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  #1  
Old 10 December 2018, 12:39 PM
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Icon81 Boasting about how many hours you work is a sign of failure

So says this article. I for one think it's possible to work your butt off--either at home, work or both--and still have a life. YMMV
though.

ETA: link in case there's an issue: https://qz.com/work/1486863/boasting...gn-of-failure/
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Old 10 December 2018, 02:10 PM
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Interesting, the study which this article sites is based on a study of munition workers in the UK during WWI. This is where it was determined that a 70 hour work week produced the same as a 55 hour work week when looking at aggregates. With the prevalence of people working well over 40 hours a week, I would expect more recent and relevant data.

That said, years ago in another lifetime I bragged about the hours I worked. The pinnacle of this was a 135 hour week I worked in Mexico while eating next to nothing and having the little sleep I got interrupted by phone calls. Within a month of this work week I was in critical care on the verge of a heart attack.

I don't think that the average person working excessive hours is spinning their wheels although I've known people, including at least one I currently work with, who work so inefficiently that they need to work excessive hours just to get work done.
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  #3  
Old 10 December 2018, 02:34 PM
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I think the point that if working long hours is the only thing you have to brag about, maybe your work is not that impressive is a good one. Bragging about what you've done is more impressive than how long it took you to do it.

Seaboe
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Old 10 December 2018, 02:54 PM
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I'm reminded of the Anthropology course I took in college: hunter-gatherer societies are believed to have had individuals spend an average of 30 hours a week working. Where did we go wrong?
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Old 10 December 2018, 03:13 PM
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Oh boy, up until a few days ago I thought I needed to have a serious discussion with my workmates about our hours because our workplace is incredibly casual and everyone just turns up and leaves when they feel like it and they apparently don't feel like hanging around all that much. I'm not quite pulling 8 hours shifts (even though I stayed back working until 9pm tonight, which might give you a bit of a clue about how much I like to sleep in ) but even though I don't feel I'm doing enough hours I'm still doing way way more than the other 'employees', and our current project is running ridiculously behind schedule. Well, the parts that I'm working on are under control but the aspects that other people are responsible for just aren't getting finished.

But then I discovered that although I'm getting paid an hourly rate (and not a great one) my workmates have been getting a set weekly wage this whole time. It also works out that they're getting paid much less than what I get paid per week so I really can't blame them for not giving a crap and goofing off. Under those circumstances I think they'd have to be nuts to be breaking their backs pulling long hours.
Looks like I'm the idiot for working 'reasonable' hours.
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  #6  
Old 10 December 2018, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
I'm reminded of the Anthropology course I took in college: hunter-gatherer societies are believed to have had individuals spend an average of 30 hours a week working. Where did we go wrong?
We wanted stuff.
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  #7  
Old 10 December 2018, 04:27 PM
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We wanted stuff, some people became specialized in things people wanted more, and suddenly we became a trading culture in which one could advance ones own ends without advancing those of the tribe as a whole (so it didn't need to be all the hunters or gatherers going out, just the smelter staying up a little longer) and next thing you know we were a culture of Wal-Marts and Wall Streets.

Anyways, there's a bit of nuance to the idea, and I think it has more to do with how working longer hours is perceived from a cultural perspective (which may vary from one workplace to another) and leadership/management expectations vs individual expectations.

It may be, for instance, that your workplace culture views long hours as essential, to the point that people are seen as slackers if they don't put in extra hours, leading to inefficiency (Office Space comes to mind) because they know that their bosses will only see how much time they've put in, not how much they've done. They realize the absurdity of this system, but they don't dare try to buck the system and go off the merits of their performance.

In short, I would generalize it to say that an over-emphasis on hours worked, particularly in salaried positions, means there is quite likely a failure somewhere, but not necessarily on the part of the worker him or herself, and the impact of that failure may not be uniformly felt.

For instance, a failure to properly manage human resources may lead to one department or division constantly being lauded for getting its work done ahead of schedule while another organization in that same workplace may constantly fail to meet goals and, where as those in the "effective" division always get to take all their vacation days and are even rewarded with half-days every week (which upper management takes as a sign that middle-management is doing a good job, training people to cover down for them like it's some kind of brilliant leadership that allows them to go home so early and so often), top performers and middle-management in the "ineffective" division may be afraid to take vacation or even leave just on time for fear that they will fall further behind on their goals and be personally blame for failures when in fact it may be that the problem is that HR has underestimated the number or skill level of employees needed to cover all the "ineffective" division's work while overestimating it for the "effective" divisions. Here, there is a systemic failure on the part of management that management may be blind to and even those workers who truly understand where the failure lies may fear coming forward. After all, they haven't been meeting their quotas for the last two review cycles, never mind how hard they work...

Was I just rambling? Sorry, it's kind of a touchy subject with me, hits kind of close to home, being in the Navy, spending so much time on ships.

Last edited by ASL; 10 December 2018 at 04:33 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10 December 2018, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutter Monkey View Post
It also works out that they're getting paid much less than what I get paid per week ....
Looks like I'm the idiot for working 'reasonable' hours.
I don't think so--not if you're making more money that way. Now, if they were making more than you are, that would be different.


Seaboe
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  #9  
Old 11 December 2018, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
It may be, for instance, that your workplace culture views long hours as essential, to the point that people are seen as slackers if they don't put in extra hours, leading to inefficiency (Office Space comes to mind) because they know that their bosses will only see how much time they've put in, not how much they've done. They realize the absurdity of this system, but they don't dare try to buck the system and go off the merits of their performance.
I've probably told this story before but at one office job I held the manager quite often told me off for turning up a minute or two late on occasions and even tried to write me up one time. He really, really hated my "attitude" and made it very clear that he disliked me as a worker. It later turned out that not only was I the only person on my floor who was exceeding the KPIs, I was also the only person who managed to meet the baseline requirements.
(In retrospect I guess the fact that I managed to clear my workload so effortlessly every week but the entire rest of the office was failing was a pretty bad reflection on him as a manager. If everyone was struggling he could have made an argument that the KPIs were set too high and the company was expecting too much of the staff but if just one guy was meeting the KPIs then that meant that the goals were achievable and the office was just being run badly.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
I don't think so--not if you're making more money that way. Now, if they were making more than you are, that would be different.
If they were making more than I was and the boss knew and never said anything then I'd be walking out the door.

The two guys who get paid a set weekly amount both went to a party last night and didn't manage to make it to work today because they both called in hung over. I'm guessing the soft/partial deadline we have this Friday is going to get pushed back into next week, and the hard deadline we have coming up at the end of next week is going to cause a HORRIBLE CRUNCH. Again. Just like always. Because who could have ever seen this coming and done something to prevent? No one, clearly!
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  #10  
Old 11 December 2018, 12:16 PM
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Where I work, more hours don't mean more pay. But, there is a perception that more hours means you are working harder.

And this bugs me. Because it ensures that people are mistaking activity for accomplishment.

On operations, pretty well everyone is working 14-16 hour days, and that is an understood reality. No one is perceived to be working harder. However, back in garrison, some people seem to think that they need to be seen to be working 12+ hour days to be seen as productive. In my current job, I replaced one such officer.

Week in and out, he would put in 60+ hours, but not work a Saturday or Sunday. He took a principled stand, and was applauded for prioritising his family over work, but still getting the job done. He would show up for work at 7 and typically leave between 7 and 8 every evening.

Me, I show up for work at 7 am, and leave between 4 and 5 every afternoon. My boss talked to me about dedication and I silenced the critique with the challenge for him to point out where the workload had diminished between my predecessor and me. There was no decrease. I am not so proud to say that I am better at the job, or more efficient. But, for some reason, I am able to get the job done in 20 fewer hours per week.

Mind you, there are days I have to stay late because a priority has hit my desk, but that is the rare exception, not the norm.

Our organisation does seem to pride itself on having people dedicated to the job so much that they are willing to extend their office hours to make it look like they are working longer.
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  #11  
Old 11 December 2018, 12:36 PM
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At one employer, several co-workers (in a different department) used to spend a big chunk of their day standing around talking about how busy they were. They'd have been less busy if they'd sat down and done some of the damn work.
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  #12  
Old 11 December 2018, 01:54 PM
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My motto is "Failure to plan on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part."
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  #13  
Old 11 December 2018, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutter Monkey View Post
(In retrospect I guess the fact that I managed to clear my workload so effortlessly every week but the entire rest of the office was failing was a pretty bad reflection on him as a manager. If everyone was struggling he could have made an argument that the KPIs were set too high and the company was expecting too much of the staff but if just one guy was meeting the KPIs then that meant that the goals were achievable and the office was just being run badly.)
Or it might mean that you are really, really good at whatever it was they were doing, and most people aren't.

(I'll grant that it's more likely that the office was badly run; and also that the office might be run badly even if the reason you were meeting goals anyway is that you're exceptionally good at the job. For that matter, I've worked at places where most of the workers frowned on anybody who did the job fast as 'making the rest of them look bad', not because they couldn't keep up but because they didn't want to try to do so. But the existence of an outlier doesn't automatically mean that something's terribly wrong in the middle of the curve.)
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Old 11 December 2018, 03:13 PM
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My motto is "Failure to plan on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part."
You're fired.
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  #15  
Old 11 December 2018, 03:19 PM
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You can't fire me, I quit.

ETA: Besides, most of the time in my career, I was working as a subcontractor with a contract that read we would supply the final design a set period after the floor plans were finalized. Any delay on that would be a delay on our delivery.

Last edited by RichardM; 11 December 2018 at 03:24 PM.
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  #16  
Old 12 December 2018, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
My motto is "Failure to plan on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part."
I have the same saying. As well as one about the seven "Ps".

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
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  #17  
Old 12 December 2018, 02:41 AM
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I have had some true emergencies that required extreme hours. When I was working as a plant electrical engineer, an unexpected power outage required working until it was fixed. The best phone call I received over 40 years ago and it hasn't been beat yet was in its entirety: "The plants on fire. The lights are out. What 'cha goin do?". My response was did you call the fire department? Yep. Okay, open the front gate, I'm on the way. On the way, I passed a police car with its lights and siren going. They were responding to the fire also and also knew I could drive faster than they could. I reset the main breaker that tripped and at least got the lights back on.
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Old 12 December 2018, 12:02 PM
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This article reminds me of people who show up to work when they're sick.
OK, so I'm running a fever of 102, but I feel fine! Really! You can't beat my work ethic!
I'm soooo impressed! Thanks for the germs.

On a related note are people who attend church when they've got some crud. I cannot tell you how many times my mother came down with some respiratory crud that she picked up from someone at church.
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  #19  
Old 12 December 2018, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
This article reminds me of people who show up to work when they're sick.
OK, so I'm running a fever of 102, but I feel fine! Really! You can't beat my work ethic!
I'm soooo impressed! Thanks for the germs.
Not that that's right, but that person may be afraid of getting yelled at by somebody if they call in sick.

Thanks.

Bill
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  #20  
Old 12 December 2018, 02:28 PM
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There are studies from as far back as the 90s at least that show that it's actually better for productivity for workers with infectious illnesses to stay home rather than come in and infect other people.

I'm glad Oregon started requiring companies to provide mandatory paid sick leave this year.
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