Author Topic: How do people with families DO it....?  (Read 18706 times)

Pigeon

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #50 on: May 09, 2017, 10:58:00 AM »
My day starts at 5:00.  I have a half hour-45 min commute.  It used to include daycare drop off (dh did pick-up).  I work an 8 hour day.  There is no "me" time, period.  Cleaning and errands get done on weekends, including batch cooking for the upcoming week and keeping the freezer stocked.

When does your day end?

Also you have to get in 'some' me time...right?

After getting dinner on the table, cleaning up, most nights taking a kid to dance/music lessons/TKD. etc., maybe doing a little laundry or the like, I usually get to bed by 10-11.

I guess if you count me time as being able to read a bit while sitting at dance lessons, maybe.  My kids are older now, so it's not nearly as bad.  When I had to read to them and supervise homework it was fairly awful.   But through junior high, no, I pretty much never had me time.  And I'm fortunate in that my partner is also very involved with the kids, so while I was at dance with one, he was at TKD with the other.  But he has lots of work he has to do at home at night.

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #51 on: May 09, 2017, 11:22:01 AM »
If you are expected to work a few hours in the evening, then why can't you take a two-three hour lunch break, exercise, and eat. Or take off from 4-7, then work again 7-10.

Your boss says you can take time during the day. So why don't you take it? Also the gym will be empty at 2 pm. Bonus!

Because it's busy during the day.

So this works in theory but the vast majority of the time there are other meetings and work to be done.

i think you have your answer in this thread plainly laid out... you're working too much.  so you should get to the root cause of that.

1. is your work asking too much of you -
2. are you getting OT - if so great - i assume not - if so have them hire someone else b/c you're overloaded
3. are you inefficient at what is being asked of you? <- this more than anything is what i see in my field ... the people who are overworked are much less effiicient. 

so the answer would be to work less - and i'd start figuring out how to do that sooner vs. later.  whether its a new job or figuring out how to make your time more efficient or reducing your responsiblities.  your life will get infinitely better regardless of having children or not.

RE #1 - sometimes, yes.   For instance, we had a deadline last month we HAD to meet.  Because I'm working closely with teams in Asia, I had to respond to urgent requests that came up during this time...I had several nights where I started working at 7/8 am but stayed up til 4 am because come bed time Asia started working and urgent requests that had to be responded to by me or else it would potentially mean us not meeting our deadline.  Extreme case but an example nonetheless.  Things like this have a domino effect as I got behind in my other major project putting in hours like this at the time and I'm still catching up from that.

RE #2 - No I don't get OT

RE #3 - Yes, I can be inefficient sometimes.  I realize that although my boss actually begs to differ.  I think when I am inefficient it is during times where I am trying to find a response to a question (a 'large' part of my work is being a resource/answering questions) but it is taking a LONG time.  There is a balance between doing the research and learning/finding out the answer myself (which my boss praises) versus going to say my boss for the answer for instance which 'would' be more efficient because it would take less time however THAT would likely be seen as not taking enough initiative to figure things out on your own.

boarder42

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #52 on: May 09, 2017, 11:27:26 AM »
If you are expected to work a few hours in the evening, then why can't you take a two-three hour lunch break, exercise, and eat. Or take off from 4-7, then work again 7-10.

Your boss says you can take time during the day. So why don't you take it? Also the gym will be empty at 2 pm. Bonus!

Because it's busy during the day.

So this works in theory but the vast majority of the time there are other meetings and work to be done.

i think you have your answer in this thread plainly laid out... you're working too much.  so you should get to the root cause of that.

1. is your work asking too much of you -
2. are you getting OT - if so great - i assume not - if so have them hire someone else b/c you're overloaded
3. are you inefficient at what is being asked of you? <- this more than anything is what i see in my field ... the people who are overworked are much less effiicient. 

so the answer would be to work less - and i'd start figuring out how to do that sooner vs. later.  whether its a new job or figuring out how to make your time more efficient or reducing your responsiblities.  your life will get infinitely better regardless of having children or not.

RE #1 - sometimes, yes.   For instance, we had a deadline last month we HAD to meet.  Because I'm working closely with teams in Asia, I had to respond to urgent requests that came up during this time...I had several nights where I started working at 7/8 am but stayed up til 4 am because come bed time Asia started working and urgent requests that had to be responded to by me or else it would potentially mean us not meeting our deadline.  Extreme case but an example nonetheless.  Things like this have a domino effect as I got behind in my other major project putting in hours like this at the time and I'm still catching up from that.

RE #2 - No I don't get OT

RE #3 - Yes, I can be inefficient sometimes.  I realize that although my boss actually begs to differ.  I think when I am inefficient it is during times where I am trying to find a response to a question (a 'large' part of my work is being a resource/answering questions) but it is taking a LONG time.  There is a balance between doing the research and learning/finding out the answer myself (which my boss praises) versus going to say my boss for the answer for instance which 'would' be more efficient because it would take less time however THAT would likely be seen as not taking enough initiative to figure things out on your own.

so your job is the problem.  find a new one. 

the answer to your question is people with families dont DO what you're doing.  or if they do they get paid way more or one person works. or they have a ton of hired help b/c well they get paid way more.  i would question that you're assuming too much of what is asked of you is required.  start pulling on that string and see what they say when you do a little less.

Tyson

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #53 on: May 09, 2017, 11:37:42 AM »
12 hour days is not sustainable.  Look for another job or even a transfer to a different team within the company.  Learn to set boundaries.  I've been working at large (and small) companies for over 20 years and here's the truth:

Companies will suck as much time/life from you as they can.  It's up to you to push back and reduce your work level.   Because they never will.

boarder42

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #54 on: May 09, 2017, 11:48:11 AM »
12 hour days is not sustainable.  Look for another job or even a transfer to a different team within the company.  Learn to set boundaries.  I've been working at large (and small) companies for over 20 years and here's the truth:

Companies will suck as much time/life from you as they can.  It's up to you to push back and reduce your work level.   Because they never will.

my company is very up front and you'll here management say this.  we're employee owned.  you gotta find your own balance.  and you have to say nope thats too much.  You're a grown individual.

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #55 on: May 09, 2017, 12:07:07 PM »
Look for a new job.  You don't need to be working 12+ hour days for that kind of money.

My office has a standard 37.5 hour workweek.  I rarely work more than 37.5 hours, and I'm good at my job so it gets done quickly.  For a lot of jobs, if you can't fit the work into a 40 hour workweek, the company either needs to hire another head, or you aren't doing the job right.  (For a lot of jobs... not all!)  I do have a 45 minute (one way) commute, but it is worth it for the job and the pay ($92K).  DH works part time and we have 2 kids.  It can get hectic, and unlike feeding yourself, which you can put off and usually not affect anyone else, kids demand food at regular intervals.

If you aren't willing to get a new job, find ways to combine exercise and work time.  You might be able to work from your laptop on a stationary bicycle, for instance.

My schedule can be irregular, because sometimes I get the kids ready for school, and sometimes DH does, but one of my days where I get a workout in looks like this:
6:15 wake up
6:30 drive to gym (which is halfway+ to work)
7:00 cycle class
8:15 drive to work
8:30-4:15 work
4:15-5 drive home
5-8 dinner and family time (kids are 5 & 8 and get essentially zero screen time)
8-11 clean up the house, prep for the next day, and relaxing time (dishes, pick up messes, lunches, school forms, some TV, reading, chatting with DH)

We are lucky in that our schedules allow for one of us to be home when the kids are home.  We have done the daycare thing before and the day was gone by the time we got home with kids.  That was hard.

It appears that you essentially have family time at home from 5 - 11 pm....that is really good.

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #56 on: May 09, 2017, 12:10:40 PM »
+1 to what Laura33 said. You need to put boundaries between work and home. 90k for 60+ hours of work is not a very good hourly rate. I used to work a lot when single (I'm a computer engineer so I always have some coding or tinkering to do - it was also my hobby so I was happy with it) but once spouse and kids came into picture, I moved to a more reasonable work time.  And I find that my efficiency is way better now than when I was working 50+ hours. Either get a huge raise to justify your working so long and hard or work on having systems in place when you are out. For example, what happens if you are out on vacation or out sick for a few weeks? Does your company stop operating or do they find others to get their queries resolved?

Also if your boss answers because you haven't or because you are not available post 7 pm, that's his/her call. He can do it and screw his work life balance. It doesn't mean you need to as well. Think about it.

When I am out of the office, I change my Outlook email to state to contact me by phone if something is urgent and state that otherwise I will respond upon my return.  We don't have a great backup system but my boss is in copy on a lot of things so she would probably either step in or ask someone else to help if she saw something come through while I was gone that I didn't get to.  Honestly I've always had my laptop on every vacation I've taken since starting here as it's the norm here.  So nothing has gone unresolved just because I'm out.  I try not to work but I do still have to check emails as I simply would get buried if I didn't.

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #57 on: May 09, 2017, 12:11:53 PM »
I don't doubt that you work hard and long hours, but I don't know anyone who works from home in front of a computer who doesn't spend some part of their day doing a little surfin. Heck, I'm at work right now and I've checked the boards twice today and it ain't 10am in my time zone yet.

If you can really work 8am to 3pm without taking enough time to grab a sandwich from your kitchen, then I admire your ability to focus exclusively on work. I know I'm not capable of that. Is it possible that you're taking a few side breaks to look around online (check MMM forums, cough cough ... ) perhaps even enough of these breaks throughout the day that when you add these up it is a sizeable amount of time? Honestly, I would be shocked if you didn't take some number of breaks.

When I do big writing projects, I use some apps/software that blocks the internet for X hours so I don't write a paragraph and then think "I sure deserve a break! I wonder if there is an update on my favorite MMM journal?" It also made me very aware of how often I take a 5 (or more!) minute break during the day to surf around a little. Perhaps it would be worth it to keep track of any breaks OR see if how long you can work without taking a break. I'd be surprised if you didn't find some leisure time in there.

Guilty as charged (hence this thread).  But it's not an every day thing though.

Tyson

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #58 on: May 09, 2017, 12:21:19 PM »
12 hours a day is more than one person's workload.   Why are you willing to take on and be responsible for more than your fair share?

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #59 on: May 09, 2017, 12:23:30 PM »
+1 to what Laura33 said. You need to put boundaries between work and home. 90k for 60+ hours of work is not a very good hourly rate. I used to work a lot when single (I'm a computer engineer so I always have some coding or tinkering to do - it was also my hobby so I was happy with it) but once spouse and kids came into picture, I moved to a more reasonable work time.  And I find that my efficiency is way better now than when I was working 50+ hours. Either get a huge raise to justify your working so long and hard or work on having systems in place when you are out. For example, what happens if you are out on vacation or out sick for a few weeks? Does your company stop operating or do they find others to get their queries resolved?

Also if your boss answers because you haven't or because you are not available post 7 pm, that's his/her call. He can do it and screw his work life balance. It doesn't mean you need to as well. Think about it.

When I am out of the office, I change my Outlook email to state to contact me by phone if something is urgent and state that otherwise I will respond upon my return.  We don't have a great backup system but my boss is in copy on a lot of things so she would probably either step in or ask someone else to help if she saw something come through while I was gone that I didn't get to.  Honestly I've always had my laptop on every vacation I've taken since starting here as it's the norm here.  So nothing has gone unresolved just because I'm out.  I try not to work but I do still have to check emails as I simply would get buried if I didn't.

Ok, so do this even when you're not out of the office (no one will know!)

I recommend creating a block schedule for yourself. You say there's work all day, but pick a "slowish" time and block it off as "busy in a meeting" on your calendar, and set your email to that phone message.

Examples:
6 am: workout at home
7 am: make breakfast
8 am: work
9 am: 30 minutes responding to emails
9:30: work
12:30: set up your email to say you're out of the office
          --get a load of laundry going
          --put away yesterday's clean laundry
          --wash dishes
          --make a decent lunch
2:00: spend 30 minutes answering emails
2:30: work
5:00: set up email to say you're out
         --random chores
         --shower?
         --make an awesome dinner
         --do something fun for you
7:30: spend 30 minutes answering emails
8:00: set up email to say you're out
         --go for a walk
9:00: go to bed early makes a man healthy wealthy and wise :D

OK, so that's just a random example. You can tweak it. But basically set up your ideal schedule and stick to it!

I turned off message notifications on my phone. I was really scared to do it, because what if someone couldn't contact me? My team picked it up pretty quickly and called with urgent stuff. I get more done because I'm concentrating and not being distracted by messages all the time.

Set yourself some boundaries. Make your ideal schedule. You are the only one who can make others respect your time. Figure out how to make yourself a rested, stress-free happy person and your employer will benefit.

nobody123

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #60 on: May 09, 2017, 01:37:58 PM »
As others have said, set boundaries.  Stop responding to emails after your workday is over.  Check them if you want to, but don't reply.  You're just conditioning folks to ask you questions because you always answer.  Why can't those folks do the research and find the answer like you do?

Tell your team you will only answer emails in your off hours if they also call to bring them to your attention, otherwise you will answer at your earliest convenience.  Tell your boss the same if she complains about a non-response in the evening.

If you are a supervisor, why can't you delegate the stupid meeting you have to host (I assume that means launching WebEx or some similar product) so you don't always have to attend (or can drop off after your 10 minute update)?

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #61 on: May 09, 2017, 02:37:02 PM »
As others have said, set boundaries.  Stop responding to emails after your workday is over.  Check them if you want to, but don't reply.  You're just conditioning folks to ask you questions because you always answer.  Why can't those folks do the research and find the answer like you do?

Tell your team you will only answer emails in your off hours if they also call to bring them to your attention, otherwise you will answer at your earliest convenience.  Tell your boss the same if she complains about a non-response in the evening.

If you are a supervisor, why can't you delegate the stupid meeting you have to host (I assume that means launching WebEx or some similar product) so you don't always have to attend (or can drop off after your 10 minute update)?

Well, I'm not a supervisor or manager in the sense that I have no direct reports. 

My job consists of holding a good deal of meetings to communicate things others have to do that actually don't report to me.  But since we work in such a large Team environment it's my job to explain what needs to be done, in many cases how to do it, by when, and to make sure they do it. 

Laura33

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #62 on: May 09, 2017, 02:57:12 PM »
To try to sum things up:  your hours are unreasonable for the money you are making.  This could be due to one of two reasons:

1.  Your employer is unreasonable, these are all real expectations, and if you don't meet them, you will be fired.

2.  Your employer is reasonable and these are not real expectations, you just think they are.  And, like every other employer, your boss will take as much as you are willing to give.

If the reason is #1, you need a new job.  If the reason is #2, you need to start carving out time for yourself and training people *not* to expect an immediate response at 11:30 at night.

So why not start with option 2?  If it turns out you're wrong and you get fired, well, see option 1 -- you needed a new job anyway.

Tyson

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #63 on: May 09, 2017, 03:09:07 PM »
And if you need a new job, one of the beauties of MMM lifestyle is you're not living paycheck to paycheck (right??).  So you can afford to take the time to find a better work solution.

firelight

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #64 on: May 09, 2017, 05:34:17 PM »
As others have said, set boundaries.  Stop responding to emails after your workday is over.  Check them if you want to, but don't reply.  You're just conditioning folks to ask you questions because you always answer.  Why can't those folks do the research and find the answer like you do?

Tell your team you will only answer emails in your off hours if they also call to bring them to your attention, otherwise you will answer at your earliest convenience.  Tell your boss the same if she complains about a non-response in the evening.

If you are a supervisor, why can't you delegate the stupid meeting you have to host (I assume that means launching WebEx or some similar product) so you don't always have to attend (or can drop off after your 10 minute update)?

Well, I'm not a supervisor or manager in the sense that I have no direct reports. 

My job consists of holding a good deal of meetings to communicate things others have to do that actually don't report to me.  But since we work in such a large Team environment it's my job to explain what needs to be done, in many cases how to do it, by when, and to make sure they do it.
Sounds like your job is a project management type from the description you give. Have set hours that you can handle without burning out. I'm guessing you are in your late 20s, early 30s. You still have decades ahead of you. You don't want to burnout too early, do you? Let your boss pick up slack for anything that requires attention past 7 (6?). She'll realize how much you are working and either she'll split the work for two people to handle or give you a raise :) also, don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness.

Bee21

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #65 on: May 09, 2017, 06:01:17 PM »
Look, I worked 10-12 hour days in my twenties (doing three jobs plus commute) and I got burnt out so badly that I never got my working mojo/ambition back.

It wasn't worth it.

I now have a reasonably well paid job (42/hr) which I do part time, though I have a full time workload (I guess they want to get the max out of me while they are paying me for 3 days only). 2.5 hour commute. At least I can read on the train and do all the housework and family related planning. I eat al desco and have a 30 min swim at lunchtime.

There is very little me time with a family. On my days off I have technically 5 hours to do the shopping,cooking,cleaning,laundry, which frees up the weekend for family time and travel. And of course the kids have activities those afternoons I have to drive them to. It gets better as they are a bit older and don't demand my physical presence all the time, so at least these days I can go to the loo alone. That is sheer luxury..  Right now, we have this 'leave mummy alone for 10 minutes after dinner' rule, just to give me a bit of space. Tragic, but true.

So, all I can say is, try to enjoy your life more while you don't have to look after a family. If you can't  carve out more time for hobbies and entertainment you got the work life balance wrong and it has to be adjusted.

Is this job worth it? I would personally take a pay cut for a better work life balance and would find a job which doesn't take over my life completely. You don't have to do it. You can choose a better life. The best thing about this frugal living is that it gives us the freedem to not work 12 hour days. You don't have to work 12 hour days to live a decent lifestyle.




surfhb

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #66 on: May 09, 2017, 06:20:24 PM »
I didn't have children so I have no clue what I'm talking about but would anyone here put off FIRE to hire a nanny at least part time?   I'm exhausted just reading some of your schedules.   

I can see why our great and dear leader didn't have children until after FIRE.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 06:22:19 PM by surfhb »

firelight

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #67 on: May 09, 2017, 07:21:01 PM »
I didn't have children so I have no clue what I'm talking about but would anyone here put off FIRE to hire a nanny at least part time?   I'm exhausted just reading some of your schedules.   

I can see why our great and dear leader didn't have children until after FIRE.
I have a mother's helper come every few days to help with chores around the house. We also have daycare (9-5) so we can both work. Still, we are hands on with kids because it is fun, though exhausting at times. Would cutting out the mother's helper accelerate FIRE? Yes by a month or two - not worth the effort. I guess you just do enough to not burn out or feel resentment for either spouse or for entire family. How you get there (nanny, mother's helper, cleaners, one/both going part time, SAHP) depends on your circumstances.

historienne

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #68 on: May 09, 2017, 07:39:29 PM »
I didn't have children so I have no clue what I'm talking about but would anyone here put off FIRE to hire a nanny at least part time?   I'm exhausted just reading some of your schedules.   

I can see why our great and dear leader didn't have children until after FIRE.

Lots of these schedules include full time daycare...but we are working during that time.  It is indeed exhausting, but I'd be pretty sad to get any less time with my kids than I do already (they are in daycare about 45 hours/week).

Little Aussie Battler

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #69 on: May 09, 2017, 07:52:02 PM »
To try to sum things up:  your hours are unreasonable for the money you are making.  This could be due to one of two reasons:

1.  Your employer is unreasonable, these are all real expectations, and if you don't meet them, you will be fired.

2.  Your employer is reasonable and these are not real expectations, you just think they are.  And, like every other employer, your boss will take as much as you are willing to give.

If the reason is #1, you need a new job.  If the reason is #2, you need to start carving out time for yourself and training people *not* to expect an immediate response at 11:30 at night.

So why not start with option 2?  If it turns out you're wrong and you get fired, well, see option 1 -- you needed a new job anyway.
There is a #3, which is that you are doing these hours now in the expectation that you will be paid significantly more in later years. It's the standard IB / law trade-off.

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #70 on: May 09, 2017, 09:59:02 PM »
As others have said, set boundaries.  Stop responding to emails after your workday is over.  Check them if you want to, but don't reply.  You're just conditioning folks to ask you questions because you always answer.  Why can't those folks do the research and find the answer like you do?

Tell your team you will only answer emails in your off hours if they also call to bring them to your attention, otherwise you will answer at your earliest convenience.  Tell your boss the same if she complains about a non-response in the evening.

If you are a supervisor, why can't you delegate the stupid meeting you have to host (I assume that means launching WebEx or some similar product) so you don't always have to attend (or can drop off after your 10 minute update)?

Well, I'm not a supervisor or manager in the sense that I have no direct reports. 

My job consists of holding a good deal of meetings to communicate things others have to do that actually don't report to me.  But since we work in such a large Team environment it's my job to explain what needs to be done, in many cases how to do it, by when, and to make sure they do it.
Sounds like your job is a project management type from the description you give. Have set hours that you can handle without burning out. I'm guessing you are in your late 20s, early 30s. You still have decades ahead of you. You don't want to burnout too early, do you? Let your boss pick up slack for anything that requires attention past 7 (6?). She'll realize how much you are working and either she'll split the work for two people to handle or give you a raise :) also, don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness.

Yes...I'm in a project management role. 

I agree with others that I need to incorporate better efficiencies.  The 'challenge' with hours is that, as I mentioned, I'm covering a team in the US but I'm also covering a team in Australia, a team in New Zealand and a team in Japan.  Those teams start their day as I'm ending mine and I obviously can't stay up all night and work 'with' them on their hours but it means my meetings with them are in the evenings and occasionally things pop up I should respond to if I see before going to bed basically. 

I'm in my late 30s. 

Laura33

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #71 on: May 10, 2017, 06:34:14 AM »
The 'challenge' with hours is that, as I mentioned, I'm covering a team in the US but I'm also covering a team in Australia, a team in New Zealand and a team in Japan.  Those teams start their day as I'm ending mine and I obviously can't stay up all night and work 'with' them on their hours but it means my meetings with them are in the evenings and occasionally things pop up I should respond to if I see before going to bed basically.

Would it help if you thought of your job as a split shift?  E.g., make sure you are available for the first and last hour or two of each area's workday (unless that is middle of the night), and schedule the mandatory catch-up meetings then.  Then train people that the time in-between is your quiet work time to research and answer the questions they have asked (and carve out time for you in the middle of the day, when it is mid-shift for everyone).  So maybe you work, say, 7-11 AM, to cover COB in Asia and opening hours here; then break from 11-2 for you-time (which covers US lunchtime anyway), then work again 2-6, break for dinner, and hop back on for another hour or two before bed to make sure Asia is up and running.

FWIW, managing people's expectations, and retraining people to wait, is really really hard -- especially when you enjoy being responsive; you almost need to retrain yourself more than them.  But I can tell you that people do adjust.  I have a similar issue in that my job has two parts, one of which involves answering longer-term client questions, and the other of which involves frequent interruptions for quick internal questions; I find it very easy to get distracted by the latter, and then not make the progress I need on the former.  So I started looking at my calendar for the week and blocking out periods every day to work on the short-term internal questions; the rest of the time I focus on the other part of my job.  Sure, there are times that doesn't work, but, you know, 90% of the time it's just fine.

The irony:  in the end, the change was harder on *me* than on the people who were calling me.  They were fine -- *I* was the one who felt like I was going through withdrawal, not having that excitement of jumping on the urgent thing.  Turns out the people I was blaming for my problems didn't actually require me quite as instantly as I thought they did.  So if what you are doing now isn't working for you any more, it may be worth trying something else.

fuzzed

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #72 on: May 10, 2017, 06:43:48 AM »

Yes...I'm in a project management role. 

I agree with others that I need to incorporate better efficiencies.  The 'challenge' with hours is that, as I mentioned, I'm covering a team in the US but I'm also covering a team in Australia, a team in New Zealand and a team in Japan.  Those teams start their day as I'm ending mine and I obviously can't stay up all night and work 'with' them on their hours but it means my meetings with them are in the evenings and occasionally things pop up I should respond to if I see before going to bed basically. 

I'm in my late 30s.

Another PM here... (late 40's no kids, always wonder how people with families do it...)

I have nothing more to add then what the others are saying.  As I read this thread, I thought wow, must be a PM...

Just glad to read I am not the only one who exists in that type of role.  Most PM's publicly go on about how much they "thrive" on this lifestyle...

Thank you for posting this.

CloserToFree

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #73 on: May 10, 2017, 06:44:42 AM »
Here's the thing.  My take is that you're doing a lot of what you're doing out of a general sense of obligation (""it has to get done...if I don't do it, who will?") and a strong but latent desire to impress your boss (see all the comments you've made about how your boss basically loves you).  I was the same way.  But somewhere along the way I realized that I was basically choosing to spend time impressing my bosses (partners I worked with at my law firm) rather than the MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN MY LIFE (my husband, other family members, and eventually my son).  Realizing that made it a whole lot easier to start putting up boundaries and dictating my own schedule.  I feel like you're being taken advantage of (and enabling that) because you're not putting your foot down or protecting your personal time.  I didn't see where you said what your salary was but if it's less than 200-300k, or you're not saving impoverished children or something intrinsically worthwhile, this schedule is NOT worth it.  No way.  Nope.  Ultimately it's up to you to decide how you want to spend your time.  If you decide to have kids, I guarantee you'll start putting up those boundaries.

Laura33

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #74 on: May 10, 2017, 06:44:58 AM »
I didn't have children so I have no clue what I'm talking about but would anyone here put off FIRE to hire a nanny at least part time?   I'm exhausted just reading some of your schedules.   

We thought about it.  Honestly, during the busy times, trying to juggle three schedules (me, DH, my mom) to make sure someone gets daycare pickup every day can be exhausting in and of itself. 

But the reality is that I liked being at 80% -- I liked having my default schedule be "leave at 4 and make dinner and have dinner together"; I liked having that extra time at home with my family and my kids.  Having a nanny would have required me to go full-time to pay for it and not get home until 6:30-7 every night; more work and less family time would have taken things in the wrong direction. 

I guess I never thought of the idea of "stay at 80% but save less" -- at the time, we were saving only maybe 20% anyway, and there was no way I was going to cut that back for something I didn't truly need.  When things got really tough, I gave on other things instead (cooking less, exercising less, etc.).

des999

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #75 on: May 10, 2017, 07:32:08 AM »
1.  read the 4 hour work week
2.  if you can't make your current situation better, look for another job.  90k isn't bad, but it sure isn't worth it for the hours you're putting in.  you are not actually making as much as you think if you break it down to an hourly rate.
3.  you get to work from home, which is a nice perk, the next step is to find ways to cut and become more efficient.  If you find it is not possible, find something else.

Good luck

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #76 on: May 10, 2017, 07:54:28 AM »
Here's the thing.  My take is that you're doing a lot of what you're doing out of a general sense of obligation (""it has to get done...if I don't do it, who will?") and a strong but latent desire to impress your boss (see all the comments you've made about how your boss basically loves you).  I was the same way.  But somewhere along the way I realized that I was basically choosing to spend time impressing my bosses (partners I worked with at my law firm) rather than the MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN MY LIFE (my husband, other family members, and eventually my son).  Realizing that made it a whole lot easier to start putting up boundaries and dictating my own schedule.  I feel like you're being taken advantage of (and enabling that) because you're not putting your foot down or protecting your personal time.  I didn't see where you said what your salary was but if it's less than 200-300k, or you're not saving impoverished children or something intrinsically worthwhile, this schedule is NOT worth it.  No way.  Nope.  Ultimately it's up to you to decide how you want to spend your time.  If you decide to have kids, I guarantee you'll start putting up those boundaries.

Good post and good summary of many of the things that have been said here.

My salary is 90K base with a small annual bonus.

There is a reason I posted this...I moved back home to a different state to work from home to gain more work/life balance.  I felt lucky/grateful my employer allowed me to do this.  However, I don't have much more work/life balance.  I mentioned in another posting that I was having this discussion with another friend of mine.  However, he is male.  Same age, a little more responsibility in his role than in mine.  But like me he is also single without children and working on changing that soon.  We were both talking about how we have no clue how families can get anything done outside of work.

I'm in a fairly new relationship with a person I absolutely adore but it's long distance now.  Anyways, sometimes my mind wonders about the future and how I can be a good girlfriend/wife/daughter/friend/etc. when I am spending so much time working.  I often wonder if my salary, which is the most I've ever had, is even worth it.  It's hard thinking that as I worked pretty hard just to get here. 

Sometimes I think I should test the waters somewhere else.  Now that's I've got several years under my belt here I'm hearing there are other companies that have a better balance for their employees but....I just don't know.  If the issue is more on my end and not setting enough boundaries, it 'may' be worth staying here.  I really need to do more self reflection and figure that out.  But I am surrounded at work by so many people who just 'seem' to work SO much...I've never seen anything like it.  As an example, I'm mentoring a 23 year old who was just thrown into a role a bit bigger than she should have been given and she's been up working through 2 am very frequently (as in at about half her working days) for the past 2 weeks.  I have brought this to my boss's attention and she says resourcing changes will be made 'at some point soon' so she's not 'drowning'....but to me this is an immediate issue that needs addressing as I just don't think it's acceptable.  Working like this sets a precedence.  My boss works on all her vacations, so we tend to bring our laptops on vacations too....'just in case'.  It's the nature of the role that is very hard to get away from because it's also built into the culture...everyone wants everything done now now now NOW.  We just had a Team member taken off of my Team because my boss felt she didn't work/respond to items fast enough.  So on one hand there is all this talk about work/life balance but on the other hand...you can start disappearing for a set number of hours each day if you want...not everyone is going to be okay with that and I guess perhaps this may vary based on who you report to.  So that brings up the issue of whether maybe some of my self imposed obligations are based on my need to stay on boss's good side...who happens to be on the good side of some of the most influential people in my area.

You stated I'm basically choosing to prioritize my job over more important things...I basically agree.  It's what is starting to bother me and why I am questioning if others are able to prioritize those people/things they love in their life *and* their job.  Thank you to those who have posted/shared their schedules, jobs, family dynamics/stories.  It is very helpful/insight to see how people's daily lives are being run.  Basically, I have started to 'look further into the future' and I recognize I can't have important hobbies and be a good girlfriend or wife or friend or whatever AND continue to work the way I do now.  It's not possible.  (Just 10 minutes ago I got invited out to a dinner with a friend.  She lives 30 minutes from me and I haven't seen her since I've moved back 2 months ago.  I had to decline because....I have an 8 pm meeting.) 

I think this thread is insightful and important because I understand that part of the MMM philosophy is about being able to prioritize those things that are 'really' most important in your life and realizing that it's not usually a bunch of material things or the money that buys those material things...it's the people and activities and experiences in life.  If I can live my life in such a way that I am able to have enough time to enjoy those people and experiences I love only then will I truly be happy.  I understand all of that...I get it.  I just need to figure out how to do it because I am realizing now that I've gotten a 'decent' paying job for perhaps the first time in life, I also can't let it just take over all of the other important things that truly bring joy into my life. 


« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 08:52:03 AM by EconDiva »

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #77 on: May 10, 2017, 07:55:40 AM »
12 hours a day is more than one person's workload.   Why are you willing to take on and be responsible for more than your fair share?

Well it's not quite that simple.  I'm not sure if you read the entire thread but I'm salaried.  Many salaried people don't have 9-5 jobs.

BeanCounter

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #78 on: May 10, 2017, 08:03:36 AM »
12 hours a day is more than one person's workload.   Why are you willing to take on and be responsible for more than your fair share?

Well it's not quite that simple.  I'm not sure if you read the entire thread but I'm salaried.  Many salaried people don't have 9-5 jobs.

The problem really seems to be your boss and his/her expectations.
I believe that most if not all of the people who posted on this thread are salaried, and we are ALL saying we don't work that much.
Someone has fed you a line of bullshit and you've bought it. As I said before, I make more than you and work WAY less. Yes I'm salaried.
You need to start setting some boundaries and pushing back in your current position, and if it doesn't work then that answers your question about if you need to work somewhere else.

CareCPA

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #79 on: May 10, 2017, 08:04:29 AM »
I had a similar issue at my first real job. Went into public accounting, had my email connected to my phone, and during tax season I was always "on." The problem is, they then came to expect that (or at least I perceived that they expected it). It would have been incredibly difficult for me to change that while staying at the same place.
When I changed jobs, I was very deliberate in setting expectations and boundaries. I now do not check email outside of office hours, or do work outside of office hours except in very special circumstances. This will be harder for you since you work at home.
All this to say, if you want a good work-life balance, you may need to look for a new position.

BeanCounter

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #80 on: May 10, 2017, 08:07:06 AM »
I had a similar issue at my first real job. Went into public accounting, had my email connected to my phone, and during tax season I was always "on." The problem is, they then came to expect that (or at least I perceived that they expected it). It would have been incredibly difficult for me to change that while staying at the same place.
When I changed jobs, I was very deliberate in setting expectations and boundaries. I now do not check email outside of office hours, or do work outside of office hours except in very special circumstances. This will be harder for you since you work at home.
All this to say, if you want a good work-life balance, you may need to look for a new position.

Public accounting is totally known for this. It's totally churn and burn. Or entice them with the ever elusive partner track.

samsonator54321

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #81 on: May 10, 2017, 08:08:37 AM »
If the culture demands 12 hour work days then you just need to find a new job.  I would never work 12 hours a day, there are plenty of jobs that don't require that. 

When I got a promotion all the sudden my hours went from 40 to 50 then 50 to 60 and soon I realized my company would let me work as much as I was willing to, and I'd never run out of work.  I immediately dialed it back to 45 hours a week. That was 5 years ago and I have NEVER been told to work more.  Many people at my company work long hours and some of them wear it as a badge of honor. It's just not necessary in most places (but not all places).  I work from home too. I shut my computer off at 5pm and stop checking emails.  My team knows if it's a real emergency they can call me and I'll work, but that rarely happens. I almost never think about work after 5pm. It's worth noting it took me about a year to be okay with this and not feel guilty.

Same thing happened to my wife at her new job. She said the culture is to answer emails all night and it's required. I pushed her to stop doing it and she fought back at first. But after about six months of doing it she stopped the night time emails. Nobody has said a word, and that was a year ago.

Your company may be one of the ones that demands it. If that's the case then you need to look elsewhere.  If you do a good job for those 40 hours I think most places want to keep a great employee that does a good 40 hours of work.  Most studies say that's about all the brain is good for anyways, productivity goes way down after that. 


EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #82 on: May 10, 2017, 08:09:26 AM »
+1 to what Laura33 said. You need to put boundaries between work and home. 90k for 60+ hours of work is not a very good hourly rate. I used to work a lot when single (I'm a computer engineer so I always have some coding or tinkering to do - it was also my hobby so I was happy with it) but once spouse and kids came into picture, I moved to a more reasonable work time.  And I find that my efficiency is way better now than when I was working 50+ hours. Either get a huge raise to justify your working so long and hard or work on having systems in place when you are out. For example, what happens if you are out on vacation or out sick for a few weeks? Does your company stop operating or do they find others to get their queries resolved?

Also if your boss answers because you haven't or because you are not available post 7 pm, that's his/her call. He can do it and screw his work life balance. It doesn't mean you need to as well. Think about it.

When I am out of the office, I change my Outlook email to state to contact me by phone if something is urgent and state that otherwise I will respond upon my return.  We don't have a great backup system but my boss is in copy on a lot of things so she would probably either step in or ask someone else to help if she saw something come through while I was gone that I didn't get to.  Honestly I've always had my laptop on every vacation I've taken since starting here as it's the norm here.  So nothing has gone unresolved just because I'm out.  I try not to work but I do still have to check emails as I simply would get buried if I didn't.

Ok, so do this even when you're not out of the office (no one will know!)

I recommend creating a block schedule for yourself. You say there's work all day, but pick a "slowish" time and block it off as "busy in a meeting" on your calendar, and set your email to that phone message.

Examples:
6 am: workout at home
7 am: make breakfast
8 am: work
9 am: 30 minutes responding to emails
9:30: work
12:30: set up your email to say you're out of the office
          --get a load of laundry going
          --put away yesterday's clean laundry
          --wash dishes
          --make a decent lunch
2:00: spend 30 minutes answering emails
2:30: work
5:00: set up email to say you're out
         --random chores
         --shower?
         --make an awesome dinner
         --do something fun for you
7:30: spend 30 minutes answering emails
8:00: set up email to say you're out
         --go for a walk
9:00: go to bed early makes a man healthy wealthy and wise :D

OK, so that's just a random example. You can tweak it. But basically set up your ideal schedule and stick to it!

I turned off message notifications on my phone. I was really scared to do it, because what if someone couldn't contact me? My team picked it up pretty quickly and called with urgent stuff. I get more done because I'm concentrating and not being distracted by messages all the time.

Set yourself some boundaries. Make your ideal schedule. You are the only one who can make others respect your time. Figure out how to make yourself a rested, stress-free happy person and your employer will benefit.

I appreciate the suggestion.  I really do.  I can tell you though my boss would have a fit at this.  Changing my email to state out of office during "normal business hours" would not fly unless I'm taking (vacation) time off.

Let me give a small example of how things can be just a tad bit unreasonable in my line of work:

I have a friend, she used to work on my Team in Europe.  She was brilliant...a PhD, could easily do my boss's job.  She worked from home 100% of the time.  To make long story short my boss somehow had a hunch she wasn't always working from home in her 'actual' home.  She was right...ended up asking and found out the coworker was working in her mother's house an hour away from her own home a few days a week.  She was doing this as her mom was extremely sick and in/out of the hospital so it for a few weeks it made it easier to be there sometimes in case something happened. 

The colleague wasn't underperforming, never missed a meeting...she was working as usual.  Still being 'on' til late hours like everyone else.  However, my boss told on her about this and mentioned to me how bad it made the colleague look and how my boss's boss said she should have taken a medical leave of absence.  The colleague got reprimanded for it actually.  I couldn't believe they'd rather her leave her job and put more work on others simply because they found out the 'home' she was working from wasn't her usual home location occasionally.  She's since gone now successfully working for her own company and occasionally contracting for other companies.

Anyway...my point being is the company isn't as flexible as they like to say they are.  And I think this somewhat dependable on who you report to/who they report to/etc.  I just know this suggestion of blocking off time during the day each day or even most day would not be acceptable to my boss.  (I'm actually a bit lower on the totem pole here so it would be hard to do as I have a good bit of meetings to attend during the day.  Plenty of days with 2-4 hours worth of meetings.  They wouldn't change these for me and it's not an option to not attend fyi.)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 08:45:09 AM by EconDiva »

Louisville

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #83 on: May 10, 2017, 08:12:36 AM »
12 hours a day is more than one person's workload.   Why are you willing to take on and be responsible for more than your fair share?

Well it's not quite that simple.  I'm not sure if you read the entire thread but I'm salaried.  Many salaried people don't have 9-5 jobs.

Seems like you just refuse to accept that 12 hours a day is unusual, salaried or not. It really is. I've spent a career making near or over 6 figures, working with lots of people who are deep into 6 figures, and none of them worked 10 or 12 hours a day consistently. Only at crunch times.
You. Don't. Have. To. Do. It.
Free yourself!

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #84 on: May 10, 2017, 08:16:06 AM »
12+ hours of work, plus answering emails at a few other times during the day?  Most people don't do that.  I work 8.5 hours a day and don't think about work at all once I leave.

Are you hourly?

CareCPA

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #85 on: May 10, 2017, 08:18:38 AM »
12 hours a day is more than one person's workload.   Why are you willing to take on and be responsible for more than your fair share?

Well it's not quite that simple.  I'm not sure if you read the entire thread but I'm salaried.  Many salaried people don't have 9-5 jobs.
I don't think you're quite getting that just because you're salaried does not mean you have to work 24/7. I am salaried. I work 7-3:30. Occasionally a big issue comes up that I work a couple extra hours, but I don't work 12 hours a day all week.

boarder42

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #86 on: May 10, 2017, 08:20:05 AM »
12+ hours of work, plus answering emails at a few other times during the day?  Most people don't do that.  I work 8.5 hours a day and don't think about work at all once I leave.

Are you hourly?

i think you have your answers and steps to mitigate whats happening.  if you just wanted a place to vent ok.  but i think we've isolated the issue now its up to you to make an action.

and quit the hourly vs salaried thing this thinking has probably put you in the position you're in .. i'm salaried i work 7 to 4 daily.  and make quite a bit more than what you do and when i leave 99% of the time i dont think or do work. 

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #87 on: May 10, 2017, 08:34:54 AM »
The only time I put in such long hours was when I was a contract engineer (still salaried, but had to account for all of my hours to charge back to the client).  In 2005 - 2007 we were forced by the company into over time (10 extra hours per week paid, but no extra benefits).  Funny thing was, lots of folks left the company during that time because they realized they could make just as much, if not more at another job working a standard 40.  Maybe this is you - if you are that valuable to the company that they need 12 hours/day out of you then shop yourself around a bit (both inside and outside the company).  You may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself working less and being paid more, or at least being better compensated for your outlandish work hours.

I honestly shake my head in dismay recalling those years from 2003 (our first child) to 2005 (second child, single income family with me gone all the time) up to 2007 when I was at the end of my rope.  It worked out fine in hindsight, even with the stock market crashing in 2008.  Don't put up with a situation that is making you miserable, you'll just burn yourself out and could start having issues in your 40's if you aren't prioritizing health and social life outside work.

tweezers

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #88 on: May 10, 2017, 08:39:40 AM »
12 hours a day is more than one person's workload.   Why are you willing to take on and be responsible for more than your fair share?

Well it's not quite that simple.  I'm not sure if you read the entire thread but I'm salaried.  Many salaried people don't have 9-5 jobs.
I don't think you're quite getting that just because you're salaried does not mean you have to work 24/7. I am salaried. I work 7-3:30. Occasionally a big issue comes up that I work a couple extra hours, but I don't work 12 hours a day all week.

I'm also salaried and don't work as much as you are (and make more than you do).  I had work-life balance issues when I first left grad school (where I was used to working 12 hours a day on my research, teaching, grading, etc.) and its hard to pull back from.  If these are truly the hours expected by your company I would seek another position.  As someone mentioned up thread, try dialing it back first.  Good luck.

Fishindude

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #89 on: May 10, 2017, 08:47:00 AM »
I always worked 10-12 hour days plus usually a little on Saturday, however my wife didn't work and stayed home to raise the kids full time.  The long hours didn't bother me too much, as that's the way I was raised and I was self employed so the extra effort benefited me personally.  Continued to work 10 hour days up until retirement last fall.  Long days are kind of the culture in the construction industry, "make hay when the sun shines".

One thing I never did was take business phone calls and emails during my off hours unless it was a serious emergency.  I see many friends that are constantly interrupted during their free time with this stuff.  I think that is ridiculous and also somewhat rude to have your phone ringing and taking calls when you are supposed to be doing "fun things" with others.

If you work those kind of hours it's also important to utilize your vacation time to decompress and get away from things for a while.

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #90 on: May 10, 2017, 08:54:26 AM »
12 hours a day is more than one person's workload.   Why are you willing to take on and be responsible for more than your fair share?

Well it's not quite that simple.  I'm not sure if you read the entire thread but I'm salaried.  Many salaried people don't have 9-5 jobs.
I don't think you're quite getting that just because you're salaried does not mean you have to work 24/7. I am salaried. I work 7-3:30. Occasionally a big issue comes up that I work a couple extra hours, but I don't work 12 hours a day all week.

Right...based on my thread you can understand why.  That's not my life or the lives of those I'm working with every day so I haven't been seeing that.

So honestly I've just been chugging along for a while now assuming this is just how life is for the vast majority of salaried people with a decent job earning a decent income.  I mean this thread literally is showing me it's not the case for many.

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #91 on: May 10, 2017, 08:56:23 AM »

Yes...I'm in a project management role. 

I agree with others that I need to incorporate better efficiencies.  The 'challenge' with hours is that, as I mentioned, I'm covering a team in the US but I'm also covering a team in Australia, a team in New Zealand and a team in Japan.  Those teams start their day as I'm ending mine and I obviously can't stay up all night and work 'with' them on their hours but it means my meetings with them are in the evenings and occasionally things pop up I should respond to if I see before going to bed basically. 

I'm in my late 30s.

Another PM here... (late 40's no kids, always wonder how people with families do it...)

I have nothing more to add then what the others are saying.  As I read this thread, I thought wow, must be a PM...

Just glad to read I am not the only one who exists in that type of role.  Most PM's publicly go on about how much they "thrive" on this lifestyle...

Thank you for posting this.

I am glad you got something out of this thread!

I don't know if you thrive in your role but I don't.  But I work around many many people who 'live to work'. 

lhamo

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #92 on: May 10, 2017, 09:00:22 AM »
I have a friend, she used to work on my Team in Europe.  She was brilliant...a PhD, could easily do my boss's job.  She worked from home 100% of the time.  To make long story short my boss somehow had a hunch she wasn't always working from home in her 'actual' home.  She was right...ended up asking and found out the coworker was working in her mother's house an hour away from her own home a few days a week.  She was doing this as her mom was extremely sick and in/out of the hospital so it for a few weeks it made it easier to be there sometimes in case something happened. 

The colleague wasn't underperforming, never missed a meeting...she was working as usual.  Still being 'on' til late hours like everyone else.  However, my boss told on her about this and mentioned to me how bad it made the colleague look and how my boss's boss said she should have taken a medical leave of absence.  The colleague got reprimanded for it actually.  I couldn't believe they'd rather her leave her job and put more work on others simply because they found out the 'home' she was working from wasn't her usual home location occasionally.  She's since gone now successfully working for her own company and occasionally contracting for other companies.

Anyway...my point being is the company isn't as flexible as they like to say they are.  And I think this somewhat dependable on who you report to/who they report to/etc.  I just know this suggestion of blocking off time during the day each day or even most day would not be acceptable to my boss.  (I'm actually a bit lower on the totem pole here so it would be hard to do as I have a good bit of meetings to attend during the day.  Plenty of days with 2-4 hours worth of meetings.  They wouldn't change these for me and it's not an option to not attend fyi.)

What happened to your friend is the most ridiculous and petty micromanaging I have heard of in a long time-- what a load of complete and utter !&^&#^%Q%1666625!!!!!

It also tells you everything you need to know about your boss and your company.  Any manager or company who is more concerned about APPEARANCES than RESULTS is going to be a nightmare to work for.

Start looking for another place to work.  Today.

I do understand the challenges of global work.   For nearly two years, I was based in Asia, managing a team of 8-9 people across 7 programs/projects, and our local office, but my manager was based in DC and I also had to interact with/be accountable and responsive on an almost daily basis with core functional staff (finance, legal, HR, etc) in NY and DC.   I was also still doing roughly 1/4 of the day to day work on the program I was originally responsible to (I had two other co-workers who picked up maybe 1/2 of what I had done previously as my role expanded, but there was still a lot I had to do myself due to the complexity of the relationships, management level decisions I needed to make, etc).  I worked 60-80 hour weeks for the better part of those 2 years.  I had a supportive boss who encouraged me to set, and keep, limits, but he was a workaholic himself with an even crazier jobs (management oversight for 8-9 international offices, many in complicated parts of the world with lots of issues that needed to be worked out/through).  At least a couple of times a week I needed to be on conference calls from 9 pm my time --after having been up at 5:30 on my end and working a 8-9 hour day in the office.  It sucked, big time.   But like I said, my manager was a real mensch and would help me with pushback with finance, etc. when they wanted repeated late night meetings, etc.

I strongly recommend the book Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud.   It focuses a lot on how to set proper boundaries at work, and on how to decide whether or not a situation is untenable if/when those boundaries are not respected.

Laura33

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #93 on: May 10, 2017, 09:04:02 AM »
Let me give a small example of how things can be just a tad bit unreasonable in my line of work:

I have a friend, she used to work on my Team in Europe.  She was brilliant...a PhD, could easily do my boss's job.  She worked from home 100% of the time.  To make long story short my boss somehow had a hunch she wasn't always working from home in her 'actual' home.  She was right...ended up asking and found out the coworker was working in her mother's house an hour away from her own home a few days a week.  She was doing this as her mom was extremely sick and in/out of the hospital so it for a few weeks it made it easier to be there sometimes in case something happened. 

The colleague wasn't underperforming, never missed a meeting...she was working as usual.  Still being 'on' til late hours like everyone else.  However, my boss told on her about this and mentioned to me how bad it made the colleague look and how my boss's boss said she should have taken a medical leave of absence.  The colleague got reprimanded for it actually. 

OK, how can I say this in words that are strong enough:  your boss is a doink lunatic raging asshole toxic subhuman abuser.  This is not a reasonable response in any way, shape, or form.  You deserve better than working for someone like that.

It is not your "line of work" that is unreasonable, it is your specific boss/employer.  You are in a toxic environment that will wear you down, chew you up, spit you out, and replace you with Widget #6732.  GTFO.

BeanCounter

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #94 on: May 10, 2017, 09:08:53 AM »
I have a personal rule-
I don't work for people that talk about my coworkers with me. It is so unprofessional. And it usually indicates that they are or will talk about you to your coworkers. That's what I call a bad boss.

I agree with others- GTFO.

firelight

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #95 on: May 10, 2017, 09:40:41 AM »
+1 to what beancounter said. Boss talking about co-worker to you is an indication they'll talk about you to others. It's a toxic environment. You have years of experience under your belt now. Start looking for another job and get out of that place before things get worse.

LifeHappens

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #96 on: May 10, 2017, 09:43:06 AM »
You might benefit from reading Dr. Doom's Job Experience series, especially the part working with Chthulu. https://livingafi.com/2014/06/13/the-job-experience-tech-support-year-1/

Bad managers suck and bad jobs that steal your entire life suck even worse.

Paul der Krake

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #97 on: May 10, 2017, 09:47:32 AM »
So honestly I've just been chugging along for a while now assuming this is just how life is for the vast majority of salaried people with a decent job earning a decent income.  I mean this thread literally is showing me it's not the case for many.
There is only a tenuous relationship between salary and how hard people work.

I am a programmer and have worked with PMs of all shapes and sizes, sometimes who didn't even reside on the same continent as me. Some were always on, some weren't. Some were good, some were bad.

The really good ones removed the choke point around them. It's counter-intuitive to many equate email volume to "look how important to the company I am". The best PM conduct light, productive meetings. They make it so that I never have to wake them in the middle of the night because unknowns are kept to a minimum. Their projects are delivered roughly when they said they would. Their job is to remove friction so teams can get things done. There are many ways to achieve that, and they don't require being the central point of failure 24/7.

Seriously, if your remote team is blocked for hours every time you're not responding to them immediately, there is something very wrong with the way your company is conducting business.

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #98 on: May 10, 2017, 09:52:25 AM »
I have a friend, she used to work on my Team in Europe.  She was brilliant...a PhD, could easily do my boss's job.  She worked from home 100% of the time.  To make long story short my boss somehow had a hunch she wasn't always working from home in her 'actual' home.  She was right...ended up asking and found out the coworker was working in her mother's house an hour away from her own home a few days a week.  She was doing this as her mom was extremely sick and in/out of the hospital so it for a few weeks it made it easier to be there sometimes in case something happened. 

The colleague wasn't underperforming, never missed a meeting...she was working as usual.  Still being 'on' til late hours like everyone else.  However, my boss told on her about this and mentioned to me how bad it made the colleague look and how my boss's boss said she should have taken a medical leave of absence.  The colleague got reprimanded for it actually.  I couldn't believe they'd rather her leave her job and put more work on others simply because they found out the 'home' she was working from wasn't her usual home location occasionally.  She's since gone now successfully working for her own company and occasionally contracting for other companies.

Anyway...my point being is the company isn't as flexible as they like to say they are.  And I think this somewhat dependable on who you report to/who they report to/etc.  I just know this suggestion of blocking off time during the day each day or even most day would not be acceptable to my boss.  (I'm actually a bit lower on the totem pole here so it would be hard to do as I have a good bit of meetings to attend during the day.  Plenty of days with 2-4 hours worth of meetings.  They wouldn't change these for me and it's not an option to not attend fyi.)

What happened to your friend is the most ridiculous and petty micromanaging I have heard of in a long time-- what a load of complete and utter !&^&#^%Q%1666625!!!!!

It also tells you everything you need to know about your boss and your company.  Any manager or company who is more concerned about APPEARANCES than RESULTS is going to be a nightmare to work for.

Start looking for another place to work.  Today.

I do understand the challenges of global work.   For nearly two years, I was based in Asia, managing a team of 8-9 people across 7 programs/projects, and our local office, but my manager was based in DC and I also had to interact with/be accountable and responsive on an almost daily basis with core functional staff (finance, legal, HR, etc) in NY and DC.   I was also still doing roughly 1/4 of the day to day work on the program I was originally responsible to (I had two other co-workers who picked up maybe 1/2 of what I had done previously as my role expanded, but there was still a lot I had to do myself due to the complexity of the relationships, management level decisions I needed to make, etc).  I worked 60-80 hour weeks for the better part of those 2 years.  I had a supportive boss who encouraged me to set, and keep, limits, but he was a workaholic himself with an even crazier jobs (management oversight for 8-9 international offices, many in complicated parts of the world with lots of issues that needed to be worked out/through).  At least a couple of times a week I needed to be on conference calls from 9 pm my time --after having been up at 5:30 on my end and working a 8-9 hour day in the office.  It sucked, big time.   But like I said, my manager was a real mensch and would help me with pushback with finance, etc. when they wanted repeated late night meetings, etc.

I strongly recommend the book Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud.   It focuses a lot on how to set proper boundaries at work, and on how to decide whether or not a situation is untenable if/when those boundaries are not respected.

There are a few times that my boss has said things that I always keep in the back of my mind and it's because these scenarios give me insight as to how they are 'really' thinking about us employees.  The above scenario was one of them.  The other scenario was when a colleague in Europe took vacation (you know how much time off they get over there).  My boss stated to me that "some people just don't understand that just because you have vacation doesn't mean you should be taking all of it."  When things like this slip is when I realize my boss and their managers are not playing around...meaning I can't trust if they say they're all about the work/life balance because they really aren't.

I'm glad you can understand/appreciate the challenges of working in a global environment.  It's not always easy working with teams in your country *and* on the opposite side of the world.

EconDiva

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Re: How do people with families DO it....?
« Reply #99 on: May 10, 2017, 10:04:38 AM »
So.  I almost can't believe the conversation I just had with my boss.  Like, it's actually kind of eery....

So she called to give me a 'resourcing update'.  I mentioned earlier I'm on two huge global projects.  Usually people with my position are only on one.  Well she called me to say I'm being taken off of one.  Long story short one of them we 'think' may start to wind down a bit, but the other is unexpectedly ramping up even more so I need to be back on the other.  Plus the one that's ramping up more again it just makes sense I focus on time-wise and not be back across both projects handling so many different time zones.

It actually doesn't alleviate the number of night meetings I'm having because I'm taking back 2 more countries in Asia again so it'll be the same in terms of the number of evening calls.  However, my boss said she eventually wants to get me off of evening calls.  She actually got someone hired at my company within the past few days to help with that but just found out once the person starts they're not even going to put them on her/our team.  So she said she'd actually been working on that in the background but it just didn't work out and that she was actually pretty angry she went through all of that only for them to 'take that person away and put them with someone else' against what was originally discussed.

She said she tried because she knows how hard it is to have a normal life and at this point she knows we're making sacrifices.  I even mentioned to her the dinner I just cancelled for tonight.  She literally said that she is over doing this and she is now going to start putting her foot down and that I need to do it too.  She said...and I quote...."Listen.  If you need to go somewhere or do something during the day you need to block that time off of your calendar and do it.  Take that time or else you're going to get burnt out.  Go have lunch.  Or go to your doctor's appointment.  Or whatever.  I don't need to know about all these things; just block the time off and do it.  Or else you'll be like I've been the last however many years I've been working here.  I know because I've been doing it.  But no more for me; I'm done.  You are responsible for making sure you have a life and if you don't do it then it won't ever happen working here."

So...um....yeah.  That just happened!