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At my very first programming job a long time ago, I was criticized for not putting in enough overtime leading up to a milestone. When the next milestone was near, I worked back to back all-nighters, careful to leave copious documentation of everything I'd done and when. When the boss who had criticized me finally rolled in, I just said "where the hell were you?" and went home to get some sleep. I didn't hear any crap about not working hard enough after that.

> I worked back to back all-nighters

You don't think this whole scenario you've described represents a victory for you, do you?

It did in the sense that doing it once stopped the bitching. Since I clearly had both the ability and will to do such things when needed, my failure/refusal to do them at other times could not be construed as lack of those characteristics. Obviously there was a cost, and continuing to put in long hours under less exceptional circumstances would have been a very different matter, but that one time had an effect that I considered worthwhile.

It's kind of funny to look back on that now, when I'm actually on sabbatical in preparation for a shift to less than forty hours a week. Almost the opposite action, but toward the same goal of asserting control over my own time. Different circumstances call for different tactics. It's easier to refuse from a position of strength and trust, which doesn't exist when there's no record of one's ability to step up when it's truly necessary.

I have the ability to eat dog shit, but...

So you can eat dog shit and you can troll. Anything else?

I know that you think it's admirable or noble to "work really hard" and you probably have this whole heroic narrative running in your head; but it's actually pure bunk.

Your attitude is the product of worker-motivation-propaganda. You have been brainfucked.

You couldn't be more wrong. I was writing about one specific incident early in my career, quite likely (judging by your lack of maturity) while you were still in kindergarten. The whole point of the exercise was to put in the extra effort once when it really mattered, so that I wouldn't be subjected to the "work hard all the time" grind that has become such a dysfunctional norm in the startup world. It worked.

Since then, I've done a lot more than most of my peers to maintain a decent work/life balance. For example, when my daughter was born I negotiated a shift from my role as system architect responsible for my company's whole product to an individual-contributor role that gave me more freedom to spend time at home. If you think that's no big deal, try it some time. Right this second I'm on a sabbatical, and when I return it will be at less than standard full-time hours because life is just too short to spend all of it at work. I've even written about it.


In a nutshell, you are completely and utterly full of crap. I've done more and written more to fight the "heroic programmer" mythos than you ever will. You interpreted my anecdote in almost exactly the opposite of the way it was meant, and then made up some extra stuff besides, just so you could present your commonplace (and probably borrowed) observations as insight. Piss off.

You have impressed me and shown me the error of my ways at the same time.

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