If there is one thing that annoys me, it is the assumption that I reached my position in my organization because of favors, “kissing ass”, or via tokenism. It reminds me of when one of my hall mates during my freshman year in college inferred that I was somehow accepted to UCSB only because of affirmative action. If indeed I was given some advantage via those means I mentioned, so be it. However, having seen my father work multiple jobs simultaneously as far as I can remember, I came to believe that the world does not owe me anything. I came to believe one way I was going to be successful is through long hours of smart, hard work. I may not be the smartest person but I do pride myself in working those extra hours to get ahead, or in most cases, just to keep up with others who are smarter than I am. Maybe I’m just a “workaholic” with the sometimes 14 hour days or going to bed at 3 am just to wake up at 6:30 am to get ready for work. This is a routine that’s become normal for me since I started working professionally in 1996. For me, it’s just fun, learning about new ideas, new ways to program, or just thinking about random topics like the next generation student information system, 21st century leadership or social business.
I see discussions about work-life balance, or leaving the workplace at 5:30 pm. While I respect all perspectives regarding this topic, ultimately, we all have our own motivations that drive our choices and the amount of hours we work. Spending time with my wife is definitely a top priority for me and throughout the years, we’ve found arrangements that allowed us to spend time together by spending time during weekends and evenings. Working after she has gone to bed definitely helps. It helps that we both work for the same organization and we have the same schedule. The 1 hour daily commute together gives us time to talk.
I was once asked if my habit of working long hours and late nights is a “badge of honor”. I’ve never seen it that way. It’s not about me proving anything to anyone nor is it about competing against anyone else. What I can say however is that I do not think I would not be where I am now without those countless hours of working late nights. Certainly, I did not get to where I am now overnight, but it’s through working a lot of nights.