On many interviews these days and with many companies when interviewing you might hear “this is not a 9 to 5 job” or “expect late nights”. It seems that in our industry the concept of a 9 to 5 job is scarce but is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Some would argue that if you love what you do then why count the hours that you work and leave when the work is done but is the 9 to 5 developer something to stride for or something that we should avoid?
Programmers generally work better when working for eight hours without interruption than with 12 hours or 14 hours.
I remember many times when I wanted to stay up 20 straight hours and finish an application and then have nothing to do the rest of the day. This task is easier than it sounds, usually around the 12th or 13th hour you meet what I like to call the wall. You find yourself hitting your head against it trying to find answers and coming up empty. That’s why if I have to work 12 hours in one day, I usually work 6 – 8 hours during the day and take a break and then work the rest of the hours at night after I have some time to relax.
A good work/life balance is important to our health and well being.
All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. In addition to working you need to compliment your life with experiences and memories. What fun is life if your always sitting behind a computer screen?
Setting the bar for a 60 hour work week can yield an 80 or 100 hour work week.
If a position right off the bat defines a working schedule at 60 hours per week on a steady basis when its crunch time you may have to work 80 or 100 hours just to hit your mark. If the bar is set at 40 hours then during crunch time working 60 hours per week would be realistic.
Some programmers finish tasks a lot faster than others.
I am a firm believer that we should judge performance based upon work output and quality of work rather than the number of hours someone puts in. A good programmer will know right off the bat the steps needed to complete a feature and can estimate the number of hours a feature will take to implement based upon the steps he or she has to take. An inexperienced programmer will not know all these steps and have to do a bit of research to get to the finish line.
What’s your take on the 9 to 5 programmer? Do you have any programmers within your company who work 9 to 5? How do you feel about them?
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