When hard work is fun.

| by tvTayber

Digging Ditches is not fun

I just read Fire the Workaholics by David Heinemeier Hansson. The blog post focuses on critique this piece of advice from Jason Calcanis:

Fire people who are not workaholics. don’t love their work… come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. don’t work at a startup if you’re not into it–go work at the post office or stabucks if you’re not into it you want balance in your life. For realz.

David goes on to say that in fact you should Fire the Workaholics rather than the non-workaholics. Both posts are from 2008 but still ring true. Here is DHH’s take on it:

Workaholics may well say that they enjoy those 14 hour days week after week, but despite their claims, working like that all month, all the time is not going to be sustainable. When the burnout crash comes, and it will, it’ll hit all the harder and according to Murphy at the least convenient time.

People who are workaholics are likely to attempt to fix problems by throwing sheer hours at the problem. If you’re dealing with people working with anything creatively that’s a deadbeat way to get great work done.

People who always work late makes the people who don’t feel inadequate for merely working reasonable hours. That’ll lead to guilt, misery, and poor morale. Worse, it’ll lead to ass-in-seat mentality where people will “stay late” out of obligation, but not really be productive.

If all you do is work, your value judgements are unlikely to be sound. Making good calls on “is it worth it?” is absolutely critical to great work. Missing out on life in general to put more hours in at the office screams “misguided values”.

DHH is always talking/writing about working smart not hard and in many ways he is right. People who like to work all the time do burn out and an atmosphere where people try to outwork each other in sheer number of hours is not something most workplaces should strive for. I’ve read Hansson’s writings on the subject before and there is always something about the idea that bugs me.

Mostly the problem is: I really like to work.

I love what I do and I spent the better part of my adult life not working (as a student) or digging ditches (paying for school). The opportunity for me to be working in a creative industry, doing something I enjoy is a blessing. It isn’t something to be taken lightly. I cherish that opportunity by working as hard as I can.

I may be a bit young and naive but I don’t think it matters how many hours you work if you love what you do. If every moment of your life is consumed by a desire to create and you enjoy being creative (in whatever capacity you work in)… maybe it’s is a good thing?

I don’t think anyone would argue it’s productive to be putting in hours just to be there and say you did it or to outwork the guy next to you. It’s just plain silly to think do that and it’s pretty transparent. But if you love what you do to the point of being consumed by it… maybe you are a bit obsessive, but you can still be a happy, well balanced person.

Just my two cents on working hard. Comment below and let me know if you agree/disagree. I’m going outside to enjoy the sun now.

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