I’ve seen developers put in long, grueling hours on a special project. Watched them burn the candle at both ends. Seen the exhausted look in their eyes after a stretch of 60 or 70 hour weeks. Then, when it’s all over and we talk, I’ll inevitably hear someone say “Well, I’m just happy to have my job.”
I always bristle at that comment. It rubs me the wrong way. I’ve worked for 3 different companies in my professional career. All three have experienced layoffs while I was there. All three have been through downturns, either in the global economy or in their respective industries. And yet, throughout all of that, I have never once heard a CEO, CFO, or any manager at a company say “I’m just happy we’re still in business.”
But apart from companies, when was the last time you heard a superstar, in any profession, say “I’m just happy to have my job”? Jeff Bezos? Mark Zuckerberg? Tom Brady? The answer is, none of them. Saying “I’m just happy to have my job” means you’re settling.
That doesn’t mean you have be an arrogant jerk and demand a raise or walk out. It just means don’t be a wimp. If you put in a lot of effort, and did a good job, don’t diminish your accomplishment with a fake humility.