The 100 hour work week: believe it or not?


So how much and how hard do you have to work at Microsoft to be successful? I was asked this question by a graduating student who has an offer from Microsoft to be a software design engineer. Actually the question was “do I have to work 100 hours a week to be successful?”

I went back and forth in my head how to answer this one. Well on the one hand, I should probably say that if you come to Microsoft you will have a balanced life where you can work, have hobbies, have friends, and all will be great. On the other hand, I keep reading articles about how at “Web 2.0” companies you get hired from college and live in your office–you don’t even need to leave to eat since they bring gourmet food to your office. So I certainly would want everyone to think that Microsoft has a competitive offering and that if you join here you can live in your office and work 16 hours a day (or night). But I would not want folks to think we’re inhuman.

I’m not really sure what the best way to answer this is, so let me just tell it like I see it.

The truth is there are two “cycles” of workload that you go through at Microsoft. The first is the cycle that starts as a college new hire and evolves as you gain experience. The second is the project cycle you are on and how that has an ebb and flow.

When you first join Microsoft from college you are very much on a “college clock”. That generally means you arrive with that blurred view of “work” and “social life” because in college things are all basically one long experience, punctuated by exams and the summer. You probably want to sleep late and work late. You probably move out here and don’t bring a built-in social network like the one you developed at school. And you probably are really anxious to start your job. All of these lead to a pretty intense start to your working life. You are probably going to work as much at Microsoft as you did in the combination of attending classes, studying, and doing project work. At Cornell I took about 18 credits a semester, which translates into roughly 18 class hours per week and generally the guideline was that every hour in the class was 2 hours of preparation or work over the course of the semester. So that means just over 50 hours per week. That pretty much is what I would say is average for a new hire. Is that a lot? Not enough?

Well when you’re new at something you always put in that extra effort and pay very close attention to all the details. Some things are way harder when they are new (like how much time it took to write a 5 page paper as a freshman compared to a 20 page paper as a senior). Coding on commercial software is no different. It takes a lot of effort up front to contribute effectively and efficiently. And when you’re new you will put in extraordinary efforts to get those first pages of code done well–you will write and rewrite them and test them repeatedly. Believe me it is a big deal writing code and checking it in for a few hundred million people to use! And since at Microsoft you are on real products the day you show up, this will likely be a pretty all-consuming learning process.

In other words, no matter how many hours you are officially supposed to work when you are new you will put in a lot more to get those projects done. That is ok. No, that is expected because you are going through the learning phase. Your learning is not happening on a practice field but is happing in the big show. So the extra hours and effort are worth it to you and the team.

And of course as a college hire you are joining Microsoft with a large number of other college hires (we will hire more people from college this year than any other year, and more than any other computer software company I’m pretty sure). In fact, there is a good chance some of your classmates will also be joining Microsoft. So in many ways your college experience will get translated immediately to Redmond (or Mountain View, or any of the other locations mentioned in other postings). Every “class” of Microsoft has different things that become popular and even within the class you get the same sort of extra-curriculars that you had in college. Some folks go to dinner and movies with their team, others go with their classmates. It is just like in college where some people ended up being friends with their house/roommates and others found people through organizations (at Microsoft we have all the same sorts of clubs you have in college–I spoke at CHIME last week, which is Chinese Employees at Microsoft, for example).

Microsoft will feel a lot like college in terms of the hours you put in and the environment you work in. It will be fun. It will mean late nights. It will mean “hanging out”. All of those same things. That was my experience and when I look around I see the same thing happening now.

The only thing I would say is that anyone who tells you how cool it is to pull all-nighters on commercial software or anyone who says “I live at the office” and means it, is really someone I would not want checking code into my project. To be blunt, there is no way you can do quality work if you do not give your brain a break. Since the 1940’s people have been studying the quality of work people are capable of without the proper sleep, change in environment, and exercise. There are reasons why even back during Apollo moon missions they forced the astronauts to sleep and not run on adrenaline. So working at Microsoft does not push the limits like this–it is not good for you, not good for business, and not good for the customers paying you for your software. If a company is driving you to work crazy hours like this, either because you want to or they want you to, it is just uncool.

There is an “arc” to this and as you get older two things happen. First, you get better and what you do. So you really can get the same amount of work done in less time, and you do it better. Just like how you got better at problem sets through college. And second, you do start to develop a “work-life” balance. For some people this happens in 3 years and for others it happens in 5 or 10. It all depends on you and your own skill/career arc. You are not slowing down. You are not doing less. You are becoming better at your chosen profession. You are moving from an apprentice to a skilled practitioner. Your individual contribution should be increasing each year as you get promoted and gain deeper and broader knowledge. But you also might be developing a relationship with a significant other. You might want to start a family. You might be contributing significantly to the community. You might actually be taking your vacation and going somewhere other than visiting your parents.

Microsoft is a place where as you increase your skills and advance your career you also simultaneously develop a more balanced approach to life. You have to. Because we want you to have a long and balanced career at Microsoft we do expect your career arc to allow you to attain more balance as you gain experience.

The project cycle represents ebb and flow of work that overlays your own career arc. This workload is well understood and repeats itself each project, but even here we are careful about what is good business and common sense.

The role each of development, testing, and program management plays in the project cycle is matched by level of work “intensity” over the course of the cycle. Early in a project cycle is when program management is writing specifications and planning the release. Testing and development are reviewing specification and planning their next steps. Development is not actively writing code and so their intensity is relatively lower. And testing is likely very focused on planning for the end game. As we progress to the coding portion of a project, development really ramps up their efforts and the intensity increases. Developments intensity also increases as the schedule gets closer and closer to the “end”. This is because developers own their own schedules and sign up to get their work done based on their own estimates. So as you can imagine this gets pretty intense. But you are on record to deliver about 35 hours of coding per week (depending on how your group accounts for the schedule) so any “overtime” you put in is really your own. Of course developers also love to go above and beyond the call of duty so it is likely that cool features get done in addition to the committed ones. As development nears the end of coding, testing really ramps up. This is where we are now in Office “12” and in fact this morning we had a test manager meeting going over the work needed to get to our second beta (our first beta is about to hit the streets).


As an aside, it is really the case that you own your own schedule.  This does not mean that you work in isolation for as long as you want–your work interacts with other’s work and other’s depend on you.  It does mean that you have to take the desired outcome and scale it appropriately to fit within a normal schedule.  Of course you don’t really get trained in this in college so that is the role of your lead in terms of mentoring you and helping you to estimate and gauge the work ahead of you.  Over time you become expert at this and then soon enough you are managing and mentoring new people yourself.

A lot of companies think that it is cool to buy dinner all the time and do whatever it takes to keep you at your desk to work more during these “crunch times”. We actually don’t generally do this for Office (though some teams occasionally do). Over the years we’ve found this is not a good practice for the team overall because it encourages a style of work that does not yield good software. But trying to keep people chained to their offices, in the name of encouraging team work and dedication, does not help. I remember back in 1990 working on the first C++ compiler and we were doing the dinner thing for the team and I remember noticing that a lot of folks would just end up eating dinner at work then going to dinner later in the evening–that does not get better code, though it does yield bigger waistlines. I admit then when people tell me about other companies that buy you dinner and change your oil in an effort to keep you focused on work, I do worry about your health and if you really are able to write quality code. The best example of this is just how you can stare at a bug for 8 hours and make no progress, but if you leave work, clear your brain, and maybe do something nutty (like ride a bike, play racketball, or play poker) you probably will find you can fix that bug with a whole fresh perspective. I think that is an important part of every work day.

Therefore the work week has different levels of intensity as you move through the product cycles. There is a flow to this just like you have a flow to a semester (introduction stuff, problem sets, mid-term, project, final). But for a Microsoft project there are numerous highs and lows that map to both the discipline you work in and the phase of the project.

I think it is super [sic] important that throughout the project cycle you pace yourself–like any endeavor you can only run so hard for so long. What we do is hard, unpredictable, and important for a lot of people. It is also incredibly fun. What you find on our development teams is that most people would be sitting in front of computers, even if they didn’t get paid. Computers are also our hobbies. Most of us run elaborate home networks, love to help our friends and family with their machines and networks, and many of us help local community organizations with their PCs. But it is also important to balance this with the need of your brain for down time and the need for you to gain a perspective on your work and what you do.

Finally, the core question is not just do you need to work 100 hours a week, but “do I need to work 100 hours a week to get ahead”. The answer to that is definitely no. You need to get a lot done and you need to do it efficiently. We want you to be a heroic developer in the sense that you get more high quality work done in a shorter time than others, but not in the sense that you can work 100 hours straight to produce 50 hours of work without sleeping, eating, or leaving your office. Microsoft went through the phase of growing up where we thought the best programmers were those who survived on Starbucks and gummy bears–we actually studied bugs counts and defect rates and found that the people that wrote the most code, also had the most incomplete code and the most bugs/line. We want you to be great programmers who write high quality code that works right the first time and for a long time. That takes far more skill and talent than you can make up for by sitting at your desk for heroic hours. Developing your skills, making sure your code is complete, bug-free, highly performant, scalable, highly secure is the way to get ahead. Maybe your manager works a lot (I do) or maybe your manager is very efficient, but the hours you work is not a measure of your ability to succeed and certainly not something you get evaluated on. You get promoted because your work excels relative to your peer group–because you get done what you say your going to get done; it works super well; and you got done the right amount of work relative to your peers.

Working at Microsoft is hard. We have a lot of people counting on what we deliver. You will put in a lot of hard hours. But if you are managing your work effectively then you will have a rewarding career and a rewarding balance between life and work.


–Steven

Comments (37)

  1. Nanda says:

    Awesome way to put! haven’t seen a better way of explaining this issue.

  2. Bill says:

    This is a superb explination. I can attest to it modeling my experience after two and a half years.

  3. steven_sinofsky says:

    Bill and Nanda thanks for the kind words. I’m glad this was helpful.

    –Steven

    PS: Always keep in mind, if you work at Microsoft I’m just an email away!

  4. Navid Azimi says:

    I am on my third month at MS coming straight out of university and you could not be any more accurate with your article. It’s always comforting to know that you are not alone in your experiences. For the past month, I work something along the lines of 10-12 hours a day and thus far am enjoying it immensely.

    I think another important factor for recent college graduates is that they have minimal responsibilities outside the workplace. Therefore, since I really only have to look after myself, this gives me the opportunity to work longer hours without affecting anyone else.

    Ultimately though, I hope that the many (extra) hours that I put in now will pay years down the road when I find myself more driven to go home and spend time with my hypothetical wife and kids.

  5. Robert says:

    I think this is a sad commentary. I wish I could explain all that is wrong with it. How many of those working hours are spent surfing the net? Check the sports scores, the latest video games, etc?

    If someone actually puts in 8 or 9 straight hours of hard work, that should be plenty for any day. 8 or 9 straight hours of concentrated development will wear you out pretty quick, mentally.

    I’m a business owner. We do software. There are people in my company that are almost 40 that still put in those kind of hours. *It doesn’t stop when you have a wife and children*. We need to be disciplined in our workdays, and then stop. Go outside. Volunteer for a charity. Make the world a better place. All those hours you’re putting into software. Software (which I do the same) is vapor. It doesn’t disappear in 40 years in disappears in 9 months.

    I’m rambling, I know. But I know the kind of environment that MS is, I’ve known many an MS worker, and have worked in similar environments. The kind of place were they look at you funny if you go home at 5:30, ’cause you’ve been there since 7:30 and you don’t goof off, but they don’t know that.

    What about those, that are just out of college but do already have a wife? Or children? Surely we’ve all heard of one of those? What about the pressure they feel at work to stay for 12 hours? Do they neglect the wife for the sake of the job? Will they move up slower through the ranks, because they aren’t seen as putting in the effort?

    There are two things that need to change in the technology world. Especially the software world.

    1) People need to work hard all day. Of course take a break! Play sports during lunch. But work hard.

    2) Go home. Do other things. After a hard days work it feels right.

  6. Robert, did you read the article or just the headline? It’s pretty clear Steven is explaining that work/life balance is important, no?

  7. dk says:

    I think if its so hard to work at Microsoft, then it’s probably not as much fun as I thought.

    I want to work hard for 40 hours, have fun while I am at it and have the rest to myself…I don’t care if the product ships on time or not – I think Microsoft needs to get more people working on the product if it takes people working long hours constantly (even though its fun) to ship something out…maybe better planning or design?

    This shows that senior management thinks that hard long hours can earn you work-life balance in the future…I probably will go work at a place where 20% of the time is spent on things I have fun doin.

  8. dinesh says:

    Shouldn’t work-lfe balance allow us, and then help us be more creative and productive in 40 hours – thereby avoiding 100 hour weeks?

  9. steven_sinofsky says:

    That’s why the title is believe it or not — I choose to not believe in 100 hour work weeks. Maybe I used a poor title?

    –Steven

  10. dinesh says:

    awesome..that was quick….40 sometimes can be too few to put in when the times are exciting 😉

  11. Buster says:

    One other hugely over-used but vastly mis-rated concept is "hard work". I do not agree that hard work is either important or good. Work hard or work smart – take your choice. That is of course, if you want a work/life balance, like I do. If you’re one of those work junkies, this does not obviously apply to you. In MS and a lot of other places, I have seen managers and entire orgs encourage and reward "hard work", which I think is dangerous when not put in proper perspective. How hard a person works should not be a consideration, rather the output that person produces should be. The whole "hard work" as a virtue throw back to our grampa’s days should really be thrown out the Window(s).

  12. steven_sinofsky says:

    Buster I think you are right-on!!

    Check out http://web.mit.edu/nelsonr/www/CMR_Getting_Quality_v1.0.html

    –steven

  13. Ria says:

    I agree with Steven. But I feel it is the right mix of smart work and hard work that takes one up. One should be ready to put in all the effort when required keeping the prioirities of life set.

  14. Fadi says:

    Since everyone is posting his point of view, I’ll post mine. I disagree with Robert and Buster. I believe in extremely hard work and extremely smart work and this whole issue comes down to a personal choice in life. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very sociable person but work is my utmost priority. If they would provide beds in the office I would sleep over. I adore working relentlessly and I enjoy it to the most.

    I am a strong supporter of differentiation at work and the only thing I require is to be rewarded relatively to the quality of my accomplishments.

    Buster, I don’t want to reach my “grampa’s days”. I don’t care for that. What I want is to work hard enough to have at 30 a position with the competitiveness, decision making ability and responsibilities other people can reach at 50.

  15. James Lo says:

    My trick:

    First work smart, then work hard and smarter.

    Hard work applied on smart work magnifies the quality.

    In the software industry, to Microsoft and customers, 1 good software beats 100 bad ones.

  16. Edi says:

    Well, I don’t approve too many things from here, sorry!

    First, why so many people work more than 40 hours per day? Because nobody want to admit that actually you can’t write code 7-8 hours per day for a long time without burning yourself. (and actually if you read some legal stuff you will see that you are required to work only 6 hours and a half per day).

    What about fun: if you want to work and have fun, that is also a little tricky: fun takes time too, well you would not want to be paid for having fun, no. I feel guilty if I would have fun at work 1 hours. I will feel that I still need to work another 1 hours to compensate the fun, but our manager want us to have a balanced work/life, have fun and …

    they want us to go and do networking (go, meet other people in your company, learn about others …) … well do you think that this comes for free?

    Managers want us to have work smart and hard, have fun, have a work/life balance, working 40 our, doing what we say we will do … bla bla bla

    Well, that is not possible. There is something missing here in this equation: Downtime time! People need some time to relax. And do you think that saying: I will go and have fun for 30 minutes, I will interact with other and I will be happy!

    I doesn’t work! People need more time to relax than we are willing to accept! That is way many people work more, because somewhere there is the time to relax (reading news or writing posts like this). I want to see someone who is having fun at my command!

    that all.

    Edi

    P.S. I first want to see a manager having a work/life balance [40 hours/week] – from what I know most of the managers work really hard and many hours too.

  17. Fadi says:

    “Because nobody want(s) to admit that actually you can’t write code 7-8 hours per day for a long time without burning yourself”

    "People need more time to relax than we are willing to accept"

    Edi, after finishing your 5 long hours of exasperating and arduous daily work and before starting your 10 daily vital hours of “having fun” consider reading the latest reports by Goldman Sachs on the emergence of new global powers and what this means to the US Economy. Other good references are HBR, October 2003 issue and the last Business Week double issue (China & India: What You Need To Know Now, 08/22-29/05)

    Edi – You may also consider writing this same post on a Chinese/Indian blog. I would love to see how Chindians will reply to you.

  18. Gary G. says:

    Sounds reasonable at first blush, but it falls apart as you home in on the details. It’s easy to think of a single new hire working hard initially, becoming more effective and efficient, and moving up even as working hours are reduced to focus on better work-life balance. But what happens when you apply this to 10 new hires? Unfortunately, not all 10 are going to move up, even if they have equal abilities. In fact, 1 of them will be yanked. I know there won’t be 10 perfectly equal employees on the same team, but the theoretical goal of a system that keeps yanking the bottom 10% is to approach that situation. Even given 2 equal talents on the same team, the one that works the most will (hopefully) move up the quickest, and the one who works less will move up more slowly. Given equal ability, the only way to come out on top is to work longer, at least up to the point where you either become unproductive, or you burn out. And if you have less ability, you can make up for some of that by working more. So the core message of this system is: “Work more.” There’s no other interpretation.

    As Steven points out, when you’re fresh out of school, work is often all there is, so “work more” is just fun. At least until you recognize that the other folks are working even more and are thus reaping the rewards. The average result for a new hire at Microsoft will be to become an average Microsoft employee. It can be hard to stay motivated seeing the others pull away from you, and eventually being caught and past by the best of the next crop of new hires. I’m not saying the system shouldn’t work this way. The best should always move up the fasted, and pass the average performer on the way. The problem I’m pointing out is the morale and motivation of the average performer. Hey, being ordinary is no big deal, unless you’re accustomed to excelling in life and don’t like being in the “meets- or slightly-exceeds-expectations” buckets. Then review time becomes a time of demotivation that hits a couple of times a year.

    And for the strong performer here’s how the system can work out (based on an example I know personally): Work your tail off for 5-8 years and move up the ladder by doing so, until you get high enough that you can finally cut back to mostly 9-5 days. Then work on rebuilding the marriage you almost lost. For those who don’t move up quickly enough, or who just aren’t able to change those hard-practiced priorities when they do move up, the sacrifice is huge. I wonder why VP’s and divorces go together.

    I think using ranking as a way to find the best and worst performers across the company can be useful for targeting promotions, raises, and firings. But I think effectively publishing that ranking by assigning review numbers turns it into a stick that can discourage the 60% of the company that can’t quite reach the carrot. The stick was easy to ignore when you were still pulling in hundreds-of-thousands of dollars a year through your options. But it’s a different world now, and the stick isn’t padded by a wad of cash. It’s time to take the numbers out of reviews and put the emphasis on messaging what went well, what could have gone better, and how to manage the next step of your career.

    Of course, feel free to ignore me, because I don’t have the same ability as many around me, and I’m working less on top of it. But I must have work-life balance, because my kids need me now, while they’re young. They don’t need me to move up fast so I can retire early and finally be there for them as they graduate from high school. As a perennial 3.0 (OK, I confess I earn the occasional 3.5 and even 4.0, but not on purpose!), I find the review system demotivating. Oddly enough, my management insists that I’m valuable to the team and they want me to stick around, so I don’t think they desire to lower my morale. But the curve forces me into the 3.0 bracket. I don’t deny that others are doing more than me—I deserve a 3.0. I just don’t want to hear about it! Let me do my job the entire year, instead of having a month-long hiatus twice a year while I’m reminded of exactly where I stand compared to everyone else. I actually like working at Microsoft and would prefer to stay, but review time makes me think about moving on to another company where I can return to being a strong performer, like I was at my previous jobs.

  19. Fadi says:

    "I don’t deny that others are doing more than me—I deserve a 3.0. I just don’t want to hear about it!"

    Gary G. – You really hate competition, don’t you? Do you prefer to work in an environment where everyone around you has weaker skills so you get to be the "king of the hill, the top of the heap"? Don’t you think what you wrote above shows an extremely passive/non-competitive attitude?

  20. Dan says:

    Fadi, what’s wrong with that? Why is being non-competitive wrong, if he’s a good worker?

  21. whogivesa_anon says:

    Fadi – people like you screw up the work-life balance for the rest of us.

    Not only do you want to put in more hours – thereby messing the schedules that are in place, but also randomize "delivery" – be it code, programs or marketing.

    There is a "rythm" to business, and if you really study successful businesses – SAS, Southwest, for that matter – even Google…do not push their people to work long hard hours..because that is nonsense.

    Realistic and value-add delivery combined with creativity helps a company deliver. Having lights on and people cramped 5 to an office for long hours doesn’t do much….

    Fadi – get a life or get out.

  22. Fadi says:

    Dan – I never said that being non-competitive in work is wrong. I just can’t understand why Gary refuses to hear that others are better than him while he admits that they are and why does he want to hear that he’s a “strong performer” while he admits that he’s not.

    “I don’t deny that others are doing more than me—I deserve a 3.0. I just don’t want to hear about it! […] review time makes me think about moving on to another company where I can return to being a strong performer”

    Dan – if you’re not competitive, don’t go pick a competitive work environment. Still if you do, don’t refuse to hear that others are better than you. They deserve to be considered better when they are and you should accept this. They dedicated more time and efforts and they should be rewarded and praised for that.

  23. Fadi says:

    I have a project to deliver in 5 hours so i’ll be quick

    whogivesa_anon – How did you interpret my post as wanting to “put in more hours – thereby messing the schedules that are in place, but also randomize "delivery" “?!

    I clearly said that this whole issue of work performance comes down to a personal choice in life. What I want is for companies to promote hard and dedicated work by rewarding highly performing employees. Yet, regular employees can survive the competition (the case of Gary: “I don’t have the same ability as many around me, and I’m working less on top of it […] Oddly enough, my management insists that I’m valuable to the team and they want me to stick around, so I don’t think they desire to lower my morale” )

    I can’t see how this will screw up your work-life balance.

    “There is a "rythm" to business, and if you really study successful businesses – SAS, Southwest, for that matter – even Google…do not push their people to work long hard hours..because that is nonsense.”

    So, for you … SAS, Southwest and Google are the successful businesses and Microsoft doesn’t fit in that category. Microsoft fits in the category of companies that push their people to work long hard hours which is nonsense. WOOOW!

    For all I know, Microsoft is found at the top spots of most preferred employers. Same for IBM, McKinsey…giant companies where the greatest percentage of people works long extra hours everyday. Of course … not to forget GE and Jack’s famous 20-70-10. This GE differentiation system drastically boosted GE employee’s work performance and became at the very root of the company’s unrivalled success.

    “Fadi – get a life or get out”

    I have a life, I know what I want from it and I am enjoying it to the max.

    whogivesa_anon – With your level of critical thinking and professional motivation, I doubt you’ll ever reach a position where you’ll be able to tell anyone to “get out”

  24. whogivesa_anon says:

    Fadi – You really think so?

    I have been there, done it. I have been here since MS was 6000 people and if you were here since then, you would realize that people like you are what is wrong here today.

    Good luck trying to get somewhere with your "critical thinking and professional motivation"..you sound like another recent MBA grad.

  25. steven_sinofsky says:

    Hey Fadi and whogivesa_anon — how about taking this to another blog somewhere. Thanks.

  26. Fadi says:

    Nah…i am done

  27. Amit says:

    Absolutely correct well put….keep it up 🙂

  28. Greg says:

    I worked 70 hour weeks for a large ERP Software implementation for 6 months.

    The implementation was successful and all went well for the company. How-ever I became gravely ill immediatly after, had eight weeks off work.

    I was treated very badly because of this and had to quit.

    So is it worth it, no.

    Family and health come first.

    I now work for a very good world wide company.

  29. v says:

    What I like most about this article is that has stimulated a good discussion on something most of use have a view on,

    just not all the same view.

    This is what is difficult – first understanding the differing points of view, and then finding a way to accommodate them.  Everybody’s view is right for THEM, its how to address this in policies and practices that work for everyone.

    Personally, I work well under pressure, I just did a 72hour weekend.  It was an emergency. Every second was spent working, focussed, 100% high standard.  (Others would take weeks yet achieve a far lower standard).

    And I saved a critical account.

    BUT today is my day off and I have spent it sleeping all day, something I am not paid for but I know its necessary for me to recover.  This is a hidden cost.

    When I look back I am ALWAYS blown away at both the high quality and quantity of work I achieve (ie wow did *I* do this? Its excellent work, in so little time… even documentation? how?)

    BUT this is me.  I am driven, & have high standards.

    And I work on the "SWAT" team, everything is critical.

    I discourage other staff from working long hours, as it should not be necessary.  Also it masks the fact they are under-resourced – sometimes something has to give in order to get resource issues dealt with.

    If its urgent, they should escalate it to my team, that’s what we do.  If its not, go home, it can wait.

    So – a fairly clear definition of roles, it kind of works.

    What is difficult though, is how to deal with a situation of a clearly defined job-description.

    (A)  is meeting it exactly, working 9-5, no stress, happy guy.

    (B)  however, is over-achieving, working all the hours god sends, helping out on other projects, other departments, etc.

    There are no current vacancies above this position, so no promotion path right now.

    Both are meeting their job description 100%.

    Both should be paid the same.

    Both should be treated the same.

    I believe (A) is more likely to stay with the company long term.

    No-one asked (B) to overachieve, but he may expect recognition for it.

    And can we be sure (B) will focus on the core work, which he was hired to do, instead of looking for promotion?

    Overall, I think most companies need a mix of (A) and (B).  

    I guess problems may arise when putting a (B) in an (A) position, and v-v.  

    Both situations need to be managed thoughtfully.

    Good pay helps but, generally, people stay where they are well treated and feel appreciated.

    I have been in IT so many years.  I tend to be a (B), I’ve been lucky & things have always worked out really well.

    I have however seen so many (A)/(B) situations go sour.

    (Especially for women, sorry to raise this one, but so many times I’ve seen a 9-5 woman in IT criticised,  but not the equivalent 9-5 guy across the desk from her.  

    But that’s another subject.)

    I  must stress, this is taken from my own limited point of view.  And although I have worked on most continents, 60% of my experience is here in the UK, not Silicon Valley.

    I do feel this subject is important, its profile needs raising, and all views need to be considered.

  30. Amadu B Ndoeka JR says:

    Thank you

  31. s says:

    I agree with v and also agree with steven but i disagree with what whogivesa_anon diasgreed about fadi agreeing to work 100 hrs…phew..actually i dont care coz i’m cant do coding.

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