If there was a proposal to make full-time a mandatory 80 hours a week I don’t think there’d be parades to celebrate the news or any cheers of joy in the streets.
While working more hours presents the opportunity to make more money, no one want’s to spend the majority of their time at their place of work for that long. Right?
How many times do you see memes about how woeful Mondays are or odes to the weekend? It’s popular culture to hate the modern workday at this point.
In fact, if you haven’t sought out the corporate world or a typical nine to five, it’s probably because you’re aware of how slow the money is or how you’d rather be spending your life doing what you actually love.
Overworking is exactly opposite of what people want. Yet, Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, and Neuralink, CEO, Elon Musk, is suggesting the opposite.
This past Monday (Nov 26th), the tech billionaire tweeted that people need to work for more than a mere 40 hours per week to “change the world.”
Varies per person, but about 80 sustained, peaking above 100 at times. Pain level increases exponentially above 80.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 26, 2018
As you can imagine 40 hours a week is already asking a lot; the sheer thought of fitting more sounds like a feat in itself. So when a Twitter follower asked about the number of hours one needs to work each week to “change the world,” his reply, ununderstandably, shocked many.
Over 80 hrs a week would sound unbelievable if Musk himself didn’t do it or have something to show for it, but he does.
In a November interview with Recode, Musk claims he was working 120 hours per week while “everyone” at Tesla worked 100 hours per week and to back up his claims, some Tesla employees confirmed working long hours to Business Insider and actually prefer it.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 26, 2018
So what are Elon and the good folks at Telsa doing that’s so different from everyone else? The answer is having a purpose. The thought of working 80-plus hours a week only sounds like murder when you’re not in your career or doing what you love.
If you told a basketball player had to play more ball, I doubt we’d hear a complaint about it. In fact, often times professional basketball players continue to play during the offseason if they truly want to be great. Similarly, if you told a starving young actor that they suddenly had shows trying to book them, no way they’d begrudgingly accept it — they’d relish the opportunity and capitalize if they really wanted it.
The goal is to do work that does not feel like work; when you think of it through that lens, Elon’s 80 hours a week statement goes from sounding like suicide to perfecting a jump shot.
Novelist Malcolm Gladwell kinda touched on this in his book in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success with a concept he calls the 10,000 rule. The premise was that you won’t truly come to master your craft until you’ve poured 10,000 plus hours into it. Although the theory has since been discredited, the original principal rings true: you’re the best at what you repetitively do, and that’s what Elon was getting at.
Most US workers work more than eight hours a day and are going in sick on top of that. In addition, people who work long hours are more likely to have a heart attack, suffer a stroke, and experience depression. I don’t think Elon was advocating to pick up shifts at your grocery store or working three jobs. Rather, he’s saying to find what you love and get lost in it.
In one calendar year alone, Elon trained an AI how to teach itself, published blueprints on how to merge human brain with AI, tested the first car elevator, reached the point that his company, Tesla, was producing more batteries than anyone in the world, invented a solar roof that happens to be more affordable than regular roofs & have “Infinity Warranty,” updated his plans on colonizing Mars, was approved to go ahead with plans to build 29-minute Hyperloop from NY to DC, and that doesn’t even cover everything.
Working a 120-hour week is equivalent to working 17 hours every day without any days off — I doubt you would want to do that in your day job.
If you cannot work 80 hours or have no desire to, then find what it is you truly love, make a plan and do that sh*t. Then you can “change the world,” as Elon says.