Author Topic: How much overtime could you handle?  (Read 7338 times)

kamille

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How much overtime could you handle?
« on: July 03, 2015, 05:18:01 AM »
If you were paid by the hour and could work unlimited hours each week (up to 16 hours/day), how much would you be willing to work? Would you work over 60 hour weeks to achieve financial independence sooner? What if you had a family at home too?

I am a registered nurse and have been trying to find the perfect balance of endless overtime hours available and living a life outside of work. I just did over 120 hours in the last 2 weeks and am wondering if the pay checks are worth the time away from home and the feelings of burnout creeping in from a job I otherwise love?

Thoughts?

Blatant

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2015, 05:34:18 AM »
I leave a bunch of OT on the table to spend time at home with family. However, if one had a plan -- like maxing it out for 1 or 2 years to get you over the FIRE hump -- it's a great option to have available.

forummm

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2015, 05:46:40 AM »
It would depend on how much I was getting paid, how much I had saved, and my situation outside of work. I'm the kind of person where when I was single and had little saved up, I would have definitely worked all the time (and did). Eventually I might step it back a little if I was getting burned out or needed time to do other stuff at home. But now that I have a family and am getting closer to FI I would step it back more. I have actually chosen to not pursue much higher paying employment at this time due to those changing variables.

GuitarStv

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2015, 06:46:05 AM »
I've worked eighty and hundred hour weeks for two or three week stretches and then taken a week off to decompress in the past.  It's not ideal.  I start making mistakes on the job with greater and greater frequency the longer it goes on.  I also get very badly burned out after a few months of this, but I was working contract stuff to pay my way through university so there was an end goal in sight.  Could not imagine how awful trying to do that day in day out would be.

josstache

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2015, 10:36:34 AM »
I work 12-17 hour days five days a week with no overtime, just high pay.  It sucks but can be worth it if you can FIRE after working for 4-5 years.

Wads

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2015, 11:02:44 AM »
I have a union hourly job and sometimes get the green light for OT. Last year I only worked 30 hours but the most was in 2012 when I worked 700 hours.

Towards the end of the year I did get burned out so I like to stay in the 200-300 range.

purplepants

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2015, 11:05:43 AM »
I have been willing to work a crazy number of hours in the past, burning myself out in the process.  But I already didn't like the job.  In my opinion, a job you love is too valuable to risk by burning yourself out on it.

Also, nursing requires a high level of compassion, which can take a lot out of you.  I think I'd burn out a lot quicker at a job that had a lot of emotional components than I do at my engineering job - so I'd expect a nurse to probably need to work fewer hours than, say, a truck driver to maintain a level of sanity.

Also?  Nobody wants to be cared for by a burned-out nurse.  ;-)

kamille

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2015, 11:22:28 AM »
I am very lucky that I can rely on overtime for extra income when needed instead of finding a side gig. I have done 8 12-hour shifts in a row before, but I don't think I could handle more than 10 shifts in a 2-week pay period. I would be afraid of making mistakes like the other commentator mentioned and as a nurse, that's not something I would feel comfortable doing just for the sake of more money. I earn time-and-a-half for every hour over 40/week. I try to maximize the payout by grouping my extra shifts all in the same pay period for the extra overtime and then taking a break for the next pay period or two. I couldn't imagine doing overtime week after week without some kind of break in between.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2015, 11:43:53 AM »
If I was already earning a good wage ($25-50/hr) and I was offered OT at time and a half, or double time. I would take it in a heart beat, work tillI couldn't handle it anymore, and then take some vacation days to cut down to a 32 hour work week for a few weeks in a row. Rinse and repeat.

kamille

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2015, 01:29:35 PM »
If I was already earning a good wage ($25-50/hr) and I was offered OT at time and a half, or double time. I would take it in a heart beat, work tillI couldn't handle it anymore, and then take some vacation days to cut down to a 32 hour work week for a few weeks in a row. Rinse and repeat.

I think this is the winning combination for my personal situation right now. I also don't even need vacation days because I technically work part-time, which gives me the same benefits as full-time, so I only need to work a minimum of 24 hours a week. I would love to be able to work pure part-time once I hit financial independence.

trailrated

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2015, 02:06:42 PM »
I work on average 61 hours/week. Mon-Sat.

Vwjedi76

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2015, 02:20:39 PM »
My husband (salaried) works 40 hours a week, and I (hourly) work 16-24 hours a week. We could fire sooner if I worked a ton more, but our quality of life would decline so much it isn't worth it to us. This puts our FiRE date back, but i could die tomorrow and never see FIRE so I want to enjoy my time in the present also. Ymmv

deborah

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2015, 04:25:37 PM »
Don't do it!!!

I once had a job and a trainee because it had been recognised that we needed more than one person to do the work. A colleague left, and my trainee was shifted over to that work. After a year the trainee got another job and left.

After that I had two jobs - the one I was doing (that already needed a bit of overtime to do) and the colleague's job (which had been completely neglected for a year because the trainee couldn't work out how to do it). And I ended up doing an enormous amount of overtime - no less than a total of 40 hours a week (on top of a 40 hour job), and often more. For a year.

By the end of that time I had both systems under control, the users were no longer complaining, and the computers associated with the other job weren't crashing all the time. But this was at tremendous cost to myself and my career. While I had proved that I was a very competent technician, I had also become totally immersed rather than participating in the social interactions that are required in a work environment and for advancement. However, I did earn an enormous amount of money!

Unfortunately I didn't really learn my lesson properly and later in my career I also worked very long hours for over a year on two other occasions. On neither occasion was it good for me as a person.

tele25

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2015, 09:15:28 PM »
I used to work with a bloke that worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

After a few years of this his body got so knackered he had to have a year off work to recover.

It also caused his hair to fall out.

Mrs.LC

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2015, 10:18:02 PM »
In the past I worked many 10-16 hour shifts with very few days off. Some of the OT was my choice but much of it was mandated by the employer to cover open shifts and to cover for those that called in sick. There is just nothing like that feeling when you are working your 10+ day in a row counting down the hours until you can go home and you get mandated to work a double shift. Yippee! Welcome to healthcare and yes, I am an RN. It was tough to balance work and family life but you do your best. If you have a choice of the OT have a plan in place for the additional income so you have a goal to work for. Take your vacations even when you get pressured to stay and work. I left floor nursing for a management role when my boys were old enough to start sports so I could work mostly the day shift. I had no desire to miss watching little league. It's a tough field to be in but also very gratifying. Always always remember why you decided to be a nurse when you are at the end of your rope and still at work. Good luck and bless you for being part of the nursing family.

Lanthiriel

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2015, 10:35:16 PM »
I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that my brain barely lets me put in a solid 40. In the past, I worked a FT job and a side gig or a FT (salary) job that required a lot of hours, but other aspects of my life (housework, relationships) suffered. I switched jobs about a year ago, specifically looking for job that paid better without having to put in more hours. I was lucky and found a decent salary job that only requires the occassional OT. When project managers want to get whiny with me about working late or weekends, I remind them that I'm an overhead employee so I'm not going to make that time up through bonuses or big raises/promotions. I put in maybe 10 hours/month in OT when projects get really close to the deadline, but I keep an unofficial comp time bank (we have a generous leave policy) and usually wind up taking that time off throughout the year. I could FIRE faster if I was willing to work more, but it's just not worth it to me.

kamille

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2015, 02:16:26 AM »
Thank you for the great insights on overtime experiences so far! I think putting all my overtime towards my retirement accounts has been a helpful goal since I know many coworkers who feel like they must work overtime just to pay their bills. At least my overtime is voluntary and I don't have a problem saying no or taking breaks. I definitely don't want to sacrifice my health and relationships for FIRE! Finding that perfect balance has been an ongoing struggle.

use2betrix

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2015, 09:14:24 AM »
For the last 6 years I've averaged 50-60 hour weeks. Many months of alternating weeks of 60 and 70 hr weeks.

Right now they are allowing me to basically work as much as I want. I worked the last 15 days in a row, all 10-11 hr shifts, and now have a 3 day weekend for the 4th of July. Once I go back, I'll probably continue taking every other Sunday off, with 11 hr weekdays and 10 hrs on weekends. That being said, I honestly don't work that hard. I basically just monitor other employees and such.

Widget

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2015, 10:32:09 AM »
I put in 31 hours of overtime every week for about 6 out of every 18 months.  It means I don't get to see my family or boyfriend, and it is hard and draining.  I definitely do it for the money, and don't plan on doing it for longer than a few years.

Civex

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2015, 11:58:01 AM »
60 hours/week (20 hours overtime). After that I feel like I'm taking taking care of the patient, but I don't really, "care" for the patient. Terrible thing to admit and I wouldn't purposely put myself into that situation; at the time it was the lesser of two evils for my patients :/ . I've gone into the 70's a few times within a period of many 55-65 hour weeks and it was miserable.

SpareChange

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2015, 06:38:37 PM »
I take as much call and OT as I can get. That varies greatly, which makes it easier to sustain I suppose. I worked 5 16's in a row earlier this year...THAT wore me out, particularly the lack of good sleep. I work as an xray tech in a hospital setting.

dess1313

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2015, 08:35:47 PM »
I work in healthcare and do 12hrs.  I've even done a couple doubles (24 hrs working) during crises.  I take some OT but i put some  boundaries on myself, as it was easy to burn out.  I've done 60hrs quite often, since i do 12s and its the way we are scheduled, but that is usually followed by several days off so the two week average isn't so bad. 

Also you may not be as concerned about the extra hours at the job and possible poor performance, you need to consider your license/job and not being so tired that you screw up royally and loose your job or license.

I have a couple rules like no 1 day turn arounds.  No less than 2 days off between long stretches.  Those couple rules are enough to keep me sane most of the time.

And sure you can do a shit ton of OT but if you crash your car going home because you're so tired or burnt out how is that making anything better?  I generally stick to one or two OT per 6 weeks at max.  Otherwise i have 0 life and i don't enjoy life. 

i also have not been as sick lately, now i don't do crazy stupid scheduling things to myself, so that's been a bonus in its self.  Burnout just leaves you more vulnerable to every flu and bug out there

okits

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2015, 09:10:41 PM »
My limit is pretty high, depending on the circumstances.

Is my motivation high (love my job, big goal I am shooting for, feeling ambitious)?  Is the pay good ("good" is relative) and is the need for money dire?  Age and health play a role, as well as the rest of my life (do you have a partner, dependants, friends and family, hobbies that need your time?)

I find burnout is much more mental than physical.  I can do something that's rewarding or chases an important goal for a long time and still have mental energy for the rest of my life.  Chores can be outsourced if you earn enough. 

I'm currently at a place where the personal value of my time isn't worth overtime (the mental energy it consumes and hours it takes from my family vs. the pay.) So we opt for me to work as close to zero OT as possible.  OT pay would just shorten our time to FIRE, so we opt to take longer but have more family time now.

Karen

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2015, 08:42:33 AM »
I'm a truck driver and I consistently work 12-hour days.  It's very different for someone in this profession because emotions don't come into it so there's no burn-out.  All I need to do is sit behind the wheel, listen to an audio book and drive.  I liken my job to building up a fitness base for jogging.  At first, jogging even 1 mile is excruciating, but after training, jogging 10 miles is OK.  Same here.  When I first started, I couldn't drive 400 miles a day without becoming drop-dead exhausted.  Now I can drive 650 miles per day and then happily exercise for 30 minutes.

Jaguar Paw

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2015, 04:23:18 PM »
I decided when I was 25 that I was going to work as much overtime and save as much money as possible for a few years. I had/have no children so that obviously played an issue but I was averaging 75 hours a week for 3 years (not counting 4 weeks of paid vacation each year). Now that I'm 30 my days of sleeping for 4 hours and going back to work are happily behind me. I now work in the area of 50 hours a week and genuinely love my job so that makes things a lot easier... Looking back on it, working 75 hours in 5 days sucked but it has put me in a much better financial spot than nearly all of my coworkers....Worth it? Absolutely.

Davin

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Re: How much overtime could you handle?
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2015, 07:06:23 PM »
It is really a personal decision with so many individual variables. I usually work 50 hours a week because that is the sweet spot for me right now.  I have worked more hours a in the past, but it tended to affect other aspects of my life negatively.  Sometimes it can creep up on me too, for example, 60 hours a week doesn't seem so bad the first week, but after several months in a row, I just get too burnt out.