If I only worked when I felt like it, on what I felt like working on, I would never have finished my thesis because, heck, who wants to do proofreading when you could be at the beach? And if I ate whatever I felt like, whenever I felt like eating it, I'd weigh three hundred pounds.
Anyway, the point of the story: if someone forced me to work nine to five, I'd probably hate it. But since I get to pick my own hours, I've picked nine to five.
Not sure I could cope with quite that early though. For one thing, it would destroy my morning go-get-coffee ritual if there were no cafes open when I get up.
How did you come up with that idea? I also hate doing anything outside of those hours.
And then you see a signpost up ahead, plainly stating "do not feed trolls."
Working 40 hours doesn't make you one of them. It's not even a symptom of the real problem.
I work 40 hours weeks, and love my job. And I loved my last job. And I liked all the jobs before that. That's because I have pride in doing my job well, I've worked for people who appreciate it (even if that sometimes means the customer, and not my boss), and general have a good disposition towards getting things done.
There are things I dislike, like red tape, but in general, I accept them as part of the process so that I can get to the good stuff, like coding the backend of a complicated system.
The quote smacks of truisim. Most people work roughly 40 hour weeks, so it sounds to me like saying "Most people who hate their jobs have jobs. Ergo, don't have a job".
I'm having a hard time accepting it. I find it frustrating to wade through the red tape. So by the time I get to the interesting bit, it feels like a chore.
My Solution: I secretly write dev-tools and unleash it to the group just so I can by pass the red tape that comes with starting a new project. I do collect feedback after the release and fix stuff. But the initial release is based entirely on my design decisions which in turn are based on what I've observed.
Do you work exactly 40 hours? As in, start and 9am, leave at 5pm and never arrive early or leave late? Never a week of 41 hours? Because if I worked at a job I absolutely loved - as you describe - I would probably choose to work 50 or 60 hours. I think that the assumption here is that if you work 40 hours, you're probably doing it because that's what is expected of you and you're not willing to put in more.
It seems unlikely that most people who like their jobs so much would actually stop at 40 hours.
Personally, I'm like you -- if there's something really interesting to work on, I like to dive in and really attack it until I'm done. Even if that means 14 hour days for a stretch.
But other people I've worked with work differently -- they like routines. Go to work, have 5 things to accomplish that day, accomplish them, then go home. Then it's time for the daily walk in the park, or maybe on Tuesdays it's time to mow the front lawn, or whatever other things they slot into their time that make up their lives. Lots of people love having a life like this. And it doesn't mean they don't care about their jobs or take pride in their work the way people like us do, it just means they're different.
There is currently no space for someone like me in the work world. Jobs just aren't designed for generalists who need so much variety. So I'm stuck as a 40 hours a week programmer and struggling with it, because no matter how I try, I'm lucky if I can find 20 hours of real focus on programming a week.
I love my job but I also love other things. I get all my tasks done in the 40 hours (usually). I take the rest of my time to do other things I love.
I have a family and many hobbies. I love to travel and take time off whenever I can just to go and have fun.
That is why I stop at 40 hours.
Either that or you've put in anywhere between 50 and 80 hours in the past, burned out, and learned your lesson. Sometimes, I have to force myself to stop and go home after eight hours. In the moment, it feels horrible, as if I'm "quitting" or "giving up". I have to remind myself that I'm not quitting, but instead am forcing myself into a sustainable pace.
The marathoners learned this ages ago. If you allow yourself to take a fast pace right away, you'll burn out towards the end and won't have enough energy to finish. Debugging a subtle bug or implementing major new functionality is like a marathon. Even after you've accomplished the main effort, there are lots of little things that need to be done in order to go from "done" to "usable". Forcing a 40 hour work week ensures that you save some of your energy for the polishing and don't flame out after building the skeleton of the solution.
If you're working for someone else who is paying you specifically to work 40 hours, then there's no reason to work more than that unless you consider your time worthless.
In any case, I see very clearly, also in people around me, that loving your job and working extremely long days are not the same thing.
Yes, I work pretty close to 40 hours each week. Honestly, I tend to come in too early, and leave a little early from the schedule I told them I'd work. In the end, it probably is more like 41 hours.
In practice, I'd average maybe 45 hours a week. However, this was mostly because I didn't wake up early and, since I was biking, tried to leave before dark as often as possible (although sometimes I was too occupied to notice).
Overall, I think that was basically a perfect schedule for me.
When you are passionate about your work, it's very hard to keep it within 40hrs/week. So your weeks look like periodic bursts of intense work interleaved with excursions and vacations.
You don't have to be single without kids to have that lifestyle.
Yea binging works, only when it is a once in a while thing. But if you have a business, and customers, and a code base, and a team - shit is ongoing, you just can't get things over with.
Think of it like food. Can you eat a week's worth of food and not come back? If you have a child (a company is like a baby always keen to hurt itself), can you dress them up once for the rest of the year?
I guess maybe this guy is the type of person who is all or nothing. We know everyone's different in this way. But to really be devoted to a project and getting it out the door, do you have to work 80 hours a week for 3 months so you can ship, or can you work 40 hours a week for 6 months?
I have some thoughts, but I'm curious as to what others think.
But sometimes you need to get some boring thing done and it just takes a while. It may not be fun, but in those cases it really helps to have the rock solid habits and discipline that come with a regular work schedule (whatever it is) to fall back on.
Of course, this really depends on what exactly you're working on and what you find boring, but I think there are almost always alternatives to most boring work in professions like programming.
I might think this just because I find almost every facet of development interesting now--I like designing and programming, but I also usually enjoy testing, debugging, polishing and sometimes even just maintaining/refactoring. And because I'm probably not nearly as disciplined as you so I grab at any excuse to not do boring work ;)
Surely as engineers, hackers, tech-minded people, we all know what the definition of work is. Nowhere in the definition of work does emotion come into play (unless your job description is to achieve a specific emotion).
This reminds me of a high school teacher of mine who used to heckle the football players asking them why they lifted weights and would say they're not actually accomplishing work(unless you're deadlifting, I guess). Most of them didn't understand which made it even more amusing.
The 40 hour week was brought to America in 1938, brought about primarily by unions - the word 'weekend' didn't even exist until the 1870s. Enjoy the freedom that so many worked so hard to provide you.
The op's point is that the freedom you think we ought to enjoy, isn't freedom...it's a rigid pre-defined template. Real freedom, when it comes to work-life balance, is working the amount of hours in a week which you want and is appropriate.
It's an interesting question what jobs can be done that way. I don't think many programming jobs can--startups don't seem to allow for the slacking, and working for someone else probably doesn't have that much flexibility either. I guess the old days of desktop software were somewhat like that, with intense crunch periods up to release followed by long stretches of time off after release. But now that software is released continuously that's gone away.
It's interesting to think of what jobs you can get done that way, though. Off the top of my head, grad students without assistantship obligations, filmmakers (in fact, anyone in the filmmaking process), writers, in-demand freelancers, proprietors of fairly undemanding online businesses, and actual rock stars all work that way.
It's been an awesome couple days. Being able to gear up and gear down on workload is one of the nicest things about running your own show.
I don't work rigid hours. My n-hours approach is a patch for the otherwise vague system in which I do stuff. And I (at least theoretically) don't beat myself up if d gets too large in either direction; if I'm overworking it's a sign that my planning process is out of whack, and if I'm underworking it's a sign that I need to find a way to get motivated or get out.
I view these "do x" blog posts as interesting things to try based on other people's life experience. It might not work for everyone, but I wouldn't pull the "x sucks" card because it's a pretty subjective problem.
Kids need more consistent time from you, they can't take 20 hours one week and zero hours the next. Same with spouses/significant others.
If you like you can always work more. You enjoy it after all. Hopefully you work in a place where that will be noticed and will be rewarded with promotions and bonuses.
If you _consistently_ work on boring things, then it might be a sign that something else is wrong and you need to find a new project, new company.
Some companies have 40 hours but they are flexible, can come in anytime, work from home if needed. It is good though to have core hours when most people are in (say 11 to 3 or something like that).
This is what I came here to mention.
I could quite easily coast along and pull the bare minimum in 40 hour work weeks, but I thoroughly enjoy what I do, and 50 hour weeks are the norm for me now, out of choice.
There have been a lot of research about most productive work rythm. But it differs a lot depending on the kind of work. But 40 hours is a general avarage for most people.
The end conclusion is, depending on the work and your personal context, you have to find a balanced life where.
But for me, it really resonates. I'd really like to try a job where I worked, say, 60 hours one week, and zero the next. (Yeah, that's not quite a full-time average.) And, let's say, every 5th month worked every week, and took the next month as vacation.
I think I could actually be really productive this way, but I've never had the chance to try it.
There are so many interesting things in the world; how can you shut yourself out to all of them but one?
Seriously though, 40 hours doesn't have to mean 9-5. It could be 6pm to midnight, 7 days a week.