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Ask Slashdot: Is Logging Long Hours a Recipe For Burnout or the Only Way To Get Ahead? (bloomberg.com) 253

An anonymous reader writes: Over the weekend, I came across this story on Bloomberg that illustrates a common dilemma that many of us face ourselves: are we sure we're working enough? From the article: "Earlier this month, venture capitalist Keith Rabois set off a Silicon Valley firestorm about what it takes to succeed. When another tech investor wrote on Twitter that working on the weekends and burning out isn't cool -- and doesn't work -- Rabois fired back. "Totally false," he said. Rabois cited icons like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Belichick as proof that dogged dedication (usually measured by long hours) was the only way to reach the top of your field. Lots of people objected to this assessment, for reasons ranging from VC privilege to its gendered implications." I was wondering where Slashdot readers find themselves in this debate.
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Ask Slashdot: Is Logging Long Hours a Recipe For Burnout or the Only Way To Get Ahead?

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  • by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudsonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 03, 2017 @02:43PM (#54736657) Journal

    Burning out is certainly a way to not get ahead. And eventually lose your job, and your career, and then everything else.

    • by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:09PM (#54736883)

      It's one thing if you have 'skin in the game', meaning it is YOUR business that you're working yourself to death over -- that's a gamble that at least has the potential for a favorable outcome. Quite another to be a worker drone, making someone else money. It's in their absolute best interest to keep the drones productive for as long as possible -- best case scenario you'll be put out to pasture aka, moved into middle management once your productivity drops off.

      (More likely: you'll be laid off, and then posting in slashdot threads about how h1-b's are taking all the tech jobs)

      tl;dr; treat your work for other companies as practice: learn some skills, develop contacts -- but be cognizant of the fact that your employer in truth cares very little about your success (outside of what you can do for their bottom line)

      • by kobaz ( 107760 )

        It's one thing if you have 'skin in the game', meaning it is YOUR business that you're working yourself to death over...

        Yeah exactly. I've never felt indebted to any employer to work extra hours when on fixed salary. One of my old jobs had a thing where the management would 'encourage' you to not 'watch the clock' and don't go home exactly at 5. You would get dinged at your performance review if you had an exact 8 hour day for weeks on end. People who routinely put in 50+ hour weeks would get $50 walmart gift cards at the end of the month as a perk for showing such dedication. I much prefer my sanity, and those extra h

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        It's one thing if you have 'skin in the game', meaning it is YOUR business that you're working yourself to death over -- that's a gamble that at least has the potential for a favorable outcome. Quite another to be a worker drone, making someone else money. It's in their absolute best interest to keep the drones productive for as long as possible -- best case scenario you'll be put out to pasture aka, moved into middle management once your productivity drops off.

        You mentioned two extremes when suggesting you should own your own business if you're going to work yourself to death. But many people fall somewhere in the middle, where they make a very good wage (lets say $150+k in the Midwest suburbs) and work 50-60 hours per week. These workers are generally not worker drones, and could probably find work elsewhere quite easily (or why else are they paid so well?). The business gets the worker's output, and the worker gets a good wage and the experience to further incr

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:10PM (#54736901)

      Nearly a century of evidence says that working more than 35-40 hours per week makes you less productive, not more. Workers get trapped in a cycle of working longer hours because they're less productive, from fatigue, to make up the shortfall in their productivity.

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:15PM (#54736953) Journal

      A bit extreme, perhaps but yeah kinda.

      First you are not going to succeed like Zuckerberg or Musk. Doesn't matter how smart or hard working you are, the chance of succeeding like only the most cherry picked individuals is basically nil. The people who do get to that position are also phenomenally lucky, had skills in areas which happened to be important at the right time and were in the right place at the right time, in addition to any other attributes.

      And anyway, it's only working on your own thing which will lead to that kind of success, not working for anyone else.

      Hard work will certainly get you ahead to some extent, if you measure purely in career progression or money. Burnout can be recovered from too.

      But really, what's the point? chances are you'll work 80 hours per week, have a thoroughly miserable time, be unable to enjoy being ahead the burn out!

      • by esmrg ( 869061 )

        Yes yes yes. Think of all the poor coworkers who slaved away FOR those guys and will never reap the same benefits.

    • by rijrunner ( 263757 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:29PM (#54737101)

      I have rarely met an engineer who has put in those hours who has "gotten ahead". In most small businesses, IT is a dead-end and there is rarely any sort of management track for an engineer. You're putting in those hours to just tread water. And, start-ups are a lottery and most people barely break even. Developers are in the same boat as most of IT in that regard also. And, in large enterprise, very few businesses have any sort of advancement that means much. You stay an engineer or become a manager - and established businesses tend to favor business or marketing in terms of management advancement.

      He's identifying a small subset of survivor bias. For every name he mentioned, there are tens of thousands who got nothing for their time.

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        I have rarely met an engineer who has put in those hours who has "gotten ahead". In most small businesses, IT is a dead-end and there is rarely any sort of management track for an engineer. You're putting in those hours to just tread water.

        Like most aspects of managing your career, you need to have a clear understanding of why you are putting in those extra hours. Is it because you see a rare opportunity to be part of a transformation project and/or significantly increase your skills / experience? Then it could be worth those 60 hour weeks. Is it just because your department is understaffed and you need to take support calls over the weekend? Then those extra hours will get you no where.

        It's commonly accepted that business owners need to mana

    • My adage used to be "retire early, retire often." Implicit in that statement is that you work your ass of for 4-5 years, and then take a break and do something fun for a few months or a couple years. It worked pretty well for me until hitting 40 or so and owning my own business.

      We all need ways to recharge, and it shouldn't be neglected.

      But to TFA's question, the simple answer comes down to how your performance is measured. If it is a derivative of time then it is hard to succeed without putting in more h

  • False dichotomy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2017 @02:44PM (#54736667)

    Why can't it be both?

    • by orasio ( 188021 )

      May be both, but not in the obvious way.

      Long hours mean lower productivity, but it also means you are there, in the office, pushing hard.

      That is misread as "work ethic", and hard work, and productivity.

      Braindead managers will think they are getting more bang for their buck by getting more than 40 hours a week, so you will be seen as more valuable than someone doing their 40 hours, no matter the results.

      The thing is that braindead managers do exist, and it may be the case that you need to appeal to them to g

      • It depends on the business. Sometimes the focus is more on project due dates and project success than over time hours spent to meat the deadline or whether you are willing to work through a weekend to put out a fire.

        Though I will agree that at a certain point most most peoples work does start to suffer. After about 10 hours in a day I start to get sloppy...

         

        • "put out a fire" Oh, boy.

          IME, half the supposedly awesome firefighters are truly great people and excellent engineers. The other half are proverbial chainsmokers who leave smouldering butts wherever they have been -- they do get a lot of practice fighting fires.

          There are enough managers who cannot tell the difference that they are places where people get promotions for crap work and rushing to fix the emergencies they created, not everywhere, but they exist.

  • My thought.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @02:45PM (#54736671)
    If I'm working long hours, it will be for myself thanks. Keep in mind that Zuck works long hours because he won the lottery and the project he works long hours on is actually something of his own. If a company wants to hire me then they can either appreciate me for the good work I do during my eight hour day or I will take my skills elsewhere.
    • Basically this.

      Working long hours on something you built for yourself, because you're passionate about it, is quite different from simply logging hours to try to "move up" in the corporate world.

      I've been self employed basically out of high school. I work as much, or as little, as I feel I can handle that day/week.

      I regularily go on blitzes where I stay up until 3-4am for days at a time while working on something exciting, but it definitely leads to burn out. That's when I take a 4 day weekend away from wor

    • Most people in my position are salaried but I get paid by the hour and get overtime pay. I probably average 45 hr/week where as my salaried counter parts average closer to 50-52 hr/wk. I make more than most of them not because I make more based on a 40 hour week but because they rarely work a 40 hour week.

      • I'm salaried and my place of work doesn't pay OT. Yet I am expected to jump any time they need me 24/7.
        • I still got called on sunday...

          Convincing them to pay me hourly instead of salary wasn't even hard I just asked and they said "OK"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2017 @02:45PM (#54736675)

    It's a different thing to slave for a company you own, and may one day reap the benefits of and to work your ass off just so the bossman can buy another supercar.

  • Too many hours... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @02:46PM (#54736689)

    Too many hours and you don't produce quality of work. Studies have shown extra vacation and time away from the office INCREASE productivity.

    Even if the above were not true. "Getting ahead" is not worth missing out on time with friends, family, and ..."me time". Happiness will always trump "getting ahead".

    • by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:05PM (#54736847)

      It's the classic question all over again: Do you work to live, or do you live to work?

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:10PM (#54736897) Homepage

      In fact, at a certain point, you actually get negative productivity out of a worker. Sure, they might be producing, but their work will likely be so riddled with errors that you'll need a second or even a third person to check their work. At that point, you might as well just give the first person some time off. They'll come back rested and more productive that before. Yes, it's a short-term productivity dip, but you get long-term productivity gains. (Versus a "death march" scenario where you get gains in the very short term but longer term losses in productivity.)

    • It really depends on whether quality work matters.

      I believe strongly that we humans have about ~3 hours per day of very focused attention, in which we can effectively deal with genuinely difficult problems. Some people have jobs that are a hard, but even hard jobs might be such that 3 hours of strong focus intermixed with 4 hours of paint-by-numbers programming, plus an hour to handle email, and they are done for the day and have provided good value to their employer.

      Some people are doing easy stuff that a

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      Productivity is (work*value)/time. When you go back to work, you do the most important (most valuable) things first. So of course taking time off increases productivity because time is a smaller number.

  • Bad examples (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2017 @02:47PM (#54736691)

    It's not fair to use Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg as an example to work long hours. They also own their own businesses of which they own shares of. Business owners generally have more incentive and motivation, as it is their pet project in a sense. The average developer, working on a boring project fixing bugs, doing minor feature work, dealing with normal office annoyances, will likely get burned out doing overtime for long periods. For an interesting project with a lot of new code to architect and write, it is easy for me to work extra hours. Long death marches of bug fixes towards the end of a project sucks.

    • Feature freeze, bug fix only time blocks are your chances to recover some sanity.

      The key is to record (broken design/worked around/bodged up) crap as highest priority 'bugs' and actually get them fixed, bitching is easy.

      Every team member needs to 'manage the managers'. The dumber they are, the more managing they need, best to coordinate the team, make sure 'it' gets consistent bullshit. Weekly lunch among the awake suggested.

      You still need to manage your own effort. Crispy you're no use to anyone, ev

  • Working Enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SeattleLawGuy ( 4561077 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @02:48PM (#54736695)

    Working enough is far less important than working intelligently, unless your boss is an idiot, in which case you have to be intelligent enough to recognize you have to work "enough" even if you otherwise wouldn't need to.

    • I'd rather have employees that get their work done and go home early than those that are always working late and behind schedule. I kind of think leaving early is a nice reward for getting done early. OTOH, occasionally when work needs call for logging extra hours to meet a deadline, I expect everyone to carry their share of the load.
      • by ghoul ( 157158 )

        In a previous avatar when I was a project Manager I waited for the team members to go home so I could get my creative work done as while the team is in office its mostly babysitting and unblocking - small tasks but which keep breaking your flow of thought. And I would find it very irritating when these folks would not go home either to impress me or to get the free dinner - dont know which. Basically I hated them for not going home and they though they were impressing me with long hours.
        I kind of figured ou

        • And I would find it very irritating when these folks would not go home

          Surreptitiously place a book, DVD, pair of brightly coloured socks in your desk drawer. Leave. Be sure to make a lot of noise about it. Say "goodnight" to everybody at least twice.

          Drive around for 15 minutes, then go back to the office.

          ...

          Profit!!!!

    • Although the mantra "work smarter, not harder" is generally a lie used by incompetent managers who are trying to deflect the blame for their own mismanagement onto their subordinates.

  • I'd say time is better spent connecting with people and finding others to help you accomplish your (hopefully mutual) goals.

  • Really, "VC privilege" and "gender implications"? Come on. Worker productivity isn't a new field of study, there's a lot of empirical evidence (in both directions, really) that address this question. I _think_ that the literature tends to show that while burnout is a very real thing and absolutely devastating to long term productivity, occasional "crunch mode" periods can actually be very productive. Whatever the actual answer is, though, it's super depressing that people fall back on ad-hom attacks (wh
  • One of these things is not like the other. Just how hard does Rabois think a football coach works from February through June? A GM might be busy during the off season, but a coach has a lot of downtime.

    So two tech investors disagree on a topic, yet the one who apparently pulls random names out of his nether regions is the one the writer chooses to pay attention to. Why is that?

    And really, what percentage of tech startups fail? Is this moron claiming those people weren't working hard enough or long enough? I

    • One of these things is not like the other. Just how hard does Rabois think a football coach works from February through June? A GM might be busy during the off season, but a coach has a lot of downtime.

      Belichick is also the GM.

  • if you're working long hours you're doing it wrong. Identify simple repetitive tasks and either automate them or give them to junior employees. Use the time you free up for complex added value tasks. Just make sure you're adding those kinds of things to your official list of duties and that everybody knows you're doing them. Not just for recognition but so bean counters don't fire you because on paper you don't have a job anymore :). Then use the value adds to get raises until you hit your salary cap and th
  • If you consider what you are doing is "hard work", then you are doing it wrong.
    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:25PM (#54737059) Homepage

      Not necessarily. If everything you are doing is simple, then you're obviously not challenging yourself. You shouldn't have a ton of highly difficult tasks to accomplish, but a good mix of simple and hard are necessary to keep your mind sharp. (Do the hard tasks to give your brain a workout and work on the simple tasks to give your brain a rest.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:02PM (#54736809)

    Why is "success" defined as being the top in your field? Why is "reaching the top" something to be pursued?
    If that's what you want, and that's what you enjoy, do it. The people I've seen get to these positions work a lot. I haven't really seen people that get to "the top" that don't. As long as you actually LIKE this, then go for it.

    But here's the thing. But most people don't live to work. They work to live. It's obviously not that simple, and work can be it's own reward at times, but the people who speak out against working weekends are those that seek some sort of balance in their lives with work, and don't see it as some sort of big achievement in life. Burnout is exactly this, and realizing you squandered your time for an illusion.

    Life is a balance. Few of us are doing exactly what we want. That's OK, and sort of expected. But there's this sort of Big Lie that if you "get ahead" you'll wake up some day having "made it", and you'll reach nirvana, or some wonderful state, or have some kind of great reward for all that hard work. It's bullshit. If you're not actually enjoying your life and focusing on "getting ahead" as an end rather than the activity itself, then you're just lying to yourself.

    • Why is "success" defined as being the top in your field? Why is "reaching the top" something to be pursued?
      If that's what you want, and that's what you enjoy, do it. The people I've seen get to these positions work a lot. I haven't really seen people that get to "the top" that don't. As long as you actually LIKE this, then go for it.

      Some still think of success in life as climbing some ladder. If you aren't going higher, then they think you're not succeeding.

      My grandmother (when she was alive) would inevitab

      • Some still think of success in life as climbing some ladder. If you aren't going higher, then they think you're not succeeding.

        My grandmother (when she was alive) would inevitably ask me if I got a promotion at work and would express disappointment when the answer was "no." What she didn't understand, though, was that me getting promoted would mean I'd be a manager, not a web developer. This would mean having to manage people (hiring, firing, making sure people do their work when they're supposed to, dealing with company politics) instead of working with code. I love working with code, but would HATE having to do the job of a manager. Why should I "climb the corporate ladder" if it means leaving a rung that I enjoy and moving into rungs that I hate?

        I've been asked the same thing. My response was that I still got a significant raise every year. I don't really care about my title. "Senior" or "Lead" would be nice, but I have no desire to be a personnel manager. For some people, the title is what makes you important.

        • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

          Yeah, IT is admittedly upside down, where the front-line developers are now getting paid just as much or more than the middle management. I've been resisting getting pushed into management tracks several times for little or no additional pay, just the "privilege" of taking on additional responsibilities for motivating other people who are generally already very well-motivated and capable of being their own thought-leaders. I'm wondering when it might become a problem to want to "stay in the trenches", whe

  • Hours to burnout isn't necessarily a valid relationship. Neither is hours to expertise, for that matter. There are far more factors to both relationships.

    However, he's not entirely wrong; in order to get to the top of your field, that means a high degree of dedication and, yes, time. Can't put in an hour here and there and expect magical results. Of course, those who are at the top of their field usually love what they do, so those long hours spent in pursuit of excellence have a reduced chance to cause

  • From the headline, I thought somebody was arguing about how much time to spend at work at a lumber camp.

    From the WKRP episode where they read the personals and confuse a girl who likes "jogging" with "logging".

  • Not everyone gets to win marathons. Not everyone is entitled to. If you can't cut it, then you can't cut it. Deal with it.

    You negotiate your own life.

    You make your own life decisions and accept repercussions.

    You decide what is ok and what is not for YOU. No one else.

    Some people are just built and/or wired differently. They never get tired. They never burn out. They never stop. Sometimes this leads to great success. Sometimes they are lashed to a machine and die poor making others rich. Your choices make the

    • Never met one. I've met a few that thought they could. All useless egomaniacs. Leave them to their 'not sleeping', microdosing, uberman's sleep schedule etc, let them fail on their own. Look at their lives...

      Stupid people working hard, just make big messes. I've never met anyone who didn't need downtime or they turn stupid.

      If you have sense, you leave some in the tank for daily happiness AND the day/week/month you do need 100% sustained effort.

      Also never hire anybody who uses the term '110%', unless

  • Your "dogged dedication" might be "manic obsession" to me. Do you want to work to live, or live to work?

  • long hours guarantee burnout but don't guarantee rising to the top.

    Unless of course your management thinks of long hours a a form of sucking up; then you can "work" long hours and spend the time goofing off, guaranteeing rungs up on the company ladder without burnout.

    But I question what you mean by "top of their field". Do you want to be very good at something, climb the company ladder, get rich, or be a Slashdot idol? Different personalities and strategies are needed for each.

    And of course, a lucky break

  • Few things in life have single, simple causes, such as "working long hours." Success is generally due to multiple factors, including persistence, education, emotional intelligence, connections/politics, good health, and just plain luck. People may look back and attribute their success to one magical moment, but it ain't so.

  • if you are self-employed and want to be top of your field then that's the way to go - otherwise there will always be somebody equally talented, younger and without a personal life and no need for sleep, that will outrun you. there are definitely fields, where you can't compete when you have a relationship, let alone a family. (e.g. the movie industry) if you're employed, there'll always be someone else reaping the fruits of your labor, so you're just letting yourself being exploited. either way, you'll ne
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Not really. If you are self employed, contracting for a single customer this might be true. But then you are really just an employee (that the IRS hasn't caught up with yet) and your employer just wants to squeeze as much out of you as possible. But if you actually are self employed, with multiple clients, then each one is just paying you for X hours of your time. They have no clue if you are working 80 hour weeks, burning yourself out. Or kicking back, putting in 20 hours and taking a few days off. If you

  • by esmrg ( 869061 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:18PM (#54736981)

    When the work is something like sales or marketing, long hours may be effective, since you can reach more clients or brainstorm ideas. The work isn't necessarily mentally exhausting. I can see how a VC would want long hours because getting to market first is a great way to edge out competition. But for engineering work, where correctness or deep comprehension of a problem is key, long hours will slow you down. I've seen it happen. A team will pull an all nighter, desperately rushing to solve a difficult problem or a mysterious bug only to still be stuck with it in the morning. Programming is in the realm of the mind and a good solution is rarely large quantities of code. If you need to write verbose and lengthy functions, you might be doing it wrong. Sure, you can type faster or copy and paste, but you will miss something that will take you hours to find. I find that I can solve difficult problems by relaxing and keeping the idea in my mind. Take a walk, a nap or daydream. The answer will pop into your head. It's number 37 in the 97 things. http://programmer.97things.ore... [oreilly.com]
    However, the exceptions given are valid. If you fully understand the problem and know exactly what you want (and it's your personal project) stay in the groove while it lasts.

  • If you get your work done in half the time Bob needs to get the same work done, you'll simply be given twice as much work for your efforts because we certainly can't have you just sitting there now can we ?

    Bob will then be reprimanded and ultimately fired for failing to keep up so you'll be doing his work too.

    All because you thought you could " get ahead ". . . .

  • There are times when the work is constant, and you just need to keep plugging away with 6-8 hours a day of actual work to keep things moving. And there are dead times when you can work less, and crunch times when you have to pull an all-nighter.

    Working long days all the time is a recipe for burnout. Most of the âoesuccessfulâ people I know work in bursts, including myself. Down time allows you body to recuperate and your mind to wander on any problems you are working on... an easy measure is this:

  • Working long hours isn't a guarantee of success. My father used to go to work at 5am every morning. He'd come home at around 5pm with a stack of work. After dinner, he'd log into his office and do more work until he went to bed. On the weekends, he brought home an even larger pile and worked on it on Saturday and Sunday.

    He didn't get any extra money for all of this work. When I once asked him why he did it, he answered "My boss expects this level of work from me." (Well, of course he does. You are giving hi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:24PM (#54737043)

    This depends on your culture.

    Here in the Netherlands, many consider putting in more hours (just for more hours) as inefficient and wasteful, while my colleagues in the US consider it necessary, not just to get ahead, but even to keep their job. To many Dutch colleagues the way they work in the US is considered inefficient and 'dinosaur era' where you are appreciated for the time spent, and not for the results produced or spending your time well. We like to spent more hours only as a temporary fix to a stable planning.

    During an internship at MIT for a couple of months, I noticed similar behavior which was considered by the students to be absolutely necessary for good grades: put in lots of hours, even regular all-nighters. To me they spent a lot of that time on the wrong/unrelated/side issue things, and they could have gotten the same results in about half or 2/3 the time. They would pursue every single option/angle the prof would point out, even the clearly fruitless ones. They were afraid (as in not an option at all) to tell the prof that 'yes, that was a fine idea, but perhaps not related to the core of this project and perhaps better not taken up here and now'. Actually when I told the MIT professor such in one of his talks with me about my work, he was very surprised to be told 'no', although he immediately saw the correctness of it and actually thanked me for reeling in his 'wide academic interest' that would have derailed the project.

    So, when the culture requires you to spend hours, and not question the task description you might not get job-ownership, but that is not what is requested, so no problem: spend the hours.
    When the culture is to value efficiency, be smarter instead of making more hours, question the task description, ask yourself with every subtask 'how does this contribute to the goal, must this work be done, must it be done by me?, etc' and created job-ownership and control in the process.

    In my experience, getting overworked or burned out happens most to those that have a strong sense of responsibility and ambition that is conflicting by lack of power and possibilities they encounter.

    Therefore I would argue to go for the second method as much as your local culture allows: it empowers you more to steer your own work, setting your own goals with your own rewards, while allowing you to do so in less time, leaving more time available for 'unloading'. And if you like spending much more hours, you will see that in this environment, any hours spent extra will contribute noticeably to your own end goals, and you can maintain much more easily a healthy balance between work hard-play hard with far less risk of burn out (because of the control you have over it)

    • In the US we don't really take vacations, it's not that we work a lot of long inefficient hours, instead we avoid our families and work until we get too old and are replaced. That's efficient for business. And if you don't believe it, then perhaps you should look at the overhead that American companies have versus Netherlander companies, we save money because we treat our employees worse. It's not bragging, it's pointing out that the standard of living here in the US is so much lower.

      Expect your EU jobs to

  • What a flawed question.

    icons like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Belichick as proof that dogged dedication (usually measured by long hours) was the only way to reach the top of your field.

    Please cite how many people have worked just as hard as these guys and were NOT at the top of their field. Then we can compare.

    Burning out is real, and is very hard to recover from. I have been there, and it sucked. Sometimes you don't realize how bad it sucks until you get away from it.

    And is "getting to the to

  • ...is why most people are not on the 4 day work week. The numbers don't lie and the numbers say we are more productive than ever before.

    What are the economic factors that are leading us to work longer rather than shorter? That's the better question. It's also the question that those that do reap the benefits of all that work do not want you to ask.

  • Reaching the top, becoming a billionaire, is hard. You must work a lot (and make sacrifices) and/or be extremely lucky. Most often both at the same time.

    Otherwise everybody would be a billionaire like Zuckerberg and Musk.

  • Is to strike the stock option lottery. But seriously, you are not likely to be rewarded for working harder than your peers. You will be rewarded for taking on more responsibilities, but that's not the same as working harder. Your reward will be even more responsibilities and eventually a management position where the salary tends to increase at a steeper angle.

  • I do coke. [youtube.com]
    So I can work longer.
    So I can make more!
    So I can do more coke.

  • You can observe a correlation between long hours and success, and try to achieve success via long hours, which will lead to burnout, but not necessarily to success.

    Let me put it this way: There's a strong correlation between extremely financially successful companies and ownership of corporate jets. Does that mean that your struggling company should pool all its cash to buy a corporate jet, so that it'll become successful? Clearly, no.

    Let me posit, that if you really love what you're doing so much that y

  • Working more than 40 hours for 40 hours of pay is a suckers game. Unless you work for yourself, you are essentially taking a wad of bills and handing it over to your employer. If they can't stay profitable with you averaging 40-42 hours per week, they are incompetent and you should look elsewhere, or come back as a consultant.

    The entire concept of bribing your employer with free work for an eventual raise is just disgusting. You are either good at your job and valuable and worth promoting on your merits,

  • To answer the question in the headline, ask what kind of employer you work for. There is a _huge_ difference between working hard because you want to go a great job, and working hard because you're on your 5th death march this year.

    If you work for a cutthroat employer and your co-workers are all back-stabbing and politicking their way to promotions, then of course you'll work until you're burnt out or quit out of frustration. "Tone at the top" is important when it comes to how middle managers behave and for

  • Look, most people do jobs they are talented at. A few (less than 1%) do jobs they LOVE.

    Business prefer to hire people that love their job. If you love your job, you don't get burnout no matter how hard you work. Get one person in the company that loves their job and that person sets a standard that everyone else feels they have to live up to.

    In those circumstances, the only way to get ahead is to work your job as if you would rather do it then participate in a three-some with supermodels.

    If you do love

    • Basic worker psychology:

      The highest performing does not set the standard, he's 'a genius', or whatever the others have to tell themselves.

      The lowest performing worker that 'gets away with it' sets the standard.

      At least 70% of 'new hires' (even with best effort hiring) will operate at about this level, and they test the limit, every day. The remaining 30% are: The hard workers, who at least like their jobs, most of the time. Figuring out who those are is the key task that most middle managers fail at.

  • It's plain and simple: If there's no good reason to log long hours, you're doing it wrong.

    Good reasons:
    - Pipeline isn't in place yet and needs to be built alongside the first project (Prerequisite:Boss and crew have agreed on the pipeline and everybody's working on automation with extra time payed for, Boss has understood that building the pipeline is a strategic investment.)
    - Crash Project has come in and there are obscene amounts of cash involved with big bonuses involved for everybody pitching in and sco

    • You're a software developer - automate your shit.

      If I could automate the production of software I'd have the worlds first actual AI.

      I'm guessing you're in a dev-ops kinda position - you can automate just about everything there. Unfortunately I'm not in that position - I write software. I change existing software to behave the way the customer wants it to. I track down bugs based on ambiguous bug reports, then I fix them.

      You clearly aren't doing any of that. Your job involves repetitive stuff, hence it can be automated. Good for you. My job, since the

  • My point of view regarding long hours has always been that I'm not against it, when absolutely necessary, but I think it's something that should be avoided at all costs. I've worked my share of 14-16 hour days, 6 and 7 day workweeks, but it's not something I'm proud of, or something I like to brag about. Always keep in mind, that you work to live, and not live to work - well, some people might be against me regarding that, but I don't much care about them :P

    On my first US interview, of course it came up.
  • If you work your entire life away and pass up your chance to raise and enrich a loving family and have them enrich your life back, then you aren't really ahead.
  • It's both.

    Next question.

  • I used to travel and do installs/builds of solutions for clients. When away from home in this manner, I found it BETTER to work the long hours (time sensitive bonus and work) and get the work done. It kept me on track for the project, allowed me the time "alone" to get the work done without answering 20 questions, and was just a better way to do it when On-site. When I worked remote (for the same job) I found I would work 8 hours, but would break that into 2-3 hr segments so that I didn't get burnt out o
  • You don't always need to work long hours to get ahead. In fact, that should be rare. The one case where I did do was in a startup where I was heavily invested. I could also be convinced if I'm payed hourly. But it will lead to burnout. Also, it will inhibit your ability to be creative. Luckily on the project I did the hours for, we did the hard part early, so in the end it was just build a bunch of web forms -- not a lot of heavy thinking there.

    To get ahead, just do good work, communicate, and be depe

  • I've seen a LOT of people put in long hours and not succeed.

    However I've NEVER seen a 9-to-5'er be successful. Especially if the person is young. Especially if 9-to-5 has become a philosophy.

    Certainly don't burn yourself out, in which case you'll be useless to yourself and others. But DO keep in mind that someone else who can handle the 60 hour workweek when you have to check out _will_ probably get ahead of you in that particular job.

    If you're young (and I assume you are, since you're asking the question

    • by malkavian ( 9512 )
      As I posted elsewhere, if you're employed for a 40 hour week, and still have the legs for an extra 20 hours, Spend those hours building your own company.
      That way, you'll get what you're worth, build a client base, maybe employ others, and make a profit from all the work they do, plus the hours you put in. You will, in all probability, end up vastly further along the wealth curve in a decade than the person who pushes themselves to the limit working those extra 20 hours for a company that, to be honest, pr

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