If You Want to Work Hard, Live Well

Dustin Moskovitz
Aug 20, 2015 · 5 min read
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2006 was one of the best years for Facebook, and one of the worst years for me as a human.

Many people believe that weekends and the 40-hour workweek are some sort of great compromise between capitalism and hedonism, but that’s not historically accurate.

Many people believe that weekends and the 40-hour workweek are some sort of great compromise between capitalism and hedonism, but that’s not historically accurate. They are actually the carefully considered outcome of profit-maximizing research by Henry Ford in the early part of the 20th century. He discovered that you could actually get more output out of people by having them work fewer days and fewer hours. Since then, other researchers have continued to study this phenomenon, including in more modern industries like game development.

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From Lost Garden: Rules of Productivity. There’s a big delta between what the productivity we think we get during crunch time, and what we actually get.

[T]hese companies are both destroying the personal lives of their employees and getting nothing in return.

So it is with deep sadness that I observe the current culture of intensity in the tech industry. My intellectual conclusion is that these companies are both destroying the personal lives of their employees and getting nothing in return. A candidate recently deciding between Asana and another fast growing company told me that the other team starts their dinners at 830pm to encourage people to stay late (he’s starting here in a few weeks). I also hear young developers frequently brag about “48 hour” coding sprints. This kind of attitude not only hurts young workers who are willing to “step up” to the expectation, but facilitates ageism and sexism by indirectly discriminating against people who cannot maintain that kind of schedule.

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