I push 16 hours work day packed with productivity at the extreme, why? Sure I don't get paid for all that immediately. But bear in mind incrementally over the years I have learned tons more than the average guy. I am also better trained to perform on my current job than my peers. The chances of me doing some thing big are higher, I am better aligned to a good job/promotion or a raise.
Basically when somebody is talking of career development and over time this is what they mean.
I joined this industry 5 years back. Without fancy degrees, Ivy league brand, marks and grades. Today I'm far ahead of most of my peers who joined with me then. Ofcourse I have faced a lot of ridicule, mockery as to why like a fool I do so much work for free. I am not doing anything for free, I am just ok with temporary loss in compensation for a premium later.
In you and your research by Richard Hamming - http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/YouAndYourResearch.html , This point is mentioned:
Now for the matter of drive. You observe that most great scientists have tremendous drive. I worked for ten years with John Tukey at Bell Labs. He had tremendous drive. One day about three or four years after I joined, I discovered that John Tukey was slightly younger than I was. John was a genius and I clearly was not. Well I went storming into Bode's office and said, ``How can anybody my age know as much as John Tukey does?'' He leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, grinned slightly, and said, ``You would be surprised Hamming, how much you would know if you worked as hard as he did that many years.'' I simply slunk out of the office!
What Bode was saying was this: ``Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest.'' Given two people of approximately the same ability and one person who works ten percent more than the other, the latter will more than twice outproduce the former. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity - it is very much like compound interest. I don't want to give you a rate, but it is a very high rate. Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive over a lifetime. I took Bode's remark to heart; I spent a good deal more of my time for some years trying to work a bit harder and I found, in fact, I could get more work done. I don't like to say it in front of my wife, but I did sort of neglect her sometimes; I needed to study. You have to neglect things if you intend to get what you want done. There's no question about this.
And trust me this incremental learning and productivity give mindblowing results over time.