Facebook Co-Founder Thinks You’re Stressed

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Dustin Moskovitz, who co-founded Facebook along with Mark Zuckerberg and a handful of others, has a new posting on Medium in which he suggests that the tech industry is burning out its best and brightest.

Moskovitz believes that if he’d slept and exercised more, eaten better, and drank water instead of energy elixirs, he might have been a more effective leader and employee earlier in his career. “I would have had fewer panic attacks, and acute health problems—like throwing out my back regularly in my early 20s,” he wrote. “I would have picked fewer petty fights with my peers in the organization, because I would have been generally more centered and self-reflective.”

Research shows that workers pushed beyond 40 to 50 hours per week aren’t radically more productive than those who stay beneath that limit, he added; instituting short bursts of “crunch time” is likewise counterproductive, as it forces employees to take additional time to recover.

So why are tech companies creating cultures in which workers routinely work insane hours? “It must be some combination of 1/ not knowing the research 2/ believing the research is somehow flawed or doesn’t apply to them (they’re wrong),” Moskovitz wrote, “or 3/ understanding that many people see these cultural artifacts as a signal about the intensity and passion of the team.”

He believes that a constant grind means most tech pros won’t live up to their potential, or at least will find themselves miserable at the height of their careers. “If you’re going to devote the best years of your life to work, do so intentionally,” he concluded. “You can do great things and live your life well. You can have it all, and science says you should.”

Convincing some tech companies to change their hard-charging culture, however, is another matter entirely. At least those tech pros who find themselves in those sorts of workplace situations can take some concrete steps to avoid burnout.

Image Credit: alphaspirit/Shutterstock.com

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2 Responses to “Facebook Co-Founder Thinks You’re Stressed”

September 19, 2015 at 8:40 am, Mick Marrs said:

The arcticle has summed up my experience as an IT worker. But i think it not as simple as tech vs non-tech. My friends that went into the trades, construction, manufacturing or oersonal services seem to be on the surface and willingly report they are happy and unstressed than those that went into office white collar jobs.

The mantra of tech workers, is always be learning, look over your shoulders while my non-tech and non- office friends never seem to give it a thought, they are too busy living their lives. They seem to work to live, while we live to work to make our bosses even more fabulously richer.

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September 28, 2015 at 12:16 pm, Shane said:

I tend to disagree with this article. Extended periods of concentration has given me the ability to focus for longer periods of time, like working out a muscle. 80+ hour weeks is not sustainable, but it certainly makes 40-60 hour weeks feel like a breeze. It’s all about progress. Stretch yourself a little bit every day.

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