130 Hour Work Week… Say What?

By now you’ve all likely seen the article on businessinsider.com about how Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer worked 130 hours per week and why it matters. Before I dive into this topic let me just say, this all “utter bullshit”, and pisses me off.

The point of my post is not to minimize her success in any way shape or form, but to promote the fact that her success is directly related to her working 130 hours per week while pulling all-nighters is ridiculous. For those not numbers inclined, let me clarify what the numbers are. There are 168 hours in a week, which leaves only 38 hours, or 5.4 hours per day for other stuff. What about sleep? What about spending time with family? What about hobbies? What about travel? What about grocery shopping? What about childcare, or the many other things people do on a daily basis? Needless to say, Marissa Mayer was/is a walking time bomb. Aside from the fact that I don’t believe anything she says, including her working 130 hours, this kind of lifestyle is unsustainable — for her personal health and her overall productivity, and people are morons if they believer her. Then again, if the craziness of Donald Trump’s popularity in the United States is any indication, anything is possible.

There has been more and more research in recent years dedicated to this topic (first article and second article as a starting point), and while I am not going to cite every credible source, it’s not rocket science that working too much on a continuous basis is bad for your personal health and overall productivity. Sorry, but the “butt in chair” optic is a farce and I would like to believe that most people know this.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I love working, but I also know my limits. I know that point where I am no longer productive, and am actually doing myself a disservice by continuing to work after reaching my limit. Of course everyone is different but a lack of balance is extremely dangerous. Maybe Marissa Mayer just happens to have a very VERY strong ability to work a ridiculous number of hours without her productivity suffering. I beg to differ — the research and evidence supports the opposite, but to leave just 38 hours to everything else in life except work is a tad absurd. Even more dangerous is the assertion that her over-work is directly connected to her success at Google and Yahoo is even more absurd. It takes many people working together to achieve what the likes of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft and many other successful and large companies have achieved. It’s not the act of one person alone and it never will be.

I value many things in life such as my family, my personal health, my hobbies, my personal growth and learning, and the list goes on. Of course Marissa Mayer has a much larger audience than I do, and for her to say the things she did is extremely irresponsible. The worst part about this whole thing is the fact that many people probably believe her and will attempt to follow her lead. I remain cautiously optimistic that this will not be the case.

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