Overworking in the Age of Technology

Silicon Valley would be wise to follow China’s lead:

These topics are absent in China’s technology companies, where the pace of work is furious. Here, top managers show up for work at about 8am and frequently don’t leave until 10pm. Most of them will do this six days a week — and there are plenty of examples of people who do this for seven. Engineers have slightly different habits: they will appear about 10am and leave at midnight. Beyond the week-long breaks for Chinese new year and the October national holiday, most will just steal an additional handful of vacation days. Some technology companies also provide a rental subsidy to employees who choose to live close to corporate HQ.

In California, this sort of pace might be common for the first couple of years of a company, but then it will slow. In China, by contrast, it is quite usual for the management of 10 and 15-year-old companies to have working dinners followed by two or three meetings. If a Chinese company schedules tasks for the weekend, nobody complains about missing a Little League game or skipping a basketball outing with friends. Little wonder it is a common sight at a Chinese company to see many people with their heads resting on their desks taking a nap in the early afternoon.

Fuck the editor who wrote the title of this article, and fuck Michael Moritz for writing the article.

Silicon Valley or anywhere else in the first world would be wise to not follow China’s lead. The whole (empty) promise of computers and the Internet was that we would be able to work remotely! And work more efficiently! Oh joy of joys!

It’s a cliché but it’s true: the goal is to work smarter, not longer. It’s also true that humans fill their work week to the allotted number of hours. If we worked four 8-hour days per week (32 hours) instead of five 8-hour weeks (40 hours) the vast majority of people at desk jobs would get just as much work done.

America would be wise to follow the lead of a country where tech companies installed safety nets to save people trying to commit suicide by jumping out of windows? This is a load of shit.

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