I remember a couple of songs from my childhood—Dolly Parton’s Nine To Five and Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel—that featured the idea of working from 9am to 5pm in their lyrics.
Entering the professional world of work was, therefore, something of a let-down for me: the nominal hours were always longer, and no one ever left on time.
However, now, for pretty much the first time in my life, I’m working in a job in which I get in around 9 and leave around 5:30 (plus or minus about 30 minutes day by day) and, well, it’s great.
But here’s the thing: I’m getting more done than ever before. Because I know that I can leave at a sensible time, I don’t need to fill in the hours looking busy. I am busy. And then I go home, and I still have a whole evening to do whatever I want.
The only thing I don’t understand is this: how did things get so bad that getting up, going to work, doing work, and going home become something that I feel is worth celebrating? Is the software industry especially bad, or is the toxic culture of presenteeism and conspicuous workaholism more widespread?
If I ran a company, I’d be sending my employees home on time every day. I’m sure it’s good for business.