Silicon Valley arrogance: “I can tell you which startups will succeed, without even knowing what…
Dan Kim

This is one of those things that’s always bothered me about Silicon Valley. There’s a lot of “if you’re not in the office every day until 9pm then you’re not dedicated to the company” stuff. Two things:

  1. That makes a lot of sense if you’re an early employee at a startup where you’re doing multiple jobs. There’s just no way around it. If you’re expected to pull early-stage-startup hours at a 150-person company, they’re probably not good at planning out headcount. This doesn’t mean later-stage employees shouldn’t work those hours. But if you need to threaten them to make them work a lot, they’re either a bad fit or you’re bad at motivating people (or both). This is doubly true if they’re doing good work but not conforming to your idea of how long people should spend at the office every day.
  2. A lot of these companies have things backwards. Like, if they want motivated employees who work long hours, it’s their job to create an environment where employees are motivated. Telling people “work 12 hours a day or you’re not loyal to the company” is one way to do that, sure, but there are better ways. Hire people who are excited about what you do. Give them opportunities for personal growth, challenges to face, $$$, whatever. Sell them on the vision and mission. Carrot > Stick.

In fact, I’ll go one step further. If you have to use the Stick, you’ve already failed. You either hired the wrong person, or you’re hiring good people and burning them out/demotivating them. Either way, blaming it on the employee is almost never productive because you can’t learn from “it was all his/her fault.”