Its 7 P.M on a Friday and you are excited for the weekend! You are wrapping your work. Making those last commits and pushing your piece of code for the week. Making sure all your timesheets are completed and all the necessary mails have been fired to your co-workers. Reminiscing the movie nights, you are already planning a movie to watch with your family. Time has been allocated to play PUBG with friends. You feel you deserve this leisure time as it was a long week and you just wore out because of too much work!
This is one of the most frightening things one can experience 5 minutes before you hit the weekend. But the world is not a wish-granting factory! Thus, you do receive the call and your manager asks you to be a team player and work this weekend as there are some deadlines that HAVE TO BE FULFILLED. You do try to make an important family work out of thin air and try to dodge it but he/she is your manager for a reason!
So, like an ideal employee and in order to be a reliable team player, you suck it up and agree to work the following weekend.
Now, being a software developer myself, I have both experienced this and have witnessed my friends/colleagues being at the receiving end. One thing which is common on a working Sunday is bitching the hell out of the company and contemplating your career choices. Showering your manager with alluring cuss words and making sure to take revenge, apart from promising yourself this is the last time you bent!
Let’s be honest, utmost you can come up with a better errand to run while dodging out of weekend work the next time your manager calls in for a favor at 7:15 pm on a Friday night!
IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE…
Now that you hate working on weekends, before reading any further, I would request you to watch this video…please!
Imagine you are working as a software developer for the Indian Army. You are working on a piece of software that will help improve the efficiency of drones being used by our soldiers. Or imagine you are working on a website that will help the Indian Army to get donations from us (the citizens of India) – something like BharatKeVeer
Now consider the same situation we went through in the first half of the post. Your manager calls you on a Friday night at 7:15 PM to ask you to work the following weekend to fulfill the deadlines.
Now that’s your replying to your manager!
You were working as a software developer before, you are working as a software developer now. In both cases, you have deadlines and a manager. In both the cases it’s your weekend – rightfully yours – is being sacrificed. In both cases you are either working on a product or an app/website.
What changed is, the PURPOSE!
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.Friedrich Nietzsche
The thing is, when you know that your work adds meaning to others lives (donations reaching the families of martyred soldiers), when you know the importance of your work and how it can help avoid tragedies (in case of developing software for drones), you not only work on weekends, without asking for reimbursement, but you make sure that every line of code you write, is well researched/thorough and you produce work of the highest quality possible.
Working on a weekend, watching a movie, playing PUBG immediately becomes insignificant when you are developing software of the Indian Army, right?
That’s the thing with sense of purpose. Once you understand what your work means to others, what value you are adding, believe me, you won’t avoid working on weekends. Even so, you might voluntarily give up your weekends just to work for the Indian Armed Forces.
BUT NOT EVERYONE CAN WORK FOR THE INDIAN ARMY…
I agree. For this, I will leave you with a short story!
“A man came across three masons who were working at chipping chunks of granite from large blocks. The first seemed unhappy at his job, chipping away and frequently looking at his watch. When the man asked what it was that he was doing, the first mason responded, rather curtly, “I’m hammering this stupid rock, and I can’t wait ’til 5 when I can go home.”
”A second mason, seemingly more interested in his work, was hammering diligently and when asked what it was that he was doing, answered, “Well, I’m molding this block of rock so that it can be used with others to construct a wall. It’s not bad work, but I’ll sure be glad when it’s done.”
”A third mason was hammering at his block fervently, taking time to stand back and admire his work. He chipped off small pieces until he was satisfied that it was the best he could do. When he was questioned about his work he stopped, gazed skyward and proudly proclaimed, “I…am building a cathedral!”
“Three men, three different attitudes, all doing the same job.”