Author Topic: Insane work hours hurt everyone  (Read 1438 times)

FireLane

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Insane work hours hurt everyone
« on: February 24, 2020, 05:49:08 PM »
This story from Harvard Business Review was heartbreaking:

https://hbr.org/2020/03/whats-really-holding-women-back

It's a study about what causes gender imbalance in the workplace, especially at high-level senior positions that require long hours and round-the-clock availability. The common assumption is that women value family over work and don't want to make the extreme sacrifices these jobs demand, but the authors found that's not true. Men suffer from overwork and miss their families just as much as women do. The only difference is that men are culturally expected to suck it up.

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Whereas firm members attributed distress over work/family conflict primarily to women, we found that many men were suffering, too. “I was traveling three days a week and seeing my children once or twice a week for 45 minutes before they went to bed,” one told us. He recalled a particularly painful Saturday when he told his son he couldn’t come to his soccer game. “He burst into tears,” the man said. “I wanted to quit then and there.”

or this one:

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“When my first child was born, I got to carry her from the delivery room to the nursery. It’s almost like I could feel the chemicals releasing in my brain. I fell so chemically, deeply, in love with my daughter. I couldn’t imagine a world without her. I mean, here it was in [just] the first eight minutes of her life. So I can understand, ‘How can I possibly give this up and go back to work?’”

And what was his takeaway from this emotionally charged experience? A sense that he better understood the difficulties women face in trying to balance work and family! To banish his guilt and sadness about returning to his highly demanding workweeks, he projected his intense emotional experience onto the women at the firm—a move that allowed him to let go of those feelings while still identifying with them.

There's a cruel double standard perpetuated by many companies: they have work-from-home policies, flex time and other family-friendly accommodations, but penalize the employees - mostly women - who make use of them. They get passed over for raises and promotions because they're seen as less committed to the job. On the other hand, hard-working women who don't make use of these accommodations are also penalized, because bosses assume they're neglecting their families and that makes them bad role models!

The culture of insane hours and overwork hurts everyone, both the men who are suffering in silence and the women who are in a no-win situation. What these companies need is a little more Mustachianism, and more employees who are willing to push back and refuse outrageous demands:

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If we want to solve this problem, we must reconsider what we’re willing to allow the workplace to demand of all employees. Such a reconsideration is possible. As individual families and employees push back against overwork, they will pave the way for others to follow. And as more research shows the business advantage of reasonable hours, some employers will come to question the wisdom of grueling schedules.

ownmytime

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2020, 06:20:34 PM »
I retired at 57 years old, after 32 years of work at the same organization, from a job I loved because my doctor told me it was killing me.  Unprompted by any mention of stress by me she told me "Every six months you continue at this level of stress is taking five years off your life."   I did continue working for two years after she told me this but then the exhaustion of 15 hour days - 12 hours a day working and 3 hours commuting plus texts in the evenings and weekends - caused me to walk away.  I still miss parts of my job but I feel better as I can now sleep (the stress would wake me up after a few hours of sleep), exercise regularly and have energy left for my family (husband and three teenage and young adult children).   When I was working I would see my family late in the evening but I was so tired and strung out I wasn't really present and engaged.  My husband told me if I didn't retire he would divorce me.
  I am skeptical change will ever occur regarding the insane hours we are "expected" to work as our culture glorifies working these hours. 

raincoast

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2020, 07:14:01 PM »
The Millennial Revolution blog has an article about this (warning: profanity): https://www.millennial-revolution.com/freedom/the-fuck-over-ability-index/

Basically, employers like employees who are deep in debt, have expensive lifestyles, and live paycheque to paycheque, because they have to do whatever their manager tells them to do.

I think there's more to it than that - including technology, corporate downsizing, and a culture that glorifies "busyness" - but companies also do it because they can get away with it because people can't risk losing their jobs. I've heard partners at my firm say "we like people with big mortgages", and have been pressured to buy property in this VHCOL city.


Dave1442397

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2020, 05:48:57 AM »
I remember our first meeting with a high-level female executive at my company. One of the things she said that struck me as insanity on so many levels was "I know that if I have a question at 2:30am I can just call x and he'll have an answer for me!".

I don't care how much the job pays if A: I'm going to be awake at 2:30AM worrying about it, or B: If I'm the poor sucker getting called at 2:30AM to answer bs questions that could have waited until 9AM.

Malkynn

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2020, 06:21:20 AM »
I remember our first meeting with a high-level female executive at my company. One of the things she said that struck me as insanity on so many levels was "I know that if I have a question at 2:30am I can just call x and he'll have an answer for me!".

I don't care how much the job pays if A: I'm going to be awake at 2:30AM worrying about it, or B: If I'm the poor sucker getting called at 2:30AM to answer bs questions that could have waited until 9AM.

When I started working for my current employer, she would send me emails and text messages after 10pm and I replied each time with "go to sleep".

Ducknald Don

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2020, 06:53:43 AM »
I've heard partners at my firm say "we like people with big mortgages", and have been pressured to buy property in this VHCOL city.

I've been on the receiving end of that as has my son in his current job.

One of the joys of being a saver is you can push back against that sort of bullshit. I'm convinced this is better for the employer as well, modern workplaces need independent thinkers.

raincoast

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2020, 07:11:08 AM »
I've heard partners at my firm say "we like people with big mortgages", and have been pressured to buy property in this VHCOL city.

I've been on the receiving end of that as has my son in his current job.

One of the joys of being a saver is you can push back against that sort of bullshit. I'm convinced this is better for the employer as well, modern workplaces need independent thinkers.

It also helps to understand the actual math of home ownership, rather than just looking at the big gains boomers made in the past.

Luckily I don’t get this same pressure from my family. My parents are in favour of home ownership, but they understand that the financial value of a home is the rent it saves you by living in it, and that home ownership costs way more than the mortgage. They accumulated their wealth through stock market investing, not a massive windfall on their primary residence.

UndergroundDaytimeDad

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2020, 09:23:21 AM »
The Millennial Revolution blog has an article about this (warning: profanity): https://www.millennial-revolution.com/freedom/the-fuck-over-ability-index/

I really enjoyed this article.  I tend to do these mental calculations to see how close to the wire someone lives. I also now realize why an old boss looked so confused when I pushed back on awful tasks.  Clearly she miscalculated.

mm1970

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2020, 12:05:43 PM »
That was a fantastic article.

Warlord1986

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2020, 12:18:55 PM »
That article is a work of art.

Lucky13

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2020, 01:32:35 PM »
yes heartbreaking, really hits home, as just last night I learned a friend was sick... the last time I saw him 2 weeks ago, he was working until midnight and on weekend to meet a deadline, I'm not surprised it affected his health. Makes me so angry, but I understand when your job is on the line it's almost impossible to say "no" and managers are also under pressure from "upper management" or the big boss or whoever to enforce the insane work hours.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2020, 01:47:46 PM by Lucky13 »

Wrenchturner

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #11 on: Today at 10:06:04 AM »
The Millennial Revolution blog has an article about this (warning: profanity): https://www.millennial-revolution.com/freedom/the-fuck-over-ability-index/

Basically, employers like employees who are deep in debt, have expensive lifestyles, and live paycheque to paycheque, because they have to do whatever their manager tells them to do.

I think there's more to it than that - including technology, corporate downsizing, and a culture that glorifies "busyness" - but companies also do it because they can get away with it because people can't risk losing their jobs. I've heard partners at my firm say "we like people with big mortgages", and have been pressured to buy property in this VHCOL city.

This is frustrating as a mustachian since employers have limited experience with staff that don't indebt themselves severely.  My attitude probably appears more cavalier than average and I think it disturbs them.

BlueHouse

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #12 on: Today at 11:55:18 AM »
I remember our first meeting with a high-level female executive at my company. One of the things she said that struck me as insanity on so many levels was "I know that if I have a question at 2:30am I can just call x and he'll have an answer for me!".

I don't care how much the job pays if A: I'm going to be awake at 2:30AM worrying about it, or B: If I'm the poor sucker getting called at 2:30AM to answer bs questions that could have waited until 9AM.
Just curious, was the fact that the high-level executive was female have anything to do with the rest of the story?  I mean, I have had that same experience many many times with male execs, yet I never called them "a high level male executive" 

mm1970

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #13 on: Today at 12:37:21 PM »
The Millennial Revolution blog has an article about this (warning: profanity): https://www.millennial-revolution.com/freedom/the-fuck-over-ability-index/

Basically, employers like employees who are deep in debt, have expensive lifestyles, and live paycheque to paycheque, because they have to do whatever their manager tells them to do.

I think there's more to it than that - including technology, corporate downsizing, and a culture that glorifies "busyness" - but companies also do it because they can get away with it because people can't risk losing their jobs. I've heard partners at my firm say "we like people with big mortgages", and have been pressured to buy property in this VHCOL city.

This is frustrating as a mustachian since employers have limited experience with staff that don't indebt themselves severely.  My attitude probably appears more cavalier than average and I think it disturbs them.
I'd say a very good percentage of my coworkers (including my boss) are super cheap like me (which is good and bad).

Not all of them though.  There is one particular 70 year old man who seems to think I should add a $500k second story to my house because it will pay for itself when I sell the house!  No it won't.

Wrenchturner

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Re: Insane work hours hurt everyone
« Reply #14 on: Today at 02:54:29 PM »
The Millennial Revolution blog has an article about this (warning: profanity): https://www.millennial-revolution.com/freedom/the-fuck-over-ability-index/

Basically, employers like employees who are deep in debt, have expensive lifestyles, and live paycheque to paycheque, because they have to do whatever their manager tells them to do.

I think there's more to it than that - including technology, corporate downsizing, and a culture that glorifies "busyness" - but companies also do it because they can get away with it because people can't risk losing their jobs. I've heard partners at my firm say "we like people with big mortgages", and have been pressured to buy property in this VHCOL city.

This is frustrating as a mustachian since employers have limited experience with staff that don't indebt themselves severely.  My attitude probably appears more cavalier than average and I think it disturbs them.
I'd say a very good percentage of my coworkers (including my boss) are super cheap like me (which is good and bad).

Not all of them though.  There is one particular 70 year old man who seems to think I should add a $500k second story to my house because it will pay for itself when I sell the house!  No it won't.

Seems weird that your coworkers are frugal.  What do you think the explanation is?  I've always found frugal people to be outliers.