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Working hard doesn’t mean working late

September 19, 2011 2 comments

John Carmack, founder and technical director of Id Software, recently posted this on Twitter: “The meme that people are objectively less productive in total when working more than 40 hrs a week is idiotic.”. This is true when working 45-50 hours a week (or even more) because you’re motivated to do so. The problem starts when overtime becomes “highly suggested”, directly by managers or indirectly (peer pressure).

I’ve been working in this industry for 14 years now, and when I look back at my first years, Carmack’s statement made a lot more sense. I had no wife or kids, I was mainly spending my free time at home programming anyways, so why not stay at work 60 hours a week and get free food? But time changes, I now have kids, and as soon as I have to leave later than expected every day, motivation goes down a lot. This blog post really explains how I feel.

Look around you, and tell me what do you see? Programmers working 60-70 hours per week, arriving late in the morning, taking long coffee breaks and laughing looking at funny cats on youtube, or focused programmers with headsets that comes early in the morning, working hard on their tasks 40-45 hours per week, getting the job done? What do you prefer your team to be composed of?

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