I have known men at financial services firms for example, who came in for a week during paternity leave to help out with a PCI audit, or took leave a week late because they were not replaceable quickly for an on-site visit with a consultant.
I'm a bit disappointed that the state of this industry is still so immature. We've had all of these studies and all of this wisdom from experienced high-caliber devs on the best ways to go about developing software (and none of them include death marches) and yet here we are still bumbling around and fucking it up and folks like you have the audacity to call it not only normal but proper and expected.
You promise stakeholders and customers that a product will be ready to ship by a certain date. These things are very easy to underestimate. So in the end you have lots of extra bugs to fix, and you have a huge amount of tension between releasing the (buggy) software on time, letting the delivery date slip, and putting in whatever it takes to release something of acceptable quality on time.
Moreover pre-hyping releases is an incredibly easy way to get a lot of publicity for your product, so it is very common.
So the fundamental issue is marketing, and everything cascades from there. But even if it isn't a normal part of development at your firm, if it happened because something major was discovered last minute and required a lot of work, would you have considered postponing your paternity leave?
Compare this to biotech. Here you have elaborate licensing and safety studies (of dubious effectiveness these days) which occur between the initial product development and its release to market. If Novo Nordisk comes up with a new drug tomorrow, they can't even estimate a release date because of all the regulatory stuff that comes with it. So this slows the march to production down and prevents death marches.
So I think the issue with death marches is that they happen, not as a function of or product development, but as a function of PR and marketing, which leads to pre-hyping a specified day of release, and if you let it slip too much, you lose out on all that built-up hype.
So I am not saying they should be normal. I am saying they are systemic, and expected particularly in a start-up phase of a business.
And I'm a co-founder. People really do overwork themselves (myself included). The most important thing is to make sure you spend your time well. If that means sitting around for a week doing as little as possible, in between busting ass on the important stuff when it comes along, by all means it's more productive to chill out for a bit.
Part of the reason I took so long away when my daughter was born, was to set an example in the company that we can be more productive if we treat ourselves well.
During paternity leave I only 'worked' one and a half day. And it was a special case that had nothing to do with work per se. I was invited to be a guest lecturer at a prestigious university here so I talked with my wife and she spent the day with my kid for me to prepare for it and then half day while I did it.
Only reason I did it was because I had already agreed to before hand (kid was born 2 weeks before expected) and it was a great opportunity for me. But if it was a week long affair, I would have cancelled it on the spot. I just don't care about money/career enough to miss important time with my son or help my wife out.
How do you think a mother would respond? Do you see a difference?
I know my wife would do the same.
I still don't understand how people still think 130 hour week, or working through paternity/vacation time is acceptable. I could understand if it was their own company, but for someone else? Really? Do you care so much about money/work status/climbing up the work ladder that you would put your own personal life on hold?
ps: maybe I'm a bit off the tech name world, but if it wasn't for HN I would have no idea who Marissa Mayer was, and to be honest, I'm sure in 5 days when it leaves HN I won't remember her name.
Ok you've taken your time off. You are back now. You have a 3-month-old at home. You are expected to be here for 120 hours this week. take it or quit.
I bet women are far more likely to quit.
I've left work in the middle of the day because my wife was hurt, or not feeling well. I've taken off time simply to take her to the doctor for "moral support" even though she was quite capable of going by herself. Either of us will take a kid to the doctor depending on who it's most convenient for.
It's not the 50's anymore. Most people with good relationships want to spend time together. I don't give a rat's ass if I get 30,50,100 million in 20 years for working ridiculous hours now. I could be dead by then. Right now I want to spend time with my family and that's worth giving up a lot of money for.
It is illegal to 'threaten' someone like that here. Sure, many people would cave and do it and that's why many employers still have this stupid mentality, but taking in account the law is on my side, I would repeat the F- Off, and if fired, I would sue until I would get my job back and some nice pocket money to go on holiday with my family :)