Why do we hate work so much?
Kyle Bragger has an impassioned post over at Medium about how The Hustle™ is bullshit.
He makes some good arguments for why you can’t increase productivity by working more but I could not help coming away with the feeling that it’s becoming increasingly fashionable to bash people who work longer than normal.
People who work beyond 9 to 5 (or 35 hours), we are told, “accomplish nothing of lasting value” and are peddling “ridiculous” working practises.
Love your work so much that you would rather do that than go on vacation? Tough! All work and no play make you a sad lonely weirdo and that’s that!
Yep! That’s hyperbole but so are a lot of implied side-effects of long working hours in Kyle’s post. It might very well be that Kyle’s weight gain was down to stress and long working hours (that’s his situation) but I’m fat not because I work long hours but because I am too lazy to exercise and eat anything that moves.
Quantity over Quality
I understand that a lot of Kyle’s post is simply his personal experience and those are facts that cannot be denied. He DID become more productive when he started working less.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I support a fair work-life balance but I find it surprising that the same people who make a quantity vs quality argument against work will simply accept as fact that “quantity time” with family/out of work is better than “quality time”.
The best work demands sweat and blood
Reduce the amount you work and “I’ll be surprised if you don’t start doing the best work of your life too.” says Kyle.
I am sure Einstein, Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, and many famous athletes (all famous workaholics) didn’t get that memo.
As much as we like the concept of the idyllic 4-hour and 4-day work week, the simple truth is that great work takes a lot of effort and time. Sure, there might be the odd person that achieves that without any effort but all else being equal (talent, intelligence, education etc.), longer hours and work do produce better results.
It’s called “balance” for a reason
Workaholism is a real problem. I don’t think “the Hustle” should ever be a badge of honour but let’s not tarnish all examples of long work hours with a simple and convenient argument of “balance” and all workaholics as being “out of their mind”.
Ultimately, as individuals we need to find a balance that works for US. What is work-life balance for me might simply be ridiculous for you and vice-versa.
Do what you love
It worries me that an entire generation of people are being brought up on the “you don’t need to work more than 35 hours a week” philosophy. It fails to address the complexities of what an individual wants and alienates people who do work long hours.
Within my social circles (friends & family), it increasingly baffles me that people just don’t “get” that I love my work. Not because I run a business; sure I love that. Not because I have a job that I enjoy; that’s a bonus. I love the “work” that I do. The programming, the pitches, the selling, and everything that goes with. I love the stress and the elation. All of it.
Why then, is it wrong for me to spend most of my time doing what I love? Why do we have to pick our workaholics as the “odd ones out”? The ones “who are doing it wrong”?
Kyle is right about one thing. If you don’t like working hard long hours and you feel that your current job isn’t right for you, quit and do something that works for you and you will enjoy.
The best way to summarise Kyle’s post - “do what you love”.
And if what you love is work, Hustle™ away!