Excellent advice, but it’s not developers who need to read it, it’s the bosses. The 60+ hour week was already the standard when I first worked at Microsoft in 1989, and while they too talk about work-life balance it’s nothing but talk. A developer there has 20 hours a week of recurring meetings in addition to one-offs scheduled by ambitious coworkers seeking to enhance their “visibility.”

It only takes two 40 hour weeks before one is terminated. Because meeting time isn’t productive time. And impossible schedules are promised to management by program managers who rarely work more than six hours a day, because they (grin) like spending time with their kids.

I do practice the 40 hour week but I will no longer work anywhere but from home, having the seniority and the achievement record to credibly demand this. Everyone I knew at Microsoft has quit, most of them during Ballmer’s corrosive tenure. I had a nervous breakdown while working on Vista and when I announced my resignation a lot of my friendlier coworkers congratulated me because the schedule was killing me before their eyes. All the internal tools were broken, it was almost impossible to get anything done unless you were one of the favored who had kissed enough butts.

Nobody needs a union more than we do.

American Software Developer living in Vietnam. Classical musician (guitar, woodwinds), weightlifter, multilingual, misanthrope • XY

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