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Ambition does not equal blindness
In my 20's, I worked insane hours for a (rather low) salary. I was happy to have the job, but it nearly cost me my family. In retrospect, I was being taken advantage of. Now in my 40's, I'm not willing to do that any more. If a person is not willing to be used up, that's not lack of ambition, that's common sense (which sometimes takes a while to acquire). We should not agree to work extreme hours for a paltry base salary just because the carrot of future career opportunities is held in front of us. We should get what we're worth, and the only way to do that is to negotiate it up front. If the prospective employer is not offering a viable situation, we should, and in fact we have a responsibility to, walk away. That doesn't mean that we can waltz in and demand top dollar for little work. We should deliver equivalent to what we demand. We also need to be aware of the market, and realize that there are kids out of college who as yet do not have lives and are willing to work insane hours for nearly nothing. We older guys (and gals) have to show a better value by our experience. Maybe the kid does 15 hour days, but we might produce better code in less time because we know from what we've learned over the years.