Author Topic: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?  (Read 4813 times)

WynnDuffy73

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #50 on: January 11, 2019, 05:57:37 AM »
I am not sure if you all truly understand how important an accountant/analyst/auditor role is. I am talking life or death of the company kind of important. I work at a F100 company as an analyst and my work is seen and reported by the top of the company out to shareholders and used in bonus payouts for the whole company. If I am not available at all times or answer SR MGMT questions immediately, the whole company grinds to a halt. If my work is incorrect, people get laid off. If my work is delayed, our company no longer makes money and people get laid off. If SR MGMT doesn't have complete access to my wealth of knowledge in seconds... whew boy, I am not sure how our products will be made. I am dead serious.

It is an honor to work in such a company as this and I don't take it lightly. You know people say that accounting isn't life and death, like say medical "professionals", but I remember seeing a lot of death and destruction during the '08 collapse and the Great Depression. I combat those crises before they begin every day and night by giving 110%. I am a defender of the capital markets and a creator of wealth. I can't take weekends off because people depend on me.



LOL jk. Though this is definitely the narrative pushed by middle management. While there is no such thing as an "Accounting Emergency", any little request or benign question causes huge blow ups in our group. Heck, look at the response above from an auditor to see this mindset in the wild. I used to work 60-80 hour weeks until I realized that I wasn't actually adding value and that the company was intentionally understaffed to cut costs. I left that job and took one where I could set better boundaries.

It is interesting to read so many replies in this thread from people in tons of different professions that echo this belief that their role is critical to operations and that they NEED to be available 24/7. I have had to build boundaries so that I don't come back from vacation with twice the workload piled up. Something has to give in Corporate America.

I work in finance at a large company and I can completely relate.  They fired my supervisor so now Iím doing his managerial work as well as the grunt work all in the name of the company cutting costs.  Of course there was no pay increase for this change.  I miss the old days when I could just work with the numbers.  Now I have that plus non stop side projects. 

The high level boss gets evaluated based on process improvements which means our core work is taken for granted and we are judged on the side projects which we have little time for. 

OtherJen

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #51 on: January 11, 2019, 06:28:25 AM »
  I do consider reading research articles or books as study, not work, and that's for my own interest rather than someone making me do it.

For an academic researcher, keeping up with the literature is an essential part of the job. It's the only way to ensure that the work planned out in a grant proposal (the only way to get one's work funded) or escribed in one's own manuscripts, conference presentations, and dissertation operates on a rationale supported by previous science and is not redundant. The expectation (in biomedical science, at least) is often that this essential work will be done while at home, having already put in at least 10 hours of face time in lab on a minimum of 5 days per week.

simmias

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #52 on: January 11, 2019, 08:25:22 AM »
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/millennials-burnout-generation-debt-work

This line from the article really resonated with me:

"Exhaustion means going to the point where you canít go any further; burnout means reaching that point and pushing yourself to keep going, whether for days or weeks or years."

I just keep pushing and pushing to reach that FIRE date, and it's getting harder and harder.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #53 on: January 11, 2019, 08:36:10 AM »
A few reasons:
-I manage a global team. I have team members in India, Japan, Korea, London, Singapore, and near me in the Bay Area. Getting calls/meeting together requires after hours for most people involved. I also travel to meet with them. I leave on Sunday, for example. Which will put me in Tokyo on Monday night (time zones). So, there's one day of my weekend gone, and i still miss a working day in the office. I will take the Friday evening flight home, putting me in San Francisco on Friday afternoon. I will be jet lagged. My weekend will suck, as I try to adjust. I will also be way behind on my actual job, due to traveling, & will need to figure out how to catch up.

-My job is in tech & retail. Our busiest times of the year are when people have time off. All around the world. Mostly these match with my own holidays & weekends. That's when we have something big that needs to be executed. We plan ahead, but technology fails. One of our biggest production tools failed last night. Not my problem, but my peer was on a call until midnight.

maizeman

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #54 on: January 11, 2019, 09:03:54 AM »
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/millennials-burnout-generation-debt-work

This line from the article really resonated with me:

"Exhaustion means going to the point where you canít go any further; burnout means reaching that point and pushing yourself to keep going, whether for days or weeks or years."

I just keep pushing and pushing to reach that FIRE date, and it's getting harder and harder.

I know this feeling really well.

I was hoping to hit my minimum FIRE number this spring before the stock market gyrations kicked in. Now it may be 2020. One year isn't so much in the grand scheme of things and I'm incredibly fortunate to have come as far as I have so quickly in life.

But it (along with some personal life stuff) also sparked a realization in my own head that I could not continue to go on as I had been doing. Not even for another year.

So I'm trying some changes in my life. So far I don't know if they'll do any good or not, but if they don't I'll keep trying others and still others until SOMETHING works. Because I cannot keep white knuckling it, putting my nose down to the grind stone, and powering through. I simply cannot.

Please give yourself permission to take the foot off the gas a little. What are you pushing on the hardest right now? Trying to earn more money? Get a promotion? Cutting out expenses that you'd really like to keep?

Ynari

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #55 on: January 11, 2019, 11:19:01 PM »
I work 50-60 hours per week because that's what's required to do my job well - and doing my job poorly is not an option. I teach in a public school, and a 40 hour week with a standard schedule would mean having 1 hour of planning to every 2 hours of teaching (which I hear is actually pretty decent compared to other schools). A mentor I had placed his own guideline at 1:1. The thing is, planning and teaching and mentoring these kids always feels URGENT!!! and IMPORTANT!!!, so I end up using my own time to keep up.

Next year I'm asking to go to 60-80% time but I'm not even sure if they'll be able to do it. That's the other thing - I can't make mid-year adjustments without significant consequences.

Splitting on-call time sounds like what we do with afterschool hours (different stakes, though). Each math teacher only stays after one day a week, but students can see any math teacher for help. This helps protect everyone's afterschool hours, so each person only spends 1-2 hours tutoring students rather than 4-8. There are some downsides - students tend to be nervous about seeing another teacher, so it disincentivizes them staying after on days their teacher isn't staying. And the other teacher might not know exactly where the other class is at in the curriculum. But the alternative means everyone staying past 5pm, finally planning the next day after all the students have left, so the rotating schedule is necessary to stay sane.

middo

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #56 on: January 12, 2019, 02:26:22 AM »
I'm a high school teacher. I teach Maths (not Math - Australian). My nominal work hours are 8am to 4:30pm. Last year I worked from 7am until 4 pm generally. I also made sure my lunch "hour" was a minimum 45 minute walk every day.

Sometimes it is necessary to work longer. Exams do not mark themselves. Planning makes the difference to my classes.  However, with 15 years experience, my planning is much less than others. My best classes are often "9 step planning classes". The last 9 steps before the door I think "What am I teaching today?". Spontaneity matters and overplanning is as bad as underplanning.

Why do.I.work longer at times?  Because of the kids.  If I cut corners, management probably won't know, but the kids Maths will suffer.  Also, the sooner they get feedback from assessments the better for their learning.

On the flip side, I seem to do the end of year tasks and the early year tasks much faster than everyone else.  Work from home day? Yes please, because that's a long motorbike ride for me.

Hirondelle

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #57 on: January 12, 2019, 03:18:28 AM »
I'm a PhD candidate in academia which basically comes down to that no matter the number of hours on your contract, you'll work more (in my country being a PhD candidate is considered a job rather than studies).

It gets worse as I perform animal experiments. Time-sensitive animal experiments. Mice don't care what day of the week it is and their life span is short. So if I need to do a certain treatment on day X into the experiment and that's a Saturday, there's no way around it. Ofcourse I have a number of measurement points/treatments that's high enough to bleed into virtually every weekend of the experiment.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2019, 07:42:34 AM »
I think this is probably the biggest positive for my current career (Federal government). I work my 40 hours and that's it.

I do have coworkers who get here earlier than I do and leave after I do. I constantly question them about why they do it, and while they admit there's no good reason to take on the burden of solving every made up crisis, they continue to do it.

I moved to a federal position last year due in large part to the demands of my previous private sector job. I had multiple reports I was working on at a time and they were typically due in 2-3 weeks. As deadlines occurred multiple times per week I'd end up staying late, working late at home, or coming in on a weekend. 100% commission so if I didn't produce, I didn't get paid. The plus side was almost complete flexibility. My boss was in another state and I could come and go whenever. In some offices the top earners routinely worked late and weekends. Granted they probably made well over $100k compared to my $50-60k but with child #6 on the way we decided 40 hours a week plus this crazy thing called "paid time off" was a better choice.

use2betrix

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2019, 06:31:40 PM »
I get paid on a day rate. Not hourly, not salary. I got important calls and emails on both NYE and the day prior while on ďvacationĒ and ended up making important decisions and coordinating site activities that were currently going on. I am in upper management in construction on large industrial projects.

I did not charge hours/day for either of those days. On other days, I might only work 7 hrs or so, so it balances out.

I donít rwally ďhaveĒ to be available 24/7, but it is appreciated, and itís worth helping a bit during off hours than dealing with the shit storm id have to fix if some of these jokers made the decisions themselves (usually doing whatís cheapest and easiest and without quality in mind, or possibly not understanding the requirements).

Iíve been like this for many jobs my whole career. My current employer pays me very well. Iíve only been there 6 months and they just increased my day rate $150/day without me even asking. My bosses are well aware how much I love my long sabbaticals, so I think it gives a bit of an impression of, ďhey this guy does good work, if we want to keep him around we better keep him happy, because heís fine not working as well.Ē

It really boils down to peoples relationship with their employer. If people feel respected, valued, and well compensated, then I think most people would be fine helping out extra when needed. If people are getting crapped all over, well then Iíd tell my employer to kick rocks.

DreamFIRE

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #60 on: January 12, 2019, 08:58:41 PM »
I'm the senior engineer working directly under the CIO, and I handle the technical side of many systems in various locations that are used 24/7, so I'm always on-call, and I can and do get called at any time, plus I have to perform various scheduled tasks outside of my normal working hours because of the the nature of my work, although a lot of it I can do remotely.  Of course, I'm always getting emails from work, many automated ones from systems that I need to keep a pulse on.  I'm required to carry a cell phone plus a pager for backup.  It's been that way for about 18 years.  On the plus side, my typical work week hours during my regular shift at the office are in the low 40's.  The problem is that I can never really escape it after my regular shift, even when I'm on vacation.  It helps a lot that I actually like what I do and have my own quiet office at work.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 09:19:16 PM by DreamFIRE »

big_slacker

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2019, 08:07:24 AM »
I run a worldwide service, so no such thing as office hours. Sometimes I need to do work early or late depending on what site/country I'm working on. Our team does do on-call rotation but I think I've only been called once in the last year and it was a mistake.

To clarify, I am not hounded day and night by work. I know well in advance the days/times I'm doing something at odd hours. I have excellent work/life balance.

MikeBT

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #62 on: January 13, 2019, 06:44:12 PM »
I'm self-employed in a field where your earnings depend heavily on demand (the more demand, the higher you can position your fees) and demand depends heavily on quality of performance and skill.

I've decided it's better to work myself to the bone in the first few years of my profession and then coast (off earned reputation) afterwards.

As with most things, it's much easier to maintain a reputation than it is to earn it.

cats

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #63 on: January 15, 2019, 09:20:26 AM »
When I was in academic research, a 50+ hour week was expected and 60+ hours was a badge of honor. People who worked 40-hour weeks and/or were involved with their kids or had outside interests were considered not sufficiently devoted and not taken seriously. There was definitely an expectation of all-hours availability.

My postdoc advisor thought nothing of contacting us at 1 am to prepare materials for a lab meeting scheduled for 8 hours later, or of asking me to cancel my properly scheduled and notified Thanksgiving plans to set up a new experiment. She did her rounds of the lab at 6 pm every night and on weekends, and we were expected to be there or have a good excuse. (This was a salaried position at the then-NIH standard of $40k per year.)

My PhD advisor wasn't quite so hardline, but he did expect me to be available at the drop of a hat to analyze data and discuss the week's experiments (often remotely from our homes on Friday nights), and he would very grudgingly allow only one sick day per illness (and required proof that we were working at home while sick). Accordingly, I went into work several times with a fever and obvious upper respiratory symptoms. For both positions, the expectation was that background reading and writing would be done at home during off-lab hours (i.e., beyond the expected 50-hour onsite time).

I no longer work in research after hitting burnout during the postdoc.

My academic experience was not as intense, but the realization of what getting a tenure-track position would require was a MAJOR turn-off and definitely decided me against going further.  I remember one professor proudly telling me he worked 80 hours a week.  And others would say things like "well, I may work 16 hours a day sometimes, but then I can just take off and go surfing mid-week!".  From my viewpoint, it seemed like the 16-hour days were far outnumbering the random mid-week surfing breaks.  My own advisor did have a pretty hard line of taking one day completely off from work each week, but she worked a LOT on the remaining 6 days to compensate.

In my current position, I generally don't spend more than 40 hours at the office, but the presence of a company smartphone makes it way too easy to check email after hours.  My work also definitely has a busy season and during that time it's not unheard of for me to work a bit on weekends or in the evenings, and it's also a lot harder to mentally unplug during that period.  I think if you have any kind of "thought" job it's quite a bit harder to disengage or limit your hours because you might be thinking about (and actually thinking of solutions to) work issues while going for a run or chopping vegetables at home or whatever. 

happyuk

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #64 on: January 15, 2019, 12:28:16 PM »
Hi Abe this situation sometime happens for me albeit mainly voluntarily.

I work as a software developer, and if I'm trying to pull off something that is particularly tricky, it can take a while to get into what we call "the zone", where there are no distraction, things are coming together, everything is starting to clarify and make sense. 

Often when the solution finally beckons, with just a few more bits and pieces to finish and test, I find I am fast approaching 5.00 pm.  Why would I want to leave there and then, just when I'm on the cusp of solving something difficult, given that it has taken me this long to get into the momentum? 

No.  I stay a little while longer, especially when I know there is light at the end of the tunnel and get it finished, rather than leave it, come back the following morning and then try to regain the hard-won level of concentration and insight I had attained the evening before.

I actually think this approach is actually more efficient / productive of my time in the long run.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 12:35:23 PM by happyuk »

Chris22

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #65 on: January 15, 2019, 12:42:44 PM »
Hi Abe this situation sometime happens for me albeit mainly voluntarily.

I work as a software developer, and if I'm trying to pull off something that is particularly tricky, it can take a while to get into what we call "the zone", where there are no distraction, things are coming together, everything is starting to clarify and make sense. 

Often when the solution finally beckons, with just a few more bits and pieces to finish and test, I find I am fast approaching 5.00 pm.  Why would I want to leave there and then, just when I'm on the cusp of solving something difficult, given that it has taken me this long to get into the momentum? 

No.  I stay a little while longer, especially when I know there is light at the end of the tunnel and get it finished, rather than leave it, come back the following morning and then try to regain the hard-won level of concentration and insight I had attained the evening before.

I actually think this approach is actually more efficient / productive of my time in the long run.

I have something similar, I often have to do some very tedious, repetitive reports where perfect accuracy is required.  I could do them during the work day, where I get interrupted, overhear conversations, etc etc, or I can come in for 2-3-4 hours on a Saturday morning and crank them out when no one is here.  Usually come in while my family is still sleeping anyways. 

Lanthiriel

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #66 on: January 15, 2019, 01:19:39 PM »
I work on the marketing side of engineering consulting. My position is deadline driven. RFPs drop and I have usually about two weeks to rally the troops and respond to them. This often means getting information out of engineers who are already working overtime to please their existing clients, let alone having to stop to help me win new ones. I take their time when I can get it, which often means running right up against deadlines. Marketing is also so much more than proposal writing, so I have to do all of the traditional components of marketing (social media, advertising, conferences, etc.) in between these deadlines. I basically just work as much as I have to, to not let balls drop entirely.

kenner

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #67 on: January 15, 2019, 07:12:40 PM »
Whose office hours?  :)  In all seriousness, I work for a company with offices in 14-15 different time zones, one of which is the exact opposite of the one I'm in.  Generally when we need to have a cross-planet meeting for whatever project we try to find something that's not absolutely horrible for anyone involved, but it's pretty well understood that anyone beyond entry level will have a couple calls a month that are outside an 8am-5pm window. Not to say I haven't run into people who've made ridiculous requests--a few months ago someone tried to drag me into a daily 4am (my time) progress meeting on a particular issue--but I haven't had too many issues pushing back.

Abe

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #68 on: January 15, 2019, 09:01:53 PM »
I hear you all who make exceptions for specific projects because you're in the middle of something and don't want to have the perseverate over it all night. I am surprised at how many of you work with colleagues in different time zones! For obvious reasons that doesn't routinely happen in surgery and rarely is there a need to contact an non-local expert in an emergency. Too bad there's not an easy solution, but I guess it's worth it if a 1 hour conference avoids days of email tag.

As for academia/research - I feel your pain, and am glad I have the option of not doing that now. Too many nights tending to cells or mice! My advisors weren't quite as nuts (they'd email at 10pm, but not expect a response overnight). I'm now more involved in the quality improvement / efficiency research projects, but even then no one expects immediate responses to emails.

I agree 100% with what @use2betrix said: "It really boils down to peoples relationship with their employer. If people feel respected, valued, and well compensated, then I think most people would be fine helping out extra when needed. If people are getting crapped all over, well then Iíd tell my employer to kick rocks." It does seem that some employers exploit this instead of hiring more people to help, probably because they want to hoard all the profits for themselves/shareholders.

If the compensation accounts for the extra time and inconvenience, and it's for something useful, I'm happy to help. My bar is a bit high (someone dying = ok to call 24/7/365, will come to hospital ASAP. Presentation or report = business hours only, reply in 1-2 days), but understand how the bar can vary depending on the field.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 09:04:23 PM by Abe »

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #69 on: January 21, 2019, 08:44:15 PM »
Whose office hours?  :)  In all seriousness, I work for a company with offices in 14-15 different time zones, one of which is the exact opposite of the one I'm in.  Generally when we need to have a cross-planet meeting for whatever project we try to find something that's not absolutely horrible for anyone involved, but it's pretty well understood that anyone beyond entry level will have a couple calls a month that are outside an 8am-5pm window. Not to say I haven't run into people who've made ridiculous requests--a few months ago someone tried to drag me into a daily 4am (my time) progress meeting on a particular issue--but I haven't had too many issues pushing back.

I laugh, because some people really don't understand/and or care about time zones. I regularly decline meetings that are at midnight, or 3 am or whatever,and politely explain my PST timezone. Which, really should be well understood, given that I work at our company headquarters.

Travis

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #70 on: January 21, 2019, 10:21:38 PM »
I think this is probably the biggest positive for my current career (Federal government). I work my 40 hours and that's it.

I do have coworkers who get here earlier than I do and leave after I do. I constantly question them about why they do it, and while they admit there's no good reason to take on the burden of solving every made up crisis, they continue to do it.

Most of my federal coworkers are out the door at 4pm and not a minute later, while one other stay as long as he feel like it.  I don't fault the former for it - it's the law.  We're short-staffed in a few areas and the latter feels obligated to pick up the slack to ensure we don't fail as an organization.  There simply aren't enough man-hours in the day to accomplish the workload with the people we have.  He's comfortable with it, and often feels more productive doing this work after everyone has cleared out.  We also carpool so we have to be careful we don't keep pushing the lateness waiting on the other guy.

For myself, our personnel shortages means I pick up the slack for whatever he isn't.  He's specialized while I'm the generalist staff officer at the top of the food chain.  If something doesn't get done in the organization it's my fault.  That's not hyperbole, that's actually in my job description.  In practical terms it means I'm at the office by 8am, eat lunch at my desk, and leave the office around 6pm.  I'm with my family 7-9pm and then I'll usually work another hour or two after they're in bed.  Until the hiring process runs its course, I'm stuck with these hours.  There's usually a couple hours of work to do on the weekends, and a few hours sprinkled throughout my vacations.  Even with a full staff, I can't afford to keep my eye off the ball or stay out of communication for too long.  I don't really have a backup as far as my responsibilities go. 

As a matter of culture I'm trained to put up with this kind of workload, and my family puts up with it because at least I'm home every night which usually isn't the case.  Earlier this month my boss was out of town for a week (and he travels A LOT).  He was in the office Friday to attend 4 hours of video teleconference meetings with our higher headquarters, catch up on what he missed that week, and knock out what he knew he'd miss by being gone the following week.  We were in the office together until almost midnight.  That night was not typical, but critical to ensure certain things happened smoothly in his absence.

Generally when we need to have a cross-planet meeting for whatever project we try to find something that's not absolutely horrible for anyone involved, but it's pretty well understood that anyone beyond entry level will have a couple calls a month that are outside an 8am-5pm window. Not to say I haven't run into people who've made ridiculous requests--a few months ago someone tried to drag me into a daily 4am (my time) progress meeting on a particular issue--but I haven't had too many issues pushing back.

In my last unit we were Mountain time with a higher headquarters on the East Coast and in Europe.  Twice a week I had to be in at 7am to catch the East Coast meetings, but it was understood I'd never be there for the European meetings.  I was forced to attend one of them at 3am and that was the exception.  My current higher headquarters is also East Coast, but they have little appreciation that their subordinates are in all 50 states and when most of them are just showing up to work, the headquarters is already out to lunch and doesn't stay a minute past the end of their work day.

Linda_Norway

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #71 on: Today at 01:19:04 AM »
Once I had a job interview. Already during the interview, the manager said that this company was a startup and they all needed to work extra hard to make ends meet. They didn't just work from 8-5 (normal Norwegian work hours are from 8-4), but they expected you to come back in the evening to put in some additional hours, without overtime pay.

I was thinking to myself whether I would just walk out of the room immediately, but chose to end the interview in a normal way. But how could they ever expect someone to want to work there, if you know that you have to work unreasonably much and there are other jobs out there that pay the same and have more reasonable hours?

Another case of many hours is what my DH had when he was a group manager in a department of 10 people. When his most experienced employee decided to stay home with his newborn for half a year (is allowed for fathers in Norway, although most often the mothers do it), my DH had to jump in and do most of this person's work. DH and this employee had the same experience, while the other 8 had other specializations or were too junior. DH did this to make sure his department survived that half year.

fuzzy math

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #72 on: Today at 07:13:16 AM »
Another surgery worker here (non MD). I don't make the decisions about when patients go to the OR, so its frequently a surprise to me when I'm working weird hours.

DH newly works for the state, and I have politely mentioned to him that there's no single reason he should stay 1 minute past 4 pm. The desire to "do good work" hasn't been beat out of him yet.

By the River

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Re: People whose work bleeds outside of "office hours"...why?
« Reply #73 on: Today at 08:37:08 AM »
My wife works more than 40 hours each week and also has to take all her vacation each year or lose it.  She scheduled a week off around Christmas but had to do work from home anyway but our internet service provider was having problems.  Her texts to me were:  "This is F-ing ridiculous, I cannot work, I might as well not taken vacation and gone in."   I wanted to text a definition of vacation but decided not to piss her off more.