20 March 2015

The Badge of Stupidity

I see a couple people like you every month. You live in SF and work in Tech. You seem to think that working yourself to death is a Badge of Honor. It's not. It's a Badge of Stupidity. 
The above was what my Dr told me after I'd been diagnosed with pneumonia two weeks ago.

I can't ignore it anymore. We have a problem in this industry and we need to talk about it.

My Dr is right. Putting your health at risk for your job isn't something to be proud of. It's not something to boast about. It's fucking stupid. Pure and simple. And we need to stop doing it.
Look back at the last year of your life. How many weeks were you able to put in 40 hours of really productive and efficient work? How many weeks were you not able to do so because you were sick or burned out or exhausted or stretched too thin? And how many hours a week of work time did you average?
She also asked me to consider the above set of questions.
So I did.
And if I'm honest... in the last year I've probably averaged between 50 and 60 hours of work time a week - and I'm probably at less than 30 hours of productive and effective work per week on average.

That's... fucked.

I'm putting my health at risk - and the end result is that I'm less productive and effective in my job. If I were to only work 40 hours a week I'd probably be more productive - and I'd clearly be healthier.
I'll make you a deal. You can either promise me that you will stay at home and not work until the following symptoms are completely cleared up - or I can admit you to the hospital right now.
This was my wake up call.
I made the right choice.

The pneumonia has cleared up and I'm symptom free. But I'm not going to forget this.

I know I'm going to get peer pressure to act in unhealthy ways. But I'm going to do everything I can to resist it. It's not healthy, it's not good for me OR for my employer.

It's fucking stupid. I don't want to wear the Badge of Stupidity anymore.
Do you want your headstone to read "he was always the last to leave the office"?


2 Comments:

At 10:10 AM, Blogger jayhawk4442 said...

Chris - I couldn't have said it better. One of my best friends died at 40 while working for a big company in Kansas City. Two weeks later they changed his door name plate, brought in a new admin. and life went on for the company. His 7 year old twin's were left dealing with a dad that worked himself to death.

Check out the Lyrics to a the song "Scare Away The Dark" by passenger!

Great article!
Gary

 
At 10:30 AM, Blogger chris said...

FWIW, the best two pieces of advice I've been given in regards to this topic are:

1 - Stop working when you're no longer effective.
2 - Measure and value yourself on Impact not Hours Worked.

 

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