Work Hard – Or Don't

You don't have to work 15-hour days. But you can.

Hey friends,

Another hectic week – and by hectic, I mean wrapping up work at 2am hectic.

Whenever I work with international companies, especially those with both US and European (or Asian) teams, I end up working two shifts: with Europe/Asia in the morning, with the US in the evening (and possibly at night). This was my approach during my almost-decade of entrepreneurship, I did it as a product manager at Ubiquiti back in 2020, and I still do it today.

It just feels natural. And it always felt natural. If there's important work to be done, it needs to be done no matter what time of day it is. Is it a healthy work-life balance? Not really. It's not even a healthy work-work balance. But as long as the projects are exciting, challenging, important, and well-paid, that's what works best for me. If it's something I believe in, I don't care too much about working hours.

You probably shouldn't do it. It's not the best way to live a life for most people out there. But for some people, it is. I remember reading What I Miss About Working at Stripe by Brie Wolfson last year, seeing this quote, and thinking "that's EXACTLY how it feels – and why I'm doing it":

There’s no way around it: the culture was demanding. I spent many late nights working. I cried more than a few times after feeling like I let a user or a colleague down. My heart would beat out of my chest before heading into an exec review. There were many times that I had to grab a colleague for a calm-down lap around the office after we decided to yet again delay the launch I was sprinting towards to get that final pixel perfect. My imposter syndrome was through the roof. Once, my manager asked me to reconsider the vacation I had been planning because my team needed me. “If you go, who will cover your work?” I looked around at my colleagues who were also regularly working 15-hour days and decided to stay put. I’m proud of that choice. Call me masochistic, but I have to admit that it felt good to care about anything that much. And, to be around people who I know cared that much too.

The article was polarizing with commenters pointing out that this has red flags all over it, is normalizing workaholism, employee exploitation, and workplace toxicity, and what makes sense for the business owner doesn't always make sense for the employees unless there's profit sharing involved.

And I agree, this sounds like a terrible schedule and place to work at for most people. And we shouldn't normalize this. And you shouldn't be expected to do this. But if that sounds wonderful to you because you WANT to care about something that much, then go ahead and do it. Work hard! Or don't.

Have a great week ahead,


A few thoughts

The superpower of being the best at what you do. A good friend of mine is the best UI/UX designer I've ever known. Whenever we get a chance to work together, we end up accomplishing 100x what I would've accomplished with someone else. What's your superpower?

Flat cities. If Philadelphia is a tall city, Berlin is a flat city. It's my 5th day of staying in Berlin and I'm enjoying the flatness, walkability, and sprawl of it – the good kind of sprawl, not the suburban one.

Loved this

mAb therapy controls CNS-resident lyssavirus infection via a CD4 T cell-dependent mechanism "Rabies is a fatal viral disease of humans, with uniform mortality once central nervous system (CNS) invasion occurs and symptoms appear. This study demonstrates that a single-dose monoclonal (mAb) therapy can yield a functional cure for rabies, even after robust CNS replication."

A Message to Garcia "My heart goes out to the man who ... when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks will be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town, and village - in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly—the man who can carry a message to Garcia."

The fun part

Shared my egg and ham sandwich with this little fella a few days ago in a cafe here in Berlin. Wasps are misunderstood and I think they're cool. Generally, they don't care about you unless you actively try to kill them.

Next time you have a wasp trying to take a bite out of your food or a sip of your energy drink – let it! After all, sharing is caring.