Caroline Fairchild, Senior News Editor at LinkedIn, shared this article by her friend Dan Lyons about the burgeoning culture of overwork in Silicon Valley, with her own questions for her readers about workplace expectations and hours worked.

It struck me as cognitive dissonance that in the nerve center of technology, which should be liberating us and giving us more time, there are bosses driving their workers back to subsistence farming workweeks. Plus, the article got me hating on the vocal jerks Mr. Lyons quoted about how amazing they are because they work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and never take vacation, and wouldn’t recognize their kids, and everyone else who doesn’t do what they do is a loser, blah blah blah…

I have nothing against people who want to spend every waking moment working – whatever floats your boat. But when you consider yourself superior to me because my values don’t match yours, and try to bully me because of it, then you’re just a jerk. And if you drive the people who work for you to live life by your values and not theirs, then you’re an unethical jerk to boot.

But mostly, the post and the article got me thinking about my career and my work schedules over the years. My career has been entirely in manufacturing, which has always and everywhere carried the “we work long hours” credo. And it’s not like I haven’t done my share – if the plant’s down, and you’re needed, you’re there until the job is done.

But that being said, my normal work routine is regular (sane) hours, weekends off, and taking every single day of vacation I’ve got. Because my personal priorities include family, health and fitness, professional success and outside interests (pretty much in that order), and I make appropriate time for them all. This despite the fact that I’ve had plenty of pressure put on me to work longer hours, or take more business trips, or make more sacrifices for bigger jobs and titles. (But never, ever from my dear wife. She reined me in from that awful path some years ago, and I thank her heartily for it.)

I keep the picture above on my desk. It’s my older son John and me at a Boy Scout camping trip less than a year and a half ago. It was one of my favorite outings, and I had a really great time with John and our friends. But it’s also become a reminder of how little time we have with our kids: in that picture John is still a boy, but this very short while later he’s truly becoming a young man. It’s a stark reminder of what’s important to me, and how if you miss some things, the opportunities are gone forever.

I’ll always count my blessings that I was there to sit at that campfire with John. I can’t think of a single business trip I feel that way about.