CEO's Advice to Young Workers: Years of 18-Hour Workdays

Suggestion by Bombay Shaving Co. chief Shantanu Deshpande isn't going over well
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2022 11:46 AM CDT

On the heels of stories about "quiet quitting"—a workplace trend in which employees are doing the bare minimum to keep their jobs—comes hand-wringing over one man's very opposite work mindset. It's that of the CEO of India's Bombay Shaving Company, who took to social media this week to opine on how much he thinks young employees should put into their careers. Turns out Shantanu Deshpande expects quite a lot from newbies, according to his Tuesday LinkedIn post, where he advises them to "throw yourself into" the job, to the tune of "18 hour days for at least 4-5 years."

"Worship your work," he writes. "Don't do random rona-dhona [crying]. Take it on the chin and be relentless." As for that much-coveted work-life balance, Deshpande notes that's something that is indeed important, "but not that early." The Hindustan Times reports on the instant backlash to his remarks, with detractors slamming Deshpande for promoting a "toxic work culture." "Would rather prefer working on my own start up for 18 hours everyday, than working for you," one person commented under Deshpande's LinkedIn post. "Are you seriously out of your mind," another posted. "This is not a good mindset."

The BBC notes that although India has strong labor laws, employees are sometimes pressured by higher-ups to put in more time on the clock. In 2020, LinkedIn's Workforce Confidence Index found that 2 in 5 working professionals in India reported feeling anxious and stressed out. Whether or not Deshpande's mind has changed on his work ethic advice isn't clear, but he did acknowledge the criticism in an update to his post. "Yikes. So much hate for 18 hour days," he wrote, adding his suggestion was simply "a proxy for 'giving your all and then some.'" He also invited anyone worried about his own employees at Bombay to come down to his workplace and check things out. (Read more workplace stories.)

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