The 70 Hour Work Week & Moonlighting

Rajneesh Mittal

12/17/20232 min read

NRN sir recently doubled down on his Indian productivity take. First up, for whatever it' is worth, I fully agree with NRN sir's assessment. In a regular 9 hr day, vast majority of employees probably do 6-7 hours of productive work. I start with me. In the second half of my corporate career, I have often found myself max 80% busy. It’s a tough ask for my employers to get me to 120% stretch (Details reserved for some other day). I have experienced young fresh out of college grads telling me that they are not available on weekends as they want work-life balance. And some will start work late ‘coz last evening they took a call outside office hours. Folks who are well established in corporate ways might not have any strong incentive to cross 30-35 hours. Obviously there are ones – in minority - who put in the hard yards and take their enterprises or communities to next level.

I also wonder if our current work environment setup at large can really push us to those limits? Unless you are like NRN and his set of co-founders, someone who is strongly motivated to do “something”, it’s very difficult for junta at large. How much you will slog, on a consistent basis, on 1-2 projects that you are doing? And then for what incentive? A 10-12% increment if macro tailwinds are around? Or few ESOPs. 80% of the cases, it just doesn’t add up.

That’s where I would like to merge this subject with another thread of moonlighting. Again, for whatever it is worth, I vehemently disagree with initial proposition made on this subject that moonlighting is outright dishonesty. Unless you have 80% stake in a company and you just can’t afford anything else on your mind, everyone has (to have) a side hustle - big or small. Come to think of it, moonlighting can actually give your workers a new challenge which can keep them fresh, break the monotone of office. They might put in extra 4-5 hours for a quick side earning and sharpen their skills. And bring those sharpened axes to regular office too. Moonlighting is probably a very good way to bump up country’s productivity. Just imagine the kick GDP can get if 5 million+ employees in Indian IT industry moonlight for just 1 HOUR a day, if not 4-5.