1 - When I was working for a large company (10,000+ employees) I typically was out the door at 40 hours. The company was established, my equity was nonexistent and I gain nothing for supporting their inability to plan.
2 - If I'm working for a startup I believe in and have significant equity then I'm working day and night on it.
3 - If I don't have tangible equity and I'm working for a startup or small company then I'm willing to wear multiple hats and put in additional hours. However this isn't something that I'll do for an extended period.
4 - If I'm a contractor being paid at market rate then it's however many hours you want me there. 40, 80, 120... doesn't bother me.
I have a 3-year old son. Working day and night is always within reason for me, because no matter how much I could gain, I'll always regret the time I haven't spent with my son. Therefore I work in waves. I have weeks in which I work 14-18 hours per day, followed by weeks in which I spend more quality time with my family.
The effort also has to be rationalized. Working long hours for sustained periods leads to stress and mental exhaustion, which ultimately impacts your productivity negatively. You always have to (1) be careful and listen to your body when it shows signs that you need to rest and (2) reflect on your productivity, because it doesn't matter if you work 14-hour days if you don't get anything done. Sometimes taking a step back and relaxing for a bit does wonders for productivity.
It would seem strange that a company would wish to purchase more hours at an increasing rate since the quality of the output from the later hours is likely diminishing.
The job before that, I was one rank below exec. People fought tooth and nail to avoid getting promoted, because they'd lose their overtime...
For example, my company has a very nice policy in place that allows flexible hours. It started for just engineers (who would get more done in the middle of the night, or at home, than the rest of the organization), but quickly spread to the rest of the company.
It works like this: as long as projects are coming in on schedule and you're available for a client call during normal business hours (that is usually scheduled pretty far in advance), you can get into and leave the office whenever you want. You can also work from home whenever you want. As long as you're getting your work done and you're not out of contact completely, it's totally your call.
I work 40-60 hours depending on the week, but (most of the time) I don't feel burned out. I stay up late, sometimes working, sometimes just relaxing after a long day, and usually get into the office around 10am. I take long, luxurious lunches, during which I can walk home to cook myself something nice, or read a book for a little while.
In reality, I'm really only "flexing" about 90 minutes per day--an hour later in the morning, and an extra half-hour for lunch--but I absolutely end up working much more than that, probably many times over, each day without the burn out.
Long answer for a simple poll, but I'm passionate about this particular topic. Tech burnout is really bad, and the more ideas we can generate to combat it, the better.
"I work 40-45 hours, and have no problem working a little extra when needed."
I love what I do (to be more honest, I love the people I'm doing it with) so I don't count the hours (this is literally the first time in 8 months I counted).
I don't think it's an easy solution. You want employees who are willing to work extra when needed, but you want them to achieve a good work-life balance so that the rhythm is sustainable.
To be more specific about the Penny Arcade post, I don't find it as repulsive as most (vocal) people here did. Full disclaimer, I'm 26 with no kids. I enjoyed the honest tone of the offer, and I think there's a subset (a niche?) of engineers today that would be interested in working in these conditions.
Is it a place to make a career? probably not. But I wouldn't mind spending a year or two in that environment, as long as I know exactly what I'm stepping into since day 1. Being given this much work load implies a lot of responsibilities, and, in turn, lots and lots of opportunities to get better.
How would you feel about a martial artist or a musician deciding to spend a couple of years practicing their art for 12-15 hours a day?
For 9 years, I worked a job where 45 was the standard expectation. I left there a little over two months ago for the job I'm at now. I've noticed a marked change recently, though. I was under the impression that this was a place where 40 hours was standard, but I've recently received a few casual jabs for not doing more hours. I have mixed feelings about it, as I'm used to 45 hour standard weeks, but one of the selling points about this place was that I could have some of my time back.
I asked another guy what he thought about the change of atmosphere, and his opinion was that decreased productivity from the holidays could make a company owner a little fidgety, and we'll likely see him in a better mood by January.
I'm not saying don't do it, just don't do it invisibly.
As a freelance developer, I don't care how many hours you want me to work. I get compensated for it. Though, I'll still optimize for 40 since, I don't know, I want to live my life, and I want to do a great job.
If I'm starting my own business, I'll work more.
All that said, I strongly believe in working sustainably. I'd rather have a steady rate of work, than some erratic graph with lots of spikes (followed by crashes).
Eat right, exercise, spend time with loved ones, and work hard.
You seem to have chosen 40 and 45 as points of interest but don't allow anything less than 40 (to me, it seems you imply 40 or more hours, even with "I work roughly 40 hours").
Presumably this has to do with the Penny Arcade story... I can tell you for sure I wouldn't work 80 hours a week for below market rate with seemingly no equity in the company. That shit is bananas.
If you waste a significant fraction of my time in unproductive activity and environment, I'm increasingly less inclined to give you more of my time in terms of compensating by completing work at other times.
Also, if you are paying my a "salary" but then expect me to clock in fixed time, that together with other demands causes me to exceed my ostensible commitment. E.g. I am there late in the evening or over the weekend to deploy, troubleshoot, etc., but then can't leave an hour early on a slow day because "my schedule is 8:30 - 5:00".
Well, these days: Fuck that.
P.S. I also resent having to ask/beg for that hour. If you're reasonable, I am willing to check that there's no pending or anticipated demand that I'm unaware of. I'm not asking whether I have permission; I'm just checking that nothing will go horribly wrong.
If this turns into your personal power trip...