Tuesday, March 6, 2007

What would it take to motivate you to work overtime?

[This was originally posted at http://timstall.dotnetdevelopersjournal.com/what_would_it_take_to_motivate_you_to_work_overtime.htm]

Exploring an interesting technical concept after hours, it made me wonder: What would it take to motivate you to work overtime?

Some ideas:

  • Personal Enjoyment - You fundamentally enjoy what you're doing. With many developers (like myself) I find this to be the case. If you enjoy researching a new technology or writing a challenging tool, then that's motivating enough.
  • The job needs to be done, and you need a job. I saw this a lot in consulting, especially during the recession a few years back. Sometimes the only way to stay employed is with long hours.
  • You're on a roll. You may not totally enjoy what you're doing, but things are just working and you can get a lot more done right now then tomorrow morning, so why stop.
  • Knowing that you'll make up for it later - perhaps you'll get something ugly out of the way now so that your hours later will be easier.
  • Financial reward - bonus or overtime pay. This seems the normal in traditional business, and is also somewhat sad, especially if you don't like what you're doing.
  • Peer pressure - I saw this a lot in some consulting gigs; where 70-hour weeks were a badge of honor. This is really sad.

I'm glad to say that at our software development department in Paylocity, it mostly seems people work overtime for the first and sometimes the second and third reason. (If you're interested in working for a great company, check out our careers here.)

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