Author Topic: If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week?  (Read 2736 times)


FIREby35

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 531
Re: If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2018, 07:33:25 PM »
Thanks for sharing!

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2997
Re: If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2018, 07:48:08 PM »
I'm going to quote one particular paragraph that I recognized a little too much of myself in. Thanks for posting this!

Quote
A professional’s insecurity is rooted in the inherent intangibility of knowledge work. How do you convince your client that you know something worthwhile and justify the high fees you charge? The insecurity caused by this intangibility is exacerbated by the rigorous “up or out” promotion system perpetuated by elite professional organizations, which turns your colleagues into your competitors. How do you convince your boss that you’re worth more than your closest colleague? There is no chance for a professional to rest on their laurels — or even to rest.

FIREby35

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 531
Re: If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2018, 06:46:04 AM »
I know that battling back that insecurity is what allowed me to leave a big law firm. And then, once I had my own firm rolling, the idea that I could have a team of people working and only work 30-40 hours personally and have "everything be ok" was a big mental hurdle. If I wasn't working 60-70 hours like I did for the first 5 years it took me to build my practice I felt a nagging insecurity that "I wasn't doing enough" and "it could all end tomorrow!"

I have worked hard to get past that, but it is definitely an ongoing battle. So, I'm with you Maizeman, sometimes it was hitting very close to home!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2018, 06:47:42 AM by FIREby35 »

canuckiwi

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: British Columbia
Re: If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2018, 12:40:52 PM »
Having worked for a megacorp professional organisation, this article rings true.  Unlike trades or healthcare work where your competence and skills are visible and easy to asess, knowledge work is all just typing into a computer and sending emails. Thus the easiest way to show your worth to the organisation (and get a promotion) is to work long hours.

It also means that the company doesn't know what to do with employees who don't work long hours. Often the company would rather fire you than take the time to figure out what the best professional advancement path would be.

Highly paid, insecure, senior executives could be what drives the luxury car/ watch/ house market?  Maybe well paid, insecure, worker purchases are what keeps the economy running?

okits

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7672
  • Location: Canada
Re: If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2018, 12:04:33 AM »
Good read.  In various ways I think I have been asking myself a form of this for a while:

Quote
Your insecurities may have helped to get you where you are today, but are they still working for you? Is it time to acknowledge that you have “made it” and to start enjoying the experience a little bit more?

A job that exacerbated and exploited my insecurities?  Accurate descriptor.

TartanTallulah

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 515
  • Location: The Middle of Scenic Nowhere
Re: If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week?
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2018, 12:41:47 AM »
Ouch! Very true. And then, having got into a nominal leadership position (my profession is so homogenised and regulated that genuine leadership is impossible), instead of being able to relax I feel obliged to lead by example and work my socks off to show my less industrious colleagues what commitment to clients really looks like.

actionjackson

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 103
Re: If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week?
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2018, 10:39:04 PM »
I've worked in the US, Europe, and in Australia.

My experience in the US was that not actually a lot of work happened. The organisations I was around spent so much time on conference calls - there seemed to be at least 2 conference calls I was on a day, which are inefficient already, and you would have a dozen people on them where maybe only 3 people talked. It seemed the primary reason for this was because people just didn't read their e-mails. So you couldn't have a meeting of 3 decision makers and then feed that back to a dozen others, everyone had to be on the line for the call.

It was a lot of busy doing nothing. There was a lot of being in the office to be seen. It's 'Parkinson's Law'.

AZDude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1298
Re: If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2018, 12:57:37 PM »
I've worked in the US, Europe, and in Australia.

My experience in the US was that not actually a lot of work happened. The organisations I was around spent so much time on conference calls - there seemed to be at least 2 conference calls I was on a day, which are inefficient already, and you would have a dozen people on them where maybe only 3 people talked. It seemed the primary reason for this was because people just didn't read their e-mails. So you couldn't have a meeting of 3 decision makers and then feed that back to a dozen others, everyone had to be on the line for the call.

It was a lot of busy doing nothing. There was a lot of being in the office to be seen. It's 'Parkinson's Law'.

Yep. This describes every corporation I have worked for. The crazy thing is that they are always pushing for more production, but when I would suggest less meetings and more work time, the idea would shot down by the very same people working 70 hours a week. In the same week my manager threatened to cancel my vacation time because more work needed to get done, we spent almost an hour listening to some woman talk about her stuffed cat collection in a meeting.

The only way to survive was to work during meetings, even when my manager threatened to fire anyway caught working during the meeting(also threatened to fire anyone not getting enough work done... so...). It got to the point where a meeting with a large group of people was my most productive time of the day. No one was bothering me because they were all in the meeting.

Travis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2240
  • Location: Arizona
Re: If You're So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours A Week?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2018, 09:10:34 PM »
I've worked in the US, Europe, and in Australia.

My experience in the US was that not actually a lot of work happened. The organisations I was around spent so much time on conference calls - there seemed to be at least 2 conference calls I was on a day, which are inefficient already, and you would have a dozen people on them where maybe only 3 people talked. It seemed the primary reason for this was because people just didn't read their e-mails. So you couldn't have a meeting of 3 decision makers and then feed that back to a dozen others, everyone had to be on the line for the call.

It was a lot of busy doing nothing. There was a lot of being in the office to be seen. It's 'Parkinson's Law'.

Yep. This describes every corporation I have worked for. The crazy thing is that they are always pushing for more production, but when I would suggest less meetings and more work time, the idea would shot down by the very same people working 70 hours a week. In the same week my manager threatened to cancel my vacation time because more work needed to get done, we spent almost an hour listening to some woman talk about her stuffed cat collection in a meeting.

The only way to survive was to work during meetings, even when my manager threatened to fire anyway caught working during the meeting(also threatened to fire anyone not getting enough work done... so...). It got to the point where a meeting with a large group of people was my most productive time of the day. No one was bothering me because they were all in the meeting.

In my organization there simply isn't enough time to do everything in the course of a normal week.  Prioritization is mandated and is underwritten by leadership.  There are still mandatory things that have to be done though.  Because of this requirement, bringing your laptop to a 3 hour meeting and doing other work when it isn't your turn to talk is par for course.  We also have a mandate that meetings will only happen on Mondays and Fridays.  It means you could be in the conference room for several hours, but the middle of the week is yours to get real things done. 

I needed to add more information to be presented during our Monday morning staff huddle, but I was told the meeting couldn't be any longer than it already was.  This was a challenge to me and my staff to improve our speaking skills, but it also became a stealth requirement to the rest of the organization because it was a list of things they were late completing.  The better they were at staying on top of their tasks, the shorter the Monday huddle.  My boss hates long meetings, and his new boss hates them just as much.  The previous boss' boss loved to hear himself speak.  He'd show up 15 minutes late to a meeting, start off with a tangent for 15 minutes, allow the meeting to run 50% longer than scheduled from the new starting point, then blamed us for having to be lectured for so long.  His replacement's first meeting started on time, lasted 60 minutes compared to the 90 it was scheduled for, then asked his staff to make it even shorter.

TL:DR: productivity and making best use of your time is entirely leadership driven.