"Nothing else I'd rather do"

posted by Jeff | Thursday, July 24, 2008, 5:34 PM | comments: 4

Today's 37signals Kool-Aid on freedom and security...

I don’t personally like to work 60 or more hours per week. Even 40 hours is pushing it. At 37signals, we all try to work just four days a week. That’s a perk in addition to the fact that we don’t count vacation days (I probably spent 4 weeks last year) and many of us often attend conferences and other out-of-the-daily-rhythm activities.

But when I actually do sit down to work, it’s very often that there’s nothing else I’d rather do. And I don’t think that’s really an uncommon phenomenon. I think lots of people really like what they do and for bursts of the time consider it the most interesting thing they could be working on.

And it only took until the second comment for some jaded, beat down opinion to be shared.


Gonch, July 24, 2008, 10:03 PM #

My only problem is that articles like this tend to imply that working a lot is bad. Like everyone who works a lot is stuck doing so and hates their job and gets nowhere fast.

On the flip side they always seem to claim how much they "love their job" or their work, but in the same breath brag about how little time they're required to spend doing it.

Seems to me that if your job is something you truly love, you'd be happy to spend a majority of your time doing it. I know I like to spend as much time as possible doing things I enjoy.

Not sure what my ultimate point is. I guess anyone working 4 days weeks and less than 40 hours for a 'full time' paycheck is probably going to like their job regardless of the work and at the same time, there's no reason someone working a 60 hour week can't enjoy their job too.

Find what works for you and run with it. (which is kind of what the linked article says in the end) :)

Jeff, July 25, 2008, 1:26 AM #

But I think anyone who has really thought about it, and especially people who have families, knows that it's all about having balance in your life. Dominating it with any one thing generally means something else is sacrificed.

Besides, you can't take what he's saying out of context. In the tech world, it's a common practice to burn yourself out in hopes of some big pay out that statistically speaking will never come. I've worked with a ton of people who are like that, and every one of them was miserable. For what? I don't know anyone who enjoys working more than 40 hours. Not to say those people don't exist, but I suspect they wouldn't be very interesting or fun to hang out with.

Walt, July 25, 2008, 1:44 AM #

"The first person wants to 'score points' for coming in fifteen minutes early. The manager in the second story expects people to stay until six because that somehow shows dedication. Coming in late four days a week might cost you your job. Staying late every night might get you that promotion. You can’t leave at four thirty and you better not come in at nine. And at no point is there any discussion of the quality of the work being done. It’s just time, time, time.

We all labor under a myth: Time + physical presence = results."

Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It

And don't we ALL know Bob:

"One of the most recognizable consequences of our misplaced faith in time is Presenteeism. Let’s take Bob, for example. Bob has mastered the politics of corporate America. Now in his late fifties he has seen it all—downsizing, outsourcing, rightsizing. But he has continued to rise through the ranks because he knows how to play the game. He gets in before everyone else, scoring that sweet parking spot by the front door, the one where everyone who comes in later can note with a mixture of envy and resentment that Bob outdid them again. During the day Bob goes to every meeting. He eats lunch at his desk. He turns the lights out at night. His bosses describe him as 'a work horse' and 'a rock.' You can’t deny that he’s working, right? He puts in so much time. He must be doing something!

No matter that Bob doesn’t really do anything. No matter that Bob hasn’t contributed meaningfully to the bottom line in years."

J-Pizzie Lifestyle, July 25, 2008, 4:51 AM #

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