves with me a lot of time in the evenings to pursue my hobbies and also pick up new fun technologies to learn.
As someone who has hired developers in the past. This "12 hours CTO" missed a good opportunity. It's much better to work 7/8 than 12. As frequently, developers when they get home. The itch will get too much and then start tinkering and learning new things in their personal time.
Of which, the time spent will benefit the company and they can put those new skills to use in a professional environment. Win-win for everyone.
Being visible at a keyboard for 12 hours is not.
And that does not even consider that my free time is very limited. If I have say 2h of completely free time everyday (24 hours minus work, commute, chores, gym, household crap, etc) and I need to work just 1 hour per day longer, then that cuts my free time per day in half. That is HUGE. You better pay me a lot for that.
But you lose out if you instead want to do 2 years on 2 years off, or if your one-year employer doesn't want you to work July to June, or if your year-off plans don't work July to June, or any number of more complicated scenarios. My point stands that the system isn't designed to support this kind of irregular high-income work.
that just ensures low quality code,high pressure environment and people always on the edge ,not to mention high turnover and constant burnout and low morale
unless this is for a specific period,this is not a sustainable policy
It helped that we were in the middle of the GFC and the idea of 9 day fortnights were in the news as a way for employers to cut costs.
Later I managed to keep that job and work remotely, living in a smaller town with low living costs. Even better! The small town also had fibre in our street so for a while I had faster internet than head office :-)