Read this at 11:15 pm, right before you leave the office.

Advertising is notorious for keeping crazy hours. People work until 10. On Saturdays and Sundays. In some places, that’s just the culture. And it kind of makes sense, because logically, the more time you spend thinking about a project, the more ideas you’ll have, and the more refined and amazing they’ll be.

That’s how it works on paper, anyway.

But here’s an argument that’s also worth considering: In advertising we pride ourselves on the ability to draw from our own experiences to create really insightful, moving advertising. But by spending more of our time in the office under halogen lamps, the fewer real experiences we’re going to have, and the more our work may suffer.

Again, that’s theory. But it’s an argument we don’t really allow ourselves to hear in this industry.

I’m not saying don’t work late. Work the hours that work for you, if you can. And know that when you’re pitching an account, late hours are a given.

But beware of places where the culture is “work until nine, or you’re slacking.” Don’t avoid them. But beware of them. And no matter where you end up, when you start burning the midnight oil, ask yourselves if it’s really to make your ads better, or because you want the people in the cubes next to you to think you’re a hard worker.

Great creative is a badge of honor. But staying late shouldn’t be.