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How long is too long?

Joel said a few months ago that he was only going to work 40 hours a week and see how it panned out.

I don't know how well he has stuck with it, but my question is:  "Will you actually get the same amount of work done in a week if you only work 40 hours a week as opposed to 60 or even 70". 

The consensus in several books I have read says yes, but if that is so, why do we have such a hard time making ourselves leave a 5 everyday?

Craig H
Thursday, May 20, 2004

I don't have a hard time leaving at 5 every day.  :-)

Sassy
Thursday, May 20, 2004

I thought the studies showed the upper limit depended on the person (and age), but for most 60 hours got more done than 40, but 70 was usually not better than 60.

Ron
Thursday, May 20, 2004

I have learned it is not the amount of hours but the quality of hours put in.  Yea, anyone can put in '60-70'+ hours  but what kind of results do you get.

Think working smart and hard vs. just working hard

Anonx
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Even if I got 50% more done by staying 60 hours, I couldn't care less. 20 hours a week is a lot of free time.

I'd much rather work flex-time, so that I don't get that "7.5 hours a day isn't enough" feeling, but still get time to live my life.

Edward
Thursday, May 20, 2004

60 hours a week? That is for one full and one part time employees.

Recent Topics
Friday, May 21, 2004

I work 37.5 hours a week, very seldomly take work home (though I do my own project development at home to keep the kung fu strong, and because I enjoy), frequently take extended lunches, take time off to read magazines, etc. I'm in a very senior position, and got there with this same "work habit" for my professional career (about a decade).

People who work extended hours are, basically, someone's bitch: They're the one that you know you can dump the crap work on because they'll suck it up and brag to everyone about how they worked 80 hours, not realizing that it makes them a pawn, not a power player.

.
Friday, May 21, 2004

A VP used to chew out MBA sucks who worked all night then came bragging about it.

Instead of praising them, he would ask what was wrong with them that they couldn't complete their work in the time allotted.


Friday, May 21, 2004

Yes, I find that I work better, faster and with lesser mistakes doing 40 or at the most 45 hours every week.

OP said
>> why do we have such a hard time making ourselves
>> leave a 5 everyday?

It's just a state of mind. Try this. Put a reminder in outlook or whatever that pops up at 4:45 pm saying 'Time to leave'. Initially, you will find it difficult to leave at 5. Afterwards you won't. It's hard but can surely be done.

I now no longer require the outlook reminder :-)

The One You Loved (TOYL)
Friday, May 21, 2004

> I'm in a very senior position, and got there with this same "work habit" for my professional career

Translation: I have no clue what is going on, so there is no reason to spend useless hours reading the Onion at work when I could be home watching American Idol.

Sorry couldn't resist as this poster considers his or her fellow co-workers to be "someone else's bitch."


Friday, May 21, 2004

Anything over 48 hours according to the European Working Time Directive.  I'm glad to say (a) I'm not at work anywhere near that long and (b) Posting to this forum doesn't count as work.

a cynic writes...
Friday, May 21, 2004

37.5 hrs/w.  6 weeks holiday.  Paid overtime.  Swedish.

Why do you Americans settle for anything less?  Like your companies are as loyal to you as you seem to be to them lol!

i like i
Friday, May 21, 2004

==>People who work extended hours are, basically, someone's bitch

I disagree. I run my own shop. It's small (6 of us), but profitable and rewarding.

I generally log between 40 and 50 hours a week on building software, another 5 or so on internal stuff (payroll, taxes, paying the bills, filing, budgeting etc.) and another 5 to 10 playing the marketing/advertising/selling game.

I seem to be averaging about 55 hours a week lately. This is close to two full time 8-hour days over the "normal" work week. I'd call it extended. There are times, once or twice a year,  when I'll regularly work 70 to 80 a week for a month or three, but then it settles down to something a bit more reasonable.

Does this make me someone's "bitch"? Certainly not. I own my own business and do my own thing. I guess that makes me my own "bitch" <grin>

Sgt. Sausage
Friday, May 21, 2004

==> 37.5 hrs/w.  6 weeks holiday.  Paid overtime.  Swedish.


I want to move to Sweden!

Sgt. Sausage
Friday, May 21, 2004

Get a life !!!
Anything over 40 hours and you're a sucker.
Ask yourself,  in 25 years, do you think your company will remember you and all of your extra work you did for them.  No Way !  You're just a commodity to them, to be used up and spit out when they're though with you.

But in 25 years, your kids or wife will remember the dad or husband who was never home and never spent any time with them.  And they will remember that forever. 
Don't miss the precious gift of life and family.  Your family will thank you !

Troy McClure
Friday, May 21, 2004

My experience is that your marginal productivity starts going down after 7 hours a day. So 60 hours a week does not produce 50% more work than 40 hours a week, but maybe only 30% more work.

I'm not talking about the occasional week or two, but about continual overtime.

Also it depends on the work done. With routine work there is little decline in productivity.

And of course there is the problem that Parkinson's law starts applying when you regularly work longer shifts.

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 21, 2004

There comes a certain point where it's all about face time.  I used to work for a QA Mgr that loved having his staff work hard.  If someone tried to work smart it was allowed but did not score any points.

What this lead to was a whole team showing up on a Saturday moving the mouse around while staring out the window at the beautiful day they were missing.  This whole game was mainly to show the VP we were team players.

The sad fact is some people brag at what a good salary they have, but then when you divide it by the number of hours they spend at work they look like a chump.

GlassTowers
Friday, May 21, 2004

I work a 'base week' of 50 hours - 7AM - 5 daily.  Occasionally I may have to work mor, but as a rule, this is the only way I can get out by 5 and not be percieved as a slacker.

The reality is, I probably put in another 20 hours a week of my free time, taking classes or working on pet projects.  What I've realized is that it there is no 'extra credit' in the workplace.

You either produce or you don't.
You either get things done or you drop the ball.
You're either a nice guy or a jerk.

But it doesn't matter how many hours you work.

Sassy
Friday, May 21, 2004

I talked to someone who told me they work their 40 hours a week and they get a 3% raise

Someone else in the same group works 60 hours and gets a 6% raise.

Who do you think is the smarter one ?

Troy McClure
Friday, May 21, 2004

>>But in 25 years, your kids or wife will remember the dad >>or husband who was never home and never spent any >>time with them.  And they will remember that forever. 
>>Don't miss the precious gift of life and family.  Your family >>will thank you !

Exactly!!!

Working no longer than required
Friday, May 21, 2004

>40 hours a week 3% raise
>60 hours  6% raise

I always thoguht what matters is what you get done, not how long you spend doing it, but then again, I didnt get 6% either...so who am I to talk :)

Patrik
Friday, May 21, 2004

3% raise = 103000
6% raise = 106000


103000 / (40 * 52) = 49.52/hr

106000 / (60 * 52) = 33.97/hr


Friday, May 21, 2004

Instead of laughing at how stupid programmers are for thinking long hours are cool, I should be hiring them to be my bitch!


Friday, May 21, 2004

Or another way.

3% raise = 103000
6% raise = 106000 = 103000 + 3000

So Co-workers A & B work a regular 40 hours per week for:
103000 / (40 * 52) = 49.52/hr

But Worker B works an extra 20 hours per week for:
3000  / (20*52) = 2.88/hr

_
Friday, May 21, 2004

Personal decision. It is really simple: Do you value the money that you get from working extra hours more than you value whatever it is you would have been doing in your off-hours if you worked less time? It's the marginal value of each additional quantity of money you get for each hour of extra time you put in. That is, assuming that you get paid extra for the extra hours you put in, or overtime, or if your employer just considers it as your decision to stay later and only pays you for the official 40 hours.

If you don't get paid for the extra time you put in, then you have to ask yourself if you really think it is going to make a difference in getting promoted. Employers don't care about how many hours you work (or at least not intelligent ones). They care about whether or not you get enough work done. If someone works half as long as you and gets as much work done as you do, they are just as valuable -- more so -- to the employers than you are, working twice as long.

People who think that employers care about how "hard" they're working are deluded by idiotic Marxist ideas about how the value of labor is determined. Employers don't value your labor based on how many hours you put in, or by some arbitrary subjective feeling of "how hard" you work. You could have a retard working in that programming job working "really hard" and accomplishing a whole lot of nothing.

David Heinrich
Friday, May 21, 2004

>But Worker B works an extra 20 hours per week for:
>3000  / (20*52) = 2.88/hr

O U C H .


Friday, May 21, 2004

I am fortunate enough to work for a company (American) that lets me work at home two days a week. On those days I take my daughter to school, come home and work without distractions for two or three hours. Then I take an hour or two for exercise (run or mountain bike in the mountains or go to the gym in really hot weather). Run errands like going to the bank or the library. Three more hours of undisturbed work, then pick up the squirt from school.

After she goes to bed, maybe do another hour or so.

I get as much work done in those two days as in the other three days at the office. And more than some of the other guys do in 5...

Data Miner
Saturday, May 22, 2004

> I don't have a hard time leaving at 5 every day

I do. Mainly because by then I really like to have already left.


Monday, May 24, 2004

Just to keep the discussion from being too lopsided, a non-promotion-centric point of view.

I work an average of 55-60 hours a week, and then read technical magazines and books on top of that.

I also spend 2 hours every week days with my kids doing what they love and never work on weekends.  Flexible hours allow me to be there for their school plays, important basebase games, etc.

I love my work.  I have a creative job that is very much a part of me.  I find when I work less, I fill the time with TV or science fiction books rather than something "rewarding."  I'd rather program than do either of those.

Is my employer getting more out of me than they are paying for?  I don't see the world that way -- I am getting an environment where I can freely practice my craft.  I use the time to stretch and grow.  It is a win-win situation.

Another Point o' View
Monday, May 24, 2004

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