If you’re doing what you’re told to do, they are paying you too much. New thing you’re excited about or familiar thing you’re good at? Doing things that are new keeps you energized and interested. Doing things that are new ensures that you’ll still have a job after your current activities become routine or passé. Doing things that are new gives you the chance to accomplish more than you expect of yourself. But doing things you’re already good at ensures you accomplish goals other people care about.
Geek joy ratio for creative types is probably skewed a bit higher, 20-40% seems like a good estimate.
There are some people that literally cannot sit still at their job and need to do work that they find interesting or they get super depressed
I love this. I am a huge proponent of continuous improvement. It keeps me fresh and constantly wanting more, otherwise I just get bored. A few weeks ago I started learning about test-driven development in .NET. Even though I don't use it every day, knowing something like TDD in the context of .NET has helped me contribute more to conversations with my peers at work.
Learn, learn, learn! Even if you don't think you'll use it every day, there's always something useful with every tool you add to the toolbelt.
How do you feel about the "80/20" work ratio that some companies talk about? Providing "20%" paid time to "work on any project you want". Do you think that basically comes down to the 15/5 that you're advocating, even if they don't call it that?
I love the intent behind this schedule. You ended with a framing in a 40-hour work week though. Would you say the same ratio applies to a 32-hour work week? I think it’s certainly possible that as time goes on, the prevalence of such work weeks will become higher.
If you are a professional software developer and only work 40 hours a week, you are not going to do very well in that career. And if you only spend 2 hours a week "satisfying your curiosity" you are doomed.