Finance and the Destruction of Human Capital
Do any of you ever sit back and think about how god damn inefficient the 70+ hour work week is? I do.
First off, the academic literature demonstrates that marginal productivity falls to roughly zero after around 50 hours a week of work, for the average person. So we are literally just wasting the next 20+ hours for no additional output.
Furthermore, the marginal cost of work increases each hour you work. And in my view, this is an exponential increase.
Going from 50 to 60 hours means you don't watch as much TV, or don't see your friends as often. Not a huge deal. Going from 60 to 70 means you now have hardly any free time. You may not even have time to work out regularly or see your friends. Going from 70 to 80 hours means you are now sleep deprived and have zero free time. I don't know anyone that works this much and is remotely happy (although I'm sure such psychos exist somewhere lol).
So to recap, we put up with HUGELY NEGATIVE differential utility working 70 hours rather than 50, and on average see no increase in work output. Seems optimal to me, lol.
Of course, I've seen many arguments that the long hours are simply unavoidable, but I think that's BS. In my view it is mostly a cultural thing, where some assholes agreed a long time ago that we should all work 70+ hours a week, and so we do.
From my experience in PE, I feel an associate could easily accomplish most of their weekly tasks in about 50 hours. Obviously there will still be the occasional 100-hour weeks when deals heat up, but I think it would be easy to get to a median week of 50 hours if a) people realized that 50 hours is the optimal amount of work to do for most people, and b) actually tried to make 50 hour weeks the norm. Whether that means hiring more people, being more thoughtful about which things are actually valuable enough to spend time on, or something else, I don't know. But we could figure this out, if we wanted to. Instead I'm sure we will keep on destroying human capital - hey, as long as it's not financial capital it's fine, right?