A Twitter discussion about working extra hours recently blew up. One person posted that basically, you aren’t going to be successful unless you work nights and weekends in your 20s. That sparked a lot of pushback.
I have conflicted feelings about this. On the one hand, I very much appreciate a company that doesn’t have to push people to work long hours because they have a well-run system.
As a developer, you want to work for a company that has solid sales, revenue, and expectations for their clients and the workload so you can work effectively without things being hectic and unpredictable. Some companies do achieve that.
But then I think about my personal experiences. When I’m building something that I’m really excited about, I usually find myself working a lot of hours on it. My wife also spent a lot of hours working in her 20s.
So part of me agrees with the sentiment, though I don’t agree with it in its absolute form.
“Work” can have many different forms. Any of us that work in knowledge work are working when we are thinking about our craft, solving problems in our heads, or learning.
I think it’s ironic that many people who were arguing against that point on Twitter were doing so late at night. In a way, that’s work—they have this idea that is important to them that they want to put out into the world.
Both sides have a point, and I fall somewhere in the middle. I see companies that push employees too hard because they don’t have great systems. That’s not a good thing. But I do think it’s rare to see someone with a lot of success who doesn’t want to work a little extra.