Dear Someone Else’s Dad,
People I work with boast about how many hours they work. It has become a competition to see who is working hardest. I feel like a total slacker because I go home at night. How should I deal with this?
Scene: Office, late night.
Worker A: Oh, man I was at my desk until two in the morning and back again at seven.
Worker B Two? I was at my desk the entire night and didn’t even have dinner.
Worker C: No dinner? I was at the LA office till nine, rushed to the airport to catch a red-eye, worked on the plane all night, and by the time I came straight to the office, I realized the only thing I’d eaten in 48 hours was one small bag of stale airline peanuts.
Worker D: A whole bag of peanuts? I slept under my desk every night for nine days, eating only the crumbs that my old officemate dropped on the carpet before he quit his job a couple of months ago.
Workers A, B & C: “Wow!” “Amazing!” “Great job!” “You’re going places, buddy!”
Martyrs don’t impress me. In fact, some bosses might question why you needed to spend all night doing work that someone else—you, for instance-- might have completed in a few hours.
You don’t have to shy away from long hours and hard work. Everyone should enjoy something they’re doing so much that they get fully absorbed in it. But my advice: Do your work, do it well, and don’t brag about it.