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Funny thing is that I prefer to go home @ 5 as well... but when I do get home I often read books about programming, catch up on articles and papers, or work on some amusing side-project.

Often I'll learn some maths, experiment with some new approaches to solving problems, or watch screen casts to learn how other people approach the craft.

I don't do it because I'm some corporate shill. I just really love programming.

I also have a wife, a child on the way, and my life seems pretty balanced to me.

I just look at overtime and think: well I only have so many minutes left to live, what's in it for me if I do this? Sometimes the answer is just money because that's probably what I needed at that moment... more often than not in recent years I don't bother unless there's equity on the line (which has never been on the table anyway). If my employers ever had a problem with it I just moved on. Things got tight but they never hit rock bottom.

It's all just about priorities and sticking up for yourself.




You would get payed if you stayed longer? Here (Portugal) it's common practice for every kind of dev to work overtime with no extra pay, it's seen as a trait of the job and it's not just when there's a huge deadline, because there always is.


I have worked in places where overtime was just a part of the job and I didn't last in such places for very long.

I have at times had to suffer such treatment because I needed the paycheck even if I wasn't getting paid extra for the extra hours.

However there was still the choice to leave such a job and deal with the consequences.

On one occasion I wasn't even given the choice. It was expected and I didn't live up to those expectations. I wasn't that upset in the end because even though money was tight for a while I still made it through and got another job within a couple of weeks. I was much happier in the new position and most of the people I knew who worked for that company eventually left anyway.

At some companies I would get paid for the extra time or at least would be given paid time off later on. I just had to ask. Otherwise I would just go home at my normal time.

These days I probably wouldn't even work over time if you paid me extra. I only work overtime if I made a promise to deliver something by a certain date (and I rarely make those promises unless I'm certain) or if I have some stake in the company. That's largely because I'm in a position where I'm not living paycheck to paycheck anymore and don't need to work for my employers if I don't want to.

Admittedly if you're just starting out or this kind of "overtime culture," is pervasive everywhere ymmv.


I think your end point is a key point. If you are in a situation to do so, skip the BMW/big house etc and shoot for more financial independence - by that I mean just having some savings to make you comfortable as a first step. It will vastly change your ability to say 'no', 'I quit', or 'Im going home because its late'


Same in the US. I have never heard of software developers (who work as full-time employees) earning overtime pay. I'm not sure if contractors who bill hours are eligible for overtime pay.


at a prior job, all the entry-level (less than two or three years experience & not in management roles, iirc) programmers were rather suddenly made overtime eligible (due i think to legal action in some other state). handy given that it was rare for any of us to work less than 50 hours a week....


> I don't do it because I'm some corporate shill. I just really love programming.

Exactly. Before I ever got a job programming I couldn't leave it alone. I simply had to do it. I enjoy my other interests and spending time with my family, but I'm also drawn to reading, playing, building in code. There's endless fascination there for me.

I do have some pity for people for whom it's "just a job." To spend approximately 1/2 your adult waking life doing something that merely enables you to pursue other interests and pay the bills. Poor saps. I suppose not everyone can get work doing something they find compellingly fascinating, but I wish everyone could.


I think the learning programming thing falls under "personal creative projects", and I am with you 100%.


Yes, the article seems to assume that "personal creative projects" need to be something unrelated to software development. But why do they need to be? If a carpenter builds his kids a tree house in his spare time, isn't that a personal creative project even if he employs the same skills that he uses in his day job?




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