Add me to the nailed it! cheerleading battalion.
I’m in the fifth startup I’ve developed for in a 37-year career (as of 1 June). It’s the simplest, conceptually, but it’s been the hardest slog I’ve ever been through in my career; just chewing me up, spitting me out, stomping on the residue, then repeating. Every day.
What killed us (yes, past tense, even though I still throw myself at the wall) is that simple concept and what I call the “wantrapreneur effect”; agreeing to only hire from a nonexistent talent pool, agreeing to sub-minimal funding (“because we ought to be able to finish it really quickly”) and a self-proclaimed technical stakeholder who simply isn’t, even though one would think he has the most to lose.
I’ve been working an average of nearly 100 hours a week, every week (save two), for four and a half years. Because the business plan called for 4–5 senior devs, and our dev team is “me, myself, and I”, and the “get it done so we can ‘all’ get rich” pressure is so strong — the difference between an entrepreneur and a wantrapreneur.
So yeah, work-life balance isn’t important; it’s mandatory if you actually want to get things done. Despite the prevailing local ‘wisdom’, people are not “digits”: consumables that can be used up and replaced at a whim from a functionally inexhaustible supply. Worldwide, or at least nationwide, competence is a constant.
Now if I could figure out how to get off the hamster wheel without impaling myself on those electrified spikes all round.
To the slave who said
If you’re under the gun the raise a round — you’re fucking damn straight it is! Not all of work for big, glamorous companies that have unlimited resources.
You have a better chance of winning the lottery. Thrice consecutively. And an even better chance should you actually buy tickets. The reason the Myth of the Hero Programmer is so celebrated is because a) it’s a useful tool for the bean-counters and wantrapreneurs, and b) it’s a myth! The sooner you come to grips with that, the sooner you’ll be able to have a life away from the keyboard — you know, with real people like a significant other, friends, and family.
Or you can keep choking on your overlords’ bullshit and maybe, just maybe, get struck-by-lightning-ten-times-and-live lucky. Though the quality of life your charred husk enjoys after that makes “survival” a rather relative term, doesn’t it?