Just a Spoon Full of Sugar Makes the Medicine go Down

May 3, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

One thing I have noticed while chatting with people is the amount of times I get asked

“How many hours a week do you work?”

I think I get asked this since I work at a start-up (Facebook) and when I talk on the phone I am usually at work. That was a weird question for me to answer since I never count my time in hours. An epiphany came to me as more people began asking this question

“People who really like what they are doing never look at the time and don’t measure what they do in hours.”

Intel Time:
It made me recall times at Intel when I would count from 2:00pm to 2:15pm and keep on browsing the web hoping the day would go faster.

Facebook Time:
At Facebook most days are like, “Shit I had no idea its 6pm and I have 100 more things to do today.”

I am not saying I don’t look at the time to see if I have a meeting or not but I am just posing how people who enjoy what they do don’t count their weeks in hours. What does the title have to do with all this?

1-    I thought it was cool after I remembered Mary Poppins last week.
2-    When you are really enjoying your job you don’t worry about how many hours it takes just about what you get accomplished.

What are you counting?

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9 responses to “Just a Spoon Full of Sugar Makes the Medicine go Down

  1. Shivani Reply

    I count my hours for two reasons:
    1) My company makes me: counting my hours = a more accurate budget and more efficiency
    2) The hours I spend at work takes away from the hours I spend doing other things that are fun. It’s okay to love your job, but there’s gotta be something else that you enjoy doing that you haven’t been able to do since you started putting in the hours at Facebook.

    In general though, I don’t like to count my hours, I usually count how many things I get done in one day and see if I accomplished every thing I wanted to do in that day.

  2. Anonymous Reply

    I think Shivani is right. People struggle with balance EVERYDAY. Any day at work or at play, balance is the key. Without balance there will ALWAYS be things that get sacrificed when one is not balanced with the other…Have you noticed that one friend, that one place, or even relatives you haven’t seen in a while that meant a lot to you at one time or another?

  3. Nick Reply

    Sounds like a fun place to work but If you screw up it’s not just your boss yelling at you, it’s millions of college students.

  4. joe Reply

    the fact that the girlfriend comment was “anonymous” makes me think she’s the one who made it. hmmm?
    otherwise, i agree with shivani. get a hobby.

  5. anonymous Reply

    This is a great topic. I wanted to comment on Anonymous’s notes.

    >Have you noticed that one friend, that one place, or even relatives you haven’t seen in a while that meant a lot to you at one time or another?

    It really depends about how important these people are to you. I know people that work about 6 hours an average per day, and still don’t think about these things because they watch TV all day. Its arguable that these people don’t have balance either. The point is, when talking about work hours; its not about balance. Its about health and whether you enjoy what you are doing. Nobody has a balanced life. Joe works 8 hours a day and plays sports for 6 hours a day. Why don’t people get mad at him for not having a balanced life?

    To me, I think the notion of work/life balance is a big pile of bullcrap. I know this one kid who tries his hardest to work 8 hours a day, because its “cool” to feel like he has a work-life balance. But what the fuck? This kid is 100% stressed out at work, can’t respond to any personal email, totally oblivious to the world outside, and many times needs to drink after work. Is this a work-life balance? I can almost guarentee you if this kid spent an hour or more at work everyday, he wouldn’t be stressed. Now does the fact that this person works a few hours less than me a day mean he has a work/life balance? Absolutely not, he needs about 2-3 more hours of recharging than I do, and he’s a lot less healthier.

    I hate the term work/life balance, so i refrain from using it. The way that I assess whether the amount of time people spend at work is acceptable is whether you are having fun and not constantly stressed. Simply put, if you enjoy what you are doing and look forward to it, its all good.

    I think people just get jealous of others that like their job. Just becuase I work 12 hours a day and make $120k; it doesn’t mean I’m not happy. Sure, maybe you can’t do it. But I’m not you. But you can’t assume that I don’t have a “work/life balance” because I’m probably enjoying life more than you.

    So in the end, if you are complaining about people that don’t have a work/life balance. You might ask the question; are you jealous of them?

  6. Anonymous Reply

    Joe, I sense a little hostility against a particular girlfriend. Its not about that, its about the principle of BALANCE, in whatever and whomever you do…Yes, a hobby might be good, but more than that, what would more “projects/hobbies” do? What about working on what is current/present, is it worth it? Can you dig it?

  7. joe Reply

    no, no hostility, just a little merciless teasing. my acquaintance is with noah alone and so my jabs are aimed in his direction. apologies to any other offended parties but no promises to curb my humor.
    in regards to your comments on balance, i can definitely dig it. you make good points and describe them much better than i could; this is why i leave these discussion to other, more articulate, people such as yourself.

  8. Anonymous Reply

    RE: Joe’s comments:
    Joe, everyday people are left with decisions and choices. No one, including I, condem them for these choices/decisions, the point I was trying to make is that everyday could be a better day if people prioritzed things in a balanced way. No one, no thing, no person, is at a loss or a gain but the person executing the balance. Of course it is a challenge, and of course no one is perfect, but to say you like one thing and spend all your time on that one thing, in my opinion doesn’t make anyone one person better than the other. Thus bringing me to the jealousy comment. I would be EXTREMELEY jealous and even to the point of admiration to see a person or people have passion in what they do, while still maintaining a life outside of one part of their life, whether it is work, play, or anything else. No one assumed or complained about anything other than you pointing out the obvious…People being measured by their money, their job, and extrinsic factors that at the end of the day, do those things really fulfill YOU and make YOU happy. If they do so be it, your choice…People need to lighten up, be happy, and live a little…Peace…