Late Night Work

During my stint with McKinsey, whenever we did late nights (more like early mornings), it was rarely because the work per se was that heavy.

It was almost always because we did not create clarity sufficiently early in the day about what was to be accomplished. In a few cases, the team would get together at 9 pm to discuss ‘what we need to get done today.’ I sometimes used to wonder why we could not have had the same discussion at 9 am.

When it comes to late nights and creating artificial crises, investment banking is the king of all professions. It is more like the seniors rag the juniors, and when the latter get older, they repeat the hazing.

I believe in pushing hard. I believe in getting things done. But if you can’t get things done in 10-12 hrs of focused work, you won’t get it done in 16 hrs of zombie work.

To the youngsters joining the workforce: Anytime you are doing a 2 am or 4 am, I would urge you to question what necessitated it. 9 out of 10 times, it would be because of the implicit expectations in the workplace, someone’s vanity, or because everyone was clueless.

The reason nobody speaks up is that everybody is waiting for someone else to speak up first.

– Rajan

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