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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Deadline came and went yesterday. I put in 12 hours on Monday, 14 on Tuesday, 15 on Wednesday, and 8 on Thursday. That puts my grand total at 132 for the 11 straight days. I’ll admit that I didn’t see how we could possibly fit all the remaining work on the product into those 11 days, but I wasn’t going to be the one not putting in the time so I death sprinted along. Going into the sprint, I had met all my previous deadlines.

Sadly, it had a profound effect on my family. My wife sheltered me from it so that I wouldn’t have additional stress, but she told me about it last night. My daughters, nearly two, would cry for me at bedtime, would cry whenever they had to leave the house because they wanted to be there when daddy came home, and then cried when they came home because they thought they were leaving the house to go see daddy. This caused inordinate stress on my wife. My youngest daughter, 5 months old, picked up on the stress because my wife is practically her entire world and started taking 15- and 45-minute naps during the day instead of the one to three hour naps babies of her age require.

When I heard all of that, which I had had no inkling of during the crunch time, I was crestfallen. It was certainly not what I would have wished. My family is everything to me and I put them through hell to meet a deadline that couldn’t be attained. That sucks.

Based on that, I’m revising my position on crunch time. No longer does crunch time mean “work as much as humanly possible.” It now means, for me at least, 60 hours a week tops. I just can’t put my family through this again and 60 hour work weeks should be enough to get anything done. (I definitely noticed a considerable drop in productivity these last couple of days. Yesterday, I had trouble writing checks to pay the bills; I must apologize to the check processors who will have to make out my intentions amidst all the crossings-out and initialling.) I can work 60 hours in a week without significant disruptions to my daughters’ cherished routines and I can certainly live without 6 hours of sleep a night.

The good news is that we did make a whole lot of progress towards completion, so it was worth it on the work front. Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot more fronts on which it wasn’t.