Working Long Hours Is Like Working For Free

Working Long Hours Is Like Working for Free

Working long hours is sometimes a necessary evil, but if you're doing it regularly as a salaried employee, you're basically working for nothing. Jason James writes on We Are a Mammoth the many ways working long hours is bad.

Picture: fokewulf

First, after 40 hours a week, every additional hour doesn't add additional dollars into your bank account (unless you're one of the lucky people to be paid overtime):

Salaried employees are salaried to allow the company some flexibility. This flexibility is often compensated for, but compensated in a 41-50 hours a week sort of way, not an 80 hours a week sort of way.

Working more than you're compensated for simply devalues your work and your time. James points out several other problems with the 75+ hour/week mindset: it's unsustainable for the company, unhealthy and unsustainable for the employees (and can result in depression), it's a sign of poor leadership and poor project management, and it doesn't result in better work.

Maybe it's impossible to get to the ideal 25 hours a week structure, but if it's you having a hard time going home on time, it's time to learn how to stop working so much (unless you like working for peanuts or for free).

James adds:

if you are going to put in the extra hours, make sure it's on your own terms. And if some place or some job is making you feel like long hours "come with the territory" just know they are misleading you to their benefit, and you can find a better situation with some extra effort.

What Long Hours Really Mean [We Are a Mammoth]


    i'm lucky, I have always freelanced. But when it hits 5.30pm I often leave a studio full of full-time employees who do an extra 1 - 2 hours Overtime every day.. how they do this; i don't know. but it sure puts me off getting a 'real' job.

    We have time in-lieu, work a Saturday for 6 hours get a whole day off. Work 8 hours in overtime over any given period? Get a whole day off. Sweet!

    "And if some place or some job is making you feel like long hours “come with the territory” just know they are misleading you to their benefit, and you can find a better situation with some extra effort."

    I doubt this holds true for corporate accountants or auditors (freelance accountants would probably have better hours, though). Does anyone know of any accountants who work for less than 42.5 hours a week (less than 8.5 hours per day) on average?

    I myself average about that, which is 4.5 hours in excess of my contract. But, from talking with my accountant friends, I seem to have exceptionally short hours for the job.

    About 14 years ago I was managing a team of web developers at a large corporation. One of the staff quit to take up a job at a design studio for about 50% more money. He thought he was onto a good deal until he realised that the 50% increase in salary came with an expectation of up to 100% more hours of work depending on project deadlines. His real salary per hour actually went down. It's not always about the headline rate.

    As a teacher, I frequently work 60-80 hour weeks. Oh, sure, my time in the classroom totals about 25 hours a week, and the time spent at school all up totals about 40 hours a week (including that time spent in the classroom), but the time I spend at home marking papers, correcting drafts, planning lessons and organising resources adds a lot of extra, unpaid time to my workload - and I'm hardly unique in my profession. If we didn't spend that extra time at home, however, the quality of our curriculum delivery would drop off significantly.

      Don't worry, the curriculum is rubbish anyway
      They don't even teach you important things like PHILOSOPHY, economics, law
      Apart from math, science and engineering, where you actually solved problems, most of it was a waste of time teaching you to be obedient

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