How much work do we actually work?

Person working on a laptop at a desk
Photo by Christin Hume / Unsplash

This past two weeks I've been off work - yearly PTO and everything. In that time, doing some personal project, I've been contemplating about work - the things we have to do and the things we do enjoy. What better way to spend Christmas, right?

I was also listening to the Build For Tomorrow podcast's latest episode: What People of 1923 Predicted About 2023 - in there, Jason (the host), said the following:

I have mostly chosen what to do for a living, and I really enjoy it, which is a luxury. Maybe for people like me, work is a kind of luxury, a kind of leisure. (...)
I don't know, maybe if I tallied it all up, I'm doing four hours a day of work, work I don't want to do, of which there is plenty, believe me. And the rest of it, well, it's my version of luxury.

This got me thinking - I never thought about making a distinction between work I enjoy doing, and work I don't. To me, it was either work (thing I'm paid to do), or it wasn't (personal project at home, for example).

I highly recommend Jason Feifer's podcast, Built For Tomorrow. He also has a book out with the same title (currently on my reading list). For more info, check his website:

I'm incredibly lucky to be in a profession in which I enjoy working - I'm a software developer, and even when I'm not working, I'm either typing away on some idea (that usually never gets anywhere), or thinking about some problem I'm trying to solve in one of my various projects (to the dismay of my wonderful partner).

But until now, when looking at opportunities, I only evaluated them based on how @cassidoo suggests:

Money, Learning, People: the opportunity should have at least two

Which means that the best opportunity is where you earn good money, can learn new things, and are surrounded by amazing people.

It never really occurred to me to also think about the ratio of work I'd enjoy and work I wouldn't.

Perhaps it's time for me to add that to the list of things I weigh when deciding on staying at a company or going for another opportunity.

Because let's face it: it's important that we try to enjoy it to the best of our abilities. We spend a lot of hours doing work, after all.

I understand that I'm privileged - I have the option to even consider an opportunity based on how much of the work I'd enjoy doing versus how much of "work work" there would be.

Right now, current place - perhaps the scale is tipping in the wrong direction, which I now understand is the reason why I was thinking about these things this past two weeks.

So "new year, new me" I guess - let's start evaluating.