This may be a controversial topic.
I like hustle culture. I like working a lot. I feel proud when I see that I put in more than the “40 hour minimum” each week. I like putting in the time needed to get things done.
There is a lot of talk these days about work life balance. It’s true, I don’t want to lose my family over working too much, but I also don’t want to lose my work over recreating too much. It’s a balance (I find myself using that word more and more as I get older…)
There have been a small handful of occasions at my company, Pipeline, when engineers have pulled all-nighters to meet critical deadlines. It’s not something I necessarily recommend; nevertheless, when that’s what is necessary for the project I am so proud of the engineers who step up and get it done. One of our governing principles at Pipeline is to manage by invitation, not compulsion. Team members are never compelled to do anything, so when they do something extraordinary like pulling an all-nighter, it’s because they choose to do it.
And I think that’s they key: choice. Again, balance is important, but let’s not vilify this beautiful culture of doing hard things even when it requires “extra time”, especially when it’s the choice of the individual to do so.
I understand not everyone feels this way. That’s fine. I just want to say that I respect people who go the extra mile to get stuff done, and that often requires spending more time. I often say that persistence beats brilliance. 99 times out of 100 it’s the persistent engineer that figures it out, not the brilliant engineer. And persistence takes time.
I used to have a younger engineer who would ask me how to accelerate his growth as an engineer. Here’s how: invest more than the minimum hours working and learning.
Long live hustle culture.