Silicon Valley's overwork culture

No pain, no gain.

This is the part I never understood. Promotions are often based on hours worked. You reward the person working 60+ hours a week with more responsibility. How on earth does anyone think they’ll manage more? Are they going to find another 10-20 hours a week to work to handle it? It’s no wonder there’s so much written about people being promoted past their point of competency. Yet high performers who work reasonable hours are seen as not dedicated enough to deserve promotion. Management thinks it’ll send the wrong message to not promote the person working the most hours.

I think this is why all departments need measurable goals. Any department that won’t do that is typically all about playing favorites vs performance.


This generally happens when management has no clue about the complexity of work.


So far my husband doesn’t seem to have a problem. He’s home most evenings and weekends. He does do a bit of work at home, but I don’t think it’s excessive.

I am not sure this is the case in most of SV companies.
SV culture is really result driven.
People don’t count or care how many hours you work or stay in the office.
They evaluate people based on the performance and competence.
When I evaluate people, I tend to give out more bonus to people with longer working hours (there are kinds of works which require many hours but not advanced knowledge or skill…) but less competence.
However, as for rating and promotion, it is strictly based on their knowledge, skills and competence meaning evaluating the person based on their potential contribution to the team in the future.

Longer hours usually translates into better performance. But if you are super intelligent and can accomplish 10 days of work in 1 hour, that’s even better! That’s the reason why some people are billionaires and some people are dirt poor… because they not only worked hard, they worked smart.

Rewards based on hours are for jobs like factory floors, cleaning, security guards…
For professionals, if you’ve to work overtime frequently, you’re inefficient, deserved to be at most a multi-millionaire, not a wuqijun’s billionaire.
For managers, if you’ve to stay in the office for more than 4 hours, not very efficient :sweat_smile:

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At some companies, it’s hard to leave at normal time when most people stay late. Startups often require you stay late implicitly.

Marissa told you that.

Generally at the top companies and startups, people work a lot. At the old dinosaur company, you can have work/life balance. But you could still work a lot more hours at Cisco San Jose than Boston.

I think the average hours and average stress level is much higher in SV. At many companies, it’s not enough to simply do your job. They expect you to work beyond your work, and sometimes your work is not defined at all, they just let the employees to compete against each other and pick the top and bottom.

Management says that hours is not a factor. But usually the guy who works the most hours are the most productive and the one who “greatly exceeds”.

Really hanera? Managers need to stay in the office for long long time! They need to sit beside the programmers and make sure that they are comfortable coding. They need to order dinner for them when they get hungry so they get to continue to code late into the night. So no, managers need to stay in the office for way more than 4 hours…

You can tell when most leave work based on traffic. 6-7pm is the worst.


Some managers work really long hours. They may not do much coding, but they spent 12 hours on meetings etc. maybe the intensity is not that high, but I would never accept that. It can still be stressful

I observed that many Indian managers work really really long hours, it’s almost around the clock. Some of the incompetent managers or employees work around the clock and only take a short sleep, and they do get promoted at some companies with long hours and very little impact. I’m not sure whether Silicon Valley overwork was caused by Indians

I head that many famous people sleep very little. Ttump, jobs, gates all sleep only 4 hours a day.

Is the average sleeping hour in India very low?

Not really… I had to work extremely long hours at Paypal (startup mode back in 2000). Pretty much overnight no sleep. There weren’t any Indians back then (ok, there was 1 but he hardly made an impact)…

China sleeps the most and Japan sleeps the least. Maybe Japan is very old and the old people sleep less

China recorded the most sleep, with more than nine hours of sleep, according to a 2011 OECD report. Could that have something to do with the highly-accepted practice of public sleeping?

Japan, on the other hand, gets the least, with seven hours and 14 minutes of shut-eye each weekday. Time spent sleeping has been steadily declining since the 1970s, according to the 2010 time use report — and Internet use has been on the up and up.

Singapore sleeps very little and the Netherlands sleeps a lot

Yes, an opinion piece…

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Long time back a manager once lamented to me about an engineer under him that worked long hours - “I can’t even assign him extra work when I need to”.

Manager was from Europe & employee was from one of those extra hard working countries. :slightly_smiling_face:

Employees should protest against overworked coworker and protest against the long hours encouraged by the company.

Overwork causes income inequality and also suppressed the employment rate. Many good people can’t get good jobs due to the small number of workaholics. It also causes huge healthcare and mental health cost.

Workaholism is a poison and it makes our work environment toxic and hostile. Fire the the extreme workaholics for the general well being of the whole population.

Also we should make workaholism as a disease just like alcoholism. Once confirmed by a psychologist, the workaholics should go through mandatory treatment to get rid of work addiction. Workaholic should be labled as politically incorrect, morally bad, irresponsible for human health, ignoring the basic human rights for rest and health preservation

There’s a reason tech comp is higher than other industries. If it paid the same as others, then who’d sign up for the long hours? It’s a choice people make.

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