What’s Wrong With A 21 Hour Workday Tim Ferriss?

With everyone getting on the 4 Hour Workweek bandwagon, I thought it would only be fair to support the other side of the equation.  It would be insane to regularly work almost three shifts in a day. But when you know what hits the fan, you have to answer the call as an employee.

What Didn’t Go Wrong?

On paper, it sounded like a very simple project.  Add two new wireless access points to our existing wireless network and configure it so that the new office along with our existing campus would act as one big network.  Unfortunately since the access points were the latest and greatest hardware, our wireless system controllers needed to go through several rounds of software updates. Right off the bat, the updates took longer than anticipated so we could not upgrade to the level that we needed.  But we did get to a level that supported the new access points so we pushed on with the project.

Calls started coming in reporting a bunch of wireless phones were broken.  After working with tech support for a few hours, it seems a setting that was loosely enforced was now being strictly enforced effectively knocking out any new devices added to our system from the past few months.  After weighing our options, we disabled the feature to get things back to normal.

Since we got production back online, we refocused on getting the new office networked.  After 12 hours of chasing the sun support from India to the US to Asia and Europe, the software we ended up on had a bug that prohibits creating a wireless bridge.  We upgraded one more time the next morning and finally finished the project.  Many of us are trying to escape the rat race and live a 4 Hour Workweek lifestyle.  I hope to get there myself. But until then, this crisis reminded me of the good things that can come out of a 9 to 5 job.

Intense Crash Course

This may be specific to my situation. But because my network engineer was out from surgery. I had an intense crash course on wireless networking because this would normally fall under his watch.  I would hear about the big picture, but nothing compares with driving the project itself. Talk about forced out of my comfort zone!

Force To Take Charge

In a similar vein, since my network engineer was unavailable and the entire company was relying on me, I had no choice but to take charge where I normally would defer to a more senior or skilled teammate.  I now know my skills, experience, and instincts would guide me through even though networking is not my forte.

Patience Is King

I lost track of how many times my tech support engineer thanked me for being so patient throughout the ordeal.  They seemed to go the extra mile, few hours over their normal shift as they heard I was still humming along many hours over my shift. Ironically, the fatigue and my years of going through countless IT scenarios calmed me and my patience never wavered.


Everyone from junior engineers to my department director pitched in where they could.  My manager and director stayed till the end with me.  Even though I did the heavy lifting, because they were in the trenches with me, my morale and energy got a boost so I kept going until a solution was found.

Upper Management Recognition

Finally, for the most part, I like to stay in the background.  Odd since there are times when I crave the spotlight and am a bit of a drama queen.  In this case, my director let it be known to the bigwigs that I was one of the main drivers on this project and had worked a 21 hour shift.  Many people in upper management chimed in with notes of gratitude.

Final Thoughts

Like I said before, escaping the 9 to 5 rat race is a dream for many.  But until you get there, don’t forget your situation working for the man is not all bad.  You have intense structured learning opportunities, camaraderie, and a chance to be recognized by your peers and management.  Can Tim Ferriss and the 4 Hour Workweek give you that?

Stay Inspired!

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18 Responses

  1. Rita P says:

    Great job Buck and this incident really inspired me. Yes there are times which requires you to slog and get the task completed. 21 hours of non stop work, that is incredible

  2. Arlee Bird says:

    A four hour work week sounds good in theory. I enjoy my own time. Ideally I would not be working for someone else and be well compensated with benefits.

  3. krantcents says:

    I have always said that you should find a career that you would enjoy working 20 hours a day. If you like what you are doing, it is not work.

  4. Squirrelers says:

    Sometimes we just have to buckle down and put in the time. I’ve had some days where I’ve stayed in the office well past midnight. As in, 16+ hour days.

    If it was work I truly loved, it would be okay. It wasn’t, so I didn’t enjoy it. But for income, sometimes you just have to put forth the intense work. When it’s recognized, and you build goodwill, it can have some redeeming value at least!

  5. When I was in the US Air Force, you worked when you were told to. 24 hour shift? No big deal. I was also single and a lot younger.

    I then went to college and earned my mechanical engineering degree. In my job, there were always deadlines to meet and slow computers. Back in the day when our main computer was a VAX 11-750, there was a sleeping cot in the back room so we could be there when our analysis runs finished finished in the middle of the night. We would check the results, submit the next batch run, and perhaps go home. We would work on other models or reports while the VAX was crunching numbers. With faster computers, the models have also grown larger, so things are pretty much the same. Although with the advent of the internet and VPN, we can at least go home and log in remotely, as well as get a text message when our batch jobs have finished.

    I’m not typically feeling the stress you had with a lot of wireless users counting on you, but > 16 hour days no matter how they come about can be taxing.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      You are totally right. With today’s technology and remote access capability, you don’t even have to go into work anymore. What an adventure you went through in the Air Force. Are you amazed at how far we’ve come?

  6. Martin says:

    The problem with Tim is that he considers anything he remotely enjoys as non-work. That’s like me writing all day and saying I didn’t work all day.

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